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    FACTBOX: Miss Russia beauty pageant — history and traditions

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    Irina Antonenko from the Urals city of Yekaterinburg was crowned Miss Russia 2010 on Sunday.

    Irina Antonenko from the Urals city of Yekaterinburg was crowned Miss Russia 2010 on Sunday.

    Along with the title and the crown, Antonenko received a cash prize of $100,000 and an opportunity to represent Russia at the forthcoming Miss World pageant.

    Below are facts about the pageant's history and traditions:

    * Miss Russia is a nationwide beauty pageant, vested with exclusive rights to select Russian participants for the Miss Universe and Miss World pageants.

    * The first Miss Russia, Kira Sklyarova, was crowned in 1927 in Paris. The participants were chosen only among 200,000 Russians, who immigrated to France after the 1917 October Revolution and the subsequent Civil War.

    * In 1929, when the Russian-language magazine Illustrated Russia became the main organizer of the pageant, girls of Russian origin living in all European states were invited to take part. They, however, had to be unmarried, aged from 19 to 25 and have an unstained reputation.

    * A pre-competition interview with the jury was obligatory for participation. A contestant had to be accompanied by her mother and fiance to make sure they did not object, and wear casual clothes.

    * In the first round of the competition, all participants were invited to the stage. Then the jury had a brief interview with each contender and, following a discussion, every girl got three marks - for the beauty of her face and body, and for general impression.

    * In various years, the jury included most famous Russian immigrants, such as artists Alexandre Benois, Ivan Bilibin and Konstantin Korovin, writers Alexander Kuprin and Ivan Bunin, and theatre director Vladimir Nemirovich-Danchenko.

    * Miss Russia 1929, Valentina Osterman, a native of Rostov, was disqualified for her German passport. The title went to first vice-miss, Irina Levitskaya.

    * In 1931, Maria Chaliapin, the daughter of a famous Russian opera singer, Feodor Chaliapin, was crowned Miss Russia.

    * Just like a number of other pageants, Miss Russia was halted after the WWII broke out in 1939.

    * The Soviet ideology, where woman was primarily considered a worker and a mother, dismissed any idea of a beauty pageant. The Soviet Union's first official beauty pageant was held during the Perestroika times in 1988, under the name "Moscow Beauty."

    * Maria Kalinina, the Moscow Beauty winner and the first Soviet beauty queen, emigrated to the U.S. and now works as a Kundalini Yoga instructor in Los Angeles

    * In 1989 the pageant was given a nationwide status and renamed into Miss U.S.S.R. However, it was held only two times before the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991.

    * The first nationwide beauty pageant in the history of modern Russia was held in 2002, and was won by Yulia Kurochkina.

    * Only girls with Russian citizenship, aged from 17.5 to 24 years, at least 172 cm high and having a "model look" are allowed to take part. They should not have tattoos or scars. Those with bad habits are also barred from the contest.

    * Those married, divorced, or having children are also not allowed. A criminal record also makes it impossible to take part.

    * This year, the winner will get a new crown. With the estimated value of over $1 million, the crown is the world's most expensive. It is made of white gold and adorned with 2,358 diamonds, weighting a total of 62 carats, and 14 unique pearls, the largest of which is 19 mm.

     

    MOSCOW, March 7 (RIA Novosti)

     

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