The People’s Republic of Luhansk, a self-proclaimed state in eastern Ukraine that declared independence last week but is not recognized by any government, has begun naming its leaders. Among them is Irina Filatova, who the republic says will head the Ministry of Culture, according to the New Republic.
Filatova’s page on VKontakte, the Facebook-like social media site used by Russians, is filled with photos of the new culture minister topless and posing seductively in bikinis and holding up a cigarette. Her main profile photo shows her in a bikini with her legs spread apart on a bench and clutching what appears to be a bottle of alcohol.
The Kyiv Post called the collection of photos “a public relations setback for east Ukraine’s pro-Russia separatists” and said the pictures may threaten “to further damage the image of a breakaway movement which is already struggling to overcome negative perceptions of its leadership.”
The photos have also surfaced on Twitter. (The area is called Luhansk in Ukrainian and Lugansk in Russian):
Meet Irina Filatova, rebel Lugansk's 1st Minister of Culture. Какая республика, такой и министр. pic.twitter.com/Vtokm6hHfO
â€” Kevin Rothrock (@KevinRothrock) May 16, 2014
â€” The Bavaroukrainian (@bavaroukrainian) May 15, 2014
The Ukrainian government views the People’s Republic of Luhansk as a terrorist organization. Luhansk is located in the eastern part of the country, where many side with Russia, while western Ukraine is aligned with the West, as is the interim government in Kiev.