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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

No Straight Answers From Tatu

MTYulia Volkova, right, and Lena Katina being coy with reporters about their sexual orientation at a news conference Thursday.
The two most famous Russian teenagers in the world -- the pseudo-lesbian duo of the pop group Tatu -- came out Thursday ... as girls completely unfazed about British calls to ban them from the stage, radio and television.

Anyone expecting a different kind of coming out from Lena Katina, 17, and Yulia Volkova, 18, was in for a disappointment. The group, whose career has skyrocketed with a combination of catchy pop songs and lesbian teen hype, remained determined not to clear up questions about their sexuality.

"Maybe and maybe not," said Volkova when asked whether she and Katina were lovers at a news conference. "You know, we're not going to give a straight answer."

Few doubt that their sexual ambiguity is a ploy to boost album sales. Russian papers regularly report that the girls have boyfriends, but the implied underage sex antics of their videos have raised a storm in Britain, where critics say Tatu is targeting "the dirty old man market."

The controversy has not hindered sales. Tatu's single "All the Things She Said" went to No. 1 on the British pop charts Sunday and is at No. 5 in the United States. "Thank you to those who banned the playing of the video and the playing of the song on the radio," said manager Ivan Shapovalov, although no one has actually banned the video or song yet. "I think the sale of the album grew several times as a result."

"We quite often get relatively old men [at concerts] who collect autographs, clap, smile at us and sing our songs," Katina said.

Shapovalov, who earlier said he created Tatu to attract those interested in "underage sex entertainment," hit out at the British criticism. "England is sick like America, and the only thing to do is provide a cure," he said. "Thank God there is somebody who can cure England. We will heal the country with music."

Tatu is scheduled to appear on "Svoboda Slova" on NTV television on Friday to discuss the controversy. The pair will attempt to confront by satellite one of their fiercest critics, British talk show host Richard Madeley.

"We are being told that these girls actually have underage lesbian sex in real life, and we are being told by their manager that he spotted a gap in the market -- a pedophile gap in the market," Madeley said recently. "That's sick and it's wrong, and personally I think Polydor should not be selling the record in this country."

The Russian video of "Prostiye Dvizheniya" has Volkova seeming to masturbate in the bath while Katina waits in the Coffee Bean on Tverskaya Ulitsa, brooding over a cup of tea.

Shapovalov said Tatu will not reshoot videos for the sensibilities of the British audience. "If we do the clip again, they will never be cured," he said.