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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Khakamada Uses 'Sex' to Sell Political Memoirs

MTKhakamada accepting a mimosa branch from a supporter at the launch of her new book, "Sex v Bolshoi Politike," at the Moskva bookstore on Monday.
Shut out of the Kremlin-dominated political arena, liberal politician Irina Khakamada is trying to reach out to people with a new book -- a serious, if informally written, guide to a woman's place in the male-dominated world of Russian politics. Along with tales from the Kremlin, it offers tips on everything from fashion to how to avoid unwanted sexual advances from other politicians.

It comes complete with a racy cover, featuring the English word "sex" prominently below a picture of Khakamada in a low-cut dress.

At a book signing at the Moskva bookstore in central Moscow on Monday evening, ahead of International Women's Day on Wednesday, Khakamada accepted gifts of eggs and mimosa branches, and accused a lone critic in the audience of being paid to disrupt the event.

Khakamada, who leads the Our Choice party and ran for president in 2004, said the book, titled "Sex v Bolshoi Politike," or "Sex in Big Politics," was intended as a nonpolitical way of reaching out to people.

"We can influence [politics] only by becoming an ally of the people," she said, adding that she planned to quit politics if Russia's democrats failed to unite and become a force to be reckoned with by the time of the 2008 elections.

The book's title is a play on "Sex v Bolshom Gorode," the Russian name for the U.S. television show "Sex in the City," and like the revealing cover photo was chosen to attract attention and appeal to a wider audience, Khakamada said at the presentation.

She pointed out that the word "sex" meant gender, and that the book talked about the adventures of a woman in the male-dominated world of politics.

Khakamada said she wrote the book to shed some light on decision-making by the country's elites, to show politics as a male-dominated area and to describe people in different parts of Russia.

Written in an informal, colloquial style, the book includes anecdotes from Khakamada's personal life, a smattering of embarrassing moments at the Kremlin, an introduction to the political elite's etiquette and a wealth of fashion advice. In "problem-solving" sections spread throughout the book, Khakamada doles out suggestions, presumably from her own experience, on circumnavigating politicians who ask for sexual favors, ranking a crowd of officials by clout level and handling advice from image-makers.

In the mostly middle-aged crowd lining up for a signed copy of her book, women outnumbered men two to one, and many were eager to praise Khakamada's political and personal qualities.

The Moskva bookstore has been selling 50 to 60 copies of the book per day, store spokeswoman Natalya Chuprova said. About 200 copies of Khakamada's book were sold during Monday's presentation, Chuprova said.