Install

Get the latest updates as we post them — right on your browser

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

In the Spotlight

This week, Russia’s most vicious gossip columnist, Bozhena Rynska, wrote a stirring appeal to her readers to rise up and shake off the oppressive blue lights of officialdom — after she got stuck in a traffic jam that almost made her late for a fashion show.

The sharp-tongued columnist called for her readers to protest about how many hours of their lives are stolen by waiting for Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s motorcade to zoom along Kutuzovsky Prospekt, and explained in detail how she wasted more than two hours in jams on Wednesday — admittedly in a journey that would have taken about half an hour on the metro.

Luckily, she made it in the nick of time for a show of fur coats by Helen Yarmak, where she posed for photographs in emerald silk, apparently unscarred by her ordeal.

“Something has to be done,” Rynska proclaimed, calling the Russian leader “Lilliputin” and urging Live Journal users to post photos of the jams and count up their total hours wasted.

An unlikely rabble-rouser, Rynska until recently wrote regular features on the lives of the rich and famous for Izvestia. She had the scoop on playboy oligarch Mikhail Prokhorov’s arrest in French ski resort Courchevel in January 2007 after he arrived with a suspicious number of lightly-clad girls. But she left the newspaper earlier this month after it failed to pay her a bonus for revealing that taciturn oligarch Roman Abramovich is expecting a baby with his girlfriend Dasha Zhukova, a story that came out in August, more than five months into Zhukova’s well-hidden pregnancy.

Rynska revealed the details of her job move in her popular blog, which is named after Becky Sharpe, the heroine of William Thackeray’s novel “Vanity Fair,” a woman who also knew how to prick people’s pomposity and fling a good parting shot. Here, she makes free with Russian obscenities, and it’s rather more readable than the wordy, full-page screeds she used to write for Izvestia.

But beware of being the subject of her harsh criticism. The British Embassy is still licking its wounds after she didn’t get a visa in time to travel to London in April. Not only was this the subject of an article headlined “Bad Old England” in Izvestia, but Rynska also wrote a long series of blistering blog posts, including one where she launched into the British ambassador for what she called her “very weak” Russian. Oh, and for not sending her a Christmas card.

Now she has moved from Izvestia to news web site Gazeta.ru, which finally gives her a full-length photograph too, where she is wearing a surprisingly housewife-ish outfit, which is probably the in-thing these days.

Her first column was about an excruciating-sounding 80th birthday party for former Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov. “Putin came on time, only 1 1/2 hours after the official start,” she wrote dryly. She also reported that several politicians got up and sang, including Primakov, who slayed them with a 1960s guitar ballad, although unfortunately Putin didn’t have a party number prepared.

Her latest column covered a series of parties with the kind of biting asides that made her name. None of the socialites could think of any intelligent questions to ask at a talk by Dutch fashion designers Viktor & Rolf, and they left in a huff, she wrote, while a party organized by Glamour magazine was attended by “mainly women and those who can only nominally be called men.”

Poor Yana Rudkovskaya, the producer of pop star Dima Bilan, will be wincing most of all after Rynska’s description of her “spineless” new husband, ice skater Yevgeny Plyushchenko. After all, who would want their marriage to be painted as the union of “a blonde with the character of a military commander at the front and a quiet, little mummy’s boy”?