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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

In The Spotlight

Things have come to a pretty pass when you turn to Hello! magazine to read about the activities of a banned radical politician. But this week, as the leader of the National Bolshevik Party, Eduard Limonov, languished behind bars after being arrested at an unsanctioned rally, Hello! did a big spread on his ex-wife, the actress Yelena Volkova, who explained why she and Edichka are no longer an item.

Among the sources of conflict were UPVC windows, nappies and a trip to Goa.

You could put the timing down to a bit of what Russians call "black PR" against Limonov. The couple broke up last summer, so the interview was not exactly time-sensitive. On the other hand, Volkova is no stranger to the pages of Hello!, and she even dragged Limonov into a photo shoot once before, presumably kicking and screaming.

Volkova acts in the theater and has been in numerous television drama series, one called "KGB in Tuxedos." Limonov is far more famous than her, not just as a political rebel but also as a genuinely admired writer, and their relationship certainly gave her a higher profile.

Limonov and Volkova were an incredibly striking couple when they started going out three years ago. She has model-perfect features and at the time had a shaven head. He is 31 years older than her but still made Sex and the City magazine's list of the sexiest politicians last year. I can't see it myself, but it's probably something to do with not trying too hard. Anyway, the Hello! article began with some gushy prose about "love at first sight, a bright flash."

The relationship got off to a great start, Volkova said. "Everything was wonderful, romantic, magical. Spending the night at safe houses ... he was an opposition politician, and I went to the Dissenters' Marches with him."

The couple went on to have two children together. Little Bogdan is an angelic-looking boy with golden curls and huge eyes, while their daughter, Sasha, was born last year. Volkova also has a teenage daughter from a previous relationship. They all pose in Hello! in pajamas, although if you read the small print, the shoot was actually carried out in a furniture store. So it's not exactly candid camera.

Volkova complains that the National Bolshevik leader turned out not to be a good provider. "I understand all his ideas and ideals, they are noble. But I only understand them if you have enough money for your ideals and for your family." She brings up episodes when he complained about her spending money on UPVC windows to replace the old wooden ones in her apartment and was disgusted about a dirty nappy lying on a chair.

Referring to her ex-husband as "Limonov," she says he would want to tell stories that she'd heard 20 times before, while she needed to empty a potty and wash the baby. It all sounds quite funny and makes her seem petty, but changing nappies alone in a draft probably was not that great, either.

There were other sources of conflict, too. She wanted to go to Goa for the winter, while he called it "the capital of hippies, drug addicts and cows." Then there was the mother-in-law. Instead of ingratiating himself with Volkova's mother, Limonov told her, "You are ugly, and I don't like ugly people."

But Volkova fights back with a shot at Limonov's Bolshevik, anti-bourgeois credentials. "He will kill me," she says, before telling a story about how he suggested registering a dacha in his and her names, not in the names of their children. It sounds pretty mild, but the comrades may think otherwise.