Through the Lens

Elena Perminova: a Cinderella Story

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Photo by Christopher Sturman

Elena Perminova became the heroine of the September issue of U.S. edition of Harper’s Bazaar. The article titled “A Cinderella Story” reads as follows: “After her rescue from a Russian jail, Elena Perminova is living a modern-day fairy tale as couture’s newly crowned It girl ” .

Perminova, the 26-year-old girlfriend of billionaire media magnate Alexander Lebedev, a 53-year-old former KGB agent and owner of The Independent and London Evening Standard newspapers. She grew up in Siberia, to a humble family who imported goods from China and sold them at the local market. When she was 16, Perminova was arrested for distributing drugs in a nightclub in Novosibirsk. Despite helping the police with the arrest of the local drugs barons ,they hence her movements.This is how she met Lebedev, at the time a politician in the Duma lobbying for a witness protection programme. He stepped in and saved her from 8 years of jail. ”I was so young,” Perminova says of her dark past. “I was blind—completely.” She is grateful to Lebedev: “He was my angel,” she says. “There is no other word for it.”
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