The newly crowned Miss Russia, Elmira Abdrazakova, was forced to shut down
her Facebook and Twitter accounts after haters bombarded her with comments saying she's "not Russian enough" for the title.
Abdrazakova, 18, has been the target of online critics who say she is not fully Russian because her father is Tatar, one of Russia's oldest ethnic minorities, and she was born in Kazakhstan.
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One fairly typical message, still posted on a Russian news site, describes her as an "ordinary Azeri parsley seller" and says the user would not even glance in her direction.
Another says she is "an ordinary market stall worker" and would be considered "a real beauty among sheep."
Abdrazakova doesn’t understand the criticism.
"The nationality question, I don't really understand it. I don't understand why men would write to a young girl offensive things about her nationality," Abdrazakova told Sky News. "It was bizarre for me when men were writing things like that to me. I was surprised we have people of that sort here."
The new Miss Russia said she wasn’t expecting any publicity, and didn’t even think she had a chance of winning.
"I wasn't expecting to win, to get this crown. The host announced that Elmira Abdrazokova won and I remember standing there and thinking, what a lucky girl who won it. Then it dawned on me — that's me," she said. "All that evening I couldn't believe it, only when I got back home I sat down and realized — I'm Miss Russia!"
Regardless of the haters, Abdrazakova, who will now compete for Russia at the Miss World pageant, said she hopes to inspire people in her country.
"For many teenage girls Miss Russia will become a role model, a measure of beauty," she told Sky News. "Maybe some girls will look at me and get inspired by my experience to grow, to develop, to work hard. I hope they can see that in life you can reach something without big money."
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