Civil law student wins title of Miss Universe

Friday, May 31, 2002

ST. PETERSBURG, Russia -- The cadets and officers at St. Petersburg's Police Academy on Thursday celebrated the crowning of one of their own as the new Miss Universe.

Oxana Fedorova's victory -- the first Miss Universe from Russia -- led nationwide newscasts Thursday. She is pursuing a graduate degree in civil law at the academy.

Images of her in a white toga-like gown at Wednesday's pageant in Puerto Rico were shown with shots of her firing weapons with perfectly manicured nails and walking police academy halls, dark hair flowing over her drab green uniform.

Her victory also provided the latest boost for Russia's second city, the hometown of President Vladimir Putin, just days after it was visited by President Bush.

Russian media reported that Putin -- a former KGB agent who rose to power on a tough, law-and-order platform -- has expressed his approval of the glamorous police lieutenant. One of the most prominent images on Russian newscasts Thursday was of Fedorova sitting in her office next to a large portrait of the popular Putin. But she insists she has no connections to the president.

Fedorova's biggest fan base is among police colleagues.

After graduating from a police academy in the northwestern Russian city of Pskov, she worked as an investigator before graduate work at the police academy. She is writing a dissertation on regulating privacy and security activities, according to Yevgeny Protsenko, head of the department where she studies and lectures.

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