Michelle Obama brings her superstar glamour to Moscow this weekend as she accompanies her husband on his summit with the Russian president.
But the American first lady, who has wowed publics in the U.S. and Europe with her easy elegance and charm, will perhaps face a bigger challenge in winning over a Russian public that has scant respect for women who grab the limelight from their powerful husbands.
In a country where a presidential candidate once quipped he'd sooner pack his wife off to a convent than allow her to dabble in politics, Russia still has trouble with the concept of an empowered woman behind the throne.
"The institution of first lady in Russia is still quite young," said Alyona Doletskaya, editor of Russian Vogue and doyenne of the Moscow fashion scene. "So there are no huge expectations on the part of Russian public."
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev's wife Svetlana is pious and discreet and met her husband while she was a schoolgirl. She supports charity and the arts, but has assumed no independent voice on issues facing the country. She dresses conservatively, lacking the edgy fashion sense that has attracted a nationwide following for Michelle Obama.
So let me see if I understand… Michelle thinks, is educated and dresses like she has a personality… this a BAD thing? The Russians won't respect her because of a sheath dress and a cardigan? Svetlana is pious? We know this because why? And we care what the Russians think because why exactly?
So is it me or will the Main Stream Media find ANYTHING to criticize Michelle (and her husband) about?