Moscow: The Russian girl accused by the
United States of acting as a Kremlin agent and branded by the
media as a flame-haired femme fatale is "no Mata Hari" but an
average young woman, her mother on Wednesday said.
Anna Chapman, who kept the name of her British
ex-husband, is fiercely independent and driven but never stood
out as above average among her peers, her mother Irina
Kushchenko told the Russian tabloid daily Tvoi Den.
"I don`t think Anna is a Mata Hari. She had the normal
life of a 28-year-old woman," Kushchenko said, referring to
the Dutch exotic dancer executed by the French for espionage
during World War One.
"As an ex-teacher, I can say she never quite shined among
her peers. But she was good, close to the top of her class."
Anna Chapman`s ex-husband Alex has alleged in interviews
with the British press that she was recruited by her father,
who he said posed as a Russian diplomat but was in fact a KGB
With her parents often abroad on diplomatic postings,
Chapman learned at an early age to fend for herself and hide
her problems to deal with on her own while living with her
ailing grandparents, Kushchenko said.
"Anna was always an open, happy child. She deeply loved
her grandmother and grandfather and tried to hide from them
whatever negative things were happening in her life," she