Russian ministry spokeswoman turns songwriter

Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Ms Zakharova is not just about Foreign Ministry press conferences

The Russian Foreign Ministry's chief spokeswoman seems to have a burgeoning second career writing lyrics for pop songs.

Maria Zakharova, despite a full-time day job as the public face of Russian diplomacy, has supplied the words to "Paid in Full", a break-up song performed by popular singer Katya Lel, Argumenty i Fakty newspaper reports.

The bouncy number, which would not sound out of place on Eurovision, came about as a chance encounter between Katya Lel and Ms Zakharova, the latter coming up with the lyrics "after a sleepless night".

"I paid for everything… The race is over, and you are not the only one anymore. I'm free like a wave, once again," the Russian lyrics go.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Day job: Holding the fort for foreign minister Sergei Lavrov

It's not the first time that she's branched out into song, either. Last year she wrote "Return the Memory", a song about Syria for singer Narghiz.

However, Ms Zakharova has pointed out that she's not for hire. She told the official TASS news agency: "Many people ask me to write, but I don't work to order. I need to feel, to understand - emotions come first, and then the words."

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Nor is she the first Russian government official to go into music.

Vladimir Putin's former speechwriter Jakhan Pollieva has written lyrics for a number of songs, including the 2007 hit "A Snowstorm is Coming", while the president's advisor and one-time deputy prime minister Vladislav Surkov reportedly wrote lyrics for the now-defunct Russian rock band Agatha Christie.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Vladislav Surkov: Rock lyricist?

Reporting Igor Sazonov and Alistair Coleman

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