Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has hired a former glamour model as one of his official photographers, according to reports from Moscow.

Putin raised political eyebrows by announcing the appointment of Yana Lapikova, 25, as his personal photographer, sparking a frenzy of media interest in her pictures of fruit, cats and lingerie-clad models that have appeared on the internet.

Putin’s press secretary insisted that Lapikova – who was a contender for the 2008 Miss Moscow title – was selected purely on her photographic skills.

‘She is a really good photographer, and her modelling past is of no interest to us whatsoever because it’s not a crime,’ Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.

The news came as Russian President Dmitry Medvedev – a keen amateur himself – hired Katya Shtukina as his photographer of choice, reportedly presenting her with a high-end Canon DSLR camera to take his official shots.