According to Anne Applebaum, they apparently come from freer markets. Undertaking an admittedly trite question of why only today we are treated to “a parade of notably stunning tennis champions” and the “feminine pulchritude” of dozens of Russian supermodels, Applebaum finds that previously in the Soviet Union there was no market for beauty. She writes: “This doesn’t mean there weren’t any beautiful women, of course, just that they didn’t have the clothes or cosmetics to enhance their looks, and, far more important, they couldn’t use their faces to launch international careers. Instead of gracing London drawing rooms, they stayed in Minsk, Omsk or Alma-Ata. Instead of couture, they wore cheap polyester. They could become assembly-line foremen, Communist Party bosses, even local femmes fatales, but not Vogue cover girls. They didn’t even dream of becoming Vogue cover girls, since very few had ever seen an edition of Vogue.” I don’t know about this one … It’s tough to compare today’s Russian celebrity athletes with people like the Olympic champion sisters Tamara and Irina Press, who were actually believed to be men.