Lewinsky Due in Town on Book Tour

A Russian publisher says it has secured the rights to publish a Russian version of Monica Lewinsky's saga of her affair with U.S. President Bill Clinton - and intends to bring Lewinsky herself to Moscow for a promotional tour in June or July.

Russian publishing's last plunge into the interminable American sex scandal flopped, with a Russian edition of prosecutor Kenneth Starr's report languishing on romance-book seller's tables.

But the Vagrius publishing house is planning a first printing of 50,000 copies of "Monica's Story," co-written by Andrew Morton. That's a lot for the Russian market.

Lewinsky's representatives could not immediately be reached for comment.

But Tatyana Makarova, Vagrius' spokeswoman, said invitations were already going out to major politicians from the State Duma to the presidential administration.

"She is practically our national heroine," Makarova said. "Russian people treat her with understanding."

The only immediate positive response, however, came from the camp of Vladimir Zhirinovsky, the flamboyant leader of the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia. He even invited Lewinsky to live in Russia.

"He will make her a member of the party and give her an apartment . If she is having a hard time over there, why doesn't she come live here?" said LDPR spokesman Vladimir Bozhbin. "He likes women, especially the unhappy, abandoned ones. Decent men don't do what Clinton has done."

The response from the other politicians was, however, not particularly welcoming.

"A liberal who is working to save Russia ... doesn't have the leisure time to attend spectacles that are in bad taste," Democratic Union leader Valeria Novodvorskaya was quoted as saying by Kommersant newspaper. "A serious politician shouldn't meet with a fallen woman trading on her immorality,"

"Ya Sama," or Myself, a women's talk show on TV 6, dedicated last week's program to Lewinsky, calling it, "Monica: Pro and Con." The audience members' opinion of Lewinsky was favorable, with people talking about her for the most part "with pity and compassion," according to a show spokeswoman.

Makarova herself thinks that Lewinsky has taken calculate advantage of the scandal. "The book is just one of the steps well calculated in advance and crowned with pretty good royalties," she said. "And it's all done with these wide-open, innocent eyes. We can only applaud the girl."