What Russian Girls Give Up for 'Their' Politicians
Some 20 years ago one Soviet woman publicly claimed that 'there is no sex in the USSR'.
Fast forward 20 years: there is no USSR, there is surely enough sex happening, but most importantly, Russian girls are ready to strut their stuff for the most noble reason. If we consider politics noble, of course.
In the autumn of 2010, several female students of the Faculty of Journalism at the Lomonosov Moscow State University presented 50 thousand copies of a 2011 calendar, printed "especially for Mr. Putin". Wannabe journalists, scantily dressed, in sultry poses, with hungry eyes, were throwing provocative phrases at "their president". 2010 was the year of devastating forest fires, hence one girl's declaration was saying: 'The forests are fine, but I am still on fire'. Another was asking: 'Mr. Putin, what about the third time?' The Faculty's dean was kind of unimpressed and deemed the calendar and the entire action as 'of bad taste'.
But more was to come.
You see, there are already speculations as to exactly who - Mr. Putin or Mr. Medvedev - are going to put their names forward in the upcoming presidential elections. Some say they both will nominate themselves, some say it will be one or another. One thing is clear: the competition runs undercurrent, and strangely enough, it takes the form of a competition between fans, rather than politicians.
Only two weeks ago President Medvedev has signed what can be called a new "dry law". According to it, beer is now considered an alcoholic drink, like vodka, and its sale from the shops will be prohibited between 11pm and 8am. Furthermore, it is only licensed shops and stalls that will be able to sell beer, and drinking in the streets, in the parks and other public places will be subject to a fine. The law will fully come into force on January 1, 2013.
Beer being one of the favourite drinks in Russia (as elsewhere these days), such law is unlikely to be popular. It may be necessary, though, in order to somehow alleviate the problem of alcohol abuse, for which Russia has been notorious. And so "girl power" got turned on.
This Thursday several girls, all members of a group "Medvedev Girls", took to a Moscow street where they vowed to strip down to their bikinis, if the guys around would empty their beer cans and bottles. There were enough guys to challenge the girls: 6 litres of beer were emptied into the bucket. The girls took their clothes off.
"Medvedev Girls" consider themselves the direct opponents of the "Putin Army" and say they will not vote for Putin at the elections. Although the action was not authorised, the police did not find the gut to take girls off the street.
If one looks at how various societal groups express themselves in Russia, one thing becomes obvious. It seems to be OK, even from the police' point of view, to dress down to one's bikinis in support of the law against beer, yet to march fully clothed for the equal rights of sexual minorities is a definitive no-no. And while many would love to find a logical, coherent explanation to the above ambiguity, a Nikita Mikhalkov film, "The Barber of Siberia" comes to mind. Relating to the film's protagonist, the slogan said: 'He is Russian. This explains a lot'.
Apparently, it still does - even where girls are concerned. One is left wondering as to what other "support actions" we will witness in the elections' build-up.
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Chicago, Illinois, United States