Vladimir Putin’s election supporters are using provocative pictures of female models in underwear in the latest bizarre tactic to fend off apathy in next month’s Russian presidential poll.
With the contest offering no real choice, and the expected result of six more years of the strongman ruling that Kremlin hardly in doubt, young men are being enticed to vote with a series of sexually suggestive web adverts.
This part of the campaign has been put together by the Russian edition of Maxim magazine – which refuses to say who ordered it, but it is widely seen as part of a covert strategy to ensure voters go to the polls and back Putin.
Maxim editor in chief Alexander Malenkov confirmed the magazine was promoting the presidential election as part of a ‘special business project’ for an unknown client with financial remuneration that has not been revealed.
Vladimir Putin’s election supporters are using provocative pictures of female models in the latest bizarre tactic to fend off apathy in next month’s Russian presidential poll
He admitted it looked ‘a bit absurd’ but said it was ‘one of numerous compromises’ he had to make.
While no candidate is mentioned by name, this campaign chimes with a Kremlin strategy to maximise the numbers of people voting under the theory that this will help Putin with the election on the first ballot – a scenario that requires him to get more than 50 per cent of the vote.
The latest pro-Putin social media blast shows blonde and brunette models in underwear posing at polling stations, evidently aiming to entice young males to cast their ballots.
This part of the campaign has been put together by the Russian edition of Maxim magazine
The pictures show blonde and brunette models in underwear posing at polling stations, evidently aiming to entice young males to cast their ballots
The pictures are captioned: ‘Welcome to the world of adults!’, ‘It’s a bit scary at the beginning but soon you’ll want to make it one more time’, ‘Are you sure you’re already 18?’, and ‘All that happens at the polling station will remain at the polling station…’
A raunchy backstage video accompanies the pictures, with 18+ stickers called ‘Election Girls’ sent to those who joined the online group.
Slogans read ‘Waiting for you in the booth!’ (a young woman disappears into an election booth), ‘I want your vote’ (with a naked woman in bed), and ‘help me to undo my ballot paper’ (a model has her hands behind her back as if she is undoing her bra).
The pictures include captions including ‘Welcome to the world of adults!’ and ‘It’s a bit scary at the beginning but soon you’ll want to make it one more time’
Earlier, a homophobic video on social media warned people that if Putin was not re-elected, then under a new president families could be forced to take in gays who are can’t find partners.
A man is showing having a ‘nightmare’ at such a scenario, imagining he wakes up in bed with his gay lodger.
The same scare-tactic video – watched more than four million times – implied black immigrants would join the Russian army if 65 year old Putin was no longer commander in chief.
A video posted earlier this month shows a young woman refusing to have sex with man because he had not voted.
She is shown passionately kissing him but then asks: ‘Wait a minute, are you 18 yet?’ He replies: ‘Yes, I’m adult’ She asks: ‘Have you voted today?’
He says: ‘No, what for?’ She hits back: ‘Well, you are not adult then’ – and walks away.
Another video showed a pregnant young woman rush into a taxi as it appears she is in labour
But the woman is seen hurrying to the polling station rather than the maternity hospital
Another video showed a pregnant young woman rush to the polling station rather than the maternity hospital.
Putin has chosen to do almost no campaigning although he remains the overwhelming favourite to win.
A series of television debates starts on Monday with election candidates but Putin has opted not to take part in these.
Opposition leader Alexei Navally has been banned by the authorities from contesting the 18 March Election.
He has called for a boycott of the election.
The social media campaign is seen as countering this demand.
A video posted earlier this month shows a young woman refusing to have sex with man because he had not voted
She is shown passionately kissing him but then asks: ‘Wait a minute, are you 18 yet?’
He says: ‘No, what for?’ She hits back: ‘Well, you are not adult then’ – and walks away
It also uses pro-gay and anti-racism calls made by pro-Western candidate Ksenia Sobchak, 36, to crudely exploit fears of homosexuality and immigrants, say critics.
Sobchak – who has posed semi-naked for Maxim in the past – has known Putin since she was a child.
She was the daughter of his mentor Anatoly Sobchak, former mayor of St Petersburg, who gave Putin his first job in politics.
But now she has called on him to retire from politics, while admitting neither she nor the other candidates has any hope of winning – implying the system is rigged.
Those taking part in TV debates are: Sergey Baburin (the All-Russia National Union party), Pavel Grudinin (nominated by the Communist Party of the Russian Federation), Vladimir Zhirinovsky from Russia’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDPR), Ksenia Sobchak (the Civil Initiative party), Maxim Suraikin (the Communists of Russia), Boris Titov (the Party of Growth) and Grigory Yavlinsky (the Yabloko party).