MYPLACE team members at Centre for Youth Research, Higher School of Economics (St Petersburg) present their latest blog on the sexual connotations in pre-election material linked to the Putin campaign.
For more information on the MYPLACE project, visit the project’s website: HERE
Sexual connotations have appeared in Vladimir Putin’s pre-elections campaign. On the popular video hosting “Youtube” three videos were uploaded on the 20th of February that are all dedicated to one topic. In their names such words like “the first time”, “innocent girl”, “revelations” feature in different word combinations. Internet is especially responsive to this kind of words: usually, porn sites are shown in the search systems when the request is made.
The protagonists of these stories are: the girls that consult a doctor, a man that looks like a psychotherapist about their “first experience” and a fortune-teller. However, it is quite easy to recognize his profession – a couch where a girl lies and some trustworthy intimacy that usually emerges between a doctor and a patient associate with a particular field. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MbIzj21X0tU
Here is the dialogue that takes place between a girl (G) and the doctor (D):
G: Doctor, you see, I am just really afraid.
D: I see, everyone has the first time some day.
G: I really don’t know even if I do it for love
D: You don’t need to be scared of it.
D:The main thing is to believe that this is the man of your choice because belief is love and your choice…
Then romantic music appears and a camera switches to the cover picture of a magazine where Putin is depicted… And the doctor continues: “… is really reliable”.
In the next scene a happy girl goes to the voting station. The final picture is the same in all the videos. Firstly, a title saying “The first time only for…” appears. But instead of “love ” a heart looking like a tick mark in a voting paper is shown. Finally, Vladimir Putin’s picture finishes the video.
A similar dialogue takes place between a girl and a man in a doctor’s gown http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VxU-WUtza9c&feature=channel.
The same intimacy and “first time” are at the core of the video. But this time the adjective “safety” is highlighted. Turning the gaze to the calendar on the wall with Putin’s photograph, the doctor assures the girl: “He is safe enough!”
The third girl comes to a fortune-teller reading the fortune about the “first time” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Noo0lzJILaM&feature=channel.
The girl wants everything to happen because of love. The fortune-teller promises that her love will come and turns tarot with a Putin’s picture. Among the comments on this video there is a witty remark saying that fortunetelling is a really reliable source of information. Another user, having found a Roman number IV on the tarot, sees it as a sign that Putin is going for the fourth presidential term.
The videos caused heated discussion in the Internet, more than 800 thousand people watched them. In the most cases people show their negative reactions and their indignation is addressed to those responsible for Putin’s pre-election campaign. Why is the money spent on this?! However, it is not obvious that the videos were sponsored by the prime-minister’s staff.
First, the “girls – Vladimir Putin” connection emerged in autumn 2010 when a calendar was issued for Putin’s birthday.
Twelve girls, Faculty of Journalism, Moscow State University students, made a declaration of their sympathy for Putin, in their underwear, using bright quotations from Putin’s speech as well as metaphors appealing to his masculinity. Putin, who is actually the first of Russian politicians who started taking advantage of macho image being photographed naked torso while fishing or at the wheel of a jet fighter, was flattered by this calendar. Consequently, the topic of “girls loving Putin” got developed even further.
In social networks a groups “Putin’s Army” appeared, many girls having joined. They announced “Kick ass for Putin!” and promised an I-Pad to the winner. As a good example to follow, they show a girl who rends a t-shirt supporting Putin.
However, the “Army” was revealed by a blogger Kamikaze who found the link between this community and “Nashi” pro-Putin movement. The project faded away, however, the sexual connotations have been found before on the elections’ eve.