Global Voices Online
Sunday, September 16, 2007
A few days ago, LJ user drugoi photographed a political ad on Leninsky Prospekt in Moscow and posted the picture on his blog (RUS).
The ad read: "Putin's Plan - Russia's Victory!"
Although it did not carry any logo of the pro-Putin United Russia party, it was, most likely, their product: on the United Russia's official site, for example, there is a whole section on "Putin's Plan" (RUS) and the things that are supposedly being done to carry it out.
LJ user drugoi asked this obvious question: "What's the plan, does anyone know?"
And received 150 comments from his readers.
Below is the translation of some of them:
They are all over Moscow!!! Saw the same one on the way to the office.
All over Russia. Kaliningrad.
This information is absolutely secret.
Victory in Sochi? :)
Please tell me it's a joke. Brezhnev is back. The undefeatable Terminator.
The plan is for Russia to defeat EVERYONE. At least, this is how I understand it. "The party's plans are the plans of the people!"
>"The party's plans are the plans of the people!"
Aha, to carry out the people's will without asking these very people's opinion.
Suyevernaya [superstitious] democracy. I mean, suvenirnaya [souvenir democracy]. Oh, wrong again... Here: suverennaya [sovereign democracy, referring to the Kremlin-coined term] )
All of Krasnodar region is full of such [campaign ads]. Putin's Plan/Tkachyov's Plan, with explanations: repair of all roads, a road leading up to every village, gasification, etc... =)
The guys are being modest. I'm surprised not by the ad itself, but by the fact that Moscow's got a lighter version. In the regions, the slogan is: "PUTIN'S PLAN - UNITED RUSSIA." Looks like they are too shy to kick off such a premature campaign, and so they've temporarily replaced the word "united" with the word "victory."
In our city, these ads have been around for a month or so. And those who place the ads sometimes lapse in the really cute way. On double billboards, on which two ads are next to each other, one could read:
- Sweet Dreams - Putin's Plan - United Russia (next to an ad of the local sweets factory)
- The Monster of Communication - United Russia ([Beeline, a mobile operator], of course) [...]
Oh, oh... You may laugh, but it's hard to believe that we're seeing it again (if you look at it from afar). [...]
[...] I haven't seen it, but I've read Orwell )
Additionally, a number of readers pointed out that in Russian slang, the word "plan" happens to be one of the names for marijuana:
Excellent plan, apparently.
Where is he getting it?
The comic dimension of pre-election politics in Russia - where the legislative vote is coming up on Dec. 2 and the presidential election is to take place on March 9, 2008 - was highlighted again by the Russian bloggers following the surprise nomination of little-known Victor Zubkov for the premier's post last Wednesday.
Here's what happened, according to LJ user sholademi, whose post (RUS) made it into the top 30 of the Yandex Blogs portal on Sept. 14:
On the main page of [Lenta.ru, one of the most popular Russian online news outlets], an item appeared the night of Sept. 12-13, in which it was written that, as a replacement for the resigned prime minister Mikhail Fradkov, the Russian president Vladimir Putin nominated Victor Pipiskin for the premier's post, a candidacy to be confirmed by the State Duma.
[A screenshot of the story, with the name "Victor Pipiskin" circled in red at the very bottom of the piece. The name Pipiskin derives from a word designating "penis" in Russian baby talk.]
As it turned out, the scandalous insertion with the last name Pipiskin was an accidental prank by one of Lenta.ru's employees. He noticed that Fradkov had resigned, and some Victor had been appointed as the new [premier], but then he forgot the last name. And so he wrote in his rough draft - "Victor Pipiskin has been appointed to replace Fradkov" - and then he published it this way on the site.
This sensational piece of news spent the whole night on Lenta.ru (and it also got into the info links of Rambler.ru (screenshot) and someplace else as well).
Today, the guilty editor has been fired from Lenta.ru.
And the Russian government headed by the nearly confirmed prime minister Victor Zubkov is said to be planning to file a 1-million-ruble lawsuit against Lenta.ru.
Though this last item may turn out to be nothing but a rumor.
Victor Pipiskin has a make-believe blog now: http://viktor-pipiskin.livejournal.com/.
He has grown so popular that for a while he even seemed to have a Russian-language Wikipedia entry of his own: a screenshot is here.
And some bloggers (RUS) would like to see him as Russia's next president.
LJ user drugoi asked (RUS) on Sept. 15:
Pipiskin, is he a [meme] already or not yet?
And one reader - LJ user so_matika - replied (RUS):
It's not just a meme. It's the beginning of a subculture.