Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Thursday, October 09, 2014

Russian president or Olympian hero?

Except, perhaps, for the Cultural Revolution, this kind of "celebration" is far from normal.

Thanks to Mark Bray for pointing this one out.

What Vladimir Putin Got for His Birthday: Russia's president turned 62 on Tuesday and people around the globe paid all kinds of tribute.
[Tuesday was] Russian President Vladimir Putin's 62nd birthday. He chose to make it a low-key affair: Putin spent the day in remote Siberia, about 200 miles away from the nearest town. His spokesperson said the president was planning to "rest" and wouldn't disclose who, if anyone, was invited to the quiet birthday party.

Across his vast country, however, Putin's adoring citizens (he held a whopping 87 percent approval rating this summer) celebrated his birth with everything from artwork to infographics to grand marches honoring their leader.

In perhaps the most glorifying tribute, an artist in Moscow created a special exhibit entitled "The 12 Labors of Putin," an ode to the 12 labors of Hercules, which range from slaying a lion to capturing the Cretan Bull. (In this case, the bull is a Crimean ox.) In the artwork, Putin successfully accomplishes a modern take on Hercules's acts, such as shooting down an American warplane, instead of the Stymphalian birds, with a bow and arrow…

Living flag in Grozny
In Grozny, Chechnya, thousands gathered to form an almost 2,000-foot-long Russian flag with their bodies…

But the celebration wasn't just in Russia. American artist Julius Kacinskis created an entire line of T-shirts around the theme of Putin as a peacemaker and began selling them today at a pop-up store in Manhattan.

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