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Thursday, 4 June 2009

Mr Medvedev

Art Work: Jose Maria Cano Photo: EFE/Sergei Chirikov
I went on a little jaunt last weekend to the wilds of the Russian countryside in search of bears, but alas my search was not very fruitful. Fortunately, my disappointment was curbed when I got home and found my news feed full of little tales about that other Russian bear-related character: Mr Dmitry Medvedev. I do like a good presidential story and here are some of the best from last week.

Why Women Love Medvedev
A recent survey by the “Social Opinion” foundation (FOM) has shown that Medvedev’s approval rating amongst women has risen by 10% over the last two months, giving him an overall 67% approval rate amongst the fairer sex. FOM put the question, “How do you think the president has changed over the past year” to women across the country, receiving amongst it’s replies, that: the head of government has “become more decisive” and “demanding”; “he has matured to become more competent”; “he is more active and business like” and some women even noted that his exterior appearance had changed. All in all, the consensus was that Putin’s protégée has grown up, at last adequately filling the presidential shoes. He might not have his prime minister’s good looks, but as political poster boy number two, Putin should start watching his back.

According to psychologist Sergei Makelov, the reasons for Medvedev’s increased popularity are quite obvious. “Most woman like an action-man type of character”, he told popular newspaper Argumenti i Fakti, “the kind, who is capable of solving any problem – or, at least claiming to be able to, since to the female ear the two are one and the same.” [whaaaat?] Apparently, Medvedev’s resolute pronouncements on education, healthcare and the ongoing struggle with wayward provincial bureaucrats have won him over the female electorate. Whether he follows his promises through remains to be seen, however, according to Makelov, this part of the bargain is not so important to women anyway. What a wonderful position for a politician to find himself in!

Mummy, I’ve Painted Medvedev

Over at Russian Livejournal (the place to blog in the Russian Federation), blogger fima-psuchopadt writes of a bumper-crop of children’s drawings that he has stumbled across, depicting respected Dmitry Anatolevich Medvedev himself. Now, I know traditionally Russians have always gone in for cult-building around its leaders (the proliferation of Lenin statues and Stalin's cult barely need mentioning here, although the tradition actually stretches back to Tsarist times) but in this day and age, I was a little surprised to learn that primary school children had been painting their president. Is this usual behaviour? (Side note: in the primary school I teach in there is a large picture of Dmitry Anatolevich over the door. Lovely stuff)

To return to fima-psuchopadt’s post, he has selected some of his favourite entrants amongst the art works, which he, somewhat ironically, sees as an uncanny representation of Russian truth, as depicted through childish eyes.

1. Medvedev frolicking past the three essential stages of a Russian's life: school, university,and, erm, Gazprom. As firma-psuchopadt points out, Medvedev is interestingly positioned so as either to be going backwards or leading a song and a dance on the spot. Uncannily indicative of the direction of Russian politics?

“Medvedev Reads the Constitution to Children”. Apparently a wonderful example of respected Dmitry Anatolevich's greatness – note how even the cat and dog look upon the mighty president with rapt attention. However FP spots a bit of anti-state feeling in the over accurate attention to Medvedev’s diminished height and oversized tie knot.

That’s all on the weekend’s bear spotting, but there’s sure to be more soon.

1 comment:

Natalie said...

He might not have his prime minister’s good looks, but as political poster boy number two, Putin should start watching his back.

Are they crazy?? Medvedev is WAY more attractive than Putin ;-)