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Russia: Erotic Vs. Political. Battle of Calendars.

They say journalists should be objective and impartial and never get too close and personal with politicians. When young female journalism students decided to openly express their admiration for Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, “objectivity” and “impartiality” were overshadowed by sexual innuendo and erotic lingerie.

Although the fact that several young Russian girls posed half-naked for a calendar is nothing new, many people were outraged that the name of the MGU journalism department was attached to the pictures. The Moscow Diaries provides a detailed account of the incident here [ENG] along with an English translation of the posters. The scandal went well beyond the  student community and of course became among the most discussed topics of the blogosphere.

Blogger TovarishK pretty much sums up [RUS] the opinion of one group of bloggers who considered the half-naked journalism students as improper and offensive:

На самом деле, надо быть конченным подонком и извращенцем, чтобы в стране, где огромное количество проблем, вызванных некомпетентностью власти, дарить этой власти в подарок эротический календарь.

Really, one has to be a hopeless jerk and pervert to present an erotic calendar as a gift to the government in the country with many problems caused by this government’s incompetence.

timur_nechaev77 seconds this [RUS]:

К сожалению, холуйство и проституция типичное явление среди представителей студенческого быдла, и кто холоп в душе, тот так холопом и останется, независимо от наличия диплома о высшем образовании.

Unfortunately, prostitution and pleasing people in power are typical among rednecks students and a serf in the shower will remain a serf despite her university diploma.

And here is another blogger, obormoto, expressing his opinion [RUS]:

Очень показательно. Студенток журфака МГУ с юных лет учат, в чем их главный талант, для чего они нужны стране. А главное учат, как правильно общаться с властью – быть похожей на придорожную блядь (см. “прокатите на калине”).

Very revealing. They teach young journalism students where their important talent is and why the country needs them. And, what is the most important, they teach how to treat the government – to be like a roadside whore (see “give me a ride on a Kalina”).

A day later, another version of the calendar came out of the same journalism department. It featured different female students who were dressed officially and who asked unpleasant political questions (see The Moscow Diaries article with English translation of the “different” calendar here [ENG]).

Unlike the erotic calendar that was also sold in regular supermarkets, the political version is online-based and does not have (yet) a physical manifestation. However, bloggers encouraged people to print out those pages and put them on the walls in their homes or work places.

After a while, the “calendar case” began to take the shape of a farce with a slight political connotation.  Blogger zlaya_uchilka, for example, released another version of the calendar [RUS] with pictures of half-naked male models from glossy magazines and ripped-off sexual innuendos targeted at Putin from the very first version of the calendar.

edgar-hoover went even further and created calendar with images of half-naked retired women [RUS] expressing their love for the recently sacked [ENG] mayor of Moscow Yuri Luzhkov (Luzhkov was very popular with Moscow retirees who, thanks to the mayor’s efforts, enjoy the highest pensions in Russia). And ibigdan posted a version of the calendar [RUS] with faces of Russian and occasionally international  high-profile politicians (like Barack Obama) praising Vladimir Putin. The case gradually becomes an Internet meme.

The “battle of calendars” simultaneously emerged on different platforms. Russian traditional media also actively cover the scandal blowing it out of proportions. But it is not surprising that the blogosphere and social networks (Vkontakte.ru, for example) provide much deeper look at the case due to their interactivity and public engagement.

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