As the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit of 2012 approaches, the Russian maritime city of Vladivostok is busy with its preparations. Creative netizens meanwhile, have pointed out that the city does not have an official flag [ru] for the event. Often the authorities just use the blue St. Andrew’s cross on a red background. This is a flag typically used in the Russian Empire for all sea fortresses since 1889.
Wondering how officials will greet the delegates from various countries, the city's bloggers have suggested several possible ideas for a new flag. Yet what started as a serious initiative, has since ended up as a political prank.
The first recommended version of the flag has a tiger in the middle – a symbol of the city – with orange color symbolizing the dawn, a white seagull and a blue sea.
Another version slightly recalls the Ukrainian and American flags combined (see below). The blue stripe stands for the sea, yellow for the beach, whilst the 50 stars represent the 50 islands in the East Sea (Sea of Japan) near Vladivostok, and the seahorse signifies the city's maritime influence with its military, commercial, and fishing fleet.
User zemlya25 called [ru] this version the “United Beaches of the Seaside.” Another enthusiast went further and suggested the following version of the flag:
In this effort the brown background stands for the filthy beaches and the sea: the author claims that it is important to highlight the dirty maritime identity of the city. The gray stripe symbolizes Vladivostok's filthy air and the gas pipes which soon will be built. The black holes represent the increased number of road potholes in the city, whilst the dead tiger and fish are running away to the West in a used Japanese car.
Some people have pointed out the absurdity of the exercise; user zairok pointed out [ru] that as well as not having a flag, “Vladivostok also does not have a subway, waterpark and a curling team.”
Eventually this creative exercise, which tells a lot about Vladivostok's netizens’ self-identity, ended with the following political statement, against Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin: