Russia: Women ‘Rip For Putin’ As Election Campaign War Begins

This post is part of our special coverage Russia Elections 2011.

Although most of the mainstream media attention in Russia and abroad, currently seems to be focusing on whether there really is a “war” looming (or already underway) between President Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin over who will run for president in the 2012 elections, Putin's campaign has clearly begun. Via social media, at least.

‘Ripping’ for Putin

A group of young Russian women, calling themselves ‘Putin's Army’ have started a campaign [ru] on Russian social networking website Vkontakte, announcing a competition for the best video showing young women “ripping something” for Putin. [It should be noted that “ripping” in Russian also stands for a threat to use violence, as well as “putting a great fight.”]

"Take part in the competition 'I will rip for Putin'." Image from the 'Putin's Army' VKontake group.

"Take part in the competition 'I will rip for Putin'." Image from the 'Putin's Army' VKontake group.

The winner is promised a new iPad-2, and the group had 1,913 members at the time of this writing.

Being highly tech-savvy, the group has opened a LiveJournal blog [ru] where they state their rationale and objective:

Армия Путина! – объединение молодых девушек, которые “порвут” за Путина!
Зачем? Мы покажем, что Владимира Владимировича поддерживают многие, в т.ч красивые, молодые и умные девушки! Мы едины во мнении, что Путин – Достойный и Честный политик, а так же и ШИКАРНЫЙ Мужчина!
Цель: “Путин – Президент!”
Здесь только девушки без комплексов! Наши акции прогремят на всю Россию! Каждая девушка станет Интернет – звездой! Ты готова показать всем, какая ТЫ крутая и как прекрасен ТВОЙ президент? Вступай в АРМИЮ ПУТИНА!!!

Putin’s Army! – The association of young women who are willing to “rip” for Putin!
What for? We will show that many beautiful and smart young women support Mr Putin! We all share the opinion that Putin is a decent and honest politician, as well as an AMAZING man! 

Objective: “Putin – President!”

We accept only young women without complexes! Our campaigns will be roaring across all Russia! Each participant will become an Internet star! Are you ready to show everyone how cool YOU are and how great is YOUR president? Join PUTIN’S ARMY!!!

The enthusiastic ‘Army’ has also posted a YouTube video [ru] announcing the competition on July 13. At the time of this writing, it had been viewed about 487,000 times.

The video script runs along the lines of: “I'm just crazy about the man who changed our country. He is a great politician and an amazing man. He is Vladimir Putin. And although there are millions who admire him, there are some who pour dirt on him, perhaps because they are scared of him or because they themselves are weak and will never be able to take his place”.


Some bloggers were appalled by it all. Legart [ru] referred to these young women disdainfully as “putiyanki,” [an insulting term] while many others [ru] have joined in the public ridicule [ru] and questioning [ru] of the ‘Army's’ campaign.

The reactions have been similar on Twitter, where most of the commentators are either expressing dislike (to put it mildly) of the project, or are simply making fun of it. Perhaps the most timely comment came from @YuryGerun:

Порву за Путина! Цитата: “А на что ты готов ради своего президента?” Путин — уже президент?

Will rip for Putin! Quote: “How far are you ready to go for your president?” Putin – already a president?

The campaign has also received a lot of attention from the more mainstream media. It was covered not just by the likes of Argumenty i Fakty [ru], [ru] and Ekho Moskvy [ru], but also Russia's English-language international channel Russia Today and the British daily, The Independent [en], which is owned by the Russian oligarch Alexander Lebedev who had recently joined pro-Putin “People's Front.”

Ekho Mosvky asked another important question: would the ladies still be willing to rip something off or put up a great fight for Putin if there was no iPad-2 possibly forthcoming?

The public relations campaign has started and will, most probably, gain even further attention and prominence. ‘Putin's Army’ might even have some success in terms of the number of video submissions.

Another interesting piece making the rounds on the Internet is a musical production, put together by a group calling themselves ‘Girls for Putin‘ (video).

The essence of the lyrics is that the girls have an incessant desire to be Putin's Koni (Putin's black Labrador). Sex sells, after all. Meanwhile, the online campaign ‘Almost Putin,’ promoting the Prime Minister among hipsters, kicked off few months ago.

The most noteworthy aspect of all, however, is that Putin is quickly catching up with his supposed rival in engaging guerrilla marketing techniques and new media as well as new tools to boost his popularity with the youth before the actual campaign begins.

This post is part of our special coverage Russia Elections 2011.


Join the conversation

Authors, please log in »


  • All comments are reviewed by a moderator. Do not submit your comment more than once or it may be identified as spam.
  • Please treat others with respect. Comments containing hate speech, obscenity, and personal attacks will not be approved.