We the Governors of the Russian Federation Would Like to Wish You a Happy International Women's Day

Source: YouTube

According to sources in the Kremlin, the order came from the very top: Russian governors were to celebrate International Women's Day “creatively.”

On March 7, the newspaper Kommersant reported that the Presidential Administration had instructed the leaders of Russia's regions and republics to take creative license with their March 8 celebrations, and by the time Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov had gotten around to denying the reports, a handful of governors had already taken their marching orders: though most regional leaders recorded relatively bland videos wishing their constituents happy International Women's Day or gave addresses at local celebrations, some governors had a little more fun with the rumored decree.

Valery Shantsev, the governor of Nizhny Novgorod Region, recorded a “mannequin challenge” video to express his gratitude towards women. Or something. Near the end of the video, Shantsev says that a woman “is a mystery and a secret behind seven seals” but that men are “ready to solve you every day.” He concludes with: “Shine! Enchant! Inspire! Happy International Women's Day!”

Alexander Levinthal, the governor of the Jewish Autonomous Republic, had a slightly more empowering message in his recorded congratulations, which featured falling flower petals and a prop guitar.

Дорогие женщины! Вы способны творить чудеса. Вы покоряете горные вершины и опускаетесь на морское дно. Вы сочиняете прекрасные симфонии и ставите мировые рекорды. Вы строите дома и разрушаете все преграды. Вы пишите гениальные романы и совершаете научные открытие. Вы для нас неиссякаемый источник вдохновения. И только ради вас мы становимся отважными героями и неисправимыми романтиками…

Dear women! You can work miracles. You climb mountains and dive to the bottom of the sea. You compose beautiful symphonies and set world records. You build homes and break down all obstacles. You write brilliant novels and make scientific discoveries. You are an inexhaustible source of inspiration. It's only because of you that we become brave heroes and incorrigible romantics…

One official, however, was evidently not creative enough to comply with the presidential order: Igor Vasilev, the governor of Kirov, plagiarized a poem he claimed to have written about women from his region. Vasilev's final stanza read:

У нас и снег белее всех снегов
И я могу сказать вам без оглядки
В России все красивее всего
Но всех красивей женщины на Вятке!

We have the whitest of white snow
And I can tell you without reservation
In Russia, everything is the most beautiful
But all the more beautiful are the women of the Vyatke!

As the website kirov-portal.ru noticed, however, this poem is a little-altered version of a poem written by Aleksandr Vulykh, which Vasilev himself shared on his VKontakte page in 2014.

Vulykh's original poem reads:

У нас и снег белее всех снегов,
У нас и дождь сильнее всех по силе.
В России все красивее всего,
Но всех красивей женщины в России!

We have the whitest of white snow
We have the strongest rains
In Russia, everything is the most beautiful
But all the more beautiful are the women of Russia!

But it wasn't just governors celebrating creatively: Even Putin got in on the action, quoting a poem written by Konstantin Balmont in a statement delivered today:

Женщина – с нами, когда мы рождаемся,
Женщина – с нами в последний наш час.
Женщина – знамя, когда мы сражаемся,
Женщина – радость раскрывшихся глаз.

A woman – with us when we are born
A woman – with us in our last hour,
A woman – the banner with us when we fight
A woman – the joy of clear eyes.

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