Provocative Putin calendar provokes retort

Thu Oct 7, 2010 10:22am EDT
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Steve Gutterman

MOSCOW (Reuters Life!) - Some were bearing gifts for Vladimir Putin's 58th birthday on Thursday -- others bared their flesh.

Several female journalism students from a prestigious Russian university posed in slinky lingerie for a calendar filled with warm -- sometimes steamy -- birthday greetings for the prime minister.

The calendar is the latest and one of the flashiest pieces of publicity for Putin, who has assiduously developed a manly image by posing shirtless on horseback, stalking a tiger through Siberian forests and climbing into jet-plane cockpits.

It drew swift and severe criticism from a separate group of journalism students from Moscow State University.

Hard to find in stores but splashed widely across Moscow's tabloids, the cheesecake calendar features a photograph of a woman for every month in 2011, each with a word bubble addressing Putin.

"Vladimir Vladimirovich, WE LOVE YOU!" reads the cover, which shows a close-up of a woman's chest above barely concealed cleavage.

"You only get better with the years," third-year Moscow State University journalism student Nastya Klabukova, posing in a black-and-teal bra and panties, says on the September page.

"The fires are out, but I'm still burning," the March model says -- a risque reference to wildfires that killed more than 50 Russians this summer, and which Putin helped fight by dropping water from a plane.   Continued...