Once upon a time, Russian President Vladimir Putin scolded America for trying to be exceptional. Well, now Russians can buy numerous t-shirts and merchandise with Putin’s face on them to celebrate his many exceptional victories, including the annexation of Crimea from Ukraine.
According to The Guardian, the popup store is not just in any location. It was propped up at a GUM department store in Moscow, which is one of the most prominent Russian stores. During the Soviet Union, the rich shopped at GUM while the common people had to stand in long lines for bread.
“These T-shirts are for everyone; we didn’t have a particular consumer in mind; it’s [for] everyone from a 10-year-old child to a proud pensioner,” said designer Anna Trifonov. “Two Olympic victories, the hockey, and Crimea. After all of this, it is hard not to see Russia as a victor-country.”
Russia won the world championships in hockey, but the Russian team did not even win a medal at the Olympics. People talked a lot about the 1980 Miracle on Ice, in which an American team of amateurs thrown together beat the tough Russian team on American soil during the height of the Cold War. The Russians looked for revenge against America on their home court, but the USA men embarrassed the Russians in front of Putin. It is hard to say if Crimea was a victory since Ukraine and the West do not recognize the annexation.
There are fifteen designs. From The Guardian:
Several designs reference the recent events in Ukraine, with perhaps the stand-out of the collection a retro “Greetings from Crimea” print, featuring a summery Putin clad in a Hawaiian shirt and holding a long cocktail glass in one hand.
Another puts Putin in military camouflage, with the slogan “The politest of people,” a reference to the euphemistic term “the polite people,” used to describe the Russian soldiers operating unofficially in Crimea.
Fans of the president’s equestrian exploits can go for a mounted Putin on horseback, while for something a little more classical, the patriotic fashionista could opt for Putin in watercolours, decked out in full military uniform. There are also mobile phone covers featuring some of the designs.
The shop is only open for three days but will open longer if there is a demand. Trifonova even said they may branch out to Ukraine.