T-shirts celebrating the annexation of Crimea by Russian President Vladimir Putin were very popular in June, and have now begun to resurface as designers manufacture more. Enthusiastic customers, including actor Mickey Rourke, waited for two hours online this week to purchase a t-shirt.
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“If I didn’t like him, I wouldn’t buy the T-Shirt,” he said. “I have met Putin a couple of times. He is a real gentleman, very cool, a regular guy. I have a Russian girlfriend, you know, that’s all I care about. Her father is a good person, her mother is great, her babushka is wonderful. To me it is all about family, I don’t give a fuck about politics.”
Once again the popup store is 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.
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— Karoliina (@marytheluckyone) August 12, 2014
There are still fifteen designs people may choose from. 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.
Putin’s approval ratings hit 87%, which is an all-time high. This number is high despite economic sanctions from the West due to Russia’s actions in Ukraine. The United States and European Union sanctioned Putin’s inner circles, banks, and energy companies. But the poll is allegedly clean since the Levada Center, an independent Russian polling and research organization conducted it. Then again, Putin and his cronies censor media and the internet, which means the majority of Russians only hear what Putin wants them to hear.
Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev’s approval ratings are at 71%. The Levada poll said 66% “of respondents also said they believe Russia is ‘moving in the right direction.'”