T-shirt souvenirs reading “Support Assad” and “Polite Invaders” have saturated Moscow as the Putin government continues its military campaign to stabilize the regime of Bashar al-Assad in Syria.
— Julia Davis (@JuliaDavisNews) October 29, 2015
From Kremlin propaganda outlet Sputnik News:
Moscow has impressed the world by stepping in to back Syrian President Bashar Assad’s effort to destroy the Islamic State and put an end to its efforts to create a fundamentalist caliphate that practices slavery and ethnic cleansing. Now visitors to the Russian capital can dress to show their solidarity: “Support Assad” T-shirts are currently available at a military clothes shop in central Moscow, Russian businessman Ilya Varlamov said on his Facebook page on Monday.
— News-round.com (@newsroundcom) November 3, 2015
A customer said he purchased the item “because my motherland needs it.”
While the pro-Assad propaganda surfacing in Moscow is relatively new, supporters of the Iran and Russia ally have saturated social media with supportive videos and fan art for years. Most of the volume of Assad fan art appears to have surfaced online after the Syrian Civil War began in 2011. Much of this includes music videos with images depicting Assad as a knight, a hero, or a lion (his namesake).
In September, Russian President Vladimir Putin met with American President Barack Obama in New York at the UN General Assembly, a meeting described as “constructive” by American officials. Putin omitted the information that he was planning to send his military to attack anti-Assad militias in Syria at that meeting, 24 hours before airstrikes began. Assad has since visited Moscow to thank Putin personally.
SANA, Syria's state news agency, never fails to entertain. The latest from its Twitter feed:"Bodybuilders for Assad" pic.twitter.com/C5EGvt1kcc
— Omar Ghabra (@omarghabra) June 29, 2014
— Bintu Adjumain (@haryaniadjumain) July 17, 2013
— Rime Allaf (@rallaf) September 17, 2013
— Ben Allinson Davies (@benad36) December 10, 2014
This makes me nostalgic for constructivism art – Assad could learn a lot from old Soviet imagary. This is just dull! pic.twitter.com/cr26b7B3d7
— Ben Glover (@BenGlover77) December 28, 2013
— Horizontal Latitude (@Avuxeni_) March 31, 2014
— **HARBINGER** (@ou37_no) June 24, 2015
— Nutsflipped (@Nutsflipped_z_1) February 21, 2014
T-shirts celebrating Russian President Vladimir Putin were a hit in 2014 after the Kremlin annexed Crimea and invaded eastern Ukraine. The popup store was 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.
American actor Mickey Rourke was one who waited two hours in line to purchase the merchandise.
“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.”