The Russian Agenda: First Brexit, Then Trump, Now Calendars
The devastating extent of Russian misinformation campaigns is only just beginning to be revealed in the West. First, there was Brexit, then Trump, then Catalan independence, and now the fake-news war has donned a new face: calendars.
Popular Russian media outlets claim that 2018 calendars featuring Vladimir Putin “are selling like hotcakes in Great Britain.” But are British citizens really rushing out buy a calendar that includes pictures of the Russian President topless, holding a leopard, and riding a motorcycle, among other things?
While it’s true that the Putin calendars enjoyed a great deal of attention from British media, very little, if any, of this attention was complimentary. One British tabloid nicknamed the President “Vladimir Poutin” and praised the calendar for “showing off his sensitive side” while cuddling a baby leopard. What’s more, none of the coverage included any information about how well (or poorly) the calendar is selling. The BBC contacted the ten biggest calendar sellers in the UK, but found that none of them stocked the calendar. In fact, they could not find any British store that sells the Putin calendar. While the calendars can be found from a few vendors online, it’s impossible to verify whether these buyers are, in fact, from the UK. According to the BBC, the largest seller is based in Voronezh, Russia.
It’s impossible to know whether the calendars have received the Kremlin stamp of approval. The calendars appear to be the product of an unknown printing house in St. Petersburg. Certain pictures appear to be at least ten years old.
For any readers who might be interested, however, the Vladimir Putin comes in eight languages, including English, Italian and Spanish, and may be purchased from various vendors on Amazon and eBay. Out of the 6,000 copies available, only a few hundred have sold so far. Prices range from $10 - $97, including shipping and handling.