Why did Putin say Russia’s prostitutes were ‘best in the world’ and other neglected Russian stories

A "Pussy for Putin": In 2010, 17-year old Alisa Kharcheva in a group with other 11 students and would-be students of Moscow State University starred in an erotic calendar for Putin's 58th birthday as Miss April. In 2012, Kharcheva posted these photographs with a cat and Putin portraits in a personal blog post entitled "Pussy for Putin." Then she sent a formal notice to Putin’s office and posted her phone number on her LiveJournal entry just in case. “Until Vladimir Vladimirovich decides to pick up his [birthday] gift, the kitty will live with me,” she wrote. According to Reuters, in 2015, a business associate of Arkady Rotenberg, a close friend of Putin, transferred into her possession an apartment in a smart gated complex in a desirable part of Moscow. She was 23 at the time. (Image: Alisa Kharcheva)

A "Pussy for Putin": In 2010, 17-year old Alisa Kharcheva in a group with other 11 students and would-be students of Moscow State University starred in an erotic calendar for Putin's 58th birthday as Miss April. In 2012, Kharcheva posted these photographs with a cat and Putin portraits in a personal blog post entitled "Pussy for Putin." Then she sent a formal notice to Putin’s office and posted her phone number on her LiveJournal entry just in case. “Until Vladimir Vladimirovich decides to pick up his [birthday] gift, the kitty will live with me,” she wrote. According to Reuters, in 2015, a business associate of Arkady Rotenberg, a close friend of Putin, transferred into her possession an apartment in a smart gated complex in a desirable part of Moscow. She was 23 at the time. (Image: Alisa Kharcheva) 

2017/01/22 - 14:09 • Analysis & Opinion, Russia

The flood of news stories from a country as large, diverse and strange as the Russian Federation often appears to be is far too large for anyone to keep up with. But there needs to be a way to mark those which can’t be discussed in detail but which are too indicative of broader developments to ignore.

Consequently, Windows on Eurasia presents a selection of 13 of these other and typically neglected stories at the end of each week. This is the 67th such compilation. It is only suggestive and far from complete – indeed, once again, one could have put out such a listing every day — but perhaps one or more of these stories will prove of broader interest.

1. Question of the Week: Why Did Putin Say Russia’s Prostitutes were ‘Best in the World’?

Vladimir Putin’s comments about reports that Donald Trump cavorted with prostitutes in Moscow continues to fascinate Russians, with many of them asking what prompted the Kremlin leader to say that Russia’s prostitutes are “the best in the world.” Some think he did so just because for him, everything in Russia is better, but others wonder whether this reflects his own experience either professionally or personally.

November and December pages from the erotic calendar created by the students and would-be students of Moscow State University for Putin's 58th birthday in 2010. Miss December's message to Putin: "I want to congratulate you personally. Call 8-925-159-17-28."

November and December pages from the erotic calendar created by the students and would-be students of Moscow State University for Putin’s 58th birthday in 2010. Miss December’s message to Putin: “I want to congratulate you personally. Call 8-925-159-17-28.”

In other Putin news this week:

  • Pay-to-play has come to Russia with officials being told that if they want to see Putin, they have to put down large amounts of cash.
  • Officials confirming that a special hospital is being built just for Putin, and his press spokesman insisting that 90 percent of Russians support Putin, a new high above the much-ballyhooed 86 percent.
  • There was one funny-sad story about the Kremlin dictator: someone imitating Putin’s voice is now making radio ads to sell products, something that has irritated at least a few Russians.

2. Trump’s Right on the Money – Russian Money

A two-pound coin dedicated to Donald Trump created in Russia for his inauguration. The back of the coins shows the Statue of Liberty against a background of the American flag with inscription reading, “In Trump We trust.” (Image: Art Grani)

A two-pound coin dedicated to Donald Trump created in Russia for his inauguration. The back of the coins shows the Statue of Liberty against a background of the American flag with inscription reading, “In Trump We trust.” (Image: Art Grani)

A Russian arms manufacturer has minted a one kilo silver coin in honor of Donald Trump’s inauguration at US president and plans to send him a copy. In other Trump-Russia-related stories, one group of Russian citizens wants to rename a street in honor of the new American president and, in a more serious development, Kremlin-controlled media changed their headlines immediately when a story about a Putin-Trump meeting that the Kremlin had floated turned out not to be true.

Meanwhile, an international men’s magazine has offered a million dollars to anyone who can confirm the story about Trump’s alleged involvement with Russian prostitutes, an effort that will likely keep this story alive at least for a time.

3. Pskov Residents Fear Poverty More than They Fear NATO

Russians in Pskov oblast which border the NATO countries of Estonia and Latvia say they are more afraid of falling into poverty than being attacked by the forces of the Western alliance.The worsening economic situation in Russia entirely justifies their fears.

Among the dozens of stories about the Russian economic collapse, the following are especially striking:

4. Moscow’s Repressive Measures Only Get Worse

According to one commentator, Russian legislators “liberalized” only two things last year: they passed a law allowing parents to beat their children and they passed a second allowing jailers to do the same thing.

The Kudrin Center says that Russian laws are becoming increasingly repressive across the board, and many say that the situation will only deteriorate further in the coming months.

There are certainly enough straws in the wind pointing in that direction:

  • The first case has been brought against a Russian for failing to turn somebody in
  • An Orthodox commentator has denounced the Western calendar as “the fruits of Catholic imperialism”
  • The FSB is seeking and almost certainly will get more money to enforce the new repressive laws
  • Russian parents are taking the hint: a new poll shows they want their children to become policemen or siloviki rather than lawyers or doctors.

5. Monuments War Expands and Goes International

The fight over whether St. Isaac’s cathedral in St. Petersburg should be transferred to the Russian Orthodox church dominated the news in this sector over the past week, with many furious that the Russian government plans to continue to subsidize it once it is privatized but to allow the church to keep all the profits, but that was far from the only story.

Among the others the following are noteworthy:

  • The Yeltsin Center deepened its problems with Russian nationalists when its leaders described the Vlasovites as the dissidents of the 1940s
  • The fight over removing Lenin from the mausoleum heated up with some saying he should be kept there “without heart or a brain” as “an art object” and others insisting that he should be removed along with all other statues to that Bolshevik murderer
  • In related developments, the Russian Orthodox Church put out a list of all the jobs priests can’t take, including bankers
  • The descendants of the Northern Crusaders demanded that Moscow return the Vyborg Castle to them.

6. Russian Participation in International Athletic Competitions Increasingly at Risk

Russian participation in international athletic competitions and its ability to host any of them, including the 2018 World Cup, appears increasingly unlikely.

Not only are more foreign athletes and sports organizations calling for a ban on Russian participation and hosting, but Russian commentators are now openly acknowledging that Russia will lose the World Cup if enough countries refuse to take part and Vitaly Mutko, who oversees Russian sports for the Kremlin and apparently was deeply involved in Moscow’s doping effort, has now proposed a fallback position. He says that it will be entirely OK if Russian athletes take part in competitions under a neutral flag because, he says, “we will know that they are Russians.”

7. Moscow Now a Leader among Dictatorships Making Secret Flights to Switzerland

Russians love to know where their country is a leader except when where they are a leader is anything but a point of honor and dignity.

According to a new international report, Russia has now joined the very top of dictatorships in the world sending secret flights to Switzerland, presumably to put cash into numbered accounts.

Moscow also achieved new leadership status in the rate of its decline as an innovator. Last year, it fell further on that list than any other country.

It also appears to have retired the trophy for the most lies told by any government anywhere.

8. Moscow’s Comic Book Guide for Immigrants Denounced as Patronizing, Ineffectual

The Moscow city government has issued a 100-page comic book using figures from Russian history and mythology to tell gastarbeiters in the city how they should behave. But both experts on Muslims and on immigrants say this tactic will be counterproductive with most migrants viewing it as patronizing or worse.

9. Kremlin Urged to Start a Real Cold War in the Arctic

Moscow should have responded to Western sanctions by declaring a cold war where it is really cold, the Arctic, one Moscow analyst says. The Russian military has been busily building up its forces and bases there over the past year. Indeed, according to statistics, it was this military effort rather than trade that was responsible for much of the growth in shipping over the Northern Sea Route.

10. The Demographic Disaster Putin Doesn’t Want to Face but Russia Can’t Avoid

Russian demographers say that the number of residents of the Russian Federation will stabilize for the next two decades but only because of immigration from Central Asia and the Caucasus and high birthrates among Muslim nationalities. As a result, over that period, the ethnic Russian share of the population will continue to decline.

11. Skies over Russia Now So Polluted Russians are Protesting

Pollution in many Russian cities not only constitutes a health risk for their residence but is sparking public protests. In the last week, Chelyabinsk residents have protested about the situation there, Yekaterinburg residents have launched a petition drive to rename the Urals capital, “Dirty City,” and astronomers at the Pulkovo Observatory near St. Petersburg have staged a demonstration as well.

12. FSB HQ in Kaliningrad Shown on Google Maps as ‘Gestapo HQ in East Prussia’

Russians have another reason not to like Google: Google maps identified the FSB headquarters in the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad as “Gestapo HQ in East Prussia,” highlighting in an unwelcome way just how much those two organizations and the regimes that created them have in common.

13. A Reminder to Putin: Stalin’s Great Grandson is Unemployed

People of great power or wealth always assume that their descendants will be well taken care of. But it doesn’t always work out that way, and a news story this week called attention to that fact to Russia’s current bosses: Stalin’s great grandson is unemployed and spends his time trying to make ends meet and collecting Soviet toys.

 

And six more from countries in the neighborhood of Russia:

1. Lithuania Wants to Build Wall on Kaliningrad Border – and Kaliningrad Wants to Sell It the Bricks

The Lithuanian government says that it wants to erect a wall along its western border with the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad, and in response, the Kaliningrad authorities say they will be happy to sell Vilnius the bricks to do it.

2. Another Russian Crime in Ukraine: Russian Invasion Making Ukrainians Aggressive

Wars and invasions often have terrible consequences far from the war zone proper. One of them is the spread of aggression among the people who have been attacked as well as among those who have done the attacking. That has happened in Ukraine now as a result of Moscow’s actions, officials say.

3. Nakhchivan Again Emerges from the Shadows

Twenty-six years ago today as Soviet troops attacked Baku in what has become known as Black January, the Azerbaijani exclave of Nakhchivan voted to leave the USSR, two months before Lithuania voted to recover its independence. Now, that non-contiguous territory of Azerbaijan is again attracting attention because Baku has placed new weapons there and some Armenians fear that Baku may attack their country from that direction.

4. There is Life in Belarus Outside of Minsk

In all too many post-Soviet states and not just there, many people assume that the only places that matter are the major cities especially when the political capital is in the same place as the economic and social one. But in Belarus as in some others, some young people are moving to what others denigrate as “the provinces” and bringing new life to depressed areas.

5. Seven Million Crimean Tatars Now Live in Turkey, Ukrainian Ambassador Says

Ukraine’s ambassador to Ankara says that there are now some seven million Crimean Tatars living in Turkey, a figure which is almost 30 times their number in the Russian-occupied Ukrainian peninsula and a reminder of what would happen were they to return there.

6. To Maintain Stability, Astana Says It Must Slow or Stop Reforms

Kazakhstan has become the latest country in Eurasia to argue that it must slow or even stop reforms in order to maintain political stability, an argument that does not bode well for the future there or elsewhere.


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Edited by: A. N.

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  • Dagwood Bumstead

    It’s highly unlikely that the demented dwarf knows about the qualities of Dwarfstanian prostitutes through personal experience. He prefers little boys up to 8 years old or so- any older and he can’t handle them any longer.

  • veth

    President of Belarus Aleksandr Lukashenko ordered to consider alternative procurement of raw materials from Russia.

    MINSK (QHA) –
    January 20, during a conversation with Deputy Prime Minister Vladimir Semashko, President of Belarus Aleksandr Lukashenko instructed to replace the reduced supplies of Russian oil with alternatives, according to reports by the local edition “BELTA”.

    “We agreed that in the near future you report to me about the situation in the oil and gas sector of the country, particularly in relation to the behavior of Russia. According to our arrangements and previously concluded agreements, what is our situation? We do not hide anything from people.I think, is not necessary to hide. There isn’t any disaster, but a reduction of oil supplies from the Russian Federation should be replaced by alternatives,” Lukashenko said.

    • Dagwood Bumstead

      The danger is that the dwarf may well use Lukashenko’s attempts to obtain oil from other sources as an excuse to invade, occupy and annex Belarus. He can easily get away with it, as there won’t be any resistance from Belarus. Its armed forces and KGB are riddled with pro-Dwarfstanian moles to an even greater extent than the Ukrainian SBU and armed forces were, and there won’t be any reaction from the west apart from a few weak verbal protests, if that. As I’ve stated before, such an invasion would be a win-win-win situation for the dwarf and I’m surprised he still hasn’t done so.

      • Alex George

        Belarus could be a worse meat grinder for the Russian army than the Donbas.

        • Dagwood Bumstead

          I doubt it very much. The armed forces and KGB are pretty much controlled by pro-Dwarfstanians so there won’t be any organised resistance to a Dwarfstanian invasion and occupation. And a guerrilla needs weapons and people first of all- where are they going to come from? I don’t see Belarusians dashing off into the forests and swamps, and even if they did, they would be unarmed.

          • Alex George

            “The armed forces and KGB are pretty much controlled by pro-Dwarfstanians” – That is simply not correct. Large segments of society and the military are very nationalistic and hostile to Russia

            “I don’t see Belarusians dashing off into the forests and swamps,” – Why?

            “and even if they did, they would be unarmed.”

            There are huge stockpiles of military weapons in Belarus. Remember that 25% of Soviet machine gun manufacturing capacity was located there, and major portions of othe rweaponsmaking as well, including AA and AT missiles. From 1998 – 2005 Belarus was ranked 11th in the world in terms of weapons sales.

            In the event of a Russian invasion it is likely that military stockipile weapons will be quickly made available to volunteers – probably more quickly than they were in Ukraine’s case. I expect the plans are already made, And quite possibly with the Lukashenka regime’s tacit approval, but just as possible without it.

            In addition there are estimated 710,000 licit and illicit weapons already in civilian hands – in a population of only 9.5 million (see gunpolicy.org)

          • Dagwood Bumstead

            The same site indicates that Ukrainian civilians possess some 3.1 million guns, legal or otherwise- yet that didn’t prevent the dwarf from sending in his goons.

          • Alex George

            Different circumstances – In 2014, Putin and the Russian elite believed their own propaganda, that the Russian-speaking people of eastern Ukraine would rise up to welcome the little green men. Now they know that didn’t happen, in fact the reverse happened.

            Against Belarus, 80% of the country are said to be rabid nationalists, who hate Russia more than any Ukrainian does. And if Putin invades against Lukashenka, then he just drives Lukashenka and the nationalists together.

            Note also that on those figures private gun ownership in Belarus is higher per capita than in Ukraine. But as I say, i think :Putin’s real concern would be private nationalist battalions equipped from government stockpiles.

          • Dagwood Bumstead

            There was an article several months ago on (I think) Informnapalm.org showing the extent to which the Belarusian armed forces and KGB are controlled by pro-Dwarfstan moles. With the top pro-Dwarfstan I wouldn’t put too much faith in their suddenly becoming anti-Dwarfstan if the dwarf sends in his goons.

            I’ll see if I can find the article- if I remember correctly it was in German, though it may have been translated into English by now.

          • Alex George

            This gives an idea of how the Russians view the situation in Belarus – pessimistically, because they know very few inside Belarus are prepared to talk to them: https://eadaily.com/en/news/2015/12/04/expert-nationalism-in-belarus-is-explicitly-turning-into-state-ideology

            Remember the so-called “russification” in Belarus was led by Lukashenka and his cronies – the very ones Putin is at odds with.

      • Quartermaster

        Putin is already near the breaking point between Crimea, Donbas and Syria. I doubt he will invade Belarus.

        • Dagwood Bumstead

          The dwarf badly needs a “success”. “Krim nash!” has largely worn off, the economy is a shambles with money fast running out. There’s no hope of success in the Donbas and any further invasion of the Ukraine would become another quagmire. Belarus, on the other hand, is an easy picking, a soft target where he won’t meet much resistance should he send in his “little green men” and annex the country. He can then proclaim “Belarus nash!” and sell it to the Dwarfstanians as another step on the road to restoring Dwarfstan’s greatness.
          What’s more, seizing Belarus will put an end to Lukashenko’s atempts to gradually reduce the country’s almost total economic dependence on Dwarfstan and setting a more independent course.

          • Alex George

            Won’t meet much resistance in Belarus? interesting idea

            And not the sort of terrain I would like to fight in. Many Wehrmacht soldiers are still there in the marshes

          • Dagwood Bumstead

            My question remains: realistically, who in Belarus will resist a Dwarfstanian takeover? And equally importantly, with what?
            Pitchforks and the odd farmer’s shotgun won’t make an impression on Dwarfstan’s army.

          • Alex George

            Large sections of Belarusian society and government are nationalistic and hostile to Russia. Belarus has been arguably the largest arms exporter in the world, in comparison to its size,since the 1990s. Its stockpiles of weapons are huge, and not just small arms. And that’;s just military – also over 700k firearms in civilians hands. There is a very good reason why Putin has never attempted to invade it

  • zorbatheturk

    ruSSia should be classed as a lunatic asylum and not a nation state.

  • Mykola Banderachuk

    and the comedy keeps coming from the russia

  • Alex George

    The demographic point is a good one: Russia has 23 million native-born Muslims, and they are reproducing at a much higher rate than the Russians.

    Then there are the large numbers of Chinese flooding into the Far East, and even into Siberia, where there are only about 8 million Russians in the border regions.

    • Dagwood Bumstead

      The Chinese already de facto control significant stretches of land in Dwarfstan’s Far East, and it’s merely a matter of time before they send in their own “little gleen men”, hold a “lefelendum” and say “This land is now ouls” and officially annex it. The beauty of it is that the dwarf can do nothing to stop it.

  • Nowhere Girl

    I hate men who use prostitutes (yes, “use”, paid sex equals treating a person as an object). Generally I’m asexual myself and in terms of views – I believe people shouldn’t have sex with persons they don’t love (and that no-one should have sex without being 100% sure that they want to). But prostitution is really appalling. This is sexual slavery. And while I doubt if the Swedish model could work well nowadays, I’d prefer a world where men who use prostitutes would be punished – not with legal means, but with social stigmatization. Where their families and friends wouldn’t want to shake hands with them because everyone would realize that such men do evil to women.
    Because of this I don’t just dislike Trump – I am repulsed by men such as Trump or Berlusconi. And Putin possibly too, but first of all I simply hate him politically.

    • Andrew

      Trump is good with women though…

      He did get rid of that Venezuelan woman that WAS the beauty contest winner…. the cow put on 30 lbs.!!!

      So that DIRTY creature went around with Hilary Clinton, at every meeting & said: : (with a Spanish accent): “HE CALL ME MISS PIGGY!!!”

      Trump is funny! :)
      He knows what to say to women! :)))