UK: Vladimir Putin calendars sold out, but who's buying them?
Russian media outlets have claimed that calendars featuring President Vladimir Putin's photographs in various poses have reportedly been selling like hot cakes in the UK. They claim that Putin's calendars "sold out in a few hours" when put on sale in Britain. However, the BBC found that British stores weren't stocking these calendars and online sales too were limited. Here's more.
Putin's macho image and cult status
Putin is perceived as a powerful leader who can bring Russia back to its days of former glory. He has attained a cult status due to his macho public image associated with his interest in sports, motorcycles, wild animals and martial arts.
Russian media: UK can't resist the Putin calendar
Russia's state-run RIA news agency claimed that "the calendar caused great excitement among local residents." Russian newspaper Izvestia's website wrote, "There are no calendars anymore. They were all bought out in just a few hours." The Putin calendar is "suddenly fashionable" in the UK, it adds. Moscow's TV5 reported, "Reviewers of the merchandise are in awe of the Russian president's way of life."
'Vladimir Poutin': How the UK media covered the Putin calendar
As opposed to Russian media coverage which focused on how Britons love the calendar, British media in its characteristic style, poked fun at it. The Daily Star termed it "hilarious" and called the Russian president 'Vladimir Poutin'. The Sun took a jibe at how the calendar was being marketed as a "great gift" and a "valuable collectible."
Is Russian media playing the fake news game?
None of the marketplaces selling Putin calendars, including Amazon and eBay are based in the UK. In fact, its largest seller is based in Russia itself. While they have sold hundreds of copies, there is no definitive proof that all/most of the customers are Britons. Moreover, Russian media has misquoted Daily Mirror as stating that Britons bought all the calendars. Is this fake news?
Critic: Russia needs to get over its 'inferiority complex'
Russian journalist Alexey Kovalev writes, "We really have to do something with this mass inferiority complex, you can't want praise from foreigners so desperately and make it up if you're not praised." Kovalev points to the fact that the source does not mention that the calendars were selling like hotcakes. "It is an invention of the 'vatnie' (pro-Kremlin) cotton-woollen chroniclers," he adds.