The Washington Post

Putin releases suggestive ads to sway young voters — with little success

Vladi­mir Putin wants the female youth vote back.

Demonstrators carry a model of a prison cell with a figure of Prime Minister Vladi­mir Putin inside during an anti-Putin rally in Saint-Petersburg earlier this month. (OLGA MALTSEVA/AFP/GETTY IMAGES)

Following weeks of protests by young Russians urging the prime minister to quit ahead of March 4 elections, Putin has released a series of suggestive election ads targeted at young women.

“If it’s your first time, make sure it’s for love,” says one ad, as a young woman swoons over Putin’s picture. Another ad shows a fortune teller revealing a tarot card to a young women with Putin’s face, beneath the candlelight.

Comments written in Russian below the video ranged from the sarcastic to the angry. “Yeah, gypsy fortune-teller, always considered a reliable source of information,” one commenter wrote. “He's lying..! Nothing [to] gain. Must learn to think with your head,” another wrote. “Putin gathers a harem?” a third asked.

Other signs of dissent suggested young female voters might not be buying his message.

At Moscow's Christ the Savior Cathedral Tuesday, the Russian feminist punk band “Pussy Riot” made a surprise visit, dressed in mini-dresses and masks. The band put on a five-minute performance, singing an anti-Putin song, before being hauled off by security, the Moscow Times reports.

Pussy Riot has some 30 members, all anonymous, feminist and holding grievances against the government, the Guardian reports.

Meanwhile, opposition group For Fair Election announced it was planning a flash mob for Sunday at City Hall in Moscow, Russia news site Ria Novosti reported.

Also on Sunday, the opposition is planning what they say will be a 30,000-strong protest in central Moscow, where people will join hands to “encircle the Kremlin.”

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