Propaganda is like nuclear material: It can completely change the political landscape, it goes scarily out of control when you have too much of it, and Russia has way more than too much of it. When America wanted an action hero as president, they filmed Air Force One. According to the stories coming out of Russia, such effort is unnecessary when your country is run by Vladimir Putin. This is a man who can't even go diving without finding ancient Greek amphorae, and is so photogenic they've been magically scrubbed clean before he reaches the surface. The fact that government agents clearly planted the relics only makes it more impressive. He has operatives who secretly SCUBA to plant artifacts in the Black Sea, and instead of sending them to Tomb Raid or kill James Bond, he told them, "Your mission is to turn the rest of my life into a Make-a-Wish foundation highlight video."
We've seen his incredible antics before. This time we're looking at the effects of a world leader using the international stage to show everyone how casually awesome you can pretend to be while keeping a straight face.
#8. A Thousand Breasts For Putin
One man was allowed to grab a thousand breasts in a row because Putin. That was his entire strategy. Russian comedian Sam Nickel had a chance to shake hands with the Russian prime minister, wanted to pass on two kilotits of "positive energy and tactile experience" through his hands and kept a straight face while explaining that to a thousand women. He maintained a fierce scowl of concentration throughout the project, possibly to prevent himself from giggling, "It's working!"
He actually tried it on five thousand women, proving that simply saying "Putin" gives you a 20 percent chance of getting to second base. That's one word per thousand gropes. Even pick-up artists don't claim rates that good, and desperation, bullshit and ridiculous online claims are their entire deal. He finished off this electronically-recorded 1,000-grab combo with a triple-hit-finisher, something which is normally the opposite of touching tits.
My Duck's Vision
Here a fat sumo really would be a combo breaker.
Jesus might have wasted his touches on leprosy, but Putin knows what's important.
#7. Super Putin
Most world leaders are drawn by political cartoonists. Putin was drawn as a comic book hero by a man who seemed to be motivated by the question, "What if Superman actually did something constructive for a change, and also wasn't such a pussy?"
The Man of Steel dreams of a Man Who's Real.
The only difference with regular Russian news stories was Super Putin used art instead of photos. In most comics the character starts off a regular Joe and accidentally gains superpowers. In Super Putin, he starts off as Vladimir Putin and just keeps kicking ass from there. He defeats evil corporations, terrorists, zombies and interplanetary space ducks. In one scene he summons the spirit of wisdom (in a state Godzilla-breeding farm run by a mystic kung fu master) by pouring a bottle of Stolichniya into a mystic cauldron to summon Darth Vader, who uses the flaming heart of democracy to turn the Russian Bear Spirit into Dmitri Medvedev. There was not a single metaphor in that sentence.
This is pretty much Friday night at the Cracked offices
When American presidents appear in comics, it's just to hang out with "real" heroes. Russians realize how insulting that is.
Obama saving a blue-collar worker
This comic makes Putin look even better than Batman. Bruce Wayne was just born into billions of dollars he could spend on training and looking awesome -- Putin had to join the KGB and take over an entire country first. Though he does now have just as many people writing, filming and imagining fictional scenes to make him look cool. The future plot of the comic is decided by democracy, safe in the knowledge that no one can effectively vote against Putin. Just like in the real Russia.
#6. Putin Vodkas. Plural.
Russia has a massively popular vodka named after Putin, which would be like Obama releasing a burger that went on to outsell the Big Mac in America. He's just won at Russia. While a political vodka technically violates their separation of church and state, it does show that they've made up for all those communist years by out-capitalizing America.
American presidents get in trouble when women put them in their mouths.
"Putinka" is actually an affectionate diminutive form of Putin's name, and you'd need at least a bottle of high-end vodka in you before you tried to call Putin "babbums." It's no novelty product either -- it has won multiple "Product of the Year" awards in the vodka category in Russia, and is the second best seller in their $11 billion vodka market. It's so popular there are even ridiculous knock-offs. This year a Lithuanian distillery launched "Putin" vodka, sold only in Lithuania, which isn't part of Russia and has about as much reason to like them as Ronald Reagan's Chechnyan summer home. After World War II, Lithuania fought a guerrilla war against the Soviets for almost a decade, losing 30,000 people, and losing very badly. They were then the first republic to break away from the Soviet Union, which is like being the first guy to charge the machine gun nest. They were blockaded, attacked by troops, then attacked again by paramilitaries. Putin vodka should be about as popular in Lithuania as Emperor Palpatine's Alderaanian Wine. But it sells, because Putin. (See also: boobies.)
Available in "Skull," "Bear!" and "So strong you can't look directly at the liquid" versions.
Even Medvedev has his own vodka, which (predictably) isn't nearly as popular. It's only a pity they're on the same party. A political debate turned drinking competition would finally get elected officials speaking honestly, even if only to say, "Ah luff yoo man, yuir ma bess fren."
#5. "He Must Be Like Putin"
Putin plans to boost Russia's falling birth rate, but no need to brace yourselves -- he's not doing it personally. Much to the disappointment of Russian women -- two of which formed a band to sing "He Must Be Like Putin," describing the qualities (well, quality) of their ideal man. A group hasn't gotten together to nail a guy so hard since 33 AD.
While insecure rappers rent boats, stage lights and dozens of women to pretend that they're cool, for Putin the women go and film themselves in the hope he'll see. And they don't use editing, special effects or expensive props: They use stock news footage because he looks manly for real. The song opens with them immediately dumping their boyfriends in the hope of one day, maybe, meeting someone a bit like Putin. And by "a bit" they mean "an unconvincing stunt double voyeuring on us with a fat man."
The Putin Girls
This is how much Putin they'll settle for.