Russians snap up Medvedev portraits ahead of vote

Russians snap up Medvedev portraits ahead of vote

( Reuter )- President Vladimir Putin's icy blue gaze may soon be replaced by the softer brown eyes of his protege Dmitry Medvedev in the portraits that stare from the walls of tens of thousands of Russian offices.

Bureaucrats and businessmen have been snapping up Medvedev photographs ever since Putin -- whose eyes famously gave President George W. Bush "a sense of his soul" -- backed the former corporate lawyer as his successor last December.

Now sales of pictures of Medvedev are soaring ahead of Sunday's presidential election, in which he is set for an overwhelming victory.

Russians hang framed pictures of the Kremlin chief in government offices, businesses and even schools in a show of public fealty that portrait sellers say has its roots in Tsarist history and the Soviet Union's personality cults.

"Since it was announced Medvedev was the official successor, we immediately started getting inquiries about him and now Medvedev has really overtaken Putin in sales," said Vladimir Tyshko, who sells photographic portraits of politicians.

"With the elections approaching, Medvedev is selling very well. About 70 percent of people want portraits of Medvedev and 30 percent want Putin now. Before, Putin was of course the absolute leader by sales. Now it is Medvedev," he said.

Tyshko's Internet shop sells a giant 1.2-metre (3.9 ft)-high Medvedev portrait for 20,000 roubles ($830). Smaller portraits, showing a benevolent-looking Medvedev, go for 2,000 roubles.

Russians have been putting up portraits of their tsars, general secretaries and presidents for centuries, though the tradition weakened slightly after the fall of the Soviet Union.

Now Putin's image is everywhere. Some officials even put up several photographs of the former KGB spy to show their loyalty. But authorities are eager to emphasize it is voluntary.

"The sales of presidential portraits are nothing to do with us -- it is purely a private business which entrepreneurs engage in and I repeat we have nothing to do with it," a Kremlin spokesman said by telephone.

Putin, who plans to work as prime minister alongside President Medvedev, said this month he saw no need to hang his successor's portrait in his office.

"In order to establish my relationship with Dmitry Anatolyevich (Medvedev) I won't need to hang his portrait on my wall if he is elected president," Putin said.

"I don't see anything shameful in the fact that bureaucrats have the portrait of their leader in their offices. I don't see any servility or groveling. This is an element of statehood in the same way as a flag or emblem."

But local officials are preparing for a new president.

"Representatives of the region took 40 of them not long ago," said Alexander Smirnov, whose photography studio in the Sverdlovsk region has been supplying local bookshops with pictures of Medvedev for 500 roubles each.

Under Putin the president's face has turned into a mini-industry, with thousands of framed photographs sold and even watches, necklaces, carpets and "matryoshki" -- traditional carved wooden dolls -- bearing his portrait.

Many observers say Putin could remain the power behind the Kremlin throne after he steps down as president.

"The Medvedev ones have sold out," said one shop assistant in a Moscow bookshop. "Buy the Putin one -- he is still the boss."

Georgia to establish snail meat plant, backed by Italian investment
Georgia to establish snail meat plant, backed by Italian investment
Georgia increases imports of electricity from Azerbaijan
Georgia increases imports of electricity from Azerbaijan
Restoring landscapes to reduce poverty gap in Georgia - WB
Restoring landscapes to reduce poverty gap in Georgia - WB
Loading Bars
Turkey’s export of clothes to Uzbekistan up
Uzbek republican stock exchange reveals number of transactions for April 2021
New export opportunities to appear for locally produced beer – Azerbaijani minister
Georgia to establish snail meat plant, backed by Italian investment
Quarterly data on cargo shipment via Turkish Cesme port revealed
Royal Caribbean cancels all Israel cruises
Kazakhstan boosts petroleum oil exports to France
Equinor closely working with Kazakh KazMunayGas on geophysical studies
Russia's Ministry of Industry, Trade reveals data on joint projects with Turkmenistan
Uzbekistan, Netherlands consider establishing co-op in livestock breeding
Azerbaijan's ASCO opens tender for purchase of steel pipes
AZINNEX talks about Azerbaijan's potential to multiply technology exports by 2030
Russia closely following situation over Armenian-Azerbaijani border incident - MFA
Kazakhstan decreases raw sulfur production volumes
Uzbekistan notes increase in car sales
Georgia increases imports of electricity from Azerbaijan
Turkey announces substantial growth in cement exports to Uzbekistan
Iran to issue loans for dev't of beekeeping sector
Azerbaijan unveils number of citizens vaccinated on May 18
Turkey publishes quarterly data on cargo shipment via local ports from Spain
Azerbaijan confirms 432 more COVID-19 cases, 1,024 recoveries
Azerbaijan suspends import of poultry products from some countries due to bird flu
High revenues from State Oil Fund keep Azerbaijan's state budget surplus - WB
Indian DRDO’s 1st batch of anti-Covid drug 2DG launched
Kazakhstan’s Nostrum unveils oil extraction volumes for 1Q2021
Iran's private sector to start importing COVID-19 vaccine
Iran discloses volume of sprat caught from Caspian Sea
Restoring landscapes to reduce poverty gap in Georgia - WB
Georgian Credo Bank attracts funds from EFSE, GGF to support rural micro and small entrepreneurs
EBRD ready to expand co-op with Turkmenistan
Iran's NISOC to implement projects to collect flare gas
Azerbaijanis hold protest rally in front of UN Campus in Germany (PHOTO)
Revenues of Kazakhstan's Nostrum Oil & Gas down
Georgia sees increase in unemployment rate
Finnish Nokia interested in introduction of 5G technologies Uzbekistan
Turkey notes decline in export of grain, legumes to Turkmenistan
Lending to Azerbaijan's energy, chemistry & natural resources sector up
Value of Turkish chemicals export to Germany rises in 4M2021
Uzbekistan receives third batch of Chinese-Uzbek COVID-19 vaccine
Overview of Turkmen tourism sector's development
Iran’s GTC begins wheat purchasing in Razavi Khorasan Province
Lending to trade & services sector grows in Azerbaijan year-on-year
Iranian parliament issues statement on nuclear discussions
Azerbaijan competing with global leaders in export of high-tech products - AZINNEX
President Ilham Aliyev receives Belarus defense minister
Armenia's vandalism against Azerbaijan’s cultural heritage - flagrant violation of int’l law
Kazakh uranium extracting company opens tender to buy pipes
WB talks stabilization of consumer price index in Azerbaijan
Iran's capital market to increase support of refinery industry - Securities and Exchange Organization
Azerbaijan Railways announces increase in freight traffic
SME Development Centers holding free trainings for entrepreneurs in Azerbaijan
Vladimir Putin: Both parties to Israeli-Palestinian conflict need to end violence
Azerbaijan shares data on 4M2021 oil exports to Israel
Iranian contractors awaiting to build railway in Iraq's Basra
Ministry discloses volume of cargo transshipped through Turkish Gemlik port
Iran reveals COVID-19 data for May 18
Turkmenistan may participate in new transport corridor
Austrian companies eye cooperating with Uzbekistan in energy sector
Total annual energy investment to surge by 2030
Iranian energy minister talks electricity generation, water shortages
Volume of cement imported by Austria from Turkey disclosed
Ministry discloses volume of clothes exported from Turkey to Turkmenistan
Georgian Prime Minister to visit Spain
Azerbaijan's liberated Zangilan district to become transport hub of region - CAERC
Turkmenistan invites Russia's Tatarstan to take part in country's infrastructure projects
Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan eye increasing potential of transport corridor to China
Iran’s PMO unveils volume of cargo loaded, unloaded in Jask port
Iran boosts aluminum ingots production
Electricity facilities put into operation in Iran
Kazakhstan's export to EAEU states grows over six years
Demand of Azerbaijani banks for foreign currency surges - Central Bank
Decisions on troop interaction clarified for Azerbaijan's military exercises (PHOTO)
Value of Iran’s exports grows
Solar panel stations launched in Iran's Kerman Province
France decreases imports of Kazakh-made foods y-o-y
Azerbaijan starts construction of infrastructure of Horadiz-Aghband railway (VIDEO)
SMEs dominate Kazakh exports to EAEU
Azerbaijan starts work to prepare tourist routes in liberated territories
Lending via credit letters in Azerbaijan shrinks
Kazakhstan boosts imports of Turkish chemicals
Design work at Uzbekneftegaz GTL plant completed
Azerbaijan names volume, amount of oil supplies to Spain from early 2021
OMV Petrom completes selling off its subsidiaries in Kazakhstan
Preparations for 2021 F1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix nearing completion in Baku
World Bank to finance development of water services sector in Uzbekistan
Turkey doubles crude oil imports from Kazakhstan files for Nasdaq IPO
Armenian ex-minister of transport & communication detained
Georgia reports 1,562 coronavirus cases for May 18
Georgia sees increase in number of cattle
World Bank to assist Uzbekistan in modernization national innovation system
Turkey records 4M2021 decrease in number of labor migrants to Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan working on introduction of AI in public administration system
Kazakhstan's revenue from passenger air transport increases
Azerbaijan discloses 4M2021 data on gas exports to Turkey
Turkmenistan considering possibility of expanding co-op with transport companies of Russia’s Tatarstan
UK company eyes projects on territory of free economic zones of Uzbekistan
No new oil, natural gas fields required amid net-zero emission activity– IEA
Uzbekistan to use Hungarian experience to stimulate socio-economic dev’t of several regions
Georgia, Ukraine pledge to enhance co-op on path to Euro-Atlantic integration
All news