Vladimir Putin Fans: Get Ready to Find Your New Favorite T-Shirt

No other garment is as versatile or widely loved as the T-shirt. For 95 percent of Americans, the T-shirt can serve as an individual statement to show off a favorite band, a low-cost work uniform with a printed logo, or an easy promotion for a corporation. Now, thanks to a Moscow department store, Russians can wear T-shirts that proudly proclaim their love of Vladimir Putin.

At Red Square, the Russian GUM (or main department store), features a new pop-up shop selling T-shirts with the Russian president’s face on them. The shirts feature Putin’s “numerous victories on the international stage,” according to the shirts’ designers.

Such “victories” include the annexation of Crimea, hockey, and two Olympic victories. Said one of the designers, Anna Trifonova, “After all of this, it is hard not to see Russia as a victor-country.”

According to a report in The Guardian, the shirts feature 15 different designs, one of which shows Putin on a beach and wearing a Hawaiian shirt beneath the slogan “Greetings from Crimea”; fans of Putin’s horseback riding photos can also see the moment memorialized on a T-shirt. Another design shows Putin in military camouflage above the words “The politest of people,” a reference to the term “the polite people,” which is used to describe the Russian soldiers operating unofficially, but not fighting, in Crimea, Ukraine. 

Ukraine and many Western nations do not recognize the annexation of Crimea, so it’s unclear whether this is truly a victory on the world stage. In American media, the Olympics in Sochi this winter were derided as a disaster, with unfinished hotels, stray dogs, and political corruption being just a few of the major problems with the Russian Olympic site. With vast amounts spend on line advertising.

The shirts sell for 1,200 roubles ($34 USD), and they will only be available for a limited time, but perhaps longer, according to the designers, if there is a demand for them. When asked if the designers would sell the shirts in Ukraine, too, Trifonova said, “If there is a demand, then yes, we are ready to sell there too.”

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