05 September 2008

America’s Nekkid Iron Lady: Russian Views of Sarah Palin

Like it or not, Sarah Palin has been the story of the past week. From her demands for absolute fealty as mayor to her pregnant teenage daughter, from her belief in an evangelical American crusade in Iraq to the seemingly endless debates about “experience,” the new Republican candidate for VP has finally attracted the American media to cover McCain’s campaign.

But what’s the word from the Russian media?

Here's a rundown.


NTV carries a short report on the new VP candidate: “Iron Lady American Style,” first calling attention to Palin’s childhood nickname of “Barracuda” and her appeal to those “pitbulls with lipstick,” before heading on to deal with her thoughts on Russia as a threat and highlighting the fact that her copy was produced by one of George Bush’s speechwriters. Apparently Russians will never grow tired of calling female politicians from America "iron ladies," a moniker I've heard applied to Madeleine Albright, Condoleezza Rice and Hillary Clinton.

The pro-government rag Rossiiskaya gazeta points up the logic behind the Palin choice, outlining her folksy appeal and the ways in which her candidacy undercuts Obama’s “American Dream” rhetoric by offering the election of a tough provincial mother as another means of fulfilling the promise of an egalitarian nation. While McCain’s campaign has mainly focused on national security thus far, Palin scores populist points and, as RG notes, gets the Republican base just as excited as those Democratic Obamaniacs. Overall, RG, the official voice of the Russian government, is so sympathetic to Palin, it makes me wonder if there’s something to the speculation that Putin is secretly in cahoots with the Republicans.

Now for completely irresponsible yellow journalism, we turn to Komsomolskaya pravda, which runs not one, but two articles on the dubious photographs of Palin in bikinis, short skirts and nothing at all. Some people may dismiss these pictures on the spot. But others, like blogger vcooking, go to the trouble of digging up shots of Palin from her college basketball days and analyzes her gams to demonstrate that the racy photos are fakes.

Meanwhile Aleksandr Genis, an American correspondent for the liberal Novaya gazeta comments on Palin’s beauty and charisma but speculates that most Russian Americans will cast their votes for the GOP not for these reasons, but just to make sure a black man doesn’t become president.

Baseless conjecture?

Maybe not. US-based ЖЖ-blogger Stas explains why he likes Palin “more and more”: rumors that she stumped for Alaskan independence and supported the "openly pro-white" Pat Buchanan in 2000. If you read Russian and are looking for a laugh, I strongly recommend browsing the comments.

They start off like this:

[Click image to enlarge.]


kg said...

Dude - they so have a point, "kul'tural'no," Orthodox eskimo are, like, closer to "us" than Ukranians and Belorussians!
(Also, as dissertation distractions go, I'm sorry to say that this is an all-time low...)

Anonymous said...

Russian women oughta like her, since most of their men are totally worthless! Here's a gal that can put meat on the table, efficiently run various stages of government plus remain attractive, fit & armourous to get knocked up at 43! Betcha they like Todd, too! He isn't a drunk, works two jobs, is a steady husband that shares outdoor activities with his wife. Plus their locale & activities are quite similar to Russians. Komrade! Komrade!