Twelve Moscow State University journalism students posed in lingerie for a calendar congratulating Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on his 58th birthday, which he celebrates today, according to Bloomberg.
The 259-ruble ($8.73) calendar, which went on sale in Groupe Auchan SA supermarkets in the capital yesterday, features female students and captions such as “You put out the forest fires, but I’m still burning,” and “You only get better with the years.”
“Any man would like to receive such a beautiful present for his birthday,” Vladimir Tabak, 23, the initiator and publisher of the calendar, said by telephone. He said the calendar, which had a print run of 50,000, doesn’t have a political message. Tabak, a journalism school graduate, said he wanted to showcase “smart girls” from his alma mater.
The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists ranks Russia as the eighth most dangerous country for reporters in terms of the impunity of their killers. The murder of Anna Politkovskaya, who was shot in her apartment building four years ago today, hasn’t been solved. Investigators yesterday extended their probe into the killing until February.
Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said by telephone that he’d seen the calendar on the Internet and will report to the prime minister about it later today when he celebrates with family and friends in his hometown, St. Petersburg.
“The girls look nice, I hope they’re also good students,” Peskov said.
The Kremlin has tried to channel young people’s energy into pro-government movements such as “Idushchie vmeste” (Walking Together) and “Nashi” (Ours), which were formed during Putin’s eight-year presidency. Peskov said he didn’t know who was behind the calendar.
“Some girls in the journalism department decided a calendar would be a great way to show our support of Putin’s policies,” Ksenia Seleznyova, an 18-year-old second-year student, said by telephone. She is pictured topless as the calendar’s Miss December and included her mobile phone number for Putin to call if he wants a “personal” birthday greeting.
“If Putin actually calls me, I’ll wish him happy birthday with all my heart,” she said.