A pro-Kremlin group has set up street exchange points where Muscovites can hand in old T-shirts with English logos and get free T-shirts with belligerently pro-Russian wording.
“I just want to show my support for my country as it is being treated injustly by the West,” said student Sergei Seryogin after handing over four old T-shirts decorated with the emblems of US states.
“We have to show that we live well without the West,” said Denis Golovin, an accountant who had just pulled on a new T-shirt with the Coca-Cola slogan.
Russians are being urged by the group to trash Western T-shirts and put on new ones flaunting anti-sanctions slogans such as “We can get our kicks without your Coca-Cola.”
Other slogans riff unsubtly on Russia’s powerful missile capability. “Don’t make my Iskanders laugh,” reads one, while another says: “Topols aren’t scared of sanctions.” “These sanctions have sparked a new patriotic spirit. Russia needs to show its strength,” said 23-year-old Archil Beniya.
Sanctions do not dampen support for Putin
The stunt seemed to score a hit with young Muscovites, who handed in more than 3 000 old T-shirts bearing slogans such as “I love NY” earlier in the week, said Ksenia Melnikova, one of the organisers from fundraising group Sodeistviye, or Co-operation.
Two construction firms paid to produce the 30 000 T-shirts, while a fashion designer helped to create them, Melnikova said on Wednesday.
Russians have previously flaunted their support for President Vladimir Putin with T-shirts praising the Russian forces who annexed Crimea and even skimpy knickers saying “Vova, I’m with you,” using a pet name for the Kremlin leader.
Successive rounds of Western sanctions punishing Moscow for its role in the Ukraine crisis have not dampened Russians’ support for Putin, who is still enjoying record approval ratings.
Experts caution, however, that the effects of reciprocal sanctions have not yet hit home with the Russians. – AFP