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Digital Subscriptions > Newsweek International > 16th February 2018 > Czar-Crossed Lovers

Czar-Crossed Lovers

In Russia, poverty, corruption and inequality are rampant. So why do so many here seem to love VLADIMIR PUTIN?
DEAR LEADER a painting at the Super Putin exhibit.
COURTESY OF UMAM MOSCOW
The president’s supporters in Red Square. For some people, especially the wealthier residents of Moscow and St. Petersburg, life in Russia has never been better.
DMITRY BELIAKOV/BLOOMBERG/GETTY
One of 30 eye-catching portraits and sculptures at the exhibit, all of which portray the former KGB man in heroic, iconic and some might say bizarre poses.
KRISTINA KORMILICYNA/KOMMERSANT/GETTY

#SUPERPUTIN

ON A COLD NIGHT IN MOSCOW, in a downtown art gallery, Vladimir Putin is dressed in a red cape, shooting bullets from a gigantic weapon called the “Putin Blaster.” His target? Unclear. But there’s no mistaking his steely gaze, his grim determination.

The Russian president isn’t physically at the gallery. He’s the subject of it. Putin the caped crusader is one of 30 eye-catching portraits and sculptures at an exhibition in the Russian capital, all of which portray the former KGB man in heroic, iconic and some might say bizarre poses. There’s Putin winning an ice hockey championship and Putin cuddling a leopard. There’s Putin in medieval armor, riding a bear. There’s even Putin holding a portrait of Putin, holding a portrait of Putin, holding a portrait of Putin—and so on— like a Russian nesting doll.

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