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Rebranding the One-Party State

Good stuff from Julia Ioffe’s Moscow Diaries:

That same day, A Just Russia, the party organized by the Kremlin to be a faux opposition party but has since become lord knows what, decided to change its flag and find a new political mascot. They were looking for something to convey strength, honor, dignity. They wanted, according to a source cited in Kommersant, “some kind of animal — something powerful, noble, beautiful, politically correct.” The politically-correct animal they ended up settling for was the Ussuri tiger. How was its politesse made manifest? “The key is that the tiger is more powerful than the bear” — United Russia’s symbol — “people are scared of it.”

Moving right along, we come back to Gryzlov, the #2 in United Russia. The man has clearly hired a young marketing strategist who told him the party needs to rebrand, too, with something more positive, perhaps, than a bear. Coming fresh off the “we’re friendlier than all y’all” success, Gryzlov announced his version of the “Yes, we can!” slogan: “First in everything.” Rolls off the tongue and accurate.