70,000 Santas Invade Moscow



Putting our silly little Santacons to shame, 70,000 Santas invaded Moscow on Sunday as part of a pro-Kremlin publicity stunt in honor of the Battle of Moscow. English Russia has some photos of the mass santactivist convergence.

Ahead of July’s Group of Eight summit in St. Petersburg, much was made of the fact that the Kremlin had gone so far as to hire a U.S. PR firm to tidy up its image. That turns out to have been small potatoes. On Sunday, 70,000 activists from the pro-Kremlin youth group Nashi descended on the city in Santa suits and snow princess costumes, the best example, to date, of how just farcical the government’s image-making can get.

The parade of Grandfather Frosts appears to have been aimed at diverting attention from two other rallies — a Saturday event organized by The Other Russia, a liberal coalition, and a Sunday gathering honoring journalists slain in Russia since 1991. That Nashi billed its march as a 65th-anniversary commemoration of the Battle of Moscow rang hollow, given that the battle ended Dec. 5, almost two weeks before Saturday’s “anniversary.”

Thanks to Niall Kennedy for the tip!