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PR posters prompt pain for Prokhorov

by at 17/08/2011 15:19


Political parvenu Mikhail Prokhorov is facing more billboard woes as his latest image and slogan appear in unflattering parodies across the city.

Texts evoking a gangster movie, intended to emphasize the honesty of Prokhorov’s party, have been a gift for satirists, who were quite to spring into action.

“What gives you power? Why do you have a lot of money?” has been daubed on otherwise unchanged versions of his original poster.

The original “Truth is power. Who is right is stronger” was uncomfortably close to an extract from a line in cult film Brat 2, which also includes the irreverent line about money used in the parody poster.

Analysts have since poured scorn on Prokhorov’s PR campaign in support of his recently established Pravoye Delo party.


Too close for comfort

The full quotation, which ran in un-shortened form in some of the posters, with only the name changed, read, “So tell me, Mikhail Prokhorov. What gives you power? You have a lot of money. So what? I think that truth is power. Who is right is stronger. So you deceived someone, got money together and for what, to get stronger? No, you didn’t get stronger. Because you’re not right. But those you deceived have the truth with them.”



Prokhorov’s “Strength lies in truth. Who is right is stronger” was too resonant of the fuller Brat 2 quote and too easily to twist, say the onlookers.

“I think it was a major mistake here. The implication that he is right; you have to prove you are right and should not take it as an assumption…There must be grounds to say this and he doesn’t have them,” Masha Lipman of the Carnegie Center told The Moscow News.

“I think it was very unfortunate phrasing and I wonder who came up with the formula,” she said.

The mockery, from the increasingly prolific pen of satirists Monolog, was well deserved. “By and large Prokhorov’s team has failed. I think it is a question of unprofessional conduct.” Sergei Mikheyev, Center of Political Juncture general director, told radio station Vesti FM.

“His team veers from one extreme to another. They try to garner the votes of the far right and then appeal to liberal doctrines. By hanging these posters they were provoking a reaction,” he said.


A failing image

Quoting a cult film should never have been attempted, thinks Kirill Tanayev, general director of the Effective Politics Foundation, “Prokhorov’s political advisers have made a gross mistake. Their rivals took advantage of this and attacked. This attempt was in fact designed to promote Prokhorov himself and make his face and style famous. But to what extent they achieved this is under question,” he told Vesti FM.

The easy link that the original billboards leave beholders to make, between the posters and the Brat 2 quotation and its money references, as picked up by the parody posters, emphasizes Prokhorov’s oligarch status.

“This is the major flaw of his candidacy, being an oligarch is a dubious asset to his candidacy,” Lipman said.

Monolog make the most of this, “whoever came up with these mock billboards is actually emphasizing that Prokhorov is an oligarch… For 90 per cent of Russians this means you are wrong, that you enrich yourselves at others’ expense,” she said.

Prokhorov is leader of Pravoye Delo and has set himself ambitious targets in the forthcoming elections. His proposals for a 60-hour working week angered trade unions and his political leanings have been associated with elite business interests.

Read other articles of the print issue "The Moscow News #63"
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