Putin the sex symbol

One of Vladimir Putin’s creepier achievements is his success in setting himself up as a sex symbol. The funniest example of this was in 2002, when the Kremlin created a girl-band to sing “I want a man like Putin” (audio, [BBC report](http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/2212885.stm).

My boyfriend is in trouble once again:
Got in a fight, got drunk on something nasty
I've had enough and I chased him away
And now I want a man like Putin

Now his ever-adventurous PR department have come up with these [charming T-shirts](http://putin.su/show_article.php?aid=70) – slogan “I want Putin….for a third term”:

How did all this strangeness come about? Maybe Putin really does seem incredibly sexy, but maybe it’s just that – unlike plenty of other Russian politicians – he lacks obvious personal vices. I’ve heard it explained along the lines that “he’s not an alcoholic or a wife-beater; isn’t that enough?”

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