For a few years after 2016, it seemed that Vladimir Putin was everywhere in America. And not just on the news, but on all sorts of items—from stickers, to t-shirts, to fiction, and knickknacks. His steely-eyed face served as a political window into the American psyche. Much of this material culture focused on the socially taboo—the satirical, scatological, even risqué—as it paired Putin with a host of American political figures, Donald Trump, first and foremost. So, what does Putin kitsch in America mean? And how does it fit within larger media, technology, consumerism, and politics? Here’s Alison Rowley with the story.
Alison Rowley is professor of Russian history at Concordia University. She’s the author of Open Letters: Russian Popular Culture and the Picture Postcard, 1880-1922. Her most recent book is Putin Kitsch in America published by McGill-Queen’s University Press.
Klemen Slakonja, “Vladimir Putin – Putin, Putout.”