They have visited soldiers and farmers, factories and villages in their neverending quest for votes as Russia‘s elections near. Now the country’s ruling duo has begun to target that most fickle of demographic – the music fan.
President Dmitry Medvedev, who has agreed to step down next year in favour of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, kicked off the campaign on Thursday during a visit to a school in the north-western city of Petrozavodsk.
Entering the school’s gymnasium, he at first tried to resist calls he join a group of young ballerinas in a traditional dance.
“I will not dance, I still have meetings to run,” Medvedev said, according to tabloid Life News. The president was likely still smarting from the ridicule he faced after a video of his awkward dance to the single “American Boy” leaked online in April.
Medvedev eventually gave in, dancing arm-in-arm with a young ballerina in a black leotard before attempting to engage in a game of patty-cake.
“The dance was really straightforward, but anyway the president constantly messed up the patty-cake, which looked rather absurd,” online news portal NewsRu reported. Videos of the dance have been viewed more than 50,000 times on YouTube.
Perhaps attempting to revive his image a little, the president on Friday talked up his love for “hard rock” during a meeting with a women’s group in honour of Russia’s Mother’s Day.
“When I was a young student, I only listened to foreign music, mainly rock music and hard rock,” Medvedev told the forum, as Putin sat by. “Then I surprised myself by discovering ethnic music. Now I like to listen to music from different places, and in many situations. Even when you work, some ethnic music calms the nerves.”
Putin, who has consistently sought to appeal to Russians while more liberal Medvedev has presented a kinder face to the west, answered succinctly: “I am Russian and I love Russian music.”
Putin and Medvedev are expected to swap job roles after the country’s presidential election in March.