Russians Celebrate Trump Inauguration With Swag and Discounts
Trump may not improve conditions in Russia, but that isn't stopping some from selling and discounting swag for the inauguration.
In Viktor Pelevin’s 1999 novel Generation P, the Muscovite protagonist navigates a brave new post-Soviet world while working in advertising, negotiating a tumultuous time by drawing on Russian culture and transforming it into western-style commercials.
Similarly, Russians are marking the inauguration of U.S. President-elect Donald Trump and the new age in Russian-American relations many (but not all) expect it will usher in with at least tens of thousands of merchandise (provided what they’re making actually sells).
At the high end of Trump commercialization culture, there is a $10,000 coin with Trump’s face on one side and the Statue of Liberty and the words “In Trump We Trust” on the other. The coin was made by Art Grani, which also minted coins emblazoned with Russian President Vladimir Putin’s face to mark Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea.
“The inauguration of Donald Trump will be a special event in the history of the world; that’s why we have done a collection,” explained sales manager Kristina Glinina to CNN. Only 45 of the coins have been struck.
Russians who do not have $10,000 to spend for a coin with Trump’s face on it (or do, but are not one of the first 45 to order it) can still navigate these changing times through commercial culture.
If they’re lucky, they may still be able to find some of the Trump Russian nesting dolls (or matryoshka) sold ahead of the presidential election. Or the souvenir t-shirts with his catchphrases — “Putin is stronger than our president”, “Putin is a strong leader. I cannot even imagine what I’d like to achieve more than having a friendly Russia”, and “I’m not going to tell Putin what to do” — that one entrepreneurial Russian set about making last December.
Otherwise, on Friday, they can head to Russian Army store, which will offer a 10 percent discount in celebration of Trump’s inauguration.
In other words, even though Kremlin insiders fear that Trump is not going to improve relations with Russia, which would mean economic sanctions would stay in place, which would mean the lousy economy will continue, and though 45 percent of Russians are unhappy with the way things are going, the people are urged to celebrate with gaudy trinkets and discounts on commercial merchandise.
Somewhere, Pelevin is surely smirking.
Photo credit: ALEXANDER NEMENOV/AFP/Getty Images