Racy Putin videos woo 'first time' Russia voters
Under the racy slogan "the first time is just for love", Vladimir Putin supporters have posted a series of videos aimed at young voters in an increasingly intense presidential election campaign battle.
The professional-quality videos initially seem to show young women worrying about losing their virginity before it turns out -- in a heavy double entendre -- that they are wondering for whom to cast their first time votes.
And the answer is clear: "Putin -- the first time is just for love."
"You know doctor -- I am very scared, although my choice is one of love," a girl, played by an actress, tells her doctor in one of the videos.
"Of course I understand. Everyone is afraid the first time," the doctor replies.
"The main thing is to trust your choice. Because trust is love. And your choice you can trust," as the camera closes in on a picture of Prime Minister Putin amid romantic music.
The girl is then shown happily walking to the polling station.
In a second video, a doctor tells another girl: "The main thing is to be sure it's safe. Especially the first time."
But as the camera again finds a picture of Putin, he says: "With him, it will be safe." Again the video concludes with the girl casting her vote.
Advertising agency Aldus ADV said it made the videos (www.perviiraz.ru) with the aim of "attracting a young audience to take part" in the March 4 presidential election that Putin is widely expected to win.
The agency did not say who commissioned the ads.
Putin's campaign team has never been shy of using sex as a weapon to attract young voters.
Ahead of the December 4 parliamentary polls, his party United Russia issued a video which showed two young people meeting in a polling station, apparently making love in a polling booth and then casting their votes together.
"Let's do it together," said the slogan, leaving little to the imagination.
The raunchy videos come in a campaign where the Internet is playing a role unseen in previous Russian presidential elections, with all sides trying to outdo each other for supremacy on the net.
Putin's team enlisted A-list Russian celebrities to take part in a campaign called "Why I am voting for Putin", but this was overshadowed by allegations that some stars felt obliged to participate because of their state-funded projects.
Rumours have swirled that Chulpan Khamatova, one of Russia's most admired actresses, only took part because she feared state funding for her children's charity would be cut if she failed to do so.
In response to that controversy, opposition-inclined Russian television and radio host and socialite Ksenia Sobchak posted a spoof video on YouTube where she initially appears to be also explaining why she is voting for Putin.
"Now is not the time to rock the boat and we should rally round one leader. This is why I have taken this difficult decision," purrs Sobchak, albeit looking considerably more battered than her usual glamorous self.
When she finishes, a burly man pounces on her and winds duct tape round her mouth as Sobchak squeals. It is then revealed that she was tethered to her chair throughout and flanked by two armed guards.
The spoof by Sobchak -- the daughter of Putin's late mentor and former Saint Petersburg mayor Anatoly Sobchak -- has already won almost half a million views on YouTube.