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Clothes Make The Meme: Russian Oil Chief's Puffer Jacket Mocked On Social Media


Russian President Vladimir Putin (left) and Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin (file photo)

A meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka at a monastery in northern Russia this month served up plenty of fodder for social media users.

There was Putin -- who sometimes calls himself a "humble servant" of the Russian people -- attired in what appeared to be very expensive Italian suede sneakers and an outdoor jacket as priests gave him a tour of the Valaam Monastery, on an island in Lake Ladoga.

But the sartorial show was stolen by Igor Sechin, the longtime Putin ally who heads state oil giant Rosneft. Or by his puffer jacket, to be precise, and its reportedly astronomical price tag.

A photo said to be from the visit shows Sechin, 58, standing off to the side -- stiff as a board, as if at attention – in a padded gray jacket that is partially zipped and buttoned indoors.

The coat in question was identified – by social media users, at least – as a jacket from the Italian luxury brand Loro Piana that can be had in Russia for 244,000 rubles, or about $3,860.

Fifty percent of Russians working int large and middle-sized enterprises make less than 34,500 rubles a month, Twitter user Professor Preobrazhensky posted.

That image of the stiff-looking Sechin in his puffy gray jacket quickly was transformed in a meme, popping up in numerous social media posts.

For example, as a guard at the Lenin mausoleum on Red Square in Moscow.

Or replacing Venus, in Botticelli's famous work The Birth of Venus, in a Facebook post by Andrey Tarakanov.

​Meanwhile, multiple Sechins in identical puffy coats populated a clear blue sky in a takeoff on Magritte's surrealist masterpiece Golconda.

​The meme also appeared in Russian street scenes, including one in which Sechin – a fishnet bag of Soviet-era groceries dangling from his hand -- stares down what appears to be an elderly, ax-wielding would-be attacker on a drab winter day.

Edited by Steve Gutterman, based on reporting by RFE/RL's Russian Service
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