Women urged to strip to support Putin as president

MOSCOW, Jul Tue Jul 19, 2011 9:47am EDT

Russia's Prime Minister Vladimir Putin chairs a meeting after laying flowers in memory of victims of the tourist boat ''Bulgaria'', which sank on the Volga river, in Kazan July 14, 2011. REUTERS/Alexei Nikolsky/RIA Novosti/Pool

Russia's Prime Minister Vladimir Putin chairs a meeting after laying flowers in memory of victims of the tourist boat ''Bulgaria'', which sank on the Volga river, in Kazan July 14, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Alexei Nikolsky/RIA Novosti/Pool

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MOSCOW, Jul (Reuters) - An online campaign has been launched in Russia urging young women to support Prime Minister Vladimir Putin in a presidential vote by taking off their clothes, a lawmaker's site showed Sunday.

Called "Putin's Army," it features a video of a blonde student called Diana who struts along Moscow's streets in high heels and a black suit before scrawling "I will tear my clothes off for Putin" on a white top in red lipstick and starting to undo her clothes.

Inviting girls to strip off for Putin for the chance of winning an iPad2, the campaign comes ahead of the March 2012 presidential vote. Putin was president between 2000-2008 before handing the reins to his protege Dmitry Medvedev.

Widely seen as Russia's key decision-maker, Putin may return to the Kremlin next year.

"The goal: For Putin to be president!" said a statement on its page on social networking site vkontakte.ru/armiaputina, Russia's answer to Facebook.

During Russia's Soviet era, nudity in advertising was taboo but has since become widespread, a fact which has outraged Russian feminists who say it only intensifies an already sexualized culture where prostitution is common.

It is unclear who orchestrated the campaign which was posted on the blog of parliamentarian Kirill Shchitov, from Putin's ruling United Russia party.

In October, a band of journalism students posed in lingerie for a calendar for Putin's 58th birthday.

(Reporting by Amie Ferris-Rotman; Editing by Sophie Hares)

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