Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Window on Eurasia: Udmurts Issue Pinup Calendar to Attract Attention to Their Nation’s Problems

Paul Goble

            Staunton, December 25 – An Udmurt public organization has prepared what its organizers say is an extremely modest pinup calendar to call attention to the threat of linguistic and cultural assimilation that members of that 400,000-strong Finno-Ugric nation in the Middle Volga region of the Russian Federation now face.

            The calendar features pictures of seven young Udmurt women who, photographer Nikita Ilin says, remained completely modest because of their “good education in traditional Udmurt families ( and

            But the calendar also features comments on the state of Udmurt society, and the producer of the calendar, Pavel Pozdeyev, told “AiF-Umurtiya” that his main goal was to “organize a small provocation in order to attract the attention of society to the problems of the Udmurts” (

                This calendar ( is far from the first effort to use erotica for political goals in the Russian Federation in recent years.  Indeed, one effort that attracted far more attention was a 2010 calendar with pictures of students at Moscow State University’s journalism faculty that was directed at Vladimir Putin who was then prime minister.

            But it is an interesting example of the somewhat unusual ways in which the leaders of some non-Russian nationalities are attempting to mobilize their co-ethnics, the obvious goal since this calendar unlike many others contains material in Udmurt rather than the more common Russian.

            Moreover, it reflects the spread of erotica into non-Russian portions of the Internet.  The Udmurts in fact have been among the most active in this area as Roman Romanov, an organizer of an adult site in Udmurtia, discussed on a Finno-Ugric site at the end of August 2013 (

            Romanov said there was great interest among Udmurts in such a site – several hundred visited it just after it went online -- and noted that Denis Sakharnykh, an expert on the Udmurt language, had said that “if erotic and pornographic content appears in Udmurt, then [that] language is alive.” Romanov added that it was attracting people from elsewhere as well.


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