‘Freedom isn’t Free’ Deutsch-Style

In addition to universal access to health care, month-long national holidays, and unimaginable job security, one of the great things Americans just don’t seem to get about European ‘socialism’ is a higher order comfort with nakedness – both their own and others. East Germans, in particular, were well known for their wide-spread acceptance – including policies encouraging ‘naturalism’, communing with nature au naturel – of public nudity.

While a unified Germany remains comparatively tolerant of exposure of the human form, the government no longer has policies in place that encourage, or sometimes even allow, public nudity. Fortunately for those who feel the need to ambulate in the altogether, German ingenuity has designed a solution – the private trail (a low-tech solution to a basic human need). Heinz Ludwig, a local entrepreneur, believes he is filling a market niche by supporting ‘the country’s Freikörperkultur (FKK), or literally “free body culture.”’ Mr. Heinz’ trail will be well-marked to discourage those of delicate sensibilities, but his profits will come from providing concessions (sunscreen, perhaps?) and camping.

Countries whose culture is (or has historically been) dominated by those with a more puritanical bent, i.e., the United States and predominately Catholic countries, are less embracing and sometimes downright scandalized by the idea of public nudity. In Appenzell, Switzerland, the popular practice of nude hiking is the subject of debate as local business owners fret that overexposure could impact their ability to market their tourist-oriented economy as family friendly. However, a handful of American visionaries, committed to the full frontal frontier, have declared the summer solstice (June 21st) ‘Naked Hiking Day’. Naked Hiking Day organizers note that nudity is not illegal in many U.S. local jurisdictions as long as the intent is not to ‘incite or satisfy sexual arousal’ and participants are encouraged to check their local laws before proceeding.

Aime Cesaire & NWN: Negroes with Negritude

Drawing courtesy of Ben Heine of Flickr

The late poet and politician, Aime Cesaire

The late poet and politician, Aime Cesaire

Race. When you say the word here in America, the reaction is a knee-jerk one. Like getting hit in the lower part of your knee with a hammer at the doctor’s office, the idea of talking about race often creates a quick eye-roll, a huff and/or puff, or in many cases it’s simply ignored. As diverse and open-minded as we would like to believe that other countries in this wide world of ours think differently, when it comes to race, we may unfortunately all have more in common than once thought.

From our own perspectives here, France is more of a progressive place comfortable with people of all colors and creeds; and France has always seen itself as one that avoids racial discrimination and pushes for tolerance, as it has seemed to do for so many years. According to the website BME news: “It regularly denounced racism in the United States…inviting talented American blacks like the dancer Josephine Baker, musicians like Sidney Bechet, and writers like Richard Wright and James Baldwin.”

But that was long ago, and times have definitely changed.

In France today, blacks don’t shimmy around topless portraying primitive images of blacks, collecting the praise and awe of white people anymore. Instead, from my own experiences, immigrants from places the likes of Senegal and Cameroon stand around Paris selling novelty souvenirs to put food on the table; according to The New York Times, black’s with degrees find themselves working menial jobs at fast food joints because of the few and far between alternatives; and blacks have realized the sad reality that they have no political representation in France. The French don’t even conduct census-like surveys and studies that count people by race, so the number of blacks in the country to be accounted for and helped is unknown. The façade of equality portrayed by the French is becoming just as much of a fraud as the Declaration of Independence has been for minorities in America. Through the anger of feeling misunderstood and ignored, many French blacks have returned to the idea of “negritude.”

According to the New York Times, “negritude” is the ideology of black pride that was created in the ’20s and ‘30s by French poet and politician Aime Cesaire and Leopold Sedar Senghor, a poet who became Senegal’s first president. Breeding off of the influence of Harlem Renaissance writers who had lived in France, negritude tries to push for a Europe without race and class divisions. But in reality, the division is ever-present. Many neighborhoods across France, such as Chateau Rouge and Vitry-le-Francois, places filled with a large number of blacks who are poor and frustrated, have become centers for crime and violence.

With the 2008 election of President Barack Obama, negritude is becoming as strong as it ever was, with more blacks restoring their hope and pride in their heritage.

Youssoupha, a black rapper documented in a New York Times article on “negritude,” claims that with Obama as America’s new leader, even if it is not in France, makes him believe that “everything is possible.” They hope to get help, as many seek to take their college degrees they earned but were discouraged from getting, to move out of the oppressive working class and run-down neighborhoods into more stable jobs and living.

While the election of Barack Obama has moved a great number of blacks in the U.S. to strive for bigger and better things, the same sentiment is being felt abroad. Negritude has always given French blacks the faith they need in their heritage, but seeing Obama’s achievement in the flesh means a lot more. To hear his words and feel his message is to know that there is hope for not only the oppressed and depressed blacks residing in France, but for all minorities trying to find their way.

For more information on the legacy and impact of Aime Cesaire, watch the following YouTube video on his life and work.

The Life and Legacy of Aime Cesaire & \”Negritude\”

Alice’s adventures in Russia

Alice in Wonderland has recently returned to the American media spotlight once again with director Tim Burton’s upcoming remake of Lewis Carroll’s classic tale.

Many animation or film adaptations have been made of the book around the world, but a Soviet-produced animated version made by Efrem Pruzhansky in 1981 appears to be the most different.

In fact, it seems that the Soviet version’s darker and trippier style is closer to the original book as opposed to Disney’s family-friendly 1951 feature.

Here’s a short clip from the animation (sorry, no subtitles):

Marina Galperina, a blogger at at Read Russia! writes:

Unlike most other Alices, all lovely and sugar-sweet and just a little spoiled, the Soviet Alice is acidic, stubborn, bitchy and very welcoming to any and all hallucinations Wonderland has to offer, conjured up in a surrealist frolic by the Soviet animators.

But has Alice in Wonderland always been a popular icon in Russia like it has in America and England? It’s hard to imagine such a fantastical and psychedelic story being promoted during Soviet times.

In fact, according to this article by Viktor Sonkin for The St. Petersburg Times, although the book was published in Russia in 1879, it never gained much public appeal. He writes,

…children’s literature in Russia at that time tended to be extremely moralistic and plot-based, and Caroll’s wild imagination did not fit in.

Alice’s Russian journey brings us to the 1960s, when an official searching for non-Soviet socialist literature mistook a Bulgarian translation for a Bulgarian book and ordered it to be translated into Russian.

Through more twists and turns, the first post-war version of Alice finally appeared in 1967. It quickly gained popularity amongst a population that had become more open to fantasy and absurdity, and paved the way to these 1981 animations. As Sonkin concludes,

So perhaps the lack of fear was one reason behind Caroll’s popularity in the Soviet Union: For people stuck in a gray reality, Alice’s rabbit hole and looking-glass offered a way out.

To watch the full animation, click on the following links.
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

World War II Paparazzi

Click on picture for details about artist

Click on picture for details about artist

It turns out that taking a camera to the battlefields of WWII was quite popular  among the soldiers. Many readers of the einestages section in the German magazine Der Spiegel sent in many of their personal photoalbums that were full of pictures taken during the war.

All the war pictures that you can see on this page and many more can be seen at the official page of einestages. To check the page out click here.

The soldiers in the German Army where not only conquering all of Europe, they were being tourists at the same time. They took all kinds of pictures, from sight seeing to cruel war atrocities. The photo albums that were put together during 1939 and 1945 are a unique source of what World War II was really like.

On the go

On the go

It is amazing how many color pictures where taken back then. Most pictures during the war were black and white, however after 1936 color was introduced and quickly increased in popularity.

Even when they were trying to escape to safety, people took the time to take pictures like the one on here labeled “On the go”. It was taken sometime in 1940, when it was less rare for people to take color pictures.

Taking pictures of executions by the German Army was strictly prohibited after 1941. But some pictures still made it to private picture albums. Most did not directly show the executions, but gave big hints on what had happened on those days. Some pictures even had some writing on them, explaining in more detail what was going on. One of the pictures showed a woman who was being used as a human mine detector.


The picture appears to show a peaceful scene of a Russian girl walking around in the water minding her own business. The reality is far from peaceful, at any moment she could fulfill the mission she was sent on and step on a mine, so that the soldiers can pass unharmed.

The photographers had attempted to take out some of the incriminating pictures but still left traces of what had happened. A good example was a picture that was ripped out, but you could still tell that it was a picture of a hung victim.

Did they take them out because of the guilt that the pictures brought with them? Or maybe out of fear that those pictures would get the photographers in trouble? It could also be that they were taken out by future generations that just couldn’t stand the sight of the events that took place during those cruel years. Regardless of the reasons why it took those pictures so long to finally surface to the public, they are sure to leave a lasting impression on those who get to see them.

It seems that the trend of war pictures has not died out yet. Technology has allowed to take this to a whole new level. US soldiers are conveniently taking pictures and making videos with their camera phones and uploading them to the Internet. The content includes everything from explosions and retaliation to average days at the military. US Troops seem to watch juba videos on a regular basis. Juba videos is the website where a lot of those Iraq war pictures and videos get uploaded. Some soldiers even post replies to the videos with pictures of bullet holes in their helmets and with comments such as “You didn’t get me, I’m still here”.

For more detailed information on Juba and modern war pictures click here.

France’s Little Addiction

Défilé de Haute Couture Stéphane Rolland (automne-hiver) 2009/2010

3184916905_835b9ca251When you think of France, what usually comes to mind?

Couture fashion runways, fresh croissants, couples intertwined with the Eiffel Tower as their backdrop? How about this image: a 15 year old sitting with a Hot Pocket, clicking through photos (of strangers and friends alike) on Facebook at 2:00 a.m.? The second scene might be the most fitting.

Research done in February of 2008 shows that Facebook is now “ranked as the most popular social networking site with 12 million visitors, growing 443 percent over the course of the past year”. Though France was behind the U.K. and Germany, they are still a force to be reckoned with a 443% change from 07-08 in Facebook.com users alone, the same year the French option of Facebook was introduced. Outside of the previous study, Facebook has also grown in other French speaking cultures such as Canada where in April of this year, Facebook  made Canadian French available on the site.

To complete the translation from English to Canadian French, users who
added the Facebook translation application were allowed to submit translations
while browsing the site. The community then approved all translations through
a voting system that "voted up" or "voted down" each translation.


In the future, when you think of France, the first thing that comes to mind might not be images of Haute Couture fashion, excellent cuisine or ancient beauty. Instead you may get the same images when you picture home:  A comfy seat, some munchies and hours to waste on the world of Facebook.

Little People on a Mission

Have you fallen in love yet with the little French live wire named Capucine? Her adorable videos have an internet audience of over one million viewers. Her fame began at age 2 when she ate too much candy and now she is a captivating story teller at just 4 years old! The videos trace back to a video blog that her mother has kept since May 2006. Is it Capucine’s imagination or adorable use of the French language that is attracting the attention of people in France and around the world? Perhaps it is a combination of the two that has made her an internet hit.

Capucine and her mother are using this attention to promote a fundraising project. Their goal is to build a library for children in Mongolia by partnering with Edurelief, a Mongolian education fundraiser that began at the University of Oregon in 2005. They are selling the Capucine’s artwork in the form of buttons, t-shirts, and other merchandise to raise money for a project entitled “Capucine’s Library“. How can you say no to a precious little girl asking in French for your help?

YouTube has created many internet video sensations around the world, but nothing captures an audience like cute kids. David After Dentist is another young YouTube star. Fans have created remixes and satirical versions of David’s famous video. This American boy has over 30 million viewer and has started his own charity.

With the help of their families, children like Capucine and David have turned their internet fame into a philanthropy. Is it a trend or just families that care? Either way, their efforts toward change are a sparkle of hope for the future of this world.

German “Velcro” looks torturous


At some point of time in our lives, we probably owned a pair of sneakers that were fastened using Velcro. Touted as the “ziperless zip”, Velcro is everywhere in our lives today – and used even in space.

Now, German scientists have taken the hook-and-loop fastener concept and developed an extreme version, called Metaklett.

Unlike the Velcro we all know, this torturous-looking invention can withstand temperatures soaring almost 1,500 degrees F. The new Velcro’s spring steel can hold 38 tons per square meter (or 2162 pounds per square feet) when a parallel force is being exerted. Metaklett can also resist a perpendicular pulling force of almost 8 tons per square meter. Useful if you need to strap at least two elephants to the ceiling.

Technische Universität München at Garching, a suburb of Munich

Technische Universität München at Garching, a suburb of Munich

Earlier this month, Science blogs around the world were buzzing about this new product. According to Popular Science, researchers developed several versions of the steel fasteners. The “Flamingo” uses wider hooks that deform slightly to glide into the perforated steel tape holes, and then revert to original form and resist back pull like an expanding river, the science magazine reported. There are less hardy versions as well, according to Metaklett’s website – which if you’re a geek, you can check out the specifications of each model there.

What’s perhaps more interesting is that Metaklett – just like everyday Velcro – can be opened up without specialized tools and used again, according to scientist Josef Mair and colleagues at the Technical University of Munich, Germany.

One American auto magazine is already thinking ahead and suggests that the new fasteners can be used to hang exhaust components, which routinely get up to and over 500 degrees F. AOL’s Autoblog.com writes:

Similarly, Metaklett could be used to mount objects around manifolds, even in turbocharged cars, which get really hot. Imagine using the stuff for engine mounts, where you could literally drop an engine in just a few seconds. Plus, you could just ‘Velcro’ the headers to the exhaust pipes.

Or how about body panels? If a Metaklett mounted body panel gets dinged or twisted, we could see just peeling it off and replacing it with a new one. No tools needed.

The original Velcro was very much a European invention – it was the brainchild of Swiss inventor George de Mestral. The name also reflects its European roots: “Velcro“, is a portmanteau of the two French words velours and crochet, or ‘hook’. Despite its European birth, the invention was largely popularized by the Americans. Today, Velcro is headquarted in Manchester, New Hampshire, USA.

Velcro has found its way into popular culture across the world. It has been part of many movies and is mentioned in songs – yes, there’s even a Velcro song by “Intertainers” RhettandLink – and television shows. In 2001: A Space Odyssey flight attendants on commercial spacecraft wear Velcro soled slippers to keep themselves attached to the deck; on Star Trek Velcro was used to attach phasers and communicators to the uniform belts or trousers.

How the latest German invention, which by the way clinched a third place prize in June at the German Steel Innovation Awards, will change how Velcro is used remains to be seen.

Obama: an ad gimmick

Interesting isn’t it? This is an ice cream advertisement that appeared in Russia. Clearly their sense of humor is a little different from an Americans. This ad features President Obama, and advertises chocolate with vanilla flavor. Comparing chocolate ice cream to an African American’s skin color is considered offensive in the United States. An African American might become quite offended with this comparison, due to stereotypes that has followed them since the abolition of slavery.

The Huffington Post didn’t find this ad to be as audience appealing in the US as it is in Russia. What is it about Europeans, or Russians, more specifically, that have a more matter of fact way of presenting things? This ad would not be okay to present in the US because it would be seen as racist. In Russia though I’m sure many people are humored by this and sales would most likely go up. I mean who wouldn’t want to get a hold of this novelty ice cream wrapper? Furthermore, Americans also make fun of Prime Minister Putin and President Medvedev. Is it only fair to be poked fun at back?

To get an idea of how sensitive Americans are to this issue, The New York Times wrote an article regarding businesses in their community that incorporate Obama’s name into signs. One fried chicken restaurant is named Obama’s Fried Chicken. Many people in the community are outraged but others think that many are too sensitive. People in the community argue it is because Obama is so well liked, while others think it is pure racism.

What about this ad that is featured in Germany? It is called Obama Fingers and features breaded chicken fingers with curry sauce. Once again in the US this ad would be seen as offensive because of the stereotypical association of fried chicken and African Americans.  In Germany they do not seem to have a problem with it though since it is merely another product. Is this a way to joke about the US president, or is it simply a clever advertising technique? Check out the site and decide for yourself. If other cultures are ignorant to American stereotypes should they still be held accountable?

Funding World War II

And the Academy Award for the Best Foreign Language Film of 2007 goes to…

The Counterfeiters or Die Fälscher

If you are not a fan of foreign language films, this could be your chance to open up to a new type of film genre.

Directed by Stefan Ruzowitzky, it was the first ever Austrian film to receive an Academy Award.

The film was based on a memoir by Adolf Burger, a Jewish typographer, who was imprisoned in 1942 for forging birth certificates to save Jews from being deported.

The movie is a fictitious account of the Nazi plan, Operation Bernhard, which was designed to flood the British Economy with counterfeited British bank notes.

The movie is based on the actual life of, Salomon Smolianoff, a Russian counterfeiter, who survived the Holocaust and was a part of Operation Bernhard. During the counterfeit operation Burger befriended Smolianoff and later based his memoirs on their time working for the Nazis. For the film, the character was renamed Salomon “Sally” Sorowitsch and was played by Austrian actor, Karl Markovics.

Opening up to new movies, especially foreign films is a great way to learn about another culture. It is very interesting to watch a movie about the Holocaust made from the accounts of real people. How are American Holocaust films different from European directed and acted films? To me the film seems more real and draws the viewer in more. This movie delivers on all levels and it can be enjoyed by anyone, even someone who prefers a more Hollywood action packed movie.

The film shows the internal struggle of a man who wants to save his own life, but knows that by doing so he is hurting others. For Sorowitsch, he knows by helping to produce the false bills he is aiding the Nazis, but by complying with their demands he can stay alive.

Including the Academy Awards, the film has won other awards in such venues as the Berlin Film Festival and the German Film Awards.

It is really refreshing to watch a movie that is simple and at the same time larger than life. Exploring European films is very exciting, and it is always fun to get away from the same old Hollywood movies

Interview with Adolf Burger

Swing Dancing Soviets

Hipsters. They sing, they dance and they’re just raunchy enough to make a musical about! No, I’m not talking about the current American trend of skinny jeans and v-neck-clad kids who listen to music you’ve never even heard of, I’m speaking of the recent Russian musical by the same name.

Directed by Valery Todorovsky and released December 2008, Hipsters (known by the Russians as Stilyagi) is about the subculture of jazz and swing dancing that erupted in the youth of the Soviet Union during the 1950’s. Check out this website for a review of the movie. According to this article from Variety, it’s the first musical to come out of Russia since before the Iron Curtain, and I think it’s been well worth the wait. It features phenomenal dance scenes, big band music numbers, vividly bright costumes and a scandalous love story.

This musical proves my belief that any musical about some subcultural, convention-breaking trend is bound to be popular. Americans have been banking on this theme for years with such movies as Footloose, Sid and Nancy and Hairspray. I mean, have you ever seen a musical about rich bankers having a board meeting? It’d just be boring. A musical about teens dancing to rock music that their parents disapprove of is far more interesting, in my opinion.

What interested me most about this musical, aside from the song and dance, was that it was actually centered around real events. Although I’ve long been a fan of American jazz, I never knew the Soviets had their own version of it. In the book The Development of Jazz in the Former Soviet Union: An Interview With Victor Lebedev talks with Lebedev, a Russian composer and jazz musician, about the subculture’s history. He quotes, “At the beginning of the 1950’s for people who tried to play jazz, and any student could even be expelled and teachers fired from the conservatories if they did it. Jazz was regarded as an agent for the enemy’s ideology.”

The musical will be a part of the Russian Resurrection Film Festival this year that will tour throughout Australia. It also just recently appeared at the Toronto International Film Festival. As of now, I haven’t been able to find any showings in America, but I wish I could. I spent nearly half an hour YouTubing videos of the dance scenes and am determined to see this film ASAP. Although I don’t speak Russian and didn’t understand many of the songs, music is a universal language and I think this film could definitely speak to Americans if it were to come stateside. Check out some of the videos and see what you think!

You don’t know kebab

Doner Kebab

Döner Kebab

When most Americans hear the word kebab, they think Shish kebab: cubes of meat and vegetables skewered on a thin metal rod and cooked over the barbecue. Throughout most of Europe, when people hear kebab, they are thinking of the Döner kebab.

It’s easy to describe what a Döner kebab is, but hard to express exactly how delicious it tastes. Basically, a Döner kebab is a gyro, but with Turkish bread instead of a bland pita and made with savory roasted lamb instead of whatever rubber meat is used to make gyros.

Kebab Stall

The term kebab refers specifically to a skewered meat dish. In our Shish kebab dish, the meat is both prepared and served skewered as one serving, but the skewering in a Döner kebab works differently. A large amount of lamb is skewered and cooked; usually enough to last one restaurant several days. The lamb is then rotated and roasted again prior to each customer’s order, and the perfectly charred outside is shaved off to make the lamb filling for the Döner kebab.

These delicious treats are a common fast food option in most of Europe. Kebap is an alternate accepted spelling. In France they seem to pronounce it as kebap, but I don’t know if they use that spelling. Since Döner kebabs are relatively cheap, fast to make and their stalls are open late, they have become a favorite food of the drunken masses stumbling home in the wee hours of the morning. This has lead to some health concerns in England, but while I am sure that they aren’t exactly good for you, they must be better than Taco Bell.

I like mine with ketchup on it…

I have found Döner kebabs all over France, England, Germany and the Netherlands. The best were in France where you can find yummy but low quality ones in small stalls, as well as extremely delicious yet more expensive ones in slightly larger restaurants that offer them to-go.

Important side-note for potential kebab connoisseurs: I was not fond of the ones in Amsterdam, where the meat and bread are lost under the piles of pickled ingredients.

Next time you are in France or Germany, look for a kebap. I know it’s the first thing I do. If you speak french, check out Kebab Generation.


My eyes have seen the glory of the coming of kebap!

Too young to drive

They might be too young to talk or walk, but Renault thinks they’re the perfect age for a starring role in an advertising campaign.

Renault ads in France

Renault ads in France

In France, the Renault company has been putting up metro ads and posters showing babies named after their car models. The phrase on each ad reads: “C’est le Baby Boom. Chez Renault.”

It’s a bit challenging to figure out if these children truly are named for the Renault models, but stranger things have happened.

Apparently, the campaign, which ends Sept. 30, is one of the largest in France. And it seems that the advertising boost is crucial for the car manufacturer. One report says that Renault’s sales were down 60 percent last year. Renault is the fourth largest auto manufacturer in the world.

In America, car manufacturers also are facing a drop in sales. Most auto dealers who participated in the summer’s “Cash for Clunkers” program should be reimbursed by the end of September. The program was meant as a boost to the slumping auto industry.

France also has a “Cash for Clunkers” program that was recently extended into 2010. French officials say the program took 330,000 “clunkers” off the roads. No numbers yet on how many new cars Renault’s ad campaign has sold.

Maybe we Americans needed a clever ad campaign instead of a bailout.

Ooh-la-la: The French Woman’s Secret

Soon to have its stateside release on September 25, Coco Avant Chanel (a.k.a Coco Before Chanel) seems to be a film that will continue to perpetuate the French female mystique throughout the minds of American women.

Why aren’t French women fat? How did they come to possess this intuitive fashion sense? What’s their secret?

These are the questions that have been posed by a vast majority of American women for decades.

In an article in the Orange Country Register, Debra Ollivier, the author of What French Women Know, said, “I got kind of annoyed by the sort of ‘Ooh-la-la’ stereotypes that we’ve had (in America) for so long. It’s really not about what they’re wearing, it’s about what’s in their head.”

And judging from several other recent articles on French women, it seems what’s in their head is confidence: a daring attitude to make an impressionable, unapologetic statement regardless of popular opinion.

What’s in their head can, however, be reflected through what they’re wearing. Renowned French fashion designer Coco Chanel is the perfect example.

“She really wanted to have freedom from a man, and at first the only way she could find that freedom was through the clothes,” French actress Audrey Tatou, who plays Chanel in the film, told the Huffington Post.

“She was not impressed by anything or anybody, and I think this is a real way to feel powerful, to feel that you have the key to your life,” Tatou said.

It seems some of this empowerment has continued to mold the mindset of the French woman whose American counterparts tend to put on a pedestal.

Ollivier takes the concept of the French woman’s innate confidence a step further to explain why the book He’s Just Not That Into You – a hit in most Western countries, including the States – found little success in France. The French woman wouldn’t dwell on the man, according to Ollivier. “Because if he’s just not that into them, they just don’t care: ‘OK! Ciao!'”

So, is this attitude one of confidence or arrogance? Do you think American women lack the daring mystique of the French female, or is it just exhibited in a different way on the Western shores of the Atlantic?

Power struggle: Putinka vs Medvedeff

This is a light-hearted response to Andrew’s post about how Putin still seems to wield power in Russia over Medvedev.

Apparently, both the prime minister and the president have their namesake brand of vodkas – Putinka and Medvedeff. A half-liter bottle costs exactly the same.

Putinka vs Medvedeff

Putinka vs Medvedeff

As of January, Putinka had 4.4% of the Russian Vodka market, and was the 2nd best selling vodka in Russia. Medvedeff didn’t even make it into the top 20.

Judging from the google search, prospects don’t seem to have improved for Medvedeff as it has yet to launch its own website. Maybe Medvedeff needs more time to emerge from the shadows, as the brand was only inaugurated in December last year and Putinka has been mesmerizing drinkers since 2003. We’ll see.