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Meet Crimea's New Anime Mascot, Natalia Poklonskaya

Natalia Poklonskaya as an anime character. Image distributed online.

Natalia Poklonskaya as an anime character. Image distributed online.

Natalia Poklonskaya, the newly minted Prosecutor General appointed by the secessionist government of Crimea, has captured the hearts and minds of RuNet, and, surprisingly, Japan. A video from her March 11 press conference accepting the position has over a million views on YouTube, perhaps because of her incongruously youthful appearance (she is actually 33) combined with the seriousness of her office.

Natalia Poklonskya talking to the press. YouTube screenshot.

Natalia Poklonskya talking to the press. YouTube screenshot.

The fresh-faced, yet stern, Poklonskaya, talking to the press surrounded by microphones, served as an inspiration for Japanese and Russian fan-art. Most of the pictures are drawn in a manga (Japanese comics) style, and grotesquely over-emphasize the “cute” or “kawaii” aspects of Poklonskaya's appearance. After first appearing on the Japanese manga artist repository Pixiv [jp], the images spread through RuNet forums and imageboards, like Pikabu.ru [ru], inspiring memetic variants of their own.

Poklonskaya seemed to approve of the fan-art on a Twitter account she started on March 20:

Thank you for the support, and the art. All the drawings are wonderful:)

Of course, there is a good chance that this Twitter account is fake: in a March 19 interview [ru] Poklonskaya said she has no accounts on social networks like Twitter. If it is fake, it's in good company with the two presumably fake Twitter accounts (@sergyaksenov and @AksenovCrimea) of Crimean Prime Minister Sergey Aksyonov, who also claimed [ru] that he does not use social networks. The proliferation of fakes in Russian Twitter sometimes causes implosions of hilarious absurdity — yesterday the fake Twitter of Ramzan Kadyrov asked [ru] the Poklonskaya account if it was also fake (the person tweeting said no).

Regardless of whether the real Poklonskaya approves, lets move on to the art, with the caveat that these pictures can be construed as incredibly sexist:

In the right image Poklonskaya is holding a sword with "LAW" written on it, piercing the head of a Right Sector-colored snake. The artist is likely Russian.

In the right image Poklonskaya is holding a sword with “LAW” written on it, piercing the head of a Right Sector-colored snake. The artist is likely Russian.

This style of drawing is called chibi.

This style of drawing is called chibi.

The color of the uniform is off here, but who's keeping track!

The color of the uniform is off here, but who's keeping track!

Yet another selection.

Yet another selection.

And of course, the requisite "cat-girl" treatment.

And of course, the requisite “cat-girl” treatment.

Here, Poklonskaya finds herself as a subject of a dating simulation.

Here, Poklonskaya finds herself as a subject of a dating simulation.

And in the meta-meme, she is subject to Putin's affections.

And in a meta-meme, she is subject to Putin's affections.

Finally: "VICTORY WILL BE NYA-OURS"

Finally: “VICTORY WILL BE NYA-OURS” [or "AWWWRS"]

Setting aside for the moment the objectification of a professional woman with a difficult and dangerous job, this obsession with Poklonskaya might show the need for a charismatic Crimean leader. Although, now, when they would be competing with Putin himself, perhaps being a charismatic Crimean leader isn't all it's made out to be.

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