Swipe right on Stalin: Tinder shows love for dead Soviet leader
Vice’s Paul Schwenn ran his social experiment using an iconic photo of a dashing young Stalin, but the results say more about the vacuity of online dating – and the author’s own insecurities – than they do about one of the 20th century’s most recognizable bogeymen.Also on rt.com Temporally challenged: 69yo man fights to legally change his age... for more Tinder dates
Schwenn’s Stalin has reformulated his anti-fascism for the modern age with his Tinder profile including a cutesy “FCK NZS” and “always anti-fascist”. However, even 21st-century Stalin, complete with cool tattoos, has difficulty getting a date until Schwenn pays for premium access and makes his profile bisexual – then he’s swamped with interest.
“My matches can be sorted into three main groups. First: the clueless – those showering me with compliments. Second: those who become increasingly skeptical as we chat,” Schwenn reveals. “Third: a combination of Stalinists and history experts. With these people I can speak freely about Lenin’s Testament, using a silence emoji, and chat about the murder of party rival Trotsky, utilising the ice pick emoji.”
No one takes issue with Stalin’s rise from the dead – one user even finds it a turn-on. “I wouldn’t mind sharing a Gulag with you ;)” he says in a message that would be perceived as insulting by many who share the memory of the Soviet prison camps.
After racking up some 200 matches and communicating in three languages, the intrepid undercover reporter opts to meet one “Sofia” in east Berlin, cutting right to the chase: “Why did you agree to go on a date with someone who is pretending to be Joseph Stalin?”
She apparently thinks it would be funny, bored with the usual “guys who flaunt their six packs.” Inexplicably (and somewhat creepily) self-confessed shy man Schwenn tries to maintain a pretense that, if not a reincarnation of Stalin, he is at least really called Josef, but eventually accidentally blows his own cover later in the date by revealing his name is Paul.
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Sadly for Schwenn, “good looking, smart, funny” Slavic studies major Sofia is apparently more interested in the vozhd than the man behind the curtain. When Schwenn is reported on Tinder for “posting offensive material” on his profile, he ignores the whole false pretenses element and sends Sofia his real contact details – and gets no response.
The ongoing fascination with Stalin looks to be real, but how would other former leaders fare on Tinder today? Would Charles de Gaulle prove a heartbreaker if let loose on the dating app, or Margaret Thatcher, famously “not for turning,” be more popular for swiping? It’s hard to imagine Adolf Hitler getting too many matches but then again, in this dating climate, who knows?
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