Brad Pitt, Sylvester Stallone ‘join’ election campaigns in Russian regions

American actor, director and artist Sylvester Stallone speaks at the opening of his art exhibition at the Engineer Castle of the Russian Museum in St. Petersburg. © Alexei Danichev
The deputy head of Russia’s main elections body claims officials are aware of several cases in which images of Hollywood actors and other celebrities were used in promotional materials, but that no complaints had been made by the stars in question.

We’ve been watching Brad Pitt, Sylvester Stallone, athlete [Usain] Bolt and football player Ronaldo promote one of candidates in the Kaliningrad Region. No complaints have been filed,” Konstantin Ivlev told reporters on Wednesday.

Ivlev added that in the Kostroma Region politicians were using images of former Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili and Russian socialite-turned opposition journalist Ksenia Sobchak, but no complaints had been made in that case either.

Earlier this month Russian business daily Kommersant reported that supporters of the incumbent acting governor of Kaliningrad Region, Nikolay Tsukanov, posted several videos on their YouTube channel with a fake Russian soundtrack over clips featuring foreign celebrities. Among these videos Quentin Tarantino ‘thanked’ the regional leader for renovating municipal apartments and Sylvester Stallone ‘announced’ that he was so impressed with the thriving economy in Kaliningrad that he was going to make it the main venue of the next film in the ‘Expendables’ franchise.

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Regional elections officials said in press comments that they had the videos had not been registered as official propaganda and therefore they had received no consent from the people whose images were used in them.

On the forthcoming unified national Election Day on September 13, 11 Russian regions will select legislatures, with 21 heads of regions being elected by direct vote and four more by voting in regional parliaments. In addition, over 3,300 candidates from 35 political parties will be competing for seats in various regional legislatures.