Putin Fan Club

In 2007, Hungarian-born photographer Bela Doka documented Russian kids so enamored with Vladimir Putin — who was shrewdly turning up the propaganda to maneuver around his presidential term limit, slated for 2008 — that they formed the Putin Fan Club.

Based in Moscow, the Putin Fan Club numbered more than a thousand fanatical teens who revered their leader, a former high-ranking KGB officer, far more than Russian celebrities and pop stars. While they mostly hung out online, giddily gabbing about their shared love of Putin, these images of a brainwashed youth are unsettling enough. And they beg the timely question: Can the same statutory hysteria happen in a newly demagogic US?

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