Losing Russia’s presidential election has literally affected the image of the Communist Party contender. Performing worse than he predicted cost him his puffy mustache, which he had to shave off as the result of a wager.
While on the campaign track, Pavel Grudinin pledged that he would garner at least 15 percent of the vote in an interview with popular Russian vlogger Yury Dud. The blogger in turn staked the hair on his head. Grudinin came in second after Vladimir Putin, but still far short of his target, with a final result of 11.77 percent.
Observers in Russia were gripped with suspense since March 18 to see if Grudinin would deliver on his promise. Photoshopped images of what Grudinin could look like without his signature mustache have emerged. Finally, on Saturday a photo of the clean-shaven politician was published on an Instagram page in his name. Then came some confusion, with his office claiming that the photo was fake and that the account was not Grudinin’s at all.
Hours later, a video of the shaving process with Grudinin’s comments was released. “A bet is a bet. So even though I have had a mustache for over 30 years, today I am shaving it off,” he said. “What a sight,” he remarked after getting rid of the soup-strainer.
Grudinin had earlier seemed reluctant to make good on his promise, claiming that his actual election result was better than the Russian Central Election Commission announced on Friday. He reiterated the claim in the Saturday video, but agreed that “technically” he lost the bet.
The former Communist candidate is not the only Russian politician who has gambled his facial hair lately. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov shaved off his mustache in 2014 after losing a bet to his schoolgirl daughter on whether she could pass her exams with flying colors.
While Grudinin failed in his run for the Russian presidency, he may have increased his chances for office in the US. According to rumors from the White House, Donald Trump’s latest pick for National Security Adviser, John Bolton, could have become America’s Secretary of State last year – but only if he had agreed to shave off his mustache, which the US president allegedly found repulsive. In the end, Bolton got to both keep the cookie duster and get the nomination.
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