Russian Gigachad’ decides to run for office

A bodybuilder and aspiring politician made headlines by posing toppless for campaign shots

A candidate for the city council of Vladivostok in Russia’s Far-East has become a local internet sensation after using a semi-naked picture of himself on campaign adverts. Due to his athletic physique, some online commentators compared Andrey Fesik to ‘GigaChad,’ a popular internet meme, representing an ultra-masculine male.

Fesik’s leap to fame came earlier this month when a poster prepared for his campaign was uploaded online. It featured a topless photo of the muscled candidate and a slogan promising that the city is going to be in firm hands if he’s elected on September 11.

The 35-year-old bodybuilder, who’s employed as a trainer at a local gym, is running for the Liberal Democratic Party (LDPR).

The party, which is often described as ultra-nationalist and populist, currently holds 21 seats in the Russian parliament. The LDPR has been around since the early 1990s, and was led by Vladimir Zhirinovsky, who passed away earlier this year due to complications from Covid-19.

Fesik is in charge of implementing national projects in culture and sport in the region.

Internet users browsed through Fesik’s Instagram page and discovered more spicy images there. Those that attracted the most attention featured him sporting a kitchen apron and reading a newspaper in a revealing gown.

The heightened attention prompted the aspiring politician to briefly block access to the account and allegedly delete some of the more controversial photos. His page is now accessible again.

Fesik told last week that his promotional pictures appeared on the internet by accident and that the poster with his topless photo was just one of many possible choices that hadn’t been approved yet.

His team decided to add “a touch of irony and sarcasm” because “the people are tired of formulaic candidates and slogans,” he said.

“The voter wants to see real people with some healthy sense of humor. We already have a lot of serious men in jackets, and what’s the good of that?” he said.

Fesik also confirmed that it wasn’t a stunt and that he’s an actual candidate, who has already been registered to take part in the election.

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