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Siberian Artist Urges Handing Out Special Condoms At World Cup To Reflect Russia’s ‘Power And Greatness’ – OpEd


In the early years of the Cold War, some over-eager CIA officers proposed bringing down the Soviet Union by manufacturing extra-large condoms marked “Average American” and sending them into the USSR via balloon to spark sexual tensions in the Soviet people. It was jokingly referred to as “Operation Penis Envy” and rejected out of hand.

Now, 70 years later, however, a similar idea has surfaced but in the Russian Federation rather than in the United States as a result of the decision of the organizers of the Olympiad in South Korea to hand out 37 condoms to each of the participants in order to promote safe sex among the athletes.

That has inspired Krasnoyarsk artist Vasily Slonov to come up with the idea of special condoms imprinted with birth bark markings to be handed out to athletes and other visitors during the World Cup in Russia this coming summer; and his idea has been gaining support on the Internet (

On his Facebook page, Slonov says that he has appealed to the Russian sports ministry, the Russian Football Union and the organizing committee for the World Cup competition in Russia “to immediately begin production of special Russian condoms reflecting the power and greatness of our Motherland!”

Not only would such condoms do that, he argues; they would allow Russia to beat “the world record for condoms established at Pyeongchang. He urges Russian officialdom not to miss this opportunity because of a lack of imagination and a lack of will. Such condoms could, he suggests, make all the difference.

Among those who have visited his page are those who think Slonov’s notion is a good one but needs work and suggest that birchbark may not be the best thing to put on condoms. They’ve offered a variety of other ideas. But other visitors think that what he is proposing is absurd and would only embarrass the country.

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Paul Goble

Paul Goble is a longtime specialist on ethnic and religious questions in Eurasia. Most recently, he was director of research and publications at the Azerbaijan Diplomatic Academy. Earlier, he served as vice dean for the social sciences and humanities at Audentes University in Tallinn and a senior research associate at the EuroCollege of the University of Tartu in Estonia. He has served in various capacities in the U.S. State Department, the Central Intelligence Agency and the International Broadcasting Bureau as well as at the Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Mr. Goble maintains the Window on Eurasia blog and can be contacted directly at [email protected] .

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