Russian Politician Uses 'Game of Thrones' Star's Photo to Promote Safe City
LONDON – A Russian politician running for mayor of the Urals city of Yekaterinburg underestimated the popularity of Game of Thrones when he posted a photo of British star Emilia Clarke to his Facebook page, claiming she was a young woman who feels safe walking around the city at night.
Putin loyalist and deputy regional governor Yakov Silin used the photo of Clarke -- who plays Daenerys Targaryen in the series -- as a plug on his campaign page.
Claiming the photo was of a local woman "24-year-old Anya," Silin's campaign said the woman enjoyed nighttime walks around the city, Russia's fourth largest, "confident that nobody's going to harass or rape me."
"I suddenly noticed that I haven't been afraid to take walks around Yekaterinburg at night the last couple of years. It's so wonderful: few people around, the street lamps alight, the fresh air. It's incredibly beautiful, especially after the rain," the post read.
Following a storm of ridicule from Game of Thrones fans online, Silin's campaign team moved swiftly to defend the post as an example of the safety young women could expect in the city.
They claimed the photo had been chosen based on the strength of the actress' character and likened that to the strength needed to lead the city into the future, or to make it "the most modern megalopolis in Eurasia" as Silin's team says.
"We assure you that Daenerys Targaryen is just a beautiful woman here. We don’t aspire to her support, but we wouldn't be ashamed to show her around Yekaterinburg," Silin's team later said in a statement.
The campaign also posted a tongue-in-cheek photo of Bryan Cranston, who plays a chemistry teacher turned meth dealer in Breaking Bad, with a comment promising a happy, crime-free life for any chemist in the city.