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Russia looking to impress tourists by ousting fat police?

This article from the Australian Herald-Sun demonstrates several classic fat tropes. Apparently Russia's Interior Minister wants to eliminate fat people from the police force, as part of an effort to professionalize their force and make them "look more dignified."

"The fat and paunchy will not get through," Interior Minister Rashid Nurgaliyev was quoted as telling a private meeting.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has vowed to cut the police force by a fifth, and increase its professional level. The officers have even got a new uniform, with a more tailored look. Now they have just a month to pass tests to prove their suitability in the slimmed-down force.


"With puffy eyes, hanging cheeks, bull necks and huge bellies, many Saint Petersburg policemen look unappetising," complained Neva 24 website, saying that 12,000 of the city's 40,000 officers are overweight.

Unappetizing? According to this article, at least, this supposed effort is entirely about aesthetics--particularly for the sake of impressing tourists and investors--people who bring in the money. What's perhaps most interesting about this article is the focus on fat men.

Fatness, more and more, is becoming a global class marker (in a very different way from the past). For a long time Western nations have fought fat in large part because it became an indicator of national weakness. Now, it's also about the bottom line.

Still, the effort in Russia to root out fat policemen is "unofficial," indicating that it's not such an acceptable thing to say outright. The spokesperson for the interior ministry denied that weight would be used to judge police, stating that there is no policy about weight.

"If a man weighs 180kg and runs the distance in 10 seconds, then there's no problem," he said.

ASDAH's new HAES Blog | Crowdsourcing: Responses to #fatpeoplenightmares

Notblue July 1st, 2011 | Link | Okay, that last bit it

Okay, that last bit it pretty interesting. I mean, let's say the fat policemen prove to be "fit" for the job after all and pass whatever tests they need to. Will they still be ousted for their size? Hmm...

"Kind words are short and easy to speak but their echoes are truly endless." Mother Theresa

strawberry July 1st, 2011 | Link | Policemen are supposed to

Policemen are supposed to look appetizing?
I thought they're supposed to look intimidating, like they could send you off to the gulag if you slide past a STOP sign on a deserted road. If they start looking friendlier than, say, TSA agents, then there's something very wrong here.

JennyLinsky July 1st, 2011 | Link | The headline actually made

The headline actually made me wonder if Russia was adopting HAES to impress American tourists. I misread "fat police" to mean the diet-pushers of the word.

Second of all, since when did cannibals invade Russia? Referring to one's fellow humans in terms of being edible is very unnerving, to say the least.

DeeLeigh's picture
July 3rd, 2011 | Link | You've got to admit though,

You've got to admit though, if you were in fact a cannibal, there'd definitely be more eating in a fat cop. I hear they're great in a vodka marinade.

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