Russia uses smiling kids in tourism ad for war zone

Hey, they originated the Potemkin Village, right?

Russia’s southern region of Ingushetia is trying to overcome its reputation for bombs, murders and shootouts by paying for a glossy supplement featuring strutting dancers and smiling mothers. The eight-page, full colour supplement entitled “My Favourite Republic” appeared inside copies of the popular Moscow newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda on Tuesday. … “Ingushetia, it is an amazing, beautiful region,” the supplement said on its front page. “You could talk about it endlessly.”

Or you can believe what the US State Department says about Inqushetia and the rest of the Caucasus:

Throughout the region, local criminal gangs have kidnapped foreigners, including Americans, for ransom. U.S. citizens have disappeared in Chechnya and remain missing. Close contacts with the local population do not guarantee safety. There have been several kidnappings of foreigners and Russians working for media and non-governmental organizations in the region. Due to the ongoing security concerns, U.S. Government travel to the area is very limited. American citizens residing in these areas should depart immediately as the safety of Americans and other foreigners cannot be effectively guaranteed.

I went to, the website for Robert Young Pelton who writes The World’s Most Dangerous Places and was very disappointed to find only very dated material on Russia and its dangerous places. Tsk, Tsk, Robert. CLARIFICATION: Actually the site does have more recent info, it’s just that when I used the search function the first page and a half or so of results were all for the site’s DangerFinder archives. Once I did a search for Chechnya -DangerFinder, I got the new stuff. Now I’m just disappointed with the site’s search function, not its actual content.