A stereotypical shawarma kiosk operator explains his distaste for Sobyanin
A street food vendor, a corrupt traffic cop, an impudent illegal parking valet and a selfish outdoor advertising manager are the set of characters appearing in a series of viral Youtube videos titled "Anyone but Sobyanin?"
The four short videos made the rounds on social networks and quickly became popular, accumulating several million views within a week.
In the videos, which began appearing last week, each unsavory character ironically represents a "victim" of acting Mayor Sergei Sobyanin's policies and calls for his defeat at the polls, often resorting to offensive language.
A shawarma salesman with a stereotypically thick Central Asian accent in the first video laments losing his job after his kiosk next to a metro station was torn down by the authorities following the mayor's order to eliminate spontaneous markets.
In the second video a corrupt cop rails at the acting mayor for replacing traffic police officers with automatic cameras, depriving him of the opportunity to shake down drivers for money.
Advertising expert Tigran Bezhanov told Komsomolskaya Pravda that the videos are an innovative approach to political advertising that appears to have hit the mark for Sobyanin.
The fake rants even gained attention of opposition journalist and Sobyanin opponent Oleg Kashin, who tweeted a link to a video.
Other experts say viral videos' colloquial language and simple messages are an effective way for drawing new supporters, primarily among the people not interested in politics.
It was not immediately clear who created the series. The candidates' campaign offices have not commented.