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Russia's Political Elites as You Never Wanted to See Them

Kremlin Press Service, edited by The Moscow Times using FaceApp

The Moscow Times is a serious newspaper with serious news stories about real issues. But even readers of the weightiest reporting need a breather, every now and again, and that’s what this is: a breather.

That, at any rate, is how I sold it to our news editor. Another way to describe what you’re about to read is that yours truly recently discovered a mobile app that “uses neural networks” to morph faces in images. And now I’m eager to spread the giggling.

Like “Prisma,” another app that uses artificial intelligence to restyle images in various art forms, “FaceApp” is developed by a small team of engineers working in Russia. In February, founder and CEO Yaroslav Goncharov, a former manager at Yandex, told Techcrunch that his project’s main selling point is that it alters images “while keeping them photorealistic.”

That’s great. All the neural network business? Fantastic, probably! I spent a good hour playing with the app, gender-bending and aging myself and people I know.

Then I moved onto celebrities, and that’s when I suddenly wondered what Russia’s leading statesmen might look like, when fed through FaceApp.

And that’s what I share with you now:

Say hello to President Vladimir Putin. Female, young, and “hot.” Kremlin Press Service
Headed to Chechnya sometime soon? Don't forget to stop in on the leader of the republic, Ramzan Kadyrov. Here is is in female, old, and “hot” forms. Kremlin Press Service
He's easy to forget, but remember with me Dmitry Medvedev, Russia's erstwhile president and current prime minister. As a lady, an old man, and a baby. Kremlin Press Service
She's not a household name outside Russia, but meet Maria Zakharova, Russia's Foreign Ministry spokesperson, as a man, an old woman, and a girl. Kremlin Press Service
Put your hands together for Sergei Shoygu, Russia's minister of defense. Here he is as a woman, a “hot” man, and — well — just smilin'. Kremlin Press Service
Vladimir Solovyov is a leading pundit on Russian state television. Here he is being a woman, a child, and a “hottie.” Kremlin Press Service
We couldn't cover Vladimir Solovyov and skip Dmitry Kiselyov, the Kremlin's “chief propagandist.” In woman, “hottie,” and smiling forms. Kremlin Press Service
And here's Kiselyov's Rossiya Segodnya partner in crime, Margarita Simonyan, as a man, an old woman, and a young girl. Kremlin Press Service
He's not Russian, but let's take a moment to peek at Alexander Lukashenko, the dictator of Belarus: smiling, young, and “hot.” Kremlin Press Service
Oligarch Mikhail Prokhorov is finally selling off his cherished independent news agency RBC. Here he is as a woman, young man, and old man. Kremlin Press Service
(Needed one more of this guy.) Kremlin Press Service

This text was written by Kevin Rothrock. He alone wasted your time with this.

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