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Russian Soldiers Join Ballerinas for Puzzling Women’s Day Photo-'Shoot'

Ivan Iskorenko, Varya Ivanova / slujbapokontraktu / Vkontakte

In a high-stakes game of who can get more creative on International Women’s Day on March 8, this Russian city brought out the big guns.

Photographs from Yekaterinburg showed an unlikely pairing of ballerinas and servicemen armed with assault rifles posing in an empty metro station. Several of the photographs feature the troops pointing squarely at the camera as they’re flanked by the dancing ballerinas.

Ivan Iskorenko, Varya Ivanova / slujbapokontraktu / Vkontakte

The project dubbed: “The strength of a man is in the tenderness and love of a woman” appeared on Yekaterinburg’s volunteer military service social media page Thursday morning.

Ivan Iskorenko, Varya Ivanova / slujbapokontraktu / Vkontakte

Vladimir Boychenko, who heads one of its recruitment centers, told the local e1.ru website that the photoshoot took place earlier this week and was greenlighted by Yekaterinburg’s administration.

Ivan Iskorenko, Varya Ivanova / slujbapokontraktu / Vkontakte

Russia’s edition of Maxim magazine was baffled at both the pairing of armed men in fatigues with ballerinas and the choice of a metro station for the setting of the photoshoot.

Ivan Iskorenko, Varya Ivanova / slujbapokontraktu / Vkontakte

“Without knowing the backstory, you’d think the ballerinas are either a decoy or especially well-camouflaged special forces,” it wrote.

Ivan Iskorenko, Varya Ivanova / slujbapokontraktu / Vkontakte

The Central Military District troops certainly can’t be blamed for trying.

Ivan Iskorenko, Varya Ivanova / slujbapokontraktu / Vkontakte

But Yekaterinburg had competitors.

In Moscow, Putin congratulated mounted women police officers by riding with them.

In Crimea, masked men handed out flowers to women on the street while dressed in fatigues in the city of Simferopol, mimicking the "Little Green Men" seen on the peninsula before it was annexed by Russian in 2014.

Lastly, the Komsomolskaya Pravda tabloid promised women free pancakes on women's day, which corresponds this year with Maslenitsa, a traditional week-long holiday feast celebrated before Lent.

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