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Porn for Peace: Ending the War in Ukraine While Riding a Dolphin

03/24/2015 03:35 pm ET | Updated May 24, 2015

Note: This post may contain links to NSFW sites.

In a world where brother battles brother, and Russia and Ukraine find themselves in a virtual state of war, Only One Man could restore peace and harmony. One Man. Sandwiched between two bleached blondes. Riding an inflatable dolphin. And wearing nothing but a jockstrap.

You might be asking: how exactly does this work? And why didn't Angela Merkel think of it first?

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To answer these pressing questions, we need to look no further than the work of self-proclaimed porno-patriot Alexander Pistoletov. Pistoletov (whose name means exactly what it sounds like) has been a sensation on Russia's Vkontakte network for a few years now, thanks to music videos that combine canned disco music, patriotic lyrics, and "erotic" dancing, all with production values that would make Roger Corman weep with envy. Most Americans of my generation have long wondered what it would be like if Sid and Marty Krofft made softcore porn. Thank you, Alexander Pistoletov, for sullying our happy childhood.

Pistotov's latest masterpiece, "From Russia to Ukraine," is musically monotonous (Pistoletov's range here consists of three notes), but visually captivating. Longtime fans will recognize that Pistoletov is exercising admirable, almost prudish restraint: one of his earlier videos ("Crimea is Ours") was censored because its climax is, well, a climax. In "I'm a New Russian Pirate," which somehow manages to look both like a SpongeBob cartoon and SpongeBob's own vicious parody of David Hasselhoff, features a naked Pistoletov swirling his penis around in full circle, first clockwise, then counter-clockwise.

"From Russia to Ukraine" shows a jockstrap-clad Pistoletov (his pistol holstered), barely managing to stay on top of a plastic dolphin while bouncing up and down. The blonde in front of him has all her porn mannerisms down perfectly, but the blonde directly behind him seems at something of a loss. To be fair, her position is an unusual one: in a porn video, what exactly is an unaccessorized woman supposed to do with this man from behind?

In keeping with the spirit of the video, today's essay is something of a joint venture. My wife, Frances Bernstein, has contributed a number of invaluable suggestions. The terrible, sexist cliche "behind every great man is a great woman" comes to mind, except that this video makes it disturbingly literal.

I hear the dolphins singing....

The song's Russian lyrics rhyme, so my humble translation can't possible do them justice. But I'll try:

The great Black Sea,
We're swimming, knowing no sorrow,
We're swimming to Ukraine,
We're going across the border.

Chorus:
From Russia to Ukraine
Bouncing-bouncing on dolphins,
If you don't bounce, you're a Maskal (derogatory for "Russian.")

Let us cross the border.
Bouncing-bouncing at a gallop
On dolphins around Europe.
Crimea was yours, now it's ours,
And you'll give us Donbas, too.

Take care, Ukraine.
You won't be united from now on.
You've sunk to the bottom,
Been consumed by war.

Glorious, glorious Ukraine,
So far you're unconquered.
Ukraine, you are one,
And we need all of you now.

Poor, poor Ukraine,
Possessed by the Yankees.
Don't sell yourself to them,
But give yourself to us.

Ukraine will be with us,
Always united with Russians.
Remember, you were once
tender and sweet with us.

Ukraine and Russia
Are two countries with one messiah.
Two similar languages
For the Khokhol and the Rusak (slurs for "Ukrainian" and "Russian", respectively)

Yes, it is porn for peace, and all who watch are expected to beat their swords into plowshares. But how does it work? What does it all mean? Why should Ukraine give Russia Donbas, when Pistoletov can't be bothered to keep his Donbas covered?

As any literary scholar will tell you, this has to be an allegory. Allow me to present a few possibilities:

1) Pistolev represents Russian-Ukrainian unity. Pulled apart from both sides, this fragile coalition tries awkwardly to remain stable atop its shaky, dolphiny base.

2) Russian-Ukrainian unity is represented not by Pistoletovs' entry body, but by his backside. The left cheek is Russia, while the right is Ukraine. HIs puzzling attempts to insert the dorsal fin (Crimea?) in between show just how difficult keeping the two together can be.

3) Pistoletov is Russia, the blonde in front of him is Ukraine, and the blonde behind him is Europe. This requires us to abandon cartographic accuracy, but bear with me. Powerful, masculine Russia is, of course, taking Ukraine from behind. Or at least pretending to. From behind, Europe can posture all it likes, but is ultimately helpless: there is simply nothing it can do.

Why is the woman behind him so awkward? If she represents Europe, she shows that, while Europe is superficially free, it is nonetheless awkward, inhibited, and unsexy. The stock footage of the man swimming first behind the dolphin, then along with it, and then ahead of it represents Russian public opinion, which has overtaken and surpassed the patriotic narrative fed to it by state television.

While this particular allegorical scenario sounds like it puts Russia in the position of unstoppable aggressor, I would like to draw your attention to one detail: Pistoletov is not entirely naked. Might I suggest that this particular dolphin dance is an allegory not just of power, but of the tension between a show of force and the need for restraint? Pitsoletov's position behind "Ukraine" suggests a classic metaphor of sexualized dominance. But Pistoletov is holding back. Perhaps the organ left unseen is not a straightforward representation of Russian might, but rather the forces of a Russia that could be unleashed if all controls were lifted? Almost unbridled nationalism is bridled only by one powerful, strategically=places jockstrap.

That jockstrap is Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin.