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» Customs with bling as Vladivostok office prank goes viral
11 февраля 2011 | News

A humorous R&B video allegedly featuring Vladivostok’s customs officers has given Russian Internet users much to talk about – though opinions are divided on whether or not the clip is actually offensive.
Staff in the Far Eastern port city chose to mimic the glamourous likes of US diva Beyonce, pictured above in concert in Moscow, to shoot a fun project for a corporate New Year party.
And a customs source told Komsomolskaya Pravda that it was never meant to reach the public gaze.
But Victoria Shamayeva, a representative of the customs office press service, said that there will be “an investigation” into how the video wound up on the internet, and whether or not the people starring in it are actual members of Russian customs.

Champagne corks and maternity leave
The video features, among other things, half naked women covering themselves up with what appear to be customs declarations, champagne popping in the office, and a fat man in a Batman suit. It is professionally shot, and the accompanying soundtrack, a riff on a popular rap song, describes just how much fun life is for local customs officials.
Among the one-liners uttered in the song is a reference to how female staff members can wind up “on maternity leave” due to the efforts of one particular officer.
One of the department heads, named Sergei Rupinets, is shown in a threatening manner, implying that nobody will get away with corruption under his watch. His appearance is undercut with a famous scene from a classic Soviet film, “The white sun of the desert,” in which the hero, Comrade Sukhov, utters the line: “You know me, Abdullah – I don’t take bribes. I’m offended on behalf of the nation.”

Flight of fancy and furrowed brows
On YouTube, the video has gathered a number of positive comments. “It’s a great video – it’s done well and it’s fun,” wrote user shev888. “It lifts the mood. All the people who are being a drag about this need the following recommendation: sometimes, there’s no reason to look for meaning between the lines… Be jealous silently, you probably won’t be able to pull something like this off yourselves, you’re too chicken.”
Others have reacted negatively, pointing out that the customs officers, if they are indeed featured in the film, are behaving unprofessionally and acting like show-offs.
Some expats have also taken to the video, passing it on to one another via social networks. “A video like this would probably cause a huge scandal in the States,” said Laura, and American transplant living in Moscow. “But Russians have more of a sense of humour when it comes to something like this – and my expat friends like it too.
 “I think the video should be treated as a parody. It’s not mirroring the lives of customs officers – it’s just featuring a stereotype about the authorities.”


source - http://themoscownews.com

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