RUA.RU

Our new urban heroes.

Meet Alexander Yakob, the city manager for the Russian metropolis of Yekaterinburg. He was unfortunately caught once vowing to residents of the sprawling Ural city that “all streets will be repaired.”

And then there’s this guy, Mayor Yevgenij Porunov, who committed the even graver political sin of giving an actual timeline: “Repair of all potholes will be finished,” he said, “by April 2012.″

RUA.RU

By mid-summer, all streets in Yekaterinburg were decidedly not repaired, which isn’t terribly surprising if you follow the politics of potholes in Russia. And so, logically, some enterprising Russian artists tried the only tactic left to them: They painted Yakob and Porunov’s mugs – alongside their incriminating promises – directly onto the potholes in question (hat tip to Colossal for catching this).

The campaign, dubbed "Make the Politicians Work," was orchestrated by the Russian website URA.RU and ad agency Voskhod. It also targeted Governor Yevgenij Kuyvashev ("Reconstruction of roads is our main task"), who looks particularly ridiculous here with a manhole cover in his mouth:

RUA.RU

Lo and behold, as soon as the protest art hit the street, and then the blogs, and then Russian television news, the potholes were reportedly promptly fixed this summer. (Although the city initially doubled down on its bad behavior: crews were at first dispatched to paint over the caricatures but did nothing to repair the roads. Thank goodness for hidden cameras!)

The lesson for city residents everywhere saddled with feckless politicos? "Three cans of paint, and 24 hours of intense PR, worked magic," concludes this narrator in this great Voskhod video recounting the caper:

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. A photo of shoppers on University Avenue in East Palo Alto, California, which is flanked by two technology campuses.
    Equity

    An Island of Silicon Valley Affordability Says Yes to More Housing

    East Palo Alto is surrounded by tech riches, but that hasn’t necessarily helped longtime residents, who welcome a state law mandating zoning reform

  2. A young girl winces from the sting as she receives the polio vaccine in 1954.
    Life

    How Mandatory Vaccination Fueled the Anti-Vaxxer Movement

    To better understand the controversy over New York’s measles outbreak, you have to go back to the late 19th century.

  3. A crowded room of residents attend a local public forum in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
    Life

    Are Local Politics As Polarized As National? Depends on the Issue.

    Republican or Democrat, even if we battle over national concerns, research finds that in local politics, it seems we can all just get along—most of the time.

  4. Equity

    What the Supreme Court Said About the 2020 Census Citizenship Question

    In oral arguments, conservative justices asked about data science, while liberals asked what the citizenship question was really for.

  5. A group of students talk as one tests a pedal-free bicycle they have built.
    Environment

    How an Ancestor of the Bicycle Relates to Climate Resilience

    Architecture students in Buffalo built their own versions of the "laufmaschine," a proto-bike invented in response to a 19th-century environmental crisis.