Swiss Politicians Let It All Hang Out

The head of Switzerland’s FDP-Frauen party is baring more than her soul in an effort to promote women’s rights. Some of Switzerland’s male politicians have make similarly revealing pitches.

Claudine Esseiva in her campaign
Claudine Esseiva in her campaign

A new trend has the nation's legislators baring it all to focus public attention on their -- causes.

The FDP-Frauen, the Swiss women's liberal party, has gotten its national election campaign off to a high profile start with a revealing image of its 30-something general secretary, Claudine Esseiva. In the photo the party head appears topless -- albeit shielded by a modesty-preserving slogan that reads ‘"No More Toplessness.""

The reference is to one of the party's major campaign platforms: more women in the higher echelons of both the private and public sectors.

Swiss women, in person-on-the-street interviews, found the ad "not immediately obvious – you had to think about it" or "more about sex than supporting the cause of women,"" although a male student said he thought it got its intended message across.

Zurich-based communications consultant Klaus J. Stöhlker disagrees. Stöhlker called the slogan ‘"too intellectual, convoluted,"" and said the message lacks substance. It was not, however, completely surprising, according to the consultant.

"In Switzerland today, erotic capital is being used with a lot more awareness than it was 20 years ago," he said. "Society is getting more and more sexualized, with middle-class values disappearing largely because of tough economic and political competition. People want to get noticed."

Young male politicians for both the Green and conservative SVP parties have also experimented with this kind of "bare it all" approach -- Xavier Schwitzguébel of the SVP quite dramatically so, his privates shielded only by an assault rifle, to mark his stance against a weapons initiative.

Read the original stories here and here in German

Photo - FDP-Frauen

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"The Truest Hypocrisy" - The Russia-NATO Clash Seen From Moscow

Russia has decided to cut off relations with the Western military alliance. But Moscow says it was NATO who really wanted the break based on its own internal rationale.

NATO chief Stoltenberg and Russian Foregin Minister Lavrov

Russian Foreign Ministry/TASS via ZUMA
Pavel Tarasenko and Sergei Strokan

MOSCOW — The Russian Foreign Ministry's announcement that the country's permanent representation to NATO would be shut down for an indefinite period is a major development. But from Moscow's viewpoint, there was little alternative

These measures were taken in response to the decision of NATO on Oct. 6 to cut the number of personnel allowed in the Russian mission to the Western alliance by half. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said the removal of accreditations was from eight employees of the Russian mission to NATO who were identified as undeclared employees of Russian intelligence." We have seen an increase in Russian malicious activity for some time now," Stoltenberg said.

The Russian Foreign Ministry called NATO's expulsion of Russian personnel a "ridiculous stunt," and Stoltenberg's words "the truest hypocrisy."

In announcing the complete shutdown in diplomacy between Moscow and NATO, the Russian Foreign Ministry added: "The 'Russian threat' is being hyped in strengthen the alliance's internal unity and create the appearance of its 'relevance' in modern geopolitical conditions."

The number of Russian diplomatic missions in Brussels has been reduced twice unilaterally by NATO in 2015 and 2018 - after the alliance's decision of April 1, 2014 to suspend all practical civilian and military cooperation between Russia and NATO in the wake of Russia's annexation of Crimea. Diplomats' access to the alliance headquarters and communications with its international secretariat was restricted, military contacts have frozen.

Yet the new closure of all diplomatic contacts is a perilous new low. Kommersant sources said that the changes will affect the military liaison mission of the North Atlantic alliance in Moscow, aimed at promoting the expansion of the dialogue between Russia and NATO. However, in recent years there has been no de facto cooperation. And now, as Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has announced, the activities of the military liaison mission will be suspended. The accreditation of its personnel will be canceled on November 1.

NATO told RIA Novosti news service on Monday that it regretted Moscow's move. Meanwhile, among Western countries, Germany was the first to respond. "It would complicate the already difficult situation in which we are now and prolong the "ice age," German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas told reporters.

"Lavrov said on Monday, commenting on the present and future of relations between Moscow and the North Atlantic Alliance, "If this is the case, then we see no great need to continue pretending that any changes will be possible in the foreseeable future because NATO has already announced that such changes are impossible.

The suspension of activities of the Russian Permanent Mission to NATO, as well as the military liaison and information mission in Russia, means that Moscow and Brussels have decided to "draw a final line under the partnership relations of previous decades," explained Andrei Kortunov, director-general of the Russian Council on Foreign Affairs, "These relations began to form in the 1990s, opening channels for cooperation between the sides … but they have continued to steadily deteriorate over recent years."

Kortunov believes the current rupture was promoted by Brussels. "A new strategy for NATO is being prepared, which will be adopted at the next summit of the alliance, and the previous partnership with Russia does not fit into its concept anymore."

The existence and expansion of NATO after the end of the Cold War was the main reason for the destruction of the whole complex of relations between Russia and the West. Today, Russia is paying particular attention to marking red lines related to the further steps of Ukraine's integration into NATO. Vladimir Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov previously stated this, warning that in response to the alliance's activity in the Ukrainian direction, Moscow would take "active steps" to ensure its security.

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