Apparently this ad has been around for a while, but I only noticed it yesterday, spread over two pages of the Alitalia inflight magazine: Former Soviet leader and USSR president Mikhail Gorbachev now makes publicity the French luxury label, Louis Vuitton.
The ad shows Gorbachev in a car with a Vuitton bag at his side. The picture is rather dark, suggesting the gloomy ages of the Cold War and Communism. Gorbachev looks through the window at the Berlin Wall, depicted in the background.
There is an interesting twist to the whole thing:
Poking out of the bag is a publication with the headline (in Cyrillic): "The Murder of Litvinenko: They Wanted to Give Up the Suspect for $7,000.", referring to Alexander V. Litvinenko, the former KGB spy who died last November after being poisoned with a radioactive isotope. On his deathbed, Litvinenko accused Russia's President Vladimir Putin of orchestrating his murder. The British authorities accused one of Litvinenko’s associates, Andrei Lugovoi, of the crime and requested his extradition from Russia. The Kremlin refused.
So it looks like Gorbachev outsmarted everyone: He (being well paid, no doubt) used a luxury "Western" fashion label to give a hidden critical message to the current Kremlin rulers. Maybe communism has not died after all... Or he is just trying to follow the footsteps of Putin, who is after all, said to be Europe's richest man...
Picture courtesy photographer Annie Liebovitz, Louis Vuitton and AP. Source: NY Times