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#3 - JRL 7215
BBC Monitoring
Russian textile mill making Putin tapestries
Source: TVS, Moscow, in Russian 1100 gmt 8 Jun 03

[Presenter] The use of President Putin's image turned to be a very profitable business for textile manufacturers in Kostroma. Production of tapestries with Putin's portraits has been organized in the town. There are plans to start manufacturing bed linen with same design.

[Correspondent Olga Bashilova] Unlike many other textile factories, the Kostroma textile mill is recovering from difficult times. The cause is a new item in its product mix - a tapestry with President Putin's portrait. However, the decision to make this successful marketing step did not come easily.

[Oleg Murzin, captioned as director of the Kostroma linen textile mill] Our painters worked on it and chose a rather unusual photo, which reflects Putin's nature. The photo, which shows him in a natural pose, was taken when he was coming down the ramp of the presidential plane on return from a holiday.

[Svetlana Pokrovskaya, captioned as head of the mill's arts department] The task was to show his open look and convey the openness of his soul. That's what we liked about this photo.

[Correspondent] A team of painters and designers was searching the president's requisite portrait in a library and in the Internet for several weeks. The photo showing Putin with a jacket thrown over his shoulder was approved by the entire staff of the mill. The most experience weaver, Lidiya Ivanovna [Smirnova], has been entrusted with making the tapestry. The process is supervised by a technician - one wrong stitch and dozen metres of tapestry would be thrown out as a defective product.

[Smirnova, captioned] It is a very responsible and labour-consuming work. We want the portrait of the country's first person to look properly.

[Correspondent] First, the mill made a pilot batch of tapestries for a narrow circle of top local officials. Then 300 more copies were produced for the workers. Now mass production has been organized. Tapestries are on sale in souvenir shops for R80 per one, and it is almost impossible to buy a woven portrait of the president.

[Lyudmila Tikhomirova, captioned as entrepreneur] It's in high demand. Today we sold all tapestries we had.

[Correspondent] The mill's workers fear that their exclusive product may turn into an ordinary mass item. That's why they are considering the ways to expand the mill's product mix. It seems that towels, rugs and bedspread with president's portraits will be on sale soon.

[Video shows the Putin tapestry, the mill's workshops and the weaving process]

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