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Apocalypse next! Video clip raids Hollywood to spoof next year's elections

The end of the world is nigh ­ and it's all because of the battle of Russia's tandem.

Dmitry Medvedev and Vladimir Putin's dual control of the country could bring about the apocalypse, according to a video produced by supporters of the Communist Party.

Spoofing the Hollywood disaster movie 2012 ­ which is also the date of Russia's next presidential elections ­ it depicts the power struggle which is obsessing Kremlinologists in apocalyptic terms before culminating in a duel of the big hitters.

And the slickly produced clip has already proved a big hit on YouTube (external link, soundtrack in Russian) [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FHgQbrkS_is&feature=player_embedded ], attracting almost 400,000 views in less than two days.

Uncertain origins

The film, which ends with the Communist Party of the Russian Federation's logo and the slogan "The choice is always there" (vybor est vsegda), briefly appeared on the official party website, Kommersant reported.

But it was quickly removed amid confusion about who exactly was responsible for it.

Sergei Obukhov, the party's secretary, said he thought it was independently produced by communist supporters.

He added that it was "interesting and humourous" but said that if it had been official a number of subjects would have been treated differently.

Cinematic agit-prop

From the earliest days of the USSR, Russia's communists have been interested in the power of the cinema to make the socio-political case for the revolution.

In that sense, parodying contemporary blockbusters is merely an update of an old tactic mastered by cultural commissars decades before.

But not everyone is confident that this one will hit the intended mark.

Igor Mintusov, a board member of the European Association of Political Consultants, told Kommersant: "The clip will more likely inspire sympathy for Putin and Medvedev, rather than antipathy towards them.

"The appeal to vote for the Communists appears pale and indistinct."

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