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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Giving Fetishes a Pat on the Back




The 24-year-old nymphomaniac from Pushkino lies naked on an unkempt bed as if modeling for a Renaissance painter. A black bar is superimposed over her eyes. In the text beneath the black and white photograph are her measurements, mailing address and plea for a man, any man.


On the opposite page, a married couple from Novosibirsk -- he, 29/176/84, she, 20/160/46 -- demonstrate what they list as one of their myriad fetishes, illuminated by direct camera flash. They request intimate photos of couples before meeting them for group encounters.


Each page of personal ads in the monthly newspaper Krutoi Men makes up a sort of mosaic of the fertile sexual psyche of today's Russia. Fantasies are laid bare by people sincere in their desires and imperfect in their bodies in the country's first and only publication of its kind in which readers with a penchant for unconventional sex can seek out like-minded people for encounters.


"In America, each family has its own psychoanalyst. Our newspaper is like a psychoanalyst for all of our readers," says the 34-year-old editor in chief, Vladimir Soldatkin.


"My newspaper," continues the bearded, barrel-chested man, "is a means of meeting people interested in bizarre sex."


There is a waiting list of three to four months to place a personal ad. The average issue contains roughly 150 ads, with each of them typically yielding between 200 and 300 responses. The amount of letters and photos received each week is nearly 60 centimeters high, adding to an archive that already boasts 8,000 amateur photos.


Each edition of the tabloid, which is poorly reproduced in black and white and subtitled "The Newspaper for Real Men or Everything About Women," reaches 70,000 readers, Soldatkin says. A companion magazine, Men Klub, nets 25,000 readers per month, he says.


Statistics provided by the magazine's distributors show that among the estimated 14,000 publications in Russia, Krutoi Men ranks 24th out of all monthlies and 51st overall in readership.


The transition of the paper in 1993 from economic themes to sex ("Men" is short for "Menedzher" and "Krutoi" may be translated as "cool") was business savvy on the part of the chain-smoking Soldatkin; he is building a three-story house in Krasnogorsk, outside Moscow, and vacations at a time-share in the Canary Islands. But the financial growth also parallels his gradual acceptance of the alternative sex lifestyle.


"I'm more of a businessman, but I like this. It is bizarre ... and other forms of sex are very boring and ordinary," he says. "Each week I have practice spanking. I have my different girls."


For the five young women who pose as models for feature stories, as well as work in the office, he has installed a system of punishment known as "House Arrest," where mistakes at work warrant spankings, flagellation.


"I think it's better than being docked pay for being late. You just lay down and get whipped," says model Natasha Baikova, 20, co-star of a Krutoi Men comedy video, "Village Porno Girls." Around the office, Baikova wears a Russian school uniform from 1890, pantaloons and a red Pioneer scarf, and carries an enema ball in her right hand.


Soldatkin caters to the whole gamut of fetishes, ranging from spankings to urination, from enemas to so-called medical sex. The mainstay is sadomasochism, for which purpose Soldatkin also sells wrist cuffs, whips, stocks, pillories and executioner's hoods.


Plans are under way to transform Krutoi Men into a slick color magazine, threatening to undermine its accessibility and homespun, amateurish feel. Indeed, a web site on the Internet is slated to debut later this month. The tentative address is http://www.roughman.com.


Yet the plans could be dashed if Soldatkin runs afoul of anti-pornography laws. He is careful to evade prosecution by not showing physical penetration. "I don't do anything against the law," he says. "Bizarre sex isn't pornography. It is simply erotica."