By Maria Vasilyeva
MOSCOW (Reuters) – Owners of a souvenir store in central Moscow say traditional Russian matryoshka dolls with portraits of U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump are gaining popularity among collectors and tourists.
Wooden dolls of decreasing size placed one inside another are a popular souvenir choice from Russia.
“People who are collectors, they are mostly the ones who are buying it recently,” said Eduard, the store’s shop assistant.
“There is also demand from foreigners,” he added.
Some see a metaphor behind the U.S. election-themed souvenir.
“Like matryoshka doll, I think he (Donald Trump) is like this. You open and you get one more inside,” said Mihir, a tourist from India. “He’s got many layers, I think.”
Traditionally, the matryoshka dolls are painted as peasant girls in Russian national costumes. However, modern versions usually follow actors, musicians, cartoon characters and politicians.
In Moscow’s souvenir stores, one can easily find matryoshka dolls with portraits of Russian President Vladimir Putin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel or leaders of the past, including late Communist Party leaders.
At one store in the country’s capital, the Trump doll sits on a shelf between Merkel and late Chinese communist leader Mao Zedong.
“I saw the Donald Trump doll yesterday and I asked myself why,” said Elena, an Italian tourist. “I didn’t understand because he hasn’t been elected president yet, but maybe Russians already perceive him as the new American president.”
Matryoshka dolls with portraits of U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton were not on sale on Monday, one day ahead of the U.S. election.
(Reporting by Maria Vasilyeva in Moscow; Editing by Melissa Fares and Dan Grebler)