Vladimir Putin

'Big Brother Putin' gains status of cyber celebrity

PUBLISHED : Friday, 18 November, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 18 November, 2011, 12:00am


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A farmer in Anhui province has been catapulted to instant fame after photos showing his resemblance to Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin were circulated online.

Luo Yuanping has been affectionately dubbed 'Big Brother Putin', in keeping with a well-established tradition for mainland recipients of cyber celebrity status.

The former Russian president's 48-year-old doppelganger, who hails from Longzui village in Feixi county, told local press that the sudden attention had not affected him.

'I am still me,' Luo told the Anhui News. 'I still have to go out and work in the fields like before, so there hasn't been much change.'

However, the unmarried farmer added that he hoped his new-found fame as a lookalike could be an opportunity to get work 'as a corporate spokesman or appearing at events'.

Longzui is a hamlet approximately 40 kilometres southwest of Hefei , the provincial capital.

Luo joins a long list of internet sensations with a 'Big Brother' suffix added to their nicknames.

The most notable one to hit the headlines was 'Brother Sharp', a homeless man in Ningbo who earned a reputation last year as the coolest-looking beggar in the county. His identity was tracked down by internet users as Cheng Guorong, a Jiangxi native who was suffering from mental problems. He was reportedly reunited with his family in March.

Another to get the moniker is 'Big Brother Worries', an 82-year-old in Xian who gained fame through a poster on the back of his electric buggy that read: 'You drink and drive, grandad worries.'

A plump young man was given the name 'Big Brother Housewife' after a picture went viral showing him posing with a vacuum cleaner in his underwear, mocking a cover of Rolling Stone magazine.

Putin - who served two terms as Russian president between 2000 and 2008, and is currently campaigning to regain the post next year - was this week announced as the surprise winner of the mainland's controversial Confucius Peace Prize.