This article analyzes political and social themes of Russia’s glossy magazines which represent the few remaining public spaces for surviving freedom of speech and expression in that post-communist country. As authoritarian nature of Russian political system deepens, the democratic openings often appear in unexpected places. Content analysis of two glamour monthlies, one (GQ-Russian Edition) intended for male audience, another (Cosmopolitan-Russia) – for female readership, shows consistently oppositional (anti-Putin) thrust of both publications, but also persistent political gender stereotypes. Analysis of these publications, intended for Russia’s nascent urban class – traditionally a social strata most associated with democratic impulses – provides an important explanation behind recent democratic protest activities in Moscow and St. Petersburg.

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