North Korea hires Russian influencer to promote hermit kingdom’s tourism
01/14/2024 // Ramon Tomey // Views

North Korea has hired a Russian influencer to promote tourism in the hermit kingdom, formally the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK).

The DPRK government hired the 23-year-old influencer named Viktoria to promote the Masikryong Ski Resort, a three-hour drive from the capital Pyongyang, on her Instagram account. The model with almost 80,000 followers across several platforms posted about how she enjoyed the trip to the ski resort, the first time in her life that she did so. According to Viktoria, she was instructed with the basics of skiing in English.

"Checking into the hotel was also very comfortable. I lived the room, [which was] clean, bright [and] chalet-style [with] everything you need for a comfortable stay. And of course, a beautiful view of the ski slopes from the window," she said.

Viktoria continued: "I spent the other two days eating really good food, drinking coffee, playing pool and ice skating." According to the Sun, she appeared to be getting the VIP treatment, visiting a spa and having lunch at the highest point of the resort.

The influencer, who is believed to be married, studied in the Russian capital Moscow – where she has also lived most of her life. She appears to have been living in North Korea since November 2023, leading to claims she is linked to the Russian Embassy in Pyongyang.

"North Korean people are absent in the promotion," the Sun also pointed out. "She could only have had the resort to herself with the close approval of [DPRK leader] Kim Jong-Un's authorities and under the watchful eyes of state minders who are not shown."

According to the tabloid, Viktoria's post came ahead of Pyongyang offering package tours to Masikryong from Russia. Five-day Russian tours at the ski resort, with stays at four- and five-star hotels in the Vladivostok – the nearest Russian city to North Korea – are due to start in February. Rates for these tours start at £590 ($752).

Netizens point out contrast between Viktoria's posts and the reality of living in North Korea

Following Viktoria's post about her Masikryong trip, users weighed in on her stay in the hermit kingdom – which has closed itself to foreign tourism for a long time. Most of the users pointed out the contrast between her social media posts and the reality of living in the despotic state. Others, meanwhile, pointed to the stringent social media ban in place there.

"If you really moved to North Korea, the first thing [authorities] would do would be to take away your damn phone," said one user. Another user wrote that without "official approval," she would be "jailed for 50 years of hard labor."

A third user chimed in: "I don't quite understand how this is possible. As far as I know, foreigners do not have the opportunity to come for permanent residence." The Sun also noted this observation, but also pointed out the North Korean leader's "erratic" nature.

Meanwhile, some Russians fear the sanitized promotion is aimed at helping them adapt to life in a truly totalitarian state – which is far more autocratic that their home nation. "Russians are being adapted to North Korean life," said one user. "A Cossack was sent … to tell how great everything is."

Some others surmised Viktoria's background, with at least several suggesting that she could be the wife of a Russian diplomat or other official assigned to Pyongyang. Others surmised that she could be part of a "Kremlin project" to promote North Korea, with the backing of Kim.

The promotion nevertheless follows Russian President Vladimir Putin encouraging citizens to take vacations in North Korea. According to the Sun, the move appears to be a thank-you message to the hermit kingdom for its role in supplying missiles and artillery shells for Russia's war against Ukraine. The two countries are cozying up amid Moscow's "special military operation" against Kyiv that began in February 2022. (Related: South Korea accuses North Korea of supplying Russia with over 1M ARTILLERY SHELLS in exchange for advanced technologies.)

It also follows a meeting between the North Korean and Russian leaders in Vladivostok in September 2023, alongside increasingly close relations between the defense ministries of both nations. Pyongyang-made missiles have seen action in the battlefield of Ukraine as Russians have begun using them.

Visit for more stories about North Korea.

Watch this video about Kim Jong Un flaunting North Korea's newest weapons.

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