"I wonder, after the successful campaign of handing over the Crimea, will Barack be promoted to a colonel?" That was the question Tweeted yesterday by the newly elected Prime Minister of Crimea, Sergey Aksyonov, shortly after the Russian-speaking residents of the disputed peninsula voted to leave Ukraine with the prospects of joining the Motherland. The Russian-language Tweet was accompanied by a Photoshopped picture of Barack Obama wearing a Russian uniform.
As someone who frequents the Russian-language side of the blogosphere, let me explain.
The Crimean PM's question wasn't a standalone joke, but rather a punch line to an earlier anonymous joke with a Photoshopped picture of Barack Obama, seen on various Russian websites and forums since he first became president.
The picture was a mock-up of a KGB personnel file with a photo of Obama wearing the uniform of a KGB lieutenant with three stars on blue epaulettes. The name on the card is listed as Boris Huseinovich Obamov, a spy and saboteur, born in Uzbekistan and of Uzbek ethnicity, a member of United Russia Party, recruited by Vladimir Putin in 1981, currently without a permanent address and working undercover as the U.S. President.
While this is from the People's Cube, it looks like this is straight up news. That's the sort of standing the leader of the Free World has in Russia. "Smart" Diplomacy!