© AFP 2017, Mandel Ngan Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov
Moscow – Last week, when Sergei Lavrov was in Washington, where he met with President Donald Trump and his American counterpart, the Russian foreign minister chose the moment to joke a bit.
The American capital at that time was extremely excited by the news that Trump had dismissed the director of the FBI, James Komi, and everyone was just talking about it. However, during his brief appearance before journalists, along with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Lavrov pretended that he did not know anything about the dismissal of the FBI director.
“Is he fired?” Lavrov asked with an unflappable air, answering the question posed to him. – “Are you joking. You’re joking, “he said, and at the same time his lips curled slightly in a self-satisfied smile.
It was an improvised scene, as well as playful and sarcastic. However, she gave the Americans a short opportunity to look at how Russia perceives the unfolding chaos of Trump’s presidency – the Russians, as it turned out, consider all this in some way funny.
American democracy, it seems, is facing one of the most serious challenges over the centuries, but for Russia this is just an excuse for malevolence. After decades of harsh criticism from Washington on issues such as dishonest elections, press harassment and large-scale corruption, Moscow now watches with pleasure the chaos and scandals that seize the Trump administration. The more unlawful Washington looks, the louder the Russians laugh. When Trump last week wrote on his page on Twitter about what Russian “secret laugh” over the United States, it is, as it turned out, was not wrong – but a target for ridicule Russian might not be what he thinks Trump. Some kinds of jokes are similar to political parodies from the TV program “Saturday Night Live” (Saturday Night Live).
So, for example, the Russian actor of the comedy plan Dmitry Grachev – he is known for his surprisingly similar parodies of President Vladimir Putin – regularly derides Trump in his sketches. In one already very popular story, in which the first telephone conversation between the two leaders is parodied, Putin is given a mobile phone and they say that Washington is in touch. “What kind of Donald? Did not recognize, “- says Grachev in the image of Putin to the alleged leader of the free world. Numerous parodies of Trump begin to appear on Russian television, and, as a rule, the American president looks like a jester, which Moscow circles around.
In March of this year, in the popular Russian television show “Kamedi Club”, which is shown on a youth-oriented channel TNT, one actor represented Trump. The Trump depicted by him believes that the former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is the name of one of the species of land. Then he portrayed communication with Grachev in the role of Putin. Trump in this sketch clearly fears the Russian president, but demonstrates his intention to expand NATO in Europe. Putin responds by depicting the launch of a rocket falling somewhere in the ocean, and Trump hastily retires. “Are you threatening us?” Trump asks. “No,” replies Putin, maintaining a jocular tone. “That grasshopper jumped into the flour.”
Trump told Russia’s secret information
In Moscow, the demand for actors depicting Trump on corporations and other private events is growing rapidly. This is confirmed by several agencies working with parodists, which correspondents of Foreign Policy magazine contacted. “So many people have bought Trump, that perhaps it was time to include it in our lists,” – said Maxim Chadkov, director of sales portal Artist.ru, which has a database of 13,000 actors, parodist and musicians, including those who depicts Michael Jackson, Marilyn Monroe, as well as numerous Russian pop stars. “We present it in a ridiculous light, like a parody. No one wants to take him seriously. “
But it’s not just about humorous programs. A surprising amount of jokes and anecdotes about America comes from official Russian sources. Last week, there was not only the dismissal of James Komi – Russia’s state news agency TASS were allowed to survey Trump meeting, Lavrov and the Russian ambassador in Washington Sergei Kislyak – while the American press was not allowed. After the conversation, the Russian ambassador in Washington, using the social network Storify, arranged a mocking “competition for the best headline” to one of the photos of TASS. Meanwhile, the White House expressed its dissatisfaction with the publication of photographs, which, according to Washington, were intended only for official use.
On Sunday, news programs of Russian state-owned television channels were filled with sarcasm over the past week in Washington. “The new action-packed series under the provisional title” Secrets of the Oval Office of Trump" every day becomes more and more fascinating, “- said political analyst Evgeny Baranov, speaking at the largest Russian” First" TV channel. “Intrigues to this dashing plot are added by the Russian track, which is somehow present in each of its next series … And the last episode with the sudden resignation of the head of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, James Komi, promises to be the most exciting.”
Lavrov’s humorous remark in Washington was made several weeks after an especially mocking rally on April Fools’ Day, organized by the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. On its Facebook page, the ministry posted a fictitious voice email, recorded by a man whose voice is very similar to Lavrov’s voice. “To order a call of a Russian diplomat to your competitor, press 1”, – said in this message an answering machine. And to get the services of Russian hackers or help in electronic intervention, listeners were asked to select button 2 or 3.
And even Putin joined in the general merriment. Correspondent CBS News Asked Putin about the impact of James Komi’s resignation on US-Russian relations. According to Putin, who at that moment was near the hockey ground, it was a “ridiculous question.” He advised the journalist who asked the question to do hockey, and then went to the ice.
Of course, in Moscow, not only have fun and games. There have been reports that Russian worried apparent instability of the new occupant of the White House, while in recent weeks almost vanished hopes for détente in US-Russian relations after years of tension during the reign of the Obama administration. The bombing of the Syrian air base by the United States may have been the last straw for slow attempts to restart.
However, the flow of jokes and anecdotes is partly related to the long-standing tradition of black political humor in Russia. Soviet citizens often used as a weapon humor directed against the regime that existed in the country. The jokes about the Gulag, the Kremlin leaders and the shortage of food were part of everyday life of people. (In a recently declassified CIA documents says that US agents had to translate and send home Russian jokes and anecdotes to assess public opinion and sentiment in the country is an example especially popular Russian joke:. A man enters the store and asks: “You do not have meat? “” Well, you! “, the saleswoman replies,” We do not have fish, there is no meat in the next section “).
After the collapse of the Soviet Union a quarter of a century ago, the anecdotes disappeared at a time when the authorities weakened their control, noted the Moscow interpreter and columnist Times Michelle Berdy. However, black humor today is back – but this time Russian, continuing to guide the tip of his humor on the country’s leadership ( “Putin pass the passport control at the border of Poland” Nationality (nationality) “, -. Asked his” Russian “-. He says”. Occupation. “Putin smiles:” No, this time it’s just a short business trip “), they began to turn their attention to foreign objects. Today, representatives of the Russian elite also have to do with jokes and anecdote – and enjoy the present moment of truth, Berdi believes. These are “insolent jokes from people who believe that they are above, and that they do not care if it offends someone,” Birdie said. “Either they are happy that they insulted someone.”