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Welcome to Russia. Blame Obama

Source: Meduza
Photo: thanksAbama / Twitter

It's become increasingly true and it seems desperately necessary that one man bear responsibility for Russia's continued economic struggles, its troubles abroad, and nearly anything else rotten occurring under the Sun. The blame for such problems falls, of course, on US President Barack Obama, and it is this spirit of scapegoating a man situated a continent and an ocean away that inspires a new trend in satire on the Russian Internet.

At least two new Twitter accounts, @FakeObamka and @thanksAbama, are capitalizing on Russians' tendency to blame their problems on the US President, pretending to be the Russian-language version of the White House's Twitter account, taking credit for the various setbacks and maladies of life in Russia. The joke, if you'll allow us to spoil it with an explanation, is that Obama could not be directly responsible for much of Russians' struggles today. (This is never so obvious as when imagining Obama actually claiming responsibility for Russia's problems, which is what these parody Twitter accounts do.)

For instance, the Crimean peninsula is currently in the throes of a massive blackout. Russia has scurried to develop its capacity to supply Crimea with electricity, while many Russians have lashed out at Ukraine and its Western allies for refusing to do more to restore power. Could Moscow be doing more to aid its newest territory in this time of turmoil? No, and here's why:

I've just had a meeting with [Kremlin spokesman] Dmitry Peskov. He asked for permission to sell his $1.4-million wristwatch and use the money to buy generators for the people of Crimea. I forbid it!

Earlier today in Crimea, a group of protesters burned Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in effigy, amid growing tensions between Ankara and Moscow over the downed Su-24 near the Syrian border on November 24. Happy to see someone else getting some blame, @FakeObamka promised the peninsula's beleaguered locals some respite:

In Simferopol today, they burned Erdoğan in effigy. It's nice to hear that these heathens have turned their attention from me to Erdoğan. Maybe I'll spare them just for today.

Many of the tweets pretend that Obama wields control over the cost of living in Russia, often depicting him as issuing executive decrees that raise prices on various goods and services:

I have signed an executive order raising the fare on the Moscow metro by 7 percent.

The fake Obama accounts are also eager to show America's diabolical efforts to undermine Vladimir Putin:

We are intentionally refusing to develop the gas-heating infrastructure in some Russian villages, in order to discredit Vladimir Putin in the eyes of the population.

Fake Obama's meddling in Putin's good governance seems to know no bounds. He even took credit for the recent news that members of the Russian parliament have enjoyed a pay raise this year, despite the Kremlin's decision to reduce salaries by nine percent in 2015:

Despite Vladimir Putin's executive order to lower state officials' salaries, I've raised the pay for members of the State Duma and Federation Council by 30 percent. These people have got to live, after all.

Some of the Fake Obamas' shenanigans suggest that he is, in fact, the root of corruption nationwide. On November 27, for instance, Kazan's district attorney charged five locals with selling apartments on the 10th through 18th floors of a 9-story building. Even here, 500 miles east of Moscow, the Russian-speaking US President was behind it all:

Apartments on the 10th through 18th floors have been sold in a 9-story building now under construction. I'm delighted by the work of our realtors.

The formula for these jokes—wait for news about economic problems, corruption, or state incompetence, and then take credit—is simple and easy enough that @FakeObamka and @thanksAbama can expect a long life on Twitter, if their authors choose to keep tweeting. With Barack Obama's second term not ending for more than a year, Russian Twitter could very well be thanking "Abama" and "Obamka" for all kinds of bad news to come.

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