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Why Russian Internet users are going nuts about sausages today

Source: Meduza
september 5

At this week’s trial of former Economic Development Minister Alexey Ulyukayev, the court read out a transcript of a conversation between the defendant and Rosneft head Igor Sechin, where the latter mentioned a “basket” and asked the ex-minister to take it. Ulyukayev told the court that he thought Sechin had given him a bag containing a bottle of wine and a basket filled with sausages. According to investigators, however, the bag was packed with a $2-million cash bribe that Ulyukayev allegedly solicited from Rosneft.

september 6

A source told the newspaper Vedomosti that Sechin has a tradition of gifting people baskets of sausages from a special butcher’s shop. In a photograph provided by Vedomosti’s source, a label reading “From Ivanych” is visible on a bag of sliced sausage and bottled wine. Igor Sechin’s patronymic is Ivanovych.

a bit later in the day

For some reason, Russian Internet users have become infatuated with Sechin’s trademark gift, while others have speculated that Vladimir Putin himself picked out Ulyukayev's inauspicious sausage basket. The basket even has its own Twitter account now.

“The best gift is me.”
Basket with Sausage / Twitter
“Leaked online: a photo of the sausage Ulyukayev received from Sechin. [Sausage reads: ‘Glory to Putin’]”
“Mr. Putin picks out the sausage that Sechin will put in a basket for Ulyukayev.”
a bit later still

At a Moscow airport, three men attacked opposition politician Alexey Navalny with sausages while he was distracted by a woman who asked for a photograph. Police officers standing nearby during the attack reportedly laughed as the sausage-tossers ran away.

“At the airport, Navalny is showered with sausages.”