Thanks to Steve C who told us about this hilarious send-up ad (our opinion here at TPOL) by the Russians urging people that it is “time to move to Russia.”
The short video advert has gotten a lot of mixed reviews – my thought is that (as several have written) it is a great self-parody: satire. The voiceover, the pictures chosen, even some of the phrasing, all point that direction. In many ways, it resembles the old heavy-handed Soviet propaganda that is certainly not a modern Russian style of doing things.
Others see a very sinister tone to it, and while I do not think that is its primary purpose, there are some dark things about it according to many people. Are there threats? Several commented that the ending phrase, “Winter is coming” is itself a threat, they say, given references to oil and gas and sanctions.
Is it? Something I’ve not seen is a point that occurred to all of us on the first viewing: is this an homage, a reference, to the frequently repeated motto of House Stark in The Game of Thrones, George R R Martin’s highly-acclaimed SF series? Not so much a warning as a statement of fact and an admonition to prepared? You have to read a lot into it to get much in the way of threats.
And this was issued only in English: no German, no French, no Italian.
Russia may indeed be implying this: that regardless of what the West, what NATO and what the EU and the US do to Russia and Ukraine, that time goes on and bad times WILL come.
There are other oddities: why show the hammer-and-sickle and a statue of Lenin at the beginning of the video? Symbols of a fallen empire? No comment we’ve seen points that out. Is it to remind us that Russia HAS now fallen twice in a century, or at least its empire has, yet Russia is still there? In comparison to a European Union that is really not even a half-century old and increasingly creaky and fragmented? A United States of America that is not even 250 years old and seemingly more and more unstable? While Russia, with all its ups and downs, its collapses and failures, is still here after 500+ years?
Or is this a promise? That like Europe, which has recreated itself more than once out of the debris and terror of decades of war, Russia is still viable? That like the States, which has been predicted many times to be on the brink of collapse, but recovered and continue to grow so too Russia might overcome this slide into oblivion?
No doubt many people – not just those who have already given two (or four) thumbs down to this little bit of video – will use it as yet another reason to condemn and vilify Russia.
“Who wants to move to Russia, to live under a dictatorship?” “What kind of warning and condemnation is this?” “The sanctions are working!” “Russia is doomed.” These and many other memes are even more common now, and people are poking fun at Putin. After all, everyone knows he has a master-control app on his smart-phone to remotely control all 140 million Russians!
What do you think? Threat? Promise? Serious but flawed offer? Self-sarcasm? Or something else?