If public opinion is an indicator, relations between the U.S. and Russia rapidly are descending to the iciness and hostility of the Cold War period.
While some U.S. Christians hold a positive regard for Russian president Vladimir Putin, according to the Pew Research Center, in 2015 three-quarters of Americans have been “critical of Putin” with only 21% having “confidence” in him. Russian sentiments toward Barack Obama are even lower, with only 11% having confidence in Obama—a precipitous decline from 41% in 2011, due, in great part, to the economic sanctions imposed by the U.S. and NATO on Russia (over Ukraine), and Obama’s policy on Syria.
RT, originally Russia Today, is a Russian government-funded television network of cable and satellite TV channels, as well as Internet content directed to audiences outside the Russian Federation.
Being government-funded, RT is similar to the UK’s BBC. So it is of no small significance that on the network’s 10th anniversary, RT broadcast this video, mocking Obama and his secretary of state John Kerry by depicting the two as has-been old men 20 years from now, forgotten by everyone, in a United States where Edward Snowden is president and in a world where “nobody is afraid of America any longer”.
The video is mild compared to how Obama is portrayed in Russian media and pop culture. Below is a sample, as reported by Mikhail Klikushin for the Observer, Dec. 15, 2015, who notes that “When RT speaks to a mostly international audience, the anti-Obama message it spreads is only on the verge of being hostile and is never personal. When presented for domestic consumption, however, the attacks on the U.S. President—orchestrated by the Russian government—are straightforward”:
- Instead of reporting on Obama’s policies, Russian media prefer stories about Obama making faces like “Grumpy Cat” and Mooch’s adoration of rap music.
- Popular TV show host Dmitry Kiselyov calls Obama’s speech “usual banalities”.
- A “major Russian tabloid” portrays Obama as lazy, having “played golf 247 times during his presidency, breaking the record of Dwight Eisenhower who did it 210 times.”
- RIA Novosti portrays Obama as an idiot for linking “the spread of terrorism to climate change” and for being ineffective against terrorism.
- Another Russian tabloid reports that Germans see Obama as a liar, together with German Chancellor Merkel and Turkish President Erdogan. 21% of Germans called Obama a liar (39% called Merkel the biggest liar).
- Popular nationalist comedian Mikhail Zadornov, author of the widely known slogan, “Americans? But they are STOOOOOOOOOOPID!,” has popularized the motto, “Obama [is a] schmoe.” The word “schmoe” resembles the Yiddish “schmuck,” but with much stronger negative connotations of loser and wimp. There are “Obama schmoe” bumper stickers (in addition to others, like “Obama is bad” and “Obama is the devil”), and t-shirts with pictures of Putin whispering into the ear of Obama, “Obama, you are a schmoe.”
“Obama is a schmoe” is even painted in white paint on the runway of the Russian air base in Latakia, Syria. Here’s a satellite photograph of the slogan, next to a fleet of Russian war planes.
It’s not just Russian media and pop culture. Russian local governments join in the Obama-bashing:
- Last summer, at the “Day of Youth” celebration in the Siberian city of Bratsk (population around 250,000), the local administration organized a “Who Can Kick Obama Higher” contest. A life-sized poster of Obama was placed in the central square of the city and, to the joy and enthusiasm of the young participants, the rules were simple: the winners are those who kick Obama highest in the face.
- In February 2015, during the Maslenitsa folk holiday—celebrated in Russia in the last week before Lent—effigies of Obama were burned in Kaliningrad, Sevastopol and other cities. In the Siberian city of Barnaul, the organizer of the burning was “an Afro-American who looked like Barack Obama,” who was a local representative of the LDPR party in Russian Parliament.
- In July 2015, in the city of Perm, Obama’s effigy was found hung under a railroad bridge not far from the local university with a nameplate that read, “One dead Obama = 7,650 live Ukrainians.” Police said “the hooligans” responsible for the effigy had done nothing unlawful.
- In early December 2015, in the Kuban region of Russia, a crowd of around 500 took part in the burning of the effigies of both Obama and Turkey’s Recep Erdogan for “shooting down the Russian plane by Turkey at the command from America.”
- The high-end Bakhetle supermarket chain displayed cutting boards styled as the 2016 calendar that, according to Chinese horoscopes, will be “the year of monkey.” AFP reported that “The product features a family of monkeys, with an image of Obama’s face superimposed onto that of the smallest primate.” The owner of the supermarket chain, according to the Maxpark social network, is Mrs. Muslima Latypova, the deputy of the regional Tatar Parliament.
The Obama-monkey cutting board finally prompted a protest by the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, which led to a public apology from the official representative of the store chain.
Meanwhile, after 7 years of Obama’s ineptness and outright destruction, although only 24% of Americans say the U.S. is heading in the right direction, Rasmussen’s latest presidential tracking poll on Dec. 16, 2015, finds that 46% of likely U.S. voters still approve of Obama (53% disapprove).
Russian comedian Mikhail Zadornov is right:
Americans really are stooopid.
H/t Don Hank.