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February 22, 2016 No.
6317

Posters Calling Obama 'A Killer' Seen On Moscow Streets

In February 2016, an anti-smoking advertisement appeared on a Moscow bus shelter that stated that "smoking kills more people than Obama."  After photos of the advertisement (which had no attribution) went viral on Russian social networks, the Moscow municipality reported that it was the work of hooligans and that it had been removed.

This is not the first time that President Obama has been depicted as a killer in posters on Moscow streets. On January 27, 2016, the pro-Kremlin art group Glavplakat hung a poster proclaiming Obama a killer opposite the U.S. Embassy in the city center. Subsequently on February 11, students from several Russian universities uploaded a video to YouTube in which they called on the UN to stop Obama's "aggression" and to prosecute him for "the thousands of lives he has taken."

The following are details about these incidents:

"Smoking Kills More People Than Obama"


Anti-smoking poster at a Moscow bus shelter (image: Ria.ru, February 17, 2016)

The anti-smoking advertisement featuring Obama read: "Smoking kills [even] more people than Obama, although he kills a lot of people. Don't smoke. Don't be like Obama." On February 18, 2016, the Moscow municipality's Mass Media and Advertising Department stated that the poster had been put up illegally "due to hooliganism," and that the department had recorded the violation and removed it.[1] Reports in the Russian media indicate that those responsible have not been caught.[2]

Commenting on the incident, liberal Duma member Dmitry Gudkov wrote on his Facebook page that the poster had made him feel "disgusted" and "ashamed," and quoted a joke from the Soviet era, that in Russia freedom of speech means freedom to criticize U.S. presidents while standing in Red Square.[3]

Poster Calling Obama "Killer" Opposite U.S. Embassy

On January 27, the pro-Kremlin art group Glavplakat put up a poster of Obama captioned "killer" opposite the U.S. Embassy in the center of Moscow. According to the Moscow Times, the poster, which was 10 meters long, was a protest against "the U.S. government planning another military intervention on the territory of another country."[4] The Glavplakat group explained on its website that "the caption 'killer' referred to the new status of the 44th U.S. president, because of his decision to deploy the infamous 101st Airborne Division to Syria."[5]


Photo of the poster on the group's website (Glavplakat.ru, January 27, 2016)


The poster as published on the group's website (Glavplakat.ru, January 27, 2016)

Students Make Video Calling To Stop Obama's "Aggression"

On February 11, students from several Russian universities released a video on YouTube, calling on the United Nations to "take immediate action to stop the aggression of the U.S. president" and to prosecute him for "the thousands of lives he has taken." "We sincerely fail to understand why the U.S., represented by its president, has assumed the role of the world's judge, and why the U.S. doesn't acknowledge its responsibility for thousands of civilian lives taken in Libya, Yugoslavia, Iraq, Syria and other countries, the sovereignty of which the U.S. has repeatedly violated," says one of students in the video. According to a  Moscow Times report, some of the participants in the clip are members of Molodaya Gvardiya, the youth wing of Russia's ruling party. The universities whose students appear in the clip say that they had not known about the making of the video. [6]

 
Russian students calling on the U.N. to prosecute Obama (Image: Youtube.com, February 11, 2016)

 

Endnotes: 

[1] Ria.ru, February 18, 2016.

[2] Sputniknews.com, February 17, 2016.

[3] Themoscowtimes.com, February 16, 2016.

[4] Themoscowtimes.com, January 27, 2016.

[5] Glavplakat.ru, January 27, 2016. This may be a reference to reports in January 2016 that the U.S. plans to deploy the 101st Airborne Division to Iraq. See e.g., Politico.com, January 22, 2016.

[6] Themoscowtimes.com, February 12, 2016.