Most countries might use their embassy’s social-media accounts to blandly promote their political and economic interests. Russia is not most countries.
A tweet from the official account of Moscow’s UK embassy on Thursday (May 4) aimed to get in on Star Wars fandom’s “May the Fourth.” It featured a Photoshopped image of Darth Vader taking a selfie, with the curt note “Come to our side–follow us on twitter on #StarWarsDay.” Now the Russians might not actually think of themselves as Earth’s representatives of the dark-side forces of the Galactic Empire. But Twitter was a fine place to troll those who traffic in such perceptions in the West.
At first glance, it’s a bit of a counterintuitive tone to strike on an official government account, especially one that is ostensibly staffed by diplomats. But from Russia’s documented troll armies to its reported meddling in the 2016 US election, the country’s approach to the internet has never been quite that, um, conventional.
A look at back at just the past few weeks gives a thorough sample of the many smirking faces of this account.
This surreal wonder wheel of “whataboutism” is interspersed, for some reason, with sentimental images of Russian art and landscapes—and expectedly dull notices about cultural programming and events.
Though the job of a social-media manager might seem the purview of a younger, tech-savvy staffer, the Guardian reports that some of the more more belligerent tweets are rumored to be written by Alexander Kramarenko, a high-ranking aide to the Russian ambassador.