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Russia, Belarus: Medvedev and the “Belarusian Circus”

RuNet Echo This post is part of RuNet Echo, a Global Voices project to interpret the Russian language internet. All Posts · Learn more

A screenshot of PM Medvedev's Twitter page featuring the Instagram snapshot of the Minsk Circus that he took during his recent visit to Belarus.

During Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev's visit to Minsk on Wednesday, July 18, he tweeted [ru] an Instagram snapshot with the comment: “In the streets of Minsk.” The problem with the picture is that it portrayed the Belarusian State Circus, which could be interpreted as a tacit comment on Medvedev's meeting with the Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko and senior state officials.

Medvedev's visit to Minsk was no courtesy visit. A recent smuggling scandal has aroused much anger in Moscow, and Medvedev used the meeting to bring Lukashenko to account for the export of chemical solvents produced from the Russian supplies of duty-free oil. Another item on the agenda, according to RIA Novosti [ru], was the recent intrusion into Belarusian airspace by a Swedish plane dropping teddy bears with anti-Lukashenko slogans. The bear incident was a major embarrassment for Belarus in view of the two countries’ joint air defence system. As a consequence, a student [ru] who published a photostory about the bears, and a 16-year-old girl [ru], who allegedly took a photo of one of the bears, got arrested by the KGB.

Then, how did social media react to the “Belarusian circus”?

Twitter user @minssk united [ru] the two themes of the circus and the teddies:

Медведев прилетел в Минск, сфоткал цирк. До этого прилетали медведи, тот ещё цирк был, но с фотографом там не хорошая история получилась.

Medvedev flew to Minsk and photographed a circus. Before this, bears flew in, which was quite a circus too, but the story with the [detained] photographer wasn't good.

Some, like @Dubovnik_Dmitry, turned to sarcasm [ru] when commenting:

Медведев отметил минский цирк твитом:-) видно для того чтобы подчекнуть куда он приехал.

Medvedev mentioned the Minsk circus in a tweet:-) obviously to underline what kind of place he had come to.

Twitter user @daphnis_nerii assumed [ru] a more ironic tone:

Информационные порталы страны разместили новость о том, что Медведев сфоткал цирк. Что было бы, если б он в Беларуси в туалет сходил?

Information portals spread the news that Medvedev photographed a circus. How would it have been if he had gone to the toilet in Belarus?

Still, as Twitter user @yurok1521 asked [ru], the question on everyone's lips is this:

Медведев намекнул на «цирк» в правительстве Беларуси?

Did Medvedev hint that there is “a circus” in the government of Belarus?

What Medvedev's intention with the tweet was, only he knows, but if it was a joke, it testifies to a certain sense of humour of the former Russian president with the nickname ‘iPhonchik’.

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