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Russia's Mockery of Jen Psaki Has Failed

U.S. State Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki would seem to have inspired Russian trolls into a gaffe of their own. Images mixed by Kevin Rothrock.

U.S. State Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki would seem to have inspired Russian trolls into a gaffe of their own. Images mixed by Kevin Rothrock.

Browse the Russian Internet and it won’t take you long to find photoshopped images lampooning Jen Psaki, the spokesperson for the U.S. State Department. Most Americans have never heard of Psaki, but she’s a household name in Russia, where the Kremlin and its loyalists in the media have made her into a national punching bag.

One of the latest attacks, however, reveals how even Russia’s noblest patriots seem to rely on American resources when deriding the State Department. Indeed, a new anti-Psaki meme uses a photograph taken from an American website that Russian government censors recently banned. The website, deviantArt, might still be blocked, were it not for a petition organized on another American website, Change.org.

The campaign against Psaki has produced several Internet memes, usually mocking her supposedly weak grasp of reality. Russian Internet users scour every press briefing, searching desperately for any mistakes. When close inspection turns up nothing, people have been happy to invent gaffes. One of Psaki’s most infamous blunders—saying that Belarus has “shores”—is a complete fiction. She never said it.

In early June, perhaps as a countermeasure against Russia’s Psaki propaganda, Deputy Spokesperson Marie Harf began delivering more of the U.S. State Department’s daily briefings. (In fact, many in Russia seemed genuinely alarmed when Harf first started performing this role.) The castling move, however, hasn’t stopped Russians online from distorting what the spokesperson says at the briefings. Indeed, much of the RuNet—or whatever diabolical PR firm coordinates this effort—has continued pretending that Psaki is the State Department’s only representative.

Last week, on August 14, Marie Harf delivered the State Department’s daily briefing. When asked to comment on Vladimir Putin’s visit to Crimea, Harf poked fun at the struggles of Russia’s post-annexation tourism industry, joking, “Well, from what I hear, he’s the only tourist that’s actually gone there this summer.” Russian news outlets immediately reported Harf’s comment, portraying it as a serious claim. Deputy Prime Minster Dmitry Rogozin declared, “the U.S. State Department is degenerating before our very eyes,” implying that Harf’s joke has no basis in reality. (As it happens, just a few hours before Harf’s press conference, Russia’s tourism industry union reported that foreign tourism to Russia is down 50 percent this year.)

Even though Harf is the one who said it, most of Russia’s backlash to the “tourism joke” addresses Psaki. The RuNet, it seems, has invested too much into ridiculing Psaki to shift gears comfortably. As expected, bloggers promptly updated a popular meme, attributing the tourism joke to Psaki. The meme features Psaki cornered in a padded room, wearing nothing but a straightjacket and underwear. To the right is a photograph of crowded beach in Sevastopol. On Psaki’s shoulder is the “Stoned Fox,” who is shown trying to calm Psaki by saying, “Don’t worry—these people are just figments of your imagination. Only Putin is there.”

“Don’t worry—these people are just figments of your imagination. Only Putin is there.”

The original photo of the woman in the padded room belongs to a San-Francisco-based model named Rayna, who published the image in October 2007 on deviantart.com. Psaki’s detractors, it turns out, could have found more patriotic source material, as Russian censors recently blocked deviantArt for hosting ecchi pornography. Russian Internet providers only began restoring access to deviantArt’s domain after fans organized a petition on another American website, change.org, where over 12,000 Russians signed a public letter demanding the site’s return.

This is where the campaign against Jen Psaki has led us: Russians are using American lobbying resources to persuade their own authorities to unblock American photo-sharing websites, where Russia’s “patriots” steal erotic pictures of Californian women, in order to misattribute and misrepresent one offhand joke from a press briefing.

  • Rascalndear

    Too bad Mr. Rothrock didn’t add the real source of the photo of the beach which, even if it is Crimea, is definitely not current…

    • Kevin Rothrock

      Google’s reverse image search suggests that it’s a beach in Sevastopol called Uchkuyevka (Учкуевка), probably from a couple of years ago. For all I know, there may have been a scene like this somewhere on the beaches of Sevastopol this summer, so I cited the report about the steep decline in foreign tourism to Russia generally, to avoid unsupported speculation.

    • vbm

      Hahaha !!! Seems that you are hurt.)))) Laugh.))) For the information. From may to July 2014 Crimea settled more than 3 million tourists. The tourist season in the Crimea ends in October. So overall decrease in the number of tourists compared to last year will be about 500-600 thousand primarily due to tourists from Ukraine, which is simply not able to pay the rest in the Crimea because of the economic crisis and punitive operations of the Ukrainian army in the Donbass. The flow of tourists from Russia primarily inhibits substandard infrastructure (no bridge across the Kerch Strait) and extreme neglect of objects in the Crimea during the 23 years of the Ukrainian authorities. On the construction of the bridge in the Crimea and modernize the infrastructure of Crimea from the Russian budget allocated more than 400 billion rubles. So, dear commenters, your acrimony inappropriate. But the U.S. state Department is really just pathetic and ridiculous.)))) “I will clarify this issue in my office…” – phrase Jane Psaki that has really become popular in Russia. Jane and Marie, sweet couple, continue to entertain the Russian audience.)))) However, I have to remind that because of U.S. policy in Ukraine has already killed more than 2,000 civilians, more than 10,000 servicemen of the Ukrainian army, about 1200 militias from Donetsk and Lugansk. This civil war. And it’s not funny anymore, dear Americans and Europeans and Russian dissidents hypocrites

      • Efrem

        “…killed…more than 10000 servicemen of the Ukrainian army…”
        Where the info comes from? Or is it your wishful thinking, you little troll?

        • vbm

          No, unfortunately, I’m not a Troll… two days in the battles North and South of Lugansk (August 18-20, 2014) destroyed 30th mechanized brigade of the armed forces of Ukraine. From 4700 soldiers in the permanent base returned 83 people. Considering the wounded, prisoners and deserters number killed approximately 1,000 people. 3rd battalion of the brigade ceased to exist. Previously South of Lugansk in the entourage were 4th brigade of the armed forces of Ukraine (79th airmobile brigade, 72nd infantry brigade, 25th air cavalry brigade, 93rd infantry brigade). From the environment only came 2nd battalion, 15 armored vehicles (maybe a little more on the video slightly missed the shot). Artillery is lost completely. Okolo people crossed the border with Russia and has requested asylum. About 300 people from them was transferred to the Ukraine as desired. In the airport area of Lugansk surrounded by are the remains of the battalion “Aidar” (about 80 people from 270), a portion of the 80th brigade of the armed forces of Ukraine, many dead and wounded, lost more than half of the engineering and artillery. The 1st battalion of the 80th brigade was surrounded by the North-West of Lugansk. It now destroys the militia of Lugansk. In the battle for Ilovaisk suffered serious losses battalions “Azov” and “Dnepr”, 2 company 51st infantry brigade. August 20, shot down 2 helicopters and 1 bomber the air force of Ukraine (used MANPADS and small-caliber antiaircraft artillery). And that’s not all… All the armament of the militia captured in battles with the armed forces of Ukraine. About 130 tanks, BMPs, BTRs. More than 80 guns and mortars. Lot of ammunition. Army of Ukraine and punitive battalions capable of only the genocide of civilians (artillery strikes on areas where there is not a single militia has long been no exception, as is common practice.). The total losses of the armed forces of Ukraine on the basis of these data (taking into account losses punitive battalions and artillery pieces) just about 10,000 dead soldiers. I think you would not believe me, but look in the YouTube video. Read the website Voice of Sevastopol. Read an interview with Ukrainian General in the newspaper Ukrainska Pravda. Analyze and map summary loss official Kiev summary of hostilities. Posmotri film Crisis in the Donbass (documentary footage of the genocide). By the way, the survivors of the Ukrainian soldiers being tried as deserters. Such a “democracy”…))) the Western media will not write. Seek the truth and it shall be given you.

        • vbm

          The Ukrainian army captures the territory, but carries a terrible loss. August 20, failed assault Lugansk from the South. 80-I infantry brigade, part of the forces 128th brigade of the army of Ukraine lost 10 tanks, 6 armored vehicles, 130 dead soldiers and retreated in the direction of Krasnodon. Many severely wounded soldiers were thrown on the southern outskirts of Lugansk and on the main street of Lugansk. South of Lugansk, along the border with Russia (Marinka, Uspenka) were surrounded division 51st infantry brigade of Ukraine. Now destroy the militia. In the end, I’m already tired of writing about it. If you need to find information not only in the Western and Ukrainian media, but also the other party. Map and look for the grain of truth in the ocean of lies. There is information on the resource War token. There is an English version of this site. Ukraine is a civil war, not anti-terrorist operation. In General, can believe or not to believe. I don’t care your opinion. She had lost faith in the impartiality of people in the European Union and the United States.

        • Антоха

          and you yourself from what sources the information draws nerd ???)))) From Psak and Harf))) two mentally retarded women unsatisfied) Greetings from Moscow)

          • Efrem

            I don’t draw information, I ask where’s your information come from. And keep your hysterical reaction to your compatriots.

          • vbm

            So not a Ukrainian. Well. The Ukrainians would have already started to spit and spew hateful foam with cries of “Fat dropped!” Specifically explain for those foreigners who want to know the truth about the civil war in Ukraine. See “Russian” YouTube. Western censorship does not have time to remove many of the video documentary. Video shot by witnesses on the ground events. Try to get into the Russian sector of YouTube. In the West, this information is deleted, censored. Try to enter in the search engine in Russian the phrase “Captured Ukrainian tank..”, “Ukrainian army bombard Donetsk…” and so on. So you get an idea about the events not only from the Western media correspondents further Kramatorsk not drive, not to mention the Donetsk and Lugansk. Think, look. If you do not trust the sites of Russia or of the militia, I hope you believe your eyes, looking at the video. Read Russia today. There is also sometimes reliable information, although there is little. But, at least don’t lie, as Fox news))))).

          • vbm

            Привет, земляк! Не обижай его, онижедети,)))) Поумнеют, наверное. Может быть когда-нибудь.) Бывай, удачи!)

  • Owan Skirlan

    May be US administration got a feedback? They are instantly personalize any states, especially non-friendly. Thus, they are take it by full scale – state dept. and all country masked by poor Jen and punched with great pleasure.

    wbr

  • Barack Obama

    California is Russia!

  • Shust

    Psaki is pretty retarded though. She even admitted that she just reads off the script and doesn’t know what she’s saying

  • CockneyCox

    Hey, guys, no matter who’s right, ’cause both sides (Russia and USA) are good enough, but you can’t deny the fact she’s really stupid. Like, REALLY. Seriosly it’s unbearable. How does she live with this?. T_T

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