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Vladimir Putin has mystery team to shield him from ‘crab’ and ‘Hitler’ memes

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Russia’s federal media watchdog duties its spooks with defending Vladimir Putin from memes that portray him as a ‘bald dwarf’, ‘a crab’, or ‘a Hitler wannabe’.

That is according to stories on a leak out of Roskomnadzor, the primary company at the rear of on the net censorship in Moscow that is responsible for blocking material about the on-heading invasion of Ukraine and any disparaging posts about the Russian president.

Evaluation of the leaks located that the company compiles stories on all ‘negative publications’, and sends them ‘upstairs’ to the Kremlin and Russia’s stability companies to short them on all of the despot’s critics by way of an inner messaging process.

Putin’s on the net graphic is monitored at almost all occasions, according to impartial Russian outlets that have delved into the leaks. Roskomnadzor employs 1000’s of folks, quite a few of whom are anticipated to get the job done above the weekend or holidays.

In unique, it is recognized that they are on the glimpse out for something that concerns Putin’s macho graphic, his health, or his mental acumen. 

Russia's federal media watchdog tasks its spooks with protecting Vladimir Putin from memes that portray him as a 'bald dwarf', 'a crab', or 'a Hitler wannabe'. Pictured: A photoshopped image showing a shrunken-down Putin meeting officials in Russia

Russia’s federal media watchdog responsibilities its spooks with preserving Vladimir Putin from memes that portray him as a ‘bald dwarf’, ‘a crab’, or ‘a Hitler wannabe’. Pictured: A photoshopped picture demonstrating a shrunken-down Putin meeting officials in Russia

One meme format that is keeping Roskomnadzor busy, the leaked documents suggest, is that of calling Putin a crab. His face is often superimposed over the body of a crab, or text on an image declares: 'Putin is a crab.' This is reference to when Putin once said he worked 'like a slave' as president from 2000 to 2008. The words 'slave' and 'crab' sound similar in Russian

Just one meme structure that is holding Roskomnadzor fast paced, the leaked documents propose, is that of calling Putin a crab. His face is normally superimposed above the body of a crab, or text on an image declares: ‘Putin is a crab.’ This is reference to when Putin as soon as claimed he worked ‘like a slave’ as president from 2000 to 2008. The terms ‘slave’ and ‘crab’ sound identical in Russian

Countless numbers of internet pages of paperwork about the agency were leaked by a group of Belarusian hackers, who claimed in late 2022 that they experienced been able to breach an interior Roskomnadzor network and duplicate a huge assortment of interior facts. 

This data was then handed to unbiased Russian journalists, as properly as German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung and other western information organisation, who have released their results this 7 days.

In accordance to iStories – an independent Russian information web-site – Roskomnadzor staffers sign on at 8.30am just about every morning to scour the world-wide-web for any activity that could pose a threat to Putin and his impression – like memes. 

One meme format that is keeping Roskomnadzor personnel hectic, the leaked documents advise, is a single which phone calls Putin a crab. His experience is frequently superimposed more than the system of a crab, or text on an impression declares: ‘Putin is a crab.’

This is reference to when Putin after mentioned he labored ‘like a slave’ as president from 2000 to 2008. The phrases ‘slave’ and ‘crab’ seem comparable in Russian, which led to the appearance of the net nickname for the Russian leader.

Other banned memes involve individuals that liken Putin to Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler (and phone him ‘Putler’), and all those that get in touch with him a ‘bald dwarf’ (Putin is 5ft 7in, and is widely considered to use platforms in his shoes to make him seem taller). 

A Google research of ‘dwarf Putin’ will return various photoshopped visuals of a shrunken Russian despot as he satisfies with officers.

Roskomnadzor’s staff are also tasked with tracking down material that compares Putin to damaging figures (other than Hitler) these types of as pedophiles and serial killers, as effectively as depictions of him in pornographic scenes or as a ‘homosexual’.

Russia has formerly banned depictions of Putin as a ‘gay clown’ (a cartoon of Putin in make-up imposed onto a rainbow, which was popularised by activists in reaction to Russia’s homophobic guidelines). The impression is regarded ‘extremism’ in Russia.

Memes - such as those that liken Putin to Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler (and call him 'Putler'), and those that call him a 'bald dwarf' (Putin is 5ft 7in, and is widely believed to use platforms in his shoes to make him appear taller) - are reported to officials in the Kremlin by Roskomnadzor

Memes - such as those that liken Putin to Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler (and call him 'Putler'), and those that call him a 'bald dwarf' (Putin is 5ft 7in, and is widely believed to use platforms in his shoes to make him appear taller) - are reported to officials in the Kremlin by Roskomnadzor

Memes – these kinds of as individuals that liken Putin to Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler (and connect with him ‘Putler’), and all those that phone him a ‘bald dwarf’ (Putin is 5ft 7in, and is widely believed to use platforms in his shoes to make him appear taller) – are documented to officials in the Kremlin by Roskomnadzor 

Putin is 5ft 7in, and is widely believed to use platforms in his shoes to make him appear taller. This picture, which is not photoshopped, shows him about to shake hands with former US president Donald Trump, who along with other world leaders is standing on a raised platform. Russian news agency TASS reportedly removed this image from their coverage in 2018

Putin is 5ft 7in, and is greatly considered to use platforms in his footwear to make him appear taller. This photograph, which is not photoshopped, exhibits him about to shake fingers with previous US president Donald Trump, who along with other earth leaders is standing on a raised platform. Russian news agency TASS reportedly eliminated this impression from their coverage in 2018

Images likening Putin to unfavourable characters, such as Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler (pictured) are also reported by Moscow's censorship agency Roskomnadzor

Photographs likening Putin to unfavourable people, this sort of as Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler (pictured) are also described by Moscow’s censorship agency Roskomnadzor

The spooks are also working to crack down on suggestions that Putin’s health and fitness is in a ‘critical condition’. In a person report detailing Roskomnadzor’s endeavours to halt the ‘destabilisation of Russian modern society,’ staffers gave a couple illustrations of their conclusions.

‘Putin 100% has dementia! The aged gentleman has lost his brain!’ and ‘Will a sane Russian aid a president with mental health problems?’ were mentioned in the report that was sent to the better-ups in the Kremlin.

Censors also quoted messages from Telegram channels. ‘Putin has most cancers […], but he will dwell,’ a further illustration mentioned in a report mentioned.

In get to monitor down criticism of Putin online, iStories said Roskomnadzor agents use Brand Analytics – software that monitors media and social media. 

They also manually enter research periods, this kind of as ‘bald dwarf’, ‘puilo’, ‘PutinVor’, ‘Little Tsakhes’, ‘chief corrupt official’, ‘Putler’ and ‘Pynya’, the outlet suggests.

Investigation of the leaks by iStories exhibits that Putin was most criticised on the net to the finish of September, in connection to his partial mobilisation for the invasion of Ukraine in which he referred to as on another 300,000 troopers to struggle in his war.

There had been also spikes in criticism all-around his 70th birthday and when an explosion strike the Crimean bridge, the bridge linking the peninsula to Russia.

Stories about Putin’s wellbeing peaked in June 2022.

The outlet also stories that Roskomnadzor displays western media retailers, these as CNN, Fox Information and the Economical Moments, as perfectly as nameless Telegram channels important of the Putin regime, this kind of as Typical SVR.

The channel has lengthy claimed Putin is dying, and on one occasion claimed that that Russian President fell down the stairs and dirty himself.

The leaks also recommend that Russia’s leading research engine and Google substitute Yandex was filtering out unflattering look for results about Putin and the Kremlin.

A spokesperson for the business instructed independent Russian information outlet Meduza that the motor does not eliminate final results on its have, denying the accusation.   

Russia has previously banned depictions of Putin as a 'gay clown' (a cartoon of Putin in makeup imposed onto a rainbow, which was popularised by activists in response to Russia's homophobic policies). The image is considered 'extremism' by Russian authorities

Russia has previously banned depictions of Putin as a ‘gay clown’ (a cartoon of Putin in make-up imposed onto a rainbow, which was popularised by activists in reaction to Russia’s homophobic procedures). The graphic is deemed ‘extremism’ by Russian authorities

The cartoonist behind these puppets from 2000, depicting Putin as a poison dwarf in Russia's version of 'Spitting Images' fled the country in fear of his safety towards the end of 2022

The cartoonist behind these puppets from 2000, depicting Putin as a poison dwarf in Russia’s model of ‘Spitting Images’ fled the place in dread of his basic safety in the direction of the close of 2022

Roskomnadzor agents are also tasked with cracking down on memes critical of Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Pictured: A meme making it clear that despite Putin's claim that it is part of Russian territory, Ukraine is 'not Russia'

Roskomnadzor agents are also tasked with cracking down on memes critical of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Pictured: A meme making it obvious that in spite of Putin’s assert that it is section of Russian territory, Ukraine is ‘not Russia’

Speaking to iStories, Abbas Gallyamov – a previous speechwriter for Putin – reported the objective of monitoring exercise on the net was to ‘quash unrest’. 

‘If you are hated by your very own people, then at some place the security forces will basically get rid of you, you will be pointless to them,’ he explained.

‘Popularity is of fantastic worth for the chief [of the country], such as for Putin. Any regime can be sustainable only if it relies on the assistance of a considerable team of voters,’ Gallyamov continued. 

As a chief, ‘you see an information and facts menace, and you make a selection how to end it, how to offer with it. Possibly with the assist of technological applications, developing an substitute agenda, or with the support of an administrative situation,’ he included.

Considering the fact that the outbreak of the war, Roskomnadzor has also been cracking down on any situations of dissent towards the invasion. People who protest the war in general public facial area up to 15 years in prison.

iStories mentioned because Putin purchased his forces into Ukraine, the war has been the main focus on of criticism in relation to the Russian chief.

Agents lookup for mentions of ‘unleashing a war’, ‘illegally invading’ and sending Russian soldiers to their fatalities.

To this day, Putin and Kremlin officers even now connect with the invasion a ‘special army operation,’ and avoid making use of the phrase ‘war’ when speaking to the Russian public.

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