Many Twitter users are baffled by a new Cyrillic hashtag, which, went on top of the short message sharing service on Friday. What does #спасибопутинузаэто mean? Is it a new Russian nuclear bomb?
The secret is quite simple. Friday is Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s birthday, and Russian Twitter users are celebrating it with a flash mob. They post funny short rhymes, all of which end with “Thanks Putin for this” in Russian. Or rather “Thanksputinforthis,” (Spasiboputinuzaeto) which explains why automatic translation will not work with the phrase.
Russians are thanking Putin for lots of things. For good weather, for access to the internet and for making Barack Obama scratch his head. And also for a lack of political liberties, widespread corruption and authoritarian trends in Russia.
The flash mob has actually become a competition between Putin’s opponents and supporters. The former come up with sarcastic rhymes while the latter tend to focus on the former president/current prime minister’s achievements. New tweets marked by the hashtag come up in their dozens every minute.
The new trend naturally baffled non-Russian-speaking users of Twitter, and Russian humorists were quick to come up with explanation. So far the most popular is that #спасибопутинузаэто is a new Russian nuclear bomb. Another one is that it is a traditional Russian greeting.
The rhyming game has its roots back in Soviet times, when the Communist Party was sarcastically thanked in this fashion for every little thing in people’s lives.
Putin’s birthday is being marked with several public actions this year. For instance the so-called Putin’s Army female fan club have baked a special cake for the PM and launched a poll to choose the premier’s sexiest body part. Meanwhile, the Nashi [Ours] pro-Kremlin movement formed a big number 59 – Putin’s age – on one of Moscow’s streets.
RT crew had tons of laughs this morning. Thanksputinforthis!
Russians thank Putin with warm hearts:
Russia rulez the planet, #СПАСИБОПУТИНУЗАЭТО
Obama scratches his head, #СПАСИБОПУТИНУЗАЭТО
We have oil and gas, #СПАСИБОПУТИНУЗАЭТО
And with sarcasm:
We’re moving back to the Soviets, #СПАСИБОПУТИНУЗАЭТО
We have elections and we don’t, #СПАСИБОПУТИНУЗАЭТО
We had Medvedev, soon we won’t, #СПАСИБОПУТИНУЗАЭТО
With limerick-like absurdity:
There will be summer after winter, #СПАСИБОПУТИНУЗАЭТО
I bought tickets to Beijing, #СПАСИБОПУТИНУЗАЭТО
I lost keys to the toilet, #СПАСИБОПУТИНУЗАЭТО
There are no more normal tweets, #СПАСИБОПУТИНУЗАЭТО
And even in English, for the baffled foreigners:
US is good, but we are better #СПАСИБОПУТИНУЗАЭТО
More than enough tea for the Mad Hatter #СПАСИБОПУТИНУЗАЭТО
What an inspiration Putin is! #СПАСИБОПУТИНУЗАЭТО