World

People Are Using An Instagram Filter To Turn Themselves Into A Dictator

It’s through the use of an app called “MSQRD” which has other filters including Darth Maul and Conchita Wurst.

1. If you’re a Russian on Instagram, you may have noticed a terrifyingly familiar face popping up in your feed lately: that of long-deceased leader of the USSR, Josef Stalin.

2. He’s all over it seems. Just, you know, living his life in this modern world that is so strange and new to him, mustache and all.

3. I mean, who hasn’t wanted to see what the man who killed millions chilling and smoking hookah? Nobody, that’s who.

4. Stalin’s popularity has been on the upswing over the course of the last decade, largely due to a campaign from the Kremlin to lionize him and his rule.

As a sign of that resurgence, a 2008 poll named the strongman the third most popular Russian ever. “The younger generation is fed with myths about Stalin. It knows nothing about the millions who died in Gulag camps but well knows he was a strong leader who defeated (Nazi) Germany,” human rights activist Lev Ponomaryov told Reuters at the time.

And last year, a survey from the Levada Center — Russia’s most respected polling house — found that “a third of Russians feel respect for Joseph Stalin and 45% believe his repressions were at least ‘to some extent’ justified.”

5. And while the pictures of men with Stalin’s face are disconcerting, the ones of women bearing the visage of the Marshal of the Soviet Union are just kind of bizarre.

6. Oh and children. Can’t forget the tiny child-sized Stalins.

7. And move over Chairman Meow. Here comes Josef Pawlin.

8. The transformations are courtesy of an app called “MSQRD,” produced by a company called Masquerade Technologies. This YouTube video shows off just how many filters the app provides and how impressive the technology behind it is.

9. Among them are Austrian Eurovision winner Conchita Wurst and Star Wars villain Darth Maul.

10. “Our team had invented an unique face-tracking technology implementation which works really fast on mobile devices,” co-founder Sergey Gonchar told BuzzFeed News. Building MSQRD on top of that tech was meant to showcase that tech, he explained.

11. The most popular of their filters is the monkey, Gonchar said, likely due to 2016 being the Year of the Monkey.

12. And why Stalin? “The character is used in the most famous TV shows, comedies in Russia and we’ve added this filter as a popular character with a mustache,” Gonchar explained.

13. Masquerade is currently working on new filters for an American audience, according to co-founder Eugene Nevgen. So be on the lookout for those if you download it yourself.

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Hayes Brown is a world news editor and reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Hayes Brown at hayes.brown@buzzfeed.com.
 
 

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