The U.S. State Department has a Russian-language Twitter account, @UkrProgress, that earnestly promotes the White House stance on the Ukraine crisis.
It even holds weekly Q&As under the portentous hashtag #HourOfTruth (#ЧасПравды). This is a mockup of Russia's plan to possibly invade Ukraine and maybe even "restore the Soviet empire."
At its best, it's been imperfect. Pro-Kremlin tweeters have mocked it for its frequent spelling errors and occasional mistakes, like this tweet mistaking a Photoshopped parody of Russian TV for the real thing.
Now it's spawned its own Iraq-themed parody account, @IraqProgress, echoing the Kremlin's stance that the current crisis is the U.S.'s fault for invading in 2003 and supporting Syrian rebels — both decisions that Russia fiercely protested.
"The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" (ISIS) has already established democratic rule in 1/3 of Iraq."
This one says ISIS is a "reliable investor" after it "increased production and created thousands of new jobs" at oil refineries it seized in bloody battles.
"Russian propaganda claims this is ISIS fighters executing a suspected Iraqi spy. Actually, it's Salafist democrats pushing the crowd back away from a Shia Muslim at prayer."
"Russian propaganda calls ISIS a 'terrorist group.' Then why are activists from all over the world taking part in the Islamic State's protest, including from Japan?"
This one echoes State Department comments in support of Ukrainian protesters. "The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria only uses peaceful methods of struggle: protests, demonstrations, and solo pickets."
Trolling the State Department is de rigeur in Russia, where spokesperson Jen Psaki has found herself the target of a bizarre pro-Kremlin meme calling her stupid.
"This is how democracy supporters in ISIS remove supporters of the authoritarian regime from power. Don't believe everything that you see."
Max Seddon is a correspondent for BuzzFeed World based in Berlin. He has reported from Russia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan and across the ex-Soviet Union and Europe. His secure PGP fingerprint is 6642 80FB 4059 E3F7 BEBE 94A5 242A E424 92E0 7B71
Contact Max Seddon at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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