So here's a thing that happened: the NATO Strategic Communications Centre of Excellence just released a study on Russian humor.
The group didn't actually analyze 1980s Yakov Smirnoff jokes — though someone definitely should — but it looked at how late-night Russian comedy shows work to discredit Western leaders and the idea of democracy in general.
These shows, broadcast on Russian state-owned television, serve as a "massive humor-driven propaganda tool aimed at national and international target audiences," according to the study's authors.
As anyone who's studied a foreign language knows, jokes don't always translate. But Russia thought the idea of this think tank studying its humor as a "tool of strategic political communication" was preeeeetttttty hilarious.
Russia's Foreign Ministry responded by posting this video on Facebook, which features comic Yevgeny Petrosyan cracking jokes about NATO: "Go ahead, expand. Many have expanded towards us ... Genghis Khan ... Napoleon."
The think tank looked specifically at shows airing on Russia's Perviy Kanal or "First Channel," to which Yakov Smirnoff might say:
Susie Armitage is the Global Managing Editor and is based in New York.
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