Many white nationalists see Vladimir Putin as a heralded savior of the white race — and now it seems Putin’s government is reciprocating those warm feelings by employing white nationalists’ favorite memes.
In a tweet sent out by the Russian embassy in the U.K. on Monday, Russia’s government called out British papers for encouraging Prime Minister Theresa May to stop President-elect Donald Trump from getting too cozy with Putin — and then it posted a picture of Pepe the Frog to back up its point.
— Russian Embassy, UK (@RussianEmbassy) January 9, 2017
Pepe the Frog was originally a character from a comic strip that first appeared in a 2005 edition of Matt Furie’s Boy’s Club comic strip. Over the past year, however, the character has been appropriated by racist trolls on the web as a symbol for the rise of white nationalism. In fact, Pepe became such a notorious neo-Nazi meme in 2016 that the Anti-Defamation League added it to its database of hate symbols.
Twitter users reacted with horror to the Russian government’s decision to send out a dog whistle to Trump’s white nationalist fans, with one user calling the tweet “a new low for humankind.”
Check out some choice responses below.
— pourmecoffee (@pourmecoffee) January 9, 2017
This tweet is a new low for humankind.
— Letters of Note (@LettersOfNote) January 9, 2017
— Graham Cluley (@gcluley) January 9, 2017
Nice of you to embrace Hitler. How many Russians did he kill?
— Bruins73 (@Bruins1973) January 9, 2017
— André Frisk (@Andrefrisk) January 9, 2017
And of course, some white nationalists immediately heard Russia’s dog whistle and decided to thank them in return.
— ეპႶႠტRპႩ88 (@BeshineForDays) January 9, 2017