For several days, the video has been circulating on social networks, relayed on Twitter, Youtube or Telegram. We see actor Sergei Pogossian, a native of Kazakhstan, play a Russian citizen who boards a plane to emigrate to the United States with his wife and their son. There follows a series of homophobic and racist clichés intended to mock the supposedly “woke” culture the United States.
From the opening scene, the tone is set. “The United States is the freest country in the world”, says a passenger to the couple, who asks her in return if she is traveling with her husband. “Yes, we are together, it will not take long to arrive”, replies the young woman. But when she is joined by another woman, the Russian couple exchange a puzzled look, stunned at the vision of a lesbian couple. They are then reprimanded by a flight attendant for eating meat, which is confiscated from them to avoid offending the sensibilities of vegetarian travellers.
Perhaps the most outrageous cliché is the one that follows, when the Russian citizen is overtaken in the lavatory line by a black passenger. Fellow travelers and staff call the Russian traveler to order as he attempts to enforce the order of the line, before kneeling before the black man and asking forgiveness for the oppression of his people .
And, to complete the crescendo, a flight attendant then asks the Russian family to move to a more discreet part of the plane, on the grounds that the sight of their son could hurt the passengers who themselves did not have no children.
Satirical show “taken out of context”
Many netizens viewed this four-minute clip titled “Tolerant Theft” as “pure propaganda”, reports the Russian news site NGS42, aimed at convincing Russians not to emigrate to the United States.
According to the explanations of the actor Sergei Pogossian to the Russian media MSK1, the clip would not come directly from the Kremlin, since it would be from a satirical program called Out loud !, streamed on ruTube – the Russian counterpart of YouTube – as well as on VKontakte, the equivalent of Facebook.
Sergei Pogossian claims that the show is part of a larger network of entertainment programs:
“Unfortunately, many consider it a little propaganda film. But it’s just a humorous bit, taken from the context of a political satire show.”
The website NGS42 notes that only 105 Internet users were subscribed to the RuTube channel broadcasting the program when the extract went viral. When reporters ask the lead actor if the government is behind the video, the actor replies: “I think the show itself may be publicly funded. But I am not sure.” As for the question of whether the parody goes too far, the actor kicks in touch:
“If we look at this pastille outside the context of the programme, it can indeed pass for an advertisement against emigration. But if we consider it in all of this type of production, then we can see that it is a normal subject.
The exodus of the Russians in the background
The circulation of this extract, falls on his side Newsweek, comes a few weeks after the Russian President, Vladimir Poutineannounced the partial mobilization of the population, causing the exile of “hundreds of thousands of Russians” out of the country.
“Although the exact number of Russians trying to flee to neighboring countries is not known, continues the American media, Kazakhstan’s Interior Minister Marat Akhmetjanov said in an interview published by Zakon.kz on October 4 that 200,000 Russian citizens had entered his country in the previous two weeks.”
Also, complete the title, “judging by the long queues at the borders of other neighboring countries where Russians can go visa-free, the numbers must be much the same elsewhere,” especially in Georgia.
Since the start of the war led by Russian forces in Ukraine, President Vladimir Putin has hardened his discourse on the United States, and more broadly on the values defended by the West. On September 30, at the time of the annexation by Moscow of four Ukrainian regions – Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporijjia – he delivered a violent diatribe against the West, castigating in particular the violation of moral and family values defended by the Kremlin.
On this occasion, he quoted the terms of “relative 1” and “parent 2” sometimes used in place of “mother” and “father” to include same-sex couples with children; and denounced the remarks on the “sex reassignment operations” with children. The Kremlin regularly highlights issues of gender and sexual orientation when critically portraying Western countries.