A video that recently went viral in Russia, promotes participation in Sunday’s Presidential election by describing a day in the life of a Russian man who ignores his wife’s reminder to go and vote; he will rather sleep in. When he wakes up, he faces a post-election reality in which he is drafted into the army although he’s 52 years old and is forced into a homosexual relationship with his “foster gay”, among other things.
Click on the video to watch it with English subtitles
The video, which is professionally produced and in which well-known Russian actors appear, does not make it clear who its author is; however, some sources quoted in the independent Russian outlet Meduza’s investigation of the video connect the production to the Kremlin.
Choice between voting and forced homosexuality
The video’s message is clear: Unless Russians actively contribute to making the 18 March Presidential elections a success, they will – in the video literally – wake up into a world lacking social guarantees, with soldiers of African descent, and where forced homosexuality is the norm.
The plot echoes a narrative central to pro-Kremlin disinformation: that foreign influences can and will drive Russia towards moral decline, unless a strong Russian government defends the country against these contacts.
“Foreign agent” laws and conspiracies
This kind of thinking stands at the core of Russia’s draconic “foreign agent” laws, but it also permeates aggressive TV broadcasts that claim to expose dubious conspiracies between, for example, Russian human rights NGOs, international radical extremism and Western diplomats working in Russia. At the same time, Russian state-controlled media do not shy away from using homophobic, anti-Semitic and other forms of racist language.
Against this background, it is difficult to see the video as just a satirical comment; it also reinforces disinformation and intolerance narratives – dressed up in the deniable guise of entertainment.