During Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev's visit to Minsk on Wednesday, July 18, he tweeted [ru] an Instagram snapshot with the comment: “In the streets of Minsk.” The problem with the picture is that it portrayed the Belarusian State Circus, which could be interpreted as a tacit comment on Medvedev's meeting with the Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko and senior state officials.
Medvedev's visit to Minsk was no courtesy visit. A recent smuggling scandal has aroused much anger in Moscow, and Medvedev used the meeting to bring Lukashenko to account for the export of chemical solvents produced from the Russian supplies of duty-free oil. Another item on the agenda, according to RIA Novosti [ru], was the recent intrusion into Belarusian airspace by a Swedish plane dropping teddy bears with anti-Lukashenko slogans. The bear incident was a major embarrassment for Belarus in view of the two countries’ joint air defence system. As a consequence, a student [ru] who published a photostory about the bears, and a 16-year-old girl [ru], who allegedly took a photo of one of the bears, got arrested by the KGB.
Then, how did social media react to the “Belarusian circus”?
Twitter user @minssk united [ru] the two themes of the circus and the teddies:
Медведев прилетел в Минск, сфоткал цирк. До этого прилетали медведи, тот ещё цирк был, но с фотографом там не хорошая история получилась.
Some, like @Dubovnik_Dmitry, turned to sarcasm [ru] when commenting:
Медведев отметил минский цирк твитом:-) видно для того чтобы подчекнуть куда он приехал.
Twitter user @daphnis_nerii assumed [ru] a more ironic tone:
Информационные порталы страны разместили новость о том, что Медведев сфоткал цирк. Что было бы, если б он в Беларуси в туалет сходил?
Still, as Twitter user @yurok1521 asked [ru], the question on everyone's lips is this:
Медведев намекнул на «цирк» в правительстве Беларуси?
What Medvedev's intention with the tweet was, only he knows, but if it was a joke, it testifies to a certain sense of humour of the former Russian president with the nickname ‘iPhonchik’.