RuNet April Fools’ Roundup

Image remixed by author.

Image remixed by author.

Like everywhere else in this globalized world, in Russia April 1 is mostly a day of bad jokes and lame attempts to trick your loved ones into thinking that you are getting married or moving to Australia. Some RuNet gags do work, however. RuNet Echo has collected the best ones for your amusement.


Well, this one wasn't quite a gag, but literally hundreds [ru] of Russian Twitter users thought it would be funny to joke about the spring snow that covered Moscow this April 1st. This tweet sums up the general sentiment:

April 1 – the day when even weather decided to make a joke

And this one sums up the annoyance other users felt at the ubiquity of the joke:

The day has yet to start, but jokes about April Fool's and weather have already become horribly annoying.

Bloggers taking government jobs

At least two popular RuNet bloggers announced they would be turning a new page in their lives, working for the Kremlin.

Famous designer, popular blogger, traveler and scandal monger Artemiy Lebedev updated his blog saying [ru] he would be leaving his lucrative design studio and selling all his shares, all to start a new job with the Moscow Mayor's Office:

Сергей Семенович Собянин предложил мне новую должность – главы вновь создаваемого Департамента дизайна Москвы. Фактически – это должность главного дизайнера города. Взвесил все и согласился.

[Moscow Mayor] Sergei Semyonovich Sobyanin offered me a new position – the head of a new Moscow Department of Design. In effect this position will be the head designer for the city. I've considered everything and have agreed.

The joke works particularly well, because anyone who follows Lebedev knows his obsession with urban planning and design. If he got such an offer in reality, he would indeed spend some time seriously considering it. But, he probably wouldn't leave his studio.

Science Fiction writer Sergey Lukyanenko (author of the Night Watch series), who blogs under dr-piliulkin, had a similar idea, writing [ru] that he got a call offering him the position of Crimea's new Culture Minister. He wrote that the offer came for several reasons, one of them being that “only sci-fi writers have shown the proper amount of patriotism in the current situation.” Over the past weeks Lukyanenko had strongly spoken out for the annexation of the peninsula.

Political Humor

In Soviet Russia, politics jokes about you!

Russian anti-virus developer Dr. Web, for example, announced [ru] that they found a new Trojan virus that infects bank terminals and credit card readers. When someone uses a credit card issued by Visa or MasterCard, the virus supposedly rewrites the data on the card and makes it part of the “Russian Payment System.” The reference is to Visa and MC stopping to service Bank of Russia transactions because of US sanctions. In the aftermath, Russian politicians have spoken about switching to a national payment system as an alternative to Western credit card companies.

Russia's Slashdot, Habrahabr, posted an “interview” [ru] with Dmitriy Medvedev on their website. In this faketerview Medvedev tells us that Russian government employees are ambiguous about new IP legislation because they also like to share books and movies. But, they have their own torrent tracker, and so are somewhat safe from the new laws. Medvedev also supposedly advised Habrahabr readers to create website mirrors on the anonymous Tor .onion service to avoid censorship, letting slip that the infamous Silk Road was a mirror of GazProm.

Meanwhile, the official Facebook page of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs posted [ru] the following, somewhat sinister, status update:

Поздравляем всех с 1 апреля 2014 года! Шутки кончились. ;)

Happy April 1, 2014 everyone! Joke's over. ;)


Popular social network VKontakte had a gag of its own — and no, it wasn't VK founder and CEO Pavel Durov leaving the company [Global Voices report]. Instead, for the space of 24 hours, every time one clicked a “Like” button, Doge would appear on the lower right of the screen:

Doge says WOW to this joke. Screenshot.

Doge says WOW to this joke. Screenshot.

Yandex, Russia's main domestic search engine, went the classic direction with a fly-swatting mini-game on their main page:

Find the fly. Screenshot.

Find the fly. Screenshot.

Finally, Artemiy Lebedev's studio “designed” [ru] a mock product — “Retroreflector Glasses.” These glasses purport to keep you anonymous in any unwanted photo, by reflecting the flash back at the camera, because the lenses are surrounded by bicycle-style reflective panels:

Retroreflective glasses in action. Screenshot.

Retroreflective glasses in action. Screenshot.

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