After massive referenda earlier this year in Crimea and Eastern Ukraine, the Kremlin's supporters online have embraced a new separatist vote over 1,500 miles from Moscow. Last week, Russian nationalists—some pro-Putin and others not so much—began expressing their support for the Scottish independence referendum, often drawing parallels between self-determination rights of Scots in the United Kingdom and ethnic Russians in Eastern Ukraine. The connections between the Scottish and Eastern Ukrainian independence movements are, for the most part, thoroughly imagined, but the fantasy has produced several funny pictures.
A number of popular Russian bloggers, like Konstantin Rykov and the popular pro-separatist user @Novorossiya2015, have added the blue “Yes” button to their Twitter avatars. Responding to the perceived link between the activities of pro-Russian separatists in Eastern Ukraine and the independence movement in Scotland, Russians have generated a number of humorous images featuring kilts and references to the Hollywood movie Braveheart.
Irresistibly, it seems, one user dressed the “legendary hero” of the separatists, Igor “Strelkov” Girkin, in a kilt.
Где-то в Шотландии….. pic.twitter.com/mMdC03sCzf
— Алексей Сотник (@somsok5412) September 9, 2014
Somewhere in Scotland…
Since Stelkov's sudden and still unexplained resignation from Donetsk's military command, Russian Internet users have cast him in a “Where's-Waldo” cartographical drama. From Ferguson to Crimea, he's been “spotted” everywhere. Now he's in Scotland, of course.
— Грантштейн (@garnshtein) September 9, 2014
They say that in Scotland, a man has been spotted who looks like Strelkov/Girkin … That’s right!
The “Russia.ru” Twitter account, which is tied to the pro-Kremlin Vzglyad online portal, reported another Scottish “sighting” of a formerly active separatist, the notorious Cossack known as Babai, who fought in Slavyansk against Ukraine.
Наш Бабай уже в Шотландии. До референдума 9 дней! pic.twitter.com/5rX6vKNGIk
— Russia.ru (@russiaru) September 9, 2014
Our Babai is already in Scotland. Nine days until the referendum!
Fun with maps has given way to jokes about flags. One Twitter user thought the similarities between the flags of Novorossiya and Scotland must speak to a common fate.
— Wizard (@MitichkinS) September 9, 2014
Scotland and Novorossiya will be free!
Popular blogger Lev Sharansky combined a handful of would-be states into the “People’s Republic of Scotorossia”
— Lev Sharansky (@LevSharansky) September 9, 2014
Scotland will be free.
The nationalist blog “Sputnik & Pogrom” imagined the Ukrainian crisis transported to the United Kingdom, writing an alternate-reality version of a report about a modern-day separatist uprising in Scotland.
Даунинг-стрит, Лондон—на пресс-конференции в воскресенье британские силовики заявили, что антитеррористическая операция против кельтских сепаратистов из Шотландской Народной Республики будет продолжаться. Предложенный ОБСЕ в прошлый четверг план деэскалации конфликта провалился: войска Соединённого Королевства продолжают обстрелы шотландских городов и почти замкнули кольцо вокруг Глазго.
Downing Street, London – At a press conference on Sunday, British military officials announced that the anti-terrorist operation against the Celtic separatists from the People’s Republic of Scotland will continue. The plan proposed by the OSCE last Thursday to de-escalate the conflict has failed: British troops continue to shell Scottish cities and have almost completely encircled Glasgow.
Whether in William Wallace jokes or sincere declarations of brotherhood, many Russians who supported the referenda in Crimea and East Ukraine seem genuinely to see a connection with Scotland's vote. The Scots themselves, whose road to independence has adhered to an inclusive voting process and non-violent appeals to the central government, don't likely think much of Russians’ theory of solidarity. What’s more, Scotland is more liberal than the rest of the UK—a far cry from Ukraine's separatists, whose closer historical parallels are probably the pro-monarchist White Guard or ultra-nationalist Black Hundreds, not William Wallace (or even Mel Gibson).