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Social Media Users Get Creative in Response to Ukrainian President's Fake Magazine Cover

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko gets image editing help from the RuNet. Original image by WEF on Flickr, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0. Images mixed by Tetyana Lokot.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko gets image editing help from the RuNet. Original image by WEF on Flickr, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0. Images mixed by Tetyana Lokot.

Shortly after New Year, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko tweeted a photo of a cover of The Economist magazine featuring his face among many other international leaders. The magazine cover turned out to be fake and resulted in a perfect storm of parodies and memes on the Russian-speaking Internet.

On January 3, Poroshenko posted a photo of the magazine to Twitter (cached archival copy) and added a cryptic caption:

Screencap of the viral Poroshenko tweet, now deleted.

Screencap of the viral Poroshenko tweet, now deleted.

Some gifts I take not as a compliment, but as a personal responsibility. Adding this to my agenda for the holidays.

Eagle-eyed social media users quickly noticed that Poroshenko's image of the magazine cover was doctored. The real issue of The Economist is titled “The World in 2016″ (not 2017) and includes the face of Vladimir Putin (replaced by Poroshenko's image in the edited version).

The real The Economist cover (left) and its edited version courtesy of Poroshenko's press staff (right). Image from Twitter.

The real The Economist cover (left) and its edited version courtesy of Poroshenko's press staff (right). Image from Twitter.

It is unclear why Poroshenko and his social media team decided to publish it on his official Twitter feed. After the photo caused mass mirth and started going viral, the tweet was deleted. The Presidential Administration's press service defended the feat on Facebook, writing that it was their idea to edit the title and images on the cover, and that the whole thing was nothing more than a holiday joke.

Russian officials were among those who reacted critically to the doctored image. Aleksei Pushkov, head of the Russian State Duma's foreign affairs committee, was especially vitriolic about Poroshenko's “daydreams” of replacing Putin on the global political arena.

The Narnia Chronicles: Poroshenko seriously sees himself on The Economist cover next to leaders of Germany, US, India, China.. Daydreams far removed from reality.

In return, Poroshenko's press staff lamented the “lack of humor” their idea had met with in official circles and on social media.

Окрім маси позитивних поширень з офіційних сторінок цей пост викликав також не новорічну бурхливу реакцію окремих підписників та російських змі. Останні без жодної краплини гумору, сприйняли цю обкладинку як цілком реальну перспективу втрати Росією місця серед світових лідерів.
Але з огляду на те, що це був наш подарунок Президенту до Нового року, ми б хотіли, щоб подібні святкові ідеї сприймались з часткою жарту, і обов'язково через призму пошуку Україною свого місця в світі.

Besides a slew of positive shares from the official pages, this post also caused an entirely non-New Year violent reaction of some subscribers and the Russian media. The latter, without a single drop of humor, took the cover as an entirely real possibility of Russia losing its place among the world leaders.
But since this was our New Year's gift to the President, we'd like such festive ideas to be taken with a grain of humor, and always through the lens of Ukraine searching for its place in the world.

However, no one can get away with accusing the Internet of a “lack of humor.” The social media meme machine had already been set in motion, with RuNet users mocking Poroshenko's image editing skills and suggesting other magazine covers Poroshenko could grace, Rolling Stone and Vogue among them.

Poroshenko has mastered Photoshop!

Suggested covers featuring "shopped-in" Poroshenko included this Playboy gem. Image from Twitter.

Suggested covers featuring “shopped-in” Poroshenko included this Playboy gem. Image from Twitter.

Why did Poroshenko delete the tweet? He could have kept on photoshopping his mug onto magazine covers.

Pro-Kremlin media weren't far behind, with outlets like Vesti and Ministry of Defense channel TV Zvezda quickly catching onto the trending story and gathering some of the photoshopped covers.

Poroshenko has become the hero of photoshoops because of a fake The Economist cover.
Photos from social networks

Playboy Poroshenko: Ukraine's President finally achieves success.

In turn, some enterprising users offered their alternatives to what the “World in 2016″ would look like, basing their creations on the current RuNet memes. Unlike Putin, it seems, Poroshenko did not get a feature in this particular forecast.

Add this to your agendas.

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