Snowden mocks ‘Russian bots’ trope
US National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower Edward Snowden has posted a picture on Twitter, mocking the ‘blame Russia’ fad. Snowden had apparently dug up a meme dating back to the Trump-era trend of finding elusive ‘Russian trolls’ everywhere.
The picture, posted by the whistleblower without any context, turned out to have aged well and prompted a heated discussion on his feed.
It shows a book cover, mimicking the iconic Little Golden Books series, titled ‘Everyone I don’t agree with is a Russian bot’. The subtitle of the ‘book’ explains that it provides a “child’s guide to media and government excuse-making for political failings.”
Some users appreciated the meme, providing other ‘guidebooks’ about omnipotent evil forces that are often mentioned in online political discussions.
Others, however, apparently failed to see the irony, accusing Snowden of being a “literal Russian bot” himself.
The whistleblower, who fled the US after leaking top-secret documents almost a decade ago, finally received Russian citizenship back in September, having applied for it in 2020 upon receiving a permanent residency permit.
Washington still wants Snowden returned home to face espionage charges over his 2013 leak revealing the NSA’s extensive surveillance operations. The leak, which was never published in full, showed that surveillance targeted American citizens to a far greater degree than previously known. Since then, the surveillance program exposed by Snowden has been declared unlawful by a US appeals court.