The Russian embassy to the United Kingdom tweeted a Pepe the Frog meme from its verified Twitter account Monday in what appears to be a dog whistle to Trump supporting white supremacists.
The cartoon frog known as Pepe was co-opted by white supremacist elements on social media throughout the recent presidential campaign, and recognized by the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League as a hate symbol.
The embassy’s tweet — which tagged nine Twitter accounts, including those of President-elect Donald Trump, British Foreign Minister Boris Johnson, and the U.S. embassy in London — is a clear act of internet trolling, mimicking the actions of various racist Trump supporters during the presidential election.
During the election, the Kremlin allegedly hired internet trolls to pose as Trump-supporting Americans. More recently, American intelligence agencies issued a declassified report that found evidence of Russian interference in the 2016 election.
Shortly after Trump’s election, a Russian philosopher and proponent of Eurasianism named Aleksandr Dugin wrote on Facebook, “Washington is ours.”
— Evan O'Connell (@evanoconnell) November 14, 2016
Dugin is an avowed Trump enthusiast. The fascist philosopher is also a favorite thinker of America’s white nationalist community. His admirers include Richard Spencer, the racist figurehead of the so-called alt-right, who is also a fan of Pepe.
While Dugin has been referred to as Putin’s brain or Putin’s Rasputin in the past, it’s likely the collective Dugin referred to when he said “Washington is ours” is an international alliance against liberalism. His strong support for traditionalism and the echoes of this ideology found throughout the Kremlin’s policy have found an admirer in Trump’s Chief Strategist Steve Bannon.