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While Pepe started his cartoon life as a chill frog in the web comic Boy’s Club, his second career as a meme saw Pepe transform into a racist symbol for the white supremacist alt-right. Despite protestations from original Pepe fans, the frog is now largely viewed as a symbol for neo-Nazis and racists the internet over—kind of a modern-day swastika.
Now, some might say that Russia’s embassy didn’t know what it was doing. However, considering that Pepe became a major talking point in the U.S. presidential election, and the U.S. intelligence community last week accused Russia of using “paid social media … ‘trolls,’” such childlike ignorance seems unlikely.
Furthermore, as Vox reports, Russia’s government has aligned itself with far-right movements in other parts of the world. The fact that appears to be jumping on the alt-right bandwagon so publicly only seems fitting.
Andrew Couts is the former editor of Layer 8, a section dedicated to the intersection of the Internet and the state—and the gaps in between. Prior to the Daily Dot, Couts served as features editor and features writer for Digital Trends, associate editor of TheWeek.com, and associate editor at Maxim magazine. When he’s not working, Couts can be found hiking with his German shepherds or blasting around on motorcycles.