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Russia posts April Fools’ Day message offering hacking, election interference

Russia has jokes.

 

Samantha Grasso

Internet Culture

Published Apr 1, 2017   Updated May 24, 2021, 6:52 pm CDT

Could these “Russia hacked the 2016 presidential election and President Trump is in collusion with Putin” allegations have been pranks this entire time?

The short answer is no, this was not a long-form April Fools’ Day joke. But this new message from the Russian Foreign Ministry makes us wish they were.

On Saturday, the ministry shared an automated answering machine recording to Facebook offering hacking and election interference, designed with “Russian diplomats” in mind. The minute-long recording is both in Russian and English, with the English version beginning around the 26 second mark.

“To arrange a call from a Russian diplomat to your political opponent, press 1. To use the services of Russian hackers, press 2. And to request election interference, press 3, and wait until the next election campaign,” the message says. “Please note that all calls are recorded for quality improvement and training purposes.”

The message is pretty gutsy, especially considering how complicated the Trump-Russia controversy has become during the past six months, though Russia has always denied the allegations. While the video isn’t labeled as an April Fools’ Day joke, most of the responding Facebook reactions seem to understand the video’s facetious nature—of the nearly 2,000 reactions, only eight people have responded with surprise, and one with anger.

According to the Associated Press, a ministry duty officer confirmed that the video is an official joke, though he did not give his name in line with official practice. SUSPICIOUS?! I think perhaps.

Listen to the full audio recording, hacking offer and all, below:

Автоответчик для российских дипломатических миссий

Министерство иностранных дел России разработало пилотную аудиозапись автоответчика для российских дипломатических миссий за рубежом.

Posted by Russian Foreign Ministry – МИД России on Saturday, April 1, 2017

H/T CBS News

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*First Published: Apr 1, 2017, 12:53 pm CDT