Ukraine vs Russia in today’s Twitter feud.
Twitter is obviously the place to be for anyone (or any nation) looking to pack a political punch in the 21st century.
So on Tuesday the official Twitter account for Ukraine decided that tweeting a Simpsons GIF at Russia’s Foreign Affairs account, itself pretty active on Twitter, would be the perfect way to properly usher the nations’ conflict into the digital age.
After Russian President Vladimir Putin met with President of France, Emmanuel Macron to deliver a joint press conference on Monday, much to the ire of Ukrainians, Putin said Anna Yaroslavna, queen consort of France from 1051 to 1060, was Russian.
Ukraine later @’ed Russia on Tuesday to set the record straight and give the country a little history refresher about Yaroslavna, who married France’s King Henry I but was in fact Kiev-born.
When @Russia says Anne de Kiev established Russia-France relations, let us remind the sequence of events pic.twitter.com/nBKhQdyKql
— Ukraine / Україна (@Ukraine) May 30, 2017
Ukraine seemed more than a little peeved that Russia was co-opting history and misleading people into thinking Yaroslav was from Moscow, when in fact Moscow hadn’t even been established in 1051. Dmytro Shymkiv, deputy head of the Presidential Administration of Ukraine was so bothered by Putin’s comments about Yaroslavna that he further clarified her heritage on his Facebook account, explaining, "My dear French friends, Russian president Putin tried to mislead you today."
Russia’s response? Well, Russia simply justified the twisting of facts by saying, "Hey, Ukraine, we have a shared history."
Despite the fact that Ukrainian parliament declared independence from the Soviet Union back in 1991, Russia "proudly" declared that it shares the same historical heritage as Ukraine and Belarus, and feels this history should "unite, not divide" them.
@Ukraine We are proud of our common history. 🇷🇺, 🇺🇦 & 🇧🇾 share the same historical heritage which should unite our nations, not divide us. pic.twitter.com/hdmkuGy22p
— РоссиЯ 🇷🇺 (@Russia) May 30, 2017
Ukraine clapped back at Russia’s bold attempt to sugarcoat the nations’ rocky history along with Putin’s present-day stretching of the truth by reminding Russia that the "shared history" wasn’t exactly "shared" by Ukraine’s choice.
With a touch of snark and a little help from The Simpsons, Ukraine used a memorable political moment in animated pop-culture to troll Russia for its selective memory regarding the long, tangled history between the two countries.
Can we just take a second to accurately appreciate that?
"You really don’t change, do you?" Ukraine asked, delivering an epic burn to Russia.
The GIF, from a 1998 episode of the show titled Simpson Tide, wasn’t Ukraine’s last. The debating and interpretation of centuries-old history and action continued, culminating in yet another GIF at the fingers of the person running the Ukraine Twitter account, this time of Benedict Cumberbatch from Sherlock.
To completely untangle the history of the Russia-Ukraine feud is, to put it lightly, incredibly complicated and the kind of subject that fills hundreds of very long books.
A heightened tension between the two nations sparked after 2013 protests took place in Kiev, followed by dangerous attacks in 2014, and a series of trade disagreements and military intervention. From Kievan Rus to Catherine the Great to the Soviet Union to Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea, the two nations embarked on what is currently one of the deadliest crises in European history.
So it makes total sense for this long-simmering feud to finally become a battle of memes on Twitter, right?
Marvelous. Just marvelous.