News Column

Russian Social Media Fans Poke Fun at Meteor Strike

Feb. 15, 2013

With online offers of space rocks for sale and images of Vladimir Putin riding a meteor trail, Russian internet reaction to Friday's cosmic spectacle was fast and not too serious.

The images the nation and the world saw of the surprise celestial strike, its shockwave and resulting damage and injuries, were mostly taken by citizens on their smartphones and then shared online.

It didn't take long before Russian netizens added their own spin to the pictures of the sky over the Urals, with one quipping that "nothing is as refreshing as a meteorite in the morning."

Another blogger posted a picture of Hollywood action man Bruce Willis, who saved the world from an asteroid in the 1998 disaster movie Armageddon, with the caption, "Please don't call me."

Russia's very own President Putin, who likes to present himself pursuing rugged outdoor sports, was pictured in a photo montage heroically riding the meteor's white condensation trail.

The region where the meteor shower hit, Chelyabinsk, located some 1,500 kilometres east of Moscow, also drew additional fire when many bloggers derided it as a cultural backwater.

One internet user posted a picture of a bleak street scene there, with the caption "Chelyabinsk after the meteor strike," alongside the same picture and the line "Chelyabinsk before the meteor strike."

A prankster posted a video of Turkmenistan's flaming Darvaza gas crater - where a Soviet gas rig collapsed over a gas cavern in 1971 and the gas has burnt ever since - and labelled it the "impact site."

One state TV channel fell for it and broadcast the images of the circular crater - known in Turkmenistan's Karakum desert as the "Door to Hell" - wrongly calling the footage "pictures of the meteorite."

Source: Copyright 2013 dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH

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