In an apparent response to U.S. economic sanctions against Russia, the nation’s Twitter account posted a video of Russians competing in a folk festival — basically a Renaissance fair — set to hard rock. The account, whose handle is simply “@Russia,” purports to be run by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation. From all appearances, this fact checks out.
The tweet might not seem threatening, except for the accompanying caption, which reads, “Whoever comes to us with #sanctions, from sanctions will perish. We dedicate this video to those who try to hurt us with new sanctions!”
Russian officials haven’t been shy about their dissatisfaction.
Russia’s Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev decried the sanctions, which President Donald Trump signed into law on Wednesday as basically a “full-scale trade war,” according to Reuters. He emphasized on Facebook that President Trump demonstrated his powerlessness by signing into law the more stringent sanctions with which the president says he disagrees.
“The hope that our relations with the new American administration would improve is finished,” Medvedev wrote.
If those statements left any doubt about whether Russia and the U.S. could maintain warm relations, this latest wound via Twitter has vanquished any remaining uncertainty.
The medieval imagery in the video is pretty strange, but the accompanying music really drives home whatever point about Russia’s might and strength of spirit they’re trying to make. The song, called “Slavic Sky” — or “The Sky of Slavs” — (Небо славян) is performed by the Russian hard rock band Alisa (Алиса). The band has become known for its strong Christian influence and overt Russian nationalistic themes. The lyrics to the song, as well as the scenes of physical strength depicted in the video of the folk festival, bring to mind outdated notions of idealized Russian serfdom in which Russian peasants were often seen as rugged, noble people of humble means.
Here are a few translated lines:
Beyond the hilltop, axes clash
And fiercely strike upon helmets.
And the indigenous mercenaries in their chain mail
Sing patriotically in Russian.
And from the plains to the stars
As far as the eye can see — The White Army stands.
Here, in our native land
We will die.
And here’s the music video:
It remains to be seen whether this video is merely Russia’s government voicing dissatisfaction over President Trump’s sanctions or whether we should expect to defend our castles from hordes of Russians in chain mail.