Russia's state-run media have turned a generic news story about a 2018 calendar featuring President Vladimir Putin into proof that the Russian leader is revered in the West.
The Daily Mirror tabloid published pictures of a 2018 calendar on Wednesday that features Putin in a variety of action poses.
The gallery linked to an eBay ad saying that 6,000 copies of the calendar had already been shipped worldwide from the Russian city Voronezh.
Screenshots of Russian-language headlines collected by journalist Alexei Kovalev showed that Russian media spun the Daily Mirror story to suggest that the calendars were all the rage in England.
The pro-Kremlin TV channel TsarGrad titled its article "I Got in Line Yesterday" and claimed that there was a "frenzy" for the calendar.
Other headlines boasted that the calendar was a "sales hit" that had "sold out" within days of being released.
Last month, Kovalev discredited Russian media stories about a mythic "Putin Burger" in Manhattan to celebrate the Russian president's birthday on Oct. 7.
That exposure led to the dismissal of two New York City restaurant waitresses for falsely claiming that the burger was sold once a year in honor of Putin’s birthday.
The restaurant manager called the incident a hoax, leading the Kremlin-backed Ruptly video agency to delete the footage, though only after the story ran on Russian state television.
Commenting on the calendar story on his personal Twitter page, Kovalev said: “We’re so eager for the damned West to pat us on the head, aren’t we?”
“Something should be done about this mass inferiority complex.”