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Russia Wields Memes to Protest Putin's Constitutional Reforms

The proposed constitutional amendments include a clause that would allow Putin to stay in power until the age of 83.

As Russia gears up for a nationwide vote for proposed constitutional amendments starting July 1, Russians have been voicing their political opinions the old-fashioned way: with memes.

The controversial amendments include a clause that would allow Putin to stay president until 2036, as well as a provision defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman. Another proposed amendment enshrines Russians' "faith in God" in the country's basic law.

The Kremlin has promoted the upcoming constitutional vote with countless billboards and television commercials, and has even enlisted popular Russian bloggers to help advertise the vote.

Unable to protest on the streets due to the coronavirus pandemic, opponents of the constitutional amendments have shifted their opposition online with TikTok videos, Instagram face filters and other meme formats.

Here's a look at some of our favorite constitutional amendment memes from across the Russian internet:

Activist Kristina Chernaya made an Instagram face filter that shows a checkmark in the 'against' box for the constitutional vote. Over 4,000 users have used the filter so far. 

This Twitter user is taking a "long hard look" at the amendments, comparing them to feudal Russia. 

"Me: Mom can I have the Russian Constitution?" 

"Mom: No we have the Russian Constitution at home." 

"At home: Full list of laws under the Russian Empire."

Another person poked fun at the proposed amendments and their sometimes-convoluted specifics: 

"There are plans to include an amendment in the Constitution that a person may only become president with a rating no lower than 4.9 on Yandex Taxi." 

On Instagram, the aptly named MiniProtest account encourages users to post photos of small fruits and vegetables holding signs opposing the constitutional vote.  

One Twitter user made fun of the seemingly ubiquitous billboards advertising the vote by editing one into a video game screenshot.

Some made fun of an amendment that would define the Russian people as "state-forming."

This user tweeted "State-formers forward" instead of the famous patriotic saying "Russia forward," and replaced the word "Russians" with "state-formers" in famous quotes by Dostoyevsky, Emperor Alexander III and Russian Imperial General Alexander Suvorov:

Russia's youth took to the popular video app TikTok to protest the amendments, uploading short clips in which they check the box for an 'against' vote on their faces. 


СТАВЬ ЛАЙК, ЕСЛИ СОГЛАСЕН/НА С МОЕЙ ГРАЖДАНСКОЙ ПОЗИЦИЕЙ, ПОСМОТРИМ СКОЛЬКО НАС❤️ ##нетпоправкам ##конституциярф ##рек ##япротивпоправок

♬ original sound - brennan_868

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