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Putin's Antique Map Stunt Stirs Meme Storm

Constitutional Court chairman Valery Zorkin presents Vladimir Putin with an old map.

President Vladimir Putin donned his historian cap on Tuesday when Constitutional Court chairman Valery Zorkin brought a 17th-century French map to his office and presented the artifact as evidence that Ukraine did not exist as a state before the Soviet period, a view the Russian leader himself has expressed repeatedly both before and during Moscow’s invasion.

“Why did I bring it [the map] here?” Zorkin asked. “Vladimir Vladimirovich — there’s no Ukraine there.”

“Of course,” Putin responded dryly.

The choreographed exchange allowed the Russian president yet another opportunity to assert his dismissive views on Ukrainian statehood, despite Kyiv's ongoing resistance against Moscow's invading forces.

But so, too, did its absurdity provide the Russian web with ample material for generating irreverent and mocking memes.

Here’s a look at some of our favorite memes of Putin the Map Aficionado:

“The conversation between Putin and Zorkin over Ludovic's [French] map was censored. Here’s the original video," investigative reporter Andrey Zakharov wrote on Twitter.

Just two guys having a drink in the backyard.

The Suffering Middle Ages social media page, known for its memes using medieval artwork, conjured up this gem.

“Let’s attack the blue parts, there’s more of them," commands Putin.

“That’s the ocean, sir," replies Zorkin

And here’s one more from Suffering Middle Ages — but this time a bit of wordplay.

“Cash or card?" asks the man.

(The Russian words for “map” and “card” are the same — карта).

“Card,” replies the lion.

“Great, here’s a 17th-century French map. There’s no Ukraine.”

More wordplay for your enjoyment.

“Putin was delighted when he found out that Ukraine was not on all these maps [and cards]!”

J. R. R. Tolkien somehow forgot to include Ukraine in the evil realm of Mordor when writing his Lord of the Rings epic fantasy novel.

“On this ancient map, there is no Ukraine.”

“Well, colleagues, a map from 1702 has been found, on which Ukraine exists, but the city where Vladimir Putin was born is missing.”

For those who may have forgotten, Putin was born in St. Petersburg, founded in 1703 by Tsar Peter the Great.

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