Appearing at an awards ceremony for young students at the Russian Geographical Society, President Vladimir Putin took issue with nine-year-old Miroslav Oskirko’s statement that Russia’s borders “end at the Bering Strait with the United States.”
“Russia’s borders don’t end anywhere!” Putin corrected the boy, giving him a hug.
“That is a joke,” he clarified a moment later.
Somehow the citizens of Ukraine and of nervous Baltic republics circling an increasingly adventurous Russia managed to contain their mirth.
The UK Daily Mail quotes Twitter user Dmitry Kasatkin asking Putin, “Are we talking about culture here, or the S-400?” The S-400 is a Russian air defense missile that has lately been turning up in all sorts of interesting places.
As the UK Independent notes, “Russia’s borders” became a top trend on Twitter within minutes of Putin’s geopolitical standup comedy routine.
The BBC points out that Putin has seriously argued Russia has no borders, at least when it comes to defending what he called, “the rights of Russians, our compatriots abroad.”
BBC also picked up on a more subtle example of Putin’s wit: when he asked five-year-old Timofey Tsoi to name the country whose capital city is called Ouagadougou:
Timofey correctly answered “Burkina Faso”, but struggled when asked what the country’s old name was. Mr. Putin helped him out, saying: “Upper Volta! Good lad!”
In its dying days, the Soviet Union was sardonically described as “Upper Volta with rockets.”