The Kremlin on Tuesday guffawed at a Twitter video posted by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) the day before, aiming to recruit Russian double-agents to join the US spy service.

“Someone needs to inform the CIA that [the Russian social network] Vkontakte is much more popular in our country than the banned X [formerly Twitter],” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.

The video follows a fictional Russian whose deceased father often spoke of the valor of cosmonauts and scientists, and whose mother took him to Moscow to see a military parade in Red Square. Then, the narrator came to the realization that “the true enemy” lies within, and decides to contact CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia, to “save Russia” for the benefit of his own son.

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About halfway through the Russian-language script, the 35-year-old narrator quotes a passage from “Three Methods of Reform” by revered author Lev Tolstoy: “Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.”

(Perhaps clumsily in this case, the Russian word for “to change” is nearly identical to, and one vowel away from the word for “to betray”.)

 

“The elite sold out the country for palaces and yachts, while our soldiers chew on rotten potatoes and fire ancient weapons,” the narration continues.

At the end of the post, the CIA explains how to get in touch with its recruiters via encrypted channels.

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When asked about the video on Tuesday, Peskov said that “the CIA does it all the time.”

According to The Moscow Times, CIA Director of Operations David Marlowe said in November 2022 that the agency was “open for business” for any Russian disillusioned by the so-called “special operation” in Ukraine.

On Tuesday, Reuters reported that CIA Director William Burns said that the agency recognized a rare opportunity to reach Russians disaffected with Moscow’s foreign policy, and therefore decided to disseminate the video.

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