A video of Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on trial for corruption and terrorism has gone viral in Russia, attracting millions of views after being posted on YouTube two days ago.
The video is a fake, of course, but the image of Putin in a cage in front of judges, spectators and all of Russia has resonated with the country, where last month thousands of Russians protested in Moscow against his seemingly never-ending rule.
The video, titled The Arrest of Vladimir Putin, is a faux news report on Putin's trial for embezzling funds.
The images in the 50-second clip were taken from the real-life trial of Mikhail Khodorkovsky, a Russian businessman and politician who clashed with Putin.
Once the richest man in Russia, Khodorkovsky was arrested for fraud in 2003 and eventually found guilty of embezzlement and money-laundering. The Khodorkovsky trial is often cited as an example of Putin's power over Russian society. The billionaire allegedly got on Putin's bad side for breaking a promise not to enter politics. Khodorkovsky tried to run on a platform of cleansing Russian politics of corruption when he was arrested.
Khodorkovsky is apparently a fan of the The Arrest of Vladimir Putin video. His legal team put a link to the clip on his Twitter feed.
Putin supporters have made their own prank videos in response. The video “Russia Without Putin — Russia Without a Future plays on the popular Russia Without Putin chant that was frequently heard during the recent protests. It warns about what would happen if that wish came true, showing images of collapsing banks, the Holocaust and bomb blasts in Moscow, and forecasts Russia giving its nuclear weapons to the United States if opposition leaders take power.