A Russian activist group used a racist laser show to send President Barack Obama a sardonic “happy birthday” message on Monday, with the U.S. Embassy in Moscow serving as the display’s unwilling backdrop. The projection depicted a party hat-clad Obama swallowing a banana.
The Moscow Student Initiative, which describes itself as “an art group, a circle of common interests, activists, students, patriots,” claimed responsibility for the racist laser art show, Huffington Post UK reports. “On the night of Aug. 4, activists of the Moscow Student Initiative projected an extraordinary image on the U.S. Embassy. The image resembled the face of Barack Obama. The composition was animated and there was a diving banana in the mouth of the U.S. president. At the end was the inscription ‘Happy Birthday, Obama,’” the group wrote on its VK page, the Russian social media equivalent of Facebook. Monday was the president's 53rd bithday.
The laser show appeared just hours after the student group unfurled a banner bearing Obama’s likeness on a building opposite the embassy. “I don’t see … I don’t hear … I don’t speak the truth to anybody,” the banner said, according to the Moscow Times. The poster bore images that exaggerated Obama’s physical features.
Across from the US embassy in Moscow today, Russians hung this racist banner addressing Obama on his 53rd birthday. pic.twitter.com/wqhX9ILE8W
— Kevin Rothrock (@KevinRothrock) August 4, 2014
The Student Initiative’s efforts appear to be part of campaign to call attention to what it deems the United States’ hypocritical actions in Ukraine, state-run Russian news service RT said, according to the Moscow Times. Previously, the group held demonstrations to mock “American democracy” and oppose U.S. support of Ukraine’s pro-Europe government.
Moscow isn't the only European capital to see a questionable anti-Obama protest in recent months. In July, Oliver Bienkowski – a self-described “guerilla marketing expert” in Germany – projected an image of the president in a backwards cap, along with the phrase “NSA in da house,” onto the U.S. Embassy in Berlin, The Verge reported.