After Canada shocked the world with its boldness on Wednesday by mocking Russia with its tongue-in-cheek map of the Russian-Ukrainian border, Russia fired back against Canada with a Twitter map of its own. Though the two tweets both involve maps of the same Eastern European region, that's about all they have in common. Russia's retort is just so... Russia.
As you might have expected, Russia’s Tweeted map is much more serious and decidedly less clever than its Canadian predecessor. The Russian retort is basically just a reprinted standard political map in which the Permanent Mission of Russia to NATO has changed the Crimea’s color from “Ukrainian yellow” to “Russian pink.” Where Canada’s stark “Russia” and “Not Russia” labels give its homemade map a bold, sarcastic edge, Russia’s unimaginative redesign of a basic map looks more like a color-by-number page gone wrong.
Every social media war has to have a winner, and as of now, it looks like Canada is definitely in the lead. While Canada’s clever map went viral — it’s been retweeted more than 30,000 times since it was posted on Wednesday — the Russian response has been more of a flop, retweeted a mere 800 times since its Thursday debut. The tweets don’t lie, people. Canada gets points for being startlingly snarky. Russia loses points for being…well, entirely Russia-ish in its response.
Beyond being a lame comeback, however, Russia’s map response also points to other, more grave issues involving Russia’s increasing military presence in Ukraine. In its tweeted map, Russia decisively labeled Crimea as Russian territory, despite that much of the West has refused to acknowledge Russia’s takeover in the region. The Russian map also conveniently doesn't show most of the areas in Ukraine where NATO has estimated that up to 1,000 Russian troops are currently fighting, probably because they figure that these areas aren't officially "theirs" yet.
With this in mind, perhaps the Russian map retort is bolder than we initially thought — where the Canadian map was meant to raise eyebrows, the Russian map is an entirely serious response, showing that the country sees its recent military actions as legitimate and permanent enough to alter the official maps.