Just For Laughs, Gags seems to have had a revival with Poland President Andrzej Duda getting regularly pranked by Russian comedians impersonating people. This time around, they played French President Emmanuel Macron.
Just last week, with a missile hit in Eastern Poland (reportedly by Ukraine in response to the Russian attacks), Duda had been attending to several calls from world leaders like US President Joe Biden.
A seven-minute call: One of the calls turned out to be with France's Macron, with whom Duda talked for over seven minutes.
Polish leader Duda got pranked by Vovan and Lexus pretending to be Macron about the missile incident.
"Emmanuel, believe me, I am extra careful," Duda informs the caller. "I don't want to have war with Russia and believe me, I am extra careful, extra careful.” https://t.co/I1zGvtA61e pic.twitter.com/oePgLOmYCV— Nina 🐙 Byzantina (@NinaByzantina) November 22, 2022
Duda discussed his plans to have talks with NATO, not to aggravate Russia, and added that Biden didn’t believe Russia launched the missile even as Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy insisted that it was Russia’s fault.
Then came the catch: Macron wasn’t on the line.
Instead, Duda had received a call from Russian YouTube pranksters Vladimir Kuznetsov and Alexei Stolyarov (known collectively as Vovan and Lexus) who also posted a recording of the audio on their "RuTube" channel (a Russian video platform).
Who are these pranksters? Kuznetsiv and Stolyariv’s modus operandi is prank calling global leaders and celebrities and then uploading the conversation on YouTube (even if the videos might get deleted soon after).
The other famous personalities to have fallen prey to their hoaxes include Sir Elton John, Prince Harry, ex-British PM Boris Johnson, and Emmanuel Macron himself! Even Stephen King once picked up their call thinking that he was talking to Zelenskyy, getting a suggestion to write a story on the "cruel Russians".
Why are they not on YouTube anymore? One of Vovan and Lexus's most elaborate pranks included a call with British Defence Secretary Ben Wallace during the start of the Russia-Ukraine War. With the duo impersonating Ukrainian PM Denys Shmyhal, the subsequent video led to YouTube blocking their channel on March 26. Since then, the pranksters have managed to win back their viral following on RuTube instead.
Not the first time for Duda: The Polish President’s office confirmed that Duda was also pranked by the duo with a similar call in 2020 when they posed as the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Gutteres. Two officials from Poland’s mission to the UN were fired soon after.
With the current incident, Duda’s security team is naturally embarrassed and the Polish opposition is infuriated.
Tomasz Trela, an Opposition Left party lawmaker, took to Twitter to express his frustration.