Within hours after Russian President Vladimir Putin and his wife Lyudmila announced their divorce on state television on June 6, jokes about their separation became a big hit on social media, particularly on the microblogging site Twitter.
RFE/RL’s Central Newsroom has compiled a selection of some of the more notable tweets and comments.
"According to the law Lyudmila Putina now will get half of Russia," read one popular tweet
, playing on the widely held belief that the Kremlin leader has appropriated the country’s wealth.
"Putin accepted his wife’s resignation and appointed her 'acting wife' until the election of a new wife" read another
, referring to the "resignation" of Sergei Sobyanin
as Moscow mayor this week. Russian commentators say Sobyanin, whom Putin appointed "acting mayor" after his resignation, made the move in order to secure his reelection in a snap poll that his opponents will have little time to prepare for.
"Medvedev will marry Lyudmila but will divorce her after four years, and Putin will remarry her," quipped another tweet
. This is a reference to the constitutional ploy Putin used to remain president after serving two terms by ceding the Kremlin to Dmitry Medvedev for a four-year interregnum before returning to the Kremlin. The Russian Constitution restricts presidents to two "consecutive" terms.
"Lyudmila Putina has rejected a third term. She respects the constitution," also played on Putin’s ploy
of returning to the Kremlin for a third term.
"Now Putin can get a new surname and a chance of running for office for another 16 years in office," was another tweet that poked fun
at Putin’s longevity in office.
"This is the result of your friendship with Berlusconi," referred to Putin's close relationship
with former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, who is widely reputed to be a womanizer and who recently divorced his wife, Veronica Lario.
Graffiti that riffs on the opposition slogan “Rossia bez Putina” (Russia Without Putin)
A photograph of graffiti that riffed on the opposition slogan
"Rossia bez Putina" (Russia Without Putin). The graffiti reads "Lyudmila bez Putina" (“Lyudmila Without Putin”) was also widely shared on Russian social networks.
"Putin said his children live in Russia. Was he talking about his children with Lyudmila?" read a tweet that referred to widespread rumors
in Moscow that Putin has fathered children out of wedlock.
"Could Lyudmila become the next Hillary?" asked one tweet, referring to former U.S. first lady Hillary Clinton
, who went on to become a U.S. senator, secretary of state, and is considered a potential candidate for the presidency in 2016.
"Lyudmila is the only Russian who managed to liberate herself from Putin," read another popular and widely shared comment
And finally, "It turns out that Lyudmila Putin is a foreign agent," a reference to controversial legislation
requiring NGOs receiving foreign funding to register as "foreign agents."