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What coffee drink should a politically correct Russian choose? Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has an idea.

What coffee drink should a politically correct Russian choose?

That was a question spawned this week by Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, who jokingly suggested that the name of the Americano -- a shot of espresso topped with hot water -- should be changed.

Wrapping up a meeting of the Eurasian Intergovernmental Council in Moscow on November 16, he praised his colleagues for constructive talks. In response, Belarusian Prime Minister Andrey Kabyakou said that "Eastern coffee" was of great help.

"Yes, but last time it wasn't Eastern coffee. [Kabyakou] says, 'Bring me an Americano,'" Medvedev responded.

"It's not politically correct. Let's rename it," he added.

A participant quickly suggested a more Russia-centric alternative: Rusiano. It's not clear from a video clip of the gathering who made the remark, but Russian media attributed it to Medvedev.



It didn’t take long for Russian cafes and restaurants to follow Medvedev's advice. The following day, a Moscow cafe began offering both -- an Americano for 110 rubles and a Rusiano for 39 rubles.



Later, even the American fast-food chain Burger King got into the act. The state-owned RIA Novosti news agency that it would put the Russiano (with the extra 's') on the menu for two weeks and keep it there if there is demand from customers.

"Burger King listened to the advice of Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and renamed the Americano coffee," the company's press service in Russia told RIA Novosti on November 17. "Beginning today, the Russiano has appeared in some of our restaurants at the affordable price of 49 rubles."

Meanwhile, social-media users responded to the suggestion with a variety of jokes.Much of the mockery attributed the idea to rename the beverage Rusiano to Medvedev based on Russian media reports.


– One Rusiano, please.
– Maybe, Americano?
– You think it's better in America? The grass is always greener on the other side, friend. You are a Russophobe, of course, and I stay out of politics, personally

– Dmitry Anatolyevich [Medvedev], look at all the terrible things in the country: poor medical help, potholes everywhere, miserable pensions…

– Pensiano.


One user mocked Medvedev in connection with this week's arrest of Aleksei Ulyukaev, Russia's minister of economic development, on suspicion of taking a $2 million bribe. He was later dismissed by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

"In response to the arrest of his minister for a $2 million bribe, Medvedev suggested renaming Americano into Rusiano. Good," one user tweeted.




Others suggested that Medvedev should rename other things as well.

"'Given the futility of life and the gravity of the current situation, I suggest renaming espresso to depresso,' said Medvedev. And burst out crying."

"Medvedev suggested renaming Americano to Rusiano. They will also publish A Russian Tragedy by [American writer Theodor] Dreiser and TNT will show Russian History X," another user tweeted.

Even the fake Russian account of U.S. President-elect Donald Trump jumped on the bandwagon.

Lentach, a popular news group on VKontakte, went further, suggesting renaming other coffee drinks into Rusiano, CaPuttino, Represso, and Vatte (a reference to the word "vatnik," a traditional cotton-padded coat whose name has been widely used as a pejorative for staunch Russian supporters of Vladimir Putin).

This is not the first attempted purge of the Americano in the region.

In 2014, soon after Russia annexed the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea, a local vending machine was photographed with the word "Rossiano" instead of Americano on it. Another coffee shop posted an announcement: "Attention! Due to the unstable geopolitical situation, we have no Americano. Ask for Crimean [coffee]."

NOTE: This story has been updated to reflect that video footage does not make it clear if Medvedev or another conference participant suggested Rusiano as an alternative.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova: "You have to talk to the Jews, naturally."

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova: "You have to talk to the Jews, naturally."

Maria Zakharova, the Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman who has made caustic rhetoric and sarcastic social-media posts a staple of her public outreach, says she knows whom U.S. President-elect Donald Trump has to thank for his stunning victory over Democratic rival Hillary Clinton: "the Jews."

Maria Zakharova, the Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman who has made caustic rhetoric and sarcastic social-media posts a staple of her public outreach, has an idea whom U.S. President-elect Donald Trump can thank for his stunning victory over Democratic rival Hillary Clinton: "the Jews."

In an appearance that has triggered accusations of anti-Semitism, Zakharova suggested on a nationally televised talk show over the weekend that money from Jewish people played a key role in Trump's win.

Conversations she had with American Jews in September while in New York for the UN General Assembly made it clear that the billionaire businessman would triumph, she said.

"If you want to know what will happen in America, who do you have to talk to? You have to talk to the Jews, naturally. But of course," Zakharova said, prompting applause from the studio audience of Sunday Evening, a show hosted by pro-Kremlin television personality Vladimir Solovyov.

Zakharova then adopted a cartoonish Jewish accent while impersonating her alleged interlocutor.

"They told me: 'Marochka (a Russian diminutive for Maria), you understand, of course, we'll donate to Clinton. But we'll donate twice as much to the Republicans.' That was it! The matter was settled, for me personally," she said.

Zakharova added that "if you want to know the future, don't read the mainstream newspapers -- our people in Brighton [Beach] will tell you everything," a reference to the southern Brooklyn enclave with a large diaspora of Jewish emigres from the former Soviet Union.

Prominent Russian officials made it clear that they were rooting for Trump, who has called for repairing battered bilateral ties with Moscow, though the Kremlin repeatedly stated it had no preference in the race.

While the program aired November 13, Zakharova's remarks only grabbed widespread attention on social media after they were picked up by Ukrainian and Russian-language Israeli websites on November 17.

WATCH: Zakharova's remarks, in Russian (starts around the 3-minute mark):

Her comments sparked accusations of anti-Semitism by suggesting Jews secretly pull the levers of American power.

"It turns out press secretary Zakharova explained Trump's victory as a Jewish conspiracy," prominent Russian opposition activist Roman Dobrokhotov wrote on Twitter.

Michael McFaul, who had bitter run-ins with Kremlin-loyal TV journalists during his tenure as U.S. ambassador to Russia and who has been sharply criticized by Zakharova, wrote on Facebook: "Wow. And this is the woman who criticizes me for not being diplomatic."

Russian journalist Vladimir Varfolomeyev, a staunch opponent of President Vladimir Putin, called Zakharova's appearance "vulgarity masked as diplomacy."

The Russian-language Israeli site Newsru.Co.Il said the Israeli Foreign Ministry had declined to comment on Zakharova's remarks.

Since winning the November 8 election, Trump has faced criticism for appointing as his chief White House strategist Steve Bannon, the former executive editor of the conservative website Breitbart News.

The site is an online hub for the so-called "alt-right," a grass-roots political movement with many adherents who openly endorse white supremacism and anti-Semitism. The Anti-Defamation League calls Bannon the "chief curator for the alt-right" but that it is "not aware of any anti-Semitic statements" he has made.

But Trump did, in fact, defeat Clinton in Brighton Beach and nearby neighborhoods with substantial numbers of Jewish emigres from the former Soviet Union, who are traditionally conservative voters and tend to support Republicans in U.S. presidential elections.

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About This Blog

Written by RFE/RL editors and correspondents, Transmission serves up news, comment, and the odd silly dictator story. While our primary concern is with foreign policy, Transmission is also a place for the ideas -- some serious, some irreverent -- that bubble up from our bureaus. The name recognizes RFE/RL's role as a surrogate broadcaster to places without free media. You can write us at transmission+rferl.org

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