Russian PM: 'No money for pensions, but have a good day!'

Prime Minister Dmitriy Medvedev Image copyright CHRISTOF STACHE/Getty

Dmitriy Medvedev's comments have once again caused much merriment on Russian social media. (You might also remember comments on his belief in Santa Claus. And that time during the 2014 state of the nation address when he was photographed sleeping as President Putin was talking.)

Once again, the Russian prime minister's remarks caught on camera during a visit to annexed Crimea on 23 May have prompted several sarcastic memes.

During a walkabout, Medvedev was confronted by a pensioner who complained about the government's failure to index pensions. The prime minister replied: "There is no money. But be strong. All the best. Have a good day, and good health," he added. Then he turned round and left.

Since the incident, the video on YouTube has been watched over 3.5m times. The phrase itself immediately went viral, spawning dozens of memes on the Internet.

"As late [Russian oligarch] Boris Berezovsky used to say: There was money. There will be money. But right now there is no money," opposition activist Ilya Yashin reminisced on Twitter.

Popular Russian political cartoonist Sergey Elkin pointed out Medvedev's ability to coin meme phrases often picked up by the online crowd.

Image copyright Sergey Elkin
Image caption "Doc, I have a problem. I keep speaking in memes."

President Vladimir Putin himself came to the defence of Medvedev, saying that "any phrase can be taken out of context", but this did not stop the torrent of memes that followed.

Image copyright Twitter/Buddy_Jungle
Image caption And I just told them: "There is no money. But be strong. All the best. Have a good day, and good health."
Image copyright Twitter/gsl2k10
Image caption "Be strong. All the best. Have a good day ... and good health."

It was not only Russian users who made fun of the statement. The deputy governor of Ukraine's largest commercial bank, Privatbank, Oleh Horokhvskyy, suggested on his Facebook page, that the phrase could be used on the screens of the bank's ATMs whenever they run out of cash.

Image copyright Facebook/Oleh Horokhovskyy
Image caption "There is no money. But be strong. All the best. Have a good day, and good health."

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Some thought that the phrase was perfect for all kinds of official paperwork, like this tax declaration.

Image copyright Twitter/lilbaga
Image caption Individual tax declaration: "There is no money. But stay strong."

Or this spoof Russian government declaration in support of poor people of the Russian Federation.

Image copyright Twitter/nickolaswasilew
Image caption In line with the Russian constitution, the government declares: "1. There is no money. 2. Stay strong. 3. All the best. Have a good day, and good health."

Even commercial companies in Russia felt the moment was too good to miss it. A mobile communications company sent a message to its competitors.

Image copyright Twitter/Tele2Russia
Image caption "Competitors, be strong. All the best. Have a good day, and good health."

The phrase was also used by a popular Russian comedian Semyon Slepakov in his song "Address to the Nation", which has got four million views in just two days after it was posted on YouTube. In the song, the artist addresses ordinary Russians suffering from the consequences of an economic downturn as the prime minister. "Have a good day, all the best. It's just there's no money," reads the refrain of the song.

Blog by Dmytro Zotsenko, additional reporting by BBC Monitoring

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