Leonardo DiCaprio: Russians beg star to #SaveBaikal

By Tom Gerken & Francis Scarr
BBC News & BBC Monitoring

  • Published
Leonardo DiCaprio waving, behind him is a treeImage source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Oscar-winning actor Leonardo DiCaprio is also an environmental activist

Fans of Leonardo DiCaprio might be justly confused after reading the comments on his Instagram account.

The star's social media pages have been overrun by thousands of comments in Cyrillic text urging the star to "do his part for Lake Baikal".

Baikal is a vast lake in Russia which the World Wildlife Fund says is under threat from pollution and poaching.

The Hollywood A-lister's Instagram account now makes for interesting reading, with people bombarding his posts in Russian asking "Levushka" (a Russian variant of Leonardo) for help:

Image source, Leonardodicaprio/Instagram
Image caption,
The top comment on many Leonardo DiCaprio Instagram posts is the 'Save Baikal' hashtag in both Russian and English

The bottom comment translated: "Levushka! Save our Baikal! We ask you this fraternally on behalf of all of Russia."

Mr DiCaprio seems to have been targeted due to his history of environmentalism, as he regularly makes social media posts about climate.

He founded the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation in 1998, and told the BBC in 2016 that he believed climate change was the biggest issue facing young people today.

The actor may also have been targeted as he told a magazine in 2012 that his grandmother was Russian, leading some to urge him to "remember your grandma" and intervene in the crisis.

It appears that the call to target the actor was started by a popular account which shares news about Russian city Ulan-Ude, located near Lake Baikal:

"Let's all write to Leonardo DiCaprio about Baikal's problems," the post proclaims. "He's a famous eco warrior and media personality.

"Compatriots, support the movement. Baikal is our everything.

"Comment on DiCaprio's posts in Russian and English and don't forget to include the hashtags Save Baikal (#спастибайкал) and Baikal is ours (#байкалнаш)."

It has sparked thousands of comments across the star's social media pages.

"Soon there'll be nowhere for the Titanic to sail," joked one person in the comments, with another adding: "If Titanic had been filmed on Baikal, you wouldn't have sunk!"

Others have urged Mr DiCaprio to see Russia's "environmental chaos", with one person comparing it to "living on a powder keg".

And some have reverted to an age-old joke - promising to buy the Hollywood star another Oscar in exchange for his help.

Image source, Leonardodicaprio/Instagram
Image caption,
Lazzy_Shark: "If Leo saves Baikal, the whole of Russia will chip in to get him an Oscar". Sergeyplotnikov: "He's already got one!"