Did you know that Bernie Sanders visited Russia when it was part of the Soviet Union in 1988? If you didn't know that, there is a much greater chance you know it now thanks to a couple of Russian comedians and the Associated Press which published a story about Bernie Sanders being yet another victim of a prank phone call, "Bernie Sanders pranked by Russians posing as Greta Thunberg."
If that prank sounds familiar it should because it was pulled off by the same Russian comedians, Vladimir “Vovan” Kuznetsov and Alexei “Lexus” Stolyarov, who also pranked Maxine Waters a month ago. In fact, they again resurrected a fake "Greta Thunberg" along with her "father." This time, Sanders fell for the prank as heavily as Waters did.
Here is the AP description of the call which was republished in many media outlets including the New York Times:
The call itself took place in early December, but the duo decided to release it more than two months later because of Sanders’ success in Iowa and New Hampshire, Kuznetsov told The Associated Press in a Skype interview.
A representative for the campaign didn’t comment Friday on the authenticity of the call.
Federal law enforcement officials were alerted in November that several Democrats had received calls from someone believed to be outside the U.S. who was claiming to represent the teenage Thunberg and was trying to set up calls or in-person meetings with members of Congress, a U.S. official told The Associated Press. Some of the congressional offices reported the incidents to the FBI and the Capitol Police, the official said. The person was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity.
Not mentioned in the article was that Congresswoman Maxine Waters was one of the Democrats who fell for the prank. Of course, the desire by the Democrats to be connected with Time magazine's Person of the Year probably overwhelmed any skepticism they should have felt over the call which made the prank that much easier to pull off.
In the recording, an unnamed female pretends to be Greta, and Stolyarov plays her father, Svante. They offer to lend support to the campaign of a man who identifies himself as Sanders, and the man welcomes it.
The 78-year-old Sanders suggests that “Greta” make a statement in his support and that they do an event together when she next comes to the U.S. “I would be really appreciative,” he says.
“Greta” then proposes to record a rap song in support of Sanders together with “singer Billie Eilish and rapper Kanye West.”
AP skipped over the part where Greta suggested that Sanders be part of the video in which he would wear gold bling jewelry and dance with women in front of expensive cars.
..."Greta” tells Sanders that he was recruited by the KGB in 1988 when he visited Russia and has since been a “sleeper agent.”
“Now it’s time to wake up and fulfill your mission, become president of the United States, build communism in the United States and work for Russia!” she says, after which Sanders appears to hang up the phone.
Kuznetsov told the AP that the call was one of many in the comedy duo’s new project dubbed “Stars Save the Earth,” in which they call high-ranking politicians and celebrities pretending to be Thunberg.
"Many laugh at Bernie Sanders (and say) that he is a KGB agent and wants to build communism in the U.S. Since he calls himself a democratic socialist, we decided to play up this topic — the topic of Sanders being a recruited Russian agent,” Kuznetsov said.
Stolyarov added that Thunberg’s name “opens doors to everyone.” “Everyone, from presidents to street cleaners, are ready to talk to Greta Thunberg,” he told the AP in a Skype interview.
One who would definitely not be amused by this prank which highlights Sanders as a socialist would be New York Times columnist Paul Krugman who absurdly insists that Bernie Sanders is not a socialist.