The posters aimed at "ironically" celebrating the alleged role of Russia in the Brexit vote appeared on Thursday on billboards in London, leaving the audience puzzled or amused.
"We are celebrating a red, white, blue Brexit", reads a poster showing Russian President Vladimir Putin waving a Russian flag, stationed in the district of Stoke Newington, north of London. Red, white and blue are the colors of the Russian and British flags.
Another exhibit is the former British Foreign Minister Boris Johnson, one of the leaders of the pro-Brexit campaign, which is waving Russian flags. "Thanks Boris", he proclaims. Some letters are inverted to evoke the Cyrillic alphabet.
These posters are marked #proudbear and refer to a Russian domain website, proudbear.ru. In a statement, "Proud Bear" is presented as a "intelligence unit based in St. Petersburg", which hopes to "contrast negative publicity recently made at the GRU (Russian military intelligence, ed), highlighting the role it has played in the liberation of the United Kingdom from the EU ".
The United Kingdom has accused the GRU of being responsible for the poisoning attempt of Novitorok's former Novice Russian spy agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia on March 4 in Salisbury (southern England). ).
Sergei and Yulia Skripal had been hospitalized in critical condition for several weeks. In July, two more people were infected in Novitchok and admitted to the hospital in Salisbury. One of them died.
The name "Proud Bear" seems to be a reference to the teams of Russian hackers "Fancy Bear" and "Cozy Bear", accused of having conducted cyber attacks against the democratic camp during the 2016 US presidential campaign accused on October 4 of military intelligence Russian to be behind these groups.
Several voices were raised in the United Kingdom to denounce such Russian interference during the Brexit referendum campaign, although the British government announced that it had found no evidence of such acts.
"I have no idea what it is, I took a picture to do a search on Google," said Roasana Claussen AFP who stopped in front of the poster on which Vladimir Putin appears.
"I think it's a lot of fun," said 32-year-old Londoner Olly Hawes. "It looks rather provocative."
The proud Bear also announced that it has launched a fundraiser to rent the 40-meter digital billboard at London's Waterloo station, which was announced as the longest in Europe, for the message "Tacking Back Control" . Let's take control "), one of the pro-Brexit camp slogans, alongside an image of Vladimir Putin riding the bare-chested Big Ben!