This establishment is not always coherent or consistent, of course (Are there any in the world that are coherent and consistent? After all, we're talking about foreign policy interests that vary from issue to issue, from time to time, and from place to place...), and the Russian and pro-Russian media have made it their goal to expose the "hypocrisy" of the US foreign policy, embodied by Psaki herself.
Yesterday, after missing the State Department daily briefings for three days in a row (she was replaced by Deputy Spokesperson Marie Harf), the RuNet exploded with speculations as to what happened to Psaki. A rumor quickly spread on Twitter, suggesting that she "was fired", which prompted her Russian "fans" to start the "#SavePsaki" hashtag, suggesting that at least she provided some entertainment, if nothing else.
Джен #Псаки уволили из Белого дома! Верните Псаки! Хоть одна польза от Госдепа была! #псакишоу pic.twitter.com/jStOHZgvbu
— Nik iVanovSky (@kabmir) June 5, 2014
The image reads: "New job: New press secretary of Kiev's new mayor."
Some of the memes coming out were absolutely hilarious:
Зря тирана научили делать селфи pic.twitter.com/MHQhQDh4QA
— Lev Sharansky (@LevSharansky) June 5, 2014
#LoveUJen will miss you, I always loved your #blunders! #PSaki Te echaremos de menos, #amaba tus metidas de pata! ♥ pic.twitter.com/C8WIUAaGaU
— Daniel Cirillo Lauda (@laudamus2004) June 5, 2014
“@hugochavezz1: I had not been fired. I just got lost in the office pic.twitter.com/p9yx1zIlJ2” @statedeptspox
— Владимир (@Vladimirdem1) June 6, 2014
While speaking on channel "Russia 24", Russia's Representative at the UN Vitaly Churkin was asked if he knew anything about Psaki's disappearance. "I don't know [what happened to her]", he said, but he reportedly expressed hope that "she will reappear". "It is always interesting to listen to her," he said. One of the Russian websites reported the news under the headline "Churkin has lost Jen Psaki". Quite some affection in there, somewhere... Clearly.
After a long day of discussion and ridicule, Psaki finally denied the rumors with a tweet:
Despite the Russian propaganda machine suggesting otherwise..I am still here as is a strong, democratic Ukraine #dontbelieveRT
— Jen Psaki (@statedeptspox) June 6, 2014
Her hashtag "#dontbelieveRT", also elicited a response from RT's Editor-in-Chief Margarita Simonyan:
Псаки везде чудятся происки РТ. Милая Джен! Мы не писали, что Вас уволили! Если бы Вас уволили, мы бы не могли писать - мы бы рыдали!The tweet reads: "Psaki imagines RT scheming everywhere. Dear Jen, we never reported you were fired! Had you been fired, we wouldn't have been able to report -- we'd be sobbing!"
— Маргарита Симоньян (@M_Simonyan) June 6, 2014
For Russians, Psaki has been an object of fascination and ridicule since the early days of the Ukraine crisis. It became especially bad, after the State Department's botched attempt at "hashtag diplomacy", with its "#UnitedForUkraine" campaign. She kicked it off with a bang:
To echo @BarackObama today-proud to stand #UnitedForUkraine World should stand together with one voice pic.twitter.com/VeMt578UdY
— Jen Psaki (@statedeptspox) March 26, 2014
She made it all worse with her other tweet, demonstrating her misguided and overenthusiastic belief in the power of the hashtag:
The world stands #UnitedforUkraine. Let’s hope that the #Kremlin & @mfa_russia will live by the promise of hashtag
— Jen Psaki (@statedeptspox) April 24, 2014
Over the past week, however, the interest in her as a person has increased on Russian TV as well. RT's Peter Lavelle devoted an entire "CrossTalk" episode - titled "Orwellian Jen Psaki" - discussing everything that is bad and wrong with US foreign policy, represented and embodied by Her:
While the notorious Kiselyov coined a new term, based on the performance of "the star of US diplomacy [...] beloved by reporters around the world" - "Psaking" (although he claimed that he borrowed it from the Internet, BuzzFeed's Max Seddon suggests that the term seemed to have been created and disseminated by the pro-Kremlin crowd). The term, according to Kiselyov, refers to "someone, who without understanding the issue, makes dogmatic statements, confuses facts, and offers no apologies in the end."
See starting 35:20.
After all, making uninformed statements and creating hashtags will not achieve US foreign policy objectives. High time to slow down the revolving doors of US diplomacy?
Final note: I hope that Jen Psaki takes the time to watch this famous episode from the West Wing. Quite a few lessons to learn, eh?