The Russian pranksters who have been impersonating climate activist Greta Thunberg now have a message for her
Russian pranksters Alexey Stolarov (“Lexus”) and Vladimir Kuznetsov (“Vovan”), who have been impersonating Greta Thunberg and her father Svante in numerous prank calls to Hollywood celebrities, American and European politicians, and other high-profile public figures such as Prince Harry, say they’re retiring their Greta character, hope they didn’t offend the teenage climate activist, and would like to meet her — in Russia.
Lexus and Vovan— both in their mid-30s — say they never meant to offend Thunberg — who just turned 18 this past January — and insist they had no agenda against her or her climate campaign. According to them, Greta, who was Time’s 2019 Person of the Year, was chosen simply because the hype surrounding her at the time created an opportunity.
“I don’t have anything against Greta,” prankster Vovan said. “If at that time there was another person who had as much media attention as her, we would have chosen to impersonate them in our prank calls,” he said, adding that while he thinks her opinion on global warming is “interesting”, he doesn’t believe she’s the most “competent” person on the topic.
Meanwhile, prankster Lexus also expressed some skepticism of her beliefs but said he wants to let Greta know that they did not want to offend or insult her. “I wish her all the best,” he said while in the same breath suggesting the two can work together — on prank calls. “I think it’s time to talk to each other and to take part in our prank calls,” he said. Both the pranksters additionally invited Greta to meet in person — in Russia.
That meeting, however, is unlikely to take place — nor are the joint prank calls. Upon learning that somebody was impersonating her and her father in an attempt to contact politicians, actors, and musicians, Thunberg took to social media to apologize for the trouble and confusion the Russian pranksters were causing.
“It has come to my attention that a few people have been trying to impersonate me or falsely claim that they ‘represent’ me in order to communicate with political leaders, famous actors, singers, and musicians,” the climate activist wrote in an October 25, 2019 post on Facebook. “I apologize to anyone who has been contacted — and maybe even misled — by this kind of behavior.”
Among those political leaders were California Congresswoman Maxine Waters and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, both of which held a call with who they believed was Greta and her father and discussed plans on meeting sometime in Washington and working together on climate change issues.
In one call, Congresswoman Waters vowed her full support to help save a non-existent island called “Chunga Chunga” from rising ocean levels caused by climate change — even remotely addressing attendees of a climate rally in support of that island, which she believed was happening at that very moment in North Carolina.
“‘I’m very pleased that she’s with you in North Carolina where you’re focusing on protecting the very important island of Chula Change [sic],” Waters said in the call, which has been posted on YouTube. “What’s most important right now is that you all there who are working so hard on this issue to make sure that the island is protected… that you give her all of the support that you can possibly give her because she is giving you all the support that she can give to you.”
Later in the same prank call, the Congresswoman attempted to acquire a copy of an audio recording “Greta” claimed to have of then-US president Donald Trump at the United Nations in which the president berates the teenage activist, tells her she’ll never achieve her goals, and admits that he did in fact pressure Ukrainian President Zelensky to investigate Hunter Biden — something the president was impeached for in the House of Representatives months later. He was subsequently acquitted by the Senate.
In another call, Senator Bernie Sanders expressed how “appreciative” he would be if Greta were to make a statement in support of his campaign in the midst of the 2020 Democratic primaries — something she agreed to do, adding that her friends Billie Eilish and Kanye West would like to make a rap video in support of his campaign, too, and post it on the Internet. “That would be terrific,” the Senator said.
With the Greta Thunberg pranks a thing of the past, neither of the pranksters wants to disclose who they are impersonating in their prank calls these days but claim they still have a few unreleased pranks from the Greta series with celebrities like Harrison Fold and Morgan Freeman. The pranksters say those calls will be published to their YouTube channel once they finish making the animated video reenactments to go along with the real audio.
Aside from her willingness to meet with the Russian pranksters, whether or not Greta would ever travel to Russia to spread her climate message remains unclear. Russia is, after all, one of the top emitters of greenhouse gases in the world, so it would make sense. However, Russians generally haven’t embraced Thunberg’s call to take action to curb global warming, believing instead that a warmer global climate may actually bode well for Russia in the future.
Even so, the pranksters’ invitation stands.