“Where did Putin go?”, a one-minute clip from NRK’s weekly ‘Norske Grønnsaker’ slot, imagines alternative scenarios to explain Putin’s absence, depicting the strongman president topless, musclebound and clad in mirror sunglasses.
Some 76 percent of the views have come from Russia, eight percent from Ukraine and four percent from Kazakhstan, while an angry debate kicked off in the comments field underneath the video over Russian activity in Ukraine.
“What amazed us was that all comments were written in Cyrillic,” said Claus Wiese, the editor responsible for the clips at NRK. “We used a translation tool and saw that the clip had launched a serious discussion.”
“Some thought it was American propaganda,” he said. "But then other's jumped in immediately and said it was Norwegian satire.
Arild Ørnholt, who made the video with Marius Stene and Jan-Petter Aarskog, said the three had wanted to use Putin’s disappearance to create “the ultimate Putin sketch”.
“It did not take long before strange theories appeared about where he had gone, so we thought we’d give people what they wanted,” he said.