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Troll Level 99 – Protesters Trick Ukrainian Mayor into Posing with Poster Criticizing Him

Oleg Omelchuk, the mayor of the Ukrainian city of Olevsk, recently became an internet meme after being tricked into posing for a photo in front of the city hall holding a poster accusing him of infringing on the rights of citizens.

The photo of Omelchuk standing shoulder to shoulder with the people protesting against him and his administration and holding a poster that read “The mayor and his minions infringe upon the rights of society” went viral after being shared on Twitter by journalist Taras Oleinik, an editor of Ukrainian news portal ITC.ua. However, his caption was a bit suspicious. Oleinik claimed that the mayor had been the one trolling protesters by showing up and holding up the poster as a joke, without anyone recognizing him. That would have indeed been some epic trolling by Omelchuk, but in fact he was the one getting trolled.

Photo: Stop Corruption

When people on Twitter started asking how it was possible for the contested mayor to show up at a protest against himself and pull off this stunt without being recognized, some Taras Oleinik’s Twitter followers allegedly supported the journalist’s theory by explaining that the protesters had been brought in from other cities and paid to attend, so they didn’t really know what the mayor looked like. This way he was able to join them without drawing any attention to himself.

However, Alexander Ignatiev, a journalist with local NGO”Stop Corruption”, recently offered an explanation that makes a lot more sense. In a Facebook post he clarifies that Oleg Omelchuk did show up at the March 1st protest and actually sat down with them to discuss their complaints, including the several corruption cases against him. At the end of the meeting, protesters asked him to pose for a photo on the steps of the city hall, and one of them asked him to hold that denigrating poster. Ignatiev claims that the mayor was happy to oblige, but didn’t bother reading the poster until after the photo was taken.

“After the meeting, we asked mayor Omelchuk to take a picture with us against the background of the city hall. He agreed and he was asked to hold a poster. True, he only read it after the photo was taken,” Ignatiev wrote on Facebook.

Oleg Omelchuk currently has several criminal cases opened against him for embezzlement of budget funds and land.

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