Former US President, George W. Bush, in a telephone conversation with renowned Russian pranksters Vladimir Kuznetsov (Vovan) and Alexey Stolyarov (Lexus), confessed that the US administration together with his father, George Bush, had really promised the Soviet Union’s former president, Mikhail Gorbachev, that NATO would not expand. He also confirmed, the promise is not relevant anymore, as one should “adjust to times” in such issues.
An extract from the prank call was presented at the educational marathon conference New Horizons organized by the Russian Znanie (Knowledge) society. The pranksters managed to put through a video call to George W. Bush, playing themselves off as Ukraine’s President Vladimir Zelensky. In the conversation, they recalled that ex-US Secretary of State James Baker had vowed to Gorbachev that NATO would not expand eastward.
Z: In the early 90s, Secretary of State Baker promised Gorbachev not to expand NATO. B: Listen, times change. Baker was a Secretary of State for my dad. This was years ago. And the United States must be flexible, adjusting to the times. That’s why you’re finding such strong support for your country now. Z: I mean, that doesn’t matter what Baker promised Gorbachev in the past, we have to see what is going on now. B: Yes, that’s right.
Bush confessed he really wished to see Ukraine in NATO
B: I thought for a while Russia would be more cooperative, and then Putin changed dramatically. I think what he [Russia's President, Vladimir Putin] wanted to do is stay on the edge of NATO to make sure NATO is not offensive but defensive. Z: You always wanted to take Ukraine into NATO, not Russia, but Ukraine. Always, as I remember. B: I felt Ukraine needed to be in the EU and the NATO.
The false Zelensky continued, saying that now, it’s a war not only of Ukraine, but of the whole western world against Russians.
Z: Of course, Russia was offended that NATO began to expand. That’s a problem for them, that’s why they started. I’m talking about determination of DPR and LPR [… ] It’s the same example as with Kosovo. You remember then, in 2007, you recognized Kosovo as an independent country, and he [Putin] used the same methodic. B: I think, if you prevail and when you prevail, a lot of these issues go off the table. Your mission is to destroy as many Russian troops as you can. And the question is, will you continue to receive the help you need. And I certainly hope so.
False Zelensky then asked Bush to advise him how to turn Russians against Putin. He pointed to the fact that America has many NGOs “that have done a great job to arrange orange revolutions in post-Soviet countries.”
Z: How we can work in Russia now? To make people to start understand things? How to change system inside Russia with NGOs? B: I agree with you. Information war is very important. We’ve got experts on our staff.
Bush also specified that the USA has particular experts who can put in even stubborn minds the needed to the government information.
Responding to the remark about the Pentagon-funded biolabs in Ukraine, Bush said that he remembered that program well enough. When told that the facilities had been successfully evacuated to safety, he replied that he was glad to hear that.
Z: I also would like to thank you. We were able to preserve your legacy in Ukraine. For example, those biolaboratories that United States have donated on the territory of our country. It’s a programme of Pentagon. You remember? [...] It’s the post-Soviet territory that Pentagon has donated many biolaboratories. And we managed to evacuate them to the safe place now. So Russians did not get anything from that laboratories. B: Yeah, you’re smart.
Vovan & Lexus: Meeting the pranksters
False Zelensky said to Bush, he’d like to make him meet his good friends who are heroes of Ukraine, fighting and hitting “many Russian planes.” He said, he wanted to award them, but refused and asked instead to have a talk with “the President Bush”, as they are his “fans.”
Bush replied, he didn’t mind to talk with the guys who serve for Ukraine and even agreed to say a special greeting to them – “Slava Vovan and Lexus” (“Glory to Vovan and Lexus”) kind of that they usually say in Ukraine – “Slava Ukraine” (“Glory to Ukraine”).
“Okay, I will tell. Bring them on,” Bush said, and really greeted the guys with these words.
The prankster-guys, showing their real faces but pretending to be Ukrainian pilots, started to recite the words from the widely known Russian movie “Brother-2” about the truth and what it is. This was a symbolic moment in the video, as even though Bush didn’t understand the point of the talk spoken in Russian, Russian viewers got it immediately when watching the video.
V&L: Where is the truth? Where is the power? In the money? B: Yeah, that’s right. V&L: No, the brother is saying that it’s not in the money.
“I think the power is in the truth. Whoever has the truth is stronger. Look, you’ve cheated someone, got some money. So what, have you become stronger? No. You haven’t. Because there is no truth behind you. And the one who was deceived – he has the truth. Thus, he’s stronger.”
B: You think I can understand you? V&L: No, just feel with your heart! B: I feel the passion! [...] Keep fighting! The truth is with you! V&L: The truth is with us!
Finishing the talk, Bush said to the guys, he told Zelensky that he considers him being like Winston Churchill!
V&L: Yeah, and he is like Monica Lewinsky. B: (laughs).