Moscow: Viewers may have been too distracted by splashy infographics and animated warheads to notice a naming contest that Russian President Vladimir Putin had announced for his new advanced nuclear weapons.
The online competition to name an unlimited-range nuclear-powered cruise missile, a nuclear-propelled underwater drone and a combat laser weapon was launched after Putin delivered his two-hour speech on Thursday.
“Those interested in military equipment are welcome to suggest a name for this new weaponry,” Putin said in his annual address to the Federal Assembly.
Loyal fans sprang into action, with suggestions on the Russian Defense Ministry’s Facebook page ranging from the patriotic “Palmyra,” “Slavyanka,” and “Kremlin’s Hand” to the ironic “Peace Envoy,” “Boomerang,” “She Drowned” and “Goodbye America.”
The editor in chief of the pro-Kremlin RT news network Margarita Simonyan was among the first high-profile figures to suggest naming the cruise missile “Volodya,” a shorthand for “Vladimir,” in honor of Putin.
“It’s both Russian, polite, with humor and with a hint,” she tweeted.
Long-time presidential aide and one-time gray cardinal of the Kremlin Vladislav Surkov offered to name the missile after an assassinated pro-Russian guerrilla commander in eastern Ukraine.
Foreigners had their own suggestions, many of them offering names reminiscent of the British research vessel that voters overwhelmingly chose to name “Boaty McBoatface” in 2016.
The ministry said that it had received 63,000 name suggestions on its website in the first 17 hours after the competition was announced, the RBC business portal reported on Friday.