Grandpa in his bunker

Pejorative nickname for Vladimir Putin
Russian President Vladimir Putin in September 2022

Grandpa in his bunker[1][2][3] (Russian: Бункерный дед, romanized: Bunkernyy ded or Ukrainian: Бункерний дід, romanized: Bunkernyy did: 'Grandpa in a bunker',[4][5][6] 'Bunker grandpa'[7][8] or 'Bunker old man') is an insulting nickname for Russian President Vladimir Putin, which has become an Internet meme in Russia and Ukraine.


Vladimir Putin earned the nickname "Grandpa in his bunker" thanks to the Internet meme "Grandfather, take your pills or you’ll get your ass kicked" that appeared as a slogan at rallies in support of opposition politician Alexei Navalny after his arrest in January 2021. Navalny's team soon launched an investigation about "Putin's Palace" near Gelendzhik, which reportedly houses a gigantic bunker. The investigation comes amid talk of Putin's strict self-isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic.[9]

Thus, "bunker" was added to the word "grandpa". Following the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, rumors began to circulate about "Putin's bunkers" located in the Ural or Altai, where the president allegedly leads Russian troops located on the territory of Ukraine, which made the nickname "grandpa in his bunker" even more popular.[9]


The nickname "grandpa in his bunker" is used by various Ukrainian observers, Russian opposition publicists, Ukrainian and Russian comedians.[10][11][12] This nickname implies any kind of incompetence and irrationality.[9]

Alexei Navalny repeatedly used the nickname "grandpa in his bunker" in relation to Vladimir Putin.[13][14] For example, on 22 June 2020, he used this nickname in relation to Putin in his blog, where he said that the state spent almost 1 billion rubles on the parade, not counting the costs from the military budget: "Buy medicine for pensioners with this money… This is the last thing their thoughts are occupied with the parade. But the bunker grandpa wants a parade, he needs to show off on the podium".[7] In October 2020, the politician used the nickname "bunker grandpa" by posting a screenshot on his Instagram page with a list of the most viewed videos on his YouTube channel.[15] In February 2021, during his detention, Navalny used nicknames in the Khimki city court to describe Putin, such as "toad sitting on a pipe", "thieving bunker grandpa" and "bunker grandpa".[16]

As Meduza notes, Putin is called "grandpa" not "because of his physiological age or state of health", as Boris Yeltsin used to be, "and not only out of a desire to offend". The "Grandfather, take your pills" meme essentially means the same as the "OK boomer" meme: values and ideas, the human mentality were formed half a century ago in a completely different world, and they do not fit the modern order, they are outdated.[9]

Historician Sergei Medvedev notes that "the meme about the clumsy bunker grandpa" is born because of "the conflict between grandfathers and grandchildren", as political scientist Ekaterina Shulman said, and this is precisely the real difference in value and style: not even between TV and Facebook, but between TV and TikTok.[17]

The Washington Post editor Robyn Dixon writes that "Navalny, a master of the catchphrase, dubs Putin "grandpa in his bunker", portraying him as hypocritical and corrupt".[1]

See also


  1. ^ a b "In Russia's messaging battle, the opposition lights up social media. Putin's allies plod along on state TV". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2022-09-24.
  2. ^ Dixon, Robyn (2021-03-28). "Putin uses Biden's 'killer' insult to enhance tough-guy reputation". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2022-09-24.
  3. ^ Aslund, Anders (2021-03-17). "Putin's Potemkin empire". The Japan Times. Retrieved 2022-09-24.
  4. ^ MacKinnon, Mark (2021-02-02). "'Grandpa in a bunker': Navalny takes aim at Putin as Moscow court sentences him to more than two years in jail". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2022-09-24.
  5. ^ "Thanks to covid-19, Vladimir Putin has become almost invisible". The Economist. ISSN 0013-0613. Retrieved 2022-09-24.
  6. ^ MacKinnon, Mark (2021-02-02). "'Grandpa in a bunker': Navalny takes aim at Putin as Moscow court sentences him to more than two years in jail". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2022-09-25.
  7. ^ a b "Voldemort No More? Putin Foe Navalny Makes Rare Appearance On Russian State TV". RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty. Retrieved 2022-09-24.
  8. ^ "Putin ignores virus, shows off military might ahead of crucial vote". POLITICO. 2020-06-24. Retrieved 2022-09-25.
  9. ^ a b c d "Байден на 10 лет старше, а «дедом» все равно называют Путина. Но почему? Рассказываем, как к президенту России прицепилось (почти) самое обидное его прозвище". Meduza (in Russian). Retrieved 2022-09-24.
  10. ^ ""Бункерный дед": Шендерович рассказал о деградации Путина в течение последних десяти лет". (in Russian). Retrieved 2022-09-24.
  11. ^ "«Бункерный дед». Путин больше не «мачо», он отомстил Зеленскому за визит в Изюм — политолог". (in Russian). Retrieved 2022-09-24.
  12. ^ "Бункерный дед больше не делает ставку на армию - ISW". (in Russian). Retrieved 2022-09-24.
  13. ^ "VIDEO I "Putin is a grandfather hiding in a bunker": Navalny remains in custody until February 15 - Free Press". Слободен печат. 2021-01-18. Retrieved 2022-09-24.
  14. ^ "Has Putin Lost It?". Riddle Russia. Retrieved 2022-09-24.
  15. ^ "Так можно с президентом? Навальный жестко потроллил "бункерного дедушку" Владимира Путина" (in Russian). Собеседник. 2020-10-30. Retrieved 2022-08-25.
  16. ^ "Listen Live - Радио Свобода". Радио Свобода (in Russian). Retrieved 2022-09-24.
  17. ^ ""Дед" и дети. Сергей Медведев – о новом поколении". Радио Свобода (in Russian). Retrieved 2022-09-24.
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