Russia's Foreign Ministry on Tuesday night called out Western media as being biased propaganda outlets who misunderstand the rich and complex lore of the widely popular Star Wars franchise.
The issue in question comes following an analysis article published by UK outlet Sky News, which dubbed Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov as the "Jedi master of the dark arts of diplomacy."
According to Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova on Telegram, this represents a profound misunderstanding of Star Wars and ended up being perceived as praise towards Lavrov.
Or was Sky News actually, if unintentionally, far more accurate than she believes?
Why is Russia's foreign minister being called a Jedi?
The Sky News article in question discusses Lavrov's recent actions in the United Nations.
Currently, Russia holds the rotating presidency of the UN Security Council for the month of April. This is something many countries and the UN itself have taken issue with and Ukraine, which Russia has been invading since February 24, 2022, calling it a "bad April Fool's Day joke."
Throughout the month, Lavrov has made numerous comments in this capacity, such as claiming the West wants to inflict a "strategic defeat" against Russia by backing Ukraine, and said that any peace deal would need to be focused on creating a "new world order."
This comes after making several other remarks about the war, such as saying it isn't a war as well as saying Ukraine launched the war and that Nazi leader Adolf Hitler had Jewish blood.
In short, the Sky News analysis accused Lavrov of trying to spin the narrative of the invasion of Ukraine to gain support for Russia in a manner similar to a Jedi mind trick, a means by which the Jedi from Star Wars use the mystical and omnipresent Force to influence the minds of others – though this doesn't work on everyone and mainly only works on the weak-minded.
Zakharova, however, points out that the article doesn't understand what the Jedi are.
Taking to Telegram, Zakharova explained that the Jedi represent the light side of the Force and quoted Star Wars creators' explanation of who the Jedi are.
They are Jedi Knights, guardians of peace and justice, the Jedi Order. They stand on the light side of the Force. They are protecting the Galactic Republic. They know how to use the Force, a supernatural power. Lightsabers are their weapons."
She added: "In principle, this is all true except that Lavrov... has not yet drawn his lightsaber," adding a picture of Lavrov edited to resemble a Jedi holding a lightsaber.
But while the Sky News article's own understanding of Star Wars and the Jedi may indeed be misconstrued, that doesn't mean Zakharova's understanding is flawless, either.
The Force in Star Wars has two sides, the light side and the dark side. There are several individuals and groups who follow the latter, most famously the Sith, but also the fallen Jedi known as "Dark Jedi."
In particular, both sides are known to use mind tricks. Fans and writers have also noted that the Jedi mind trick can itself be something as inherently immoral and therefore dark side-aligned ability.
For example, a scene depicting a form of mind trick in season three, episode one of the Star Wars animated series Rebels depicted protagonist and Jedi Ezra Bridger using a dark side variant of the mind trick to force Imperial troops to kill their fellow soldiers and walk off a bridge.
Similar instances of dark side users influencing the minds of others negatively are rife throughout Star Wars, and are even more apparent in the Legends continuity, the expanded universe before Disney bought out Lucasfilm. There, a number of varieties of mind tricks are present that could easily be used to influence the minds of others for nefarious purposes.
So in conclusion, Sky News's analysis may be more accurate than intended for their goal. If Lavrov is a Jedi, he may be aligning with the dark side of the Force. He wouldn't be the only Jedi to do so – famously, Count Dooku was once a Jedi before falling to the dark side and taking up a career in politics, eventually leading the Separatist Alliance. So it wouldn't be without precedence.
Star Wars and the Russian invasion of Ukraine
Interestingly, this isn't the first time Star Wars has come up in the Russia-Ukraine War.
Back in March, it was revealed that actor Mark Hamill, who plays Luke Skywalker in the Star Wars franchise and who has repeatedly voiced support for Ukraine on social media, has lent his voice to Air Alert, an air-raid warning app used throughout Ukraine.
In addition, throughout the war, but especially in its earlier days, several social media users have made videos narrating events of the war in the style of the opening monologues at the start of each episode of the Clone Wars TV series.