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Elon Musk Posts Bizarre Photoshopped Image Of New Twitter CEO As Stalin Executing Jack Dorsey

Elon Musk Posts Bizarre Photoshopped Image Of New Twitter CEO As Stalin Executing Jack Dorsey
Patrick Pleul/picture alliance via Getty Images; Joe Raedle/Getty Image

Elon Musk posted a cryptic tweet to mark the resignation of Twitter co-founder and CEO, Jack Dorsey.

The tweet contained two juxtaposed photoshopped images of Dorsey and his successor, former Twitter CTO Parag Agrawal, whose faces were superimposed over a vintage photograph of Stalin and a known former colleague, Nikolai Yezhov.

The first showed the face of the new Twitter CEO pictured on the left of the superimposed Dorsey walking along to his right, closest to the Moscow Canal.

In the second image, Dorsey is missing, with a splash of water Photoshopped on the water's surface to suggest he had been pushed into the canal.

Musk posted the images with no caption, letting the pictures speak for themselves.

For those who may be confused, here's some historical context of the vintage photo.

According to History, Stalin recognized the value of photography and would often enlist large groups of photo retouchers to erase enemies from his photographs.

Yezhov, who was originally seen in the photo, was a secret police official who oversaw Stalin’s purges.

Also known as the "Great Terror," the Great Purge was a campaign led by Stalin during which he eliminated, or even executed, dissenters of the Communist Party, as well as anyone else, deemed a threat between 1936 and 1938.

Yezhov was one such casualty.

The publication wrote:

“For a while Yezhov worked at Stalin’s right hand, interrogating, falsely accusing, and ordering the execution of thousands of Communist Party officials."

In 1938, Stalin had Yezhov–a.k.a. "the Poison Dwarf"–removed from the photographic record when Yezhov "fell from Stalin’s favor after being usurped by one of his own deputies. He was denounced, secretly arrested, tried in a secret court, and executed."

Photo retouchers then added a new level of water of the Moscow Canal in front of where Yezhov had previously stood.

Musk's tweet left the internet scratching their heads.

The images left Twitter users to provide their own meme interpretations.

In a company email to Twitter employees Dorsey also tweeted, he wrote:

“I want you all to know that this was my decision and I own it. It was a tough one for me, of course. I love this service and company ... and all of you so much. I’m really sad ... yet really happy."
“There aren’t many companies that get to this level. And there aren’t many founders that choose their company over their own ego. I know we’ll prove this was the right move.”

Vox hinted that the reference to a founder's "ego" could have been a dig at Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who has given no indication of relinquishing his position anytime soon after having found the social media platform 17 years ago.

Dorsey will remain a member of Twitter's board until at least next year.

Whatever Musk meant to convey in his uncaptioned tweet, it certainly indicates he is subtly enthusiastic for Twitter's change in leadership.