Russian President Vladimir Putin looks on during a meeting with journalists after a live broadcast nationwide call-in in Moscow, Russia, April 14, 2016.
Maxim Shemetov / Reuters

The biggest surprise about the Russian reaction to the Panama Papers leaks came in the form of a poster that depicted Russian President Vladimir Putin as the drug-addled protagonist played by Johnny Depp in the movie version of Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas—complete with Panama hat, aviator sunglasses, and cigarette holder. Adorning a central Moscow bus stop for several hours before the authorities had it removed, the poster read, “What Panama?”

The rare public display of defiance mainly served to draw attention to the apathy of the general public—it comes as no surprise

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