Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Президент Второй Свежести

News Desk

Notes on Washington and the world by the staff of The New Yorker.

December 25, 2011

Putin: A Used President?

Posted by Julia Ioffe


I guess you can say that it started with Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s live question-and-answer session last Friday. This is a once-a-year extravaganza that lasts for hours and is Putin’s favorite—that is, utterly scripted—way to communicate with his subjects. He leans back in an Aeron chair, cocks one arm over its back, and confidently rains down figures and percentages and questionable numbers like heavenly manna. He solves housing shortages for Second World War veterans with a swift, manly snarl. He jokes, he zings—he is, in short, in his element. This year, however, Putin’s telethon came amid growing protests by the country’s middle class, which has had enough, over the crude, ham-fisted falsifications of the December 4th parliamentary vote. This year, he was nervous, and, despite his vocal unwillingness to discuss this wrinkle in the system, he had to keep coming back to the topic. When all else failed, he tried to ease off the theme by making a joke about the white ribbons protesters have been pinning to their chests. “To be perfectly honest,” he said,

When I saw something on some people’s chests, I’ll be honest—it’s not quite appropriate— but in any case, I thought that this was part of an anti-AIDS campaign, that these were, pardon me, condoms.

Within minutes, the Russian-language Internet was overflowing with condom jokes, including a picture of a condom folded up like an activist ribbon, and a Christmas card from Putin, an unfurled condom hanging from his lapel. A joke started to make the rounds: a guy and a girl are getting hot and heavy, and, at the critical moment, she says, “Do you have a white ribbon?”

Russians have a long tradition of biting, bitter humor, a necessary steam valve when you live in a reality that could easily be mistaken for a joke. These days, with all the steam the system has built up over a decade of High Putinism suddenly billowing forth, humor has been front and center. KermlinRussia, a popular Twitter parody of Dmitry Medvedev’s Twitter feed, has been especially active of late. “Putin,” one of the recent condom-themed tweets went, “is a used president.” (He had been President before, and intends to be so again.)

Saturday, up to a hundred and twenty thousand people came out to demand electoral reform—a record for the infamously indifferent Putin generation. Partly because the last massive protest, two weeks ago, was so peaceful, and because Muscovites are getting the hang of this, Saturday’s protest was, more than anything, a festival of such classically wry Russian witticisms. Below, some of my favorites.



(Photographs: Max Avdeev)


(Photographs, above and top: Julia Ioffe)

10 comments | Add your comments

@Kutya: I don't know if Yelin's about-face (he claims it is not one) is that well known, but Russian Forbes had a pretty hilarious interview with him and his "Rabfak" co-conspirator on the Madhouse song. At the end, the singer Alexander Semenov, who's simply enormous, offers to sing "One Like Putin" at a concert. What I wouldn't pay to hear that! Here's the article, in Russian: http://bit.ly/rtUgBS

Posted 12/26/2011, 11:22:39pm by esmerelds

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I remember once a long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away - when we were still a marginally functioning democracy - Bush had a news conference when Putin had visited him. A reporter asked Bush what was his impression of the man as a leader. Bush said something like he looked into the man's eyes or soul or perhaps even navel and knew he could trust him. So I knew, right there, Putin was definitely a creep. Nothing has changed in my assessment of Putin. Or Bush who is another creep. Putin is short guy, not really short short, but around five nine or so short. So he suffers from the Sarkozy Syndrome, a personality disorder common among men who think they are alpha males even though they are actually beta males. These guys have caused a lot of problem throughout history when they have assumed positions of power. They end up on a desolate island in exile plotting their next move and talking to themselves about their near great moments in history. But they are all out of moves. Hopefully Putin will be soon out of moves. Now Sarkozy? I just don't want to go there. I'm having a good day.

Posted 12/26/2011, 7:03:49pm by rewiredgdog

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@Esmerelds: Is it well-known that Alexander Yelin wrote "Our Madhouse is Voting for Putin?" It wouldn't be out of character, but I'd love to know. (The song's actually almost as catchy as "A Man Like Putin.")

Posted 12/26/2011, 1:44:18pm by kutya

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"Partly because the last massive protest, two weeks ago, was so peaceful, and because Muscovites are getting the hang of this, Saturday’s protest was, more than anything, a festival of such classically wry Russian witticisms." I would add that it was also rather cold on 24 Dec, people got frozen much faster and did not shout and move as much as on 10 Dec.

Posted 12/26/2011, 9:38:25am by Murmillo

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I am from Malaysia. I cannot understand how a country such as the USA, with its education system and its global position in 20-21st century culture andlevel of civilization can produce, and able to sustain, personalities such as Gingrich and Cheney. Its a sad indictment of the corrupt nature of the American political system.

Posted 12/26/2011, 3:37:55am by Saiful

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Putin needs a Patriot Act. Perhaps he can retain Newt & Cheney as consultants.

Posted 12/25/2011, 5:31:04pm by sloper

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It's good to see Vlad"s "subjects" exercising their democratic right to assemble and speak - without being tear gassed or shot with rubber bullets as in the US - democracy at work one might say. Vlad , I believe, has one vote - like every other Russian citizen. Go figure.

Posted 12/25/2011, 4:15:28pm by JohnGilmore

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The humor backlash has been building on itself for quite a while. Take this sarcastic piece of cabaret from the same guy, Alexander Yelin, who brought us "One Like Putin" back in 2002. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zVxyBMCd4qY&has_verified=1 "Our Madhouse Votes for Putin." It deserves a good translation into English.

Posted 12/25/2011, 10:55:43am by esmerelds

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Read more http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/newsdesk/2011/12/putin-a-used-president.html#ixzz1hkvMSco9

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Вторник, 27 декабря 2011

Владислав Сурков – новая роль

Перестановки в высшем эшелоне российской власти продолжаются

Русская служба «Голоса Америки»

Дмитрий Медведев и Владислав Сурков


Дмитрий Медведев и Владислав Сурков

Как сообщил президент РФ Дмитрий Медведев, первый заместитель главы президентской администрации Владислав Сурков назначен вице-премьером. По словам президента, на новом посту Суркову предстоит заняться модернизацией экономики. Об этом Дмитрий Медведев лично информировал Владислава Суркова в ходе встречи, состоявшейся во вторник 27 декабря.
Новое назначение Суркова – как минимум пятая среди получивших огласку перестановок в высшем эшелоне российской власти за последнее время. Ей предшествовали назначение вице-премьером Дмитрия Рогозина, спикером Госдумы – Сергея Нарышкина, Сергея Иванова – руководителем администрации президента и Игоря Сергуна – начальником ГРУ.

Другие материалы о событиях в России читайте в рубрике «Россия»

Вы можете найти эту статью здесь


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