Reuters is reporting today that Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has reassured worried Russians that, nyet, he won’t be retiring to his dacha in the Urals anytime soon. “Don’t hold your breath,” waiting for him to quit, the smiling former KGB operative said with his usual warmth and humor. This was his response to a caller on an annual Q & A session, a sort of Town Hall-in-grad, if you will. You know, like the ones we capitalists hold here, except that in Russia, participation is restricted to those who A)agree not to dishonor the memory of Joseph Stalin; B) are not calling from jail; and C) actually have a telephone. This could actually be seen as an improvement over the American system in that the Leader of the Nation actually shows up and takes the calls. (When was the last time Barack Obama held an actual pres conference and answered actual questions? Actually, never.)
One caller wanted a factory owner jailed for layoffs of unproductive workers. Putin cheerfully explained, “If we put everyone in jail, who would work?” Excellent point! Tying up the wealth-producers might reduce tax revenues. . . someone call Congress!
Another caller complained about the “problem” of the nouveau riche getting too flashy with their expensive Euro shportcars and not showing proper deference to rusty Volga drivers as they cut them off in traffic. “In Soviet times,” Putin waxed nostalgically, “some of our rich showed off their wealth by having gold teeth put in, preferably at the front. The Lamborghinis and other pricey knickknacks–they are simply today’s gold teeth which are shown off to everybody.”
Ahh, such happy memories of Babushka, her fine gold teeth glinting in the Siberian sun as she would pluck potatoes from the rich, black, irradiated garden soil with a stick. Those were the days, my friend.
“Dear Santa, this Christmas I am not going to ask you for a Lamborghini again. All I really, really want is two gold teeth. In the front, please. I want all the neighbors to be pea-green with envy. Spasiba!”