Staunton, May 7 – In Soviet times, Russians made remarks and told jokes about the regime in their kitchens. Now, they increasingly turn to the Internet where they post their observations about the powers that be. That is what has happened again today as Russians react to Vladimir Putin’s inauguration/enthronement.
The Meduza news agency provides a selection which says rather more about how Russians really feel about the Kremlin leader than do all the regime’s commentators and paid-for polls (meduza.io/shapito/2018/05/07/ona-zhdala-nikolaya-ii-a-on-ne-vyshel). Among the best of these comments are the following:
· In the Kremlin Palace, those in attendance “expected Nicholas II but he didn’t come” – only Putin.
· No one should complain about crowds or traffic in Moscow – at least today – as the officials have emptied the streets in the name of security.
· As soon as the guests passed through the entrance, Kremlin maids arrived and vacuumed the rug Putin was to walk on.
· Putin on taking the oath was given “the symbols of state power” in Russia: “the club and the nagaika.”
· When everything was ready, Putin told the chief justice of the Russian Supreme Court he could begin. Zorkin then said: “crime in office.”
· Among those who attended were Steven Seagal, Russian bikers, but no senior foreign leaders.
· Putin declares that too much security “limits the aspirations for the future of our country.”
· One viewer said he listened to Putin speak but wanted to know “when the cartoons with rockets will be shown?”
· Putin declares that “people will live better.” He then laughs.
· A picture shows a Russian woman trying to keep the door through which Putin entered closed. She has a look of horror on her face and carries a knife.
· The honored guests in the front of the crowd at the inaugural have “the classic Moscow cahier grimace” -- “’No, I certainly can’t change that 1000 ruble note.’”
· And one blogger put up a time clock showing that Russians and everyone else has only 52,607 hours until the end of this Putin term.