Staunton, Oct. 31 – Anecdotes, perhaps especially in Russia, say more about what conditions there are like than many learned studies. One offered by Tatyana Pushkareva in her latest collection of jokes is especially valuable in that it helps explain why the level of support for Vladimir Putin remains high despite Russia’s economic difficulties and political repression.
As she tells it, Russians now say that when all the other explanations for Putin’s support dissolve upon examination as unconvincing, the people say that “his consistently high rating is due to the fact that [the Kremlin leader] is not a Muscovite.” Russians appreciate that and view everything else as irrelevant (publizist.ru/blogs/107374/41242/putin-21).
Among the other anecdotes which she offers and which also explain much, the following five are especially noteworthy:
· The Kremlin has discovered a new and most dangerous strain of the coronavirus: it circulates via the Internet and consequently the regime has no choice but to close down the world wide web to stop the spread of this disease.
· Putin says that Russia’s greatest enemy is poverty, but the political elite and the commentariat is spending all its time talking about fighting Ukraine.
· Russians seem to have forgotten that Patriarch Kirill fought the pandemic last year by riding around in his limousine with a miracle-working icon. The pandemic continues, and now the Russian churchman self-isolates on his yacht with attractive young women – and the same icon.
· Duma deputies keep thinking up new ways to punish people who violate the covid restrictions. They haven’t decided to introduce shackles yet, but clearly that idea is circulating among the leaders in the legislature.
· Russia has two percent of the world’s population but 40 percent of its natural resources. Despite the fact that people have to search dumps for food, they are constantly being told they should take pride in and love all the oligarchs who make this situation possible.
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