Sunday, February 27, 2022

‘The Fatherland is in Danger! The Old Man in the Kremlin has Lost His Mind!’

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Feb. 22 – Many Russians are protesting Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine and getting arrested for their troubles. Many more are responding as they normally do to any event fortunate or unfortunate by keeping a sullen silence in public but telling jokes. These may say more about where the Russian people are on this war than anything else.

            While many of the anecdotes Tatyana Pushkaryova offers in her latest selection for are about the never-ending economic difficulties Russians face, some are explicitly about the war or more precisely about the way in which the powers that be in Moscow are conducting it and how it is likely to affect them (

            Below is a selection of some of the best:

  •  Jesus asks Russians if they are ready for the Second Coming. Russian respond: “Jesus, we’ve been prepared for a long time. We’ve already got a cross; we’re only missing you.”
  •  Russian special services are so strong and competent that they arrested a man in the Donetsk Peoples Republic on Thursday for a crime he wasn’t going to commit until Friday.
  •  The Kremlin says Washington is working on ever tighter sanctions. The latest will involve reducing the packages of sausages in Russian stores to contain only two pieces of meat.
  •  “Did you know that Russia would be able to hold out for five years without selling oil and gas? All it needs do is arrest senior officials and confiscate their watches, jewelry, cars and bags of money.’
  •  China benefits from Western sanctions on Russia because that way it will be able to buy up Russian products at even cheaper prices.
  • ‘The Motherland will call and we will all go to war. The first line of attack will be those who have nothing to lose - Simonyan, Solovyov, members of the Security Council, and Duma deputies. Then I'll ask to join the foreign legion.’
  •  Russians are counting on Moscow taking Kyiv not with military force but through the State Services website, which has shown it can generate any result the Kremlin wants.
  • A Russian general tells a crowd of pensioners and government employees, the only ones who support the war, that ‘Russia has only two friends, its Army and its Fleet.’ And as he says this he silently reflects that the fatherland has only two enemies, government employees and pensioners.
  • Sanctions don’t frighten us, Russians say. But countersanctions do. They will leave us without the foods we need. 

  • And the most telling of all: ‘The Fatherland is in Danger! The Old Man in the Kremlin has Lost His Mind!’

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