Staunton, April 22 – Vladimir Putin recently advised Russians to visit Kamchatka, “a really beautiful place everyone who hasn’t seen should go.” But because they remember that this far eastern region was the site of GULAG camps, they fear, a new anecdote circulating in Russia says, the Kremlin leader will soon be recommending Magadan and Solovki as well.
This is just one of several new anecdotes Moscow journalist Tatyana Pushkaryova offers in her latest collection that show Russians are becoming both harsher and more fearful in their assessments of the situations they find themselves in (publizist.ru/blogs/107374/42752/- Among the best of the others are:
· The Russian government has ordered the opening of Russian analogues to the App Store and Google Play but they won’t soon appear. That is the difference with America: there the government doesn’t order such things but they appear anyway.
· A Russian senator wants all maps of the world to show the countries which are Russia’s enemies so that people will know where not to go. But that is a mistake, “marked cards are good in games, but not in international politics.”
· A boy asks his father if after we kill all the bad people, will only good people remain. No, says his father, what will remain are only murderers.
· Indonesia has now banned the export of palm oil to Russia. Given Russia’s dependence on that, it is now far from clear what Russian dairy products will actually contain. Indeed, it is best not to think about the possibilities.
· Potholes in Russia are not as bad as in Ukraine or the US and they are evidence that Russia now has roads, something it didn’t have in tsarist times. Talking about them in fact is thus disseminating deliberately false information about a special road operation in Russia.
· The government could find the money to fix the Moskva. But it would be better if the people did, some say, because in that case, they would work to ensure that such things did not happen so often or so expensively.
· As a result of Putin’s war in Ukraine, Finland has decided to join NATO. That raises the question: should the Kremlin send Kadyrov to Helsinki or straight to Stockholm? Or would it be better to put him in charge of de-Nazifying horse breeding in Mongolia? That would seem to be closer to his style.
· Russian police don’t need to read the signs of protesters to know they are anti-government. According to court documents, the police now can read “invisible posters with anti-government inscriptions.” That means the servants of the Russian state can now read the minds of the people who carry blank signs.