Staunton, Sept. 26 – Vladimir Putin’s declaration of partial mobilization not only has provoked anger and protests but it has also led to an explosion of new anecdotes and jokes in which Russians try to capture the new reality around them in ways that allow them to express their views about the Kremlin regime without immediately being arrested.
The joke in the title comes from Estonia’s Eerik Kross. But Moscow journalist Natalya Pushkaryova offers a rich harvest of others in her latest update of what Russians are saying to each other about the war, Putin, and the mobilization effort (publizist.ru/blogs/107374/44012/-). Among the best of these are the following:
· Russian men responded to the partial mobilization by buying tickets to fly to any country where Russians aren’t required to get visas.
· With Putin’s mobilization order, bad times fortunately have ended, Russians say; regrettably, however, even worse ones have come in their place.
· First, Russians were told that there wouldn’t be a war; then, they were told there wouldn’t be a mobilization. Now, they are told nuclear weapons won’t be used …
· Since mobilization was declared, super Z-patriots have all been coming down with broken arms or schizophrenia. Those will keep them out of the army but won’t lead them to keep quiet.
· Muscovites are now promised that the authorities will build a direct metro line to the border with Georgia and will complete it in just a few days.
· The interior ministry says international passports will now be given to Russians only if they sign a paper agreeing not to leave the country.
· The Kremlin is defending the decision of the authorities to round up protesters and send them to fight in Ukraine. This not only violates the constitution but shows to everyone that being in the Russian army is not a duty and an honor but a form of punishment for offenses against the little father tsar.
· Putin has sought to reassure those he’s mobilized by telling them that if they are all killed, the Kremlin leader will use nuclear weapons and consequently their relatives will join them in heaven.
· Patriarch Kirill says there is an eighth deadly sin: refusing to serve in the Russian army when called or recalled.
· The defense ministry has announced that journalists working for government channels will be exempt from mobilization. As a result, none of the government’s propagandists will go to the front. Instead, they will continue to promote sending others.