Staunton, Mar. 17 – Russians observe in their latest anecdote now circulating in Moscow that there was a time not so long ago when Russian oligarchs paid a great deal of money in order to meet with Vladimir Putin. But now, things have changed; and the oligarchs pay even more not to meet with him.
Other anecdotes that Moscow journalist Tatyana Pushkaryova has assembled in her latest collection (publizist.ru/blogs/107374/45395/75-48) include:
· A fisherman on the Finnish side of the border with Russia says that he has much greater luck in catching fish than does his Russian counterpart because in Russia, the Finn says, “even fish are afraid to open their mouths” and so can’t be caught.
· Putin likes to say that sanctions only work in our favor. Russians agree: they may work in his favor but not in theirs.
· Some Russians hope China will seize Russia and restore socialism. But they are in for a rude awakening: China isn’t going to restore the Soviet system where people got paid whether they worked or not but iron discipline under which the Russians will be forced to work as never before.
· Two-thirds of Chinese who are trained abroad stay there, but the third who come home benefit China. In Russia, the division between those who remain and those who return may be different, but it is also the case that those who return don’t benefit Russia, at least according to the Kremlin.
· Putin’s spokesman says there can’t be a new mobilization because he hasn’t received any call up notice.
· Officials in the region have already decided what level of participation will occur in the next election and what percentage the winners will get. What they don’t know yet is who will be running.