Wednesday, June 28, 2023

Putin has Truly Transformed Russia -- into a Joke, Some Russians Say

Paul Goble

            Staunton, June 27 – As the implications of what Prigozhin’s mutiny continue to be discussed, there has been a veritable explosion of anecdotes about what it all means, with some Russians now summarizing the situation by declaring that Vladimir Putin has truly transformed Russia – into a bitter joke.

            That is just one of the stories now circulating among the residents of Moscow that have been collected and posted online by Russian journalist Tatyana Pushkaryova ( Among the best of the rest are the following:

·       Russians are compelled to seek explanations in historical parallels. Among the most widespread over the last several years is one between the Prigozhin mutiny and the August 1991 coup.  Both were directed against the president, both failed and in both cases, troops returned to their barracks. In 1991, four months later, neither the president nor the country which he headed was left. Is the same thing about to happen again?

·       Officials keep changing their position on whether Prigozhin and his men will be charged with anything. One day, they will be, officials say; the next, they won’t be, the same people say. Wouldn’t it be easier just to adopt a law saying that on even numbered days, Prigozhin will be under investigation and charged; and on odd-numbered days, he won’t be?

·       The symbol of the French Revolution was the storming of the Bastille; the symbol of the October Revolution is the Avrora firing its guns; but the symbol of Prigozhin’s rebellion is a tank stuck in the gates of a circus.

·       Putin said something in his recent addresses to the nation but not what people were hoping for. He didn’t say “I’m tired; and I’m leaving.”

·       When any Russian says the situation in the country is simply terrible, others accuse him or her of embellishing the situation.

·       Those who shot down and killed Russian soldiers during the Prigozhin rising apparently won’t be punished, but those who wrote about this action and posted their words on line will go to jail for as much as 15 years for discrediting the Russian army.

·       Kremlin spokesmen have now said that Putin has managed with his speeches to turn the fate of Russia 360 degrees.

·       The Russian national guard will now arrest anyone who did not take notice of the fact that after Putin made his statements, the fate of Russia changed dramatically for the better.

·       Russian siloviki are tired of making distinctions: they’ll now arrest people who supported Prigozhin and those who didn’t.

·       Russians now have been shown that you can’t protest with a poster but you can if you have a weapon in your hands.


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