Sunday, March 31, 2024

‘Progress Will Be When Siloviki Still Kill but Don’t Cut Off Ears,’ Russians Recall Iskander Saying

Paul Goble

            Staunton Mar. 28 – Often anecdotes in Russia take the form of quotations from prominent people in the past whose observations capture what is happening now. An example of this, some Russians say, is Abkhazian writer Fazil Iskander’s observation that “progress, friends, is when they still kill but no longer cut off ears.”

            That is just one of the anecdotes in the latest collection assembled by journalist Tatyana Pushkaryova ( – and perhaps the last because Moscow has blocked the Publicist site where they have appeared ( One hopes there will be more. Among the best on this last list are the following:

·       Pro-Kremlin showman Shaman was ready with a video on the terrorist attack only a day after that event happened. One wonders how he’ll cope when the Kremlin announces it is going to launch nuclear weapons.

·       The latest effort by Russian scientists is to come up for a prosthetic that can be used if someone’s ears are cut off.

·       For ordinary Russians, prices have risen because spending on the military and security services has increased so dramatically. But for those in these branches, such spending has boosted their well-being. It would be odd if it were otherwise given their power in the current regime.

·       A few immigrants may be sent packing but not many because Russia is more hooked on migrants than a drug addict who has been using the latter for 20 years.

·       The only gas shortage that matters is if one affects Moscow’s ability to move its tanks about.

·       Kremlin media now say that the Ukrainian security services organized the explosion of the Krakatau volcano in 1883, at a time when Ukrainian nationalists with Tajik names were reading Hitler’s Mein Kampf even though it was written 40 years later.

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