Putin’s Wacky Weekend – August Arrives Early

Russophobes, Kremlinologists, and conspiracy theorists, start your engines.  PM Putin was out in full force this weekend, engaging in photo ops and crafting colorful quotes as VVP is apt to do.  Thus, it is only a matter of time – it may be happening now – that we are treated to the typical speculation about whether this is a sign of Putin’s 2012 intentions, the beginning of the election, etc.  Considered in the context of last week’s passage of the FSB legislation – which A Good Treaty covered heroically – even a neutral observer would be reasonable in asking whether there is some connection or, at the very least, what the hell is going on. 

For me, this is just Putin being Putin, following a pattern established in the months just before he endorsed Medvedev to be his successor.  Indeed, in August 2007 Putin bared his torso on a fishing trip with the Prince of Monaco, and in September 2007 he made out with a sturgeon.  In August 2008, the PM shot a tiger with tranquilizing dart and in August 2009 he was baring that infamous torso again.  So, one week out from August, maybe Putin is just getting a head start (note: I addressed the darker sides of August in Russia here, just months before the Russo-Georgian War in August 2008).

Here’s what Putin was up to this weekend:

Saturday: Putin rode in on a “tricked out bike” (навороченная машина) – his words, not mine – to what is apparently a kind of Sturgis Rally in Sevastopol, Ukraine.  The bike was “tricked out” in that it had three wheels, making it look more suitable for an obese retiree than a robust judo practitioner (his legs can’t reach, okay?!).  Putin claimed the bike was a Harley-Davidson but it looked more like a Goldwing.  Below is a video of Putin’s comments with English subtitles:

Sunday: Putin spoke about his meeting with the deep-cover spies recently returned from the U.S.A.  Putin made several interesting remarks here.  First, he claimed that he sang karaoke – nay, to a live band – with his fellow former spies.  In Putin’s defense, this was in response to a question from a journalist – I guess the spies let it slip that they were singing.  One of the patriotic songs they sang – From Where the Motherland Begins (С Чего Начинается Родина), which you can listen to here.  You can just picture Putin and a couple silovik lackeys, drunk and misty-eyed, churning out this ballad while the Americanized spies stare on in horror, with images of Best Buy and Cheesecake Factory fresh in their minds.  More interesting, however, was Putin’s statement that the spies were discovered because of a traitor, who will soon “end up a drunk or drug addict in a ditch.”  Putin said that Medvedev already stated that a traitor betrayed the spies, but I do not remember and cannot find where or when he said this – please illuminate in the comments if possible.  Here is Putin’s comments regarding the spies:

Update: here is Kommersant’s take on Putin’s weekend via the intrepid and always-amusing Andrei Kolesnikov.

This entry was posted in august, Dmitry Medvedev, Espionage, PM Putin, Putin, tricked out bikes, Vladimir Putin. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Putin’s Wacky Weekend – August Arrives Early

  1. Lyndon says:

    I wonder if they keep a band of anonymous set musicians on call in the Kremlin 24/7 to cater to the whims of people who demand karaoke but for whom a karaoke machine is not sufficiently elitny.

  2. Joera says:

    I think that band is called ABBA. Anyway, I very much doubt there was karaoke. Putin just played the journalists. Now everyone is talking about karaoke and the veiled threats, thinking they have unmasked the spy Putin, but no one is asking what was discussed and agreed upon by Russia's premier and Ukraine's president. you see, if you play spy games with a spy you loose 😉

  3. Jesse says:

    @Joera – nice interpretation, but not true! In fact Putin started by making a statement about his visit with Yanukovich. It was the journalists who brought up the spy meeting and karaoke – http://premier.gov.ru/events/news/11491/

  4. Joera says:

    Jesse, if you saw the footage you must have noticed how Putin was struggling with his statement. Respecting zakonniye interesy of partner countries. What the $&$!? was that? Why did he go into defense without being attacked. he was screwing things up and knew it. So when he got the spy question he saw the opportunity to make the journalists forget about his earlier words by giving them a spy story that would certainly generate resonance. Singing patriotic songs with Americanized Russians living generously on state budget with nothing to show for doesn't sound like Putin to me.

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  6. poemless says:

    I think Putin made them sing patriotic karaoke to punish them for getting caught, and to freak people out. I think that’s part of his MO. Doing crazy shit because he can. Think about it. If you were spying for Russia, got caught, had nothing to show for your work and were brought before VVP, and he made you sing karaoke, would it feel like, “and a good time was had by all” or like those scenes in films that serve no purpose but to establish that the villian is unpredictable and you can never know when he is just having fun or is going to murder you?

    Also, it is the real (talented) Andrei Kolesnikov! But in Power Vertical’s link they refer to him as Aleksei Kolesnikov. And they link to you.

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