poemless. a slap in the face of public taste.

November 17, 2010

Return of VovaMania!

Filed under: Culture: Russia,Politics: Russia — poemless @ 7:01 PM

It’s been a while since I’ve done a gratuitous Putin love fest post. Isn’t that strange? Nowadays people refer to my “nuanced and insightful” writing, but mostly I just started blogging so to post pictures of hot Russian men, Putin being King God Supreme Leader of that camp. What happened? Has our fair leader ceased to be the apple of poemless’s eye, fallen to the earth to slowly decay and be nibbled on by ravenous squirrels? Has our fickle blogger’s infatuation dimmed like a cold November afternoon? Er… no. No of course not. That would be madness. Maybe I’ve just matured – ever think about that? No, you’re right, that can’t be it. Maybe, what with the Reset and Obama and blah blah blah, wooing so-called dictators just doesn’t have the same subversive appeal. I always fantasized about totally scaring the hell out of John Ashcroft on the other end of whatever NSA feed was trolling my posts. I am both a neo-stalinist and a female with a libido … I am the AntiChrist, John! Eat it! Hahahaha. But now I am just one more person with a blog making cute comments about Vova’s latest wackadoodle photo-op. Sean says he’s jumped the shark. Now, I am not willing to rule out that VVP could, even will one day jump the shark. But when that day comes, it will involve an actual shark and the leader of Russia on water skis. A stunt that, had the Fonz not done so already, Putin probably would have invented. “Jumped the shark” my ass. He’s as popular as ever. Everyone and their mother has posted a picture of that puppy hug. Oh, except me! Here:

You know you just squealed with delight. I say, if Vova ever meets the man who could look at that and not get a little woozy with oxytocin, he will have met his match.

You wanna help name the dog? Knock yourself out. I think it was on NPR that I saw this referred to a “rare gesture toward democracy” or some nonsense… After last nights’ Dancing With The Stars, I am off democracy. What should we name this giant furball? How about “Maksim,” in honor of that hottie Palin’s Tea Party sabotaged. Or not. I’m inclined to follow the reasoning that if Putin’s pet were named after me, I could vicariously curl up in his lap for a kiss and tickle. Alas, he already has a dog named after me! He doesn’t seem too thrilled about it either, does he?

Ok, since we’re on the topic of Dr. Doolittle, someone’s gone and stolen the photos I have hanging my living room and posted them online:

The 24 Cutest Pictures Of Vladimir Putin With Animal.

Freaky. In more ways than one… I have always been partial to the horse kissy and the tiger present photos. But here’s one I had not seen before, a treat! (I know I said these were hanging in my apartment – it was for dramatic effect. I mean, you couldn’t possibly think… Oh.)

A small goat!

In some ways, he reminds me of my grandmother. She was nuts over animals. He had this gorgeous house, with a nice living and dining room, but she always sat in the kitchen, to watch the animals in the yard (whole entire extra tree-lined lot) outside. She bought us Ranger Rick subscriptions and would even cut out and mail us those little gratuitous animal pictures from the local paper (you know, that space reserved for no copy but a photo of a rabbit with the caption, “Spring arrives on Lincoln Avenue.”) Crazy. Especially since our family got the same newspaper. From whence this animalphilia? She was part Cherokee. She was also getting Alzheimer’s. Anyway, somehow I inherited this trait. God, I hope it is not a symptom of dementia. I have more faith and trust in people who are so comfortable with and able to navigate the animal kingdom. Those who have great “people skills” but are like idiots around anything not human scare the hell out of me. People who prefer the company of those species that have evolved differently from us, I really get. You can’t lie to animals. It doesn’t actually work. Oh, and can we address this notion of “people skills,” please? VVP gets a lot of heat for not having them so much, but if skills are what you use to get things done, then I think he has mad skillz. What’s up with this preference for fake nice that gives more points for not hurting anyone’s feelings than for reality checks? I’m not a fan.

Which brings me to the last point in today’s Putin love fest. Oh, sure, anyone can love a dog. I am pretty sure that is he baseline criteria for determining one’s classification as Homo sapiens. But, uhm, no one can love Vladimir Putin, right? What the hell is wrong with you, Poemless?! Moe Tkacik nails it in a divine piece:

Why The Media Hearts Oligarchs—So Much The Post Won’t Even Call Them “Oligarchs.”

Washington Post deputy editorial page editor Jackson Diehl wonders in an op-ed today why Barack Obama isn’t rallying more enthusiastically behind Mikhail Khodorkovsky, otherwise known as Russia’s “latest moral champion.” Is it “because he is an entrepreneur and not a poet” and everyone knows how Obama loathes commerce? Or is it, he wonders, simply because Obama is scared of Vladimir Putin and his big scary black lab?[…]

But guys like Khodorkovsky were not dubbed “oligarchs” because of their “entrepreneurship”; they earned that designation because they reaped the preponderance of their billions in a three-year window of in ways that were flagrantly and epically criminal but since all the billionaires were doing it (and billionaires tend to make their own laws anyway) most of them got off with a sort of uneasy amnesty. Khodorkovsky was an exception for a variety of reasons, this is a pretty good summary, but at the end of the day Putin seems to draw his authority directly from his ability to make them pay taxes and, as last week’s wide-eyed Times magazine piece on New Jersey Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov observed, keep them on their toes:

The oligarchs of Russia aren’t exactly paper tigers, but those who aren’t in jail or exile understand the precariousness of their position, the importance of keeping the favor of the Kremlin. Last February, Prokhorov was publicly criticized by Putin for neglecting to fulfill promised investments in an electricity-generating project in southern Russia. Prokhorov initially had the temerity to say the prime minister was misinformed, but then, on further review, conceded that yes, the prime minister, whom he first met in 1994 at a bank opening in St. Petersburg, where Putin was the deputy mayor, was correct. When Prokhorov was angling for the Nets, he got the Russian president, Dmitry Medvedev to mention his plans to President Barack Obama, as if U.S. politicians perforce had some say in how billionaires deployed their capital.

LOL folks, imagine that: a leader with some modicum of authority over the way billionaires spend their money…when for going on thirteen years now no elected official in America has managed to figure out a way to control the way they spend ours?!

But what if Obama did something about that last part, against all the sloppy conventional wisdom its serially-discredited promulgators keep chucking into the Post op-ed section? It’s hard to think it would make it any harder to advance the cause of democracy before the likes of foes from Vladimir Putin to John Boehner all the way to all the tireless David Broder disciples across town at the Washington Post.
[Emph. mine.]

Oh, I know, Russia’s cup runneth over with Serious Problems, and I should not be so smug about Real People Suffering. I am not. I am just saying, assuming you are living in a giant megalomaniacal country with lots of nukes and a history of social experimentation, would you rather your leader adore animals and kick skeezy millionaire ass … or not? That’s all. If America really is all that much better, I invite all Russia’s journalists to move here to the land of the free, where we will let them live and they can enjoy whatever the hell is left of a society that has had its anima and animus systematically removed. The invitation remains open.

And thus ends the most recent installment of poemless’s VovaMania. For those of you who stubbornly refuse to come to your senses and join my cult, I present what has to be the finest piece of literature produced in the 21st century: Revelation 13: Is the Antichrist Russian President Putin? BRILLIANT! Seriously, I promise you will never have more fun reading anything. Ever.

Except for this blog, of course.


  1. […] does a new “VovaMania!” post on PM Vladimir Putin, while The Power Vertical highlights Sergey Shelin's article on Gazeta.ru […]

    Pingback by Official Russia | Russia: Putin and “The Brezhnev Factor” — November 18, 2010 @ 1:03 AM | Reply

  2. I never realized how little hair Putin has on top. I mostly look at pictures of him that you have pointed to … and really, for the first time, it’s his thinning hair I notice. I liked the photo of him with dolphins. How bad can you be if the dolphins seem to like you?

    Comment by Melissa — November 20, 2010 @ 4:47 PM | Reply

    • He’s had this godawful comb-over forever. I’ll be glad when it is all gone and he stopps doing that. Though, I hope he doesn’t follow in the footsteps of his BFF Berlusconi and get a transplant/scalp dye job. Shudder…

      Comment by poemless — November 22, 2010 @ 11:23 AM | Reply

  3. […] Putin got a Puppy!  Cue the Return of Vovomania! […]

    Pingback by Official Russia | Weekly Russia Blog Roundup, 20 November 2010 — November 21, 2010 @ 1:02 AM | Reply

  4. It’s true that animals are a better judge of people than people are, but the key for me is that he governs in the interests of people. Compare Putin, who raised social spending in the crisis, with all the Western “leaders” who handed out trillion$ to Bankster$ while inflicting austerity on their people.

    I’d vote him US president in a heartbeat.

    Comment by rkka — November 21, 2010 @ 8:27 PM | Reply

    • Tochno…

      Comment by poemless — November 22, 2010 @ 11:26 AM | Reply

    • Yes. But Putin also whacked up the tax on the import of Japanese cars in order to help his multi-millionaire mate sell his own inferior cars more easily. Handing out a few roubles in social spending is never going to come close to offsetting the degree to which ordinary Russians are made an awful lot poorer by idiotic protectionism.

      Comment by Tim Newman — November 24, 2010 @ 11:05 AM | Reply

      • Tim, is it correct to assume you are pretty ok with the “free market?” 🙂 I guess part of me feels that suppressing imports to help boost local industry is perfectly acceptable. I mean, I don’t really care where people get their cars (or if they have cars at all), and no, it is just no fair when politicians use their position to benefit their allies (though when Joe Blow down the block gets a job through a friend of his dad it’s the great fucking American Dream…) But I guess I have no red flags when it comes to “protectionism” if protectionism means creating jobs, learning how to make your own stuff, creating some kind of sustainable industry, making people less dependent on importing everything and having greater control over the distribution of wealth. I realize many people feel this is “unfair” because it interferes with competition and people’s right to buy whatever the hell they want. Well, not only are other forces screwing up the playing field and manipulating prices, but I am not convinced competition=great quality (when competition seems to require a modicum of planned obsolescence), nor am I convinced people have a god given right to buy whatever they want. So frankly, I don’t care. But I am not an economist.

        However, are Russians really poorer today than they were in say, 1995? FWIW, I think most of the world is feeling a bit poorer than they were in, say, 2006. I am just wondering if the policies put in place between 2000 and 2008 have actually had a net negative impact on the average Russian citizen’s standard of living.)

        Comment by poemless — November 24, 2010 @ 11:31 AM | Reply

        • Yes it is correct to say I’m a free marketeer. I don’t care where people get their cars from either, but if you have to pay 100% taxes to import a decent car in order to keep people employed in a factory at home, then you are effectively taxing many to pay for a few to keep their jobs. Which is good if you are one of those few who works in the factory, but not so good if you are an ordinary worker who needs a reliable car and now finds the price has doubled (this very thing happens to almost every Russian I knew in Sakhalin). And telling somebody they have to work twice as long to by a car so somebody else can keep his job making an inferior product doesn’t make much sense to me.

          I’m also not sure what you have against imports, it is the imports which make a country wealthy, the exports are just the stuff you have to do to pay for them.

          Well, not only are other forces screwing up the playing field and manipulating prices, but I am not convinced competition=great quality

          Have you ever lived somewhere where monopolies dominate, and there is no effective competition across whole swathes of the local economy? Most people who rail against competition haven’t, whereas I have in several places and it is a nightmare.

          However, are Russians really poorer today than they were in say, 1995?

          Russians are of course better off than they have ever been. But they could have been far better off. I’ve never thought Russia would not get wealthier, but I think it will fall miles short of its potential on almost every measure.

          Comment by Tim Newman — November 24, 2010 @ 1:22 PM | Reply

      • Good. Cars should be abolished entirely, planet-destroying metallic boxes on wheels shielding their occupants from real life that they are.

        Comment by Sublime Oblivion — November 27, 2010 @ 3:09 PM | Reply

  5. I haven’t been here for a while, but I think this is a really interesting thread. It’s exactly what I’ve been thinking about. My plan: Putin should come here and be the strongman that gets control over the outflow of national treasure to private pockets in parts overseas and unknown. I’m a simpleton on economics but here’s my “putin’s rule” summary: bad oligarchs = those moving the money offshore (berezovsky) and good oligarchs (Roman) were about keeping it circulating within Russia. From Goldman Sachs & CITI, to KKR & Haliburton, to Intel and IBM they are all ‘bad oligarchs’. Our congress and senators are no better than the bought, packaged and pickled Yeltsin–sadly Obama too. If we have to have an over-class, I want a Putin to apply the Putin rule and stop the money from flowing out-of-the-country. Just recently, look what the Russian people have received from the ‘Putin Rule” : Roman bought Chelsea, but internal soccer improved too and Russia just got the world cup. And how about the new art museum in Peter’s? – Russians are going to enjoy Roman’s spoils. We don’t have a Putin. So maybe we just need Putin. – and Arnold Schwartz should go run Moscow and be the spark that gets their ‘green’ going. I’d let Medvedev keep his job.

    Comment by tess — December 8, 2010 @ 8:50 PM | Reply

    • I would totally support trading Arnold for Vova! I’m seriously contemplating kidnapping him and making him run this train wreck of a country I’m living in anyway. I mean, Russia is already running our uranium mines. May as well give them the keys to the oval office, right?

      And…. now I’ll never be able to travel again.

      Just a joke, DHS, just a joke… ahem.

      Comment by poemless — December 10, 2010 @ 6:43 PM | Reply

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