Adrienne BoettingerFriday,4 January 2013

The Snap:

Vladimir Putin’s hijinks have me and probably most of Russia longing for the Cold War. No longer content with being an egomaniacal authoritarian, Pootie-Poot has gone too far. I’m not even talking about his placing retaliation for being labeled a human rights violator by Washington above the welfare of Russian orphans. What could be more heinous than that? Prepare yourselves, for Vladimir has granted Gerard Depardieu Russian citizenship so the Frenchie can avoid paying taxes.

The Download:

Maybe it was the piercing blue eyes or the rugged machismo that drew George W. Bush into Putin’s spell to the point where the 43rd President of the United States referred to the Russian as “Pootie-Poot.” Perhaps, the President chose a cutesier fart-related nickname for the sociopathic Russian leader rather than calling him a “shitty sadistic sultan of douchebaggery.” Whatever the cause, someone needs to get Vladimir off the world’s stage before he unleashes a nuclear weapon to prove his penis is larger than anyone else’s.

Most of the time I’m content to revel in the hilarious insanity that Putin perpetrates but something has changed. Gone are the days he’d spend hours darting whales, leading birds in migration, helping scientists tranquilize tigers, challenging Russian citizens to judo matches, arm-wrestling, bending a frying pan with his bare hands, shooting things bare-chested, riding horses bare-chested, and fishing bare-chested. Seriously, freakshow, Russia is cold. Put on a damn shirt.

Even his attempt to assuage my fears of an apocalypse in December by saying he knew when the world would end and it wasn’t 2012 can’t make up for his open-arm policy to Gerard Depardieu while giving the cold shoulder to Americans looking to adopt neglected and abandoned Russian children.

We’ve known for years that Putin squashes domestic dissent like the U.S. Congress squashes attempts to actually get anything done. If it’s not limiting Russian citizens’ right to protest, he’s controlling elections, imprisoning one of the best named bands ever (aka Pussy Riot) in a freaking penal colony, or overturning pretty much everything his predecessor did.

He even tries to vaporize protestors in other countries like Syria where his backing of Assad has played a role in prolonging this conflict now approaching its second year and racking up death toll of around 60,000. And now he’s decided to coerce Russian leaders into signing legislation banning U.S. citizens from adopting Russian children as payback for a new law that threatens to punish Russians committing human rights abuses.

The trouble with Putin is that he does seem so entertainingly batshit crazy that the horrific acts he perpetrates not only go unpunished but are largely ignored. The Cold War may well be over but that is cold comfort when you’re left with an authoritarian hell-bent on holding power over every living thing in Russia and who has access to actual weapons of mass destruction. Plus, if he needs to be bare-chested, at least do a few sit-ups. Sheesh.

Hat Tips:

LA Times, Guardian, The Atlantic, NY Times, CNN, Wall Street Journal, Image Credit: Flickr

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