Presid– Prime Minister Vladimir Putin is an hour into his three-hour state of the nation address to the State Duma (the parliament). This was a tradition instituted, conveniently, when Putin became prime minister.
Today, Putin clearly has a bad, bad cold — at the very least. He is sick, people. He seems to be gripping the dias for support, and his voice sounds like it’s about to go at any moment. His folksy asides are weak and only vaguely sensical. And yet he keeps on keepin’ on, full of quiet strength and love of country.
The Duma, as usual, is a quiet lump of uncooked dough listening to instructions.
[UPDATE: The recession in Russia, Putin says, is over. "The economic crisis may not be over, but the recession, it's" -- gangster pout -- "that's it."]
[UPDATE: Wow. Putin really was sick. He cut the address short, by half!]