This Saturday found Vladimir Putin in Sevastopol, a city made famous by Tolstoy and the fact that this Ukrainian Black Sea port has a large Russian population that once spoke openly of seceding.
The press has mentioned this historic visit because, at a press conference there, Putin confirmed that he had, in fact, met with the 10 Russian spies deported from the U.S., and even sang patriotic songs with them. (The cause of their downfall, the premier said, was “treachery” and, as we know, “traitors always end badly…either from drinking, or drugs” they end up, he said, “in the gutter.” He also sympathized with how hard spying is: “Just imagine: you have to acquire the fluency of a native. You have to think in [the language], speak in it, and do that which has been assigned in the interests of your homeland.” He added that the 10 Illegals will have “bright futures” in Russia and will work in high-level positions.)
Anyway. The visit, I would argue, was important in the world-historical sense for a different reason: Putin attended an international biker convention.
He rode in like a conquering knight on a three-wheeler Harley Davidson, dressed in black and sporting black gloves. The Russian Prime Minister tore up the chalky dust before taking the stage and expounding on why he loves bikes. You guessed it. FREEDOM.
“The important thing,” he said, “is that the bike gives its owner a sweet feeling of freedom. And that’s why we can say, without any exaggeration, without any tenousness, straightly and bravely, that the bike is a symbol of freedom.”
Opposition leaders, I hope you were listening: bikes.