To celebrate, I did my hair today and Moskovsky Komsomolets tracked down some of Vova’s old friends from the dvor (the yard) — Baskov pereulok, #12, in St. Petersburg — where the premier’s formative years were, well, formed. Also, they felt like rubbing the already shiny nose on the cult of personality another time for good luck.
Some memorable details from this rough-and-tumble cult of personality youth:
- Vova lived in a communal apartment with his parents but without hot water or a bathroom. The house had been heavily bombed during WW II.
- He was always obsessed with being a secret service agent, making his friends go on bare-bones camping trips to the forest.
- The dvor was rough and full of ruffians, some of whom did not live there. “The dvor existed according to the law of the wolves,” on old friend recalled. “The older boys lorded it over the younger ones. We lived like in a war zone: there were godfathers and their servants. Discipline was extremely strict… Putin was one of the younger boys and he didn’t like this state of affairs.”
- He was bullied. Once, his dad, Vladimir Spiridonovich Putin, went and kicked the ass of the kid who roughed up his son. Then he came home and yelled at Vova to figure it out himself next time.
- One of the boys who beat little Vova most frequently was Konstantin Kosyrev. As soon as Vova came to rule Russia, Konstantin used to rue the times he pummeled the boy “for nothing.” But then he died without ever getting apologize to Putin, or the rest of us.
- In 1961, when people started chucking out portraits of Stalin in the heady days of the Khrushchev thaw, Putin and a buddy discovered one in the dumpster. He took it home and hung it up on his wall.
I’d go on, but the man just contains too many multitudes, all of them banal.