It’s been a great week for Russian politics, or for what passes for politics in Russia. The “election” season has started, which means lots of meaningless bullshit from all parties involved. Here’s a round-up:
First, we had President Medvedev convening a forum on how to root out the evils of xenophobia in Russia. The speaker of the Duma, Boris Gryzlov, of course added his two cents, and what shiny pennies they were. “We Russians want to live in friendship with others,” he said, adding that “this feature is not inherent to other nationalities.”
That same day, A Just Russia, the party organized by the Kremlin to be a faux opposition party but has since become lord knows what, decided to change its flag and find a new political mascot. They were looking for something to convey strength, honor, dignity. They wanted, according to a source cited in Kommersant, “some kind of animal — something powerful, noble, beautiful, politically correct.” The politically-correct animal they ended up settling for was the Ussuri tiger. How was its politesse made manifest? “The key is that the tiger is more powerful than the bear” — United Russia’s symbol — “people are scared of it.”
Moving right along, we come back to Gryzlov, the #2 in United Russia. The man has clearly hired a young marketing strategist who told him the party needs to rebrand, too, with something more positive, perhaps, than a bear. Coming fresh off the “we’re friendlier than all y’all” success, Gryzlov announced his version of the “Yes, we can!” slogan: “First in everything.” Rolls off the tongue and accurate.
And today we have the last and best installment — of good old fashioned mudslinging. United Russia Duma deputy Vladimir Medinsky took a stance on a real bread-and-butter issue: getting Lenin out of his damn tomb. “Lenin is an extremely controversial political figure, and his presence as a central figure housed in a necropolis in the heart of country is highly absurd,” Medinsky said, adding that the mausoleum was “an absurdist, pagan, necrophilic mission on Red Square.” “It’s satanism,” Medinsky added, for fear, perhaps, that his subtlety would be lost on the electorate.
It’s on, people. It is on.