Ер доттерс вер райт

On Thursday night, Russia won its bid to host the 2018 World Cup and Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko delivered a rousing oration that came, by all appearances, from his nethercardiac region. By Monday morning, the YouTube clip of said soliloquy had been viewed over 600,000 times.

The Internet sensation was such that Sovetsky Sport, a Russian sports periodical, decided to investigate with a hard-hitting interview with the Minister, “Olde 97 Breakfasts” himself.

Highlights include and are limited to:

Vitaly Leont’evich, first of all, bravo. It was very impressive! I don’t even know what language to interview in…

No, seriously keep reading.

V97M: 2018 is still a long way away.

Mutko promises to learn English by then. Unclear why.

Anyway, sorry, keep reading:

Admit it, did it take you a long time to prepare the speech?

V97M: Two weeks, probably. In the mornings and evenings, it was a required part of the program. Plus, I even read it to my wife, daughters, driver. My phone had an audio recording of it; I listened when I had a free moment. Then we had rehearsals. I think I know it by heart now! If you wake me up in the middle of the night, I’ll recite it: “Диа президент Блаттер… Екзекьютив комити…” [Dear President Blatter, Executive Committee]

What was the reaction of the people around you?

My wife supported me as much as she could. My daughters were cracking up. My driver? My driver was fine about it. He’s seen worse. …

Are you embarrassed by how your performance looks from the side?

I warned everyone right at the start, that I don’t have a Harvard accent. On the stage, I tried not to think about the fact that millions of people are looking at me. That was the most important thing, to ignore the live broadcast, and speak just for those who were sitting right in front of me…to really [speak] “фром май харт” [from my heart].

The most important question: what letters was your speech written in, English or Russian?

I already saw a sheet of paper on the Internet that allegedly had my speech on it… I repeat: it’s fake! On my sheet of paper, I had three options: English, Russian, and English words in Russian letters. I read in English. I don’t really have problems with reading [English] — I’ve already read many documents. As for the pronounciation, everyone’s life comes together differently. I was born in a rural area — what English was there to speak of? None. And then I didn’t have time to learn it.

That actually is a fair point, though I wonder if it also explains Mutko’s mind-boggling corruption. In rural areas, did you take extra breakfast into the field with you?

via Sovetsky Sport

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From the bottom of everyone and their mother’s heart

It’s where all the thank you’s to FIFA are coming from. The best is, of course, Vladimir Putin’s, especially the part where he talks about soccer promoting fair play.

The Cup, by the way, is, by some estimates, projected to cost $50 billion. $50 billion, people! I know what you’re all going to say, my apologist commenters, but that is a bonkers amount of money.

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Let the games begin

Today, Russia won its bid to host the 2018 World Cup. Since Putin, miffed over allegations of that FIFA was selling votes, declined to attend the ceremony at FIFA headquarters in Zurich, Sports Minister Vitaly “97 breakfasts” Mutko spoke of Russia’s gratitude. Probably, the megaubersuperduper corrupt Minister spoke of his own gratitude, too — think of the kickbacks! —  from his heart, and, quite likely, a piece of paper with English transliterated into Cyrillic.

Watch and learn:

h/t Ilya Krasilshchik

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Resurfacing

While the rest of the world was hyperventilating about Wikileaks, pummeled journalist Oleg Kashin published his first story after his beating three weeks ago.

In the article, called “Gagarin and I” (Gagarin holds a special place in Kashin’s heart), Kashin describes his time in the hospital — feeding tubes, flirting with nurses. He acts like the Kashin we know from his stories: He figures out who the snitch is feeding string to tabloid LifeNews (one of the doctors, who’s lining his pockets with reports of Kashin’s heroic words that he never utters); he is counterintuitive and wry (he asks for a pen — to scratch his arm under the cast).

He also mentions the young journalism students who have taken up his cause, students he mentions again in the far more striking television interview with TV legend Parfyonov. Kashin, who says he doesn’t know with any degree of certainty who did this to him, says he just wants to go back to working instead of becoming a figure, a move he thinks would be a betrayal to those students and all those whose strong reactions helped him get the best medical care possible. The question now, he says lisping through some missing teeth, is how to spend that “symbolic capital,” a question that he says, “stresses me out.”

See below. (In Russian.)

h/t Sean Guillory

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Who got Chuck Norris?

Making up for lost time today, folks.

Today, Russia’s Trust Bank (est. 1995) announced that its new spokesman is none other than Bruce Willis. “The decision to pick Bruce Willis was not accidental,” said a bank spokesman, saying that the bank did exhaustive marketing research and held many a focus group. “Bruce Willis’s image is one of a trustworthy and dependable person.” Thus the bank’s new slogan: “Trust is like me, except it’s a bank!”

via Kommersant

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Ceasefire plan

If nothing else works to calm the North Koreans the fuck down, a reprise of this should. Provided Kim Jong Il is still alive, of course.

Watch for the ponies!

hat tip to Miriam Elder

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Sponsors, sponsors everywhere

Today, Vedomosti published a list, obtained from the Russian Department of Labor, of foreigners working in Moscow and grossing over 1 million rubles ($32,000) a month. (This follows new mayor Sergei Sobyanin ordering the publication of which “specialists” had been invited to work in Moscow for 2011.)

Obviously, this list is full of loaded expat journalists and oil executives. One interesting entry: a general director for Walmart Ru, who would gross 1,083,333 rubles a month. Walmart has long been mulling an entry into the Russian market. And mulling and mulling. Perhaps a sign of what’s to come next year?

More importantly, however, the list gives the company, position, and estimated monthly salary of the incoming expat. This list also provides valuable information to another group of specialists who have come to Moscow seeking success: ladies. Names may not be listed, but given that happiness, a foreign passport, and a lifetime supply of Bergdorf are at stake, I’m sure this poses no real hurdle.

Let the games begin.

via Vedomosti

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