I’ve been thinking as of late about a head of government who, having risen to power on an immense cult of personality and the back of a supine and adoring media, has been the focus of media attention as of late.
The man I’m talking about is Vladimir Putin. A man who is so adored that hot Russian pop stars write songs like this:
If this translation site is to be believed, the song has lyrics like this:
My boyfriend is in trouble once again:
Got in a fight, got drunk on something nasty
I’ve had enough and I chased him away
And now I want a man like Putin.
Now, I have no problems with pop stars writing totally inane songs, I mean, I can even tolerate numa numa, but this is a little much. And with this latest kerfuffle over natural gas in the Ukraine, I find myself more and more worried about Russia’s increasingly erratic behavior. Not that the Ukraine is in great shape — the fighting between Orange Revolution partners Yulia Tymoshenko and Viktor Yushchenko would be funny if it weren’t so tragic.
The lack of, well, European
Union unity in dealing with Russia is worrisome. One one hand you have the Poles who lead a bunch of Eastern European nations who are terrified of a resurgent Russia. While more likely to measure their words, there is no love lost between the United Kingdom and Russia these days, you know, after the 2006 assassination of Alexander Litvinenko who has living in the UK at the time. Germany and Italy, on the other hand, lead the appeasement camp. Silvio Berlusconi‘s love of Russia’s crony capitalism isn’t that surprising — the man would love to become Italy’s own Putin if it were possible. Angela Merkel’s timidity is a bit more surprising, but given that’s she’s in a Grand Coalition with her SPD opponents, she’s got her hands tied. As for France, well, Sarkozy is Sarkozy. Who knows exactly what Europe’s most mercurial leader will be up to?
Back to our first rock star, Barack… this is a tough world he’s stepping into and Putin seriously pulled the wool over Bush’s eyes. Let’s hope our green president-elect learns from history. If the most powerful voice that can be raised against Putin is Gordon Brown’s, then we may well be moving into a world where the paranoid Poles were right all along.