Putin Test: Vladimir Savich
by Russell Bennetts
1. Does Putin read Poetry magazine?
I can say with certainty that Mr Putin doesn’t read any poetry magazines. Furthermore, he doesn’t even read poetry, which is naturally included in the school curriculum. Russian poetry calls for humaneness, respect and love. Instead of this, Mr Putin brings war and impoverishment to the already poor people of Russia.
I’m sure that Mr Putin prefers comics from the West. Although publicly he declares that he doesn’t like Western culture. I think Mr Putin spends every evening reading new comics before a good sleep. Then, in the morning, he comes into his Kremlin office imagining himself as a combination of Superman, Spiderman and the Terminator. As a superhero, Mr Putin is ready to defeat and conquer the whole world! But Mr Putin doesn’t know, because he doesn’t read poetry, that the bad characters will always be punished.
Sometimes I think that Mr Putin doesn’t really exist and that Russia is ruled by a super zombie created in the secret laboratories of the KGB.
2. What does Putin feed his dog?
Almost every day, Mr Putin (also known as Mr Huylo) appears on the TV. He is athletic, muscular and smiling. He tells his fellow citizens of his victories. He curses gays, lesbians and the Western world. He prohibits French cheese, Polish apples, Norwegian salmon, Georgian wine and Ukrainian salo. He promises viewers an abundance of Russian products. He concludes his speech with his favourite phrase, Russia stands up from its knees!
Excited of speech, Mr Putin urges viewers to go to the shops, but there is no sign of the promised abundance. Mr Putin returns home and sits down to take lunch. Because he doesn’t have a wife and children, Mr Putin dines with his dog. For lunch they have French cheese, Polish apples, Norwegian salmon, Georgian wine, Ukrainian salo, Finnish cervelat and Swedish vodka (Absolut). After lunch, Mr Putin teaches his dog (like The Hound of the Baskervilles) to attack Western leaders. Once upon a time, his dog lashed out at German Chancellor Merkel. And despite this Moscow shops are still selling German sausages. Who will be next?
3. Who is the true Vladimir?
Man doesn’t choose his place of birth. But in the course of life, he can change something. For example, I changed my country (not exactly changed, but corrected the mistake of my fate) and my name. When I was born, my grandmother named me after her brother who died in World War II. My grandmother’s brother was called Vladimir. You ask why. It’s very simple. Russia, as we know it today, began with the baptising of Vladimir the Red Sun. Christianity (a most totalitarian and misanthropic branch of Christianity) in Kiev was spread by the sword and fire. People were tortured and expelled from their homes. For a thousand years, such persecution thrived in Russia.
One hundred years ago, there came to power in Russia a more precisely delivered German boxcar, another Vladimir. Ulyanov New Vladimir (Chairman of People’s Commissars) decided to break the old Russia and build in its place a city of the Sun, a new Garden of Eden. The idea is good, but Vladimir Lenin, as with his predecessor Vladimir Red Sun, began to build a Garden of Eden by dint of mass terror that lead right to the Gulag. Which was real hell.
Fifteen years ago, there appeared (by hidden delivery from St. Petersburg) in Moscow a new Vladimir. New Vladimir concluded that his predecessors were absolutely wrong. Vladimir Putin began to build a sovereign democracy. This was also a good idea, but he started to build his sovereign democracy in the same way as Vladimir Red Sun and Vladimir Lenin: fire, torture, expulsions, arrests and murder. That’s why I decided to change my name.
Today I prefer to call myself Vlad.
4. How do you feel about the Sea of Azov?
The Sea of Azov is a sea in South East Europe. It has been the scene of many great episodes in Russian military history. But more than this, in Taganrog, which is located on the Sea of Azov, on 29 January 1860 was born the greatest (in my view) Russian writer. In my writing, I would like to write exactly like Anton Chekhov. Certainly, many say that in appearance I strongly resemble the late Chekhov. Or maybe it’s that he looks like me? As my wife always says, “You are not threatened by dying of modesty.” She is always right.
However, I don’t worry about the past, I’m interested about the future Sea of Azov. When I was young and muscular, I played The Beatles on my guitar for all the pretty girls. For sure! I won’t die of modesty! Sorry about that. Also in my youth, the monster by the name of USSR had already died but still desperately clung on, a zombie. There were wild, terrible industrial projects. According to the Kremlin’s decrepit rulers these projects would save communism. One such project was the turning of the Siberian rivers.
The truth at the last moment was that the Soviet leaders understood all too well the implications for the environment of such projects. They began to build a railway which was called БAM (Baikal – Amur Mainline). Your obedient servant (the author of these lines) built this fucking way and now pays a lot of money to Canadian dentists to save my teeth. Many thanks to you my goddamned homeland, USSR. When Mr Putin spends his petrodollars he’s like the rulers of the USSR launching their crazy projects. One such project (KrymNash) will begin to drain the Sea of Azov. Citizens of the purulent West, protect the Sea of Azov! It appeals to you, it shouts to you:
Help, I need somebody,
Help, not just anybody,
Help, you know I need someone,
5. When Putin visits America what brand of vodka does he drink?
In the United States, Mr Putin doesn’t drink vodka, he drinks blood from the American establishment.
I’ll remind those who don’t know about vampires. A vampire is a mythical being who subsists by feeding on the life essence (generally in the form of blood) of living creatures. In folk tales, undead vampires often visited loved ones and caused mischief or deaths in the neighbourhoods they inhabited when they were alive. I want to remind the masters of the White House and Congress that when it comes to creatures who suck blood, it doesn’t make sense to talk.
To the door of a shelter in a large American town there drew up an old, rusty Honda Civic. The shelter was inhabited by gambles, slackers and abusive authority figures. In short, category gentlemen. Gentlemen who have a big sign on their forehead: LOSER. Such a gentleman exited the Civic and knocked on the door.
– Who are you, sir?
– I want to get asylum.
– Who persecutes you?
– Vampire rebels.
– Okay, you can stay with us.
– May I ask your name?
– Mrs Smith. I can offer you a small room. For the purposes of my safety, please don’t use my name.
– Okay. I accept this request, Mrs Smith.
Up to now nobody knows the new resident’s name. But many inhabitants of the shelter affirm that this new resident is none other than the president of a Russian gas station.
6. How does Putin feel about Yeltsin?
I don’t know how Mr Putin feels about the first president of Russia because the feelings of the eternal President of Russia changes with the planet’s climate. That’s all I can say on this question.
But recently I had a nightmare. Allegedly I was dead and I found myself wandering along tunnels of copper pipes filled with burning fire and icy water. Finally, I was standing in front of a Golden Gate. Two angels stood upon the gate, bringing to their lips huge trumpets. They played divine sounds resembling the music of Miles Davis. Soon after the gates opened and I saw comely greybeard.
I introduced myself.
Greybeard smiled and shook my hand. The palm of his hand was like that of a child’s rather than an old man’s. Soft, gentle, unwrinkled, without the pigmentation spots popularly known as butterfly’s cemetery.
– My grandfather’s name was Peter.
I fawned a smile in an attempt to win over this old man and get a good place in Paradise. I had walked into fairy-tale territory, but I didn’t make a further two steps before I was attacked by a strong man with an axe in his hands.
– Help! Help!
Peter perplexedly asked me
– What’s the matter, my friend?
I silently (like a fish thrown to shore) slapped my lips and pointed my finger towards the man with the axe in his hands.
Scratching his beard, yawning, Peter asked me
– What’s your name?
– That why. He attacks all Vladimirs.
Peter again yawned and crossed his mouth.
– Each Vladimir seems to him Vladimir Putin. In as much as he wants to do a reduction.
At this moment, I heard thundering, menacing chords and a hoarse voice sang
Smoke on the water…
And my dream melted like unexpectedly fallen May snow.
7. How do you feel about Colorado?
I told you that in Mexico I sunbathed in the company of men from Manchester. We listened to that song from the beginning of the ’60s.
I’m sick, fever, cough, no energy…
It’s the saddest thing.
About Vladimir Savich:
Vlad* Savich was born in the USSR, where he was educated, married and fathered his daughter. As soon as the chance appeared to leave, he did. At present he lives in Montreal, where he writes, directs for the theatre and breathes the air of freedom. He can be found online at savich.lit.com.ua.
*He prefers not to be called Vladimir, so as not to be associated with the disreputable activity of a certain barnardine Russian leader.