Tuesday, October 24, 2006
Russia's Putin - Meet the New Boss, Same as the Old Boss
Several hundred children from across the country took part in a “Children draw Putin” competition for his 54th birthday with the top 100 pictures going on display in the capital. What isn't being reported is that the competition was actually an assignment for schoolchildren. These were the following 'themes' they were encouraged to incorporate in their work.
'Putin with his black Labrador Kony, Putin on a fighter jet, Putin on a submarine,
Putin greets the launching of the rocket complex “Bulava.” ,Putin with the Patriarch Alexiy II, Putin with wife and children, Putin with Bush or any other foreign leader Putin as an intelligence officer, Putin wearing a kimono robe, Putin skiing, etc...
“I love Russia!” proclaimed one picture, with Putin shown releasing doves on a hillside. The president was also depicted in Judo garb with a black belt, fixing the engine of his car or holidaying in a Black Sea resort. Some took a more worldly line — with one showing the president, also sporting his black belt, fighting the four evils of crime, corruption, inflation and drug abuse, against a backdrop of the map of Russia.
All these images of the Great Leader call forth the obvious hagiography directed at Stalin or the endless murals of Saddam depicted as professor, soldier, devoted man of religion and builder or the portraiture of Kim Jong-Il in North Korea. Part of the revival of the USSR has been the attempt to transform Putin into a 'Great Leader' along the lines of past Soviet icons such as Lenin and Stalin.
Russia has rebuilt its economic empire by leveraging its gas and seizing private companies. It has used its arms industry to once again arm and fuel the Marxist regimes and Arab terrorist groups fighting America. From the Latin American coalition of Venezuela, Brazil, Cuba and soon Nicaragua with the election of Daniel Ortega and the USSR's old clients, the Sandanistas; to the Middle East where Russia supplied weapons to Saddam before the invasion, to Hizbullah whom it is rearming and training with the aid of two Chechen divisions now stationed there and Iran whose nuclear reactor Russia is building.
Back at home Russia is aggressively forcing its old republics back into its sphere and lashing out at those nationalities and Republics that don't comply as Georgia is finding out as Georgians are being deported in large numbers from Georgia in conditions meant for cattle that have already killed one person, homes and businesses seized and Georgian wine and products boycotted.
Other paintings by the children are more explicitly nationalistic and jingoistic. One shows Putin's giant fist punching George Bush in the face and another has Putin trampling the American flag while raising up the Russian flag.
This is part and parcel of Russia under Putin having gone back to the old days of inciting xenophobia aimed at America and England. America is portrayed in the Russia media and the Russian overseas media aimed at Russian immigrants much as it is in Iran. Putin's government cobbled up the absurd spy story which had English spies hiding secret transmitters in a rock in the park, the sort of nonsense that was a staple of the Soviet era. Today the Russian media continually plays up America as the enemy and Putin's government despite its assurances to American diplomats, particularly the useless Condoleeza Rice, acts that way.
The old boss is back.
But meanwhile I'm declaring a 'Draw Putin' contest for Sultan Knish blog readers. Submit your entry to Sultan Knish via email or in comments. First prize is display in the Gallery of Knish and a real Knish made out of Putin's dog. Second prize is the tail of the dog. Third prize is all of Russia.