Saturday, April 19, 2008

Pay No Attention to the Man Behind the Curtain

Vladimir Putin, Former President of Russia (You, there. Quit smirking) may or may not be dumping his wife for a girl half his age. He says no, but yeah, right. Anyhow, the lady in question is a former rhythmic gymnast (you're smirking again), lovely to look at and possibly double-jointed. She is also a member of the Duma, the lower house of Russia's Parliament. And now you have my attention.

Here's why Putin's a freaking genius. While he was officially in charge he arranged for a bevy of fabulous babes to be elected to the Duma. They were even called "Putin's Babes," greeted enthusiastically by the media and, one presumes, their fellow legislators. Attention is paid to their every move, especially if the move involves exiting a car or dropping a pencil, and nobody notices what's actually going on. A classic piece of misdirection done on a grand scale. Very Russian. But back to him and the girl.

Women everywhere are all balled up over the whole trade-in-your-wife thing. Again, look at what's actually happening without getting caught up in an emotional reaction. Putin set up his buddy Medvedev as president. Friendship engenders a certain amount of loyalty, but Putin shouldn't rely that his friend will always follow his advice. A very young lady with little world experience and a taste for the glamorous life is... malleable. She is easily manipulated into being an instrument of Putin's will. And nobody will think to question her because she's so pretty, and pretty people can never be evil.

Putin's not quitting and he's not going anywhere. He is installing a shadow regime made up of people he can blackmail or threaten or dominate. And he's being very up-front about it. It's like he thinks no one will challenge him.