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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Gravel -Voiced Gorilla With the Winning 'H'

I tend to shy away from making political predictions, and have done so ever since I got whupped in The Moscow Times office pool for the 1993 parliamentary elections (I went long on the Agrarian Party).

Mostly, whenever I'm thinking about how Alexander Lebed has all the political tools one needs to win a landslide election in this crazy place, I just bite my tongue.

However, as there appears to be a growing mass of pseudo-linguistic proof that the outspoken commander of the 14th Army in Moldova has a future in big-time Russian politics, I feel obliged to relay it in this space.

So here are three pseudo-linguistic reasons why Lebed is destined to sit in the Kremlin someday.

Reason Number One: Lebed has the southern "h."

In the four-plus decades since Stalin died, every second Kremlin ruler has pronounced the letter "G" like an "H," as they do in Ukraine and southern Russia.

You can look it up. Molotov fell to Khrushchev. Podgorny yielded to Brezhnev. Andropov was soon followed by Gorbachev.

President Boris Yeltsin has trouble making certain sounds, but "G" isn't one of them. Ergo, he will be followed by someone with the southern "h."

Of the potential replacements other than Lebed, only ersatz Communist Gennady Zyuganov and ersatz industrialist Arkady Volsky have a bona-fide, down-on-the-khutor' "h." But Zyuganov could only muster 12 percent on the vote in the last elections, while Volsky scored a whopping two percent. Advantage Lebed.

Reason Number Two: The Voice.

The first few times you hear Lebed's From-Beneath-Hell bass, you are shocked. I remember thinking, "Dave, that's about 2.3 hertz. Just about in the hearing range of a Tyrannosaurus Rex."

Then you kind of get used to it.

Face it, Russia has always suffered from an abundance of leaders whose squeaky voices undermine their claims to legitimate tough-guy tyranny. Take Lenin, for example, or Peter the Great. Lebed, on the other hand, has the most macho voice this side of Sonny Crockett. Advantage Lebed.

Reason Number Three: Lebed Doesn't Mind Comparing Himself to Frightening Animals.

A very, very, important quantity in a land desperately overflowing with politicians who take themselves too seriously. Not only does Lebed readily call himself gorilla-obrazny ("Gorilla-like") and compare himself to a scarecrow (pugalo), he does it all with the southern "h."

Potential voters actually tremble with anticipation of the cleansing strong-handed leader upon hearing Lebed's killer bass intone horilla-obrazny and puhalo. I've seen them do it. Advantage Lebed.