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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Basayev's Fate Rests on Tip of a Needle

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One day, Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin was sitting in his Kremlin office issuing urgent orders over the telephone. "Anyone who doesn't surrender should be eliminated on the spot!" Vladimir Vladimirovich barked into the phone. "Seal off the city with a tightly controlled cordon! Do it!" Vladimir Vladimirovich slammed down the phone.

At that very moment, the tall doors of the presidential office swung open and the deputy head of the presidential administration, Vladislav Yuryevich Surkov, entered in a hurry.

"Hey, pal," Vladislav Yuryeivich said anxiously. "They killed Basayev again."

"You're kidding me!" Vladimir Vladimirovich exclaimed. He jumped out of his presidential armchair, rushed over to the wall and opened a small door. Vladimir Vladimirovich ran his hand along the inside of the door frame until he felt the light switch, flipped it and stepped into a small room bathed in an uneven yellow light. Vladislav Yuryevich hurried after him.

Once inside, Vladimir Vladimirovich walked over to an antique sideboard and opened its creaky glass doors. He pushed to one side the arm of warlord Ruslan Gelayev lying on the second shelf and pulled out a large, wooden box.

Vladimir Vladimirovich knelt down, placed the box on the cold, stone floor and lifted the lid. Vladislav Yuryevich knelt down beside him.

Inside the box, resting in special, oval depressions, lay two gorgeous, platinum eggs decorated with golden, double-headed eagles. Vladimir Vladimirovich gingerly picked up the egg on the right and ever so carefully removed its top half.

Inside the egg nestled a green velvet cushion with a golden needle sticking in it. Vladimir Vladimirovich and Vladislav Yuryevich held their breath. Vladimir Vladimirovich slowly removed the needle from the cushion. "It seems to be intact," Vladimir Vladimirovich said in a whisper.

"So the reports of Basayev's death have been greatly exaggerated?" Vladislav Yuryevich asked.

"Yes, they have," Vladimir Vladimirovich said with relief. "Everything's right where it should be."

"Ok, then," Vladislav Yuryevich said, rising from his knees. "I'll go call the news agencies and tell them to run a retraction."

"You do that," Vladimir Vladimirovich said as he carefully inserted the needle into the cushion and placed the cushion back in the egg.

Vladislav Yuryevich went into the main office. Vladimir Vladimirovich set the egg back in its special oval depression in the bottom of the box.

Maxim Kononenko is an online satirist and commentator on NTV's "Realnaya Politika" program, hosted by Kremlin-connected political consultant Gleb Pavlovsky.