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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Restoring Confidence by Pressing the Button

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One day, Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin called the deputy head of his administration, Vladislav Yuryevich Surkov.

"Listen, pal," Vladimir Vladimirovich said. "What's this stuff Belkovsky's been saying about changing the Constitution?"

"We weren't planning on doing anything like that. But if Belkovsky says it, that means we'll have to change it," Vladislav Yuryevich replied. "He said we need a presidential republic. We need a weak president and a strong prime minister."

"Well, it's about time!" said Vladimir Vladimirovich. "Finally, the president gets to be weak! I can't keep working under these conditions! And of course we need a stronger prime minister. What's he good for, anyway? He just fiddles with the tops off of mineral water bottles, that's all! Now, if he would learn some judo ..."

"Pal," Vladislav Yuryevich said quietly. "I know you haven't heard about this yet, but Belkovsky's saying that you're going to be prime minister."

"Me? Why me?" Vladimir Vladimirovich cried in horror.

"That what Belkovsky says," Vladislav Yuryevich replied. "And think about it: If you don't do it, who will?"

Vladimir Vladimirovich put the receiver down on the table in exhaustion. A few manly tears rolled down his presidential cheeks.

One day, Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin called the deputy head of his administration, Vladislav Yuryevich Surkov. "Listen, pal," Vladislav Yuryevich said. "The vote of no confidence didn't pass."

"That's a shame!" said a disappointed Vladimir Vladimirovich.

"Why?" Vladislav Yuryevich asked in confusion.

"I'm totally bored." Vladimir Vladimirovich replied. "I wanted to see some democracy in action! The only action now is pressing the button that directs the androids. And I don't even get to press it; you do."

"I made things even simpler," said Vladislav Yuryevich. "I just turned them all off. We're saving electricity."

"You turned them off?" Vladimir Vladimirovich said in surprise. "You still got to press something!"

"Well, if you want, you can press the button," Vladislav Yuryevich mumbled. "I can?" asked Vladimir Vladimirovich excitedly.

"Sure, you can," replied Vladislav Yuryevich. "You're the president. You can do anything you want."

"I want one of those buttons!" replied Vladimir Vladimirovich.

"We'll do it right away," Vladislav Yuryevich answered and hung up.

"Welcome back, Mikhail Yefimovich," Vladimir Vladimirovich mumbled under his breath.

Maxim Kononenko's satirical vignettes are found on his web site,