Get the latest updates as we post them right on your browser

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

State Duma Drubbing Hits Putin's Pocketbook

To Our Readers

Has something you've read here startled you? Are you angry, excited, puzzled or pleased? Do you have ideas to improve our coverage?
Then please write to us.
All we ask is that you include your full name, the name of the city from which you are writing and a contact telephone number in case we need to get in touch.
We look forward to hearing from you.

Email the Opinion Page Editor

One day Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin was sitting in his Kremlin office watching a State Duma session on closed-circuit television. Two deputies were engaged in a heated discussion, Deputy Speaker Vladimir Volfovich Zhirinovsky and Deputy Andrei Nikolayevich Savelyev. "What's your problem?" asked Andrei Nikolayevich. "You didn't get upset about the election results in Voronezh."

"Bite me," Vladimir Volfovich shot back.

Vladimir Vladimirovich turned up the volume and called the deputy head of his administration, Vladislav Yuryevich Surkov. "Hey, pal," Vladimir Vladimirovich said. "I've got three times the minimum monthly wage on the deputy speaker."

"You got it," said Vladislav Yuryevich.

"Sock it to him," Vladimir Vladimirovich mumbled. Suddenly Andrei Nikolayevich rose from his chair and punched Vladimir Volfovich in the face. "Yes!" exclaimed Vladislav Yuryevich.

Vladimir Vladimirovich pursed his presidential lips in disappointment. Suddenly Andrei Nikolayevich broke left, running from chair to chair and making for the exit. "Hey, referee! He's giving up!" shouted Vladimir Vladimirovich. Vladimir Volfovich caught up with Andrei Nikolayevich but lost his footing and fell on the floor. Andrei Nikolayevich fell on top of him and raised his fist.

The android Boris Gryzlov, speaker of the Duma, droned: "Deputies, gentlemen: Cease and desist!"

Andrei Nikolayevich raised his fist once more. People rushed in from all sides. "Mine won," said Vladislav Yuryevich.

"You probably programmed them to do that," grumbled Vladimir Vladimirovich . "That's cheating."

"You're the one who chose Zhirinovsky! Don't blame me," said Vladislav Yuryevich.

"You're running the whole show by remote control," Vladimir Vladimirovich said.

"Give me a break, pal," Vladislav Yuryevich said.

"Alright. I owe you," Vladimir Vladimirovich said. He hung up and called Gryzlov. "Look, pal," Vladimir Vladimirovich said. "Surkov won again. You'd better do something. Talk to Zhirinovky and tell him he's got to get in shape or something!" He hung up.

"They spend all their time in the sauna, and when it comes to defending the president's honor, they're completely useless," Vladimir Vladimirovich mumbled to himself. Then he sighed and pulled the presidential wallet out of his pocket.

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