Ode to Putin

Blogger Susan Katz Keating offers an ode to Putin:

My favorite international strongman, Vladimir (“I’m in charge here”) Putin, is surely a man of great spirit. I detect in him not just an inner Soviet, but also a Tsarist dreamer, who whiles away his idle hours crafting great visions of renewed empire. What, oh what, could Vlady have in mind now? Perhaps music, in the tradition of Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky or others from the Great Five Russian nationalist composers? In fact, I believe I hear the distant strains of a work in progress: Voyage From Murmansk, in which orchestral tribute is paid to the Russian warships now sailing for Venezuela, accompanied by antisubmarine planes and nuclear subs loaded with live weapons.

Wait a minute. Russia has dispatched nukes and warships to visit Hugo Chavez’ Venezuela? Yes. That is correct. And this 15,000 mile seagoing escapade will include a detour cruise through the Gibralter Strait and past the bows of U.S. Navy ships stationed in the Med. Flaunting the mil-might, apparently, is one of those things the Russians do these days. As is taunting. Why, just this weekend, Russia loaned some recently captured U.S. jeeps and Georgian tanks to South Ossetia to display during a chest-thumping independence parade. But I digress.

How will Vlady arrange his new score? Maybe he’ll begin with a stirring, string-based militaristic theme, to represent the ships exiting Russian waters with grand purpose. He’ll segue into adventure-based cadences, both light and dark, as the convoy makes its way toward distant port; and then conclude with – what? – a zippy Latin dance number that will be subsumed by the opening theme? Not that I would know. I’m not a composer, and my creativity is no match for that of Vladimir the Great. But I cannot help but think of the dissipation and debauchery of, for example, Mussorgsky – who, unlike Putin, had no weapons at his disposal.

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