Hero journalist Yulia Latynina, writing in the Moscow Times:
I was recently invited by the Russia.ru web site to discuss what the Kremlin needs to do to overcome the economic crisis. As it turns out, the answer is for Russia to unite with Ukraine.
The person responsible for this ingenious idea is Anatoly Vasserman, the eccentric television wonk and host of intellectual game shows. His reasoning is grounded in economics: Russia’s manufacturing sector will not develop until it has a solid, reliable customer base of at least 200 million people. Once Moscow unites with Kiev, demand will reach critical mass, and Russia’s manufacturing sector will skyrocket.
You might remember the joke about the workers at a collective farm who met to discuss how to fix the cowshed. The chairman stood and told them: “There are two ways to repair the dilapidated cowshed — one is realistic, and the other is completely far-fetched. The realistic way is if a space alien were to fly down here and fix the thing. The far-fetched way is if we were to try to repair it ourselves.”
I never imagined that 20 years after the end of the Soviet Union’s 70-year experiment in creating communism, I would be seriously discussing the realistic way of fixing the cowshed.
On the way home from the interview, I remembered another way to miraculously fix the cowshed. Russia has huge plans to build 1,000 ships over the next 20 years, and the only thing it needs to accomplish that goal is — you guessed it — to unite all the ship manufacturers and create one huge industry champion.
Once this happens, the Kremlin is convinced that the company will be inundated with new buyers from all over the world eager to build and repair ships.
I can’t help but mention another brilliant suggestion for coping with the crisis that Emergency Situations Minister Sergei Shoigu came up with three weeks ago. He wanted to introduce legislation that would make denying the Soviet Union’s victory in World War II a criminal offense.
Shoigu dropped this idea right after the Kremlin celebrated Defender of the Fatherland Day on Feb. 23. Every year since 1919, the Kremlin has invited 1,000 top military personnel to join the festivities. But this year, they were not invited because President Dmitry Medvedev was advised that bringing so many disgruntled army officers into the Kremlin would not be a wise idea.
Instead of drinking champaign and munching on hors d’oeuvres in one of the Kremlin’s ornate halls, submarine officers staged a demonstration in Murmansk. And believe me, the Kremlin treats a protest of military officers a lot more seriously than it does a bunch of disgruntled car owners in Vladivostok protesting higher duties on imported automobiles.
And so on the day after both the Murmansk protest and the festive Kremlin gathering that should have taken place, Shoigu spoke before a group of veterans at the Borodinskaya Panorama Museum. He denounced all those scumbags who dare suggest that Hitler won World War II.
As you can see, Russia’s best minds are being used to fight the crisis, and we have already heard a number of brilliant ideas from them. First, unite with Ukraine. Second, create a singular, huge ship-building corporation. Third, defeat the fascists — and I don’t mean those who killed lawyer Stanislav Markelov and journalist Anastasia Baburova two steps from the Kremlin in January. I mean the malicious imaginary fascists who claim that Hitler won World War II.
Apparently, these are the only ways the Kremlin knows how to fight the crisis.