David Calling

The David Pryce-Jones blog.

Putin the He-man


At this time of year Vladimir Putin likes to play the he-man. Usually he has himself photographed, stripped to the waist to show off his pectorals. Sometimes he poses as a sportsman with his rifle — at least he appears to be generally in a wood. Now he has been at a summer camp engaged in arm-wrestling with abashed teenagers, and bending something that looked like metal or reinforced plastic as though he were thestrong man in a circus act. As if this wasn’t preposterous enough, he had a comment to make on the debt-ceiling crisis in Washington. America, he said, is “acting as a parasite.” In the KGB-Stalinist vocabulary of abuse, “parasite” is a much-loved term, applicable to capitalists, Jews, dissidents, and those generally opposed to Communism. The term encapsulates a lifetime’s indoctrination. Just imagine Cadet Putin learning how to think in the compulsory Marxist-Leninist mode andpassing the lesson on now he is the Kremlin boss. A well-known psychological development is to accuse others of the misdeeds you yourself are committing. According to reports, Putin enjoys something like eight palaces, one on the Black Sea built to his specification for housing art collections that he has somehow acquired, and a fortune in the order of forty billion dollars. Which of the classic Soviet labels fits him better, proletarian or parasite?


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