2020 Aug 23 - Validimir Putin's Deadly Hobbies

Newspapers and magazines are always saying how you need to keep active in your old age I guess if Vladimir Putin wasn’t a former KGB autocrat he might enjoy a Sudoku puzzle or helping out at the village hall. But as it is he’s in charge of Russia and so this week saw the country’s opposition leader fall ill under mysterious circumstances and in Belarus his friend President Lukashenko remained in power despite huge protests, safe in the knowledge that Vladimir has his back, by which I mean Vladimir has some of his enemies under constant surveillance. When it comes to Vladimir he really doesn't seem to have as much in common with other 67 year olds, although he can probably recommend a good BnB if you fancy visiting Salisbury. I thought I heard someone saying he enjoys a crossword, it's actually "cross words" - the type you have shouting down the phone at someone in Ukraine. Which is a shame because if he won one of those thesauruses for doing the Telegraph crossword, he could hollow out the pages and use it to store a handgun.

In the first of those Russia stories, the opposition leader Alexei Navalny had to flee to Germany after a being poisoned supposedly by a cup of tea. Obviously there are not a huge number of facts to go on at this stage, did Alexi for instance add the milk before or after the tea, did he add sugar, was the sugar bowl actually full of Ethylhexyl diphenyl phosphate? The 2006 Litvinenko killing also used a deadly cup of tea and it’s maybe a remnant from the communist days because there’s that old marxist joke about how proper tea is theft. Nonetheless, I’d like to know how you have to fill out a job aptitude test at school in order for it to recommend "Russian Opposition Leader" job as a line of work, given how dangerous it is. I mean I had one that asked me things like if enjoyed travelling but it never specified that the journey would involve being placed in a medically induced coma

Then as I said there’s also this nonsense in Belarus where President Lukashenko has been facing fierce protests after winning a recent election with 80% of the vote, enough for everyone to see that it was rigged, though strangely not as brazen as it could have been, like the 98% results that you often see. Perhaps the photocopier ran out of toner and it’s hard to buy any, what with sanctions. The one hilarious thing to come of this was when I put that story into google and the top result was an article from the Guardian about how the EU has decided to not recognise the election result, which implies that the EU ever recognises elections or referendum results for what they are. You look at their current negotiations with the UK where a red line for the EU seems to be continuing to own British fishing waters and getting the final say in UK tax changes, it all reminds be of Lord Nelson putting the telescope over his bad eye and saying “I see no ships” Just looking it and President Lukashenko has been in power since 1994 and that is a long time for anyone to remain in one job, perhaps he was inspired by that year’s big movie The Lion King. Another big film that year was Four Weddings and a Funeral. Or as it was released in Russia, “4 Funerals and another Funeral”
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