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Archive for April, 2022|Monthly archive page

Dear Vladimir: WOOF’s Open Letter to Vladimir Putin

In "Owww--right in the breadbasket!" forum on April 21, 2022 at 9:30 pm

Dear Vladimir: Remember us? Maybe not. For reasons that continue to confound our understanding, we never seem to make the top-ten conservative blog list. But we know you secretly follow us on Twitter because whenever we tweet anything even lambently critical of you, we are swarmed by brigades of your pre-programmed bots unanimously denouncing us–of all people– as nothing better than scurrilous minions of the progressive Left.  Fanatically loyal, if only within pre-programmed limits, your cyber-spatial sycophants have even stooped to labeling us atheistic, crypto-liberal, paleo-Trotskyite, egalitarian scum, (which always strikes us as tautology, and also hurts our feelings.)

It isn’t as though we haven’t made efforts to like you, Vladimirovich.  Truth be told, back during your “Pooty-poot” phase, when you dressed like a cowpoke at the Crawford Ranch and “W” deluded himself into supposing he’d descried your soul, we too were hoping you’d turn out to be a regular guy. But you don’t get to be a bottle-cap colonel in the KGB by being a regular guy, do you! In our heart of hearts we knew that all along.

Here you appear to be showing President Bush some judo moves. Too bad he didn’t pay better attention!

Not that ordering the poisoning or shooting or bludgeoning of uncounted victims makes anyone a bad person. As conservatives, we go to great lengths to factor national traditions and societal habitudes into our evaluations.  Such analyses encompass various cultural preferences for the administration of violence. For example, we Americans–often to a fault–prefer shooting one another. The English display a rivaling tendency to stab each other, mostly with kitchen knives; but Russia exhibits an historic propensity for dispatching undesirable or inconvenient persons by sneaking  poisons onto their menus.

Of course many Americans, like Laura Bush, still prefer a good sock in the nose.

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn during a chill in his literary career.

True, death by firing squad, or, less ceremonially, by “collecting one’s nine grams,” (you’ve probably read Solzhenitsyn, right?) reached fever pitch in Stalin’s era, and will always have its place.  But here we must compliment you on your determination to reach into Russia’s storied past and revisit more traditional methods. Leaving aside the growing opinion that Stalin poisoned Lenin, poisons either killed or helped kill a significant succession of Russians, long before communism killed millions more.

Rasputin and the Romanovs–not a flattering portrait of any of them.

But previous Russian leaders were not as deliberate as you, Vladimir, and often as not, their efforts were embarrassingly botched.  Rasputin, whose poisoning was almost impossibly bungled, downed a platter of cakes and a few bottles of wine all infused with generous doses of potassium cyanide. When this had no visible effect, and still more poisoned wine proved no less agreeable to the Mad Monk, he was shot several times with a revolver, but continued to sit upright, blinking benignly. Eventually, witnesses insist, he got up and dashed into the courtyard where additional pistol fire knocked him down. Tightly bound against the risk of revivification, Rasputin was lugged to the Neva River and dropped through a hole in the ice. An autopsy later revealed he’d drowned.

Rasputin after being repeatedly poisoned, shot, and drowned.

But you’ve had fair success with this sort of business, and we are loathe to reprehend your methods. Your introduction of deadly radiation and nerve agents conflates a time-honored methodology with a catchy modern flourish. Still, your chronic reliance on assassination dims its sparkle and risks monotony–can you not see that? Also, plausible denial, which always features you at your impish best, becomes less plausible as the bodies and evidence stack up.  Perhaps you believe the very impudence of your straight-faced dissembling adds a roguish touch to such events, but really, Vladimir, there ought to be limits.leaving aside the uncountable victims of Cossack raids, Kulaks starved by Stalin, and political prisoners frozen in Gulags, fully one third of those specifically assassinated by Russian leadership died during your time at the top.


In 2003, for instance, Sergei Yushenkov was gathering evidence he said proved your government was behind a spat of apartment bombings in 1999.  You were Prime Minister at the time, remember? Sergei was gunned down outside his Moscow residence.

Yuri–passport revoked?

Also investigating apartment bombings that year was Yuri Petrovich Shchekochikhin,  crusading Russian journalist, lawmaker, and author. Yuri was also  investigating organized crime and political corruption in government and the military. His last non-fiction book, Slaves of the KGB, was about people roped into becoming Soviet informers by people like you, Vladimir. We know how you often say you miss those days. Anyway, Shchekochikhin fell ill in 2003 just before visiting the USA.  He died 16 days later of what most neutral experts deemed radiation poisoning.  Family requests for a medical examination were denied.

Anna–following the Rasputin model.

Soon afterwards came the  assassination of Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya.  In 2004, she was shot dead in an elevator at her apartment complex, but only after she survived an Aeroflot flight during which she fell violently ill and passed out after drinking polonium-laced tea served by her flight attendant. Unanticipatedly, Politkovskaya recovered in hospital, so shooting her sort of followed the Rasputin model, minus drowning, of course. 

Most shooting victims, however, got shot with no mephitic prologue. Stanislav Markelov was a human rights lawyer known for representing various critics of yourself, Vladimir. He was shot by a masked assailant near the Kremlin, where he died along with reporter Anastasia Baburova, a civil-rights journalist from Novaya Gazeta, shot down as she attempted to assist the dying Markelov.

Anastasia and Stanislav–two more random, unsolved Moscow murders. Walking near the Kremlin seems very unsafe.

Do svidaniya, Boris!

Your arch rival Boris Nemtsov was shot dead right in front of the Kremlin days before he was due to lead a protest against you. Five Chechens were speedily sentenced for his murder–so speedily that no one remembered to ask about a motive. Despite the swiftness with which justice was served in this case, Vladimir Kara-Murza, another pesky opposition leader, started blaming you, Vladimir– but Kara-Murza soon collapsed into a coma. His subsequent organ failures were attributed to poisoning, but he got better and was soon well enough to be poisoned again, which he was. But he recovered again. Some guys, right?  For that matter, double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were poisoned with nerve agents in England in 2018 – and they both survived. Perhaps these were more on the order of admonitory poisonings?

Alexander Litvinenko dying in hospital–evidently polonium 210 isn’t good for your complexion, either.

In 2006, Alexander Litvinenko, former KGB agent turned Putin critic, died in London three weeks after drinking a cup of polonium-210 flavored tea. A British inquiry found that Litvinenko was killed by Russian agents. Word from the Kremlin was that you were personally managing the investigation, Vladimir, but it must have gotten away from you.  And to make matters worse, Russian tycoon Boris Berezovsky, formerly your supporter, began investigating on his own time and churlishly fingered you for Litvinenko’s murder.  Berezovsky claimed he’d amassed volumes of evidence inculpating you. Some people will just turn on you like that. 

But Berezovsky became so jittery about what you might do to him that he fled to London. It didn’t help; he was found dead in his hotel bathroom. Even though Berezovsky died with a noose around his neck, coroners couldn’t assign a cause of death, which is another way of saying: he definitely didn’t hang himself.  Next, your longtime journalistic critic Natalie Estemirova was investigating Berezovsky’s death  when she was abducted outside her home and shot to death in a nearby woods. No one has been convicted of her murder.

Natalie Estemirova, in happier days.  

Sergei Magnitsky, ESQ. Just look at those beady eyes!

In November of 2009, the respected lawyer Sergei Magnitsky began investigating fraud among Russian tax officials in cahoots with the crooked police force. When British-American businessman William Browder asked Magnitsky to probe the issue after Browder’s business became a target of corruption, Magnitsky was himself arrested and charged with fraud.  While in jail he apparently fell down a lot, walked into some walls, and died. To alleviate the impression that police had falsely charged an innocent man (and then beaten him to death while denying him medical attention), the government granted Magnitsky his day in court–in late 2013–four years after he was pronounced dead. Fortunately, he was found guilty.

Evidently, Forbes looks the same in Russian.

Paul Klebnikov was the chief editor of the Russian edition of Forbes. Say, Vladimir, we bet back when you were in the KGB and the USSR was fully pestiferous, you never thought you’d live to see a Russian edition of Forbes, huh! But anyway, Klebnikov  started writing about corruption in the Kremlin, not to mention drug use. He got treated to a Hollywood-style drive-by shooting in which a fusillade from a passing car left him bleeding from four bullet wounds.  Rushed to the hospital by an ambulance crew who forgot to bring oxygen, Klebnikov survived the ride and might have survived the shooting had the elevator to the operating room not mysteriously malfunctioned between floors. 
Remember when Denis Voronenkov, former Russian Communist Party member, began sharply criticizing you after fleeing Russia in 2016?  Yeah,  he got shot too–right in front of his hotel bar in Kyiv where he’d just cautioned reporters for the Washington Post that, “For our personal safety, we can’t let them know where we are.” He probably shouldn’t  have let the Washington Post know, either.

“This is how we found him, Lieutenant! These nice ladies are performing the autopsy now!”

NEWS ITEM: After RT TV anchor Abby Martin criticized Putin’s military invasion of Ukraine, she was assigned to go there and report back. She refused the assignment, proving she’s actually much brighter than anyone previously suspected.

Former Russian press minister Mikhail Lesin was a major player in establishing Russia Today (RT) Television. He reportedly reached out to the FBI with concerns about your government, Vladimir, but died days later in his Washington DC hotel room–a victim of blunt force trauma to his head.  We get it; nobody at RT is worth the price of a bullet, and besides, shooting Abby Martin (left) would be a crime against art. And for that matter, even Vasily Zaytsev would probably miss her brain.

A web compilation of a few of your alleged victims, Vladimir–except the last guy on the bottom right is Akhmad Kadyrov, and he got blown up by a bomb. Not your MO and we don’t think you did it. If you did, in fact, do it, please excuse the omission.

Well, the list goes on and on, Vladimir, as you know better than anyone, and to catalog a host of additional deaths, disappearances, and botched assassination attempts would discourteously belabor the obvious. Besides, our readers complain that WOOF articles are too long anyway, so let’s hasten the terminus by changing the subject, toward which end we’ve prepared a masterfully cunning segue.

But first…we feel a fraternal obligation to mention  fellow blogger Alexei Navalny, who is currently in Russian prison. 

Despite stiff opposition from the Kremlin, Alexei Navalny keeps freedom of the press alive in Russia.

It would be mean spirited to say Alexei is in prison because he makes you mad simply by telling his readers that your party is full of “crooks and thieves” and accusing you of “sucking the blood out of Russia,” imposing a “feudal state” and arrogating total power to the Kremlin. That’s extreme language! The kind of talk that could get a a nerve agent put in your underpants!  But instead, Alexei is only in prison—sentenced for failing to maintain contact with his police monitor on a previously trumped up charge. Of course, that was impossible for him to do because he was in the hospital at the time, recovering from having a nerve agent put in his underpants. But the law is the law, we always say.

On the military front, you recently had your chief defense minister, Sergei Shoigu, visit you at the Kremlin for a kind of performance review, after which the Sun in England wrote, “MYSTERY surrounds Vladimir Putin’s defence chief after he was struck down by a ‘massive’ heart attack ‘not from natural causes.'” WOOF couldn’t confirm the Sun’s story, (nor espouse its syntax) but we went two-and-a-half weeks without any show of Shoigu, and suddenly Shoigu supposedly showed up, shakily reading from note cards on Russian TV, but saying absolutely nothing new.

In happier days.

Is he real, or is he Memorex?

Imagine our relief when Shoigu showed up in livelier, subsequent broadcasts! This must mean he either never had a heart attack, or got better after having one, or perhaps made the necessary adjustments to avoid having another one. He may have taken measures to guarantee his continued health upon learning that that 22 more of your generals are under close arrest for their performance in –you know– the liberation of Ukraine, or whatever.  These generals can’t all have heart attacks, can they? That would just be weird–are you losing it, Vladimir? We think you’re made of sterner stuff. To prove this, however, you will have to do some wily maneuvering–especially considering the way things have been going for you in Ukraine. And–um–speaking of Ukraine…(see what we did there?)

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