Moving the furniture around isn’t the same thing as remodelling Grigory Pasko, journalist On my recent trip to Vladivostok, I made the acquaintance of Michael Johnson, an American environmentalist, researcher of the Russian hinterlands, and expert on the “mysterious Russian soul”. Michael told me right off the bat that he reads Robert Amsterdam’s blog and the articles I write for it. I was flattered. And curious, so I asked him what exactly he liked. Turns out, it’s the fact that I have my own opinion, which occasionally differs from the opinions of many others. Knowing that Michael will certainly read this next article, I’ve got to issue a warning immediately: Michael, disappointment awaits you this time around. On the subject of the cabinet reshuffle in Putin’s government, only a true grovelling toady could possibly make the mistake of saying all kinds of garbage about the “far-sightedness” of the “peerless” president when the true essence of the events is clear and evident. But for starters, Michael, let me relate the following story. Once upon a time, in the call of duty and not because I was particularly curious, I had to go visit one o my subordinates in his home. He met me with open arms, sat me down on the sofa, and asked me: “Well, what do you think of our remodelling?” I said something appropriately vague and polite in reply, although in actuality, even at point-blank range, I honestly didn’t see any change in the appearance of his tasteless living room. But he simply wouldn’t let go of the topic, and eventually I couldn’t take it any more and asked him: “Are you poking fun at me or something? What the hell remodelling are you talking about?” And he explained: “I’ve moved the furniture around”, he said. Then it was my turn to explain to him that absolutely NOTHING had changed for the better from HIS moving HIS furniture around in HIS apartment! …Of course, president Putin very literally, in the true sense of the word, saved his pal Ivanov from further disgrace for the state of affairs in the Russian military (Although I’ve got serious doubts that the concepts of “honor, disgrace, conscience” are in use among the so-called “former Chekists”). Of course, there was no necessity for the interests of the state in such a castling maneuver. Of course, this can only be seen as a continuation of president Putin’s pre-election hustle and bustle. And, of course, this will not reflect in any way whatsoever on the state of the economy or on the efficiency of the government’s work: the “apartment” of the Russian state remains as shabby looking as ever. Because the furniture shouldn’t just be moved around – it needs to be removed completely and thrown away. Hopefully on the garbage heap of history. And that’s all I have to say.