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Sing Along with Putin

Putin certainly knows how to make headlines. His by-now-famous sing-along during a meeting with the recently-deported Russian spies was top news in dozens of papers this weekend. International media have picked up on the chilling overtones of the seemingly innocuous but bizarre event. The musical repertoire consisted of Soviet-era patriotic songs, such as From What the Motherland Begins and “other songs with similar content”, as Putin told journalists during his trip to Ukraine this weekend. Putin praised the sleeper agents’ efforts and noted he knew the identity of those who “betrayed” them, implying their fate would not be a happy one. Just how they might meet such a fate was left unanswered. From a report in the Moscow Times:

“Traitors always end badly. As a rule, they end up in the gutter as drunks or drug addicts,” he said. When asked whether the state was planning to take revenge on the traitors, Putin said, “The special services live under their own laws, and everyone knows what these laws are.”

The spies themselves, it seems, can expect a cushy future in the motherland, judging from Putin’s words: “I’m sure they will work in worthy places and they will have bright and interesting lives.”