The French Elections By the Polittechnologist A couple of days ago Bob Amsterdam called and asked why I haven’t written anything in a long time. I told him it was because there was nothing going on. And this is true – what’s going on right now in the Khodorkovsky case, and in Russia in general, can easily be described with this one empty word – “nothing”. Of course events are occurring, and impressive ones at that. But they could just as well be entirely different events, with exactly the same effect. There’s no difference. All of the roles and all of the parts in this play have been written out long ago, after all, and the populace of the country is merely playing its role as extras in this script. Last weekend it was called “The March of Those Who Disagree”. A few days later it was “Yeltsin’s Funeral”. The actors are more or less the same each time, only they play different roles. In “The March of Those Who Disagree”, the OMON dispersed the march and arrested its participants. In “Yeltsin’s Funeral”, the OMON guarded a long queue of mourners outside an Orthodox cathedral, a queue consisting of practically the same “those who disagree”. Besides that, nothing has changed. Rosneft is buying up the mortal remains of YUKOS. Khodorkovsky is being fitted for a new criminal case and can probably expect yet another one after that. Those who are in power are busy divvying up the spoils and the money they haven’t yet managed to steal but are already counting. And everything is going along its appointed path. Things weren’t so peaceful even under Brezhnev. Everything is as peaceful and quiet as at a cemetery. Quiet and unchanging. Only here we have living people, and they could wake up. For example, if oil prices drop. And then they will question the cost of this stability. But this isn’t happening yet, and we’re ready to take a look at another theatrical performance, for example the one starring the journalist Tregubova. She is, of course, against Putin, but she’s already in London. As an FSB general of my acquaintance says, “And what does this give us, besides emotions?” Nothing. Just another play. I hope Messrs. Kovtun and Lugovoy won’t dare poison a woman with polonium or who knows what else. I’ve pored over all the recent events time and again but I just can’t find anything – nothing at all – of significance. Except the French elections. It surprised me to realize that I’m actually interested in who will win – Sarkozy or Royal. I even found myself genuinely cheering on one of the candidates (I won’t say who…). I remember cheering like that during the World Cup last year – first for the Ukrainians, and then for the Italians after the former had been eliminated. I cheered for them because we didn’t have our own football in Russia. And now I’m cheering for the possible future president of France. Because we don’t have our own elections in Russia either. Just like we don’t have our own quality automobiles, our own quality airplanes, or our own normal law-enforcement organs. In short, we don’t have anything of our own any more. Only a president. The one who’s still alive. And may God grant him health. Because despite all my desire to remain a democrat, I am in favor of Putin going for a third term. Because that will be something. Improper, evil, and dangerous. But it will be something of our own, something about which it can be said that it has broken this vicious circle where nothing happens. Everyone who stands behind Putin is a nobody. These are frightening faceless people. They belong in a museum. Even if this museum’s name is “The Kremlin”. But Putin – he’s real. His third term will be exactly what we deserve. And we should do nothing to interfere. Let him continue. Because there is nobody else besides him in Russian politics. Well, not exactly. There is one person. In a prison in Chita. But I’m afraid Russia isn’t ready for him yet. So go ahead, vote for Putin. And don’t interfere with him.