Roman Emperor Caligula once paraded his favorite racing horse through Senate to make his deputies bow to the animal, and is rumored to have considered nominating the horse for a seat.
An amusing story has been making its way around the blogosphere in recent weeks about the re-emergence on a vast scale of mysterious pro-government propaganda. These posters and billboards, which usually do not bear any official party logo or attribution to any sponsor, read “Putin’s Plan – Russia’s Victory!” Reasonably the bloggers are asking “What’s the plan? Does anybody know?” The answer to such questions seems extraordinarily irrelevant, as shown by the apparent blind trust in the current Kremlin’s authority. Despite knowing almost nothing about Viktor Zubkov before his appointment, Russian voters have already entrusted him with “sky high” approval ratings that most democratic politicians would salivate over (the accuracy of these polls can of course be debated). From a St. Petersburg Times story on the high Zubkov ratings:
Zubkov’s sky-high ratings have prompted some critics to recall a sarcastic 2003 event mounted during the gubernatorial election campaign in St. Petersburg. Pedestrians crossing Anichkov Bridge, which has statues of men straining to hold prancing horses on its four corners, were asked whether they would elect a horse if the president so requested it. They were invited to vote by putting an orange ball into one of two transparent containers. The container marked “yes” ended up twice as full as the one marked “no.”