A Happy Birthday


I am exactly one month late in the celebration. In vain, all through October, I wanted to report on the Russian press on that day. But, actually, this birthday is much better suited for the 7th of November than that of October.

“Find the seven small differences!”

From the countless festive commemorations I only present a few to mark the importance of the celebration, the devotion to the celebrated, and the inventiveness of the celebrators.

A popular exhibition opened in Moscow, where Putin achieves again the twelve glorious labors of Hercules, of course updated. He defeats the Chechen terrorism in the guise of the Nemean lion, by killing the Lernaean hydra he cuts the hundred heads of the international sanctions, instead of the Stymphalian birds he shoots down the American bombers, the taming of the Cretan bull symbolizes the regaining of the Crimea, the Erymanthian boar keeping an oil well under his feet is for the oligarchs enchained, and so on. In the shop of the exhibition, long lines wait for festive T-shirts.


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In seven big cities, seven huge exterior walls were painted with the allegory of a concept, that characterizes Russia under Putin’s rule: strength, memory, the conquest of the Arctic, independence, history, security, and the Sochi Olympics. The emphasized initials add up the word СПАСИБО, “Thank you”. “These words – explains one of the young organizers – mean a lot to us: that Russia again has taken its rightful place in world history.”



However, the most moving item is the film, where the Petersburgian little ones greet the President of Russia, bringing him their favorite toys as a gift. The professionally made film shows, that post-communist propaganda finally has broken free from the historical legacy of a mandatory pseudo-naive style, and it can now disguise its nature as propaganda by using state-of-the-art Hollywood visual culture. As it was predicted already twenty years ago by Pelevin.


Есть на свете человек –
Петербуржец, как и мы.
Жизнь его, как сотни вех,
Знаковая для страны!
Всё свершится, сбудутся надежды,
Пусть и дальше много лет, как прежде,
В добром сердце – торжество и сила!
С днём рожденья, Президент России!
С днём рожденья, Президент России!
С днём рожденья, Президент России!
There is a man in the world – Petersburgian, like us. His life, as hundreds of milestones, a sign for the country! Everything is completed, hopes are fulfilled, Go on for many years, like before, In the good heart – triumph and strength! Happy birtday, President of Russia! Happy birtday, President of Russia! Happy birtday, President of Russia!