Hi. I’m really glad you took the time to check in, because we need to talk about Vladimir Putin’s behavior. No, I’m not talking about him bullying other countries or meddling in the U.S. election — that stuff is just Vlad expressing who he is. What’s troubling is that he’s stopped putting any effort into his excuses. We expect a despot with his aptitude for underhandedness to ruthlessly advance Russia’s interests. And we expect his actions to treat international law like Evanescence lyrics written on a roll of single-ply. But when it comes to his rationalizations, he’s falling way behind. It’s like he isn’t even trying anymore.
I know that Russia is capable of producing world-class, truly masterful bullshit. Russia has a rich history of art, literature, and political propaganda. And yet, when accused of meddling in the U.S. election, Putin’s response was to just flatly deny it. That was it. The country that gave us Tolstoy, Solzhenitsyn, and Yakov Smirnoff is now giving us nothing but “It wasn’t me.” That isn’t the bullshit response of an international superpower, it’s a goddamn Shaggy chorus he’s trying to pass off as his own work.
To be honest, it’s insulting. When our Founding Fathers needed an excuse to revolt against England, they didn’t settle for telling the colonists that the king had called them all a bunch of niffy-naffy fellows. They went through the trouble of concocting a truly insane story about the unfairness of not being allowed to smuggle tea into the country and that somehow being just cause for war. And I don’t think it’s unrealistic to set the bar at least that high for Russia.
There are myriad ways Putin could have creatively lied about interfering in our election. He could have said that they had good intel that our voting machines became sentient and had to be stopped for the sake of humanity. He could have said that they did hack our voting system, but just to figure out what to get us for all our birthdays. He could have said they didn’t realize that was our actual election and mistook it for some kind of reality show. Anything. And that’s just off the top of the head of my head. I can only imagine the masterful malarkey he could have produced if only he would use the many top-notch journalists languishing in Russian jail cells. All he has to do is apply himself.
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