Russia risks new Cold War: The Telegraph, UK
Me: Hello, is that the Kremlin?
Voice: Hello, yes.
Me: Great. Am I speaking to Vlad?
Me: Is this Comrade Vlad? Are you Putin?
Me: Put me through to Comrade Putin, please. I’d like to congratulate him on the successful defence of the workers of Crimea.
Voice: This is Filthyrichov Oligarchsky. You can congratulate me.
Me: I want to tell you how much I love you guys. You really socked it to the West.
Oligarchsky: They are paper tigers.
Me: Down with the imperialist lackeys.
Oligarchsky: Trotskyite pigs.
Me: This is lovely, Oligarchsky, just like old times. Will you be putting up a new iron curtain?
Oligarchsky: Yes, we must protect Mother Russia from those foreign devils. But it depends on our Great Leader.
Me: Oooh, wonderful. And the Berlin Wall?
Oligarchsky: Umm….that’s tough….we could put up a wall in Kiev. We’ll have to punch holes for the gas pipelines though.
Me: Oh, not the same thing. But you will have an arms race again, right?
Oligarchsky: Of course. We could sell arms to you too. Where did you say you’re from?
Oligarchsky: Ah, an old customer. Russia and India have always been great friends. We share the same political ideology.
Me: Yes, socialism is enshrined in our constitution.
Oligarchsky: Oh, I was thinking of crony capitalism. You have many billionaires, just like us. Many oligarchs like me.
Me: Hmmm. But you’ll be reviving the Gulag, I hope. I can’t wait to send capitalist profiteers to Siberia.
Oligarchsky: No, no, we’ll be sending gays, leftists, liberals and social activists. The labour camp system will be privatised, of course. We could make some good profits there. We must protect the free world.
Oligarchsky: The West is completely decadent, you know. Better dead than Red. There’s a Western socialist red under every Russian bed.
Oligarchsky: We must resolutely oppose Obamacare. It’s an insidious socialist disease hatched by Comrade Obama. The US and Europe have a diabolical plan to export their social democratic system to the free capitalist economies of the East. They want to undermine our conservative virtues of hard work and thrift. The Western commies are an evil empire, out to destroy our holy Russian Orthodox Church.
Me: You guys go to church?
Oligarchsky: Certainly, unlike those subversive atheists of Western Europe. The Axis of Evil with their welfare economies wants to pull everybody down. Their governments don’t produce, they only redistribute. But don’t worry, we too have our fifth columns of oligarchs in the US. Have you heard of Goldman Sachs?
Me: Yes, but….
Oligarchsky: Long live oligarchic capitalism. Down with the red devils.
Me: Didn’t you guys believe in “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need”?
Oligarchsky: That was a misprint. It’s actually ‘To each according to his greed.” Incidentally, can I sell you some gas? Casinos? Strip clubs? Stalin’s undies? I could give you a hefty discount. Look forward to doing lucrative business with you. Dasvidaniya.
Manas Chakravarty is Consulting Editor, Mint
The views expressed by the author are personal