Enter the soft and cuddly Putin. Putin held a webcast question and answer session today to score some brownie points ahead of the G-8 Summit. Among the many questions he answered was why he kissed that boy (he wanted to “pet him like a kitten, nothing more”), his past as a spy, and the first time he did “it”. To the latter question he said this,
“I can’t remember exactly when I did it for the first time,” a laughing Putin said. “But I certainly remember when I did it the last time, to the exact minute.”
To quote Frank Booth, Putin, you’re so fucking suave. You’re one real suave fuck.
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By Sean — 10 years ago
A few weeks ago, Dmitry Medvedev announced that Russia’s top officials would reveal their incomes as part of an anti-corruption campaign. When I heard this I wondered whether that disclosure would include any of the money they’ve most likely picked up over the last eight years. After all, Medvedev was the chair of Gazprom’s board of directors, and one would suspect he was compensated heavily for his service. However, when he stated his finances for the presidential election, Dima was pretty much broke by American power player standards. Since 2007, Putin has been rumored to have a hefty $40 billion squirreled away in some unknown bank account.
The tandem released their incomes today, and one can only assume that while Medvedev and Putin might have earned $124,000 and $137,000 respectively, I seriously doubt this is the full number and certainly not full disclosure of their wealth.
Both men earn over 18 times Russia’s average wage of 230,000 rubles per year.
Medvedev has the larger apartment, a 368-square-meter Moscow residence that dwarves Putin’s 77-square-meter flat in Saint Petersburg, the declarations showed. But both men spend most of their time in their palatial state residences.
. . .
Putin also owns a garage, two classic cars, a trailer and a 1,500 square meter plot of land, his declaration said. He also has share holdings with a nominal value of 230,000 rubles.
Medvedev and his wife have bank deposits worth just under 3 million rubles and 4,700 square meters of land. His wife has two car parking spaces and a Volkswagen Golf.
It’s interesting that Putin, as Prime Minister, earns more than the President. But not by much.
Perhaps, what is more interesting is how Medvedev’s salary compares to that of other world leaders. Barack Obama tops the list with a paycheck of $400,000 a year. But this is chump change compared to the $4.2 million Obama earned from book sales in 2007. And now with his own full fledged cult of personality, Brand Obama is a potential bottomless well of profit.
Obama’s high is followed by Ireland’s Brian Cowen who rakes in roughly $380,000, France’s Nicholas Sarkozy’s $355,000, Angela Merkel’s $337,000; and Britain’s Gordon Brown who gets $294,000.
Poor (that is for reported income) Dima is in last place with an annual Presidential salary of $99,000.
As we all well known public office isn’t what pays. What really pays are the connections, greasy handshakes, and back room dealings. I suspect this is how the Clintons earned $109 million (which I also doubt is full disclosure) from 2000 to 2007. And once that government-corporate revolving door begins to spin after leaving office, look out. Pay-dirt. When they finally leave office, I’m sure Putin, Medvedev, Obama, Merkel, Sarkozy, Brown, and Cowen will be amply compensated for their time.
By Sean — 11 years ago
Four hours and forty minutes. Two hours and six minutes of which were broadcast live on Russian TV. One thousand three hundred and sixty-four journalists. Over 100 questions from fifty-two reporters. Those are some heady stats. When the vozhd’ speaks, the media listens.
Putin appeared loose in his final showcase. Reuters described his performance as “mixed flirtatious banter with metaphors about snot and showed a gift for sarcastic brush-offs worthy of a stand-up comedian.” The snot references were to questions about his alleged hidden wealth and the hard man hours he put in as Prez. To the former he said that reports about his wealth were “rubbish . . . excavated from someone’s nose and then spread on those bits of paper”. To the latter, he said “Heads of state have no right to whine, or drool for any reason… If they are going to slobber and blow snot and say things are bad, bad, then that’s how it will be.”
One of my favorites was his response to Hillary Clinton saying he had no soul. “A state official must at least have brains,” he stuck back. Given how her Presidential bid is going, Putin might be on to something. He even gave a shout out to his “American partner” George W. Bush. “You have to make decisions that nobody else is in a position to make. They are not always pleasant decisions. It isn’t easy. Is it easy for George Bush? This is where the buck stops.” To questions asking him to guarantee the ruble’s stability he said, “What do you want? Do you want me to eat soil from a flower pot? Take a blood oath?” Jesus people, just because the man’s visage is hung all over Russia, doesn’t mean he’s God. Naive monarchism is so 19th century.
Indeed, Putin was not without humor or wit. Kommersant was even kind enough to pick out some of the his sure to be memorable aphorisms. Here’s the list.
“All these eight years I worked like a slave in a galley from morning to night.” (On his work as President)
“I don’t think that we need to sprinkle ashes on our heads and beat ourselves with chains to prove that everything is fine with us.” (On relations with Poland).
“Let them teach their own wives how to cook shchi!” (On international election monitors on the Russian presidential elections.)
“As we said during Soviet times: If you want to “bury” a person, you appoint him to agricultural work.” (On Dmitri Medvedev’s resolve and national projects)
“Don’t whine and blubber about every subject” (On the character of a president.)
“It’s not over until the fat lady sings.” (“Не говори гоп, пока не перепрыгнешь”) (On being named to the post of Prime Minister)
“What can a person without a visa say about Tchaikovsky’s music?” (On relations between Russia and the West)
“Everybody must hoe their area like Saint Francis, boom, boom, everyday.” (On the activities of ministers)
And if anyone can translate and explain the following to me, I’d appreciate it: “Как у нас в некоторых местах говорили, “шило в стенку и на боковую залечь”” (о возможности покинуть политику).
Putin wasn’t all just shits and giggles. He seemed annoyed at the repeated “third term” questions. Just take a look at the photo above. He looks like he’s reaching to rip someone’s heart from their chest.