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Sergei Dorenko, a respected Russian political analyst, worked for Channel 1 under Boris Berezovsky. The exiled-oligarch’s hastened departure meant Dorenko also left, becoming a commentator on Ekho Moskvy radio station. He has just written a novel called 2008Сthe year of Russia’s next presidential elections.
The hero of his novel is a president, and despite the many similarities the character is named Putin, he enjoys martial arts and he has a summer home at Novo Ogarevo Dorenko states in his preface that his hero is a fictional character, with no similarities to the current president. Let’s take him at his word, then.
His hero is indeed unsympathetic. For example, his favorite pastime is to grab three black markers and start coloring in a new map of the world. However, the markers are actually magic, and all he has to do is cover Africa in black and whole countries start to disappear from the continent. The aim of this mystical attack is to rid the world of unnecessary people and subsequently resettle it with necessary ones. After freeing Africa, Putin starts to color in China with his black marker pen, and finally gets around to Russia. But there is no need to go on, because everything is clear this is a malicious pamphlet.
This book will surprise those who think Russia has a problem with freedom of speech. Dorenko’s book can be compared to Michael Moore’s “Fahrenheit 911.”
When my friends visit from abroad I often take them to Major Pronin, a little restaurant in the former basement of the Lubyanka full of amusing mockery of the KGB, the FSB, and the current president, a former employee of the state security agency.
After eating in the restaurant my friends laughingly concede that it is perhaps more possible to make fun of the authorities in Russia than many expect, and as Karl Marx wrote, only through laughter will we finally make the break with our past.
Published by AdMarginem, Moscow, 2005, 239 pp.
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