“Look son, bein’ a good shot and bein’ quick with a pistol, that don’t do no harm, but it don’t mean much next to being cool-headed. A man who’ll keep his head, and not get rattled under fire, like as not he’ll kill ya.”
–Gene Hackman as William “Little Bill” Daggett, Unforgiven
Russia’s Vladimir Putin is getting rattled under fire. He can’t hit the side of a barn any more, and his quick-draw antics are wearing thin. As a last resort, Putin has turned to God and asked Him for a Holy Russian Empire to protect Putin from reality. What’s the Russian for “burka”?
Putin has seen a stunning series of setbacks in recent weeks. First there was a horrifyingly successful terrorist attack on Domodedovo, one of Russia’s most important airports in the center of its capital city, and then he was openly contradicted by the country’s so-called president when he claimed the crime had been solved.
It was a devastating below, because Putin’s primary claim to fame was that he had “pacified” Russia’s roiling and separatist Caucasus region. Instead, the world saw how Putin’s crazed efforts to assassinate leaders in the region have left the rebels headless, furious, and capable of — in Putin’s words — “senseless cruelty.” It’s Russia, though, that has been repeatedly convicted of senseless, state-sponsored cruelty in the Caucasus by the European Court of Human Rights. In fact, that court is literally overflowing with such claims against the Putin regime.
Then the bad news just kept coming.
Yet another key Russian space satellite tumbled out of orbit.
Putin was caught red-handed constructing an obscenely enormous personal residence even as a fellow dictator came under fire in Egypt for similar practices. Putin started reminding the world very much of Saddam Hussein.
Then there was Beautygate, parts I and II. First Putin was openly abandoned by one of the country’s most famous prima ballerinas — in favor of his most hated rival Mikhail Khodorkovsky. And then, in the wake of the airport atrocity, he was exposed by Naomi Campbell, of all people, as a prurient, prepubescent schoolboy more interested in barely legal boobies than terrorist booby traps.
Where else to turn but to God?
It was hardly surprising when Putin announced Russian politics is now wide open for the Russian Orthodox Church, his leading cheerleader. But that didn’t make it any less terrifying.
In a breathtaking one-two punch, the Kremlin announced that from now on Orthodox bigwigs will receive the same type of state-sponsored security as Kremlin bigshots get, and the Orthodox Church answered by freeing priests to enter politics. The Kremlin applauded the decision.