Vlad the Impala, that Chevy of Russia, is back in the news. And to oblige, Matt Drudge gave him some Drudge Report love this morning.
First though, I had better explain why (strictly metaphorically speaking) Mr Putin is the Impala of the Russian Federation, or Россия as I like to call her.
The Impala has lingered upon the American carscape since 1958. It is a long, grand, and distinctive fellow. Few other vehicles have had a run quite that long in our history. Sure Corvettes, you may say, are seared into our national consciousness. But Vlad Putin is no Corvette. He is a slow to warm, 327 cu in (5.4 L) Turbo Fire V8′d Impala.
So Putin, like the Impala, has clung on. Sure, he has undergone a little cosmetic update here and there. Of course, Putin’s updates have been strictly in title only.
He is not a student of the Lindsay Lohan, Cher, make-my-face-look-like a duck, or a goldfish, school of cosmetic surgery. (Despite what his schoolhouse picture looks like, below.) His cosmetic updates have been titular: President to Prime Minister and then back to President.
What, say you, has got Matt Drudge, and (by extension) the rest of the rational world, in such a tizzy? This, my comrades:
Russia’s spy agency is waging a massive undercover campaign of harassment against British and American diplomats, as well as other targets, using deniable “psychological” techniques developed by the KGB, a new book reveals.
The federal security service (FSB) operation involves breaking into the private homes of western diplomats – a method the US state department describes as “home intrusions”. Typically the agents move around personal items, open windows and set alarms in an attempt to demoralise and intimidate their targets.
The FSB operation includes the bugging of private apartments, widespread phone tapping, physical surveillance, and email interception. Its victims include local Russian staff working for western embassies, opposition activists, human rights workers and journalists.
Ach, what is a little spying among amigos? Harassment shows you love, right? Da, Comrade? You decadent Americans need to be monitored. Vodka for all of my friends! (Yikes, I just broke Blogging Convention #462: do not mix languages within a paragraph. Each new language must be introduced in a new sectional paragraph.) (Does anyone know the translation of amigo into Russian? Not comrade, but something a little warmer.)
Masked police on Thursday entered the Moscow headquarters of a bank part-owned by a billionaire oligarch and leader of a liberal political party that is contesting elections in December.
Uh oh. This is not good. What may have brought about such a little visit:
But the incident provoked fears among the party that it was intended as a warning to Mr Prokhorov, who earlier this summer became the first Russian oligarch to enter politics since 2003, bringing an end to an unwritten pact between Vladimir Putin, the prime minister, and big business that tycoons should stay out of politics.
Well Mellow Jihadis, that is all for our pictorial and word-orial post on Vlad “the Impala” Putin. As usual, send us your tips, insights, little morsels of brilliance. For we shall publish (or at least digest) the tastiest. . .