But no force can boost the hopelessly falling polling numbers.
Brocken is no longer in fashion. It’s European boondocks, a sham. No decent witch would be caught anywhere near. In our times, evil spirits obviously prefer Sochi, Krasnaya Polyana. Or, in extreme cases, the vicinity of the Kremlin.
That's where the leading witches of Russia gathered on one of the blizzard days of February. Jaw-dropping news put them into a flutter: Putin’s polls had suddenly fallen down. It's frightful to think of – down to 33%! Therefore, all who could have rushed to Moscow. Instantly created a circle of power. Lit magic candles. The country has held its breath.
Not only superstitious Russia kept a close watch on this mysterious process. The uncompromising TV channel Euronews repeatedly broadcasted the stunning story about an important political event. Ladies in black overalls moved in an indeterminate rhythm around the circle, distracting occasionally to make a meager comment on the camera.
And in a parallel footage, the highest owner of a shattered polls, dressed in camouflage, stubbornly climbed up the steep slope. The taiga around was quiet and wild. He got tired, sat down on a nearest stump. Companions helpfully handed over to him something brown of a square shape, which they found in the grass. He graciously accepted the strange discovery, sniffed it for some reason. Threw it away with disgust. And he again headed towards the already near peak.
The news report shyly keeps silence about the fate of these inaccessible slopes conquerors and doesn't say whether the witches succeeded in the special operation on raising the polls. But judging by the fact that soon after the mentioned circle of power, an integration meeting in Sochi was suddenly appointed, some gear wheels have clicked finally. And that click was quite significant. It is possible that the witches even supposed to arrange a full-fledged sabbath. However, high management may have a different opinion on this.
And yet they chose the date of the meeting in full compliance with this new trend – February 13th. The agenda is vaguely worded and blurred to the extreme: something about further deepening in order to steadily develop something. But in its essence it's as usual: “bend the non-bending.”
Following such meetings, it's almost impossible for the TV journalists to make a clear reportage. The ruler generally tells into the cameras something absurd about night revelations with Putin through special communication channels, or suddenly remembers how he slammed the door with anger and refused to attend sambo competition, offered as a consolation.
But, nevertheless, he regularly flies to Sochi. At the first call. Just as the local functionaries once rushed to Moscow, regardless of their rank. Generations have changed. Habits preserved. And it is not so important where to fly – to the Kremlin or to Sochi. The bottom line is that they call on the carpet. And the one who has this very “carpet” is the boss.
And it doesn’t matter if there’s a frank talk about Putin’s tax maneuver there this time, whether the partners will exchange thoughts about the weather or simply tell each other their dreams about ruling. Whatever the discussion at these gatherings, the sad shadow of the confused Anschluss will continue to hang around the corners. Only this is the essence of the meeting. And everything else is an appendix to this. Or even an adjective. Like the door in an old play about poor Mitrofanushka.
And each of these strange interlocutors knows that their attempts are in vain. It doesn't matter who wants what. They are not allowed to get it. There will be no union. And no one is going to give free oil to anyone. These are all legends of long-faded dreams of integration. But fake allies tremendously value the process itself. So they fly. Meet up. Veil their vacations with this meeting. Forgetting that they had met many times and with no result. They show clumsy grins in front of TV reporters and the unshakable confidence that they fooled each other.
Indeed! Here Putin started a “revision” of the union treaty. His servile pen pushers will dig up some ambiguous provision and then demand the partners to straighten accounts. And then the process will start.
Nothing will start. It only seems that the people are always silent and the world does not care about these little tricks of the new-sprung wizards. No matter how weak Europe may seem, there will be no second Munich. And no tricks with the archival Kremlin papers will solve imperial problems. But the temptation is great. And they can't help hoping that the clever assistants will still find the right shred of data in a pile of papers with a sweeping autograph of an ambitious agrarian riding a sudden luck. And the mixed rust with the ingrained Soviet mentality will avalanche to the western borders.
And nine and a half million citizens of the independent state will patiently wait until two random losers with fallen polls tell them later how to call this something accomplished by their will – Anschluss or unity.
And the more such integration meetings and gatherings in Sochi, the clearer the final picture: plans of either one or the other are dead in the water. Leaving bodies does not affect the future. That train, which ticket Putin is so obsessively presenting, has long been gone. It is even no longer on the schedule. And the career of his fussy partner was ruined by the ineradicable habits of a collective farm athlete and the incredible courtesy of a provincial political appointee. These two seem to be in different weight categories, but they are incredibly similar in something. Each of them already knows that no force can boost the hopelessly falling polling numbers. But they are still listening with hope for the witches to tell them something eventually.
Time passes, but they do not arrive. The sky above Sochi is gloomy and empty. It has been even noised abroad that that the evil forces are choosing the old proven route again – to Brocken. So it goes, such times.
A decent witch prefers Schengen.
Uladzimir Khalip, special for Charter97.org