Listeners to Thunk Tank know that we’ve progressed pretty far with our Putin fan fiction project. Besides the regular “Salutin’ Putin” feature, we’ve done an entire Salutin’ Putin show and also interviewed Sam Derse, the guy who does Vladimir Putin Action Comics. We’ve even started a Saturday morning cartoon spin-off called The Putin Pals, featuring all Putin’s animal companions. Or at least all the ones we’ve made up so far. But it turns out Putin has many, many animal friends in his so-called “reality” as well.
Just yesterday, at the signing ceremony for an agreement between Russia and Bulgaria for the construction of the Bulgarian section of the South Stream gas transit pipeline—a gazillion-mile–long pipe between Novorosiysk and Greece and Italy and Austria—Bulgaria’s Prime Minister Borisov gave Putin a big, adorable, fuzzy puppy. Putin, you know, kissed it, and made the facial expression he believes best expresses “happy.”
The best thing about the RIA Novosti coverage of the puppy presentation was that it listed all the animals Putin already owns. It reminded me of that DirectTV commercial with the Russian guy who talks like a cheezburger cat: “Opulence. I has it.” So now here is a quiz for you, with two lists: one of Putin’s pets, the animals he actually owns, and the other a list of The Putin Pals, his animal companions in the sparkly world of bare-chested awesomeness. Can you tell which is which?
II: Big, black Labrador Retriever (“Red Eye”); Siberian tiger (“Murder Cat”); dwarf horse (“Rasputin”); Octopus (“Paul I”); goat (“Black Ops”); war bear (“Snowy”).