This is interesting. Not just because Mr. CJ and I spent a not-insignificant-amount of time talking about it last night (we are so romantic, lemme tell ya), but because the image most people have in their minds of Russia is that they are a country of people who would gladly follow Vladimir Putin back to the old “glory days” of the Soviet Union.
The reality is somewhat different.
Yesterday, the big news (well, it SHOULD have been the big news, but apparently Janet Jackson’s pregnant) was that the Russian government basically ordered its citizens to bring any family members who may be abroad back to the “Motherland” (why does Russia have to make everything sound so dang creepy? Orwell should have set 1984 in Moscow.) The reason? In the event of global war, Russia wants all of its people back home. But it’s TOTALLY a precaution, you know. Just drop whatever schooling or business that you’re in the middle of and get back ASAP.
Nope. Nothing to worry about here!
However, according to this, this news is unsettling to many Russian citizens. To say the least –
And today, Russians reacted with a mixture of fury and gallows humour over the Kremlin’s new orders amid rising world tension and the possibility of global war.
Political analyst Valery Solovei said plans were afoot for ‘serious limitations’ on people wishing to leave Russia. While he doubted a return to the Soviet system of ‘exit visas’ for its citizens, he said: ‘Officials of all levels and their relatives will be recommended not to leave the country.
‘As soon as officials are limited in their freedom of travel, they will make sure the rest of society gets the same treatment. As far as I know a tourist tax will be introduced for people wishing to go abroad.’
Journalist Ostap Karmodi warned: ‘First siloviki (security personnel) were prohibited from going abroad, then high-ranking officials were asked to sell foreign houses, close their companies and shut (overseas) bank accounts.
‘Now they are ordered to bring children back. The only strange thing is that it didn’t happen earlier. This is, of course, a preparation to war. Not in a sense that Putin is getting ready to a nuclear strike at America and Europe. They believe that the war against Russia started a long time ago. By moving everything they can back into Russia they try to minimise their vulnerability and clean up their own ranks to get rid of unstable elements. Children are the most vulnerable, they mustn’t let the West to take hostages.’
That’s the journalists and political analysts. But everyday people aren’t terribly thrilled about this either –
Gallows humour also set in among some citizens who took to Twitter in an attempt to make light of the situation.
One joke imagined a telegram from Putin mouthpiece Peskov’s 18-year-old daughter Lisa – whose views are not always politically correct in Russia, and now lives in France – demanding to meet her off the next flight from Nice.
Blogger Danny Lerer added: ‘I’d love to watch Peskov’s daughter – who doesn’t speak Russian and grew up in the States – being brought back to Russia. Guess they’d need to handcuff her first.’
Another popular comment was a British aristocrat asking his butler: ‘Barrymore, what is this howl coming from the swamps?’
The reply: ‘Children and other relatives of Russian officials, Sir. They don’t want to go back.’
Okay, even not knowing all the nit-picky details – that’s pretty funny.
Joking aside, this is freaky. A country’s government doesn’t demand that all of their citizens return home just because they’re afraid the kids won’t come back for Christmas (or whatever). This is getting into super-scary, batten-down-the-hatches, beef-up-your-emergency-food-storage territory.
And if Russia does indeed do something to America and we have Hillary Clinton in office as president??
Yeah… this just got so much less funny.