A man who calls for the hearts of homosexuals to be buried underground or burned and who views the protests in Kiev as a war on Russia is now the head of the country’s shiny new propaganda/news agency.

It is now official: Russia has gone wrong again.

It’s been coming for a while: it long ago became evident that Putin’s folks had no policy ideas at all, indeed they hardly seemed to recognise that a government needs policies, never mind coherent ones. While the money was rolling in and Yeltsin’s chaos was fresh in the memories of people they could pull it off, but it’s only a matter of time before stability becomes another word for stagnation.

 And so they needed something: Vladiput was getting booed at martial arts contests, people were gathering in the streets of Moscow and even the taxi drivers were saying it was all a mess. Whereas Merkel or Cameron etc could at least make a coherent case for where they were taking their respective countries: the Kremlin clans had been too busy getting their kids and money out of the country to even ponder what the purpose of it all was, beyond theft, and that’s a hard sell even in Russia.

 What to do? Chto the fuck dyelat?

Well, the thing to do was what fearful Russian leaders have been doing since Ivan the Less than Amenable started hacking his devoted subjects to death in 1570 or thereabouts. The first step is to claim Russia is surrounded by enemies and then hope that not too many people look at a map or think, and, like most places, that’s a safe enough bet. Then the few who do think at all, or who have any notions to do with freedom or decency, will need to be classed as enemies within. That will require control of the media, or at least of the TV stations, again, not a problem. And then all that’s left to do is fill in any spaces where a national dialogue might break out with flags, priests and fear of immigrants. Throw in a dash of homophobia and you can even claim you are protecting the world’s largest country, with its oil wealth and vast nuclear arsenal, from the depraved ways of the west.

Poor little Russia, just look what those nasty gay Europeans are doing to us.

Of course it will all go wrong, quite possibly it will all go horribly, horribly wrong: this is Russia after all, but it doesn’t matter coz life and shit is cheap.

 In the early 2000’s Putin had a vast mandate for change, some talented people around him and an oil flavoured money tap turned on full. The thing that depresses me about Vladimir is that he could have been the one to save this place: he had everything required to take the country to a place of stability and fairness and even the rule of law. What he didn’t have was the courage to do it. He had a chance and fucked it up.

Now we have paranoid old men in the Kremlin and Russia has gone wrong again.