Russia’s Oblivion In Afghanistan
Vladimir Putin is a well-known caninophile. His canines accompany him for official meetings at his residence, serving as a humanizing prop or an intimidating one. He has also been said to have compared President Bush’s Scottish terrier, Barney to his black Labrador Koni. He sardonically commented on the comparison by saying, “Bigger, faster, stronger,” intimidating Bush.
His love for dogs has given other world leaders a plausible excuse to gift him puppies in hope of establishing cordial relations with Russia. In 2017, he received a puppy as a belated birthday gift from Turkmenistan’s President Kurbanguly Berdymukhamedov. Russia has invented a new chapter in world diplomacy namely Dog Diplomacy. But, there is one particular rare anecdote about Putin and his dogs.
Marina Yentalttseva was a secretary to Vladimir Putin when he worked in the St. Petersburg administration. She noted that Vladimir Putin was a man with an empty office save for a desk with a lone glass ashtray sitting atop it, and with similarly colourless glassy eyes looking out from behind the desk. In his early months in the city government, Putin had struck some of his colleagues as eager, curious, and intellectually engaged, but later on, he cultivated an emotionally reticent demeanour.
His secretary once had to convey bad news to him about the death of his favourite dog, Malysh. She expected a sad, emotional response instead, got a deadly blank stare. Startled by it she asked ‘Did someone already tell you?’ And he replied calmly, ‘No, you are the first person to tell me.’ That’s when she understood that she had asked the wrong question. The latter was the wrong question.
The whole story conveys the emotional reticent nature of Vladimir Putin. Russia’s oblivious stance in Afghanistan is justified. Ordinary Russians may have sympathy towards the conditions in Afghanistan, but for Putin, he cares about nothing. Once the famed Arizona senator and longtime Kremlin critic John McCain famously said “Vladimir Putin is a thug and a murderer and a killer and a KGB agent”. Concluding, Putin is a coldblooded person at the helm of Russia. And expecting humanness from Putin’s Russia is erroneous.
- The New Tsar; Rise and Reign of Vladimir Putin by Steven Lee Myers