Russian state television channel Rossiya 1 has got a brand-new show for primetime Sunday evening: Moscow. Kremlin. Putin. It’s a bizarre hour-long spectacle – half reality TV show, half glossy current affairs program – with lots of clips of Vladimir Putin pointing at things and looking presidential.
It also featured that one particularly groundbreaking revelation: bears have a healthy respect for Putin.
In the show’s final segment, we see Putin go into full outdoor mode in the wilderness of the Tyva Republic of southern Siberia, armed with binoculars and khaki-colored T-shirt. As translated by The Guardian, the segment featured Dmitry Peskov, Putin’s press secretary, who noted: “This is wild nature, there are bears there. Bodyguards are armed in an appropriate manner, just in case.
“Although, bears aren’t idiots. If they see Putin, they will behave properly.”
It is certainly true that bears are not idiots. However, given the often ferocious reputation of brown bears, it seems unlikely these 600-kilogram (1,322-pound) fluffy juggernauts would have much respect for a mere human, regardless of whether he’s a geopolitical big cheese.
Then again, perhaps this is some kind of tongue-in-cheek Russian humor that’s lost on us; Russia does enjoy its grimly self-aware political satire after all. At least we can hope. Needless to say, judging by the comments left on the YouTube video of the episode, many Russians didn't see the funny side of the show, with many calling it "propaganda" and "fairy tales".
Anyway, if you’re curious about what Russian state TV has to offer, you can check out the whole episode of "Keeping Up With The Putins" on YouTube: