Moscow, Russia. This is a follow-up to my story from Belarus entitled, “Communist Party No More!” I am wandering thru the many hallways and corridors of the Kremlin. I have an all-access press credential. The Kremlin is quite large as it was once known as a fortress. It is surrounded by a wall built when a wall was sufficient to keep out one’s enemies. Now walls are only good for keeping out one’s friends.
I heard a very loud angry voice and frightened replies from several others. The angry voice sounded a great deal like the voice of Putin but I could not be certain. It was not the conscious voice of anger but anger that came from a place that, if you have never heard it, you would not believe that it could exist.
I dared not look around the corner into the room for if I could see him then he could see me. In his current attitude, I did not wish to be seen. I did what is in my nature; I eavesdropped.
“This article says the communist party of Belarus has been destroyed,” he bellowed. Not true. Propaganda. Disinformation. These were the many frightened replies that he did not believe.
“Have you talked to him,” he screamed. To who, there is no need, and what would be the point were their replies. “I have to make the call; I, you are good for nothing,” he said with disdain. Let me make the call, no I will, and I will dial the number was their response.
“Stop reaching for the handset. You don’t think I’m capable of making a simple phone call. I know how to make a call. I’ve made them before. I can do it again. Stop dialing. I will dial. What is the number? How do you put this on the speakerphone?”
I hear dial tones being pushed. I hear ringing. I hear a tired voice say, “Hello?” “Is this you,” Putin asks. At least it sounds like his voice. Of course, it is me, came the reply. “How can I be sure?” You dialed the number, didn’t you? “You are supposed to be dead.”
Did you send someone to kill me? “I read it in a story.” After all I’ve done for you. You want me dead. “A story said you were dead.” I destroyed the press, I oppressed human rights, and I let you tear up our land with your tanks and this is the gratitude I receive! “I read it was true!”
You read what was true? “That you died when your Party building collapsed.” Our Party building has not collapsed. Who is this calling me? “It’s me, of course! Your Party leaders are all dead.” I lost twenty euros to my second just last night well, very early this morning.
“Your Party has been replaced by the Christian Coalition Party, the Green Party, and the Party Against Loud Children and Loud Music.” There’s a Party against loud children and loud music? “It’s what I read!” If we had that Party platform we would never have to stuff ballot boxes and rig elections. Who is this really? It is too early for such jokes!
“It is me.” It is not. “Yes it is.” No, it is not. “It is.” It isn’t! “Ah-uh!” Na-ah! “Ah-uh!”
Na-ah! “Who is this,” Putin retorted. At least it sounded like him.
I am the Belarussian leader. “No, you are not!” Yes, I am. “No, you are not!” Am too! “Am not!” Am too! “Am not!” Ah-uh! “Na-ah!” Ah-uh! “Na-ah!” Ah-uh! “You are dead!” I am not! “Am too!” Am not! “Ah-uh!” Na-ah! “Ah-uh!” Na-ah! “Ah-uh!”
I walked away. Perhaps it wasn’t Putin after all.