28 January 2020, Tuesday, 1:54
The Wait Is Nearly Over
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To Leave for Sochi and Stay There

To Leave for Sochi and Stay There
Uladzimir Khalip

Then the gift from Putin - the boiling tank - would be very useful.

The airway to that distant shore is frightening and dangerous in December. The G-effect was along the entire route. The luggage of bad memories is great. It pulls down and leaves almost no hope. And the latest integrative weather forecast promised unacceptable things.

However, the crew knew what to do. It skilfully avoided zones of collision. But it was not always possible to pass air pits safely. And the attempt to move the curtain and look in the window ended in embarrassment. At the end of the wing which cut the air, he suddenly saw mysterious ladies. They might be cleaning services' workers, who had finished the sanitary cleaning of the object with some delay. They saddled up their tools and disappeared among the dark clouds.h

Then a bright image of a recent comrade-in-arms sailed by. For some reason, it was overboard. It was not possible. The angry contemplative of majestic heights drew the curtain and looked towards the seat of his assistant who usually prepared documents for the upcoming negotiations during such flights. However, some general's crew cut was already staring over the high seat back instead of her strict hairstyle. Moreover, a barely noticeable shade of Turkmenbashi slipped through the salon and disappeared in the toilet.

Since no fatigue could reach the heavily guarded area, it meant that a reboot was urgently required. One should take control of the situation. These Sochi gatherings are always the same. Hugs, a common pretence come first. Then the Kremlin starts to be sarcastic. They will try to humiliate. So one needs to keep ears open and do not fall for provocations. Especially now, when everyone understands what is at stake. Moreover, the integration cards can be marked.

This is the last speech before the deputies. The red-and-green flags are on each side, like dragon wings. It would be great to rush into the dull residence of a stubborn ally with the first gust of mountain wind. And without unnecessary rituals to repeat this phrase, which is now being voiced in the gadget.

"How can we discuss further integration if we do not have a contract for the natural gas supply? Although this issue was resolved long ago. Our governments failed with these agreements. It is not the fault of the Belarusian government. That is, New Year is about to come, and we have no agreement on the volume and prices of natural gas supplies".

A big pause is neede here. Let's see how the ally will twist. A clear negotiation plan appeared in no time at all. Surprisingly, from that moment on, there was no chaos overboard. The sun was shining above the blue sea. The snow sparkled on the tops of the mountains. The plane was going to land.

But as soon as the mighty cohort was delivered to Bocharov Ruchey, everything veered off the plan. The light was suddenly out when they sat down at the negotiation table. A corresponding remark followed: "Is Dima Peskov to blame?" Allies did not support the joke. The initial pathos was knocked down and crumpled. Instead of the righteous anger over no gas price the ruler started in a familiar and humiliating manner: "We are not locals...".

"We agreed a long time ago that people and economic entities should have equal conditions for life and work. Equal conditions are the only thing we need."

Really? And what about gas prices? What about compensations of billions of dollars for the cunning tax manoeuvre and the dirty oil trick?

However, after five and a half hours of secret negotiations between the ruler and his Moscow ally, journalists had no comments. The Minister of Economic Development of Russia said a few general words and invited all those disappointed to the next meeting to be held in St. Petersburg on December 20. The traditional squabbles around supplies and the price of oil and gas have no end.

On the other hand, the public television sang like a songbird about incredible success during the negotiations in Sochi and the specific role of the wise ruler in Putin's "integration deepening". No risks exist. There are no threats to sovereignty and there can be no such threats - guaranteed by the guarantor! TV commentators insistently tried to sell the very deck of cards, which is not trustworthy. On the other hand, there were many talks about the gifts of the rulers. The ruler brought his Kremlin partner candies, lard, sausages, and even a bottle of something unknown. And the gift in return was cool and symbolic - the Russian boiling tank.

But phrases dropped by the ruler raised the greatest interest. Especially since he spoke about it even in spring at the same meeting in Sochi. Then and now the maxim was voiced without any connection with oil, gas, tax manoeuvre and other integration issues. He suddenly voiced an increasingly strange idea. "However, my house is right behind the fence, a warm and cosy one. You were there. That's why I feel like home here".

No, that's not dementia. It's cold math of the one who feels danger. Twenty-five years of dictatorial experience is the period when careers of many dictators came to an end. And who knows what the next year will bring when the elections come. It's all under control. But This is the moment when an unfortunate accident or a program failure may occur in the clear picture of a well-calculated and carefully thought out campaign. And one will need a warm and cosy house like this in a reliable shadow of Putin's carefully guarded summer residence.

Wouldn't it be better not to risk it at all? And if one happened to be near this house, one should perform as one of the servants. And even a classic phrase would be great to remember: "I came to settle down forever in this place!"

Then the gift from Putin - the boiling tank - would be very useful.

Uladzimir Khalip, especially for Charter97.org