In St. Petersburg today — St. Petersburg, Russia, that is — Vladimir Putin reappeared in public for the first time in 11 days, ending the rumors of a Kremlin coup or even his own death.
This isn’t the first time that the Russian leader has dropped out of society for awhile, and the sh*t really starts to build up for Putin, who has been in charge in one way or another since 1998.
The negative news of late was the recent murder of Boris Nemtsov, one of his strongest critics. There is now speculation that there’s a hit list out on other Putin critics.
It’s sort of a bizarre way to run a major nation, isn’t it?
I’ve got Russia on my mind after seeing Leviathan over the weekend. The film is a small story of corruption and loss that can be seen as a fable about the sad state of the nation. Living under the Putin regime is seen as something out of Kafka.
But, the feeling one gets out of seeing the film is — how in the heck it got past the state censors and get nominated for an Oscar for Best Foreign Film? Because it was Russia’s official entry for nomination, it obviously had to get the approval of top-ranking officials in Putin’s government. Maybe it was a mistake, and maybe that official may or may not be in trouble right now. Because The Leviathan is a bitter take on contemporary life in Mother Russia.
In other news…
Yesterday we reported on the curious case of Dennis Baxley. The state representative from Ocala is one of the most conservative members of the Florida Legislature, which is why it was fascinating to see him vote for the gay adoption bill in the House last week. Until he reversed himself.
The majority of Tampa City Council members don’t like the tone of the District 6 race between Guido Maniscalco and Jackie Toledo, and let that be known over the weekend.
And if you missed it on Friday afternoon, we reported that Hillsborough County activist Marilyn Smith is no longer part of the county’s Charter Review Commission.