Vladimir Vladimirovitch Putin

Photo by Bob Walsh (Unsplash)

They say of Putin Vladimir Vladimirovitch

That he is the most powerful man on the planet

That he is in the whole world the man who is most rich

With between eighty and two hundred billion net

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When the iron curtain crumpled into dust

And the Soviet Union disintegrated

The whole world prayed and waited for the gust

Of fresh air to cool tempers as choler abated

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There was high hope of a massive peace dividend

That canons would melt away into ploughshares

That starvation and poverty on earth would end

That serenity would emerge from the nightmares

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The blame for that couldn’t all be laid at Kremlin’s door

Like sumo wrestlers East and West stared at each other

And kept staring but neither blinked in awe

Clearly neither was gonna be the first sheather

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After the long years of Stalinist repression

Democracy in a coma freedom curtailed

The press muzzled overseas travel banned the Russian

Conceded that communism had badly failed

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When Putin took the helm he saw that above all

What Russia needed was its erstwhile pride

He wasn’t gonna be at the West’s beck and call

He’ll do everything to keep the people on side

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He’d have to harness Russian nationalism

And the power of the orthodox church

A time bomb was dissent and criticism

But this he knew how to deal without research

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With his background in security he knew to a t

How to tackle opposition to stifle its voice

Use violence when it becomes a necessity

When there is no alternative no other choice

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He had worked with good men who had the wherewithals

To silence critics, and disappear dissidents

And who he knew would be to him forever enthralled

And they would operate on all the continents

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With the power he would have to make appointments

He would place key allies in the judiciary

Who would helpfully dish out custodial punishments

With the nation a grateful beneficiary

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He keeps a good grip on former republics

And the Aliyevs and Lukashenkos

Like trained puppies will wag their tails and do tricks

And each of them knows what to him he owes

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For those who spurn his overtures like the Ukraine

Which earns good revenue delivering Russian gas

He has the strategies to inflict severe pain

Starting with the insurrection in the Donbas

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The Crimean problem was a gift from the gods

All it needed was an illegal referendum

Everybody knew beforehand what were the odds

He annexed Crimea_ an obvious outcome

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He has crushed Chechnya and Ramzan Kadyrov

Was anointed satrap with the proviso that

He had men and Russian weapons enough

To pluck out Putin’s thorns at the drop of a hat

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Anna Politovskaya was a prized quarry

On the trail of the Putin-Kadyrov dark schemes

This journalist had to be dealt with in a hurry

Before she got hold of and spilled too many beans

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Another trophy was Nemtsov’s head on a plate

Once a vice prime minister of the federation

Of Putin’s many enemies he knew the fate

So Kadyrov had to take appropriate action

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When Mikhail Khodorovsky who used dubious means

To become Russia’s best-known and richest oligarch

Had about Putin’s own corruption spilled the beans

Putin’s courts ordered him to be fed to the sharks

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The Brits never sent agents to kill Burgess and Philby

Condemned already to a life without fish and chips

And life in a laugh a minute Moscow, let them be!

In this life they’ll never be asked to be third slips

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Putin is a man who demands his pound of flesh

Renegades and sell-outs will never be free

Wherever they hide, one needs not be a Ganesh

To divine that he’ll get them, there’s nowhere to flea

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Litvinenko knew where Putin’s dead bodies were hid

And heeded not friendly advice about keeping mum

Andre Lugovoy flew in from Moscow to rid

Putin of his foe with a cup of … polonium

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In a plot straight out of Alfred Hitchcock

Putin’s men found ex-double agent Sergei Skripal

In an English town and filled him with novichok

To punish him for past treachery et al

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Alexei Navalny ís Putin’s bête noire

He has oft accused him of crimes and corruption

And Vlad’s response? We’ll get you wherever you are

And ram up your throat your baseless accusation

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Navalny was fully aware that a certain

Konstantin Kudryavstev had been tailing him

For a good few years and it was more than plain

That he was preparing to make him his next victim

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He decided to put his conjecture to the test

And arranged a telephone call to the man

To confirm it and put his troubled mind to rest

With his allies they elaborated a plan

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They used their advanced technological know how

To mimic a call from his FSB handler

For an important debriefing pow wow

Where he denied that he’d been a stupid bungler

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He had daubed as ordered, the smalls of the target

In his hotel room with the novichok provided

But the unforeseen landing in Omsk was kismet

The FSB planned but ’twas fate that decided

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I did not put a foot wrong Konstantin swore

If the flight had taken more than forty minutes

Dead and gone would have been that son of a whore

In our work comrade there are more misses than hits

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Putin first said that the recorded call was fake

And could not have been done without the CIA

Navalny’s now in jail and he will do what it takes

To ensure that from plotters he be kept away

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Putin’s fight ‘gainst democracy isn’t confined

To Russia, his friends include Modi’s India, Syria

Doing all he can to win over the non-aligned

Including fighting their wars and gassing non-Shia

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Putin helps Assad kill his Syrian enemies

As assiduously as the West helps Bin Salman

Destroy their villages and starve hapless Yemenis

They do these things ruthlessly because they can

Prizewinning playwright. Mathematician. Teacher. Professional Siesta addict.