“It’s a bird! It’s a plane!” It’s Vladimir Putin!
For the cynics keeping a close eye on the political theatres in Tampa and Charlotte, this story is straight from works of fiction and into a Kafkaesque reality of Russian politics.
In response to declining public opinion polls, President Putin -- who backtracked from his early statement that Obama was "an honest man" and that relations between Russia and the U.S. would worsen if Romney is elected president -- has decided to put aside high flying rhetoric, promises of reform, and potentially declaring another Chechen War in exchange for taking to the skies camouflaged as a large crane.
While this is not the first interaction between the president and wildlife, it is the first of its in kind. In 2010 alone, the then Prime Minister shot a whale from a cross-bow and hugged a slumbering or drugged polar bear; in 2008 he shot an Amur tiger with a tranquilizer dart, not to mention the myriad of pictures of him on horses or finishing.
However, what will set this trick apart from the rest is that the sitting head of state will be dressed as a bird and attempting to lead these endangered species whose off spring have been raised in captivity on their migratory path that should take them to the friendly shores of Iran and China.
Vedomosti and now The Telegraph have reported "The president will get to try himself in the role of the leader of a flock of cranes that were raised in captivity." The Press Secretary of the President in response to a question from Intefax, the official Russian news agency, stated, “Indeed this event is being planned and will occur day to day.”
The head of the Oksky Natural Reserve, Tatyana Kashentseva, noted that the head of state will be outfitted with “Crane costume that is fully equipped with speakers to communicate in the tone of the crane – elder when it communicates with the young.” As such, the need for the head of state to imitate bird sounds will be removed.
I should note that the president should take particular care dressing up and flying like a bird as avid bird hunters could be lurking in the bushes. American politicians are no strangers to bird related incidents. In 2006 Vice President Dick Cheney shot a friend and lawyer in the face while on a hunt. A number of parodies of the event were made and stuck, where Chaney “peppered” the friend – “seasoned him to perfection” as Jon Stewart put it. A British politician, George Galloway, appeared on Big Brother in 2006 and was seen standing on all fours barking like a dog.
To avoid any unpleasant incidents, hunting in the region has been banned and the ban will be strictly enforced and the press will not be officially invited to a launch party, as the cranes should not be “directly exposed to people” stated Kashentseva.
So, safe flight Mr. President and May you have a soft landing!