Putin’s reign, Simpsons-style

By Nicholas Nehamas

Sharing a legacy? Matryoshkas, or nesting dolls, of Stalin and Putin. (Reuters)

Anti-government sentiment has spawned a Putin parody going viral on YouTube. It’s called “Twelve Years of Putin in Two Minutes,” and since the Russian animator Egor Zhgun uploaded it to his YouTube channel on March 2ndmore than a million people have watched the animated time-lapse video.

It has no dialogue, only somber piano music playing as the young Putin sits at his desk, a flag of Russia behind him. Objects appear: a Tsar’s crown on Putin’s head, a TV showing an image of the Kursk submarine disaster, a “Wanted” poster for the Chechen terrorist leader, Shamil Basayev. Putin’s face swells. His eyes grow evil and strangely self-satisfied. Slowly, it becomes clear what is happening: Putin is turning into Mr. Burns, Homer’s boss on the Simpsons, the greedy and egomaniacal industrialist whose catchphrase is “Release the hounds!”

Mr. Burns (wikia.com)

Various rivals and puppets—Khodovorovsky, Luzhkov, Medvedev, Kadyrov—appear on screen, then vanish, until Putin is left alone at his desk with no iconography behind him, wearing a Gaddafi-style beard and hat. Finally, decrepit and withered, he slumps in his chair, head adorned with a Pharaoh’s headdress, an IV in his arm.

It’s brilliant, funny, and weirdly haunting. You’d need to be a Kremlinologist to get all the references so here’s a handy partial list compiled by Pavel Butorin of Radio Free Europe, which called the video “a withering indictment of the Putin era.”

But enough from us. Just watch the video. After all, it’s only two minutes long.

Thanks to @Chechencenter for bringing this to our attention.

Straight to the Source

  • Susan Glimcher

    Amazing story and video – how did you become aware of this?

    • Nick_Nehamas

      thanks! It was tweeted to us by the Chechen Center, a media group from Chechnya. Goes to show how easily social media can spread cool stories.The video has 1.2 million views on YouTube but hasn’t received a lot of attention in the western press yet.

      You can find them on twitter @ChechenCenter