As the United States and the European Union pile sanctions on Putin for annexing Crimea, Russian politicians are laughing them off – apparently while listening to Tupac Shakur.
In Moscow, sanctioned Russian officials mocked the White House’s announcement that the U.S. was going to impose costs on Russia for making military moves in Ukrainian territory. Turns out freezing assets and banning travel visas don’t do much to discourage Putin’s top aides.
Vladislav Surkov, a top Putin advisor and one of the eleven Russian and Ukrainian officials slapped with White House sanctions, declared that he’s “proud” to have made the sanctions list, equating it to a “political Oscar from America for a best supporting actor”.
“The only things that interest me in the U.S. are Tupac Shakur, Allen Ginsberg and Jackson Pollock,” Surkov told a Russian newspaper. “I don’t need a visa to access their work. I lose nothing.”
Allen Ginsberg the gay, peace loving hippy poet? And Tupac Shakur? Did 90s music just hit Russia? Maybe next year they’ll get the Notorious B.I.G.
Putin, Putin, Putin, can’t you see, sometimes your Cold War tactics just hypnotize me…
Yuri Ushakov, Putin’s chief foreign policy aide, also dismissed the sanctions, saying they “are already a bore.”
“They truly cause a sense of irony and even sarcasm,” he told Interfax on Tuesday.
Dmitry Rogozin, the deputy prime minister of Russia in charge of defense (and friend of Steven Seagal!), took to Twitter to ridicule the U.S. sanctions.
“I think some prankster prepared the draft of this Act of the US President,” he wrote.
“Comrade @BarackObama, what should do those who have neither accounts nor property abroad? Or U didn’t think about it?”
It remains to be seen whether the sanctions will have any impact on Russia’s plan for Crimea – but from the looks of it the answer is no. President Obama may have to resort to much more drastic measures than freezing assets and restricting visas to convince Putin to hand Crimea back to Ukraine – perhaps freezing Putin’s Facebook account?