Zoo story

While it leaves little doubt as to the depth of the contempt and loathing felt by many Russian intellectuals for the West, and especially for Russia’s “near abroad” – in particular, the small Baltic state of Estonia, a recent interview with the Russian economist Mikhail Delyagin in the Russian daily Komsomolskaya Pravda reveals a strange and unsettling twilight zone, where humanity appears to fade and go out of the window altogether, becoming replaced by something else. The economist is asked by one of the interviewers about Russia’s plans: perhaps the tanks will go as they did in the 1930s, and be greeted with flowers?

For that , they [Estonians] need to stew in their crazy nationalism for another five to eight years. Secondly, our nation needs to heal itself. And thirdly, what do we need these insane farmers for? What would Russia do with [Estonian prime minister Andrus] Ansip? Show him at the zoo? But then there definitely might not be enough room for Saakashvili …

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