Russia

Putin's Fake Election Win Earns Him Some Fake Advice

A newly found secret memo on the beloved leader's surefire plans for Syria, sanctions and diversifying the economy.

Fired up!

Photographer: Kirill Kudryavtsev/AFP/Getty Images

This highly classified memo was provided to the author immediately after election results were announced in Russia.

18 March 2018

From: Director of State Strategic Planning, Russian Federation

To: President Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin

Subject: A Strategy for Our Beloved Motherland Party

1) Congratulations on your stunning election victory, Mr. President. All loyal and patriotic Russians are thrilled with the prospect of your continued leadership, which, like the cellar of excellent Grand Cru Bordeaux you have amassed, is only improving with age. Not since the ascension of Czar Peter the Great, after whom the city of your birth, St. Petersburg, is appropriately named, have we been lucky enough to combine the strategic vision, boundless energy, crack weapon skills, Olympic-level martial arts performance, dangerous animal-dominating and financial brilliance in one leader. Hopefully one day you will have the chance to engage in a judo match with Donald Trump. Pozdravleniya!

2) I am sure you would agree that now is the time for us to create a coherent strategic approach that will continue to ensure the safety and security of our beloved homeland. We have enormous opportunities ahead, and I would propose that we focus on four key objectives:

  • Weakening the United States. An enormous maskirovka, known as a “clever deception” in the West, has been brilliantly executed over the past five years. You have managed to sow enormous seeds of doubt in the very political core of our bitter enemies in America by inflaming their already polarized politics. Your guidance has allowed us to destroy their faith in their most cherished institutions (especially the vaunted and now humiliated Federal Bureau of Investigation); create even deeper racial divisions; and above all contribute substantially to the election of Donald Trump — the first president in American modern history who appears to have completely missed the threat posed to his nation by the Russian Federation. We must continue using the network of trolls, implanted operatives, overt propaganda (such as RT), and our own blandishments to allow the U.S. to fully sleepwalk into its eventual withdrawal from Europe and — over time — from the rest of the world.
  • Destroying the NATO alliance. Given your own lifetime of skilled opposition to this odious collection of weak-kneed “democracies,” no one is better positioned to drive a definitive wedge between the nations of the West. In particular, your skilled use of the techniques of what the west calls “hybrid warfare” are pulling several key eastern European nations away from the alliance — Hungary and Poland in particular. And the masterstroke, of course, is your courting of Turkey, a crucial NATO member who is clearly drifting away from its foolish alignment with the trans-Atlantic axis. If we can fully implement your strategic vision, it is quite possible that NATO will cease to function effectively by the mid-2020s. And your influence in western European elections is noteworthy: From Brexit to the election in Italy of a political party started by a comedian, we are weakening the alliance day by day and nation by nation.
  • Consolidating the near abroad. You have created new trade and customs institutions that align the nations ringing the homeland with former Soviet states such as Armenia, Belarus and the various Central Asian republics. The invasion of Ukraine and annexation of Crimea have led to unprecedented patriotic pride here at home, as our people see the strength and power of Russia. Your brilliance in supporting Bashar al-Assad in Syria will provide us with a dominant position in the Levant, as well as bases on the Mediterranean. And you are building a stronger and better relationship with the Chinese, despite the fact that some think they look at our vast and empty eastern lands like a dog eyeing a rib-eye steak. We must redouble our efforts to influence and control around our borders
  • Disciplining the unruly. The recent poisoning of a Russian traitor in London — in which our security services had absolutely no role whatsoever in any possible way — will nonetheless be seen quite clearly by any malcontents, turncoats and protesters as the long arm of the state reaching out to silence the foolish, weak sentiments of the disaffected. We must maintain control of those who would undermine the state, whether here at home or anywhere in the world.

3) So, Mr. President, we are obviously winning on every front. However, as we plot our next strategic steps, we here in the planning directorate were hoping for a little guidance on four small points when you have time to consider them:

  • Reconstruction costs will be staggering in Syria and Crimea/southeastern Ukraine. Unfortunately, we have no allies who will help fund them. What will be our plan for covering those costs?
  • Sanctions against us are actually having an increasing effect on our economy, and some dissidents are using this as a means to sow dissatisfaction, despite the stunning victory you achieved at the polls yesterday. I am sure you are thinking that one through, and we await your guidance on the economic front in the immediate term.
  • As alternate energy sources come online and the price for our hydrocarbons falls, what should our economy look like? Efforts to transition to a broader-based economy have been unfairly undermined by the West, but surely you have a long-term plan in mind. We stand ready to implement your ideas!
  • Lastly, the so-called Mueller investigation, which appears to be clanking at President Trump like a Panzer tank, seems to be using its “witch-hunt” techniques to stir up anger and resentment against Russia. We’ve had some success undermining institutions associated with the investigation, notably the FBI. How can we increase our destructive impact in the U.S.? Many there are catching on to our use of social networks, bots and other cyberwarfare techniques. What is the next phase in your plan?

4) Again, congratulations from all of us here in the Strategic Planning Directorate (SPD). By the way, we saw the movie “Red Sparrow” over the weekend (after voting, of course!) and we believe that when the sequel is produced, you should be played by Brad Pitt, although of course he lacks your forthright masculinity in real life. But he is very popular around the world, and, fortunately for him, he bears a striking resemblance to you.

Your faithful servant,

[Name redacted]

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.

    To contact the author of this story:
    James Stavridis at jstavridis@bloomberg.net

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    Tobin Harshaw at tharshaw@bloomberg.net

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