Ivan Shishkin—journalist, photographer, chef and raconteur—makes a delicious a multiple course feast in Moscow.
Privyet, says the crawfish. This one is Russian—you can tell by the red of his carapace. He waves at you from the end of the kind of meal not easily forgotten, Moscow chef Ivan Shishkin’s Fat Party, held last year around the long table at Tapa de Comida not far from Trubnaya Station.
Shishkin—journalist, photographer, chef and raconteur—managed to make delicious a multiple course feast featuring dishes that were all or mostly fat. And here at the end, was this lean and lithe river creature, like a palate-cleanser, an after-dinner mint.
You may have heard about the news from Moscow this week. I have never met President Putin, but I have sat my hours in the Kremlin with his spokesman Dmitry Peskov, who is a delightfully diligent smoker (I don’t want to imagine what would happen if I tried to light up in Jay Carney’s office). Peskov is also a master of the art, to quote Luke Harding’s excellent post Why So Sad, Vlad, of ”You know I’m lying, and I know I’m lying, but—hey!—that’s the game”. So Peskov said that Putin was crying during his victory speech because of the bitter cold and wind.
What Peskov will not say is that those tears were a sign of pressure, a slight fissure in the iron. Simply put: it is no longer fun being Alpha Dog (as US Embassy cables called Putin). He may have won strongly and avoided an election run-off with one of the scabrous curs who were allowed to run against him, but he will have to be a different leader now. He no longer has political capital to blow on powergrabs and graft. So while the real opposition—the blogger Navalnys and old guard Limonovs—who got detained in the streets for protesting after the elections, may be in a dark mood, I think they have won already. Putin 3.0 will be different, because of them and the people that joined them. If he isn’t, then these people will rise and keep rising until Project Putin is over, for good.