While vacationing in Tuva — although we don't know exactly when he took the vacation — President Vladimir Putin caught a pike weighing 21 kilograms.
Note that it was Putin, not folklore hero Yemelya, who caught the magic fish.
The huge pike is right out of Freud, or to be more exact, from Jung. It is the archetype of the Russian soul.
"How did Putin do it?" people ask. "With a wave of his magic wand," is the answer.
In other countries people work hard, study and slave away to succeed. But in Russian folklore, lazy Yemelya sits on a stove and commands, "The price of oil shall be high. So sayeth the pike, so sayeth I."
Putin is the spitting image of the Tsar of Nature. Siberian cranes fly after him, whales kiss him, snow leopards and tigers patiently wait to meet with him. Inanimate objects such as ancient amphoras, fighter jets and deep-sea submersibles seem to obey his command. Putin even puts out wildfires himself. (Apparently, there's no one else capable of doing it.)
What voter would doubt that anyone capable of reeling in such a monster of the river is capable of ruling the country? Who else but Putin has that type of machismo? Surely not Alexei Navalny, who has probably never even caught a measly carp.
Maybe you think Putin's fishing adventure was all a public relations stunt. No, Putin was simply expressing a deep and very natural impulse. He is, after all, the Tsar of Nature.
Why do you suppose all the rulers of antiquity kept a menagerie of animals and loved to hunt? What does the hunt symbolize? Wasn't it the same thing when Hercules destroyed the Nemean lion and Perseus slaughtered Medusa?
Pope Leo X also loved to hunt. True, he was enormously fat and short-sighted, but that didn't stop him from trying to rule over nature.
Pope Leo had a special area of land for hunting that was surrounded by heavy canvas sheets mounted on posts. Swiss guards, soldiers and local peasants were posted around the perimeter to ensure that none of the animals escaped. At the single open area in the fence, a large platform was placed on which the pope and his entourage would stand. When they were ready, huntsmen and their dogs would begin chasing the prey. Wild boars, deer, rabbits, hares, wild goats and wolves rushed through the gap in the fence where the courtiers delighted in hacking them to death with their halberds and stabbing them with spears. When a poor animal occasionally became entangled in the nets, the pope would descend from the platform, put on his eyepiece in order to see clearly and finish off the animal with his spear to the cheering of his courtiers. Like Putin, the pope was also a Tsar of Nature.
Even Josef Stalin did not escape the temptation to act as Tsar of Nature. For example, one day he planted a lemon seedling at one of his dachas. "It's not growing," someone said. "For me, it will grow," answered Stalin. And when the freezing weather came, the seedling was kept covered under a glass dome.
As long as Putin's "magic pike" is setting world oil prices, he has nothing to worry about. I have only one question: When will state television finally show Putin installing radio transmitters on sirins — the half-women, half-birds of mythology?
Yulia Latynina hosts a political talk show on Ekho Moskvy radio.