If it's a Thursday, then it must be time for a Duma deputy to suggest something to improve Russians' lives. The current hero of the hour is one Oleg Mikheyev of the A Just Russia party, who has called for the Customs Union to ban high heels, canvas sneakers and ballet flats because of their deleterious effect on the feet of the nation.
Anyone who has ever put on a pair of high heels and tried to walk a Moscow street a day after the city has laid down new paving for the third time in 18 months will no doubt have sympathy for this attempt to protect residents' extremities.
Forty percent of the nation has flat feet, the deputy said. Next time the Russian team plays in the World Cup, remember that at least four of those 11 players, or up to nine feet, are courageously running despite this condition.
Thursdays don't in fact differ much from the other days of the week, as the Duma is intent on protecting the average Russian from everything that is bad for them, whether that be English words creeping into the Russian language or pernicious lace panties. One PR agency recently wrote to The Moscow Times in Russian asking for фид-бэк, or feedback, a heinous linguistic crime that most sensible people would agree deserves capital punishment, rather than the simple fine that an LDPR party initiative will try to introduce in parliament later this year.
Thankfully, the Duma has now evolved to the extent that it can burp an idea on a Monday, have it passed on a Tuesday and see those people who dress up as cartoon characters near Red Square hanged, drawn and quartered on a Wednesday.
That's just one suggestion for the industrious Duma, whose deputies are right now beavering away thinking up new laws, prohibitions and morally instructive bylaws to steer citizens on the rightful path.
The Duma, thankfully, like the King of Hearts in "Alice in Wonderland," reacts swiftly to the challenges of modern life. In the trial in Lewis Carroll's classic, Alice, a troublesome witness, starts to grow and grow. The King simply improvises with "Rule 42: All persons more than a mile high to leave the court."
The Duma must learn to work as imaginatively to combat Russia's problems, which are growing like Alice, and as with that pesky English girl, will soon have its head hit the ceiling.
To help them, The Moscow Times humbly suggests five laws that will make the country a better and safer place.
1) Introduce fines for reckless women who sit on the ground or chilly outdoor walls, as well as for anyone who goes out without a hat in winter. Ensure no one escapes justice by asking the country's senior citizens to act as a druzhina ready to arrest and fine on the spot. Set up watching posts for them on benches near housing blocks.
2) Ensure the country's health by making dill mandatory in all dishes — the herb has helped cure flatulence, women's problems and a range of other afflictions since Ancient Greek times — especially in fast food chains, resulting in Big Macdill and Royal Dillux — KFC would be renamed DFC.
3) Random spot-checks and raids on all public conveniences to ensure that paper is not put down the toilet. Apply fines plus community service involving cleaning exploding toilets that were blocked up by such WC wastrels.
4) To avoid all bad luck, fine and/or beat anyone who walks on the cracks on the sidewalk.
5) Create a fair, independent and efficient judicial system. If that is too complicated, at least make the judges wear wigs. Introduce fines for refusing to wear them.