Putin-Biden summit, but make it an 18th century gossip column

Jul 6, 2021

Gentle reader*,

People that have an itch at scribbling generally entertain their visitors with their happy projects, high flights, and wonderful publications, therefore ’tis to be supposed this blogue is in great measure the subject of many a drawing-room or a Twitteur discourse. Hence, when the handsome city of Geneva has been suffused by the members of the ton aching to catch a glimpse of the illustrious statesmen that graced its palaces with their presence, it is but no wonder that this author had to reserve quite a bit of ink to illuminate their readers on the progress made in the peaceful Helvetia. 

General Bidene and Prince Poutine’s meeting has taken place even after the General had not forcibly recommended his counterpart to the members of the ton by intitling Prince a murderer of sorts. The Prince, desired not to be so fantastically revealing in his dress and widely considered flattered by such a discourse, has disclosed to Mr. S. that he has always been guided by the interests of the people he leads, especially in his martial campaign in the Caucasus and the rumours of slaying his opposition were a mere phoney bulletin.  

Alas, the ton and the members of the journal guild were not treated to the spectacle of a joint press symposium where they could relish the unaccountable whims and extravagant frolics committed by subjects of this column. Most observers were left in the dark about the true nature of the conversations between the General and the Prince. This author will not pretend to know whether the shade of the cravat the Prince wore would signify a particular sentiment, but, mercifully, the ton could emit a sigh of relief – the two fissile powers do not seem to entertain the thought of engaging in another World Combat. Count Tolstoy was favorably mentioned by the Prince when describing the relationship with the General. The Master was quoted to describe the fleeting glimpses of trust that sparked between the two statesmen. 

The Prince still refuses to title Mr. N in his press discourses despite numerous questions from the bulletin crowd, seemingly in earnest believing that the General and his countrywomen seek to undermine the Prince’s fiefdom by donating moneys to the extraneous agent assemblies. In this vein, it is probably the General who might have identified the key issue at the heart of the relationship between the two: according to the General his counterpart has concerns about being “encircled” – locating a key inspiration of two decades of Russian extraneous policy. The beastly orange wench’s name did slip the lips of the General once he approached the bulletin workers yearning to ask their questions, reminding everyone of the real spectre of Helsinki haunting the present press symposium. 

The ton’s expectations were low and yet the fact that the General and the Prince entertained a tete-a-tete has signified a progression. Never fear, gentle reader, the Prince’s bulletins will continue to paint the General as disorientated and to imagine Mr. N.’s assembly as a fanatical sort. Most of all, the Prince’s press symposium has shown the journal guild a master class in whataboutist oration: by pointing out the social unrest in the wake of the BLM protests he said that he “did not want to let it happen here”. This author is of a firm belief that the Prince would be sooner preached out of his follies once the preacher would allow himself into deeper circumspection of their flaws. Or, as the Prince said, no need to denounce the mirror whence your own self is far from pleasing. 

*Adapted from digitized excerpts of Mrs. Crackenthorpe’s Female Tatler columns, 1709-1710.  

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Elizaveta Gaufman is Assistant Professor of Russian Discourse and Politics at the University of Groningen, the Netherlands. She is the author of "Security Threats and Public Perception: Digital Russia and the Ukraine Crisis"