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'It's Your Duty, My Beauty'
The Doorman with Nukes and No Friends
During the last several months I’ve read many probabilistic analyses of the possibility that Russia intends to further invade Ukraine. Their authors conclude that it is not only possible, but rather likely this could occur in the coming weeks.
Their arguments, some of them rolled out on Twitter, have shaken European leaders, led the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv to start thinking about relocation to Lviv and forced the international community to worry about the doorman with nukes and no friends.
Ukraine native Vladimir Pastukhov, a practicing philosopher based in London, says Putin’s goal is not war, but to create tension by threatening bloodshed. According to him, grabbing your potential customer by the throat is a convenient bargaining tactic. He says that’s the essence of what has been called “Doorman Syndrome" (Синдром Вахтёра).
“When the doorman makes threats, people pay attention. They talk about the threats and with the doorman who is making them, slipping something into his pocket and looking ingratiatingly into his eyes. If the doorman isn’t threatening you, then it’s as if he doesn’t exist at all,” Pastukhov said, and later reiterated in his Echo Moscow blog.
Indeed, Putin has been especially boorish this week, blurting out after a beano with Macron in Moscow that Ukraine should bite the pillow and fulfill her duty.
Нравится, не нравится — терпи, моя красавица! Надо исполнять! По-другому не получится.
CNN’s Nathan Hodge writes that Putin’s crude vernacular, “addressing Zelensky in condescending and gendered language,” left some journalists scratching their heads.
Anton Troianovski, Roger Cohen and Katie Rogers of the New York Times also use the word crude to characterize the doorman’s outburst.
Ukraine’s president didn’t think the Russian leader’s crude comments were addressed to him, at least not directly. At a press conference in Kyiv, he said the use of the female gender for the possessive pronoun “my” (“моя”) was inappropriate, noting that Ukraine is very patient (and therefore wise and vice versa).
“Regarding the Minsk Agreements… [saying] 'like it or hate it - my darling, deal with it.' Of course, there are things that you cannot argue with the President of the Russian Federation: Ukraine is really a darling, but 'my?' It seems to me that’s over the top. And regarding 'deal with it,' I generally think that Ukraine is very patient, because this is wisdom. I think that this is important not only for Ukraine, but for the whole of Europe. And it is very important for the Russians, because escalation, escalation from the other side, depends on our patience. We are protecting our country. We are on our territory. Patience is our response to provocations, when we behave in a very dignified manner. Therefore, patience, it seems to me, is wisdom,” he said.
Russian publicist Aleksandr Nevzorov said Ze’s response was pathetic.
Biden’s Spokeswoman Jen Psaki agreed that Putin’s rape joke was outrageous, but didn’t comment on Ze’s meh response.