Putin joke shows Russian narrative about the West

This week Russian president Vladimir Putin held a press conference in Moscow in the presence of no less that 1600 journalists. And if anybody should doubt the narrative that exists in Russia about the West, I think the following answer to a question about international relations and defense spending gives a good illustration:

“We didn’t run away from any agreements. But what did USA do? They set up launching systems where missile interceptors can be exchanged for medium range missiles. We protect our safety without getting caught in an arms race. Our defense spending is balanced by due attention to several needs: We must ensure the safety without breaking the economy. Next year we will spend 2.8 trillion Rubles on defense. But the United States will spend 700 trillion Dollars. Try to feel the difference. But we are satisfied with what we spend. Could we possibly spend any less? Let me tell you a joke: An officer asks his son ‘Have you seen the dagger?’ The son answers, ‘I exchanged it for a watch’. The officer replies, ‘And then when a robber comes, kills me and your mother, rapes your sister, you will go into the street and say ‘The time in Moscow is 12:30’?’“

I guess nobody ever accused Putin of being a funny man. But comparing the United States to a robber, killer, and rapist must be about the least funny joke that I can think of.

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