In Siberia, they’ve discovered that nothing warms things up like a Cold War. That is the theme of the President Cafe, a shrine to Russian leader Vladimir Putin. From The Guardian of London: “Photographs of the president adorn the walls … while a life-size cutout of him is available for selfies. The pictures on the wall span Putin’s life from a young KGB agent to judo aficionado and international statesman.”
I mentioned the new Cold War. That’s addressed by the bathrooms: “The only place where visitors won’t find Putin is in the toilets. Here, another president dominates, as Barack Obama’s face adorns the toilet paper and mats on the floor are decked out in U.S. flags.”
One of the cafe’s managers studied in the U.S. for three years before returning to her homeland. She told the newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda that there are “no leisure activities” on these shores and described Americans as “like helpless kittens” when faced with a crisis. (She might be half right; I’ve known kittens far more resourceful than some people.)
She continued: “When I got back to Russia I couldn’t believe it. Everyone is unhappy, and doesn’t see all the things that are around them. I met a girl who said it was her dream to live in America. How can you even say that? You should work to make your home comfortable first. And that depends on all of us. That’s why we have a sign on the wall that says: ‘What have you done for Russia?’ ”
Recent Russian military provocations against the U.S. probably entertained customers at the President Cafe. The Obama administration’s tepid response likely caused more laughter. At some point we will have to respond – or get out of the Big Bear’s face.