Putin’s dwindling circle of friends – POLITICO

Welcome to Declassified, a weekly humor column.

Vladimir Putin’s bloody and senseless war against Ukraine has left him increasingly isolated. Soon he won’t have any friends to come and sit at that ridiculously oversized table… except for Alexander Lukashenko (pretty much the supermarket own-brand version of Putin) and Steven Seagal.

Hair-dye enthusiast and action-film star Seagal — I hesitate to use the word actor, since he’s regularly duped by potted plants — became a Russian citizen in 2017 and has interfered in the current conflict, to the delight of absolutely nobody.

The star of films such as ‘Under siege’ and ‘Fire down below’ (the latter of which I believe is chlamydia) told Fox News Digital: ‘I see them both as one family and I really believe there is an external one Unity is spending large sums of money on propaganda to provoke the two countries to be at odds with each other.”

While everyone else is running away from Russia, oligarch Roman Abramovich has flown back there and is selling assets faster than you can say “potential financial sanctions.” That includes his real estate portfolio and also Chelsea Football Club, which he wants one for 3 billion pounds reported. I’m sure people will be lining up to hand over unimaginable sums of money to a man whose friend is fighting what will no doubt be a crippling, costly war. Actually, this is the property of a football club, so they will almost certainly line up to do just that.

Another Putin supporter, far-right French presidential candidate Eric Zemmour, has had a bad week. The newspaper Le Canard enchaîné reported that he had left the chic department store Le Bon Marché without paying for his purchases. It seems Zemmour scanned the items but didn’t pay the €38.80 bill (that’s now a whopping 4,780 rubles after pumping up Russian currency). Store employees recognized him from the CCTV footage and contacted his team before a security guard returned to pay.

Zemmour described it as a “simple mistake” and blamed (probably) foreigners and leftists. He also said he gave his security guards €40 to settle the bill and generously allowed him to keep the change €1.20 of it. Let’s hope Putin doesn’t find out about this scandalous waste of money that could have gone his way!


“Listen, I know we’re here to talk about the war in Ukraine, but if anyone wants a quick party, just give the secret signal.”

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Paul Dalison is POLITICS‘s slot news editor.

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