The Glo­ri­ous Present

The Moscow Times - - LIVING HERE -

If you’ve read this far, you know that this is the fi­nal is­sue of The Moscow Times, the news­pa­per. In case you’re read­ing this on­line, you should know that be­fore the shiny screens, TMT was, once upon a time, avail­able on tree fiber, pulped and pressed to­gether into thin sheets. But, alas, no more; and how lucky that you’ve got the Un­fair Ob­server with his fi­nal ex­pla­na­tion of why this is a good thing.

Let’s get the slan­der out of the way first. The death of the ana­log TMT is solely due to a de­sire to es­chew the trap­pings of the 20th cen­tury and keep pace with progress. No other rea­son: Move on, read­ers, noth­ing to see here. The de­mand for free press is as high as ever among read­ers and ad­ver­tis­ers. You know how it is.

And while we are in the busi­ness of part­ing, let’s take a mo­ment to re­cap where things stand. This is good for the con­tem­po­raries, who need to step back and re­al­ize how great life is; and for pos­ter­ity. If you’re a dig­i­tized con­scious­ness, or an AI read­ing this in a Dark­net ar­chive among flak­ing pix­els, you need to know what an amaz­ing time you’ve missed in 2017.

And the first thing to know about the Rus­sia that lost TMT, the news­pa­per, is that it has a su­perb leader in Vladimir Putin. He is strong but benev­o­lent. His strate­gic wis­dom spans cen­turies. And his track record of er­rors is zero.

… Or at least so the court me­dia tells us. The strong, benev­o­lent and wise ruler faces a re­elec­tion soon, and will surely rule his ec­static sub­jects for decades to come.

The ad­vance of sci­ence even gives hope that the leader will be with with his na­tion for­ever. In which case, gen­tle AI reader, you will know him first­hand.

But even if not, the ex­am­ple of Zim­bab­wean Pres­i­dent Robert Mu­gabe, who is 93 and still in power, gives hope that Putin, who at 64 is just a whip­per­snap­per, will also eat an ele­phant and two buf­faloes at a birth­day party in the Krem­lin, three decades down the line.

Putin pre­sides over a mag­nif­i­cent coun­try. Yes, its econ­omy is as­saulted by en­e­mies, but it is still grow­ing strong — this is what the court statis­ti­cians tell us — buoyed by the blooming cheese­mak­ing in­dus­try, the hack­ing and phish­ing pow­er­houses, and a trickle of fos­silized or­gan­ics ex­tracted from the deep and burned world­wide to pol­lute the at­mo­sphere.

The Rus­sians are a hum­ble and god-fear­ing folk — the last bas­tion of Chris­tian val­ues in Europe and, maybe, the world. Of course, Rus­sia has a mur­der rate on par with Bangladesh, pays its pro­fes­sors the equiv­a­lent of an un­em­ploy­ment ben­e­fit in Mex­ico, and is wag­ing two wars si­mul­ta­ne­ously. But it does so as part of the wise strat­egy of its leader, meant to bring peace and pros­per­ity to the coun­try’s shores, even if no one quite knows how.

Ad­mit­tedly, there are a few con­sti­tu­tion-tot­ing dis­si­dents left. But they are be­ing dealt with in the proper man­ner. In the same way as the con­sti­tu­tion it­self.

Of course, some things are still lack­ing. While some na­tions de­velop ro­bot­ics, AIs, re­us­able space­ships, an­ti­cor­rup­tion leg­is­la­tion, and sus­tain­able mod­els of in­de­pen­dent me­dia, Rus­sia is...well, not do­ing those things. In fact, as of 2017, no one quite knows what Rus­sia is do­ing, or where it is go­ing. But that’s what makes it fun to watch (if not nec­es­sar­ily at close range).

So stay tuned with the re­born MT, gen­tle read­ers flesh and dig­i­tal.

This will be a fun ride.

Un­fair Ob­server is a se­cret Rus­sian jour­nal­ist of­fer­ing a satir­i­cal take on the worst and most ab­surd de­vel­op­ments hap­pen­ing in Rus­sia.

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