You can’t play at both Caesar Augustus and Stalin, bay-bee. You gotta pick one or another, not pretend to surrender power, and then pop off with monologues like this:
“We have a respected company, Mechel,” Putin said in introducing his subject.
“By the way, we invited the owner and director of the company, Igor Vladimirovich Zyusin, to today’s meeting, but he suddenly got sick. Meanwhile, it is known that in the first quarter this year the company exported raw materials abroad at half the domestic, and world, price. And what about the margin tax for the government?”
He added: “Of course, sickness is sickness, but I think Igor Vladimirovich should get better as quick as possible, otherwise we’ll have to send him a doctor.”
The writing’s been on the wall since the 90s, and just in case nobody’s noticed it, Putin just went over the letters in neon spray-paint. Russia is a stalinist thugocracy, and at this point, anybody stupid enough to do business with them deserves what they get.