By John Toth
While I often fill this column space with light-hearted subjects, I feel like I have to make an exception this week and touch on a very serious matter - Russian President Vladimir Putin and his escapades in Ukraine.
Let me take some liberties here as I pass on valuable advice to the dictator of Russia. Who knows? He could read this and maybe change his mind about destroying the smaller countries around him when they don’t want to be occupied.
So, here it goes. I hope it helps in some way.
Dear President Putin:
Can I call you Vladimir, or Vlad? Vlad sounds more informal, so if you don’t mind, I’ll proceed with that, unless you insist on President Putin. The only problem is that presidents don’t get elected for life - dictators do, so let’s just settle on Vlad.
I have read on the Internet - so I know that it’s true - that you don’t know how to use a computer or even a smartphone. That must be very frustrating.
I think it may be one reason why you miscalculated a little and invaded a smaller sovereign nation. If you got on social media and read through some of the comments from people whom you did not appoint to governmental positions, it would have become obvious that the Ukranians would not welcome you with open arms.
Previous countries the Russians “liberated” also had a problem with being invaded and then being occupied. Hungary, for example, could not wait to get rid of the Russian occupying forces. It took 43 years, but better later than never.
The biggest problem is that Russian occupation also includes oppression of people’s rights and the theft of valuables from the occupied country - like Hungary.
I know, Russia invaded in 1956 so that it could “liberate” Hungarians, but they did not need liberation. They were well underway to liberate themselves and establish a democratic government. Then the Russian tanks crossed the border, and the rest is torturous history.
I was lucky enough to escape from there in 1966, so I know what type of “liberation” you have in mind for Ukraine. They know it also, and what they are trying to tell you is that they don’t want it. They also are trying to let you know that you need to leave.
If you could browse through some social media, you would have known that. It may not be too late to borrow a cellphone from one of the oligarchs and go through some of the posts about you. I think you’ll be surprised. And, you’ll find out really quickly why the Ukrainians are not throwing flowers at your invading troops.
Vlad, do you really want to end your dictator career as the “piranha of the world?” That’s what they call you on Twitter. Wouldn’t it be better to end it on a positive note, like giving all your stolen money to charity?
It’s not like you can take it with you. Pharaohs tried. It didn’t work. We dug them up thousands of years later and put them and their treasures in museums.
Some people have said that you’re smart. Yet you can’t even operate a smartphone. My 9-year-old granddaughter can, so she must be super smart. The fact is that if you need help dialing a number these days, chances are that you’re a little behind times - like 50 years.
Look in the mirror. You’re 69. The average age of a Russian dictator is 70 or so. This may not be the best ending to a long KGB and strongman career. Maybe you should ease off a little, relax, chill out, play a video game.
I know you like war and world domination, and there are plenty of those games online. You can shoot your heart out and not hurt anyone. If you get killed, you just get another life and play on. If you start losing, just shut it down and start all over again.
War games are best fought digitally, not with human beings with families who will miss them terribly if they die. There are no second and third lives in real life.
I know of one game that lets you control the world, but right now it is controlled by someone else. Maybe you two could team up and control the entire universe. I know that you’re not a team player but try it. It may be a lot of fun.
You could talk about all kinds of stuff as you take over more and more of the universe. You may even make a new friend.
Wouldn't that be more fun than trying to destroy all of Ukraine? If you win, what are you going to do with it? How are you going to win over the people? Hungarians hated Russian occupation the entire time they were being occupied. Many of us managed to escape to the West and start new lives.
What do you say, Vlad? I have an extra Xbox you can borrow and a control pad that has not been thrown too many times. Something jiggles in it, but it still works.
Take my advice. I want nothing in return but peace. And maybe you get lost and let the Russian people live in freedom. That time will come, anyway. The big question is, what happens to Vlad when it comes?
I’ll even give you the Xbox. You don’t need to return it. Imagine, you control the whole universe. That’s much better than Ukraine.