This week the United States issued sanctions against seven Russian lawmakers in reaction to Moscow's movements in Ukraine, including a freeze of dollar-denominated assets and a ban on U.S. travel.
But the Russian officials seemed totally unimpressed.
"These sanctions are already a bore. They truly cause a sense of irony and even sarcasm,” yawned Putin's foreign policy advisor, Yuri Ushakov, to Russian news agency Interfax. He then moved onto another subject (we hope) before he could die of boredom.
Vladislav Surkov, another top Putin aide, was equally unfazed by the Obama administration's actions. "On the contrary, I am proud of this, I believe it is a sort of political Oscar from America for a best supporting actor.”
Surkov continued to reference American pop culture as he explained how much America could go to hell: "The US I am interested in Tupac Shakur, Allen Ginsberg and Jackson Pollock. I don't need a visa to access their work. So I lose nothing."
Surkov — a Kremlin insider and the former deputy prime minister — is considered the chief architect of modern authoritarianism in Russia. The Daily Beast notes:
Surkov is probably best known by political analysts as the author of the ideology dubbed “sovereign democracy” or, sometimes, “managed democracy,” which offers some openings for public expressions of opinion, but remains subordinated to the strong guiding hand of the Russian president (especially if he’s Putin).
But the doe-eyed, 49-year-old "Makaveli" is also a man of arts and letters. As the London Review of Books noted in 2011:
In his spare time Surkov writes essays on conceptual art and lyrics for rock groups. He’s an aficionado of gangsta rap: there’s a picture of Tupac on his desk, next to the picture of Putin. And he is the alleged author of a bestselling novel, Almost Zero…. In interviews he has come close to admitting to being the author while always pulling back from a complete confession.
You read that right: HE KEEPS A PICTURE OF 'PAC AND PUTIN ON HIS DESK.
We can only assume that after commenting on the sanctions, Surkov cranked up "All Eyez on Me," ripped off his shirt — revealing a “Cossack Life” tattoo — then jumped into a hot tub full of Thug Passion.