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Moscow Times
December 20, 2004
The Perfect Solution for the Yugansk Fiasco
By Maxim Kononenko
Maxim Kononenko's satirical vignettes are found on his web site, www.vladimir.vladimirovich.ru

One day Vladimir Vladimirovich™ Putin got a call from Defense Minister Sergei Borisovich Ivanov.

"Listen, pal," Sergei Borisovich said. "Osama said he's going to start attacking oil industry targets."

"That dirty rat," Vladimir Vladimirovich™ said. "What's he going to do that for?"

"He wants to drive the price of oil up to $100 a barrel," Sergei Borisovich explained.

"A hundred bucks!" Vladimir Vladimirovich™ exclaimed. "That's fantastic!"

"That's what I was thinking," Sergei Borisovich said. "Should I scramble the bombers?"

"Why bombers?" Vladimir Vladimirovich™ asked.

"To hit oil industry targets," the defense minister replied.

"Hmm. Bombers," Vladimir Vladimirovich™ mumbled, deep in thought. "Hang on a minute."

Vladimir Vladimirovich™ pressed a button on his intercom to speak with the deputy head of his administration, Vladislav Yuryevich Surkov.

"Hey, pal," Vladimir Vladimirovich™ said. "Sergei Borisovich and I have figured out a way to get out of the situation we're in with that Yuganskneftegaz auction."

"What situation?" Vladislav Yuryevich asked.

"No one's giving Gazprom any money," Vladimir Vladimirovich™ said. "That means they can't afford to bid. So we decided that since we can't buy Yuganskneftegaz, we'll bomb it."

"Bomb it!" Vladislav Yuryevich exclaimed. "What in the world for?"

"Because then the price of oil will skyrocket up to $100 a barrel," Vladimir Vladimirovich™ said confidently. "And Gazprom will be rolling in dough."

"I don't follow," Vladislav Yuryevich admitted.

"I don't really understand it myself," Vladimir Vladimirovich™ said. "But you've got to admit, it sure sounds good."

"Let me get this straight," Vladislav Yuryevich said. "You're saying we can't hold the auction if we haven't got any money?"

"An auction with no money?" Vladimir Vladimirovich™ said. "How would that work?"

"You know," Vladislav Yuryevich said, "the way it usually works around here."

"With no money," Vladimir Vladimirovich™ mumbled. "Then the price of oil won't go up and we still won't have any money. Running a country sure is difficult!"

"Tell me about it, pal," Vladislav Yuryevich said.

The two men stroked their chins and fell deep into thought.