Who Is the New Russian Prime Minister, Anyway?

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I had long since retired to Episode 5 in the original miniseries of Dallas (Bobby and Pam announce they're pregnant, a shattered and sex-starved Sue Ellen gets wasted and rides a horse in circles, teen sexpot Lucy tries to hump everything that moves, Pam miscarries when a hammered J.R. inadvertently pushes her off the hayloft, and yet Bobby and Pam decide to stay on at Southfork after all at the pleading of a contrite and boozed-up up Jock), but apparently in the latter stages of last night's debate national spelling bee judge Tim Russert sprung a foreign policy gotcha on Hillary by asking her to name the soon-to-be new Russian prime minister. The answer, according to L.A. Times blogger Andrew Malcolm: "Meh, uhm, Me-ned-vadah—whatever."

Ever since candidate George W. Bush flunked his foreign policy pop quiz back in 1999, I've always thought that it's the journalists asking these kinds of questions who should be publicly humiliated with this stuff, but then again maybe not knowing who the president of Pakistan was told us something we shoulda known better, etc.

At any rate, if you want to learn more about Russian political succession from Vladimir Putin to old whatshisslav, I can't think of a  better place to start than Cathy Young's feature in the April issue of reason, available now to subscribers. What, you mean you don't subscribe to the magazine? At less than $20 a year, it's the kind of affordable investment presidential candidates—not to mention actual humans—can't afford to pass up.  

NEXT: Confidence is a Preference for the Habitual Voyeur of What is Known as... Parklife!

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  1. Na… naja… nada… not gonna work here anymore…

  2. I’m confused. I thought there was a difference between the new president of Russia, Medvedev whatever, who will succeed Putin, and the relatively new Russian Prime Minister, Zubkov, who took office in September last year. Have I got this wrong, or is there no distinction between President of Russia and Prime Minister? I thought they were two distinct positions that shared executive powers.

  3. I can tell you his name derives from the word “bear,” which is interesting as he’s quite diminutive.

    I wonder how much of a “puppet” he’ll really be once he takes power.

  4. If the question is “who runs the Sov- I mean, Russian Federation”, then the name is pronounced “Putin” no matter how it’s spelled.

  5. peachy gets the prize for giving the real answer.

  6. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss…

  7. I’m also sick of these gotcha questions. By the way, W. may have “failed” his test but Gore refused to play. (I’d lay odds he didn’t know who Musharraf was pre-9/11 either, or at least couldn’t have come up with his name on a moment’s notice.) Keeping track of who’s in/who’s out in ramshakle kleptocracies is the State Department’s job.

  8. Bobby and Pam announce they’re pregnant

    Wrong. Way back in the 70s only the woman got pregnant, not the couple. Simpler times.

  9. Keeping track of who’s in/who’s out in ramshakle kleptocracies is the State Department’s job.

    Uhh, the State Department is part of the Executive Branch, for which Bush, Gore, Clinton, et al are running.

  10. Yeah, Taktix, the idea is “delegation.” The Department of Agriculture is also part of the Executive Branch. I don’t expect the President to be tracking hog futures, either.

  11. Uhh, the State Department is part of the Executive Branch, for which Bush, Gore, Clinton, et al are running.

    So is the Navy. Mr./Ms. Candidate, what do you know about flight deck operations? Can a submerged submarine be tactically linked to a surface battle group? You don’t know? Obviously you’re not knowledgeable enough to be Commander in Chief.

  12. Uh, whoever the leader of Pakistan has (and had in 1999) his finger on the nuke button. So it’s not exactly meaningless trivia for someone angling to become leader of the free world, is it?

  13. Uh, whoever the leader of Pakistan has (and had in 1999) his finger on the nuke button. So it’s not exactly meaningless trivia for someone angling to become leader of the free world, is it?

    Chris Potter,

    Who is the leader of_______?
    India
    Pakistan
    Israel
    France
    England
    Mainland China
    Russia
    N. Korea

    No googling allowed.

  14. Bobby and Pam announce they’re pregnant, a shattered and sex-starved Sue Ellen gets wasted and rides a horse in circles, teen sexpot Lucy tries to hump everything that moves, Pam miscarries when a hammered J.R. inadvertently pushes her off the hayloft, and yet Bobby and Pam decide to stay on at Southfork after all at the pleading of a contrite and boozed-up up Jock

    Hmm, a regular tuesday evening at the “Paul” house, but without the ranch, money, or attractive women.

  15. Russian political succession since 1917 can be easily understood:

    Lenin–bald
    Stalin–had hair
    Khrushchev–bald
    Brezhnev–had hair
    Andropov–bald
    Chernenko–had hair
    Gorbachev–bald
    Yelstin–had hair
    Putin–bald (or at least balding)

    So naturally:

    Medvedev–has hair

  16. Putin is a good leader, the Russians think so and really it only be theire views that count.

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