In an update to the revelations about outrageous expenditures in Sochi Olympic construction, sources revealed that Putin built a compound near Sochi for pet honey badgers. A recent interview with the Russian leader’s chief animal trainer revealed details about the totem status that the honey badger has had since the Russian president was a child raising weasels in the attic of a dacha. Putin and his cronies, Arkady and Boris Rotenberg, are reported to take a glandular extract from the honey badger before judo matches, which helps them “channel” the creature’s focused aggression. The ability to chase a lion off its kill led to his building the honey badger breeding and training compound in a spot called Med Polyana (Honey Glade).
Putin frequently makes the trip to the honey badger compound by helicopter from his country residence at Bocharov Ruchey and works out with them wearing a light-weight kevlar suit with gloves and a face mask. This honey badger compound site is at the heart of the corrupt planning and construction activities around Sochi. The initial report by the Anti-Corruption Foundation on corrupt financing of the Sochi Olympics described the Med Polanya compound Putin built for the pet honey badgers as a foie-gras plantation and a milk-fed veal farm. Recent reports reveal, however, that veal and foie-gras are favored foods of cronies and honey badgers.
Sarah Palin has admired Putin’s ability to engage in manly activity and generally be a “bad-ass,” and she recently acknowledged that her identification with the wolverine was why she found the Russian leader “simpatico.” She referred to the YouTube honey badger video that received some 62 million views since January 2011, a video which she claims to have watched almost 100 times. Putin was electrified by the YouTube video but had previously admired the “he don’t give a f***” heroic tales of the honey badger in folklore of the Caucasus.
The creature was rarely seen in the Western Caucasus until Putin’s and the Rotenbergs’ reintroduction campaign. The blockbuster inauguration of the honey badger was planned as a media event for the Russian Revival of Honor through Indiscriminate Predation (RREHIP) in 2011. Putin had encouraged Russians to have three children to replenish the ethnic Russian population. Similarly, he had been searching for just the right totem to catch the centralized ideas of the campaign in support of supervised breeding and dissemination of carnivorous, combative creatures.
Unfortunately, at a key moment, Boris Rotenberg was set upon by a released honey badger and bitten badly on his upper thigh. Later in 2011, the focus switched to fostering the leopard, which led to the much publicized media documentation of the release of a specimen into the wild. Putin also tested a number of media documentation moments with animals including fitting a tracker collar on an anesthetized polar bear, shooting a whale with a harmless dart and riding a horse without a shirt. Allegedly, the Russian leader has shared videos among his friends showing him lithely practicing judo moves and sparring with his favorite honey badger, which he affectionately calls Barak.
According to the animal trainer, Putin experimented with various animal pairings and really thought he had something that worked visually. The compound he built for the pet honey badgers near Sochi has its own media center. Rotenberg losing an apple-sized piece of flesh from just under his gluteus dampened the honey badger’s future as Putin had imagined it. Appearing in the Duma with Mellivora capensis held high above his head and giving the honey badger’s fighting call “Khrya-ya-ya-ya” would have brought the deputies to their feet.
Satire by Lawrence Shapiro