Vladimir Medinsky’s laundry

Every other Russian knows this joke. A telephone rings. “Hello, is this the laundry?”

“Laundry, shmaundry! [Prachechnaya-kherachechnaya!] This is the Ministry of Culture.”

Last week, Russia’s culture minister Vladimir Medinsky vowed not to hand out government grants to documentaries negative on Russia. As he put it, “I’m talking about those who make movies based on the principle ‘bloody Russia is shite’ [Rashka-govnyashka]”.

Also last week, Moscow City’s culture commissar Sergei Katkov dispensed some professional advice to young Muscovites, “Lift your ass and get to work, start earning cash…” Kapkov was trying to say that the city can subsidize culture to some degree but people should be prepared to pay their share. He later apologized for the harsh language.

One is left to wonder why, of all Russian officials, it was the two culture bureaucrats who code-switched so inappropriately.

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