The 1st of July

Adam Baker, Red Square, Red Coat, 2006.

Author: Elina Pugacheva

Sub-editor: Jacey Quah

This poem was written shortly before the plebiscite to change the Russian Constitution which was held in Russia from 25 June – 1 July 2020. 

Russia’s puppeteer asks to tighten strings
The BBC presenter moves on 
Embarrassment hits hard
This is why the West thinks we’re crazy

Disinfecting tunnels
The 1st of July
It looms increasingly

Freedom was once a respected woman
Now let’s reverse to a submissive maid
It’s men who know best, after all
Especially Mr. President

“You can vote from your own homes!”
In times of pandemic and starvation
We absolutely cannot stall
Archaic reforms

Last December we walked through the Red Square
The festivities, food and happiness
Warmed up the freezing air

Now the Square is empty
We must all adhere to our national holiday
Of economic depression at home2

The Red Square…
It has a grandiose air
Now infected with corruption 

The preparations have taken months 
Reforms will be passed much sooner 
Mr. President will guard us for a long time to come

Why must history repeat itself?

1 Since March 2020, Russian President Vladimir Putin has been highly rumoured to be living in a bunker-style residence with disinfecting tunnels near Moscow.

2 The first wave of coronavirus cases in March 2020 resulted in forced lockdowns in Russia (announced formally as “non-working weeks”), with negligible government assistance to match.

Image credit

Adam Baker, Red Square, Red Coat, 2006.

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