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Russia’s Surrealistic August

Russia's Surrealistic August by EurasiaNet

A EurasiaNet Partner Post from: RFE/RL

Russia appears to have survived August without a major catastrophe this year.

There have been no coups and no defaults. No submarines have sunk, no trains or shopping malls have been bombed, and no wars have started -- well, at least no new ones.

There's been plenty of silliness, to be sure:

meat in Tatarstan, the mass slaying of contraband Ukrainian ducklings in Belgorod, and a viral video of a crazed man (or good actor) sticking it to the West by
, just to name a few examples.

There have also been the routine exposes of the elite's opulence, this time Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov's $620,000 watch and lavish honeymoon on a yacht. And there were surprises, like the shock resignation of Vladimir Yakunin, one of Russian President Vladimir Putin's closest cronies, as head of Russian Railways.

But if this August was largely uneventful, it has been marked, at least among the chattering classes, by a sense of foreboding.

Russia is stuck in a quagmire in...