High on life Former ‘gray cardinal’ of Russian politics pens poem about paradise without cocaine

Valery Sharifulin / TASS / Scanpix / LETA

Former presidential adviser Vladislav Surkov — at one point considered to be the “gray cardinal” responsible for managing Russia’s domestic politics — has authored a poem published in the September issue of Russian Pioneer. The poem is about freedom without cocaine. For a rough (non-rhyming) English translation:

“What Paradise Looks Like: Desert and Freedom”

I’m alone again

I’ve been given freedom

why cocaine?

this air exists, after all

take it and inhale

and that’s it — await the rush

that’s what paradise looks like:

a desert freedom

take it and inhale

with all your heart and all your brain

all nights and all days

all the lands and all the stars

and this month of May

with your soul’s whole abyss

don’t exhale

and don’t dare breathe.

In his columnRussian Pioneer editor-in-chief Andrey Kolesnikov explained that the magazine’s September edition is dedicated to the “Velvet season” (early autumn). “Everyone understands the ‘Velvet season,’ the theme of this issue, in their own way. If this weren’t the case, the magazine wouldn’t even exist. […] And so we also have Vladislav Surkov’s ‘Velvet season’ — with exhaustive explanations on this topic,” Kolesnikov wrote.

Surkov’s work has appeared several times before in Russian Pioneer. In 2009, as a supplement, the magazine also published the “gangsta fiction” novel “Okolonolya” (Almost Zero) by Natan Dubovitsky — Surkov’s alleged pseudonym. Vladislav Surkov has even worked with the Russian rock musician Vadim Samoilov, whose 2003 album “Polustrova” (Peninsula) owes most of its lyrics to Surkov.

(C)MEDUZA 2020

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