Russia’s Next President

Prof.Hovhannes I. Pilikian, London UK, Gibrahayer, June 2010

Prof. H. I. Pilikian by Mariusz Kaldowski


Pushkin House is a Russian cultural centre in the heart of London’s West End, very near the British Museum. I frequently attend events there, even though not a member formally.


Prof.Hovhannes I. Pilikian, London UK, Gibrahayer, June 2010

Prof. H. I. Pilikian by Mariusz Kaldowski


Pushkin House is a Russian cultural centre in the heart of London’s West End, very near the British Museum. I frequently attend events there, even though not a member formally.


On a Friday in May (the 28th to be precise, 2010), I popped in to buy a CD of Chaliapin I adore, that great 19th century Russian baritonal Basso singing arias – my own Three Tenors are Caruso, Pavarotti, and … Chaliapin! They have produced not a tremolo between them in their long careers of singing, evidenced even by the primitive technology that would easily have picked up on such in the time of Caruso and Chaliapin. Any singer with any vibrato in their voice will sound like a broken record. Broken records (like the voice) used to get stuck in a groove and sound exactly like the modern vibrato-riddled singers …

The very gallant Director of the Pushkin Centre, an orchestra Conductor who has grown into his majestic surname, Mr. Julian Gallant kindly invited me to attend the book launch that day advertised as a Russian language event – he re-assured me that there will be a translator into English. And there was – an excellent one, Miss Yelena Cook – I only stayed because of her verbatim translation. And thank God I did stay … It was a Revelation on a biblical scale.

The Russian Ambassador, a giant of a man, a cleanly shaven Viking … in an English solicitorial striped suit was presiding – there was a whole delegation (as if in Soviet times) of distinguished personalities, from Moscow, with the book’s writer, the translator (into English), the Muscovite Russian publisher of the same, the Muscovite Russian publisher of the original in Russian, and the impressive seemingly non-mafia looking handsome Businessman subsidizing the lot … it must cost him a fortune, as the original edition (in Russian) of the book is already a huge bestseller in Russia, the German translation (we were told) is a runaway success, and the American edition will soon be out!

But what is this amazing book about? It is a non-sensational, mild biography, clean and wholesome of a … Sergey Mironov.

Sergey, who?

I am of those who believe that Russia is still a superpower … it will re-emerge to restrain the dangerous madness of American hyper-imperialism that is destroying the world – witness the latest BP oil spill. Therefore, the affairs of Russia have indeed great global significance.

Sergey Mironov, a silver haired St. Petersburgian (some would say ‘pure’) Russian, pensively staring out of the cover of the book with an avuncular smile, is the Speaker of the Russian Senate, who even has already a political party to his credit called Just Russia.

And no one has heard of him in our country – Oh how effectively the British news media Barons keep us the rabble in Britain, in intellectual ignorance and blindness … I have never come across yet an interview with (say) the President of China, or Venezuela, let alone a Sergey Mironov and his Just Russia. Only when the Hollywood film-director Oliver Stone released a documentary on President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, did the world-famous BBC just send a TV journalist to do an obnoxious interview with him in typical condescending BBC imperialist semi-racist house-style.

Last but not least, in fact first and foremost Mironov’s personal Assistant (and the Party’s Secretary) was also present, and made a speech at the book launch.

The author of the book is a very handsome journalist with classical Russian looks – Miloslav Naryshkin – he could have walked out of Pushkin’s tales …

The title of his book meriting such a bizarre launch – with an Ambassador of a superpower and a distinguished delegation in a … tiny room and no guests to speak of, is perhaps the most exciting bit of a book that may be totally boring for corrupted Western tastes; Red is Where I’m Coming From [Publisher=Izdatelstvo Ves Mir, 2010 – I wouldn’t be surprised if it turned out that the Publisher’s name MIR puns the politician’s surname, which is of course rooted in the Russian word meaning “Peace”).

The Red is obviously a reference to the Soviet … ‘past’ of Russia, hardly a ‘yesterday’ in historical time. And HRH Prince Michael of Kent, who’s the spitting image of the last Tsar of Russia, has written a Foreword, also cited on the back-cover.

When the floor was opened to questions, I pointed out that the book is already … controversial, without even opening it … I asked, tongue-in-cheek if (1) we were looking at the face of the next President of Russia – a sudden shocked silence was immediately drowned in a sea (rather a lake!) of knowing smiles, followed by my second question (2) whether, Red … is where Mironov shall be going to, and finally (3), if when President, will Mironov attempt to revive Boris Yeltsin’s drunken dream of reviving the Tsar in the visage of Prince Michael of Kent?

Suddenly, the book launch in the lake ‘shipwrecked’ onto the … pebbles of warm humour, laughter and jokey tales … the author replied that unlike me, he is not into prophesying anything, that he would be surprised if Mironov became president, and doubly more if Prince Michael of Kent became the new Tsar …

The burst of laughter had hardly died down when in perfect theatrical timing Mr Naryshkin said “However”, he would like to tell a story … and went on doing precisely what he had just denied – political prophesying … that when by now the world-famous president Putin was totally unknown – a minor figure in the political circles of St. Petersburg, he had met Mr. Putin socially in the … dacha belonging to one of … East Germany’s Biggies … and as a few bottles of wine were consumed – the voice of the Russian-language publisher from the audience insisted they were several bottles of cognac … as he himself was there too, had the author forgotten him? – Naryshkin didn’t argue, he only wanted to inform (as a conscientious journalist!) that he personally told the future president Putin that he was destined for greatness …

Which left no doubt in my own mind that the ‘eternal Prime Minister’ of Russia approves of Mironov’s presidency in 2012 … I think ex-President Putin is bored with his present president Mr. Medvedev – who always reminds me of the Boy-Kings of Medieval Europe …’teenager’ and immature, he lacks gravitas which Mironov has God’s plenty of!

I think Prime Minister Putin is ready for a bit of British-style oppositional dialectics with a charismatic and very intelligent leader like Mironov.

Following the formalities of the book launch, I proposed in intimacy to the Russian Publisher to drink with me the first London toast to …President Mironov of Russia – He did not need any convincing, he was already into his n-th glass of wine, while I stuck to my orange juice … and we ended it with a Bear-Hug between an Armenian and a Russian.

I was not surprised at all when several days later Russia gave its largest score of the Eurovision Song Contest … to Armenia.

Three cheers then for Sergey Mironov, the next President of Russia, in 2012.

The only snag is that it is the date the ancient Mayan calendar had calculated five hundred years ago … for the end of the world!!!

Sergey Mironov may yet signify the Second Coming … no wonder the very far-sighted British Royalty has got in on the act already via HRH Prince Michael of Kent – 2012 is also the Diamond Jubilee of our beloved Queen, and celebrations to mark it are already afoot in … Nova Scotia in Halifax/Canada, where the Senate has commissioned a stained glass window “honouring Victoria and the Queen – the only two sovereigns of Canada to pass 60 years on the throne” [London Evening Standard, 30 June 2010, p. 21].

1 comment
  1. Vibrato and tremolo

    I was intrigued by your discussion of vibrato and tremolo and the tenors I was not sure whether you favor vibrato or tremolo And what do you think Aznavour does? Vibrato or tremolo /does he really care? Vaghenag tarpinian

Comments are closed.

You May Also Like