‘Berlusputin’ takes stage as Putin chides opposition

‘Berlusputin’ takes stage as Putin chides opposition

MOSCOW - Agence France-Presse
‘Berlusputin’ takes stage as Putin chides opposition

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin speaks during a meeting with supporters, members of the All Russian People's Front party, and political scientists in Moscow February 29, 2012. REUTERS/Natalia Kolesnikova/Pool

A bare-chested Vladimir Putin strokes the bottom of an Olympic gymnast and overdoses on Botox as his wife Lyudmila takes refuge in a monastery -- in a new staging of a play at a Moscow theatre.

The play takes plenty of inspiration from Internet gossip and breaks almost every remaining taboo about the Russian leader’s personal life. The play, “Berlusputin,” is a Russian adaptation of a work by Italian playwright Dario Fo called L’anomalo Bicefalo. But it is updated every performance to include the latest news.

The play imagines what might happen if half of former Italian prime minister and Putin buddy Silvio Berlusconi’s brain was transplanted into the Russian strongman’s head after an accident.

‘Dirty tricks of opposition’

Meanwhile, Putin yesterday accused the Russian opposition of preparing dirty tricks to discredit this weekend’s presidential poll.

“The main rule is to respect the view of the minority, but to submit to the opinion of the majority,” Putin said at a meeting with supporters in Moscow. Opinion polls have predicted that Putin should win in the first round with up to 60 percent of the vote but the opposition has complained that the election has been skewed in his favor from the start. Putin expressed fury at the opposition for declaring the election “illegitimate in advance” and said the authorities had proof that dirty tricks were being prepared.

“They are getting ready to use some kind of mechanisms which would confirm that the elections have been falsified. They will stuff ballots themselves, monitor this and then report on it,” he said.