Medvedev relishes rare television parody of Kremlin life
The jokes may be milder than "Yes, Minister," but Russian President Dmitry Medvedev apparently chuckled with recognition at a television sketch show that parodied his life at a Kremlin dacha.
The sketch shows Medvedev and his wife Svetlana trying to relax at the dacha surrounded by officious security staff.
With his trouser legs rolled-up, the Kremlin chief is trying to do homely tasks such as collecting water from a well, drinking tea and spreading manure as black-suited security officers hamper him at every turn.
"We have instructions," the security detail repeats.
Finally the president finds that even the birdsong is orchestrated by a regiment of musicians hiding behind a fence in full dress uniform.
"We have been here since Brezhnev's time," they say.
Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev, who died in 1982, was notorious for his fondness for hunting and fishing expeditions which were stage-managed by his staff to ensure trophies.
Jokes at the expense of Russian leaders and political satire are extremely rare on national television.
A satirical puppet show that included a grotesque Vladimir Putin figure was taken off the air soon after he became president a decade ago.
In a highly unusual move, Channel One on New Year's Eve last year showed an animated sketch where Medvedev banged a tambourine on Red Square as a strutting Putin reminded him who was boss.
But Medvedev's spokeswoman told Komsomolskaya Pravda tabloid that "there was nothing unusual" about the sketch.
"Dmitry Anatolyevich is no stranger to self-irony," she said in comments published on Thursday.
Medvedev himself used his Twitter account to praise the comedy sketch.
"I found a video about how I spent the summer," Medvedev posted on Tuesday, adding a link to the sketch.
The sketch is "quite witty in our opinion and apparently in the president's, too," Komsomolskaya Pravda said.
After the presidential endorsement, the sketch, which aired on CTC channel, had been watched more than 149,000 times on YouTube on Thursday. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_UedOBiH1Zk)
Medvedev has promoted a down-to-earth image with his Twitter account, which he started while visiting Silicon Valley earlier this year. This week, he wished a 17-year-old student happy birthday after she posted a request.
© 2010 AFP