The Russian and Ukrainian blogosphere is abuzz with this leaked photo showing Ukrainian President Poroshenko’s younger son Mikhail chumming about with his school pals while sporting a football jersey that appears to advertise “RUSSIA“:
The would-be irony is would-be delicious. Recall that Poroshenko Sr is the President of a country which officially describes Russia as its mortal enemy. An enemy who invaded, and continues to invade Ukraine, on a daily basis, while stripping away prime real estate, and annexing stuff to its heart’s content.
For comparison purposes, here is what the Poroshenko family are supposed to look like: sweet-faced Ukrainian patriots all decked out in their embroidered blouses:
Misha, the younger son (second from the right, obviously), was smaller in that older photo, but you can see already that he is going to grow up to be a big boy, a chip off the old block. And quite a handsome strapping young lad, inheriting his father’s thick head of hair and his mother’s luscious pouty lips. Same lips as sported by his big brother, Alex, but without the latter’s aura of insouciant sexual degeneracy. Misha was born in 2001, which makes him around 16 or 17 now, I reckon. Coming of age, and coming of size. With a physique that seems perfect for football or rugby. And within a year or two of becoming eligible to join the Ukrainian army, to head off to the Eastern front to fight against those beastly pro-Russian Separatists.
When this story broke on the blogosphere, everybody jumped to the conclusion that Misha was wearing a pro-Russia jersey. Pro-Russians exulted at the delicious irony, and Ukrainian nationalists gnashed their teeth. But wait! Things are not what they seem.
The Mystery Of The Missing Letter
To break this down, first remember the overriding Rule #1 of Eastern Slavic Oligarchs: It don’t matter if they are Russian or Ukrainian, the rule is that their children all go to private boarding school in England.
Following this rule to the letter, Petro Poroshenko and his wife Maryna send all their children to Concord College. As its wiki boasts: “Concord College is an independent co-educational international day/boarding school in Shropshire, England situated in the grounds of Acton Burnell Castle. The college admits students aged between 12 and 19; the majority of whom come from overseas. In 2009, to celebrate its 60th year, Concord was visited by the Princess Royal…”
Concord College students are taught such subjects as Falconry, Magic, Wizardry, Math, Science, and the British Way Of Life. The “falconry” bit is actually a true statement. The British Way of Life is also true and includes, of course, Football. And it goes without saying that Football requires the wearing of a Football Jersey. Which Misha was wearing while being photographed on the eve of final exams, along with some of his chums. Who are wearing other types of tee-shirts, like Wolfhead tee-shirts and skull masks and Rap Bling. Actually, a closer inspection of this photo shows pretty clearly that these golden youths were rehearsing some kind of rap video. The sneakers on a string is the final proof of that surmise.
Perceptive bloggers also noticed that the inscription on Misha’s jersey does not actually say “RUSSIA”, it reads “RSSIA“, without the letter “U”. And this is the true mystery here, a mystery worthy of Sherlock Holmes and Watson.
Compare and contrast the other photo, below, which depicts Misha’s pal Sergei Kiziev (along with Sergei’s girlfriend). Sergei is the son of a Russian oligarch from Novosibirsk. Comparison of Misha’s jersey — colors, stripes, the coat of arms on the shoulder, etc. — show that it is identical in every way to Sergei’s, with the exception of that one letter “U”. Smart people with good eyesight have noted that Sergei’s jersey shows the logo of the company Bosco, which produced the Russian uniforms for the Olympics.
So, how to solve the mystery of the missing “U”? Alas, I do not know. Although some bloggers have suggested that the word “RSSIA” might refer to the institution called RSSIA (Russian Summer School on Institutional Analysis), which is a CIA Yegor Gaidar Foundation funded NGO. Summer school curricula promote overthrow of the Russian government economic reforms in Russia.
Is Ukrainian President Poroshenko’s son studying Economics at the RSSIA? Along with his Falconry classes at Concord? And did those cheapskates at Gaidar’s RSSIA simply take Russian football jerseys prepared by Bosco for the Olympics, and strip out the letter “U”? Instead of manufacturing their own shirts? Who knows? Some mysteries will go unsolved, despite our best efforts to unentangle them.