As Christmas approaches, Father Frost (the Russian version of Santa Claus) is trying to back out some things he let slip during the earlier part of his recent tour.
As everybody knows, during the Christmas and New Year Holidays, Father Frost (Russian “Ded Moroz“) travels throughout Russia visiting with the common people and taking gift orders from children. He tries to visit every major Russian region and town, and gives interviews during the tour.
A few days ago Ded Moroz left the sleepy northern Russian town of Veliky Ustyug, heading for Moscow. Connoisseurs of Russian history will recall Veliky Ustyug as an authentic and old (founded in the late 1100’s) Russian town, which managed to resist all visitors, both well-meaning and not so well-meaning: Cumans, Mongols, Muscovites, Poles, even Novgorodian (Новгородствующих) heretics! The Veliky Ustyugians resisted everybody, but could not resist the kindly old man in the beautifully embroidered costume.
It was in Veliky Ustyug that Father Frost was approached by well-meaning but intrusive government servants: As Ded told the reporters: “As soon as I arrived in Veliky Ustyug, officials from the Pension Fund came to visit me. They tried to give me a pension ticket.”
Father Frost refused the golden ticket, saying that he is still “full of strength and energy” and wants to keep on working. “I am as old as the hills,” he added proudly.
When asked if he intended to run in the upcoming Presidential elections, Ded replied with a negative. “I don’t believe that Father Frost is qualified to be the President of Russia. My calling is of a higher one.” Then quickly adding (revealing his intimidation and fear of regime retaliation) — “I have prepared a gift for the existing President, Vladimir Putin.” When asked what kind of gift, Ded refused to answer. “But there will most definitely be a gift,” he insisted nervously.
But now we get to the heart of the scandal. Which involves money, as is always the case. In an earlier part of his tour, during his visit to the town of Nizhniy Novgorod, Father Frost had indicated that he was prepared to issue his own brand of electronic currency, similar to Bitcoin. He also indicated that he was considering going into the mining business.
These inappropriate statements, which threaten the entire financial infrastructure of the Russian Federation, elicited a storm of blowback. A nimble Father Frost was forced to back out his earlier gaffe. Now he insists, innocently enough, that his sole alternative currency remains, as ever, pine cones.