Tuesday, October 14, 2008

This week in political footballers

Roman Pavlyuchenko has been rather complainy since joining Spurs. The training sessions were too rough and too long, and obviously, his team is currently in the shitter and waiting to be flushed.

And yet, amid all the madness in North London, he still found time to get into politics, as he was elected deputy for Putin's United Russia party on the regional council in his hometown of Stavropol.

Does this mean Darren Bent will soon be lobbying for a spot in Gordon Brown's cabinet reshuffle?

The entire thing is rather hilarious, and, like most things Russian of late, rather shady and suspicious. Pavs was born in Stavropol and attended his first soccer academy there, although detractors are questioning him and his real interest in politics:

"He's not from Moscow. He's a village guy," Anton Lisin, a football commentator with Sovietsky Sport noted. "The only reason Pavlyuchenko might be interested in politics is if the international financial crisis affected his wages," he added.
Either way, he's got a seat in power now, besting his former Zenit strike partner Andrei Arshavin, who stood for United Russia in '07 but walked away empty-handed.

So now the big question remains: how the heck is he going to balance football and filibustering? Will Frazier Campbell be his shadow striker when he's busy voting da or nyet on matters of grave regional concern?

I'm assured by my intelligent Russia-savvy friend that Pavs doesn't have much to worry about in terms of policy-making or voting, because he's essentially a figurehead; in Russian politics, the party enters these elections, and should they win, or at least be in danger of losing, they'll dump a regional celebrity in their nominee chair in order to get the results their way.

In Roman's case, once United Russia won the region, Putin (or someone close to him) can fill the position with whoever they see fit, and this time around for Stavropol, they went with the jetsetting young striker who's very much beloved in Russia for his goals against England that secured their spot in Euro '08.

Hilarious, when you think about it. Poor Pavs the puppet! And the extra pocket money will be nice too, at least until these crony techniques are phased out in the motherland.

Pavlyuchenko might need to sign regional legislation every now and then that someone else has written, but either way, his sister seems certain that he'll be able to balance both and not suffer from distraction:"He's obviously still adjusting. And it's difficult for him because he's injured. But he'll get used to it. He comes back to Stavropol whenever he has a holiday."

Fulfilling his political duties before enjoying a holiday? A bit like Dubya, innit?

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