Thanks For Being So Cool About EverythingCommentary • Our Annual Year 2014 • Opinion • ISSUE 50•11 • Mar 20, 2014 By Vladimir Putin As you know, the last few weeks have been kind of crazy around here. Last month, protests in Ukraine ousted the country’s Kremlin-allied president and ignited a wave of Ukrainian nationalism that threatened to destabilize Russia’s economic and military interests in the region. Of course, I couldn’t simply stand by and let that happen, so I intervened and ordered a forceful takeover of the strategically important peninsula of Crimea—a territory with historical ties to Russia that our nation had long desired. It’s certainly no easy task to forcefully annex an entire province against another country’s will, so I just wanted to thank you—the government of the United States, the nations of western Europe, and really the entire world population as a whole—for being super cool about all of this.Seriously, you guys have been amazing. All of you. I really appreciate it.To be honest, I was really dreading a whole big fight over this thing. When you first condemned the seizure of Crimea as patently illegal and in breach of the Ukrainian constitution—which it absolutely was, by the way—I feared for the worst. But then everybody stopped short of doing anything to actually prevent what was essentially a state-sponsored landgrab, and I just thought, “Wow, these guys are a pretty laid-back and easygoing bunch!” It really was a huge load off when you let everything slide like that.Believe me, I know it must have been hard to stand idly by and do nothing as a foreign military invaded one of your allies, or just sit back and watch while we set up a complete farce of a referendum—a referendum supervised by heavily armed members of the Russian military, mind you—and used it as grounds for backdoor annexation. It also couldn’t have been easy to keep your cool when we sent commandos to raid the Ukrainian naval headquarters in Crimea. But you didn’t really make much of a fuss over any of it, and I couldn’t be more grateful for that. It made my job way, way easier.I totally owe you one, no question about that.Now, of course I get that you in the international community had to issue some sort of response. After all, you had to at least look like you were trying to fight for the people of Ukraine as we rolled armed vehicles into their country, made it clear that any dissent would be punished, and essentially rendered an entire people totally and utterly powerless in the face of a bigger, stronger country’s national interests. I totally get that. But I’m just relieved that you decided on a response as harmless as humanly possible, with no real and tangible repercussions on myself or my government. You really have no idea how much stress that lifted off my shoulders. It was a real lifesaver.I also understand that moving forward, you’ll feel pressure to call a lot of high-profile NATO meetings, make statements to the UN, suspend this summer’s G8 summit, that sort of thing. I also get that all that kind of stuff is just a formal procedure you have to follow, because really, at this point you’ve laid your cards on the table. So I just want to thank you ahead of time—honestly, from the bottom of my heart—for ensuring that I can just concentrate on doing whatever I want in any formerly Soviet region that is of geopolitical, military, or economic value to Russia without having to worry one iota about suffering any consequences. Thanks for making that 100-percent clear to me.There is one thing I want to say though, and I feel a little silly admitting this, but there was actually a moment earlier when I did feel a little dread. For one unnerving second there, I thought you imposed sanctions on Russia’s broad national economy, but then I saw the sanctions were just directed at a few of my advisers and some bank I don’t care about. Boy, talk about a major relief!Really, this whole thing has gone so smoothly that my only real regret is that I just wish I had known earlier that you guys were this mellow about hostile military takeovers. It makes me wonder what took me so long to get around to this.But you know, I really shouldn’t have been surprised, given how cool you were with my longstanding record of handling opposition political groups or independent-minded journalists, all those gay rights protests that cropped up last year, or even that whole ordeal in 2008 when we tried to take over separatist regions of Georgia by force. Just knowing I’m free to do things my own way—that I can fully ignore any domestic or international laws and any basic principles of human rights—just takes away a ton of the stress involved in making these big decisions.And, by the way, if you ever need me to play along and act like these little Crimea sanctions and rhetorical warnings are in the least bit threatening, or feign anger by instituting entry bans on U.S. lawmakers and officials, or issue a few sternly worded responses to the international community’s condemnations, I’m completely down with that. I get the back-and-forth charade we’re playing here—the one that says you’re actually considering some real action against me. Seriously, going along with that kind of ruse is the least I can do, given all you’ve done for me.I just hope you’ll all continue being so nice and accommodating moving forward—especially with what I’ve got planned for the rest of Ukraine over the next few months.