The (Actual) 12 Labor of Putin

Yesterday President Vladimir Putin delivered an anti-west screed pontificating on the New World Order:

This is just the latest in Russia’s atavistic turn, with Putin’s 62nd birthday earlier this month offering up another example: the return of the personality cult in full force.

For a children of the corn style vibe, check out this song sung by a St. Petersburg children’s choir:

But perhaps most vivid of the celebratory outpouring was series of Herculean paintings comparing Putin’s achievements as Russian Head of State with the 12 labors of Greek legend. This spawned a rash of coverage all devoted to the exhibit and the metaphorical labors of Putin:

(can see all 12 ‘labours’ at the last two links)

But Onion Dome is not so sure that the artist, Mikhail Antonov, quite nailed the exhibit. Instead we offer the following more apropos 12 Labours of Putin:

Slay the Nemean Lion

In Antonov’s depiction, the death of the Nemean Lion is represented by Putin’s fight against terrorism, a fight that is still ongoing and whose victory is not assured.

Instead, what Antonov should have shown was Puting slay Alexander Litvinenko in England, the land of the lion.


Slay the nine-headed Lernaean Hydra

With the ruble falling off a cliff and the ever-increasing threat of inflation, I do not agree with Antonov that Putin’s response to western economic sanctions is the equivalent of slaying the nine-headed Lernaean Hydra.

Instead, the exile of Yeltsin-era oligarchs, from Abramovich to Berezovsky, seems more appropriate.

Capture the Golden Hind of Artemis

Am really not sure what message Antonov is sending by equating the Sochi Olympics to the Golden Hind. This one seems too easy to me: Putin captured Yukos from Golden Boy Mikhail Khodorkovsky, a victory that may cost more than expected.

Capture the Erymanthian Boar

We have already used the liquidation of the oligarchs above, so here we replace Antonov’s representation with Putin’s courtship of Lyudmila Shkrebneva.


Clean the Augean stables in a single day

Instead of the fight against corruption, the day-long cleaning of the Augean stables is best represented by Putin’s decision to wait five days while on vacation in Sochi before actually doing something about the Kursk sub disaster.

Slay the Stymphalian Birds

Antonov believes Putin slayed the Stymphalian Birds by stopping air strikes on Syria, apparently preserving peace in a fragile region.

How about this instead: shooting down a Malaysian Airlines passenger jet murdering entire families and AIDS researchers.

Capture the Cretan Bull
– Capture and annex the Crimea Peninsula

OK, Antonov nailed this one.

Steal the Mares of Diomedes

Antonov uses the contract for French Mistral warships for this one (have the ships been delivered yet?). Given that this one involves stealing, it may be more appropriate to depict Putin’s expropriation of billions in ill-gotten wealth.


Obtain the girdle of Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazons

The South Stream pipeline (Antonov’s labour of choice) is a valid representation of a girdle. But the pipeline is far from complete, and faces significant regulatory pressure from the EU.

Instead, Putin’s efforts to reverse the Soviet geopolitical dissolution by re-integrating ex-communist states in the Eurasian Union seems more appropriate. Putin has girded Kazakhstan. Belarus and Armenia together in a customs alliance.

Obtain the cattle of the monster Geryon

Not sure what Antonov is thinking with the gas contract with China. We need a ‘monster’ here, and there is an obvious canadidate: lockdown Chechnya by enriching the monster Kadyrov.

Steal the apples of the Hesperides (He had the help of Atlas to pick them after Hercules had slain Ladon)

Another easy one: Putin stole the apples of Hesperides by stealing a Superbowl Ring from Pats owner Robert Kraft

Capture and bring back Cerberus

Here we need three heads, so we can’t use Antonov’s example of conflict with the U.S. A counter-proposal: Putin can capture and bring back Cerberus by eventually annexing the rogue states of Abkhazia, South Ossetia, and Transnistria.

Anyway, this is the only appropriate reaction to Antonov’s work:

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