Funny Guys, Report from the Inner Circles of the Moscow/Tashkent Axis
Uzbekistan Letters: Putin Pranks Trump
It came as no surprise when Shavkat Mirziyoyev ‘was named’ successor to Islam Karimov in Uzbekistan, and, in fact, in the few months since his succession there have been few surprises. His first foreign visit was more in the nature of a weekend trip—to Vladimir Putin’s dacha outside Moscow—than an actual state visit, and in the meantime he has been slowly resuscitating his friends who fell afoul of the favors of Karimov, though not to worry, experts predict that the prison population will be steadied once his grip on power is thoroughly secured and he feels comfortable imprisoning his own enemies and competitors.
What did come as a surprise was not that his first state visit was again to Moscow, but rather the timing of it, as he and Mr. Putin behaved like old drinking buddies, drinking (reportedly) liter after liter of vodka as the last days of the United States presidential election wound down and on November 8 the great event took place, Donald J. Trump becoming the president-elect of the ‘leader of the free world’, as the two leaders repeatedly referred to the post, giggling all the while.
Though Mr. Mirziyoyev speaks more than passable Engish, his choice of co-chief foreign advisor, the successful travel minister, Arslan Levantinov, suggests an acute interest in affairs West, and it was Mr. Levantinov who was present during the congratulatory phone call Mr. Trump received from Mr. Putin. The following account is nearly word for word, as recalled from a phone call I received from my friend Arslan the very same night, after the two dignitaries finally passed out.
So it went more or less like this. Putin calls Tump, Shavkat, like a little kid jerking on a leash keeps pulling at Putin’s sleeve, ‘Let me talk to him, let me talk to him…’ until, just as the call makes it through, Putin says, fuck it, and gives Mirziyoyev the phone.
SM: Mr. Trump.
DT: Wonderful. Big, thank you, Vladimir, Mr. Putin.
SM: So you recognize me—my…my voice, sir. Mr. President, if it is not too early to refer to your highness as such.
DT: I hear you loud and clear. You know my vodka—yes, president. You know my vodka, you told me—
SM: Yes, we are all drinking to your victory, sir. We are drinking vodka.
DT: That’s—We are, Mar—We, my kids and their—all of us here. We raise a glass to you as well, Mr. Putin. You know how much you have meant to us all.
SM: Yes, yes, we know that we are to look forward on a new epoxy [whispers), epoch of relations between not only our countries as such, as such, we—Donald?
DT: Yes, Vladimir.
SM: Still there?
DT: Yes, I am here, and let me tell you it is big, big here, a big thing—
SM: About the new epoch…
DT: We certainly have.
SM: First thing, Donald—I believe first name basis is best, as such…
SM: Donald, warming relations, as such, you are aware that out best ally to the, what direction…Same direction for you and me as well, Donald. First thing, and please do not linger over false reports. Donald, I would like you to give special—
DT: I’m sorry, Vladimir, hard to…yes honey, tell them I’m on the phone—
SM: all due respect as such I know you are on the phone as it is to me on the phone you are with, Mr—
DT: …talking to Ivanka and her mother. Sorry, yes, Vladimir—
SM: It is I who am sorry, as we here are so happy it is perhaps too much vodka as such that has been consumed.
DT: Well, Vladimir, then I would like to thank you for the call. We will do big things together—
SM: I’m not done, Donald. I was speaking of our ally to the south, east, or you know down and away. The gallant, as such, the reputable nation, our number one ally as of, Uzbekistan. Uzbekistan Donald. Can you remember that?
DT: Write this down, kid. How do you spell that, Vladimir?
DT: Like Koranistan. Right.
SM: Kor—Yes, as such, the same only with different beginning ending in stan. Donald?
SM: Much trade between our–your countries is possible. Big trade. Wonderful. Huge things.
DT: That’s my—
SM: Democrats of your good country have mixed us, I mean Uz–you know, our friends, Uzbekistan, with a different stan, probably Turkmenistan or your Koranistan. Bad things have been said and some restrictions of trade as such have been—
DT: I am the boss now, Vladimir. Any friend of yours is a friend of mine.
‘So by now Vladimir Putin is purple with laughter, suppressed laughter and just in time he slaps the phone away from Mr. Mirziyoyev so Donald Trump does not hear him blurt out with a sort of affecting triumphant humor: I pissed my pants, Shavvy!’