A year ago, construction workers building a cosmodrome in the Russian Far East appealed to Vladimir Putin during the Kremlin leader's annual call-in program to complain about unpaid wages.
Putin, of course, promised to take care of the situation.
The wages have still not been paid.
One of those construction workers, Anton Tyurishyov, was planning a protest today -- to coincide with this year's call-in show.
And guess what? According to the Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta, he's been arrested.
Tyurishyov's fate is symbolic of the charade of Putin's annual spring ritual in which he pretends to care about the concerns of ordinary Russians.
So here we are again.
It's time for Russia's longest-running virtual-reality show.
It's time for Vladimir Putin to play Vladimir Putin on television.
By the time you watch this, the Putin Show will already be under way. In fact, by the time you watch this, it may already be over.
But anyway, here's what I'm expecting.
Putin will, no doubt, use some colorful language and get in a few pithy well-rehearsed one-liners that will grab headlines.
He'll recite carefully prepared talking points that will give the impression that he is immersed in the details of policy.
He'll promise to take care of some citizens' problems.
And he'll surely take a "surprise" question from a carefully selected critic for which he'll have a ready-made response.
But for all the hype and hoopla, this event almost never produces anything of substance.
But every year, we all watch it anyway.
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