Media reports anticipating Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the APEC summit were positively sizzling with tension, most of it absurdly manufactured. Of course there was no “shirt-fronting“. In a 15-minute meeting, Abbott suggested it might be nice if Russia apologised for its involvement in shooting down flight MH-17. Honestly, it sounded like the Hans Blix scene from Team America: World Police.

How embarrassing that our PM was all bluster — even the national broadcaster he’s trying to eviscerate treated it as a joke.

But then came an unexpected gift — news that Russian warships were en route to Australia ahead of the G20 meeting. By couching this as Putin’s move to “show the power of his fleet”, the media now get to speculate that Abbott did rustle Putin’s jimmies after all. And what a coup for our fearless leader, taking on the famously tiger-shooting, shirt-eschewing Russian hunk. How did Putin become a wacky “Russian strongman” whose macho stunts seduce the world’s media?

As the Russian fleet nears Brisbane, welcome aboard, it’s love, says the world’s media to a man who doesn’t shy away from hard labour for political protesters. And what are a few murdered journalists when compared to those dazzling baby blues?

“You shiver, Madam Peng? Here, take my shawl.” The Russian president chivalrously drapes it around the shoulders of Peng Liyuan, the wife of Chinese President Xi Jinping. Peng favours Putin with a cat-like smile, then just as gracefully slips the wrap to a waiting attendant.

Meanwhile, Chinese hearts are fluttering. The Russians have dropped anchor in Beijing, and the world’s most powerful bachelor is on shore leave, ready to wrestle tigers and seduce his colleagues’ wives … and they’re all out of tigers. Ooh, sailor!

The state censors can’t let this lunch-cutting stand! President Xi Jinping has tried, like, really super hard to be a faithful husband. He’s been photographed holding his wife’s hand, picking her flowers, and even holding her umbrella in the rain. And he’s spearheaded an anti-corruption sweep in which keeping a mistress is seen as a telltale sign of official graft.

Corruption? Bah! What would Putin know of such things? After all, Russia is only ranked equal 127th of 177 countries on Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index, along with Pakistan and Nicaragua. And baby, Russia can change — three years ago, it was ranked 143rd.

“The key word is perception,” Putin murmurs seductively. “It’s not what it looks like, my small rabbit.”

Everyone wants permission to come aboard Putin’s flotilla of private yachts … not to mention his 20 palaces, 58 private planes and a $75,000 toilet. With a secret fortune of $70 billion, no wonder people are willing to overlook his little transgressions.

“Little friend, those Germans called me a ‘wifebeater and a philanderer’, Putin whispers. “But come with me, and you will find my secret: I go down like the Kursk while I am on holiday.”

And now this seagoing Lothario is setting sail Down Under. “You wish to ‘shirt-front’ me, good Tony? Of course — if you can find my shirt. I think it may be beside your wife’s bed. You see, I do not need to, as you say in Australia, ‘smuggle’ my budgies. In Russia we know nothing of smuggling— neither of people nor of anti-aircraft weaponry.”

Putin loves women, you see — except when they form punk bands and protest in a church. And not that terrible German woman Angela Merkel, who doesn’t even like dogs. Yes, Putin is planning a gay old time in Australia for the G20.

No, not in that way. If there are any of those nasty gay people in Australia, Putin will wash them away like rain, much as he’s done in Russia — leaving only a rainbow. What — rainbows are gay too? Ugh. Never mind.

This could be the start of a beautiful friendship, sitting down with a friend for a nice cup of tea with radioactive polonium in it. Sending your friend to a secret icy prison and confiscating his fortune after he tried to criticise you. (Friends don’t embarrass friends on TV.)

And friends like to have a real blast together — as Putin is doing right now, building nuclear reactors in Iran. Other countries are trying to stop Russia and Iran’s affair heating up, saying it’s not the size of the nuke, but what you do with it that counts. But can’t they have both?

So, let’s forget our geopolitical cares as we all jump aboard Putin’s love boat! “Baby, love conquers all,” Putin purrs. “Just ask Ukraine.

Peter Fray

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