03 March 2008

BSB Flashback: Max Moves to Moscow

Following yesterday's election in Russia, it appears that there is a new top dog in town... though it looks like he will be on a tight leash controlled by the old top dog.

7 May 2007

Author/Illustrator: Winifred Riser

Max Moves to Moscow is a revealing story about America's influence on life in post-communist Russia. Max the black lab (democracy) moves from the U.S. to Russia. At first, he encounters an unwelcoming society that is buried under a thick blanket of snow from the harsh communist winter (and the literally cold war). However, due to his persistence and American can-do attitude, Max eventually makes friends with the dogs in the park and teaches them a new ball game (capitalism). This game proves to have a steep learning curve and the dogs keep losing the balls in the snow.

When the snow eventually melts, suddenly there are balls all over the place, ushering in a period of general chaos as the dogs struggle to deal with their newfound wealth. Yeltsin the Russian Bulldog eventually takes charge of the game and keeps the balls for himself and his friends... while the other dogs wait in long lines for toilet paper.

Eventually, Yeltsin eventually tires of playing and Putin the Russian Greyhound takes over. He immediately tightens the rules of the game by instituting a ruthlessly efficient authoritarian style of play. More dogs get to play, but they aren't even sure if it's the same game anymore... or if they still want to play. Problem is, no one dares to stop or even call timeout. When Putin says play, you play--because his bite is definitely worse than his bark. Case in point: the last dog that tried to get out of the game mysteriously died from uranium poisoning.

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