Putin asserts his nation's ownership of 460,000 square miles of Arctic territory - and its huge reserves of oil and gas – plus: Santa’s Workshop
By Anne Penketh, Diplomatic Editor, The Independent Online
Published: 03 August 2007
Russia has taken a giant leap for the Kremlin by planting its flag on the ocean floor under the North Pole in a politically charged symbolic gesture to claim the rights to the sea bed which could be rich in oil and gas. However, Western political leaders feel this is a smokescreen for the real motive: A hostile takeover of Santa Claus, Inc and his vast array of ‘workshops’. Santa himself, did not return my repeated phone calls. However, a source inside Santa’s workshop, who spoke with me on a condition of anonymity, told me that Santa’s view of the whole “charade” is that the “so-called superpowers are after my stealth sled technology.” This technology, allows Santa to circle the globe, undetected by sleeping boys and girls and slide down chimneys, even though he’s a “bit thick around the middle”.
In a dramatic technical feat testing international law, the Russians dispatched two mini-submarines 2.5 miles to the ocean floor in what is believed to be the first expedition of its kind. True, the Russian’s didn’t go around the world in one night, leaving presents for all the good boys and girls, but it is still kind of dramatic.
The expedition raised the hackles of Russia's neighbours, who also have their eye on the vast mineral deposits that could lie under the Arctic area, in addition to the massive Santa’s Workshop production area They consider the Russian move as a brazen land grab. "This is our Santa Claus. You can't go around the world and just plant flags and say 'We're claiming Santa," said Peter MacKay, Canada's Foreign Minister.
Russia has fired the first diplomatic shot in a really cold war. The new oil rush makes sense to Russia’s neighbours. They don’t like it much but see a far more nefarious scheme afoot which began with the planting of the flag. “They hate us because we believe in Santa Claus,” said President Bush. “But the American people love Santa and as your president, we will answer the call to protect Santa and his industrial complex from the new Russian menace!”
Russia claims that the Lomonosov Ridge, an underwater mountain range crossing the polar region, is actually the true location of Santa’s Workshop. The UN has rejected Moscow's 2001 claim regarding the location of Santa’s Workshop, calling it “poppycock”.
A brains trust of 135 Russian scientists, led by a 68-year-old personal envoy of President Vladimir Putin, the explorer Artur Chilingarov, plan to meet with Santa in the coming weeks to discuss the workshops, mutual cooperation, and of course, oil.
But yesterday's scientific achievement of dropping a titanium capsule containing the Russian flag on to the seabed could not conceal the political advantage gained by Mr Putin. Once again, he has demonstrated to the West Russia's determination to “have Santa”, as Mr Putin put it, through an interpreter, who looked surprisingly like an elf.
The news of the mission's success dominated Russian television yesterday. Dmitry Peskov, Mr Putin's spokesman, said the President considered it "very important to put Kris Kringle back into the Kremlin”.
The Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, said: “It’s obvious that President Bush has been a very, very bad boy. So naturally, Santa would want to be part of the ascendance of the New Russia. I guess he will get a lump of coal at the White House. Perhaps several dump trucks full. I said he’s been a bad boy”
During Rose a Garden press conference this morning, President Bush fired back:
“I am a close friend with President Pootin but I am STILL the Decider. Now, after we turn Iraq and Afghanistan into flourishin’ democracies, looks like we might need to liberate Santa and Mrs Claus. And let’s not forget the elves. I say, bring ‘em on. I like elves”.
Predictably, the Democratic candidates criticized Mr Bush’s statements. Hillary Clinton scoffed and told reporters that she “didn’t believe in Santa”.
Barack Obama, in a 45 minute speech to a huge throng of largely Democratic children at Macy’s told the eager multitude that he “believed in Santa and if their parents voted for him they’d all get some extra-nice presents”. He added that he wouldn’t be afraid to use force if necessary to “keep our Santa”. He told the kids that he had a new book on Santa due out next week!
John Edwards response: “We need to put the Christ back in Christmas!”
Well, there you have it. Remember, it’s not about the oil. It’s about Santa!!!