Political Fables: Vladimir Putin's The Emperor’s New Clothes

Many years ago, before the revolution, there is living in a giant tower built in a rich land, a great, stupid emperor. This flabby, baby-man, he is caring of nothing but ratings of the television and the purchase of the finest silks and golds.

So vain and stupid is this emperor that he is wearing this stupid blonde comb-over, even though all the people know that the man with the balding head is most virile and superior.

Far away from this stupid emperor lives a strong and mighty tsar. He has the good looks and the torso of a god, but he needs gold for the invasions of nearby countries - in self-defence of course. This tsar, he hears of this stupid, rich emperor and sends his finest tailor to him as a gift.

The tsar’s tailor, Sergey, travels to the emperor and promises to make him the finest suit of clothes from a fabric invisible to anyone who is either stupid or unfit for his office.

The emperor is impressed with this Sergey and hires him immediately, agreeing to give the tailor all the gold he needs to weave the most exquisite suit. The emperor thinks he will now prove his enemies are stupid and that he is the best and most fit for the office of ‘Emperor’.

The tailor makes good show of weaving his invisible thread and of clacking his invisible loom. But, in secret, he is sending all of the emperor’s gold back to the tsar through various untraceable business transactions.

The emperor is growing bored waiting for his suit and sends his most loyal general to check on the tailor’s progress.

Of course, the general cannot see the invisible cloth the tailor is weaving and he thinks this must be because he is stupid and unfit for his position. Fearing the truth might be discovered, he decides he must lie. He pretends to see the fine cloth and lies about discussing trade sanctions with the tailor.

The emperor is excited by the general’s detailed descriptions of this fine cloth and so happy is he with this description he agrees to gives the tailor more and more gold.

The tsar is very happy with this arrangement. So happy he thinks he will invade another country in celebration.

Soon, the emperor is growing bored again and sends his chief minister of justice to check on the tailor’s progress. It is okay that the tailor is the foreigner because the minister he only dislikes the foreigners living in his own land. The minister cannot see the invisible cloth the tailor is pretending to weave. Instead they are discussing Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine. He knows he must be unfit for his position, so he decides to lie. Under oath. And there is no investigations about this because all the emperor’s courtiers are afraid that they will not be able to take the healthcare away from people or that the emperor will tweet something nasty about them. Sad!

The emperor is impressed with the minister’s descriptions of the cloth.

“Great news!” he says, “Great cloth!”

“Why is the Emperor naked?”

He decides he must now see this cloth for himself. All the court is brought to the tailor who is proud and is showing his empty looms to the courtiers. Everyone, they ‘ooh’ and ‘ah’ at his descriptions. Not one of them will admit they cannot see the cloth which is not there.

The emperor, so large and fat is his ego that he cannot admit he sees no cloth, he gives more gold to the tailor and tells him to finish the suit in time for a yuge rally of all of the emperor’s supporters.

The tailor is clever and he is making a big show of working late to finish the suit. Then the next morning he is making a big show of dressing the naked, fat emperor in his cloth, with his fat belly and his teeny tiny hands.

Naked, the fat, stupid emperor stands in front of the mirror and admires his suit of nothing. His courtiers, they say how fine the cut is, how pretty the colours, how modern the style, and after much preening the emperor is ready to march in the great procession to the rally.

The whole world is laughing at the flibby flabby emperor baby-man on the televisions and Twitter but his people, they have all heard of the power of the cloth and, though they all see the great, naked, flabby body of their leader, they coo and coo like pigeon and all agree how fine the suit is. Some of the presses see the silly, naked emperor with his wiggly belly bouncing up and down but they are afraids to say anything in case he bans them from the press conferences. “How fabulous he looks,” they say instead, “How emperor-like he is!”

This stupid, naked emperor, he stands on his box in the rally. He shouts and screams and all his stupid people, they clap and cheer this big naked baby-man.

All but one small child.

He is too young to know the importance of blindly following those in power.

This child, he says to his father; “Why is the emperor naked?”

People, they overhear the boy and they are shocked, for they too see the naked, flabby man and there are many rumblings of dissent.

“Fake News!” the emperor screams, “Fake News!” he cries. 

The child is seized by armed security and dragged from the rally.  He is beaten by guards in an alleyway until he learns obedience and respect. All the loyal people shout and cheer. This is how they will be making their land great again!

For the next four years, the naked emperor parades around to cheers from his people and every week the tailor is given more gold to weave a new suit.

And in the faraway land, the tsar is living happily ever after.

More about the author

About the author

As well as contributing to Disclaimer, Holly has published several comic short stories with Black Coffey, and has been known to write and perform stand-up comedy at festivals and charity gigs. Her first play for the radio is in production with Frequency Theatre, and she is currently working on a full-length play for the stage.

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