The MEPs, as the the 751 Members of European Parliament are called, are a bunch of naughty youngsters that occasionally gather for college debate on earthshaking issues like whether there should be roaming charges as people travel across Europe. After debates stretching over years, this “parliament” rarely issues “Regulations” which are binding because college parliaments are not the right fora for such boring business of creating mandates. Most of the times, they issue directives, recommendations, or opinions, none of which is binding and these are taken by member states in decreasing order of seriousness. So when the world media reported that the EU Parliament (EUP) has “declared” Russia as a State Sponsor of Terrorism, it was all make-believe because in the above list you do not find “Declaration” anywhere. It is like Nitish Kumar who, as of today, is in alliance with imprisoned Maulana Lalu, declaring the Union of India as a state sponsor of terrorism. It is ultra vires as the Romans will say in their Latin, without authority, and the Chairman of the EU or Nitish Kumar could not issue an Imprimatur – “Let it be printed”.

Did ancient Romans have printing presses or was imprimatur even then a command as devoid of legitimacy as ultra vires? It appears that in all ages, there were lawyers who advised legislative bodies how to “exceed their brief”. This last one is another hoax perpetrated by lawyers because, the client, not being a lawyer and that being his reason for coming to a lawyer, may have a beef against someone that he states briefly, and that starts the legal proces that is anything but brief. Starting from the client’s very brief “brief”, the “learned counsel” spills ink on reams of paper, till he becomes absolutely certain that he has reached a volume beyond the reading capacity of the judge. That is why courts allow lawyers to present facts orally and “briefly” before commencing their arguments. Since the opposite counsels also do not read each other’s not-so-brief written submissions, the arguments that finally are presented have no nexus with written submissions, and are only about what other courts have previously said in unrelated cases that are said to be on all fours, something like a cow, or a pig, depending on whether the learned counsel is thirsty or hungry, with the matter at hand.

But we digress needlessly on a legal issue when the EUP itself immediately admitted that its declaration was illegal because it was ultra vires. An EUP press release issued on November 23 and titled “European Parliament Declares Russia to be State Sponsor of Terrorism” and available on the official website of the EUP says, “As the EU currently CANNOT officially designate states as sponsors of terrorism … ” Having committed an utra vires act, the EUP gave the middle finger to the law and called on “the member states to put in the proper legal framework … ” To make it appear as a matter not selectively directed against the Russian state, it included the call to put the Wagner Group, the Kadyrovites and other Russian Militias on the terrorist list. Now Russia is in great company; it bombed into oblivion ISIS but that now shares the list with Russia. It includes Al-Qaida, making Putin a bedfellow of the soul of Osama bin Laden, though Osama’s son, who now heads the organisation after his father was honourably buried at sea by the Americans, is sending his protests to EU saying that Russia, that folded up before Ukraine, cannot be compared to his illustrious father who folded up the US in Afghanistan after folding up the WTC in New York.

Russia responded to this illegitimate act of EUP with a legal counter-brief. Its foreign ministry’s spokesperson Maria Zakharova said, “I propose designating European Parliament as a sponsor of idiocy.” As if to celebrate the “proportionate” response, Russia lit up the Ukrainian sky with its rockets and missiles. That was quite welcome because Ukrainian cities were trying to restore their water and power structure in the dark and Putin’s declaration “Let their be light” helped. A Kremlin insider leaked the discussions at the 30-feet long table where considerable mirth was generated by the EUP “declaration”. Putin first read the EUP press release quoted above and laughed loudly with the rest of the Russian court joining him in the visible and audible display of merriment. But putin had more in store. Who takes decisions in Russia, he asked. You do, said the chorus. Who controls the Wagner Group and other terrorists loyal to Mother Russia, Putin asked. You do, repeated the congregation. And they still blame the Russian state, Putin said with a guffaw and the courtiers wiped their eyes as they laughed uncontrollably. A prize for guessing the reason for EUP making this mistake, Putin teased. There was hushed silence; if Putin did not like the answer, it could be the end of the one who raised his hand. Anyone, Putin egged them on, not really expecting a response. Yet, a hand went up. Popov, a mere stenographer, the junior most fellow in the room who did not even have a seat at the table, had offered his neck. Everybody looked at Popov with anger mixed with pity and Putin put on that smile that signalled the start of torture in his days with the KGB and FSB. Yes, Popov, enlighten us. Popov stood up, surprisingly confident in this fatal situation. “There was no mistake. You are the Russian state.”

To cut this leaked long report short, this episode explained the intriguing reports that one Popov, about whom nobody in the West had heard before, was recently included in the inner circle of Putin. The report said that whenever Putin has a difficult question before him in a meeting, the room is cleared and just the two of them, Putin and Popov, ponder over it. It is rumoured that Popov has recommended to Putin that like Kherson, Russia should withdraw from Crimea too to save the Kerch Bridge from further attacks. That will motivate the West to lift all sanctions and so Coke and McDonalds shall come back to Russia and the Russians will be so thrilled, they will forget all about this “special operation”. In addition, Putin shall stand a good chance of being nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. After all the EU, the “sponsor of idiocy”, did get it and so did some Ali for resolving some dispute with some place called Eritrea!

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