x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 20 July 2017

Kremlin Beat-poet fans

What would you miss if you were banned from the US? Would it be nineties rappers, Beat-era-poets and abstract expressionist artists, like a top Putin aid?

One expected defiant words from the Russian officials hit with travel bans by the US, but who could have predicted this declaration from key Putin adviser Vladislav Surkov: “The only things that interest me in the US are Tupac Shakur, Allen Ginsberg and Jackson Pollock. I don’t need a visa to access their work. I lose nothing.”

Quite apart from the fact that all three artists are long dead, we are left with the curious prospect of the man nicknamed the Kremlin’s grey cardinal being a fan of a nineties rapper, a Beat-era poet and an abstract expressionist artist. This raises the question: what other archetypally American icons might Mr Putin’s inner circle miss? Twinkies? Miley Cyrus?

And, in turn, it poses the question of what top American officials would miss if banned from travelling to Russia. As with Mr Surkov’s trio, some of those with the strongest appeal are also long dead, such as Russian novelists of the calibre of Tolstoy and Dostoevsky, composers like Tchaikovsky and Shostakovich. Would anyone truly miss t.A.T.u.?

So we turn this over to you, our educated and articulate readers. What three things would you miss if banned from the US, or from Russia?Email us at letters@thenational.ae