Nicholas Wade McClellan
Nicholas Wade McClellan

Good day to you! My name is Nicholas Wade McClellan, board member at the Van Wert Civic Theatre in Van Wert, Ohio.

I’m writing to you today to discuss a few things that have been on my mind and to inform you of our next production, Don’t Drink the Water by Woody Allen. This farce, which takes place in or around your beloved homeland during the heart of the Cold War, premiers on the VWCT stage starting March 13.

Now, on to the meat of my discussion. It’s been over twenty years since the Cold War ended, but recently I’m thinking we should put that Iron Curtain back up. Amid daily reports of blunder after blunder surrounding the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, it boggles the mind to conceive that you spent $51 billion dollars in preparation. Meanwhile, Olympians are without proper drinking water, chairs, or Chobani Greek yogurt and your Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak let slip that at least some showers have surveillance cameras pointed toward them.

I used to think you were cooler than Optimus Prime. You were a secret-agent and then segued your ultra-diplomatic prowess to become the leader of the entire Western Bloc. While at the helm of Russia, you sextupled the GDP and doubled the average national wage. And now, in 2014, you can’t even provide stalls with a single toilet - nope, two-toilet-stalls for everybody!

Back in 2010, while wildfires nearly decimated Ryazan region of Russia, did you get into your favorite suit to assure local residents? No, of course not! You strapped yourself into a Beriev BE-200 amphibious aircraft and let the Putin fury spray down onto the raging inferno below, single handedly beating the fire into submission. Mother Russia: 1; Mother Nature: 0.

In addition to your command over nature, you blew my mind with your supreme Judo skills. In 2003 when you visited Japan on official trade business, instead of a presentation with a series of ceaseless pie charts and graphs, you showcased your ability to beat the Japanese at their own sport as you performed immobilization techniques, sweeps, and throws. I’m on chapter three of your book, Judo: History, Theory and Practice. It’s riveting, sir.

You astonished me with your command of what really succeeds on the internet. While most world leaders go on palavers of how their going to reduce national deficits, raise education standards, and promote green energy, you ask, “can you help me name my new puppy?” Nailed it, Vladimir. In addition, you promised to read every single suggestion. Though you did not choose “Poochki” (which is what I offered), I admired your harnessing of social media stardom. How is Buffy doing, by the way?

My personal favorite Putinism came a few years back whilst you were trolling diplomatic cables. You came across one which described you as ‘Batman.’ In an interview with Larry King, what was your response to being compared to a superhero? “Slanderous!” you said. Not only did your political opponents find you more brute than the most awesomest superhero of all time, you found it offensive. Touché, Putin.

You held a special place in my heart, right up there with Chuck Norris and the guy from the Dos Equis commercials. You were a man’s man. Now, as the 2014 Winter Olympics are well underway, competitors are finding it difficult to find a clean glass of drinking water from your newly furnished faucets. I guess the old adage is true when traveling abroad (especially in Eastern Europe), “don’t drink the water.” What happened to the mythical beast that was Vladimir Putin, huh?

All puns aside, this leads me to my second point. I realize organizing an international event isn’t easy. I have to make four or five trips back into the house before I can officially leave for work in the morning, so I understand. Please don’t take my comments and criticisms too seriously; you’re still one of the most compelling world leaders of all time.

In my ceaseless pondering, I’ve developed a solution to US and Russian relations, which I think may redeem your street-cred. I would like to graciously invite you to come see Van Wert Civic Theatre’s production of Woody Allen’s Broadway classic, Don’t Drink the Water, being performed March 13, 14, 15, 16, 20, 21, 22, 23. This humble farce is about the cooperation and hostilities that have existed between our beloved homelands for generations. In your infinite wisdom, I am confident you will find VWCT’s production a welcome retreat to the media circus you have been experiencing as of late. Let us take the spotlight for a moment. Three free tickets to a world of entertainment await you, Vladimir (and two of your friends). If you’d like more information on our fourth show of the season, please visit, “like” us on facebook, and or follow us Twitter and Pinterest. See you at the show!