This is Gennady Onishchenko. Until he was let go on Wednesday, he spent many days giving Russians health advice. Officially, his title was head of the Federal Consumer Protection Service.
Alexander Zemlianichenko, Pool / AP
He was like a grandmother to the nation, speaking about everything from the dangers of air conditioning to the intellectual capacities of pigs. What follows are some of his craziest statements.
1. “Crows are feathered wolves that we must mercilessly destroy,” he once declared, in the midst of the bird flu epidemic of 2006.
2. Nor is he fond of mice: “Today, unfortunately, humanity remains in a struggle with this animal, since the mouse is much older than the human. When our ancestors walked on four legs, mice were already corporate animals.”
3. Talking about swine flu, he once said: “This is very alarming since pigs are very similar to humans, if not in terms of intellect, then in terms of physiology.”
4. “You all know that one gram of nicotine kills a horse. We have a humane country, and it is people, not horses, who are being killed.”
5. All animals are potentially the enemy: “We don’t only have a problem with stray animals, but with pets. As soon as a pet goes outside, he becomes the most unintelligent hooligan.”
6. He once criticized Russian tourists for rushing to foreign resorts “to hoist his unathletic body in underwear, which are called shorts, wear some sort of footwear, and visit sordid nightspots.”
7. He’s also notorious for inventing culinary crises to cover political spats. On Moldovan wine: “It presents absolutely no interest and, apparently, can only be used for other goals. You can paint fences … with this solution containing alcohol.”
8. Sleep is the enemy. Asked how to beat Moscow’s summer heat, he once said: “There’s a very good recipe – come to work early. I came to work at 4:45am today. No heat, imagine!”
10. Echoing the beliefs of millions of Russians, he once said: “Excessive air conditioning and cold drinks negatively affect health. There’s a danger of getting a cold, and in the case of air conditioning, also an infection.”
11. He’s expounded numerous times on the dangers of protesting: “If the weather report is right, I categorically forbid you from going to these protests. No tea or hot drinks will save you and can even play a negative role.”
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12. Speaking of hot drinks: “I don’t recommend drinking coffee — only if women do it at night, to dream about their prince and so their eyes don’t get stuck.”
13. For a while he was very anti-sushi: “Why eat this fish infected with worms? There can be no fads when it comes to food.”
14. Onischenko just wants to keep Russia healthy. Earlier this year, he warned them of the dangers of foreign food: “We count on the high consciousness and food patriotism of our citizens.”
Here’s to a healthy Russia.
Miriam Elder is the world editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York. Her secure PGP fingerprint is 7217 BCE0 F2F3 1AD8 943A B334 208B 3E4A 03F4 6E9D
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