By contrast, everyone knew where half of the Moscow press corps was: halfway to Havana, on one of the few regular Russian flights that does not serve alcohol. It was the kind of plan that the F.S.B., and the K.G.B. before it, would describe as a “special operation.” And somewhere in Moscow, it was clear, someone was laughing.

“When the president is a former spy, from time to time in this country they organize spy games, the Spy Olympic Games, and they have fun,” the novelist Victor Erofeyev said on Monday evening. “We are people from outside, who don’t understand how fun it is to put all the journalists on a plane and send them to Havana. They are having the greatest dinner tonight.”

I don’t care what side of this story you fall on, you’ve got to admit:

Tricking all the reporters into getting on an alcohol-free flight from Moscow to Havana is hilarious.