13 August 2010

Mother Russia

My Aunt had a little book entitled Russia Dies Laughing, which contained a joke that attempted to recapitulate Soviet history. It went something like this:

Stalin, Khrushchev, Brezhnev, and Gorbachev were riding on the Trans-Siberian Railway. Suddenly, the train broke down and came to a stop.

"Fix the train," ordered Stalin. For a long time, nothing happened. "Shoot the engineers!" yelled Stalin. The engineers were shot, but still nothing happened. Stalin screamed useless orders until he got apoplexy and died.

Khrushchev got up, heaved Stalin's body out the window, and ordered, "Rehabilitate the engineers!" The engineers were rehabilitated. "Fix the train!" yelled Khrushchev. Still nothing happened. Khrushchev yelled orders until Brezhnev got up and heaved him, still yelling and flailing his arms and legs, out the window.

"Close the windows and close the window shades!" demanded Brezhnev. "Now, everyone pretend the train is moving." Everyone pretended for a long time, until Brezhnev died. Gorbachev got up, dragged Brezhnev's body to the window, opened the shade and the window, and heaved him out.

Then Gorbachev stuck his head through the open window, and looked all around, right, left, and up and down. He pulled his head back inside, stood up and declared, "Ladies and Gentlemen, there appears to be nothing holding up this train." And the whole thing collapsed in a big mess.

Now, in that spirit, comes this YouTube video, "Complete History of the Soviet Union Arranged to the melody of Tetris" (which was invented by Russians):

Hmmm. Have you ever noticed how much Vladimir Putin looks like Dobby, the house-elf, of the Harry Potter series?

Anyway, the Soviet Union is no more. But at least for a while everyone, nominally, had "free" health care. Such as it was.