For those of you under 30, the tensions between the Russia of Vladimir Putin (who I call Vlad the Impaler RasPutin)
and the western world might be disconcerting.
For those of us a generation older, it’s more like coming home again. It’s been an uncomfortable two and a half decades not worrying about the Russian bear sending missiles – or remote-controlled robot zombie men across the bearing straight (through that inconsequential country to our north,) and into the American heartland. The only thing more troubling than anxiety caused by a present danger is free-floating anxiety with no discernable cause.
So in celebration of having a name and face to put to our bogie-man, I thought I would bring back one of my favorite Russian (Soviet) jokes.
Things weren’t going so well for Nikita Khrushchev back in 1963. The Soviet economy was experiencing shortages in everything except waiting lines. One line experiencing growing popularity was at the glass mausoleum of Joseph Stalin where Russians waited hours to gaze on the decaying features of one the world’s most popular mass-murderers.
Khrushchev was nervous. People were starting to talk about the good old days.
He needed to bury Stalin – underground, where nobody could see him anymore, but he knew that the Russian people would never let him get away with it. If he was going to bury Stalin, he had to do it overseas.
His first attempt was Great Britain, but Prime Minister Harold MacMillan wasn’t sanguine.
“You know we have Marx and Engels buried here, and I lead the conservatives who are already raising a ruckus about our socialist policies. I’ll have to decline.”
Next Khrushchev tried the U.S., but that didn’t work out either.
“We just had the Cuban Missile crisis last fall,” said President Kennedy.
“You’ll have to wait until things calm down.”
When Khrushchev called Charles de Gaulle,
he hadn’t even finished describing the problem when de Gaulle shouted, “It would not be for the glory of France!” and hung up.
Nowhere else to turn, he called Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion.
“David,” said Khrushchev, “I know we've had our problems, but I need to bury the body of Stalin. Can I bury it in Israel?”
There was silence at the other end of the line for a while until Ben-Gurion finally spoke. “All right,” he said, “You can bury Stalin here. But I gotta warn you. We have the highest resurrection rate in the world.”
So Vlad, welcome to Evil Empire status. I wish you as much success as that great Soviet leader, Yuri Andropov (who rose to power, but then dropped off.)
November 12, 1982 - February 9, 1984
Watch out for guys with big birthmarks on their heads.
Is that a treasure map? link
Oh, and feel free to send us a political dissident from time to time. Do you have anything in a Solzhenitsyn?