Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Laugh a minute with “Pravda” 

Just like the good old days, except now it’s all on the net – do yourself a favour and check out the journalistic highs and lows of the Soviet Union’s once premier news outlet, now reduced to an almost incoherent raving (I know that as somebody for whom English is not the first language I shouldn’t laugh at bad translations, but who can resist reading about Russia’s “small and average businesses”?).

Some of the current highlights include:

- the story about the chemical explosion in North Korea is illustrated by the same photograph as the story about a 26-year old employee of Arkhangelsk natural gas utilities company who had admitted to setting off an explosion that destroyed an apartment block.

- the story about a prosecution in Qatar of two Russians accused of assassinating former Chechen leader Zelimkhan Yandarbiev, delightfully titled “Assassination of Yandarbiev is not in the style of Russian special services” – something that all the Cold War veterans will I’m sure find deeply amusing.

- the story about the travails of the world’s most famous painting, informing “Pravda”’s readers that “Leonardo's ‘Mona Lisa’ is dying.” Actually, to the best of our knowledge, she has been dead for almost five centuries, but thanks for asking.

- the story that breathlessly informs people about “black holes” that “devour people” and recounts the very old pseudo-mystery chestnut about soldiers of the 5th Norfolk regiment who had supposedly all mysteriously vanished without a trace at Gallipoli. This story has been debunked so often it’s not funny, but it’s obviously still news for the Russians.

And there’s so much more courtesy of “Pravda”. The Russians – once they used to kill you, now they just kill you with laughter.


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