Tuesday, July 10

Mushroom Soup. Mushroom Soup. Mushroom Soup...

Back in the days when Russian President Vladimir Putin was a mere KGP Officer in the Soviet Union:

Comrade Putin had just completed a long day interrogating suspected enemies of the state. On the way out the gate, a guard instructs him to return to his office. There he finds his boss the General with a puzzled doctor.

General: Comrade Putin. What happened to the prisoners?

Putin, walking to the head of the first body: He ate the mushroom soup.

General: But what about the rest?

Putin, walking down the line: Mushroom soup, Mushroom soup, Mushroom soup, Mushroom soup, Mushroom soup, Mushroom soup, Mushroom soup and Mushroom soup.

Doctor: And what about the last one? (With an obvious bullet wound to the head)

Putin: He refused to eat the mushroom soup.

A friend told me a simplified version of that joke that was around in Poland during Soviet times. I just personalized it, so keep in mind that there were lots of KGB 'Putins' around during Soviet times.

I was reminded of the joke when I saw the list of what happened to the Members of the Latvian Government after the Soviets invaded the country during WWII. (Click to see the list in the image below) The list is in the Occupation Museum of Latvia.

(The Fate of Members of the Government (1940) of Latvia)

There are 13 names on that list. Only one managed to escape the Soviets.

Of the 12 that were caught, only one managed to survive his imprisonment. The 11 remaining members died in Soviet captivity, with only one managing to live past the end of 1943. Seven of them simply 'Died'. The other four were shot, most likely for refusing to die.

This would be a joke, but the killing goes on in Russia. Take a look at the List of journalists killed in Russia at Wikipedia which notes that "many of the journalists killed were critical of the regime of Russian President Vladimir Putin."

Maybe, just maybe, one day Russia will decide that it wants to be a first-world nation. Until then, it will remain a third-world joke, and a dangerous one at that.

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