Russian leader who wasn't a total bastard dies

A LEADER of Russia who was not an absolute bastard to either his own people or neighbouring countries has passed away.

Mikhail Gorbachev, born in 1931, became head of state of the Soviet Union in 1985 and ended the war in Afghanistan, ended the Cold War, and allowed Eastern Bloc countries to govern themselves, for which modern Russians view him as a traitor.

Historian Helen Archer said: “Previous Russian leaders include Brezhnev, Stalin and Ivan the Terrible, so Gorbachev was a real break from the norm.

“His policies of letting people criticise the government, letting Eastern Europe have leaders who weren’t dictators, and not threatening to nuke the world were refreshing, different, and saw him overthrown within three years.

“Following which the Soviet Union collapsed, the economy collapsed, the world looted the remains and first a hopeless pisshead then a KGB strongman took power and started doing all the bastard stuff again.

“Now we face a Russia invading Eastern Europe, backing dictators in vicious civil wars, threatening nuclear conflict and imprisoning any Russians who dare challenge it. So pretty much everything Gorbachev achieved is gone.

“It seems either Russia likes a bastard or bastards like Russia. Either way, farewell Gorbachev. It was nice while it lasted.”

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25 years since Diana: is Britain ready to talk about going mad for a week?

A QUARTER-CENTURY on from the death of the Princess of Wales, the UK is still coughing and avoiding the subject of its behaviour that week. Why? 

Francesca Johnson, aged 84, ardent Royalist

I love the Royal family and Princess Di was my absolute favourite. The moment I found out I was heartbroken. I rushed to London to leave flowers on the Mall, wrote a poem about her being an angel in the condolence book, and cried absolute buckets through the funeral. It was a wonderful week and I wish we could be that united again.

Norman Steele, aged 71, former welder

I’ve never been bothered about the Royals, including Di. But the moment I found out I was heartbroken. I rushed to London to leave flowers on the Mall, wrote a poem about her being Britannia in the condolence book, and cried absolute buckets through the funeral. I still don’t understand what happened to me. I’ve been largely indifferent since.

Jo Kramer, aged 48, teacher

It was just another celebrity death to me. Until the whole country was plunged into mourning, everyone was red-eyed at work, we forced the Queen to fly the flag at half-mast and the local paper was running outraged stories about people daring to rent videos when the funeral was on. Since that week, I’ve understood that everyone is mental.

Julian Cook, aged 55, journalist

It was a real rollercoaster. From boarding up the windows against lynch mobs, to the marvellous discovery it was the chauffeur’s fault and marshalling a tsunami of grief to flood a country which a week ago was buying our tabloids with paparazzi shots of her snogging Dodi. We learned our lesson and now we hound her son’s wife instead.

Joe Turner, aged 43, prisoner

I was only 18, made the mistake of calling the departed a ‘posh slag’ and was jailed indefinitely under the England’s Rose Act rushed through parliament by Blair. I’m still here because nobody’s willing to repeal the laws as it would mean thinking about them. I have to write a 600-line poem about how wonderful she was every day.

Lucy Parry, aged 30, marketing manager

I was five at the time and fully believed in princesses. I thought she was the most perfect woman who ever lived, that flowers grew where she walked, that she personally cleared the world of landmines and that she was looking down on me from heaven, blessing me. I was five. What was everyone else’s excuse?