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When Putin Retires...


"From one grandfather to another"


Party Chairman Leonid Brezhnev died in 1982. His successor, Yuri Andropov, died in 1984. His brief era at the top of the Soviet system led to an even shorter interlude under Konstantin Chernenko (191185). His accession was hailed by extreme conservatives in the Soviet leadership as a return to the cherished certainties of the Brezhnev era. Indeed, Chernenko seemed to fit perfectly the system in the final phase of decay: senile and physically frail, he did little more than stand as a figurehead for a year. In March 1985 he died.

Russians living through this geriatric intermezzo took great interest in watching the new sport at the Kremlin: hearse racing. Rabinovich a wise old Jew who reflects on the reality from the sidelines and one of the cult figures of Soviet political jokes said he did not have to buy tickets to the funerals as he had a subscription to these events.

"What is the main difference of succession under tsarist regime and under socialism?"
"Under tsarist regime the power transferred from father to a son, and under socialism - from one grandfather to another."
(A wordplay: 'grandfather' in Russian is traditionally used in a sense of 'old man')

TASS communication: "Today, being in dangerous state of health and without regaining consciousness Konstantin Ustonivich Chernenko took up the duties of Secretary General"
(the first part of the sentence is the common beginning of state leaders' obituaries)

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