The Media Mirror, 20.07.07. Serious things taken with humour

It's Friday, and we can take a humorous view of current events unexpectedly provided by Izvestia newspaper. The very serious row between Russia and UK and the future State Duma elections are given an unexpected twist.

First – domestic politics. The Duma elections are to be held soon but it seems that the Central Electoral Commission is thinking far ahead as well. The paper reports, apart from personal invitation cards supposed to be mailed to every member of the electorate and TV ads, the Commission has commissioned a children's book titled “The Elections: I know what it means!”.

The boy on the cover, Nikita, travels through three lands previously foreign to him: the Legislative Land, the Executive Land and the Judicial Land. By the end of the guided tour of democracy Nikita learns that the choice in his life is not limited to that of fruit or a cake after his dinner.

And a cartoon on the front page of Izvestia is from Jerome K. Jerome's “Three men in a boat”, to say nothing of Berezovsky. The author thinks that certain passages from the English humour classic can be used verbatim as comments on the current state of Russia-UK relations and different figures trying to influence them.

The three men are Gordon Brown, David Milliband and Vladimir Putin. And Boris Berezovsky is the dog character Montmorency: “To look at him you would imagine that he was an angel sent upon the Earth, for some reason withheld from mankind.” But soon we find that “to collect a gang of the most disreputable dogs to be found in the town and lead them is Montmorency's idea of life.”

On national leaders, international relations and strategic partnership a quote from Jerome is: “You roll it up with as much patience and care as you would take to fold up a new pair of trousers, and five minutes afterwards, when you pick it up, it is one ghastly, soul-revolting tangle.”

It is always the same, and the same sort of thing always goes on in connection with it: “The man on the bank, who is trying to disentangle it, thinks all the fault lies with the man who rolled it up. On the other hand, the man who wound it up thinks the whole cause of the muddle rests with the man who is trying to unwind it.”

Jerome suggests that after a hearty meal together, men tend to forget small grievances and like to apologise to each other and settle things in a most amiable way. Maybe it's time to stop rocking the boat and sit down to dinner?