The Sunday Times – If you want to change the world, elect a drunk like Yeltsin, by Rod Liddle

So farewell, Boris Yeltsin. He was perhaps the perfect Russian leader, saving the authorities the usual need to provide hundreds of gallons of formaldehyde by comprehensively pickling himself while still alive. Indeed, while still in office. If his corpse were on display you’d probably need to be over 18 just to view it, what with the fumes.

It took an imaginative leap to arrive at work one day, eight sheets to the wind, pour himself an early morning stiffener, shakily wave his arms around and pronounce: “Right, comradesh, thatsh the end of communishmism, or whatever itsh called.”

(the line immediately following is, I think, key to a certain thematic motif here at ninme)

If Gorbachev, the man we all admire (and the Russians despise), had clung on to power, there may well have been a gradual, if somewhat one-sided, convergence between our two social systems: it might have taken decades. But after a good night on the lash, Yeltsin made the crucial imaginative leap. To think outside the box, it is preferable to be several feet out of your own, via vodka or antifreeze, who knows.

That cracked me up.

This is something the pressure group Alcohol Concern seems to have forgotten with all this business about the calamitous effects of alcohol dependency among the young people of Britain. Yes of course they may end up dead in a garret with a liver the size of Belarus at the age of 25. On the other hand, they might be inspired to free the world from the possibility of nuclear armageddon, open the gulags and herald a new era of democracy (if only for a bit). Rather Yeltsin paralytic than Bush sober. Rather Bush paralytic than Bush sober, come to that.

I love it.