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For mother Russia

Russian sailors are best left alone, it’s best not to drive them up the wall. I know that for sure. And now I’d like to elaborate on this point with some specific examples. But first let me say: our Russian sailor needs little or no excuse to fight for his Mother Russia, for Holy Rus, for his faith, the Tsar and the Fatherland.

And even if he can’t get his hands on anything, he’ll tear you to pieces with any sticks at hand – with sticks, with stones, with teeth, with fangs, with hooves.

To digress a little from the main plotline, I’d like to recall how at one recent historic point in our navy’s history, a strategic map of the Mediterranean was brought before the eyes of our historical Commander-in-Chief. It depicted a huge American aircraft carrier side by side with our tiny little cutter keeping track of the former.

“What’s this, then?” exclaimed the Commander-in- Chief of the Armed Forces. “What is it? What?!” He kept poking and pointing at our tiny little ship but our staff officers just couldn’t understand what he meant, they just didn’t get it.

Finally, it dawned on them: our ship was drawn as just a tiny dot on the map.

So, they drew it again: they drew a small aircraft carrier and next to it a huge Russian patrol cutter; and then the Commander-in-Chief was pleased up to his bald spot.

So anyway, coming back to the main plotline, let me say this: “Yes, comrades! Yes! The airspace of our beloved Motherland is invaded by anyone who can be bothered. Yes!” Of course, we do have a thing or two to bang at them, we can ruffle a few feathers except that we’re tied up, hand and foot – tied up, belted up, welded together and bandaged over. And in spite of our confined circum stances, we’re expected not only to shuffle around like penguins in a flock, but we’re also obliged to stave off hostile attacks.

“Our Armed Forces are duty-bound…!” we hear from all over the shop – those who remember from all the shenanigans only what the Armed Forces owe them personally.

We know that we’re duty-bound, who’s going to argue with that? Well, obviously. But what would you say: can we ram them? No, we can’t. They don’t let us ram. They don’t allow us. Now, if they let us ram, then we’d show them. We’d be ramming right and left.

Did you hear how we recently rammed Americans without permission? That was a day of triumph.

It was like this: in the Black Sea one of their cruisers – a displacement of thirty thousand – infringed on our territorial waters and immediately our SKR, as old as the moorings on the Neva, rushed to intercept it.

It was nothing less than a swan’s song to see our ancient grandpa SKR patrol boat intercepting their modern, fat, self-satisfied giant. Plus, inside our grandpa, everything was panting, squeaking, shrieking and smelling foul. And yet everything was trembling in anticipation of a fight.

“Well, fuck me!” said the captain of the SKR, which had been ordered to go over but had been forbidden even to bark at the Americans; it was meant to go over and do something or other, but at the same time sod all, nothing which would violate anything international.

“Well, fuck me!” said the commander of the SKR. “I’m going to give him one!”

And he gave it to them – he ran into the cruiser head- on. He just went over without thinking and ran into it. The American shuddered. He wasn’t expecting it. He was dumbfounded. But ours didn’t cool off, it backed a little way off and then again – bang!

“HA-HA!” yelled the captain of the SKR in total ecstasy. “HA-HA! Don’t you like it?! Got stars spinning around your head yet? Don’t you like it?”

The SKR kept moving off and then throwing itself at them again, and the American just kept on putting up with it. It was the moment of our greatest triumph.

Finally, the American decided (before he got a hole drilled in his side) to slip out of our waters. He turned around and tore off with all his strength and our teeny SKR, completely maimed by the encounter, risking its remaining health, followed it into the neutral waters, trying to catch up and ram it in the bum.

Next time, the next American cruiser again intruded into our sacred borders in a totally different place.

So, who went to deal with it this time? That’s right – a coastal patrol cutter. The cutter went up to the cruiser and said that if it didn’t get the hell out of our waters immediately, then it – the cutter – would open fire.

The cutter even aimed at it with its farter, that even in still weather would not as much as dent a bullet-proof vest. And they stood alert.

“To hell with it, with my career,” said the cutter’s captain, pulling his cap on tighter, “I’ll give them a symposium on disarmament right now, even if my soul perishes.”

But his soul didn’t have a chance to perish. The cruiser, having sent a message by transmission: “Im pressed with the courage of the Russian com mander!” turned and sailed the hell out of our waters.

Also, dear citizens, in the open sea, the planes of our likely enemies fly over our vessels, both submarines and surface ships, right over the upper decks; they fly around, the swine, wherever they want, they fly so skilfully that our teeth grind in helpless rage, and our hands reach for anything which could replace a machine-gun – nuts and bolts, for example.

Did you know that the deck of our ship is the holy of holies, our native land? And the air space above it right up to the ozone layer – I can’t remember how many kilometres – that’s our own air space. And the enemy’s climbing into our airspace and hanging above our native land – hanging so close that he can bash us in the face.

And he is hanging there, as I’ve already said, not only above our surface ships but also above our submarines, which happen to be in surface positions.

Once, a foreign helicopter was hanging above our nuclear-powered submarine, it was hanging right above our missile launching deck, when a door in the helicopter opened, and some guy crawled out. This guy sat in the door, swung his legs over the side, grabbed his “Leika” camera and started photographing us.

“Give me the submachine gun,” shouted the commander. “I’ll photograph him now. He can feed the fish, the bastard.”

They looked for the submachine gun for a long time, then its tripod, then the keys for the cartridge box, then they opened it and it turned out there were no cartridges there, then they found the cartridges, but they’d put the tripod somewhere. The captain howled. Finally, someone ran over and brought him a can of condensed milk; and the captain hurled the can at the photographer.

The helicopter tore off to one side, the photographer all but fell out. He shouted at us as he was flying off with hearty Dutch swear words and shook his fist, but our lot laughed obscenely at him, pointing at the jar and shouting:

“Hey! Do you want some more?”

Well, we’re allowed to throw things. Especially if they’re trying to immortalise us on film so impudently.

There was one time our anti-submarine boat was sailing along a foreign shore and suddenly a vessel from their border guards peeled off from their shoreline and moved towards our boat. It levelled up and went alongside us. And immediately a man with a tripod appeared on its deck; he started setting up the tripod without fuss, without hurry; then a camera appeared with a metre-long lens and the photographer began to walk around the deck, as if in a play, measuring us up to get the full length.

As he was getting ready, our boat’s cook climbed up on deck, a midshipman of depressing proportions, a certain Popov.

“Huh, you insect,” said midshipman Popov, observing the enemy.

Then he went down into the galley, and he brought up a potato the size of a hockey-player’s helmet.

“Hold on to your lenses,” said the cook and, without aiming, he let fly his potato.

It was thirty or forty metres to the vessel. The potato flew as if from a cannon and blew up right on the photographer’s head.

He fell nose-first onto the deck and lay there for a long- long time while the vessel ever so quickly turned round and rushed back to shore. It carried our victim back, snivelling, to his mummy.

Everyone was dying to know where the cook had learnt to throw like that.

“You should play gorodki… you know, skittles,” said the cook. “Then you’d be able to hit a deer in the eye one kilometre away.”

When I heard this story I thought: maybe we really should teach everyone in the navy to play gorodki – and have done with it. And we’ll be hitting deer in the eye. Although we probably don’t really need to hit deer in the eye. We only need to hit their heads so that their eyes pop out by themselves.

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