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"Works Like a Barry White Album," says Putin

If you associate the words 'tomfoolery' and 'ballyhoo' with 'Kremlin banquet,' you're not alone. But the year 2000 celebration in Moscow for the 80th anniversary of the Cheka, the Soviet secret police, was poignantly nostalgic in tone. Chekist Day is observed annually to commemorate its founding by Felix Dzerzhinsky on 20 Dec 1917.

The foreign intelligence agency SVR released a 22-track compilation CD of agents' favorite songs about the cloak-and-dagger profession. It was not released to the public, since few people (I imagine) would be eager to wax rhapsodic over Stalinist police oppression, and because, according to Foreign Intelligence Service spokesman Boris Labusov, the songs would be "incomprehensible" to those outside the field. He also mentioned that the CDs "went like hotcakes at the ceremony," held at the Lubyanka spy headquarters. "We hoped to soften these moments of nostalgia for them by releasing this compact disc."

Tracks include:

info from The Guardian, www.spytechagency.com, The New York Times, Pravda online. And no, Putin didn't actually say that.

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