Spectacular losers though the Russian people have been this week, they also have a strong claim to be the biggest losers of the 20th century. One of Russia's more charming exports to the West are sets of historical Russian dolls featuring the likenesses of Tsar Nicholas through Lenin, Stalin, Khruschev, Brezhnev and Gorbachev, to the biggest doll, a scowling Boris Yeltsin. Reflecting on these men and their achievements makes you wonder about the old adage that countries get the leaders they deserve. Boris and his predecessors have seen to it that, uniquely, the Russian people will leave the 20th century far worse off than when they entered it. Not for them the People's Century.
Winner of the week
It's not just Boris who's got a big belly just now. The current wave of preggers-plays-pop stars such as Melanie Blatt (pictured) are making political statements as fast as they're making babies. Girl Power is growing up and scoring points for womankind. Pregnancy used to be regarded as an illness; if you were unmarried, a crime. Now it's an obvious and vivid symbol of life and liberation. Girl Power feminism is born.
Hamster of the week
Quiet please, and respect, as we visit the Tomb of the Unknown Hamster for this week's posthumous award. A TV advert for Levi's jeans reduced children to tears by showing a "dead" hamster being poked with a pencil having been deprived of its only joy in life, an exercise wheel. But we soon learnt that the hamster in question, Kevin (pictured), was, in fact, alive and well. The dead "part" was played by a stuffed "body double". But what of this anonymous, pouched-cheeked understudy? After all, no greater love hath hamster than this - that he should lay down his life for denim.
Image of the week
A real bionic man: Mr Campbell Aird of Dumfriesshire and his electric limb, which is moved
by his pressing tiny switches at the top of the arm with the residual movement in his shoulder.
Now, if only they could do something bionic for Boris's brain.
Robin Thicke admits he didn't write 'Blurred Lines'music
Review: Cilla, ITV TV
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Hilary Mantel 'should be investigated by police' over Margaret Thatcher assassination story, says Lord Bell
- 2 Stamford Hill council removes 'unacceptable' posters telling women which side of the road to walk down
- 3 Kim Kardashian 'nude pictures' leaked on 4chan weeks after Jennifer Lawrence 'The Fappening' scandal
- 4 Alex Salmond: 'The rocks would melt with the sun before I'd ever set foot in the House of Lords'
- 5 Free U2 album: How the most generous giveaway in music history turned into a PR disaster
Friends 20th anniversary: Alison Jackson photographs reunited cast
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written
Friends 20th anniversary: The highs and lows of the cast's careers since TV series ended in 2004
Friends 20th anniversary: Six things we wouldn't have without influential comedy series
Doctor Who, Time Heist, review: Keeley Hawes is marvellous but the Doctor is the real villain
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
Scottish referendum results: Cross-party consensus collapses amid Tory-Labour spat on the 'English question'
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Russia freezes Ukraine into submission: Kiev admits country doesn't have enough fuel for winter
Plebgate MP Andrew Mitchell called officer a 'little s**t', claim court documents 'exposing ex-Chief Whip's 'record of abusing police'
Archbishop of Canterbury admits doubts about existence of God