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Alex McRae Columnist

Published Sunday, February 10, 2013

From Russia with lust

It’s been a tough couple of decades for our global neighbors in Russia. All you can say is, “Bless their hearts.”

Back when Russia was the alpha dog of the USSR, the Russkies ruled a pretty big—not to mention bad—roost.

But the Cold War ended and the Soviet Union imploded and Russia sank so low it couldn’t even steal a gold medal in Olympic pairs figure skating. Things are so bad now that Russian teens buy Justin Beiber CDs.

Meanwhile, the Russian economy continues to sag like hip-hop jeans. Mostly because the Russians never figured out how to make decent consumer goods. Their tanks and assault rifles are swell, but when’s the last time you heard someone longing for a Russian car or commie cosmetics?

To their credit, Soviet experts have finally figured out that their main economic problem isn’t a lack of quality goods, but a shortage of shoppers.

Russians are still making missiles and vodka. But they aren’t making babies. The population is dropping faster than the morale at a Siberian prison camp.

Russian President Vladmir Putin, saying “You can’t be great with a low birth rate,” has declared war on empty baby beds and is begging his countrymen and women to get busy between the sheets for the sake of Mother Russia.

Since it would be tacky to promote romance with a calendar featuring “The Girls of Chernobyl,” Putin decided to prime the procreation pump by urging babymakers to savor the romantic sounds of ‘80s and ‘90s R&B crooners Boyz II Men, who were scheduled to perform in Russia around Valentine’s Day.

Most Russians were probably relieved that Putin didn’t offer to do the job himself, since he has a fondness for proving his manliness by pulling off his shirt and ordering photographers to capture the action as he swims frozen rivers, shoots endangered animals and rides wild stallions across picturesque pastures.

The Russians tried a similar social experiment in 2007, when one province declared a Day of Conception and gave everyone the day off with orders to go home and do some conceiving. As a special incentive, women who gave birth nine months later got a free Russian refrigerator.

Worse strategies have been hatched. (Google: CIA-Bay of Pigs invasion).

Putin wants every Russian family to have three kids. He figures if all else fails, Russians will at least outnumber every other tribe on earth.

But if music is the key to a girl’s heart, the soundtrack is critical. When I began dating, I went through dozens of record player needles searching for the sound that would drive a girl into my arms. Beethoven bombed, so did the Beatles and even a dose of Elvis crooning “Can’t Help Falling in Love With You” drew expressions of fear or nausea from potential kissing partners.

But once I loaded the hi-fi with a stack of of Johnny Mathis records, things heated up fast. After a junior high slow dance to “Chances Are” (in the privacy of my living room) I had to race to the kitchen and ice down my lips.

If the Russians really want to encourage romance, they should rely on a golden goodie, too. But not Boyz II Men. Once Putin convinces his comrades to turn on a Barry White CD and crank up “Can’t Get Enough of Your Love,” you can bet that even in the dead of winter, Russian lovers will feel the heat.

In fact, a few days of Barry White and the Russians might even start saying, “Make Love, Not War.”

Worse things could happen.

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