Little Ivan returns home from his first day of school.
"So how was school?" asks his father.
"Fine I guess," said the pupil. "I understood almost everything the teacher said, but we studied world history and I still don't exactly understand how Russia got to be what it is today. Could you explain it to me, Dad?"
"In a way you can understand? Okay. Once upon a time there was a big Russian man. Well, he was actually rather short, and he spent most of his time and got most of his ideas outside of Russia, and his name was 'Lenin.' Actually, originally his name wasn't Lenin, but 'Ulyanov.' But he was so proud of his work that he changed his name. And this Ulyanov had a friend . . . actually he wasn't his friend, he was a scoundrel and his name was 'Stalin.' Well, I did say his name was Stalin, but his name was really 'Dzhugashvili.' So you can see why he might want to change it. And these two friends started the October Revolution. But actually, though, it wasn`t a real revolution, it was a putsch, and took place in November, not October. It took place in St. Petersburg. Well, it took place there, but soon after the putchists, who called themselves revolutionaries, changed the name of the city to Petrograd because they thought 'Petersburg' sounded German, and the Germans were attacking their country at the time. But in fact, it wasn't German, it was Dutch. And then the Lenin putschists killed far more of their countrymen than the Germans ever dreamed of doing, and then to celebrate they renamed the city once again, after Lenin, to show how proud they were of all his actions. Of course, if they had been a little prouder they would have named it after Ulyanov, but they weren't quite that proud and, in point of fact, neither was Lenin himself. And then as time passed they got even less proud, and realized that the Dutch have nothing to do with the Germans, so they changed the name back to St. Petersburg."
Little Vanya shakes his head and says, "Jesus, what a mess!"
"Great!" says his father, "You now understand Russia!"