From: March 31, 2017 Yekaterina Filippovich, special to RBTH

There’s an old Soviet joke that satirizes the USSR’s penchant for declaring itself a leading force in various fields. It goes like this: During an international competition, schoolchildren from several countries are challenged to write an essay on elephants, and one Soviet kid proceeds to write a long paper entitled “Russia: The Homeland of the Elephant.” Cue the laughs, because obviously Russia is by no means considered a natural habitat for the huge mammals, and the child was simply displaying his patriotism – so it’s funny because it isn’t true. Except, ironically, it turned out the kid may have been right after all, and ancient elephants did once inhabit the country……

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