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North Korea Successfully Detonates Nuclear Scientist

PYONGYANG—Hailing it as a significant step forward for their ballistic weapons program just hours after suffering a failed missile launch, North Korean leaders announced Monday they had successfully detonated a nuclear scientist.

Tokyo Portal Outage Delays Millions Of Japanese Warp Commuters

TOKYO—Saying the outdated system needed to be upgraded or replaced to avoid similar problems going forward, millions of inconvenienced Japanese warp commuters expressed frustration Thursday following a Tokyo portal outage that caused delays of up to eight seconds.

Earth Ranked Number One Party Planet

FRAMINGHAM, MA—Noting its high concentration of nightlife, droves of attractive singles, and atmospheric conditions allowing liquid alcohol to exist, the ‘Princeton Review’ on Monday ranked Earth the Milky Way galaxy’s top party planet for the fifth year in a row.

Nuclear Warhead Thrilled For Chance To Finally Escape North Korea

PYONGYANG—Saying its spirits were immediately buoyed upon hearing Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un’s recent statement that the military was close to developing an intercontinental ballistic missile, a North Korean nuclear warhead reported Tuesday that it was thrilled for the chance to finally escape the country.

Pope Francis Carves Roast Cherub For Vatican Christmas Dinner

VATICAN CITY—After pulling a probe thermometer from its thigh and tasting a piece of crispy golden-brown skin, Pope Francis began carving a slow-roasted 18-pound cherub for the Vatican’s annual Christmas feast, sources within the Holy See reported Sunday.

Vatican Putting Out Feelers For How Public Would React To Another Children’s Crusade

VATICAN CITY—Saying they had been giving some thought recently to the idea of sending legions of Christian boys and girls to retake the Holy Land and wanted to gauge the level of support, Vatican officials reportedly began putting out feelers Wednesday to determine how the public might react to another Children’s Crusade, much as was attempted in the year 1212.

John Kerry Scrambles To Stop Bunker’s Self-Destruct Sequence As Russian Oligarch Taunts Him From Bank Of Monitors

BOGDARNYA, RUSSIA—Working frantically to gain access to the system’s override settings at the computer terminal controlling the impending implosion, Secretary of State John Kerry scrambled to stop the self-destruct sequence of an underground bunker located thousands of feet below the Russian countryside Tuesday while oligarch Dmitry Granovsky taunted him from the numerous banks of monitors positioned throughout the facility, sources confirmed.

Islamic Awakening Inspires Man To Defect From ISIS

MOSUL, IRAQ—Telling reporters he had renounced his role as a militant and would soon be relocating in order to seek out an environment more conducive to fully devoting himself to his newfound religious faith, 24-year-old Huzaifa Quraishi confirmed Tuesday his recent Islamic awakening had inspired him to defect from ISIS.

CIA Orchestrates Coup D’État To Replace Entire Population Of Venezuela

Agency Installs Pro-American Populace Of 30 Million Venezuelan Citizens

CARACAS, VENEZUELA—Sources are confirming that the Central Intelligence Agency has orchestrated a coup d’état in the South American nation of Venezuela, toppling the country’s 30 million residents and replacing them with an entirely new, pro-American populace.

A Primer On North Korea

The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea remains largely unknown to Americans due mainly to the secrecy and isolationism upheld by its government. The Onion provides a primer on North Korea’s people and culture
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Russia To Consult With Wise Old Woman Of Woods

MOSCOW–Reeling from economic chaos, political instability, and a bitter conflict in Chechnya, Russian leaders announced plans Monday to seek the aid and advice of "Baba Mat," the Wise Old Woman Who Lives In The Land Of Many Tall Trees Beyond The Black Mountains.

Russian president Vladimir Putin (left) and advisers wander the forest in search of Baba Mat (inset).

"We seek the counsel of Baba Mat only as a last resort," Russian president Vladimir Putin said. "As everyone in the land knows, Baba Mat can be both benign and malevolent. She can make the lowliest peasant mightier than a czar and crush a king like a mayfly. But this fearsome sorceress is our only hope: The people have no bread on their trenchers, bandits run wild in the streets, and our foreign debt exceeds $40 billion."

Putin said he hopes to acquire from Baba Mat the Legendary Enchanted Cod, which can produce a roe of pure gold. He added that his economic advisers recommended the plan, arguing that the gold would do much to reduce Russia's hard-currency shortage and outstanding foreign debt, as well as make Putin the most beloved hero in the land.

Putin's announcement was met with criticism from those familiar with the wily old hag.

"[The move] shows the extent of Russia's desperation in this post-Communist era," said Nadine Halberstadt, a professor of Russian history at Stanford University. "Until now, only children lost in the forest or exiled princes found an audience with Baba Mat, and it was certainly not by choice. For all dread Baba Mat, with her hair of blazing straw, her lanky limbs which she uses to cut the thickest timbers, her teeth the color of brimstone, and her love of eating little blond-haired children."

Over the years, Russo-Wise Old Woman relations have been shaky at best. In the summer of 1968, Soviet premier Leonid Brezhnev asked Baba Mat to supply him with a magic goose egg that would help Soviet troops invade Czechoslovakia and put down its fledgling reform movement. Baba Mat would only consent if the Soviet government stopped cutting timber in the Land Of Many Tall Trees. Brezhnev agreed, the goose egg was transferred, and Czechoslovakia was successfully invaded.

Baba Mat's cottage, reached by Russian leaders after a journey of three suns length.

In the fall of the same year, however, Brezhnev ordered loggers back to work in the area containing Baba Mat's forest home. An infuriated Baba Mat avenged the broken deal by locking up the Mystical Rooster Who Beckons The Rosy-Fingered Dawn in her root cellar for 12 months. The rooster's imprisonment prevented the sun from rising in the Soviet Union, destroying the harvest and bringing the nation to a virtual standstill.

Baba Mat has also been known to dispense punishment in a manner that can only be seen as arbitrary. In 1985, for reasons that still elude many Russian experts, she turned Soviet premier Konstantin Chernenko into a decrepit yak and made him plow her turnip fields until he collapsed and died. Ten days later, she drank the entire Caspian Sea, a vital body of water prized for its fisheries and salt deposits and as a waterway for oil tankers bound northward up the Volga River.

"Put bluntly, Baba Mat is not to be trusted," Halberstadt said. "It is questionable whether she has ever had Russia's best interests in mind. And even now, it is widely rumored that the reason Chechnya has been able to hold off a ferocious Russian attack for months is because the old woman permitted Chechen rebel leaders to touch the Sacred Talisman Of Invincibility guarded by the Great Triple-Tusked Boar Of The Forest."

Particularly critical of Putin is Gennadiy Zyuganov, current leader of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation.

"Given what has happened in the past, Putin is no less than a traitor for seeking out the double-crossing Baba Mat," Zyuganov said. "It is beneath a head of state's dignity to consort with a witch. When the great Lenin formulated his New Economic Policy, he sought the advice and aid of no less a personage than Jack Frost himself."

As befitting her status as a power broker, Baba Mat frequently exacts a high price for her assistance. Yuri Suslov, a kindly old woodcutter who lives at the edge of The Land Of Many Tall Trees, has long been familiar with the sinister virago's ways.

"I do not envy the Russian president, for Baba Mat will demand of him a great many things," Suslov said. "For use of the Enchanted Cod, she may ask of him a feather of the awesome Fire Bird, the Golden Apron of the Princess Of The Five Steppes, or, most daunting of all, the fabled Matryoshka Doll Of No Known End. Perhaps all three. She often works in threes."

When asked for comment by reporters gathered outside her woodland cottage, Baba Mat said: "Russian, Russian, who dares approach my door; I'll make your bones rattle to the core! Bring me ambrosia, bring me mead; then I may give you what you need!"

She then turned the reporters into magpies and flew off into the sky in her magical black cauldron.

More from this section

Earth Ranked Number One Party Planet

FRAMINGHAM, MA—Noting its high concentration of nightlife, droves of attractive singles, and atmospheric conditions allowing liquid alcohol to exist, the ‘Princeton Review’ on Monday ranked Earth the Milky Way galaxy’s top party planet for the fifth year in a row.

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