For some curious reason I haven’t even begun to fathom, today is a national day of celebration of the life and times of Robbie Coltrane’s character from a couple of Bond films, Valentin Zukovsky. It really is quite an odd tradition, especially as his first appearance was only as recent as 1995’s Goldeneye – from rather pointless side-story character to national hero in just a few short years! Remarkable.
Being, as he is, a fictional character, writing a biography would be somewhat pointless, but, being, as this is, an Internets blog-oh-tron, such a thing is rather apt. Cuss!
Born in 1951 in Gradistankovich, USSR, to father Dmitry and mother Mditry, two lower class slave workers in a coal factory (an unpaid yet very common position at the time), little Valentin’s life seemed already chosen for him – working as a slave in a coal factory for no money! Following in your fathers footsteps was not so much a nice tradition, kept alive in small rural villages where progress was something to be petrified of, but rather more of a government imposed law, the breaking of which was punishable by being forced to work as a slave in a coal factory, for no money. Little did anyone know, however, one event was to take place which would change Valentin’s destiny forever.
Destiny was feeling particularly cruel at the time, and this event did not take place until 1985, when, after 31 long years toiling as a slave in a coal factory for no money, a chance occurrence… occurred which gave Valentin a new lease of life. On his daily walk to the coal factory one sunny Autumnal morning, he was run over by then-president Mikhail Gorbachev’s Skoda Favorit! Instantly apologetic, and begging not to be murdered for his great crime of being run over by the president, Valentin was quite taken aback to hear words not of anger, but of concern, spill forth from Comrade Gorbachev. Thanking Comrade Gorbachev for his gratitude, Valentin was even more surprised to learn of a longstanding Russian tradition, whereby being run over by the president granted you one presidential request!
Of course! Suddenly it all made sense in Valentin’s mind – the ubiquitous nature of Skoda Favorits, the hospitals full of people with broken legs, legal system backed up with cases of broken-legged people being prosecuted for being run over, always by aging bald drivers – why had he not figured out this escape route sooner?!
He requested to be given a position with the KGB! The President stuck to his country’s fine tradition and made it so (number one), and Valentin’s new life began, with a mission to create ties with the Russian mafia and English secret agents.
Sadly, Valentin was killed in 1999, and a state funeral was held in his honour. Unfortunately, by this time his formerly glorious nation of unpaid slave workers had collapsed into a nation of unpaid non-workers, and the state funeral consisted of a couple of tramps drinking some vodka on a park bench, singing songs about vodka, furry hats, the suitability of mutually assured destruction as a global security concept and lamenting the decline of unpaid coal factory-based job opportunities.
RIP in peace, Comrade.