Why tsarists lost by a nose

April 2, 2004

Staff at Dundee University recall that when Sir Peter Ustinov, who died this week, became the first rector in 1968, he gave a bravura inaugural address that included the true explanation for the Russian revolution.

Sir Peter revealed that there was an elite regiment of guards dedicated to Tsar Paul I whose recruits were chosen for their short noses.

He said: "Others, wiser and more enlightened, may ascribe the coming of Lenin to economic or political causes, but the suspicion remains that a country that graded soldiers by their noses, or rather lack of noses, could not have withstood a local street demonstration without collapsing."

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