No, Yakov Smirnoff is not dead, he's still doing comedy. And thanks to neo-Soviet autocrat Vladimir Putin, Smirnoff is making a comeback:
It's funny but the truth. It is an old, proven formula that dictators use: divide and conquer. It gets rid of all the things that might influence people. Then you're the sole source of information, and that's the key part of the plan. Putin is like a chess player. He understands that there are strategic moves he has to make and certain elements he needs to be able to control to have ultimate power, and the media is one of them. That's how the old Russian regimes -- Lenin, Stalin and all those guys with a unibrow -- were functioning at the time.I see the same thing that I grew up with starting to happen again in Russia.
By Yakov Smirnoff
June 10, 2014 | Huffington Post