By Simon Vozick-Levinson
Updated June 22, 2009 at 10:42 PM EDT
A. Gilbert/PR Photos

How much would you pay for a single CD of “romantic ballads” sung in Russian by former Soviet premier Mikhail Gorbachev? Maybe, say, a hundred and fifty thousand dollars and change? Wait — before you answer, I should mention that funds from this hypothetical transaction would go to the charitable Raisa Gorbachev Foundation, which fights childhood cancer in honor of the onetime leader’s late wife.

It was no doubt with those very noble motives in mind that an anonymous donor paid $164,940 for Gorbachev’s Songs for Raisa at an auction in London this week. That is a lot of money to pay for an album recorded by a guy who is not generally known as a singer! But hey, having listened to one track that’s online, I can say that Gorby’s voice is actually not terrible. (Artists who use Auto-Tune to cover for your own vocal failings, take note: If Mikhail Gorbachev can sing in his real voice, so can you.) And the cause is obviously a good one. Sounds like this altogether random bit of news was a win-win situation for everyone involved. So: Any other former foreign dignitaries you’d like to hear sing for charity? Name your price, below!

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