Chapter 1


Jokes about the Communist Party, the Soviet regime, the standard of living, etc


1.1. Ivanov applied to the Communist Party. The party committee conducts an interview.

"Comrade Ivanov, do you smoke?"

"Yes, I do a little."

"Do you know that comrade Lenin did not smoke and advised other communists not to smoke?"

"If comrade Lenin said so, I shall cease smoking."

"Do you drink?"

"Yes, a little."

"Comrade Lenin strongly condemned drunkenness."

"Then I shall cease drinking."

"Comrade Ivanov, what about women?"

"A little...."

"Do you know that comrade Lenin strongly condemned amoral behavior?"

"If comrade Lenin condemned, I shall not love them any longer."

"Comrade Ivanov, will you be ready to sacrifice your life for the Party?"

"Of course. Who needs such life?"

1.2 An old Jew was expelled from the communist party. His buddy wanted to know why. The old Jew told the story.

"When Khrushchev was in power, and Brezhnev in the second place, I had in my office the likenesses of both of them hanging on the wall. The day Khrushchev was kicked out, I happened to miss the news. The Party Secretary walked into my office, looked at the two pictures and said, "When will you kick out the likeness of that idiot?" I said, "Which one?"

For that, I was given the first written reprimand.

Then one day I failed to attend the Party meeting. The Party secretary asked, 'Why didn't you come to the last party meeting?" I answered, "If I knew it was the last one, I would come with the entire family." For that, I was given the second written reprimand.

Then, one Party member died. The Party secretary told me the Party committee decided to grant 500 rubles for the funeral. I said, "That much? For such money I could bury the entire Politburo." For that, I was given the third written reprimand.

Then, we had a lecture about communism. The lecturer said that when communism will be built, there will be no money. I said, "And will there be butter?" For that, they expelled me from the party."

1.3 A violinist applied to the communist party. The party committee asked him, "Is it true that you played violin at Makhno's(1) wedding?"

'Yes, that's true."

"Then we can't admit you to the party."

As the violinist walked out from the committee, his buddies surrounded him. "You nitwit, who pulled your stupid tongue to admit you played for Makhno?"

"How could I deny it as all the committee members had been guests at that wedding?"

1.4 Comrade Ivanov applied to the communist party. The Party committee asked him, "Have you ever vacillated in following the Party line?"

"No, I always vacillated together with the line.(2)"

1.5 A peasant applied to the communist party. The committee asked, "Why did you illegally appropriate two sacks of potatoes?"

"Not illegally. I stole it from the chairman of our collective farm, as comrade Lenin instructed us: "Rob what has been robbed.(3)"

1.6 Napoleon was resurrected and came to Moscow on November 7, when a military parade is held to commemorate the 1917 Bolsheviks' upheaval. Brezhnev invited Napoleon to watch the parade. Napoleon, instead of watching the tanks and rockets, read the Pravda(4) newspaper with a great interest. The Minister of Defense whispered, "Your Majesty, look at this military technique. If you had such tanks, you would've won at Waterloo."

To that, Napoleon answered, "If I had such press as yours is, nobody would ever know I lost at Waterloo."

1.7 A Jew submitted a complaint that the local authorities illegally deny him an apartment. He addressed his complaint to Lenin in Moscow. Soon he was summoned to the party committee and reproached, "We received your letter which has been transferred to us from Moscow. Why did you address it to Lenin? Don't you know Lenin died many years ago?"

The Jew exclaimed, "When you need him, he's alive for ever(5), but when I need him, he's dead?"

1.8 Karl Marx was resurrected and came to the USSR. He was shown factories, hospitals, cities and villages, etc. Finally, he requested to be allowed to make a speech on TV. The Politburo hesitated as they were afraid he might say something they wouldn't approve. Marx promised he would say only one sentence. Under this condition, the Politburo agreed. Karl Marx uttered the following sentence: "Workers of all countries, forgive me." (6)

1.9 A Jew applied for a visa to leave for Israel. During an interview at the passport office, the official asked, "Why do you want to leave the best country in the world?"

"I have two reasons," the Jew answered. "One is that my neighbor is an anti-Semite, and when he's drunk, he knocks at my door and shouts, 'Just wait, as soon as the Soviet regime is over with, we kill you, Jews!"

"But you shouldn't worry," the official said. "The Soviet state is forever."

"That is my second reason," the Jew said.

1.10. A crocodile is sleeping with his wife. Suddenly he wakes up and shouts, "Shame to American aggressors!" He falls asleep, but after a while he is again awoke and shouts, "Glory to our Great Party!" Then he sleeps a little more, opens his eyes and screams, "All roads lead to communism!"

The crocodile's wife says, "How many times did I warn you not to eat communists for supper?"

1.11 At Lenin's funeral, a poster above the hearse said, "Lenin freed us from the capitalist chains."

A Jew says to a buddy, "This is true. Remember, I had once a golden chain, from my mother. They came and took it.(7)"

A policeman says, "Comrades, don't hold the line, just pay your last respect and move."

"See, we still have to pay," the Jew says.

1.12 A rabbit ran wildly in the street.

"Why are you running like mad?" a bear asked.

"Don't you know, they are now arresting all camels and castrating them."

"But you're rabbit, not a camel."

"Right, but if they catch you, and cut off your nuts, then prove that you're not a camel!(8)"

1.13 A meeting of all employees is being held at a brothel. The brothel's Party secretary gives a pep talk. He says, "Comrades, our enterprise doesn't unfortunately keep up with the requirements set by the Party. In particular, we're behind other establishments in our effort to recruit our best performers to join the Party. It especially relates to our younger employees. For example, you, comrade Petrova, you're eighteen, why won't you apply for a Party membership and thus become an example for other employees?"

The prostitute answers: " Oh, comrade secretary, don't you know my mother hardly allowed me to join this brothel."

1.14 In a research institute a selection is to be made to send one of the researchers to a scientific conference abroad. Only three candidacies met the qualification requirements. Now they are questioned by the Party Committee.

"Comrade Ivanov, what were your parents doing before the Great October Revolution of 1917?"

"They owned a store. Of course, it was not a big store, not like the Moscow GUM store. It was just a very small grocery store...."

"Sorry, Ivanov, as you come from a family of capitalists, we can't send you abroad."

"Comrade Petrov, what were your parents doing before the Great October....."

"They owned a factory. Of course, it was not a big factory, not like the ZIL automotive plant. It was just a tiny factory making candles...."

"Sorry, Petrov, as you're a descendant of capitalists, we can't...."

"Comrade Bernstein, what were your parents doing before 1917?"

"They owned a brothel. Of course, it was not a big one, not like this..." and the Jew makes a wide gesture by his arms as if embracing all the country.

1.15 At a meeting in a factory, a lecturer from the district Party committee tells the workers about their bright future in the USSR.

"See, comrades, after this five-year plan is completed, every family will have a separate apartment. After the next five-year plan is completed, every worker will have a car! And after one more five-year plan is completed, every family will own an airplane!"

From the audience, somebody asks, "What the hell one may need an airplane for?"

"Don't you see comrades? Let's say, there are shortages in potatoes supplies in your city. No problem! You take your own plane, fly to Moscow and buy potatoes!"

1.16. A Polish tourist comes back home after visiting the USSR. He carries two very large and heavy suitcases. On his wrist is a new Soviet-made watch. He tells the customs man: "This is a new Soviet watch. It's a wonder unknown in the capitalist countries. You see, it shows time, the rate of your pulse beats, the phases of the Moon, the weather in Warsaw, Moscow, and New York, and more and more!"

"Yes, it's a wonder," the customs man agrees. "And what is it you have in these big suitcases?"

"Oh, it's just the batteries for that watch."

1.17 An old wench waited for two hours to get in a bus. Bus after bus came full and she couldn't squeeze herself in. When she finally managed to crawl in, she wiped her forehead, and said, "Finally, glory to God!"

The driver said, "Mother, you must not say that. You must say 'Glory to comrade Stalin."

"Excuse me, comrade," the woman said. "I'm just a backward old woman. I''ll say from now on as you told me."

After a while, she said, "Excuse me, comrade, I am old and stupid. What shall I say if, God forbid, Stalin dies?"

"Oh, mother, then you shall say, "'Glory to God!"

1.18 At a May Day parade, a very old Jew carries a slogan, "Thank you, comrade Stalin, for my happy childhood!"

The Party representative approaches the old man. "What's that? Are you deriding our Party? Everybody can see, when you were a child, comrade Stalin was not yet born!"

"That's precisely what I'm grateful to him for!" the Jew said.

1.19 In the Museum of Revolution, a man is looking at the photograph of Stalin's mother. He shakes his head and says, "Who could expect it? She looks like a decent enough lady. Couldn't she have an abortion on time?"

1.20 A woman walking in the street is carrying a bag full of rolls of toilet paper.

A passer-by opens his mouth, "Hey, mother, where did you buy it?"

"Buy? Are you crazy? Where could I buy it nowadays? They are five years old. I am taking them back from the cleaners."

1.21 A man came home and found his wife in bed with a stranger. Furious, the man shouted, "You, good-for nothing, look at what you're spending your time for, while at the corner store they're selling eggs, and they have only three boxes left!"

1.22 A man was sentenced to fifteen years of imprisonment in a high security prison for calling Brezhnev an idiot.

The man's wife asked the judge, why such a harsh sentence was meted out as by the law the maximum term for a personal insult must not exceed a few months. The judge said, "He's sentenced not for a personal insult, but for revealing classified information."

1.23 A group of foreign correspondents is visiting a factory. The Party secretary introduces to the correspondents a 'good worker' comrade Ivanov. The correspondents are allowed to ask Ivanov a few questions.

"Mister Ivanov, what is your salary?"

"Sixty rubles," Ivanov answers, meaning his monthly salary.

The Party secretary interjects, "It's per week!"

"Mister Ivanov, how big is your apartment?"

"Never measured. I guess some two hundred square feet," Ivanov says, meaning all of his apartment. The Party secretary says, "This is just per each of the family members!"

"Mister Ivanov, what's your hobby?"

"Hobby? Hmm... Never measured. I guess five to seven inches...."

The Party secretary amends, "This is when in a flaccid state!"

1.24 In some country, communists managed to get elected to govern. In a few months the economy had become as it could be expected from anyone following the Soviet model. As the USSR promised help, the country's President sent a telegram to Brezhnev, "Please send food."

Brezhnev answered with a telegram, "Tighten the belts."

The next telegram from the new communist-ruled country said, "Urgently send belts."

1.25 Two brothers, John, and Bob, who lived in America and were members of the communist party, decided to emigrate to the USSR. Even though they didn't believe the American media's negative reports on the conditions in the USSR, they decided to exercise caution. First, only John would go to Russia to test the waters. If, contrary to the media reports, the living conditions would be found good, and the reports about persecutions by the KGB false, than John would write a letter to Bob using black ink whose color would signify that the letter is to be taken at face value. If, though, the situation in the USSR happened to be bad, and John would be afraid of writing the truth, he would use red ink thus indicating that whatever he says in the letter must not be believed.

In three months John sent his first report. It was in black ink and read, "Dear brother Bob! I'm so happy here! It's a beautiful country, I enjoy complete freedom, and high standard of living. All the capitalist press wrote was lies. Everything is readily available! There is only one small thing of which there's shortage, namely red ink."

1.26 A Party secretary delivers a pep talk to the factory workers. "So, comrades, our goal is to catch up and then surpass and overtake the USA, the most developed capitalist country. Any questions?"

"I've a suggestion," one worker says.

"Good, comrade! Party always wants you to be politically active. What's your suggestion?"

"I think it's good to catch up. But not to overtake."


"If we do, they will see our naked asses through the holes in our pants. "

1.27 An inspecting commission came to a lunatics asylum. To greet them, a choir of the patients sang a song from a popular movie that says "Oh, how good it is to live in the Soviet land!"

The commission noticed that one of the men did not sing.

"Why are you not singing?"

"I'm not crazy, I'm a nurse's aide here."

1.28 A Jew applied for a visa to leave for America. As his reason, he indicated that he had a brother in America who fell ill and needed help. The officials at the passport office said, "Then why won't your brother rather come over here?"

"My brother is sick, but he's not mentally sick."

1.29 A Jew applied for a vacant position but was denied the job.

"This is just anti-Semitism," the Jew charged.

"Not at all. Why should we hire you as we know you'll anyway emigrate very soon to Israel?"

"No, I have no intention to emigrate."

"Then we can't hire you at all!"


"We don't need fools."

1.30 The government is discussing what to do to ensure sufficient supply of food. One minister suggests, "Let's make war to the USA. They will defeat us and then they will feed us."

Another minister replies, "Don't you know what dunderheads are our generals? What if they defeat the Americans? How shall we than solve the food problem?"

1.31 A Russian, a Frenchman and an Englishman argued about Adam's nationality.

The Frenchman said, "Of course Adam was French. Look how passionately he made love to Eve!"

The Englishman said, "Of course Adam was British. Look how he gave his only apple to the lady, like a real gentleman."

The Russian said, "Of course Adam only could be Russian. Who else, possessing nothing but a sole apple, and walking with a naked ass, still believed he was in a paradise?"

1.32 * To alleviate the perennial shortages of butter, The Politburo of the Communist Party ordered the Soviet scientists to develop a technology for converting shit into butter, and to complete this project on or before the anniversary of the Great October Socialist Revolution. After six months of work, the Politburo demanded an interim progress report. The scientists reported that they had achieved a 50% success. The party requested elaboration. The reply from the Academy of Sciences explained, "One can already spread it, but not yet eat it."

1.33 * In a factory there was a worker who had an unusual ability, namely he could fart a few simple melodies. When the Politburo learned about it, they ordered the man to learn how to fart the Party anthem 'The International.'

In three months the Politburo demanded a report. The man answered that he was not able to perform as required. The Politburo asked, "Why?"

"The first few lines come out OK," the man said, "but as I approach the words 'We'll build our, new world,' I just shit all over."

1.34 A judge walks out of the courtroom, laughing loudly. A colleague asks, "What is it you laugh about?"

"Ah, I just heard an excellent anecdote," the judge says, sweeping tears of laughter.

"An anecdote? Tell me!"

"Are you crazy? I just sentenced a man to ten years for that anecdote."

1.35 A delegation of foreign communists came to see a Moscow kindergarten. Before they came, the kids were instructed to answer every question by the visitors with just one sentence, "In the USSR everything is the best in the world."

The visitors came and asked their questions:

"Children, do you like your kindergarten?"

"In the USSR everything is the best in the world!" the kids shouted.

"And what about the food you get?"

"In the USSR everything is the best in the world!"

"Do you like your toys?"

"In the USSR everything is the best in the world!"

At that, the smallest boy in the group started crying.

"Misha, why are you crying? What happened?"

"I wa-a-a-nt to the USSR!"

1.36 When Brezhnev visited the USA, the American president asked him, "Mister Brezhnev, what is your hobby?"

"I collect anecdotes the people tell about me."

"And how big is your collection?"

"As of yesterday, the tenth camp was almost full."

1.37 On a train, a man was reading a newspaper. At some moment, he whispered, "Dog's life...." At once, a man who was sitting on the opposite bench, produced a certificate of a KGB officer (the so called 'red booklet') and said, "Follow me."

"Why?" the paper's reader protested. "Look, I am reading about America, and I meant the people there have a dog's life."

"No, no, let's go," the KGB man said. "I know who has a dog's life."

1.38 In the city of Leningrad, a new decision of the Government was announced according to which measures would soon be taken to ensure finally the abundance of food for every citizen.

A reporter of the Leningrad radio took interviews in the streets.

"What do you feel after the new decision of the Communist Party in regard to the abundance of food for every citizen?" the reporter asked. An old woman answered, "Eh, we've survived the German blockade, we'll also survive the abundance."

1.39 In the time of Stalin's mass purges, a knock at the door woke a family in the middle of night. All family members, shaking in terror, jumped up.

"Take all you can carry with you, and get out at once," a voice sounded. "But, for God's sake, don't panic! It's me, your neighbor. It is nothing serious, just our house is on fire."

1.40 The famous hero of the civil war, the division commander Vassily Chapaev(9), called for his orderly Petka. Petka did not respond.

"Where the devil is Petka, mother, hell, devil, ass......," the brave commander shouted.

"Petka's on the roof," one of the staff men answered. "He's pulling(10) up antenna there."

"Antenna?" Chapaev said with envy. "What a pretty name."

1.41 The hero of the Civil War Vassily Chapaev applied to a Military Academy.

"Did you pass, Vassily Ivanovich?" his orderly Petka asked.

"I submitted urine for analysis and it passed," Chapaev said. "Submitted shit, it passed. Only in arithmetic I failed."


"They asked me how much would be one half plus one half. I felt it must be one liter, but just couldn't put it in words."

1.42 Chapaev and Petka were invited to a meeting at the Academy of Sciences. The meeting was chaired by the President of the Academy Mstislav Keldysh.

Petka said, "Vassily Ivanovich, do you want me to show you keldysh?" (11)

Chapaev looked around furtively. "What? Right here, Petka?" he said.

1.43 On the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the Friendship treaty with China, sets of Chinese furniture appeared in Moscow stores. The buyers could choose from the following three versions of the set:

Regular set: a bowl for rice, and a straw mat.

Regular-plus set: a bowl for rice, two straw mats, and two chopsticks.

Deluxe set: two bowls for rice, three straw mats, four chopsticks, and five photographs of Mao Tse-Tung.

1.44 The year is 2010. In Moscow, a boy asks, "Grandpa, what is a line?"

"You see, some twenty years back, there was not enough meat in stores, so people had to form long queues at the stores' entrances and wait hoping some meat would appear on sale. That was called line. Did you get it?"

"Yes, Grandpa. And what is meat?"

1.45 In the Olympics, a Soviet hammer thrower set a new record. Correspondents interviewed him.

"How did you manage to hurl that hammer so far?"

"If it were together with a sickle, I would send it twice as far."(12)

1.46 Two Party members, Ivanov and Petrov, went to a restaurant to celebrate Petrov's birthday. They drank between them a bottle of vodka, and then Ivanov said, "My dear fellow, you know that I love you. Why do I love you? I love you not for your having stolen the Party dues from the Party office, and not for your having driven your mother-in-law into a mental institution, and not for your beating up your wife day in and day out, and not for your having raped a thirteen-year old blind girl. No, that's not why I love you. What I love you for is that you're a good communist."

1.47 On the occasion of the anniversary of the Great October Socialist Revolution, a meeting of Party members is held in a village. The Chairman of the local Soviet gives a speech,

"Dear comrades! Let's look at the amazing achievements of our Party after the revolution. For example, here sits Maria. Who was she before? An illiterate peasant woman, she had but one dress and no shoes. And now? She is an exemplary milkmaid known over the entire region. Or look at Ivan Andreev. He was the poorest man in this village, had no horse, no cow, and even no axe. And now? He is a tractor driver, and has two pairs of shoes! Or look at Trofim Semenovich Alekseev. He was a nasty hooligan, a lowest drunkard, a dirty gadabout. Nobody trusted him even with a snowdrift in wintertime, as he would steal anything his gaze fell upon. And now he's a Secretary of the Party Committee!"

1.48 Seven paradoxes of the socialist state:

Nobody works, but the plan is always fulfilled. The plan is fulfilled, but the shelves in the stores are empty. The shelves are empty, but nobody starves; nobody starves, but everybody is unhappy; everybody is unhappy, but nobody complains; nobody complains, but the jails are full.

1.49 After the collapse of communism, a man walked into a coffee shop and asked for a communist newspaper.

"We don't carry communst newspapers any longer," the waiter said.

After a while, the guest again requested a communist newspaper.

'We don't carry communist newspapers any longer."

A few minutes later, the man again asked for a communist newspaper.

"Don't you understand that we do not carry communist newspaper any more!"

"Yes, but it is so pleasant to hear it. Say it! Say it!"

1.50 An Armenian applied for a communist Party membership. The Party committee conducts an interview.

"Comrade Aslanyan, can you name the Great leaders of communist movement?"

Aslanyan frowns and then shakes his head.

"Try, comrade Aslanyan. What about Karl Marx?"

"Who? No, I don't know him."

"What about comrade Lenin?"

"Who? No, I don't know him."

"What about comrade Stalin?"

"Who? Listen, why are you nagging me? Do you know Arshak Manukian? What about Dodik Gasparyan? Or Vano Kikishvili? You see? You keep your company, and I keep my company."

1.51 A man walked into a store and saw that all shelves were empty. He angrily shouted, "What that damned government thought about? Nothing is available!"

At once, two plainclothes men took him by elbows.

"What's the matter with you?" the man begged.

"What did you shout? Whom did you blame?"

"Of course, I blamed the Czars."

"What have the Czars to do with that?"

"They ruled for three hundred years, but stored food for only seventy years."

1.52 A delegation of French communists came to see a typical Soviet village. The Chairman of the village's Soviet gave explanations, and the guests much admired what they were shown. Then they saw a pig walking on four artificial legs. To the guests's questions, the Chairman explained that the pig fell sick, and a skillful handyman Fedor saved the animal. Much impressed, the delegation left, and then the Chairman said to Fedor reproachingly, "Hey, you son of a bitch, couldn't you have a little patience and wait until New Year?"

Fedor answered apologetically, "I longed already for a jelly with pork legs so much!"

1.53 A delegation of French communists came to a village where they saw a peasant who was beating a woman. The foreigners requested the bus driver to stop and asked why did this man beat this woman. The man answered that the woman was his wife and that she took without permission a tractor belonging to the collective farm and ran into a tree, destroying the socialist property. Next day she drove, again without permission, a truck of the collective farm and hit a wall, destroying the truck as well. Both times he let it pass, but today she took his motorcycle and destroyed it too. So, he lost his patience and started beating the stubborn wench. The French communists agreed that his rage was understandable as the socialist property must be sacrosanct. Still, they said that in France a man wouldn't beat up his wife, but rather would find some way to teach her a proper attitude to socialist property. When the foreigners left, the village Soviet's Chairman said to the man, "Ivan, we all know she didn't take any tractor or truck, as we don't have any. And you have no motorcycle. Tell me as a man to a man, did she cheat on you?"

"No," Fedor said. "The damned wench donned my coat to go to the well for water, and there she started gossiping with all those wenches. How could I leave for work without a coat?"

1.54 In 21th century, two Chinese-looking men walk on the Mao Tse-Tung street in Moscow (formerly Gorky street). Their names are Mo-She and Ha-Im.

"How are things?" Mo-She asks.

"Fine," Ha-Im answers.

"And if frankly?"


"Listen, as a Chinese to Chinese, tell me the truth, how are things?"

"I get along, really, only what is tiring, to keep the eyes slanted all the time." (13)

1.55 After a retired KGB general revealed in press some unsavory details of the KGB practice, the Chairman of the KGB Kryuchkov called Gorbachev.

"We must take away from that traitor all his decorations and titles. He is a liar, he's dishonest, he's a crook!"

"Can you prove that?"

"What other proof you need? He served in the KGB!"

1.56 A man walked into the district committee of the Communist Party and said, "I wish to join the Party. What should I start with?"

"Visit a Psychiatrist."

1.57 The General Secretary of the Communist Party Chernenko was dying. He dialed a number in the hell to make inquiries. Brezhnev took the call.

"Dear friend Leonid," Chernenko said. "I'll be coming soon to join you in the aftergrave world. Tell me, what should I take with me? Do you have any shortages?"

"No, we've here everything, as if it's communism here. Maybe just one thing you better take, a spoon and a fork."

'Why? Not enough spoons and forks?"

"There's plenty of spoons and forks. Just, when Hitler's turn comes to work in the kitchen he forces all communists to eat using a hammer and a sickle."

1.58 In a collective farm, a pig gave birth to three piglets. The Party committee was convened and decided that to report about only three piglets would make a bad impression in the district Party committee. So, they reported that five piglets were born in the farm. The district Party committee reported to the Region Party committee that seven piglets were born in the collective farm. In their report to the Ministry of Agriculture, the Region Party committee advised that the socialist obligation to increase the number of pigs by twelve, has been successfully fulfilled. To please comrade Brezhnev, the Ministry reported that twenty piglets were born, ahead of the planned date.

"Very good," comrade Brezhnev said. "Three piglets you'll give to the workers of Leningrad. Three you'll give to the heroic city of Moscow. Five you'll put aside for exports. Five you'll send to the starving African children. The rest you store as a strategic food reserve. Nobody shall touch it!"

1.59 The First Secretary of the district Party committee says to his Manager of the Department of personnel appointments, "Listen, comrade Ivanov, it's over six months that there is no rabbi in the synagogue, and you don't seem to worry. The propaganda work is slipping, comrade Ivanov."

"Yes, comrade Secretary, I am trying hard to find a suitable person to appoint as a rabbi, but so far we couldn't find one. Anyone we interviewed, either was not a Party member, or was a Jew....."

1.60 Two skeletons meet, and one asks the other, "Did you die before Gorbachev announced the new food program, or after?"

"No, I'm still alive."

1.61 In a bus, a young man tells loudly political anecdotes, and laughs himself, while all other passengers turn their faces away and pretend no to listen. Then another man approaches the merry narrator and produces his "red booklet" identifying him as a KGB agent. "Do you know what is the difference between you and this bus?" the KGB man says. "The bus will roll further, but you'll follow me."

The young man laughs even louder, and says, "Do you know what is the difference between me and you?" and he produces his own "red booklet."

1.62 In the space center in the USA, a commission discusses the reasons for the explosion of the space shuttle. "Everything was checked thoroughly, we just can't figure out why the left booster exploded."

In Moscow, in the KGB's directorate handling foreign affairs, a meeting is also in progress. "We've checked everything thoroughly, and we can't figure out why the left booster exploded while it had to be the right one."

1.63 Some thirty people gathered to celebrate the birthday of the host. After a few bottles of vodka were imbibed, the tongues got loose, and the guests started telling political jokes. Through laughter, a voice sounded, "Comrades, please, it's too noisy. In such a noise, I can't hear the jokes. I am writing it down, you know."

A man sitting next to the one who's writing down, says admiringly, "How do you manage to write down that fast?"

"Oh, I'm writing down only the initials."

1.64 Soldiers asked their commanding officer, "Comrade Major, we understand what is perestroika.(14) It's when we are arranged in two rows and then we rearrange into four rows. But what is glasnost?

"Glasnost is when you criticize me as much as you please, and you get nothing for that."

"Nothing at all?"

"Yes. No overcoats, no putties, no shoes...."

1.65 A boy asked his father a ruble as in his school money was being collected to donate to the starving people of an African country.

"They don't need our money," the father said. "Their climate is excellent, the soil fertile, they must have everything they may dream of."

Next day, the boy said, "Father, the teacher said this money is to help the Communist party in that African country."

"Ah," the father said. "Here are two rubles. If they have a Communist Party, then they certainly have starving people."

1.66 Estonia asked Gorbachev to allow it to be independent just for one month. Gorbachev refused. Then Estonia requested independence for just one day. Gorbachev refused. Then Estonia asked only ten minutes of independence. Gorbachev's advisors suggested to comply with that request as in ten minutes Estonians wouldn't be able to do much harm, but to consent to their request could be advantageous for propaganda purposes.

Ten minutes of independence elapsed, and the Soviet agents in Estonia reported, "In the first five minutes, Estonia proclaimed war to Finland, and in the next five minutes Estonia surrendered and announced that it had been occupied by Finland."

1.67 In 1978, a few months after the Soviet troops invaded Czechoslovakia, a Party lecturer was asked, "Why are our troops staying that long in Czechoslovakia?"

"They are searching for the man who invited them."(15)

1.68 In a jail, two inmates share their experience.

"What are you here for?"

"I told an anecdote about Stalin. And you?"

"I'm here for my laziness."


"On my birthday we sat and told anecdotes. One guest told an anecdote about Stalin. I was lazy and did not run to inform at once. I went in the morning, but my neighbor had been there before...."

1. 69 In a jail, three men tell their stories.

'Why are you here?'

"I was against Gomulka."(16)

"And you?"

"I was for Gomulka."

"And you?"

"I am Gomulka."

1.70 In a school, a survey was a conducted among the students. One of the questions was "Would you suggest a classification of Soviet citizens in accordance with any criterion you may choose?"

The son of a KGB officer answered: 'There are three categories of Soviet people, namely, 1) those who have already been to prison; 2) those who are now in prison, and 3) those who will be in prison."

1.71 An university Professor of Folklore asked his students, "Do you believe that with time anecdotes are being reevaluated?"

"Yes. They used to give for an anecdote fifteen years, and now they give only three."

1.72 Before increasing prices for vodka, the government conducted a survey in a factory.

"Would you buy vodka if it were twenty rubles a bottle?"

"We will!"

"And for forty rubles a bottle?"

"We will."

"How about one hundred fifty rubles a bottle?"

"No, our salary is only one hundred forty.... If, though, you increased the salary.... then we would."(17)

1. 73 A competition for the best anecdote has been announced. First prize: twenty five years; second prize: twenty years, and two condolence prizes: fifteen years each.

1. 74 After the Pope was shot, the Western media speculated on the alleged role of the Soviet KGB in the assassination attempt. To stop these allegations, the Soviet government created a special commission of investigation. After a very thorough investigative work the commission reported to the government, "Beyond a shadow of doubt, our country was not to blame."

"How can you prove it?"

"We've established that the Pope was the first to shoot."

  1. 75 In the middle of the Red Square, an old woman is rocking from foot to foot for a couple of hours, two suitcases at her feet. A policeman approaches her.

What are you doing here?"

"I am just waiting for that little Rust to fly back to Germany."(18)

1.76 Emigrants from Russia opened a Russian restaurant in Hollywood, under the name of "Nostalgia for Russia." Menu: first course - borsht; second course - piroshki. Dessert: whacking the customer on the neck with the words, "Get out, dirty Jew."

1.77 A man parked his car in the Red Square in Moscow. A policeman rushed to him, shouting, "Are you crazy? Here is where the government is!"

"No problem," the man answered, "I've good locks in my car."

1.78 A trial took place in Moscow, and the defendant was sentenced to three years in prison. The proof of his guilt: at a birthday party, when Israel was mentioned, the man's face displayed curiosity.

1.79 A deaf-mute man was sentenced to five years in prison for anti-Soviet propaganda. The crime of anti-Soviet propaganda he committed was described by a witness as follows: the deaf-mute man was walking past a state grocery store, and, when he saw a posted announcement saying "The prices reduced," he angrily spat on the ground.

1.80 In a prison, two inmates share their experience.

"What did they arrest you for?" one of them asks. "Was it a political or common crime?"

"Of course political. I'm a plumber. They summoned me to the district Party committee to fix the sewage pipes. I looked and said, 'Hey, the entire system requires replacement.' So, they gave me seven years."

1.81 In Odessa, a lecturer gave a public talk entitled "Is there life on Mars?"

When he finished, he asked, "Any questions?"

"Yes. When will we have a life in Odessa?"

1.82 A man applied for a visa to emigrate to England. The officials tried to dissuade him. "You're an old and sick man. But in England there are rains all the time. So, better think it over."

In two hours the official walked out from his office and saw the same man still sitting in the waiting room.

"Are you again here?"

"I did not leave. After you told me about those rains, I'm thinking it over."


"I still can't decide, to take an umbrella to England or not."

1.83 Americans wondered how can it be that the Soviet citizens voluntarily buy the state bonds which never pay back. The Soviet envoy said, "That's right. In our country everything is being done strictly on voluntary basis. Even our dogs lick pepper voluntarily."

"Kidding!' the Americans said. "We would like to see a dog licking pepper."

"No problem," the Soviet envoy said. A dog was brought in, an embassy's servant took pepper and rubbed in under the dog's tail. The dog whined and started feverishly lick under his tail.

"Do you see?" the Soviet ambassador said. "It's really very simple. Our people buy the bonds the same way."

1.84 A woman walks into a food store. "Do you have any meat?"

"No, we don't."

"What about milk?"

"We only deal with meat. Across the street there is that store where they have no milk."

1.85 In a window of a food store two hens are displayed, one of domestic origin, the other imported from the West. The Western hen says contemptuously, "Why are you so bony? Didn't they feed you or what? Look, you're blue!"

"Yes," the Soviet--grown hen says with pride. "But I at least died a natural death!"

1.86 A guard asked a political prisoner, "What is your term?"

"Ten years."

"What for?"

"For nothing."

"What a lie! For nothing they give only five years."

1.87 To alleviate financial problems plaguing the region, Odessa city Party committee decided to open a brothel. They summoned a Jew by the name of Abramovich who was known as a successful organizer. Abramovich refused to be the director of the brothel.

"Why?" the Party Secretary asked.

"I know what it will entail. Look, five beds I'll have to keep for the city Party committee; three beds to be reserved for the city Soviet; for the police minimum three more; then ten girls to send for three months to do agriculture work; ten more would be required to attend meetings and political demonstrations; and symposia, and this and that, so that Abramovich will have to go to bed himself to fulfill the financial plan?"

1.88 A delegation of Italian communists came with a friendly visit. They were taken to a collective farm.

"How are your tomatoes?" the guests asked.

"Tomatoes don't grow here."

"Hmm. What about cucumbers?"

'Worse than with tomatoes. They don't grow here at all."

"Hmm. Maybe you plant them in a wrong way?"

"Oh, if we were to plant them, they would grow."

1.89 The Soviet people can be classified as belonging to one of two classes, black and red. Black people ride in black sedans, eat black caviar and get free everything other can only see in the black market. Red people carry red flags through the Red Square on those days marked red in the calendars.

1.90 A collective farm was allocated one pair of shoes. To decide who will get them, a general meeting of all the collective farm members was summoned. The Party secretary said, "There is a suggestion to give the shoes to me. Anybody against it? Is anybody here against the Soviet Power?"

1.91 A worker was sent as a delegate to a Party congress. When he came back home, and took seat at the table, his wife said, "Do you want soup?" The man lifted his right hand. "Do you want a meat cutlet with mashed potatoes?" The man again lifted his right hand. "What about vodka?" The man stood up and clapped vigorously.

1.92 A delegate to a Party congress came back to his factory.

"So, Ivan, how was it?"

"It was great! I brought home a new suit."

"But what have you decided there?"

"We decided the main question. Everything for man! Everything for the sake of a man's well being!"

"So how did you vote?"

"We all voted unanimously 'for.' The main thing, I myself saw that man!"

1.93 The USA has bought from Russia Lenin's tomb. They brought it to the USA and placed it on a skyscraper's roof. Lenin woke up, looked down from the roof and said, "Right. It's exactly how I imagined our future."

1.94 A man died and was sent to the paradise. After a while, he became bored with the paradise, with the eternal quiet, abundance of flowers, absence of worries. So he requested to let him visit the hell as a tourist. God consented. In the hell, he saw people playing cards, drinking wine, and making love. He liked it very much and upon return to the paradise applied for a transfer to hell for good. God consented. As soon a he appeared at the hell's gate, demons grabbed him and pushed him into a barrel with hot tar.

"Stop it! I was here with a visit and saw the people drinking vodka, playing cards, making love."

"Don't confuse the area designated for tourists and sustained by the Propaganda Department, with this area which is for residents."

1.95 Local authorities were worried with the ever increasing number of elderly citizens. They requested Moscow to give guidelines as to what to do with the pensioners. Moscow gave the following directions, "Send those whose hands are shaking to a mill to sieve flour; and those whose heads are shaking, to the political meetings to sit on the podium."

1.96 Two former schoolmates met in the street.

"Where do you work?"

"I am a school teacher. And what about you?"

"I work for the KGB."

"Oh, and what are you doing at the KGB?"

"We unearth those who are dissatisfied."

"You mean, there are also some who are satisfied?"

"Those who are satisfied are dealt with by the Division for the Fight Against the Embezzlements of the Socialist Property."

1.97 A man at a street corner is giving away leaflets. The passers-by grab leaflets, tuck them hurriedly into pockets and run away. When around the corner, they hide in an empty gateway and look at the leaflet. Then some of them rush back to the man at the corner and angrily ask him, "Why the hell do you disseminate blank sheets? There is nothing written here."

"Why should I write? Everything is clear anyway."

1.98 In the middle of night, somebody knocks at the door of an apartment.

"Who's that?"

"The KGB."

"What do you want?"

"We want to talk a little."

"How many of you there?"

"Only two of us."

"Then if you want to talk, why won't you talk to each other?"

1.99 A frightened man came to the KGB "My talking parrot disappeared."

"This is not our case. Go to the criminal police."

"Excuse me. Of course I know that I have to go to them. I am here just to tell you officially that I disagree with that parrot."

1. 100 A mummy was found in Egypt. The archeologists could not determine its origin. Then a Soviet advisor offered his help. The mummy was delivered to the Soviet embassy. In two hours the Soviet advisor appeared and said, "His name was Amenkhotep 23 rd."

"How did you find out?"

"He confessed," the advisor said.

1.101 A Japanese worker was sent to Russia to fix a piece of Japanese machinery. The Japanese worked his eight hours a day without speaking to anybody. In a month, his contract expired. Before leaving for Japan, the guest said with tears in his eyes, "Me apologize, me good worker. Me know workers solidarity. But me has contract, me has to work, me apologize for not participating in your long strike."(19)

1.102 A ship sank in the ocean. A Russian, a Frenchman and an American wound up on an island inhabited by cannibals. The aborigines' chief said, "Name something we don't have, and we'll spare you. If you can't name it, we'll eat you."

"You've no blondes," the French man said. The chief laughed, and a blonde girl was brought in. The Frenchman was at once made into steaks.

"You've no computers," the American said. The chief laughed, produced a laptop computer, and the American was at once made into mincemeat.

The Russian said, "Do you have a Politburo?"

The chief frowned, the cannibals thought for long time, but finally admitted they had no Politburo. Then the Russian wondered, "If you have no Politburo, who taught you to devour people?"

1.103 A Russian, a Frenchman and an American argued who was the bravest man. The American said, "For example, we take ten cars of which one has no brakes. We throw dice, each of us gets a car, we drive on a mountain road. Afterwards one of us is in a hospital, and the other nine visit him there."

"That's nothing," the Frenchman said. "We choose ten girls and one of them has AIDS. We throw dice and each one of us gets a girl, and we make love to them throughout the night. Afterwards one of us is in a hospital, and the other nine visit him."

The Russian said, "We gather in an apartment, even though we know that one of us must be an informer. We tell political jokes throughout the night, and then nine are in jail, and one visits the nine there."

1.104 The President of the USA has one hundred security advisors. One of them is a KGB agent. Who that man is, is being investigated.

The president of Zambia has one hundred lovers. One of them has AIDS. Who that woman is, is being investigated.

The President of the USSR has one hundred advisors on economy. One of them understands economy. Who that person is, is being investigated.

1. 105 At a meeting of factory workers, Gorbachev makes a speech.

"Comrades, soon we will live even better."

A voice from the audience, "And what about us?"

1.106 From the news broadcast: "Yesterday an American submarine sank in the Northern sea after it collided with an iceberg. The captain and the crew of the iceberg have been awarded orders and medals."

1.107 A lecturer from the District Party committee says to the workers, "The imperialists meddle in the internal affairs of the USSR all over the globe."

1.108 A news item: "Yesterday, an American submarine was lost within the Bermuda triangle. On our side there were no losses."

1.109 A man wanted to buy an apartment. He hung a piece of paper on a pole saying, "I'll buy an apartment for cash."

Next day, to his surprise, he was invited to an office and told, "Just pay on the spot and you may occupy an apartment."

Elated, the man paid and was given keys to an apartment. Then he posted another announcement offering cash for a car. Next day, he got a call from the same office, and was offered a new car for cash. Amazed, the man said, "What kind of office is this?"

"We are unearthing the underground millionaires."

1.110 A political officer reproached a soldier, who was a radio operator, for not putting away the soldier's working tools. After the political officer finished his long lecture as to the soldier's lack of discipline, the soldier said, "Comrade Major, it's much easier for you. As soon as you've closed your mouth, you've put away your working tool."

1.111 Senility Soviet style: An elderly man is standing in the doorway of his apartment with an empty bag in hand and thinking, "How to find out whether I have not yet been to the food store or I've just returned from the food store?"

1.112 In Moscow, a brick fell from a roof and killed a man. A crowd gathered and the people shouted angrily, "Look at that! No order in this city. One can't walk without being hit by a brick!"

Then one man looked at the victim's body and said, "I know him. He's our Party Secretary."

"Look at that," the people said. "Look at how they breed! Even no more free space for a brick to fall!"

1.113 An actor read from a stage a poem by Mayakovsky titled Lenin. He came to the following lines,

"When we say 'Lenin', we imply the Party,

When we say 'Party' we imply 'Lenin'...."

And old Jew in the audience whispered to his wife, "That's is what they all do all the time. They say one thing, mean another thing, and imply something else."

1.114 A foreign delegation came unexpectedly to a collective farm. There was no time to prepare. After they left, the Chairman of the collective farm called the District Party committee. "You didn't warn me in advance, so they saw everything, the ruined cow sheds, and all the dirt, and all our misery and poverty."

"Don't worry," the Party secretary said.

"But now they will tell about it all over the world."

"So, let them indulge in their usual slander," the Party secretary said.

1.115 In a research institute, scientists discussed the difference between a donkey and an ass. They referred to ancient Babylonian manuscripts, to different authorities from Aristotle to Lenin. A wife of one of the scientist listened to the discussion and said, "What is all this fuss about? I think donkey is a scientific degree and ass is a position."

1.116 In a school in the republic of Georgia the teacher asked the students to tell about their fathers.

"Turashvili, tell about your father."

"My father grows oranges. He takes them to Moscow, sells there and makes good money."

"Now you, Beridze."

"My father grows laurel leaves. He takes them to Moscow, sells there, and makes good money."

"Now you, Klividze."

"My father works in the Division for the Fight Against Embezzlements and Speculations. When Beridze's and Turashvili's fathers go to Moscow, they always first see my father. So he makes good money."

"Now you, Chavchavadze."

"My father is a chemical engineer."

The class burst in laughter.

"Children," the teacher said. "It's not good to laugh at somebody's grief." (20)

1. 117 A teacher asked the students to tell their dreams about their future. Vova said, "I'll be a policeman."

"But Vova, when you become an adult, there will be no need in police. The people will all become so conscientious that there will be no crime."

"Then I'll be a fireman."

"But Vova, there will be no fires, as the people will all be very careful and conscientious...."

"Then I'll be an army officer."

"But Vova, there will be no army, as all people will be happy and there will be no wars, as all countries will have communism."

"Why are you nagging me? You'll not force me to work anyway!"

1.118 At an university a Professor conducts an examination.

"Tell me first, what's my name."

The students think hard, but none can remember the Professor's name.

"Well, this apparently is too hard a question. Tell me then what is the name of the discipline you came to have an exam in?"

The students whisper to each other, "Look, the old geezer decided to fail all of us."

1.119 An old man and his grandson look at the river from the shore.

"Grandpa, is this place called Chernobyl? Is it true here was once a nuclear plant?"

"Yes, my boy," the grandfather said and patted the boy on the boy's head.

"And did it explode one day?"

"Yes, my boy," and the grandfather patted the boy's second head.

1.120 "Grandpa, look, there is ball rolling."

"It's not a ball, it's a hedgehog from Chernobyl."(21)

1.121 "Grandpa, look at this bulb! Its blue light is so pretty!"

"It's not a bulb. It's a bottle of milk from Chernobyl."

1.122 "Grandpa, thank you very much for the gift, this pet snake."

"It's not a snake, baby. It's a cat from Chernobyl."

1.123 A Japanese Minister visited Moscow and was shown many factories. On the eve of his departure, correspondents asked him what he liked most in the USSR.

"Your children are beautiful."

"Yes, but what else did you like?"

"You children are very attractive."

"Sure, we like children as well. But didn't you like anything else?"

"The best thing in your country is children. But what you make with your hands, is very, very bad."

1.124 A man rang a bell. Rabinovich opened the door.

"Is Rabinovich living here?"

"No, he is not living here."

In an hour, again a ring, Rabinovich opens the door.

"I told you Rabinovich is not living here."

"Then who are you?"


"Then why do you say you don't live here?"

"You call this a life?"

1.125 In Afghanistan, a guerilla shouts, "Hey, Russ, surrender!"


"Hey Russ, give yourself up!"


Hey, Russ, surrender."

"No Russ here. Would you take an Uzbek?"

1.126 What are the prospects of perestroika?

There are two possible scenarios. The first scenario is realistic: Martians will come to the Earth and do everything for us. The second scenario is out of science fiction: we will achieve the goals of perestroika on our own.

1.127 There was an international competition for the best book about elephants.

France submitted a lavishly illustrated volume titled "Love triangles in the elephants' families."

England presented a treatise "Elephants and the World Trade."

Germany submitted 24 volume set under the title "Introduction into elephantology."

The USA furnished one million copies of a leaflet announcing a sweepstakes, "Win an Elephant. No purchase necessary."

The USSR sent three volumes, with the following titles,

Vol. 1. Role of elephants in the Great October Socialist Revolution.

Vol. 2. The happy life of elephants under the sun of the most progressive in the wolrd Soviet Constitution.

Vol 3. Russia - the Motherland of elephants.

1.128 In a questionnaire for applicants to the communist Party membership one of the questions was, "What is your attitude to the Soviet authority?" One applicant answered, "The same as to my wife." To the request to elaborate, the applicant explained, "First, I love her; second, I fear her; third, I wish I had another one."

1.129 Bedbugs appeared in the house occupied by the secretary of the region Party committee. The Party boss summoned an expert on insects and asked him how to get rid of bedbugs. The expert said, "The best way is to organize a collective farm for bedbugs. Then half of them will flee, and the rest will croak."

1.130 The year is 1990. A wife says to her husband, "I am so politically naive. Can you explain to me, what is now, when we finally also have democracy, and glasnost, and whatnot, the remaining difference between Russia and America?"

"Don't you know? In America Gorbachev could be elected president."(22)

1.131 The year is 1990. A wife asks her husband who is a Minister in the Russian government, "Darling, why my friends tell me that now, with this glasnost, and all, you, the Ministers in the government, have become like flies?"

'That's because now we, the Ministers, like flies, can be killed by a newspaper."



1. Nestor Ivanovich Makhno (1888-1934) a left-wing anarcho-socialist by his political views, was the commander of a 100,000 strong rebel army during the civil war of 1917-1921 in Ukraine. The official Soviet historiography depicted him as an incarnation of evil even though in reality Makhno more than once acted in alliance with the communist forces. This joke derides the hypocrisy of the official propaganda and of the obedient Party hacks and the mendacity of the official historiography.

2. This joke makes fun of the assertions of the official propaganda that the Party Line had always been consistent and scientifically proven to be the only one correct.

3. The expression cited is an actual quote from the Marxist lexicon.

4. Pravda has been the official newspaper of the Communist Party of the USSR for over eighty years. The paper's title literally means "Truth." This joke shows the common perception of that newspaper as being just a tool of shameless propaganda.

5. This joke makes fun of one of the commonest statements of the official propaganda whose cliche has been, "Lenin lived, Lenin lives, Lenin shall live."

6. Karl Marx (1818-1883), a German-born founder of the modern communist doctrine. In the "Communist Manifesto," written by Marx and F. Engels, a slogan was put into circulation, "Workers of all countries, unite!" which became the official slogan of the Communist Party. In this joke the paraphrase of that slogan is used to create a satirical effect.

7. After the Bolshevik revolution of 1917, the communists conducted a wide forcible requisition of gold and other valuables from the general population.

8. This joke relates to the mass arrests of innocent people conducted by the predecessors of what later became known as the KGB. The punch line of this joke, "Prove that you're not a camel," has become a widely used part of the Russian vernacular, being applied to many situations when an innocent person becomes a victim of arbitrary persecutions, purges, layoffs, etc.

9. Vassily Ivanovich Chapaev, a commander of a division of communist forces during the civil war of 1917-1919, was an illiterate man glorified in the Soviet propaganda as a hero and an outstanding military talent. The jokes about Chapaev reflect the wide spread skepticism of the people in regard to the official propaganda, as these jokes depict the much praised commander, as well as his faithful orderly Petka as two dunderheads.

10. The verb pull in Russian slang may mean also to engage in a sexual intercourse.

11. Mstislav Keldysh was a mathematician appointed by the communist Party to the position of the President of Academy of Sciences. His name sounds non-Russian and within the framework of the Russian vernacular is immediately perceived as a euphemism for penis.

12. Hammer-and-sickle has been the official symbol of the communist Party.

13. This joke is based on a satirical assumption that in 21th century the USSR will be under the rule of the Chinese communists. Ha-Im and Mo-She are typical Jewish names Moshe and Haim spelled in a Chinese-imitating form.

14. The literal meaning of word perestroika is rebuilding. But it also has another meaning, namely rearranging the order of something, and this second meaning is implied in this joke. The word glasnost literally means voicing and implies openness of speech and press.

15. In 1978, as the Soviet troops invaded Czechoslovakia, the Soviet propaganda maintained a myth that some Governmental bodies of the occupied country had invited the Soviets to come to rescue them from an imperialist plot.

16. Vladislav Gomulka, a leader of the Polish communist Party, was at one time jailed on the order of Stalin.

17. This sad joke reflects what many a Russian consider the national tragedy of their country, namely the ubiquitous alcoholism.

18. In May of 1987, a German citizen by the name of Matthias Rust flew a light plane across the borders of the USSR, having evaded all the air defenses, and landed right on the Red Square, next to the Kremlin, to the utter embarrassment of Gorbachev's government.

19. The underlying gist of this joke can be expressed with the following popular Russian saying "They pretend to pay salaries, we pretend to work." The diligent Japanese did not realize that the Russian workers had no strike but just behaved in their routine way, shirking any jobs as much as possible. Another popular adage in the communist-ruled country used to be, "Wherever to work, just not to work."

20. The Georgians have a reputation of very rich people as many of them sell the fruits, grown in Georgia, in central Russia's private markets at exorbitant prices, thriving on the permanent shortages in the state-owned stores. On the other hand, salaries of teachers, physicians, engineers etc, are incomparably lower than the income of those entrepreneurial Georgians.

21. Hedgehog is a small animal whose body is all covered with needles. It is very common in Russia (but there are no hedgehogs in America).

22. This joke circulated at the time Gorbachev decided to get the title of President of the USSR, but wouldn't risk electiioins by popular vote, manipulating instead the Supreme Soviet to name him president.