Staunton, May 22 – Few nations on earth are as gifted at coming up with anecdotes and jokes about their situation than the Russians not only because such stories capture some of the most important aspects of life for them but also because such humor in most cases has the additional virtue of being more deniable than a direct statement.
The Censoru.net portal publishes today a list of 25 jokes it describes as “the most popular anecdotes of the month from Russia.” Some of them are so uniquely part of Russian life that they require the kind of explanations that undercut their humor while others approach the scatological and thus really shouldn’t be shared (censoru.net/35791-novye-politicheskie-anekdoty.html).
Below are ten that struck this reader as especially instructive about Russian realities:
1. “It is worth asking whether if the entire leadership of the FSB was subjected to searches, it might not be possible to lower the pension age to where it was” given how much money the authorities would certainly find.
2. “The wife of a bureaucrat has become a successful businesswoman and billionaire. Their son is vice president of a state corporation, and their daughter is head of a major foundation. But the official still remains poorly paid. A petty failure and a shame to his family.”
3. “Russian school children win seven gold medals at the International Mendeleyev Olympiad in chemistry. At a reception in the Kremlin, Prime Minister Medvedev gives each of the children souvenirs and with all his heart wishes the future citizens of the US and the EU all the best.”
4. Russians look at the rising costs of everything with the same expressions they would have had even if the president not scored ten goals against his opponents.”
5. “I sent a resume to the Russian Orthodox church and was invited for an interview. I said that I wanted to head the department of the holy inquisition. Laughing, the priest said that for that I would have had to be born several centuries ago. Then, he seriously advised me to come to see him again in three or four years.”
6. “When a Russian puts a bumper sticker on his Mercedes declaring that “we can do it again,’ somehow I don’t believe that he can really repeat the Mercedes.”
7. “Judging from the incomes of deputies, the world’s drug traffic goes through the Russian Duma, but judging by the laws the deputies adopt, it stops there.”
8. “Alina Kabayeva has given birth to twins; the fathers are the president and the prime minister.”
9. “Judging how much effort the authorities are putting into building churches, all we can do is pray.”
10. “Putin took part in a session of the Academy of Scieneces and made eight to ten scientific discoveries.”