Sunday, December 26, 2021

Five New Russian Anecdotes Contain More Truth than Poetry

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Nov. 5 – At the end of Soviet times, Russians explained the absence of political anecdotes then by citing a Polish joke that when times are bad, people tell political jokes; but when times get worse, people stop. That wasn’t strictly true then, and it certainly isn’t now as Russians come up with new or at least updated anecdotes to explain their predicaments.

            Here are five new ones offered by Publizist journalist Aleksandr Maysuryan (

·       Russians can take pride that all of them have been entered onto a Forbes list. After all, the wealthy of the world need to know how many servants remain.

·       Russian weather forecasters routinely give wind chill reports, noting that the temperature is six degrees but it feels like one. Unfortunately, the Russian Central Bank doesn’t explain why people may be getting paid 35,000 rubles (700 US dollars) a month but this feels like 15,000 (210 US dollars).

·       It’s true that Russia lags behind the most developed countries in some ways but hardly in all. Its deathrates over the last 20 years have been at the level of developing countries, but its birthrates have caught up, that is, fallen to, the level in developed societies.

·       Economist Mikhail Delyagin points out that in thinking about the budget, Duma deputies should remember that the powers that be have no plans to hang people by party list. They have more comprehensive ones.

·       A new Russian film set in 2040 features a group of communist revolutionaries who engage in time travel, go back to 1959 and encourage a student at the Urals Polytechnic, B. Yeltsin, to join the Dyatlov party, a group of travelers who died in the course of their trip.

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