Friday, May 6, 2022

Most Russians Back a New GULAG as Long as It’s Called Something Else, Others Joke

Paul Goble

            Staunton, April 24 – After VTsIOM polls show that Russians increasingly oppose censorship of the Internet but favor increasing filtration of its content, some in that country suggest that Russians will back the creation of a new GULAG in their country as long as the government doesn’t call it that.

            That observation, of course, is only half in jest at a time when most Russians insist that they don’t want a war but support Vladimir Putin’s “special military operation” in Ukraine, a war in everything but name and is just one of the anecdotes Moscow journalist Tatyana Pushkaryova offers in her latest collection (

            Among the most instructive of these are the following:

·       Russians say that they would naturally intervene to save someone’s life – unless of course they asked the individuals at risk their nationality first and discovered the potential victims were Ukrainians.

·       One and the same doctor behaves very differently in government and private clinics. In the former, he will be arrogant and rude; but in the latter, he will be unfailingly polite.

·       All Russians dream of surviving until they get their pensions. Those who are still working dream of this in general; those who are already pensioners dream of surviving until their next check.

·       Today was a great day, one Russian says to another, “I only wanted to hang myself twice.”

·       “In this difficult time, only corruption continues like clockwork.”

·       Import substitution may not work well in every case. One Russian company has announced plans for a stone toilet paper to be made from limestone and plastic.

·       Last year, Russians purchased only 370 smart phones of domestic manufacture. Now, because of sanctions, they will be the only ones available, will be distributed free, and those who refuse to use them will be arrested.

·       When three tons of cocaine were discovered in Estonia in a ship bound from Ecuador to Russia, Moscow declared three days of mourning.

·       The Kremlin has found a solution to the problem of  the shortage of more than a million IT specialists. It will declare a special operation to de-Nazify India. Then, at a minimum, a million IT professionals will flee that country and come to Russia.

·       Russian scientists are worried since Putin has declared the next ten years the decade of science and technology. After all, ten years ago, Putin declared a decade of human rights – and look what has happened to them. 

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