Friday, October 20, 2023

Russians who Tell Anecdotes the Kremlin Doesn’t Like Can be Declared Foreign Agents

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Oct. 16 – A major reason that Russians tell anecdotes about political subjects is the deniability of what they contain. After all, a cigar is sometimes only a cigar and not whatever those hearing the tale think it is. But now the Russian justice ministry has decided that those who tell anecdotes the Kremlin doesn’t like can be classified as foreign agents.

            This development has now been confirmed in court documents filed by the ministry, the Media Zone portal reports. After anthropologist Aleksandr Arkhipova challenged her classification as a foreign agent, she filed suit; and then the ministry responded by pointing to anecdotes she told earlier (

            The ministry filing declared that Arkhipova was identified as a foreign agent because she “publishes links to the materials of other ‘foreign agents,’ gives them interviews and comments, and is herself engaged in ‘political activity’ by forming public attitudes through the circulation of anecdotes (

            And to make its point, the justice ministry offers a selection of anecdotes that have appeared in Arkhipova’s publications. Among the best of them are the following:

·       We are waiting for the Hague court to be declared a foreign agent.

·       A Russian court has declared the Russian team to be the world champion.

·       A Russian asks a draft agent with whom he will be fighting. “With the fascists, of course” he is told. But then the man wants to know “but against whom?”

·       Russian Guard members have asked Putin to release political prisoners so that they will again be able to beat up protesters rather than have to fight against the Ukrainian army.

·       Where did the letter Z come from in official propaganda? It is the first half of the swastika. But where is the second half? It was stolen.

·       A Russian regrets buying a smart apartment because while he was at work, the apartment left to move abroad.

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