Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Russians Mark Putin’s 18th Year in Power by Reprising Brezhnev-Style Anecdotes

Paul Goble

            Staunton, August 9 – Eighteen years ago, Vladimir Putin was named Russian prime minister putting him on course to become the ruler of Russia under various titles ever since. Those born on August 9, 1999, who became legally adults today have never lived under any other leader (

            In the intervening period, Putin has won enormous authority not only among those who have known no other ruler but also among their elders, but he has also suffered the fate of previous Moscow rulers who remained in office a long time: he and his regime have become the subject of Russian anecdotes that resemble those Soviets told about Leonid Brezhnev.

            Brezhnev’s reign which lasted from 1964 to 1982 was in the view of most observers the golden age of Soviet anecdotes because they allowed Russians the opportunity to make fun of a leader who was increasingly vain and out of touch with the population in a way that did not   carry enormous risks.

            But as many dissidents pointed out, every anecdote was “a little revolution” because it broke through the official line and showed that the population whatever officials claimed viewed the world and especially the aging leader and his system in very different ways than the official media invariably claimed.

            Tatyana Pushkareva of the Politobzor portal assembles some of the best of the recent rich harvest of Brezhnev-era jokes about Putin and his regime as they surpass his record for remaining in office. (

·         Putin doesn’t use the Internet and so the video of his vacation has been put on Moscow’s First Channel.

·         US President Trump signed a law on sanctions against Russia because it helped him become president. Such black ingratitude has never been seen before.

·         Putin’s movements are a military and state secret but it is difficult to keep them that way because everyone can see where new asphalt is being put down on the roads and where houses are being repaired and painted.

·         Putin happily travels along highways in Kostroma oblast at a speed of 120 kilometers an hour. Just ahead of him, however, moving at a speed of 200 kilometers an hour are those laying the asphalt down on the roads.

·         The harshest US sanction toward Russia is a decision to take away Dmitry Medvedev’s iPhone and iPad.

·         A young man asks his father: what’s a democracy? His father replies that it is the form of government in a country which works for US interests.

·         “If you don’t lie and steal, you’re not a liberal” – a sentence that rhymes in Russian.

·         The eternal Russian dilemma is whether to tighten the screws or pound in the bolt.

·         The most horrific curse today: “May you live on the amount of money you’ve declared to the authorities.”

·         A Russian announces to a foreigner: We’re from Russia. To which the foreigner replies with a question: By saying that, are you already threatening us?

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