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Советские Анекдоты [Soviet Jokes] Posted by on Sep 26, 2011 in Culture, Russian life, Soviet Union

 

«Дорогие друзья» [Dear friends], it is with great pleasure that I inform you that I am in an advanced Russian class this year. We have been reading «советские анекдоты» [Soviet jokes] in class and I want to share a few of them with you, as they are often quite funny. 

«–Цензурируется ли переписка советских граждан?
–Нет, но письма антисоветского содержания адресатам не доставлются.»

[–Is Soviet correspondence censored?
–No, but letters with anti-Soviet content are never delivered.]

«–На какие категории подразделяются советские диссиденты?
–На сидентов, досидентов, отсидентов, пересидентов, ожидантов и вновьсидентов.»

[–Into what categories are Soviet dissidents broken down?
–Those who are sitting (i.e. in jail), those who are almost done sitting, those who are just out from sitting, those who sitting longer than their sentence, those who are waiting to sit, and those who are sitting again.]

This is quite a clever joke, but I did not understand it until my professor explained it to us. It plays with the idea of Russian prefixes and the verb «сидеть», which can mean to be in jail.

«–Что такое СССР?
–Спальная, столовая, сортир, работа.»

[–What does USSR stand for?
–Bedroom, dining room, toilet, work.]

My favorite version of this joke has «Смерть Сталина спасёт Россию» [Stalin’s death will save Russia] as the punch line. Also, if I’m not mistaken, «сортир» is not a polite word, so you probably should not go around using it!

«–Нужна ли в русском языке буква “М”?
–Не нужна. Мяса нет, маргарина нет, молока нет. Маленкова нет, Молотова тоже нет. Остался один Микоян и тот не русский.»

[-Do we need the letter “M” in Russian?
-No. There’s no meat, margarine, or milk. There’s no Malenkov, or Molotov either. Only Mikoyan remains, and he’s not Russian.]

This is my favorite joke. It’s from the 1950s, so it plays on the chronic food shortages in the Soviet Union, as well as de-Stalinization. (Malenkov and Molotov were Stalin allies, as was Mikoyan. However, Mikoyan fared better under de-Stalinization because he backed Khrushchev’s efforts. Also, Mikoyan was Armenian, hence the comment on him not being Russian.)

Do you have a favorite joke in Russian? Do you want me to post more Soviet jokes later this week? Let me know in the comments!

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About the Author: Natalie

I'm Natalie and I love the Russian language and sharing my knowledge with others. I graduated from university with a dual degree in Russian language & literature and history.


Comments:

  1. mikhal:

    Natalie, мир советских анекдотов гораздо более велик и разнообразен, чем эта околополитическая подборка. Вот например, анекдоты про Штирлица. Слышали? Если нет – пишите мне, расскажу, получите удовольствие 😉

  2. Grisha:

    Я не собираюсь быть придирчивым, но я думаю, что название написано неправильно.

  3. David Roberts:

    Yes, more please!

  4. Randy:

    Check your spelling. I’m pretty sure it’s Анекдоты

  5. Katia:

    Сортир is not a bad word…. It’s restroom!

  6. Joerg:

    Да, больше, плиз!

    Точно не мог запомнить мой любимый, но заканчивается он предложением “Партия у нас всех одна, а стучать надо почаще!” Вы случайно не знаете этот анекдот про оркестр, выезжающий за границу? По-моему он довольно известен среди русских.

  7. Paddy:

    I too would welcome more jokes, but with translations. I don’t understand Joerg’s joke, even though I’ve translated the words.

  8. Rob McGee:

    I’m not sure how rude сортир is, but I’m fairly sure that it usually refers either to the toilet stalls in a public W.C., or to a trough-style common urinal in a men’s public toilet.

    Either way, it relates to communal public restrooms, and I think the word originally had something to do with the holding pens for cows, sheep, and other livestock.

  9. yelena:

    Joerg, the joke you’re referring to is

    30-е годы. После концерта подходит к барабанщику товарищ с первых рядов и спрашивает.
    “А вы, знаете ли, халтурили. Все постоянно играли, а вы стукнете раз и сидите. Почему?”
    “Так, товарищ, партия у меня такая”.
    “Шалишь, партия у нас одна! А стучать надо чаще”.

    Paddy, this joke is really hard to translate (not even sure if it’d translate at all) since it’s entirely a play on words.

    The word “партия” means both a political party (in this case, Communist Party) and a musical score for an instrument in an orchestra.

    At the same time the word “стучать” means both “to drum” and also “to rat someone out”.

  10. Joerg:

    Thank you, Yelena, that’s the one I had in mind, although I was told it in a slightly different version, but the bottom line is the same.

    @Paddy: This joke indeed is hard to understand for non-native speakers like us since it’s based on two puns. It plays with the ideology pushed by the Communist Party in Soviet times.

  11. Joerg:

    Thank you, Yelena, for helping out. That’s the one I had in mind, although I was told it in a slightly different version, but the bottom line is the same.

    @Paddy: This joke indeed is hard to understand for non-native speakers like us since it’s based on two puns. It plays with the ideology pushed by the Communist Party in Soviet times.