“The CIA made a lot of mistakes during the Cold War but keeping a list of Soviet jokes was not one of them.”
Dr Gene Zubovich — University of California Berkeley historian
“The US Embassy in Moscow would send in a ‘jokes cable,’ usually annually, listing some of the better jokes that they had picked up. At the end of year, they would do kind of an annual round-up, kind of a holiday gift if you will.”
Peter Clement — Deputy assistant director of CIA for Europe and Eurasia
“The story of Soviet humour isn’t an Orwellian nightmare of social atomisation and the crushing of the individual. It’s a fundamentally human story of survival and community.”
Jon Waterlow — It’s Only a Joke, Comrade! Humour, Trust and Everyday Life under Stalin
Thank God, It is Sunday! The jokes were part of a 13-million-page release of declassified CIA documents. The CIA waited 25 years to release these documents. One can never be too careful after all! Follow us on Twitter: @INTEL_TODAY
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Telling jokes help people to cope even in the darkest times, to share the burden of their suffering, and to get on and get by as best they can.
Jokes are a vital part of social and cultural life. As sociologists know, understanding another country’s sense of humour is key to comprehend a nation.
A worker standing in a liquor line says, ‘I have had enough, save my place, I am going to shoot Gorbachev.’ Two hours later he returns to claim his place in line. His friends ask, ‘Did you get him?’ No, the line there was even longer than the line here.
A Russian man walked into a shop and said to the lady behind the counter: “You don’t have any meat?” The lady replied: “We don’t have any fish. It’s the store across the street that doesn’t have any meat.”
A train bearing Lenin, Stalin, Khrushchev, Brezhnev and Gorbachev stops suddenly when the tracks run out. Each leader applies his own, unique solution. Lenin gathers workers and peasants from miles around and exhorts them to build more track. Stalin shoots the train crew when the train still doesn’t move. Khrushchev rehabilitates the dead crew and orders the tracks behind the train ripped up and relaid in front. Brezhnev pulls down the curtains and rocks back and forth, pretending the train is moving. And Gorbachev calls a rally in front of the locomotive, where he leads a chant: “No tracks! No tracks! No tracks!”
An American explains to a Russian that the United States is a truly free country because he can stand in front of the White House and shout “To hell with Ronald Reagan!” The Russian says that this is nonsense because he can easily stand in Red Square and shout “To hell with Ronald Reagan.”
An American dog, a Polish dog and a Soviet dog sit together. The American dog says “In my country if you bark long enough, you will be heard and given some meat”. The Polish dog replies “What is ‘meat’?” and the Soviet dog says “What is ‘bark’?
While riding the tram, a man lets out a long, heavy sigh. His wife immediately reprimands him: ‘I’ve told you before, don’t talk about politics in public!’
A regional Communist Party meeting is held to celebrate the anniversary of the Great October Socialist Revolution. The Chairman gives a speech: “Dear comrades! Let’s look at the amazing achievements of our Party after the revolution. For example, Maria here, who was she before the revolution? An illiterate peasant; she had but one dress and no shoes. And now? She is an exemplary milkmaid known throughout the entire region. Or look at Ivan Andreev, he was the poorest man in this village; he had no horse, no cow, and not even an axe. And now? He is a tractor driver with two pairs of shoes! Or Trofim Semenovich Alekseev – he was a nasty hooligan, a drunk, and a dirty gadabout. Nobody would trust him with as much as a snowdrift in wintertime, as he would steal anything he could get his hands on. And now he’s Secretary of the Party Committee!”
Reagan tells Soviet jokes
Soviet Joke for the DCCI — CIA Website
CIA Declassified Soviet Jokes