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CIA Declassified Coldwar Russian Jokes [pdf] (cia.gov)
465 points by bifrost 59 days ago | hide | past | web | 260 comments | favorite

Wlodek, a rural farmer, has decided that might be safer not keeping his money under the mattress. So he takes his horse and cart and goes off to the nearest town to talk to the bank.

"Right," says Wlodek, "I want to make sure my 50 zlotys are safe. Like, what happens if someone robs you and takes everything in your vault?"

"Oh, don't worry about that!" says the smooth bank manager. "The main branch in the city would cover you!"

"Okay," says Wlodek. "But suppose the whole bank went bust? I know these things happen."

"Well," says the bank manager. "People have a right to be worried, of course. So that you can feel completely secure, the Polish Central Bank still guarantees your savings."

"But suppose the Polish Central Bank ran out of money?" asks Wlodek. "What would happen then?"

"This is very hypothetical," says the bank manager. "But if it ever happened, we have a treaty with the Soviet Union. They would still make sure you weren't out of pocket."

"But what if the Soviet Union went bust?" asks Wlodek stubbornly.

The bank manager sighs. "Look," he says. "Wouldn't that be worth 50 zlotys?"

This joke is well-known in Germany (http://www.bankmitarbeiter.de/html/bankerwitze.html at the bottom) - you have to know that in Germany jokes about the politicians (in particular the Federal Government, but increasingly commonly also the EU) are what jokes about lawyers are in the US:

> [E]ine ältere Dame in einer Bank [will] ein Sparbuch eröffnen und 1.000,- EUR einzahlen. Dame: "Ist mein Geld bei ihnen auch sicher ? Banker: "Klar doch !" Dame: "Und was ist, wenn Sie Pleite machen ?" Banker: "Dann kommt die Landeszentralbank auf !" Dame: "Und was, wenn die Pleite macht ?" Banker: "Dann kommt die Bundesbank auf !" Dame: "Und wenn auch die Pleite macht ?" Banker: "Dann tritt die Bundesregierung zurück, und das sollte Ihnen nun wirklich die 1.000,- EUR wert sein.

My rough not word-for-word translation:

An old lady goes to a bank to open a savings book in which she wants to deposit EUR 1,000. Lay: "My money is really safe at you". Banker: "Of course!". Lady: "And what if you go bust?". Banker: "Then the Federal State Central Bank accounts for it!". Lady: "And what if the Federal State Central Bank goes bust?". Banker: "Then the German Central Bank accounts for it.". Lady: "And when it goes bust, too?". Banker: "Then the Federal Government has to recede - and this is surely worth EUR 1,000.".

Nowadays there also exists a variant of the joke where Angela Merkel is explicitly mentioned in the final line. :-)

Also note in the German version the word "Banker" is used (pronounced the same as in English) - in opposite to its English analogue in German this word has a derogatory connotation (though not as much as in former days). The polite (though a little outdated) German word for "banker" is "Bankier" (though spelled rather similarly as "Banker", it is pronounced differently). I could say that there are reasons why it has become a little uncommon (making it a little outdated) to use the polite German word "Bankier" anymore. ;-)

I laughed for a solid 30 seconds. That is a great joke.

A bit different but here's my favorite European joke:

An Italian politician invites his Greek politician friend over for a visit. The Greek pulls up in front of an elegant manor house and is welcomed by the staff. He walks in through a foyer with marble floors and a huge marble staircase with ornamental banisters and a crystal chandelier. They walk through to a lovely veranda overlooking the river, and sit down to eat.

The Greek is very impressed with everything and asks "How did you manage to get this place?"

The Italian points to a shoddy concrete bridge over the river and says "See that bridge over there? It was supposed to be a steel suspension bridge, but we found a lower bidder to build that one instead, and with all the extra money I was able to buy this!" The Greek compliments his friend on the house, they finish a delicious meal while talking about various politics, and the next day they part ways.

Several months later the Greek invites the Italian over. The Italian arrives at an enormous estate with a marble facade. He walks in to see an even bigger staircase, and a banister and chandelier that are trimmed in 24 karat gold! They sit down for a meal on a huge terrace with a staggering view of the harbor.

The Italian is completely blown away, so he asks his friend "How on earth did you afford this place? It's fantastic!"

The Greek says "Well, see that bridge over there?"

The Italian says "What bridge?"

A Brazillian similar joke.

Italy government was choosing who to build the bridge (maybe the one in the previous joke).

3 contractors made bids, a German, an US, and a Brazillian one.

The German bid that for 40 million he could make a near indestructible steel bridge with perfect tolerances.

The US company tried to do the opposite, they offered to make a cheap concrete bridge, with "just enough" within the requirements of the law, for 10 million.

The Brazillian then, offered to make the best concrete bridge ever, for 30 million, 10 for the US company, 10 for the Italian politician, and 10 for themselves, and as a bonus they would help the Italian politician to convince the population that the US-made bridge was better than the German one.

This is how must things in Russia are built after the fall of the USSR.

Except there's no competition between 2 contractors, so for 40 million, you get a shoddy 10 million bridge, and 15 goes into the politician who approved the project and 15 to his contractor buddy.

(Or the contractor buddy and the politician are actually the same person, so they just get 30 million)

The added benefit is that the shoddy construction falls apart quicker, so you can request 40 million again in a few years.

Funny, in Argentina two of the most famous corruption cases involved IBM and Siemens.

For what is worth, essentially the same joke appears in The Hungarian Tiger by Tibor Fischer (a short book about how Viktor Orbán became Hungary PM, and why this is - all in all - a positive thing).

I do not know if this joke was originated in Hungary, but I am Italian and I am pretty sure it's not an Italian joke.

There is a local variant of that joke in about every country east or south of Germany :)

I am italian as well and have been hearing this joke since the times of Craxi

Factually, these are very common in India. Hundreds of lakes have vanished from Bangalore since 1970s.

I like this one:

Russian engineer got fed up of having all responsibility and low salary, so he moves to another city and pretends to be an ordinary worker, same salary and peace of mind. However, not long after communist party sends him to evening classes. On his first day there at maths class he was asked about circle circumference formula, but for some reason he could not remember it off hand, so he goes on blackboard and tries to work it out with linear integral. After exhausting whole blackboard he finally gets the result:


Then all of the sudden he hears all of the class whispering to him: "Change the direction of integration!"

Reminds me of one a professor told in class. Lemme see if I can do it justice; it was 15 years ago.

A math professor's friend is visiting from out of town, and they go out to dinner. The professor says that in this town, everyone has a college degree and knows calculus. He makes a bet with his friend that the waitress can solve an integral. But there's no way waitstaff know calculus, so he cheats: he excuses himself to go to the bathroom, finds the waitress, and tells her that when he asks her a question, she should answer "x^2 / 2". Then he goes back to the table. When the waitress checks on them, he asks her "what's the integral of x"? She answers "x^2 / 2 plus an arbitrary constant".

I feel stupid asking, but what's the joke? I get that flipping the direction of integration would negate the result.

The joke is that the entire class was made up of brilliant engineers who acted dumb and were sent to a basic math class for educating.

That is funny, thank you.

And that is the funniest thing I've read for a long time.

Bots appear to be getting much better :)

Heh, we had the exact same joke when I was growing up in Poland. It's a hidden critique of the system,which is a best kind of joke.

Once whole population has been disarmed that is the only weapon...

Three men meet in a GULag camp, and conversation turns to why they are there.

"I got twelve years hard labour for speaking out against Gennady Karasov", says the first.

"That's funny, I got twelve years hard labour for supporting Gennady Karasov!" says the second. Attention turns to the last man.

"I am Gennady Karasov".


Three men have to share a hotel room in Chelyabinsk during a congress. Naturally, in the evening, they start drinking. One thing leads to another, and they find themselves telling political jokes. Concerns that any of the others may be KGB informants or that the room may be bugged are readily dissolved in alcohol. Everybody is having a great time.

One is tired and really feels like sleeping; he decides to pull a joke on the others. He excuses himself, runs to the lobby and gives the receptionist a few bills. "Please send someone to my room with a bottle of vodka, some rye bread and salt in ten minutes." He then returns to the room.

After a few minutes, he notes to the others that stocks of refreshments are running low. "Not to worry, comrades! I have good contacts."

He leans over towards the potted plant in the corner, grabs it and loudly says, as if speaking into a microphone:

"Comrades at the listening post, this is lieutenant Dyatlov! We urgently require a bottle of vodka, some rye bread and salt to our room! Make haste!"

The others laugh their asses off - until a minute later, there's a knock on the door and vodka, salt and rye bread is served.

You could hear a pin drop. Our man goes to sleep, enjoying the quiet.

When he wakes up in the morning, the others are gone. A note is left on the table. "Comrade! A couple of your jokes yesterday would easily get you to Siberia! (The one about Stalin's maid, while hysterical, could get you in front of a firing squad!!!) However, we liked that room service joke so much, we'll let you off the hook this time. Sincerely, KGB."

Successive punchlines are hard. The second pulls it off so so so well.

I was told the first joke in China, in Chinese, from a local, back in 96; the punchline there was for Deng, i.e. "I supported Deng Xiaoping! I opposed Deng! I am Deng...".

Here is my favorite one:

The KGB, the FBI and the CIA are all trying to prove that they are the best at catching criminals.

The Secretary General of the UN decides to give them a test. He releases a rabbit into a forest and each of them has to catch it.

The CIA goes in. They place animal informants throughout the forest. They question all plant and mineral witnesses. After three months of extensive investigations they conclude that the rabbit does not exist.

The FBI goes in. After two weeks with no leads they burn the forest, killing everything in it, including the rabbit, and make no apologies: the rabbit had it coming. The KGB goes in. They come out two hours later with a badly beaten bear. The bear is yelling: “Okay! Okay! I’m a rabbit! I’m a rabbit!”

I like that kind of joke that is on both side's cost – not only the punchline about the KGB is funny but also the parts about the FBI and CIA play with the respective stereotypes in a funny way.

Good one. But it would be better with a cat instead of a rabbit, so the bear will just yell:

-Meow, meow meow!

Another version is about a time when KGB agents were asked to help with identification of a ancient mummy and they made him to admit that he is Ramesses II.

I heard the same joke before, but instead of the KGB, it was the LAPD.

I knew a variant of that joke from Eastern Germany, where the police, the military and the Stasi (GDR intelligence service) went hunting, but I like this version even better. ;-)

OK, I need to add my favorite Russian joke here:

A German and a Russian die. Neither has been the best person in their life, so they get sent down there. When they arrive in hell, the devil says, "Well, especially bad people have been dying lately, and we're all full up. I can only accept one of you, the other will go to purgatory and get a chance at redemption."

He proposes a simple test of their human decency: Each man is given a dog, a huge crate of sausages and one month to teach the dog a trick.

One month later, the devil returns to the German, who has clearly bonded with his now-plump dog. "Alright, let's see what you've got!" the devil says. The German plucks out a sausage and proceeds to wiggle it in the air. The dog, perfectly balanced on its hind legs, does an acrobatic pirouette. "Wow!" says satan. "Impressive!"

He walks over to the Russian his dog, whose relationship seems strained. The dog looks like a wild animal, but the Russian seems satisfied enough. "OK, show us your trick," the devil says. The Russian plucks out a sausage and proceeds to wiggle it in the air. The dog, wide-eyed, says "Please, Vanya, just one sausage!"

My favorite is along similar lines:

A Russian and an American bond in the afterlife while waiting to find out where they are headed. Eventually Satan shows up and says, "bad news, you both are going to hell, but you can choose Russian hell or American hell."

"What's the difference?" they ask.

'Well, says Satan. 'In American hell you have to eat a shovel load of shit once per day. The rest of your time is your own. In Russian hell you have to eat two shovel loads of shit, and the rest of your time is your own."

"That seems easy," says the American, "I choose American hell." And in a flash he is gone.

Years later, he finds a gap in the wall dividing the two hells and is able to talk to his Russian friend. 'Why on earth did you pick Russian hell? American hell is just great. We eat our shovel load of shit each day and then we're free to do what we want."

"Comrade," replies the Russian, "in Russian hell, most days there is no shit to eat, and when there is, there is no shovel."

I know a different angle of this one. Reagan visits the USSR and is amazed by the capital construction he has seen.

Reagan: "How do you manage to build structures like this? Your logistics is shit, you have no technology and people are apathetic."

Gorbachev: "Soviet people built it all with great enthusiasm and while singing songs".

Reagan: "Bullshit, it's impossible to motivate people like this in your system. You don't even pay them money!"

Gorbachev: "On the contrary, my friend. It's impossible to motivate people like this in your system. I will prove it to you. Take a cat and motivate it to eat a jar of mustard (Russian mustard is spicy), I will wait."

Reagan's aides spend whole day trying to make the cat eat mustard. They try hiding it in other foods, forcing it to eat, talking to it but the cat just refuses.

Reagan: "Well, it appears to be impossible to make the damn cat eat this mustard. I doubt you can do it though".

Gorbachev orders his aide and he puts a handful of mustard under the cat's tail. The cat starts wailing and desperately licking the mustard off his balls.

Gorbachev: "Like I said, with great enthusiasm and singing a song".

An eagle, tired from a long flight, lands in a tree. It looks around and is startled to see a cow is in the tree as well.

"What are you doing in this tree?" says the eagle.

"Well, I came up here to eat apples," replies the cow.

"But this is a pine tree."

"Ah, you see, I brought my own."

(Lady who told me that was from Kamchatka.)

This one has that sublime absurdist quality so characteristic of eastern europe but it keeps you thinking and translating the characters and concepts into real world situations. Love it.

Could you explain the joke?

That's not even a joke. Take a look at this huge list of dogs that Soviet Union sent to the outer space :) https://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D0%A1%D0%BE%D0%B1%D0%B0%D0%BA...

There is also a joke about this.

Since the spaceship was technically a military vessel there had to be an officer on board during the mission so a Red Army Colonel had been sent in the same mission with Belka and Strelka (the dogs). As it gets into the orbit a radio communication is established with the Flight Control Center.

Center: Belka, come in!

Belka: woof

Center: Transmit the navigation data, over.

Belka: woof, woof!

[The data transmission completes]

Center: Strelka, come in!

Strelka: woof

Center: You need to fire engine #3 for 5 seconds to correct course, over.

Strelka: woof, woof!

[The observation detects engine firing]

Center: Comrade Colonel, come in.

Colonel: Woof!

Center: Don't "woof" at me, feed the dogs and don't touch anything there, over.

Except, of course, it wasn't a colonel, but a Chukcha.


It is almost the same and easier to understand for non-Russians.

I think that a Chukchi could be more intelligent than USSR army colonel :)

True story. Russian guy's name is Ivan Pavlov.

I guess that was /s.

FWIW, I recently met someone whose father was a dog-tender for Pavlov. The father was condemned based on Article 58 of the 1934 Soviet penal code (section for "Contacts Leading to Suspicion of Espionage", i.e. he had relatives in Finland) and was for some time in camps and after that, not allowed to keep any good job. A dog-tender was an allowed job; Pavlov was a very nice old man who treated his workers well. Pavlov died then before the war and the family then took a longish tour of the Gulag.

Yeah, I admit that referencing the great scientist I. Pavlov could be inappropriate in that context. It's just the punching line "Please, Vanya, just one sausage!" suggested this terrible joke and I couldn't have resisted.

I don't get it, could you explain it please?

The Russian guy never gave his dog anything. And yet, his methods were so tough and efficient that he taught the dog to speak and beg in human language.

Could also contain a nod to the patience and unending hope of the Russians under their "stingy" government but that's likely too deep and contradicting their infinite cynicism and complete lack of faith ;)

>methods were so tough and efficient


>infinite cynicism and complete lack of faith

yes, the joke is basically stating that as these methods can make a dog speak then any lesser task like forcing any human to do anything what the government wants can be easily accomplished by these methods, ie. resistance is futile.

oh haha, that's a good one!

Didn't work for me because in joke world it's perfectly ok for dogs to talk even without training. The joke needs to be improved to manage expectations more effectively. The violation of expectations is what makes most jokes funny, so expectations need to be set up carefully.

The default expectation is for dogs to not speak, also in "joke world".

See for example:

A man walks into a bar with a small dog under his arm and sits down at the counter, placing the dog on the stool next to him.

The bartender says, "Sorry, pal. No dogs allowed."

The man says, "But this is a special dog -- he talks!"

"Yeah, right," says the bartender. "Now get out of here before I throw you out."

"No, wait," says the man. "I'll prove it." He turns to the dog and asks, "What do you normally find on top of a house?"

"Roof!" says the dog, wagging his tail.

"Listen, pal..." says the bartender. "Wait," says the man, "I'll ask another question." He turns to the dog again and asks, "What's the opposite of soft?"

"Ruff!" exclaims the dog.

"Quit wasting my time and get out of here," says the bartender.

"One more chance," pleads the man. Turning to the dog again, he asks, "Who was the greatest baseball player that ever lived?"

"Ruth!" barked the dog.

"Okay, that's it!" says the bartender, and physically throws both man and dog out the door and onto the street.

Turning to the man, the dogs shrugs and says, "Maybe I should have said Joe Dimaggio?"

The variant of this joke for mathematicians (source: https://jcdverha.home.xs4all.nl/scijokes/1_12.html):

I saw the following in "The Knot Book" by Colin Adams (a very readable introduction to Knot Theory). The joke is attributed to Joel Haas.

A woman walks into a bar accompanied by a dog and a cow. The bartender says, "Hey, no animals are allowed in here." The woman replies, "These are very special animals." "How so?" "They're knot theorists." The bartender raises his eyebrows and says, "I've met a number of knot theorists who I thought were animals, but never an animal that was a knot theorist." "Well, I'll prove it to you. Ask them them anything you like." So the bartender asks the dog, "Name a knot invariant." "Arf, arf" barks the dog. The bartender scowls and turns to the cow asking, "Name a topological invariant." The cow says, "Mu, mu." At this point the bartender turns to the woman, says, "Just what are you trying to pull" and throws them out of the bar.

Outside, the dog turns to the woman and asks, "Do you think I should have said the Jones polynomial?"

That assumes that the speaking dog is a trick. This is hell. This is the afterlife. If dogs are there then they have souls. Id expect such beings to communicate as effectively as anyone else. My first read was that the dog was informing the devil of his mistreatment. We cannot assume that the devil was being completely clear as to how he would judge the excersise. The russian did not win.

Did you ever have someone parse a joke so completely that stripped all comedy from it?


If you want to take it there, my reading is that the (ordinary, non-speaking) dog was in dog hell and the Russian was its particular type of hell.

The story never gives away who won, if any of them. If Satan is taking the task in earnest, of weeding out the worst of them, of course the Russian lost and the German won. But, this being a very dark joke, Satan could have chosen to defer the worst of them to purgatory just for the heck of it.

It's a joke on scarcity of food etc.

No (availability of) shit to eat on most days > he doesn't have to eat shit. On other days shit is available but no shovels are available > he doesn't have to eat shit because there's no shovel to measure it/eat it with.

He knew this would happen because in Russia the food stores were more often than not empty and tools would be often "misplaced"/stolen.

He's asking about the training dog joke, not the American hell vs Russian hell joke.

Thank you.

Er... could someone please explain this one to me. I don't understand the joke.

The German got the dog to do tricks by rewarding it; the Russian got it to do a much harder trick (talking) by cruel punishment (starvation)

There's a great one at the start of Slavoj Zizek's Welcome to the Desert of the Real:

In an old joke from the defunct German Democratic Republic, a German worker gets a job in Siberia; aware of how all mail will be read by censors, he tells his friends: “Let’s establish a code: if a letter you will get from me is written in ordinary blue ink, it is true; if it is written in red ink, it is false.” After a month, his friends get the first letter, written in blue ink: “Everything is wonderful here: stores are full, food is abundant, apartments are large and properly heated, movie theaters show films from the West, there are many beautiful girls ready for an affair—the only thing you can't get is red ink.”

If we're telling DDR jokes, I always loved the joke from Das Leben der Anderen[0]:

Honecker walks into his office, looks out the window and says "Good morning, dear sun!" and the sun replies "Good morning Erich!"

At lunch Honecker walks to the window and says "Good afternoon, dear sun!", and the sun replies "Good afternoon Erich!"

Finally, at the end of the day Honecker walks to his window and says "Good evening, dear sun!". But the sun doesn't say anything, so he says once more "Good evening, dear sun! Is something wrong?". The sun finally replies, "Kiss my ass I'm in the west now!"

[0] - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q8vDQaAYaQg

I like this one:

An American tells a Russian that the United States is so free he can stand in front of the White House and yell, "To hell with Ronald Regan." The Russian replies, "That's nothing. I can stand in front of the Kremlin and yell, 'To hell with Ronald Regan,' too."

I like how Ronald Reagan delivers this joke: https://youtu.be/mN3z3eSVG7A?t=131

What a great find. Linked from that video, a great one on ageism in politics: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z97_qDsrqgU

Reagan surely knew to carry himself in a presidential manner.

Crazy to think that today almost every candidate was older than what Reagan was then. Clinton was only 6 months younger.

> Reagan surely knew to carry himself in a presidential manner.

He was a good actor.

> He was a good actor.

At least he wasn't a megalomaniac.

> At least he wasn't a megalomaniac.

Well, most Donald Trump supporters would take offense upon hearing how you characterize their idol. But since most of them are unlikely to be lurking round these parts, I guess that's okay.

Even some of us who aren't Trump supporters are getting tired of the incessant Trump-bashing.

Some of us Trump unsupporters grew up under actual totalitarian regimes and are extremely sensitive to certain types of behavior at the top of government. Canaries in a coal mine, if you will.

Funnily enough I never assigned "megalomaniac" to a certain name; it appears it was just assumed I was talking about Trump.

That being what it is, seeing it as an outsider to the US, the glove certainly appears to fit. If good people can't stand up to this sort of behaviour, and call it for what it is, I am rather worried.

What's bark?


I love this one:

What would happen if the desert became a socialist country? Nothing for a while, and then there would be a sand shortage.

A variation: What's the shop that never has empty shelves in a socialist country?

The shelf shop.

A grain shortage, even.

I wonder: in today's political climate, would saying this joke, substituting "Donald Trump" for "Ronald Regan", get you arrested by the US Secret Service and/or KGB this time round? ;-)

Have you seen the news coverage of the protests and rioting in the US? Every other has a sign that says, "Fuck Trump"

Sorry, I don't think there's any evidence of rioting in the US recently.

This is a classic example of how tyranny changes a nation's sense of humour. This joke could just as well have been made under Stalin.

Like this:


More photographers than rioters, and around the corner 30,000 people marching peacefully.

Reported like this:


He was just joking around, he memed you.

> he memed you

No. This has to stop. For the love of all that is good and holy this has to be the line in the sand that we do not cross. This is too much for the English language to take and still survive.

Meme cannot be a verb.

>> Meme cannot be a verb.

Yeah, stop verbing your nouns, dammit.

Whenever I get upset about this, I have myself a run. ;)

Yeah, nobody ever does that. Go ahead, google it.

What about at Berkeley?

You forgot the /s

And that is the funny part of the joke for me, what would Vladimir say if you told him you didn't want Donald running the country. :-)

There's a modern one on that (circulated in Russia pre-US election):

"Today, violent clashes between Clinton and Trump supporters occurred at Red Square and Manezhnaya. Moscow police had to resort to tear gas and water cannons"

(Disclaimer: I totally don't work for the CIA).

Three guys just arrived in the Gulag. They ask each other what they did to end up there. First one says:

- I came to work 5 minutes late, I was sentenced to 10 years for sabotage

Second one says:

- I came to work 5 minutes early, I was sentenced to 10 years for espionage.

Third one says:

- I came to work precisely on time, I was sentenced to 15 years for contraband of foreign clocks.

If anyone is interested, a book titled Hammer And Tickle: A History Of Communism Told Through Communist Jokes by Ben Lewis has a few gems in:

An inspector is at a factory conducting an inspection. He addresses one worker:

'What are you doing here?'


'And what do you do here?' he asks another.


He writes in his report: 'The second worker may be released for unnecessary duplication.'

Oh my, old socialist jokes? Here's one from Hungary: The lion calls the congress of forest animals and declares: thanks to the tireless work of our scientists, we now know two times two is six. Everyone claps loudly. Only the old rabbit sighs to himself, the way I learned in school, two times two is four. Two giant timber wolves appear, haul the rabbit away and noone sees the rabbit for years.

A few years later, the lion calls the congress of forest animals and declares: thanks to the tireless work of our scientists, we now know two times two is five. Everyone claps loudly. Only the old rabbit, quite haggard now, sighs to himself, the way I learned in school, two times two is four. Two giant timber wolves appear and invite the rabbit to the pub across the street and tell him: - Look comrade, you can think whatever you want but do not be so loud about it. Or do you want it to be six again?

The Mayor of Moscow is getting ready to take his wife to the Ballet.

“Why have you not put on your dress?”

“But darling, I don’t have any dresses good enough for the ballet.” replies his wife.

“Nonsense” the Mayor declares, opening the cupboard.

“There’s this blue dress, this green dress, hello comrade Dzerzhinsky, and this lovely white dress.”


A Prague citizen came to local police station in fall 1968. At the desk he claimed "Officer, a Swiss soldier stole my Russian watch". Officer looked puzzled and responded "I guess you mean that a Russian soldier stole your Swiss watch." The man replied "It might be so, but remember that you said that. Not me."

Ha ha!

A man is walking down the street carrying a 12-roll pack of toilet paper. People surround him, all excited: "Where'd you get that?" The man answers, "I just got it back from the dry cleaner's!"

(source: Viktor Suvorov's fascinating Kuzkina Mat [1])

[1]: http://andrewnurnberg.com/book/kuzkina-mat/

Speaking of which...

Q: Why 2-ply toilet paper?

A: The second copy goes to KGB

I don't get this one?

I assume the implication is that the only way to obtain fresh toilet paper was to "recycle" it.

But comrade, remember - the eastern block had two layered toilet paper first, because one copy of every shit has too reach Moscow.

It is 1985. Vladimir wants a car. A Lada. He submits the application to purchase one, and when it is processed, he collects the documents at the office. The clerk says: "You are now in the queue. Your Lada will be delivered on February 7, 2017."

Vladimir says: "I'm sorry, I can't pick the car up on that day. Do you have any other days on that week?"

The clerk asks: "How come? The time is over 30 years away, how do you know you're not available?"

Vladimir: "The plumber comes that day."

Three men in a platzkart train are telling political jokes on their way to Moscow. The fourth is coming in and he hisses "Oh my, do not tell those, you'll be taken". "Oh, come on, man, says one of the three". The alerting guy than goes to the stewardess and asks for four cups of tea delivered to that platzkart seats in exactly 4 minutes. Four minutes later he continues to hiss on his travel companions "Guys, if you won't stop to tell political jokes, they will take you!", getting the same "Come on, man" in response. "All right he says, look here". He stands up near the small lamp in the corner and says "Comrade mayor, four teas to platzkart seats 14, 15, 16 and 17, please". The stewardess brings the tea. Everyone shuts up, and soon goes asleep. In the morning, our hero discovers that his three travel companions' seats are empty. He asks stewardess whether they took off in Tver? "No", the stewardess says, "they were taken". "And why they did not took me too?". "Because comrade mayor liked your joke about the tea very much".

Group of CIA agents are thinking about how to invent a joke for Russian communists. With great struggle they invented a joke about butter. Now, to test their joke, they secretly landed near a city in Siberia and told their joke to a men. Men does not laugh. CIA asking — «Are you understanding the joke? — Yeah, I understand the joke, but what is „butter“?».

This is classy "foreign design", something to counter with a good internally produced one.

Moscow was supplied much often and better than rest of the towns around Moscow, and so forth. It was common practice to ride to Moscow to buy something that is not available locally. Moscow was number 1 in supply line, Moscow region and capital cities of other republics was number 2, European cities are number 3, rest was number 4 or (in practice) even lower, so it was expected that someone in Siberia, far far away from Moscow, never saw a good quality product for his whole life. Butter was example of high quality product, while margarine was low quality substitute which was widely available.

Dear, I am married to a girl from Omsk, and my son was born there. I know very well, that muscovites never had a glimpse of riches taiga and rivers provides to those living in Siberia. Good quality products were always abundant as the Sun there. You just had to know the right people.

A soviet village with only a bull purchased a cow from Irkutsk. But the cow would not let the bull mount her. No matter what the bull did, the cow moved the other way so that mating was impossible.

The villagers brought in an expert government official who inspected the bull and cow's behavior.

He asked the villagers, "Did you get this cow from Irkutsk?"

They responded, "Wow. That's amazing. How did you know?"

"My wife is from Irkutsk."

Regan was actually not bad at telling soviet jokes.


You know, if you were actually living through that era his sense of "humor" (combined with the suspicion, then widely assumed among leftist, now since medically substantiated) that he was most likely suffering from some form of early-onset dementia -- well, it got old real fast:


"How Close Did Lesley Stahl Come to Reporting Reagan Had Alzheimer's While in Office? Very Close." [1] is one terrifying account of just how far gone he might have been even that early.

In 1987, when Howard Baker became White House Chief of Staff he was advised to be prepared to invoke the 25th amendment. According to PBS [2]:

> What Baker's transition team was told by Donald Regan's staff that weekend shocked them. Reagan was 'inattentive, inept,' and 'lazy,' and Baker should be prepared to invoke the 25th Amendment to relieve him of his duties.

It's worth comparing the follow-up quote in [2] - Baker and his staff saw Reagan animated and "in command of himself" and assumed there was no issue - with Stahl's account, and considering that dementia-patients can go from bad to fully functioning and back again in seconds and can keep at that for years, often frustrating the process of a diagnosis. Both my grandmothers managed to hide their Alzheimers for many years, until it finally got too much.

But it's quite terrifying that someone in his position was not diagnosed officially until '94.

[1] http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2011/01/reagan-alzheimer...

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twenty-fifth_Amendment_to_the_... - search for Howard Baker

Looks like she missed the story of her career. In addition to a chance at saving us all from nuclear annihilation (had things gone differently, and certain neurons misfired in his brain at the wrong time).

I was not politically aware, but I was technically alive during both administrations.

I remember my parents as deeply unhappy about world affairs, and now i know why.

It's quite possible he said Russia rather than Soviet Union in order to make it clear it was a joke.

The point is that as the leader of a nuclear power one isn't suppose to joke about certain things -- particularly not a the expense of rival powers one deeply anguished relations with (and which one also happens to have come close to full-on doomsday confrontations with, in the not-so-distant past).

Perhaps he should have tried his hand at acting.


the monkey was alright, man. I always liked the ones with the monkey.


There aren't that many comments to read (<20) before posting.

Not everyone has an .ogg decoder to know what that link was pointing at. From my perspective it looked like a broken link to some jokes.

Makes me wonder, what jokes is the CIA not declassifying?

Yes, this is a call for more Russian jokes.

Brezhnev wakes up and looks out at the rising sun. He says, "Good morning, Comrade Sun!" The sun replies, "Good morning, Comrade Brezhnev!"

At noon, Brezhnev stands on a balcony at the Kremlin and looks up. "Hello, Comrade Sun! It's a fine day!" The sun replies, "Hello, Comrade Brezhnev! Yes, it's a fine day!"

Just before sunset, Brezhnev looks out and says, "Good evening, Comrade Sun!" The sun replies, "Screw you! I'm in the West now!"

An East German version of this, with Erich Honecker in place of Brezhnev, is told by a young Stasi recruit in the 2006 film "Das Leben der Anderen". Spoiler alert: The attempt at humor proves severely career-limiting.

I thought it was the hang up and try again joke:

What's the difference between Honecker and a telephone? Nothing! Just hang up and try again!

(aufhängen, neuwählen means both "hang up and try again" and "hang him and vote again")

Nice :)

Remembered another I learned from a Russian.

A man and his wife live in Siberia. Every day she nags him about his drinking and his terrible friends and how he never helps her around the house. It always ends with her yelling at him to go out and bring in some wood for the stove.

One day after the usual fight, the man gets to the woodpile and just keeps walking.

Twenty years later, he returns. He walks into the kitchen, sees his wife, and says, "I'm home!"

"Where's the wood?" she yells.

If you've seen Russian wives you now this is not a joke (ducks).

Unless you refer to old(er) working class women with a hard life I don't see how any reasonable person can think that's even remotely a basis for a joke, given how much more beautiful Russian women look on average. Just walk around Russian cities. Having lived in the US for a decade and having been to Russia and Ukraine several times, sometimes for months living in a rented apartment, I know which country I'd choose if "women" were the decision-driving factor.

It always intrigues me how people manage to persuade themselves, or get the impression, that country X or city Y has more attractive women than anywhere else. I guess it's a 'Grass is always greener...' effect?

It's nontrivial to measure definitively, due not only to subjectivity but to various selection bias problems; but why do you think it could not be true?

People with a limited pool of ancestors are often very ugly. Especially noticeable in alpine valleys or remote island communities.

Same if inbreeding is practiced. So, the claim that for example, mid-easterners with their penchant for marrying cousins, or the Swiss with their insular village communities ..

Sounds like bias to me. We're genetically hard-wired to be attracted to those different to us.

For example, I don't think that (on average) the locals where I live are particularly beautiful in comparison to other countries, but a lot of foreigners seem to disagree with me.

>We're genetically hard-wired to be attracted to those different to us.



I'll look for better (primary) sources when I'm not on my phone if I remember. I vaguely remember seeing a bunch of stuff about how humans naturally gravitate towards genetic diversity, unless there's some roadblock preventing it. I don't have a source offhand though so until or unless I find one, remember to add your salt :)

That study was only about genes for immunity, not about genes in general.

Exactly. Humans breed for more diverse immunity to increase our chances of survival.

Is that the only factor that influences who we breed with? If so, why do humans display a strong preference for mating within their own ethnic group?

Might be something to do with higher competition. Some countries have lower male-to-female ratios.

Indeed. Russia has one of the lowest male-to-female ratios in the world: 0.86 males per each female. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_sex_ratio

I understand where that comes from: it's a stereotypical generalisation, but Russian middle-aged men drink themselves to death. Large areas of Russian countryside operate on granny energy only.

So, the "supply" of women exceeds "demand" in Russia.

What puzzles me more is how UAE, Qatar and Kuwait have such a high male-to-female ratios. Is it because of large populations of foreign workers that are predominantly male?

Pretty much, yeah. Less than 20% of the population of the UAE are citizens; there's a large majority of imported Indian, Filipino, etc labor.

Don't Finland share the same drinking culture and should thus have similar numbers?

Not quite. There is some culture of binge drinking and alcohol-related deaths, but drinking in Finland is more evenly distributed between men and women, and life expectancy of men is 15 years higher than Russia, on the average. (In women, the difference is just 6 years.)

What physical beauty has to do with it?

PC groupthink downvoted you, have a +1 from me.

You should check out California.

Here's one. "A KGB general calls for urgent meeting, since there is proof that CIA top agent is sitting in the Central Committee of the Communist Party and there is important classified meeting going on there. But there is no clue who that might be. After short consideration, major Pronin is called into CCCP secret meeting. After a brief glance on participants, Proning says to general: "The guy in the second row, sixth chair is the one you are looking for". "How'd you know?" "I learned from Felix Dzerzhinsky himself that "Enemy is not sleeping"

Three of my favorites. Found in this great Straight Dope thread on Russian / Soviet jokes:



Stalin was having a cabinet meeting and he was going over the minutes when someone gave a loud sneeze.

Instantly, he looked, up, frowning, and said, very deeply, "WHO SNEEZED?"

No one would raise their hand. So Stalin motioned to the KGB officers and had all of the first row taken out and shot.

Again, Stalin looked up and said, "WHO SNEEZED?"

Again, no one answers, so, Stalin has the KGB take the second row out to be shot.

And then, Stalin looks up and says, "WHO SNEEZED?"

And again, no one answers, so the KGB takes the third row out and has them shot.

Now, Stalin's pissed. "WHO SNEEZED!"

By now, the sneezer is all sweating and nervous and leaps out of his seat yelling, "I sneezed, Comrade Stalin! I sneezed!"

And Stalin nods, and says, "God Bless You, now continue with meeting."


An Englishman, a Frenchman, and a Russian were once discussing the meaning of true happiness.

The Englishman said, "True happiness, my friends, is rising early on a frosty fall morning, getting on top of a good horse, and galloping off behind the hounds in pursuit of the fox. A hard ride over fields and fences and rivulets until the fox is brought down. A ride back with the ears and the tail and then sitting before a roaring fire with a glass of good port. Ah, that is true happiness."

The Frenchman said, "That is not true happiness. That is merely animal pleasure. True happiness is meeting with the love of your life, having an excellent meal in a topnotch restaurant with champagne, and then retiring to a wonderful hotel room, where you can make frantic and impassioned love all night long. Ah, that is true happiness.

The Russian said, "That is not true happiness. That is merely a good time. True happiness comes when you are sitting in your apartment after a hard day at the factory, your little Ivan on your knee, and reading your copy of Pravda. There comes a knock at the door. Three men in ill-fitting brown suits come storming in and say 'Stepan Stepanovich,' and you say, 'He lives in the rooms upstairs.' Ah, that is true happiness!"


There was a long queue of people waiting for the butcher shop to open. A Russian official comes by and says, "Are there any Jews in this queue?" Some people reluctantly nodded their heads. The official says, "There is not enough meat. All Jews have to leave. There will be no meat for them today!" And all the Jews leave the queue. The official leaves.

Two hours pass, and the shop isn't open yet. The official returns and says, "Are there any who are not members of the Communist Party in this queue?" Some people nodded their heads. The official says, "There is not enough meat. All those who are not members of the Communist Party have to leave. There will be no meat for them today!" And all the non-Party members leave the queue. The official leaves.

Two more hours pass, and the shop still isn't open. The official returns and says, "Comrades, I'm sorry, but there will be no meat today." One of the people says, "I should have known. The Jews ALWAYS get the best deal!"

Might be an opportunity for you to file your first FOIA request!

Hope he has a fax machine

> what jokes is the CIA not declassifying?

Probably this one:


Over here in Romania the Radio Yerevan jokes were some of the most famous (http://www.armeniapedia.org/index.php?title=Radio_Yerevan_Jo...). My favorite one:


Q: Is it true that Ivan Ivanovich Ivanov from Moscow won a car in a lottery?

A: In principle yes, but:

1. it wasn't Ivan Ivanovich Ivanov but Aleksander Aleksandrovich Aleksandrov;

2. he is not from Moscow but from Odessa;

3. it was not a car but a bicycle;

4. he didn't win it, but it was stolen from him.


Maybe echoes this:

A neighbour accuses Hershel the casserole he'd given him was returned broken. They can't settle the case and so go to house of justice.

"Your honour, none of this ever happened", replies Hershel. "Please explain", says the judge.

"First, This man has never given me any casserole"

"Second, I've returned it all in good shape"

"and third, it was already broken when he handed it to me"

The Radio Yerevan ("Eriwan" here in germany) jokes are really great! They always follow a question / answer principle with many of them having the "In principle yes".

Another favorite of mine is:


Q: Is it true that carrots are good against erectile disfunction?

A: In principle yes, but in practice there are problems with the fixation.


Russians have a user-generated site that contains every single Russian joke that there was: http://anekdot.ru The site has been up since mid-nineties, iirc.

So I had the page translated to English. I think the jokes might be funnier in Russian. Still there is something funny in knowing there is a joke in there ... somewhere.

Here's one that seems to survive, with a little bit of humor intact:

Most of the women claims that there is nothing more painful birth! But what hit the balls ?! After the woman said for some time: "Why not give birth to another baby ?!" Have you ever met the guy who says, "Well, embedding-ka me in the balls still a time ?!"

Orig: Большинство женщин утверждает, что нет ничего больнее родов! А как же удар по яйцам?! Спустя какое-то время женщина говорит: "А почему бы не родить еще одного ребенка?!" Вы когда-либо встречали мужика, который скажет: "А ну, врежь-ка мне по яйцам еще разочек?!"

My stab at translating:

Most women say that there is nothing as painful as giving birth! But what about a kick in the balls?! After awhile, a woman may say: "Why don't we have another baby?" But have you ever heard a man say: "Alright, why don't you kick me in the balls on more time?!"

Honestly, this sounds pretty stupid in both Russian and English...

Will try to retain some of the original colour:

"Most women insist there is nothing more painful than childbirth... but what about being kicked in the nuts?!

So a wife asks her husband: what do you say, why not have another child? (ed: the direct translation is - why not give birth to another child)

The husband responds: ah well, why not kick me in the nuts one more time?"

They aren't all funny, that's the point. Users submit jokes, then they get voted on, in several rounds, then best ones bubble up to the top.

Alas, my Russian is no longer fluent enough to catch the subtleties, and Google translate is worse than the worst student in my old college Russian classes.

Long line outside the general store in Moscow. Manager comes out and addresses the crowd "Comrades I have good news and bad news. Bad news we have no more toilet paper. Good news we have no food either"

Back in USSR, everyone thought that it is KGB who tracks these jokes and those who spread them.

Who knew it was CIA all the time? :)

It's "all along". Not "all the time" ))) ex. Who knew it was the CIA all along?

"All the time" isn't that far off. "All this time" is more idiomatic, but the parent poster's meaning is still quite clear.

Right. Thank you, comrade!

I understood every single joke on that list except this one:

>A man goes into a shop and asks "You don't have any meat?". "No," replies the sales lady. "We don't have any fish. It's the store across the street that doesn't have any meat."

I just don't get it at all... is it just a bad joke?

I understand that stores ran out of products in that situation, but if you just had to walk across to street to get what you were after, that doesn't really seem like a joke at the expense of the communist government.

You would if you lived in a country where merchandise was available infrequently. Stores often were empty of any wares - so fish store is empty of fish and meat store is empty of meat. ;)

Thanks. "No, this is the empty fish shop. The empty meat shop is across the street."

Right on.

There is another level of nuance in the joke though. You need to have had spent some time in a Eastern European country. Everyone is a stickler for rules, details, and knowing the "correct" answer, even if in practice, in a given situation, it makes no difference at all.

This joke brings out that quality very nicely.

All shops were named "Shop" or "Gastronome", so come in, look around at merchandise and then understand what kind of shop it is, which was hard to do when no merchandise was left at all.

There also must be a play on words in original (untranslated) joke. "You don't have any meat?" in russian can be understood as "Do you have any meat?" and as "Is it your shop that has no meat?".

It struck me as a variation of one that's from an old movie (can't remember which) and is a favorite of some philosophers:

Man in restaurant: "May I have a cup of coffee without cream?"

Waiter: "Sorry, we're all out of cream. Would you like it without milk?"

It's also a joke on the Russian language, it doesn't translate well. "You don't have any meat?" is the word-for-word translation of the polite way to ask if they have meat.

The other shop had not meat, implying the mission of every shop is not having what they were supposed to have.

It looks like a joke today, but it was quite helpful response back then. When shortages started to be massive, people from towns tried to find merchandise in cities, so they asked often «— Do you have a meat? — No, we don't. — You don't have a meat because you are selling something else or because of shortage? — We are selling fish. — Where I can find a meat shop? — Down the street, but they have no meat today too». (Sorry, if my English is incorrect).

Compare this dialogue to short but informative reply in the «joke» above.

Later, these responses are replaced with stickers like "No MEAT today" (it's meat shop, but we out of meat today, check us next morning) or "NO meat" (nobody saw a meat for at least two months, so don't ask us when it will be).

Maybe you understand this joke now:

Developed communism. «From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.» Sticker at the shop: «NO need in the meat today, comrades».

The joke is he walked into a fish market looking for a butcher shop.

These jokes aren't bad. What is the story? Are these genuine Russian jokes, or jokes inserted there by the CIA?

Inserting jokes is not that easy. A joke needs to be told in person, create laughs and get retold, go viral.

Similarly there's no reliable formula for viral videos etc.

And, the Russians were pissed enough and cynical enough and often drunk enough to get pleasure from creating their own. Laughing at the cruel unjust absurdity of their Situation was some of the last bit of power they had to form their narrative.

People in all countries make jokes about the problems of their society or lives, or their government or bureaucracy or businesses; you don't have to live in "cruel unjust" absurdity or be "drunk enough" to do so, or be afflicted by any other stereotype or trope.

> you don't have to live in "cruel unjust" absurdity or be "drunk enough" to do so, or be afflicted by any other stereotype or trope.

That is correct, but as a Romanian some of the best jokes I've ever heard were created late under Ceausescu's regime, in the '80s, when the economic and political situation was the most dire. The most famous character was Bulă (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bul%C4%83), whose life ended just as Ceausescu fell. I haven't heard better jokes since then. One which I remember as a kid, told by my father to his drunken friends (back in the day your dad could actually take you over with him to the pub, even if you were only 7 or 8 years old):

""" There's a ministerial inspection at the school where Bulă studies, and, as usual, he sits in the last bench (Bulă is not the brightest of pupils). As Bulă's hot lady teacher starts presenting the lesson one of the inspectors, who was sitting right next to Bulă, tells the other inspector, without most of those present hearing it, apart from Bulă:

'This teacher's legs really do look hot!'

As the lesson continues the lady teacher poses a question for her pupils to answer. Bulă, sensing his chance, frantically raises his hand. The teacher, slightly bewildered by Bulă's recently found excitement for learning, tells him:

'Tell us the answer to my question, Bulă, and good for you for showing interest in the lesson!'

to which Bulă answers:

'Your legs look really hot!'

Of course that makes the teacher very mad, she starts cursing at Bulă and throwing him some slaps. After all is said and done Bulă turns back and tells the two school inspectors:

'Well, you stupid lads, if you didn't know the answer to the teacher's question why did you whisper it?'


"drunk enough" because alcohol served to lower inhibitions. Westerners really don't know what it's like when speaking too freely could land you in trouble.

True, and, it is my belief that the oppression and absurdity (and alcoholism) were taken to extremes during the "commu/socialist" era.

And so the humor was typically cynical, absurd and predominantly dark.

I learned Russian and German in college in the early '80s and knew a fair number of emigrants from the former Soviet bloc (Russians, Ukrainians, Poles, East Germans). They all shared this same sense of humor. Which served them well once they figured out they weren't going to become millionaires just because they made it to the U.S.

Still waiting for the Americans to figure it out...


...but it helps.

WW3 is just over. Some men in hazmat suits walk through a deserted and bombed out city, geiger meters screeching.

Suddenly, they see three men setting in a park, playing cards. Curious, they walk over and ask - how can you be alive, you have no protective gear?

- Oh, we are from Krakow.

As a citizen of Krakow, I feel safer already <3.

I don't get it -- is there a lot of radiation in Krakow, or something?

Especially back then, Krakow was extremely polluted.

I lived in Poland for a while. I've heard at least one of these from people who lived there before solidarity.

My parents always said that bad politics creates the best comedy. There's a lot of comedy shows filmed in socialist Poland and they're amazing. Both really clever and funny. Even though they had to be reviewed by censors first, the things that got through were still very much about politics. Some so pointed, I still don't know if the censors were too lazy to read the script, or ignored the rules...

I always wonder if the subversive elements that make it through aren't "missed" necessarily by a censor. I like to think that it's an act of subversion, a protest-by-omission, by some of the few people of conscience deep in the belly of the beast.

As far as I understand anything could be had or done with the right quality and quantity of vodka slipped to somone as a "gift."

> bad politics creates the best comedy.

Humor is a very powerful way of dealing with otherwise intolerable circumstances without going insane.

At least a few of them were actually used at least in early nineties in (ex)USSR.

Just google 'Soviet jokes', there are tons of similar jokes around.

Tough to say for certain, but probably real. Russian humor is... special.

Speaking of "kinds of humour", it is British humour that is special. Russian jokes are very similar to German, both nations share quite similar attitude in jokes.

The question is why jokes were classified!

Isn't it obvious? All information can be used against you. So if the targeted entity knows what you're training your agents with to appear like natives citizens, you can change that context or create traps.

In other words, they were classified because they were in use by the CIA not due to being somehow special.

It is the CIA. That's not the question. The question is what they considered "need to know" cause for these...

Because they were afraid of the effect a funny joke could have if it was unleashed on the general public. Reminds me of this:


Seems like the latter

You are greatly underestimating the Russians' gift for political humor.

here is a bulgarian one: electricity and water meet in a typical socialist apartment building. Sorry, I'm here only up to the second floor, says the water. No need to excuse, says the electricity, I'm here only for two hours.

Best cold war "joke":


Found from searching for more like OPs

The Soviet "joke" in response:


"One official speculated, the Russian might have been drunk."

Solid bet.

The real question is: why CIA had classified Russian jokes on their file?

Well the title is "Soviet Jokes for the DDCI", where DDCI seems to stand for "Deputy Director of the Central Intelligence (Agency)". My guess is they had someone compile them for their use and they were just classified by default along with the other documents of the office.

"Tell us some Soviet secrets or we will make you LAUGH!"

maybe they wrote them

A lottery at the French communist party's fair (fete de l'humanite). The first prize is a week of holidays in Moscow. The second prize is two weeks in Moscow, the third three weeks...


A European tourist discuses with a Cuban local.

- How is life under Fidel Castro?

- I can't complain

- Interesting, so not that bad

- Well, I really cannot complain


Alexander the Great, Caesar and Napoleon are watching a Soviet military parade:

- If only I had soviet tanks, said Alexander, I would have been invincible

- If only I had soviet planes I would have conquered the whole world says Caesar

- If only I had the Pravda, no one would ever have heard about Waterloo says Napoleon


A young officer waits in front of Stalin's office for his audience. The door slams open and Marechal Joukov, furious, leaves the office grumbling "cockroach with a moustache". Introduced to Stalin, the young officer says it is his duty to report what he heard. Stalin calls back Joukov and asks him "what did you mean by cockroach with a moustache?". Joukov: "I was refering to Hitler of course". Stalin then turns to the officer: "who did you think he was referring to?"


A discussion at the goulag:

- what are you here for?

- for being lazy

- how is that?

- we had a few drinks with some friends then we started telling each others political jokes. I went home and before going to sleep, I thought I should report what happened to the KGB first thing in the morning. Well, my friends went to the KGB that same evening.


Why are there always 3 miliciens? One who can read, one who can write, and another to watch these dangerous intellectuals.


East German joke: why does toilet paper always have a double sheet? Because one copy always must be sent to Moscow.


Do you prefer socialist or capitalist hell? Socialist of course, either they run out of matches, or there is a fuel shortage, or the devils are away at a party meeting.


Tito asks his chauffeur to stop the car to discuss with a peasant on the side of the road.

- where are you going, asks Tito

- just shopping, I will buy a few suits, several pairs of shoes and a new car. And my wife asked me to bring a few other things back: a fridge, a washing machine and a new TV

- you must be very wealthy

- I am, this is the socialist miracle

- that's right, and you know who I am? You owe all that to me!

- oh, you are comrade Tito? I am sorry I didn't recognize you. With this big car I thought you were an american journalist

My mom leaked many of these secret jokes to me when I was a kid.

If collecting jokes tells you what the "common man" is thinking, the Russian intelligence agencies must be having a field-day with the current situation in the US...

Yes, the USSR was so secret, that it took decades for CIA to declassify its mortally dangerous jokes.

However, the "war of jokes" was integral part of the Cold War and do not underestimate one. There is terrific Russian novel about this battle, it took off in the late 60-ies.

Very important to know that a class of jokes about Russian Civil War heroes, Petyka and Vassily Ivanovich Chapaev was a viral campaign set off by the KGB to combat US/British jokes designed for Russians.

I like this one. "Can you drink a glass of vodka, Vassily Ivanovich?", asks Petyka. "Sure thing", boss answers. "How about two?" "No problem!" "And how about a full bucket of vodka?" "You know, it is only Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, who is capable to drink the full bucket of vodka!"

Yeah, USSR was so weak, so it was child play to kill it with just a joke.

You are missing the point. Most of "political jokes" were psychological vaccination, produced by KGB for a reason completely different from being a provocation.

Why on Earth these jokes had been classified?

You know better than to blab about X's secret plans, but if you repeat the joke you heard in the same message, you still revealed that you know about them.

Because spies are paranoid and rather classify everything than inadvertently let something important out.

Okay, the, why they collected them?

Jokes are subversive.

Some of these seem more like jokes the CIA would have liked to have Russians tell each other more than jokes they actually told each other.

- Most jokes are plausible, and pretty good.

- If you believe the CIA had anything to do with this document, I have a bridge in San Francisco I'd like to sell you...

I am Russian, and I confirm that all these (and countless others) are real.

Nope, those are actual jokes we were laughing to back then, there.

We knew thousands of jokes like these back then.

Most of those aren't particularily funny.

Compare with the good selection from Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russian_jokes

Say what you will about the current political situation in the US, Donald Trump has been an absolute gift to comedians.


And in the interests of "balance":


Reading both links I have no doubt that both Democrats and Republicans wasted all their good jokes on their political platforms.

This one is about propaganda:

Pravda's (the main press organ of the USSR) headline:

"The Great Republic of the Soviet Union has scored 2nd in an international competition of car-building nations. Just right behind the USA."

The rest of the message was withheld: There were only two nations taking part in that competition.

This is the best Russian joke/story I have heard, it's not political:

During the conversation among the newly found friends one of the teachers (lets call him Dmitriy Petrovich) mentiones that it is a medical fact, that it is impossible to take a light bulb out of ones mouth once it was inserted there. This meets active disbelief of his two opponents who start questioning him as to what kind of light bulb he means and how come you cannot take it out, if you can put it in. Dmitriy Petrovich replies, that he is talking about a standard 100 Watt light balbs such as the one lighting their room, but lacking medical education he doesn't know the reason for not being able to remove it. Discussion heats up, and at some point one of his opponents desides that an experiment is necessary.

Mind you, that all of the teachers in the room are PhDs in various fields of exact science. Obviously not one of them is a medic. The light bulb is then removed and the most loud opponent (lets call him Vladimir) puts it into his mouth. In a few seconds it becomes clear that Dmitriy Petrovich was right, and it is quite impossible for Vladimir to remove the light balb due to peculiar clenching of jaw muscles.

After a short discussion the three friends decide to get Vladmir to a doctor. They get out of the hotel, and stop a cab. They drive to the hospital where they have to relate the story of the accident to the night nurse, who, after almost choking herself with giggles, calls the ER doctor. The doctor carefully examines Vladimir, and unexpectedly hits him with his fist in the back of the jaw. Vladimirs jaw falls open and the doctor returns the light bulb to Dmitriy Petrovich, explaining that Vladimir is not going to be able to use his mouth for a couple of hours due to the over stressed jaw muscles.

The three teachers get back into a cab and start driving home, when the third teacher starts complaining that the other two are playing him for a fool, that this is medicaly impossible for such phenomenon to exist and that he is about to prove it. He puts the light bulb into his mouth, the cab makes a U-turn and speeds back to the hospital. At the hospital, the nurse starts giggling when the three men enter the emergency room, and after hearing their new story falls of her chair laughing. After a little while she calls the surgeon, who chuckles, hits the 3rd teacher in the back of the jaw and removes the light balb.

The cab has left, so the three friends catch another one. Dmitriy Petrovich gets noto the front seat and puts his mute friends with their jaws hanging open in the back. Cab driver is mildly surprised by the unusual company of an obviously drunk giggling man and two others looking ilke village idiots, and asks about it. Dmitriy Petrovich asures teh driver that the other two are not idiots, but most educated people and the problem is their small argument about a light balb. After carefully listening to the whole story the driver asks what kind of light bulb is he talking about, and Dmitriy shows the hotel light bulb saying "this one". "Impossible" says the cab driver and in a few seconds the cab turns around and goes to the hospital.

When the nurse sees these guys the 3rd time inside 2 hours, she starts having rather serious breathing difficulties trying to laugh much harder then mother nature designed. After getting her in shape Dmitriy Petrovich makes her call the surgeon who, promptly hitting the cab driver in the jaw takes the light bulb and smashes it on the table saying that this should put an end to the story. The four men get back into the cab and drive to the hotel.

On the way they are stopped by the road patrol police unit. The policeman (militianer) is very surprized to find that the only person able to speak in a car full of people is a rather drunk man who tells him a wierd story about light balbs. "I will be right back" replies the policeman, goes back to the road side station, Dmitriy and companions whatch the ligh go off inside the station, and in a few seconds the policeman appears again. Using gestures he asks people on the back seat to move over. A metal end of a light bulb is sticking out of his mouth.

The cab goes back to the hospital. The nurse becomes hysterical with joy. After a few minutes of recuperation she goes to the cabinet of the surgeon to call him. She opens the door and falls to the floor unconscious. In the doorway appears the surgeon with his jaw hanging wide open.

see also:



This somewhat reminds me to the "The Funniest Joke in the World" by Monty Python: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Funniest_Joke_in_the_World

Cold War humor was an odd beast. I came across this book in my father's collection a while back:


It's a hoot.

Wow, the joke that ends up with "I can stand in front of Kremlin and yell To Hell With Ronald Reigan too" is the famous one. One can even find the references to it nowadays in Russian blogs. CIA is good!

Abakumoff was a top KGB general, did you know that?

Yes of course. One of the most frightening moments of my life was when a colonel in the Military Commissariat glanced at my dossier and said "Abakumoff? You are SO going to serve!"

"What is the difference between the socialism and capitalism? Under capitalism one man exploits the others. And under socialism its the other way around".

My understanding is that DDCI stands for 'Deputy Director of Central Intelligence' - What would this document have been for?



The red primer for children and diplomats is a good example of this sort of humor in visual form.

Obligatory, the funniest joke in the world (weaponized) - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ienp4J3pW7U

Awesome Google easter-egg

I had one friend who thought that the botched peanut joke was the funniest thing she had ever heard. I got so sick of hearing "Zere vere 2 peanuts valking down ze strasse."

Do a search of youtube for Ronald Reagan doing russian jokes, some were pretty good

I guess those jokes got old..


A man is drinking...

No jokes about state of US infrastructure? No laughing matter, I guess

Man, the tittle of this post is "CIA Declassified Coldwar Rusian jokes".

We can joke about the Americans any other day.

Personally, I don't understand yet why this was classified material by de CIA. I mean, if it was by the KGB that would make some sense.

How many US infrastructure jokes would you expect in a Russian joke PDF?

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