Young Pioneer Tours have a particularly close relationship with the former Soviet Union. Firstly our name, Young Pioneer Tours. The Young Pioneers (officially the Vladimir Lenin All-Union Pioneer Organisation) was the Soviet youth organisation similar to modern boy scouts or girl guides. Their motto, not dissimilar to our ethos, was “Always ready!” (“Всегда готов!” in Russian).
We also have a huge number of tours in the former Soviet countries, whether it be Central Asia (Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan), our yearly epic Trans-Eurasian tour (Russia, Ukraine, Transnistria) or our newest addition, Summer Soviet Adventure, just in time for the 100th anniversary of Russia’s red revolution, we love the former Soviet Union. We also love Soviet jokes.
The American CIA just recently went through the annual ritual of declassifying documents, that most governments and secret intelligence services do. You know, after 30 or 50 years, they’re no longer a secret or of national importance and the newspapers get to fill in a slow news day. There were the usual reports on spying and suspected spies, foreign leaders and diplomats, and even some UFO stuff thrown in there for fun.
This year the CIA released a huge number of Soviet jokes. It isn’t made clear why they kept files of Soviet era jokes in the first place, maybe to help train spies, but they aren’t that bad and certainly show how the good people of the Soviet Union dealt with the every day hardships they experienced. So that you don’t have to read through the released CIA documents yourself, I thought I’d put together some of my personal favorites. So here are my top 7 CIA-released Soviet jokes:
7. Soviet Shopping
A man walks into a shop. He asks the clerk, “You don’t have any meat?” The clerk says, “No, here we don’t have any fish. The shop that doesn’t have any meat is across the street.
6. Soviet Leadership
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!”
5. Soviet Speech
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.”
4. Soviet Queues
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.”
3. Soviet Excuses
A man is driving with his wife and small child. A militia man pulls them over and makes the man take a breathalyzer test. “See,” the militia man says, “you are drunk.” The man protests that the breathalyzer must be broken and invites the cop to test his wife. She also registers as drunk. Exasperated, the man invites the cop to test his child. When the child registers drunk as well, the cop shrugs, says, “Yes, perhaps it is broken,” and sends them on their way. Out of earshot the man tells his wife, “See, I told you it wouldn’t hurt to give the kid five grams of vodka.”
2. Soviet Dogs
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’?
1. Soviet Success Stories
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!”