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Communist Leader Tries Hand at Cracking Jokes

Published: April 3, 2007 (Issue # 1259)


MOSCOW Gennady Zyuganov rattled out joke after joke at a news conference Thursday, but was only met with the occasional polite chuckle from attending journalists.

The Communist Party leaders jokes went along these lines: There are two main problems in Russia: roads and fools. In the Duma, one is trying to fix the other.

Zyuganov, better known for his firebrand speeches than for his sense of humor, was speaking during the release of a book of jokes to tie in with April Fools Day on Sunday.

With State Duma elections just nine months away, Zyuganov used the book to poke fun at his biggest political adversary, United Russia.

The pocket-sized book, 100 Jokes From Zyuganov, has dozens of jokes about the pro-Kremlin party and President Vladimir Putin and is accompanied by cartoons of a bear the symbol of United Russia looking intermittently aggressive, dopey and sulky.

But the most personal joke in the book is the one about an aide who rings up President Boris Yeltsin the day after the presidential election and asks what he wants to hear: the good or the bad news.

Yeltsin takes a tranquilizer, has a glass of vodka and begins to sweat. Lets have the bad news, he says.

Zyuganov got 62 percent.

As his shaky hand moves for the pistol, Yeltsin asks, What is the good news?

You won. You got 75 percent.

Zyuganov, after leading Yeltsin by a clear margin, lost the 1996 presidential election in a race that the Communists say was fixed.

The book was put together by Zyuganovs press secretary, Alexander Yushchenko, who writes in the foreword that Zyuganov would always cheer up his party activists on long train trips by telling jokes. A total of 20,000 copies of the book have been printed.

Zyuganovs performance Thursday wasnt exactly stand-up comedy. For a start, he sat down. While he told jokes, a short man stood in a bears costume to his right carrying a poster advertising Zyuganovs book and wearing a bandage over his jaws, as if to keep him from talking or biting.

The Communist leader tried to please the journalists each was given a free box of honey, too but a tough crowd is a tough crowd, especially when they are hearing jokes that probably only sound funny on the second day of a train journey.

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Friday, Oct. 31


Put your grammar and logical thinking to the test in a fun and friendly environment during the British Book Centers Board Game Evening starting at 5 p.m. today. The event is free and all are welcome to attend.



Saturday, Nov. 1


The men and women who dedicate their lives to fitness get their chance to compete for the title of best body in Russia at todays Grand Prix Fitness House PRO, the nations premier bodybuilding competition. Not only will men and women be competing for thousands of dollars in prizes and a trip to represent their nation at Mr. Olympia but sporting goods and nutritional supplements will also be available for sale. Learn more about the culture of the Indian subcontinent during Diwali, the annual festival of lights that will be celebrated in St. Petersburg this weekend at the Culture Palace on Tambovskaya Ul. For 100 rubles ($2.40), festival-goers listen to Indian music, try on traditional Indian outfits and sample dishes highlighting the culinary diversity of the billion-plus people in the South Asian superpower.



Sunday, Nov. 2


Check out the latest video and interactive games at the Gaming Festival at the Mayakovsky Library ending today. Meet with the developers of the popular and learn more about their work, or learn how to play one of their creations with the opportunity to ask the creators themselves about the exact rules.



Monday, Nov. 3


Non-athletes can get feed their need for competition without breaking a sweat at the Rock-Paper-Scissors tournament this evening at the Cube Bar at Lomonosova 1. Referees will judge the validity of each matchup award points to winners while the citys elite fight for the chance to be called the best of the best. Those hoping to play must arrange a team beforehand and pay 200 rubles ($4.80) to enter.



Tuesday, Nov. 4


Attend the premiere of Canadian director Xavier Dolans latest film Mommy at the Avrora theater this evening. The fifth picture from the 25-year-old, it is the story of an unruly teenager but the most alluring (or unappealing) aspect is the way the film was shot: in a 1:1 format that is more reminiscent of Instagram videos than cinematic art. Tickets cost 400 rubles ($9.60) and snacks and drinks will be available.



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