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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, Apr. 25


Light Music presents the main events for their Cultural Kitchen project at Loft-Project Etagi today. A B2B event that focuses on Finnish food, arts, travel, music and design, the evening will conclude with a dinner by chef Jyrki Tsutsunen and dancing to music by Aino Venna. The event, which began yesterday with presentations by tourism and cultural institutions, concludes today with a preview of Finlands Flow festival and other musical events. Invitations are available from www.culturalkitchen.fi.



Saturday, Apr. 26


At 6 p.m. this evening, stylist Liliana Modigliani offers 50 simple ways to up your style quotient with beauty tips at the Galeria shopping center on Ligovsky Prospekt. The event is part of the final day of the shopping malls Fashion Saturday sales event, this week focusing on top brands located on the ground floor as well as presentation from fashion experts on sprucing up your spring look.



Sunday, Apr. 27


Families shouldnt miss Childhood Planet 2014, the trade fair that started yesterday and concludes today at LenExpo. Not only will goods and services be provided for children and families but the event hopes to promote Russian brands and eco-friendly products using the latest technology available in the childcare industry.



Monday, Apr. 28


The Hotel Indigo will be the site of SPIBAs Acting Skills for HR and Other Managers master class this morning starting at 9 a.m. The event will begin with coffee before moving on to the class itself and conclude with a tour of the recently opened hotel. Confirm attendance by Apr. 24.



Tuesday, Apr. 29


Improve your English at the British Book Centers Interactive English Lesson tonight at 6 p.m. Students at pre-intermediate and intermediate levels are welcome discuss topics that are selected to help learners master the more difficult aspects of English grammar and vocabulary.