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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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Monday, Oct. 20


Amateur pictures from World War I are on display for only one more day at Rosphotos exhibition On Both Sides, chronicling the conflict through the eyes of observers on both sides of the trenches. The price of entrance to the exhibition is 100 rubles ($2.50).



Tuesday, Oct. 21


The Environment, Health and Safety Committee of AmCham convenes this morning at 9 a.m. in the organizations office.


Take the chance to pick the brains of Dmitry V. Krivenok, the deputy director of the Economic Development Agency of the Leningrad region, and Mikhail D. Sergeev, the head of the Investment Projects Department, during the meeting with them this morning hosted by SPIBA. RSVP for the event by emailing office@spiba.ru before Oct. 17 if you wish to attend.


Improve your English at Interactive English, the British Book Centers series of lessons on vocabulary and grammar in an informal atmosphere. Starting at 6 p.m., each month draws attention to different topics in English, with the topic for this months lessons being visual arts.



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