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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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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Friday, Dec. 19


Test your mastery of parlor games during Game Evening at the British Book Center. Learn how to play a variety of classic, mentally challenging games and use your newly acquired skills to crush weaker opponents. The event beings at 5 p.m.



Saturday, Dec. 20


The citys Babushkina Park on Prospekt Obukhovskoy Oborony will be invaded by dozens of rocking-and-rolling Santa Clauses during todays Santa Claus Parade. Not only will they parade through the park but there will also be competitions amongst the festively-clad participants and a musical master class. There will also be a prize for the best-dressed Santa Claus.


Stock up your record collection during the Vinyl Christmas Sale at the KL10TCH bar on Konyushennaya ploschad today. Spend the afternoon perusing the records for sale while listening the classic, clean sound of records spinning out hits from a variety of musical genres and time periods.



Sunday, Dec. 21


The Zenit St. Petersburg basketball team returns to the northern capital this evening for a matchup with Krasny Oktyabr, a Volgograd-based basketball club. Tickets for the game, which tips off at 6 p.m. this evening, can be purchased on the clubs website or at their arena, Sibur Arena, on Krestovsky island.


Satisfy your sugar cravings during Sweet New Year, an ongoing seasonal festival at the Raduga shopping center. Each weekend of December will welcome hungry visitors to taste hundreds of different kinds of desserts made from a plethora of sweet treats. Workshops are open to visitors and seasonal gifts can also be purchased for those rushing to finish their New Year shopping.



Monday, Dec. 22


Pick out the latest fashions as holiday gifts for loved ones or as early presents for yourself during the Christmas Design Sale at Kraft on Obvodny Kanal, starting on Dec. 20 and continuing through Dec. 27. Designer clothes will be on sale every day of the week or you can buy something more festive to decorate the home while sipping on hot coffee and perusing the various master classes.



Tuesday, Dec. 23


Meet Arctic explorers Fedor Konukhov and Viktor Simonov during SPIBAs and Capital Legal Services event Arctic Expedition this morning in the Mertens House business center at 21 Nevsky Prospekt. The meeting will discuss the explorers ongoing eco-social project and how companies can use the project as a unique marketing opportunity. Email office@spiba.ru by Dec. 22 if you wish to attend.



Wednesday, Dec. 24


The Anglican Church of St. Petersburg we will be holding a Christmas Eve service at 7 p.m. led by Rev Wm. Shepley Curtis of the Episcopal Church. The service will be held at the Swedish Church at 1/3 Malaya Konyushennaya Ulitsa.



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