Who are you going to vote for: Putin or Putin?
I'm so sick of them all, I'll vote for Putin.
February 2012, a sign on the wall of a polling station: "Sunday, March 4 is the date for the elections of Russian President Vladimir Putin."
Hello, you've reached Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. If you wish to speak to Dmitry Anatolyevich (Medvedev), press "two."
Even journalists don't feel comfortable calling Medvedev the president of Russia. They just call him President Medvedev.
A referendum in 2012 asks: Do you agree to give another term to: 1/ Vladimir Putin, 2/ (Jailed oligarch) Mikhail Khodorkovsky. Vladimir Putin: "I am fine with both."
A hospital announces a change of linen for its patients. "The patients in the second ward will all swap with those in the third ward."
The Federal Guard Service, in charge of protecting Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and President Dmitry Medvedev, detains an activist who is handing out leaflets on Red Square.
The man is taken to the security service's Lubyanka headquarters for a search, when his detainers spot that all the leaflets are blank.
"Why are they blank, then?" the man is asked.
"Why bother? Everything is clear anyway."
Putin said he would run for a third term because he still has some friends from school and college who are out of a job.
Television news bulletin lengthily sings the praises of Putin. "And finally it's time for the weather forecast. Today Vladimir Putin visited the offices of the State Weather Forecasting Services..."
• Russian President Vladimir Putin is roasting Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko on a spit, working up a sweat as he rotates the spit as fast as he can.
''Why are you turning him so quickly?''
''I have to, otherwise Yushchenko will steal the coals.''
The joke hinges on Moscow's claim that Ukraine steals Russian natural gas. But it was the closest thing to the old Soviet political jokes, or anekdoty, that I had heard in a long time. Intrigued, I began some informal field research on Russian political humor today.
Here's one I heard repeated:
• Putin gets up in the middle of the night and goes to the refrigerator. When he opens the door, a dish of jellied meat begins to tremble.
''Don't worry, I've only come for a beer.''
Putin jokes tend to play on the Kremlin's consolidation of power, on the efforts to eliminate the opposition, on the silencing of independent voices and the domination of other branches of government:
• Putin goes to a restaurant with the leaders of the two houses of parliament. The waiter approaches and asks Putin what he would like to order.
''I'll have the meat.''
''And what about the vegetables?''
''They'll have the meat, too.''
Back in Soviet times, anekdoty were an essential social safety valve. Many jokes compared life under Vladimir Lenin, Nikita Khrushchev, Josef Stalin and Leonid Brezhnev:
• Stalin, Khrushchev and Brezhnev are traveling together on a train when suddenly it lurches to a stop. Stalin has the conductor shot. The train doesn't move. Khrushchev rehabilitates the conductor. The train still doesn't move. Brezhnev closes the curtains and says, ''Now, we're moving.''
Brezhnev took a beating for the Soviet Union's stagnation under his increasingly geriatric leadership, as in another old favorite:
• Brezhnev begins his speech opening the 1980 Summer Games: ''O! O! O!''
An aide interrupts him with a whisper: ''The speech starts below, Leonid Ilyich. That is the Olympic symbol.''
The anekdoty art form survived glasnost and the collapse of the Soviet Union. Mikhail Gorbachev was taken to task for his anti-alcohol campaign, and Boris Yeltsin for his drunken behavior and slurred speech. But Putin poses a problem for whoever it is who makes up these jokes. He's always in control, always on cue. He dresses well, speaks well and drinks in moderation.
The most telling thing about Putin jokes is their scarcity. This joke, for example, is 3 years old, and I haven't heard it lately:
• Putin is sitting in his office with his head in his hands, when Stalin's ghost appears. Putin tells the ghost his problems, bemoaning the incompetence of his Kremlin underlings.
''That's easy to fix,'' Stalin says. ''Shoot all the bad officials, and paint the Kremlin walls blue.''
''Why blue?'' Putin asks.
''Hah! I knew you'd only ask about the second part!''
Most people I asked, including a taxi driver who keeps his car radio tuned to a station called Humor FM, said they hadn't heard any Putin jokes, that Putin jokes would not be funny anyway or that the public wouldn't like Putin jokes because the president is so popular.
There are no jokes about Putin, and if there were, they would be in bad taste, snapped an art historian, an old friend.
Perhaps most revealing about Putin as a leader is his own crude sense of humor and the tough-talking street language he uses. He recently told his ministers that no economic changes could be expected until they ''stopped chewing on snot'' -- slang for getting down to work.
One of the very few people who has been successful at poking fun at Putin is Maxim Kononenko, who set up a website in 2003 that spoofed the president's lowbrow slang. Many people expected the site to be closed down fast. Instead, Kononenko's hallmark sendups of conversations between Putin and a key aide, which begin, ''Listen, Bro,'' won a coveted Saturday night spot on NTV -- hosted by a Kremlin favorite. Putin likes being portrayed as a tough guy.
Putin may not be funny enough to inspire a new generation of political humor, but what is happening in Russia is not always funny. Perhaps allowing a few more jokes would help.
1) Teddy Roosevelt hunted bears, Dick Cheney hunts quail, Vladimir Putin hunts Chechens!
2) One day a son turns to his father and says "Pa, when I grow up I want to be Vladimir Putin"
The father turns to his son and says "Wow that is Amazing, to think that my son will be the next greatest Prime Minister Russia ever had"
The son says to his father "Prime minister of Russia? I thought Putin was the Primer of the World!"
3) How many Chechens does it take to change a light bulb?
None, they are to busy running from Putin's tanks!
4) What is the Difference between Obama and Putin?
You know where Obama is all the time,
Putin knows where you are all the time!
5) When George W. Bush invades a nation, he sends his troops to find WMD's, when Putin invades a nation, he uses his WMD's to find troops.
6) What is the difference between Twettie Bird and a Chechen Rebel?
Chechen Rebels are never heard from again after seeing a Putie-Cat!
7) Vladimir Putin does not need to wear glasses or use a hearing aid, since the KGB are his eyes and ears and they never have failed him yet.
8) The Russian people do not believe in the first commandment, because they all know of Vladimir Putin existence to be true.
9) What is the difference between the dollar and the rubble?
The dollar is not backed by anything, while the rubble is backed by Vladimir Putin with an AK-47
10) While is Russia rich with oil?
Because when Vladimir Putin punches a living thing so much pressure is applied that it turns to fossil fuel.
11) Why are the dinosaurs extinct?
Because Vladimir Putin killed them all since their head was higher then his.
12) A man walk into a bar and orders a shot of vodka. Before bartender serves him the drink, the man turns to him and says
"So did you hear that another journalist was poisoned by Putin today"
The bartender replies "No I didn't hear this at all" then goes and hands the man his shot of vodka and states "Its on the house"
The man takes the shot and quickly drinks it. Shortly after he keels over and dies.
The bar tender mutters to himself under his breath "Only one thing is worse then these damn journalists and that's free lance reporters"
13) A Russian teacher asks her class if they can give an example of infinity. A student replied "Vladimir Putin's power in office".
14) Why does the President of France try to stay on good terms with Putin?
Because he knows that in war Putin would force the French to retreat so far the would drown in the Atlantic Ocean.
15) In the winter of '09 the people of Europe didn't freeze because Russia closed their pipeline, it was because Putin was pissed off and evoked the winter of Mother Russia to inflict all of Europe.
16) How Chechens can Putin fit in a box?
Depends on how many Chechens step on land mines.
17) Why does Vladimir Putin never have nightmares?
Because not even in anyone's dreams can someone outmatch Putin.
18) Sarah Palin may be able to see Russia from her house, but Vladimir Putin is able to see her house from his.
19) Russia does not need to find an alternative energy source, since Vladimir Putin is already the ultimate power in the world.
20) Why isn't Vladimir Putin a movie action-hero?
It would only be a five minute film.
21) Why Vladimir Putin is more badass than Chuck Norris, Chuck Norris plays World of Warcraft (As seen on recent commercials for WoW), Vladimir Putin plays with the world it self!
22) Vladimir Putin: Knock Knock
Alexei Navalny: Whose There
Vladimir Putin: Vladimir Putin
....end of joke
23) How many protesters does it take to take down Putin? (Trick question no one can) How many Russian Presidents does it take to arrest more than 50 protesters? Just Putin!
24) Whats the difference between Vladimir Putin and a bucket of awesome? The bucke.... scratch that he nationalized that too...
25) Only Chuck Norris' tears may be able to cure cancer... but thats only because Vladimir Putin doesn't cry
26) Vladimir Putin doesn't declare war on nations, war implies that there is a chance of failure. He Just Conquers!
A man comes to Lubyanka (KGB headquarters) and says:
- I am a spy, I want to surrender.
He is asked:
- Whose spy are you?
- I am an American spy.
- Well, then, you need to go to room #5.
He goes to the room #5:
- I am an American spy, I want to surrender.
- Do you have weapons?
- Yes, I do.
- Please go to room #7.
He goes to the room #7:
- I'm a spy, I want to surrender, I have weapons.
- Please go to room #10.
He goes to the room #10:
- I'm a spy, I want to surrender, I have weapons.
- Do yo have communications equipment?
- Yes, I do.
- Please go to room #20.
He arrives to the room #20:
- I'm a spy, I have weapons and communications equipment, and I want to surrender.
He is asked:
- Do you have a mission?
- Yes, I do.
- Well, then go and execute your mission. Stop distracting people from their work!