One of the best ways to get insight into a culture is through its humor. Understanding the nature of humor within the context of the culture tells us a lot about their concerns and frustrations. One great example is the sort of jokes that emerged from Soviet-era Communism. The rise of Communism in the USSR created an economy that was notorious for long lines, massive shortages, and a heavy dependence on a secondary economy in the black market.
It may be easy to overlook the benefits of a free market. We take for granted the simplicity of shopping at well-stocked brick-and-mortar stores or buying goods online with the click of a mouse. For all the criticisms of capitalistic society, reading over these jokes about life under Communism rule can help remind us that there’s a reason we stick with our free markets.
Jokes About Communism
A farm worker greets Josef Stalin at his potato farm.
“Comrade Stalin, we have so many potatoes that, piled one on top of the other, they would reach all the way to God,” the farmer excitedly tells his leader.
“But God does not exist,” replies Stalin.
“Exactly,” says the farmer. “Neither do the potatoes.”
Two guards spot a man skulking around the Kremlin.
“Stop! Who goes there? Documents!” He shouts.
The frightened person chaotically rummages through his pockets and drops a paper. The guard picks it up and reads it.
“Hmm… a foreigner, sounds like,” says the other guard.
Then the first guard reads further: “‘Proteins: none, Sugars: none, Fats: none…”
“You are free to go, proletarian comrade,” says the second guard.
An American is visiting the Soviet Union. He’s taking a train from Leningrad to Kiev and listening to his handheld radio when a Soviet man leans over to talk to him.
“You know, we make those better and more efficiently here in the Soviet Union,” he says.
“Oh?” Says the American.
“Yes,” the Soviet man responds. “What is it?”
An artist is commissioned to create a painting celebrating Soviet-Polish friendship, to be called “Lenin in Poland.” When the painting is unveiled at the Kremlin, there is a gasp from the invited guests. The painting depicts Lenin’s wife naked in bed with Leon Trotsky.
“But this is a travesty! Where is Lenin?” Asks one of the guests.
“Lenin is in Poland,” replies the painter.
“Granddaughter, please explain Communism to me,” an old Russian woman asks her granddaughter. “How will people live under it? They probably teach you all about it in school.”
“Of course they do, Granny,” her granddaughter responds. “When we reach Communism, the shops will be full – there’ll be butter, and meat, and sausage…you’ll be able to go and buy anything you want…”
“Ah!” exclaimed the old woman joyfully. “Just like under the Tsar!”
A Soviet man is waiting in line to purchase vodka from a liquor store, but due to restrictions imposed by Gorbachev, the line is very long. The man loses his composure and screams, “I can’t take this waiting in line anymore, I HATE Gorbachev, I am going to the Kremlin right now, and I am going to kill him!”
After 40 minutes the man returns and elbows his way back to his place in line. One man asks him if he has succeeded in killing Gorbachev.
“No,” he responds. “That line was even longer.”
“My wife has been going to the Party’s cooking school for three years,” says one Soviet man to another.
“She must really cook well by now,” says the second man.
“No, so far they’ve only got as far as the bit about the Twentieth CPSU Congress.”
After years of saving up, a Soviet man finally has enough to buy a car. He goes to the appropriate ministry and informs them that he would like to purchase a vehicle.
“There are currently shortages, it will be three years before your car is available,” the minister informs the man. “We will have it sent to your house when it’s ready.”
“Three years,” he responds. “What month?”
“August,” says the minister.
“August? What day in August?” Asks the man.
“The Second of August,” says the minister.
“Morning or Afternoon?” Asks the man.
“Why do you need to know?” Asks the minister, getting exasperated.
“The plumber is coming in the morning,” the man responds.
Q: What is very large, makes a lot of smoke and noise, takes down 20 liters of gas per hour, and cuts an apple into three pieces?
A: The Soviet machine built to cut apples into four pieces.
Q: What does a Soviet optimist say?
A: It can’t get any worse!
Under communism, every man has what he needs. That’s why the butcher puts a sign up that says “nobody needs meat today.”
A Briton, a Frenchman, and a Russian are standing and staring at a portrait of Adam and Eve.
“Look at their calm, their reserve,” says the Briton. “Surely they must be British!”
“Nonsense!” Replies the Frenchman. “They are beautiful. Surely they must be French!”
The Russian finally speaks, “they have no clothes, no shelter, only an apple to eat, and are being told this is paradise. They are Russian.”
Q: Why is communism superior to capitalism?
A: Because it heroically overcomes problems that do not exist in any other system.
An American who found himself in Moscow asks a man carrying two suitcases what the time was.
“Certainly,” says the Russian, setting the two bags on the ground and looking at his wrist. “It is 11:43 and 17 seconds. The date is February 13th, the moon is nearing its full phase, and atmospheric pressure stands at 992 hectopascals rising.”
Amazed, the American asks the man if his watch is from Japan. The man assures him that it is Soviet technology.
“That’s fantastic!” the American says.
“Yes,” the Russian answers, picking up the two suitcases. “Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go charge the batteries.”
Q: Could ticks have a revolution of their own?
A: Yes, the blood of the working class runs through them.
Bedbugs appeared in the house occupied by the secretary of the region Party committee. The Party boss summoned an expert on insects and asked him how to get rid of bedbugs. The expert said,
“The best way is to organize them into a collective farm,” he tells the Party boss. “Half of them will flee and the rest will starve to death.”
At a party meeting, a Communist party officer is drilling a local worker. He asks him: “Comrade, if you had two houses, would you give one to the Communist Party?”
The worker responds “Yes, definitely, comrade, I would give one of my houses to the party!”
Then he asks “Comrade, if you had two cars, would you give one to the party?”
Again, the worker says, “Yes, I would give one of my cars to the party!”
Finally, the officer asks, “If you had two shirts, would you give one to the party?”
The officer asks “But why? Why won’t you give one of your shirts to the party?”
The worker says: “Because I HAVE two shirts!”
Two brothers, John, and Bob, who lived in America and were members of the communist party, decided to emigrate to the USSR. Even though they didn’t believe the American media’s negative reports on the conditions in the USSR, they decided to exercise caution. John would go to Russia to test the waters. If they were right and it was a communist paradise, then John would write a letter to Bob using black ink. If, though, the situation in the USSR was as bad as the American media liked to portray, and the KGB was a force to be feared, John would use red ink to indicate whatever he says in the letter must not be believed.
In three months John sent his first report. It was in black ink and read, “I’m so happy here! It’s a beautiful country, I enjoy complete freedom and a high standard of living. All the capitalist press wrote was lies. Everything is readily available! There is only one small thing of which there’s a shortage. Red ink.”
*This article has been updated and was originally published on June 24, 2015.