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"The jokes always saved us: humour in the time of Stalin" Topic


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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP30 Jul 2020 10:08 p.m. PST

"Stalinism. The word conjures dozens of associations, and ‘funny' isn't usually one of them. The ‘S-word' is now synonymous with brutal and all-encompassing state control that left no room for laughter or any form of dissent. And yet, countless diaries, memoirs and even the state's own archives reveal that people continued to crack jokes about the often terrible lives they were forced to live in the shadow of the Gulag.

By the 1980s, Soviet political jokes had become so widely enjoyed that even the US president Ronald Reagan loved to collect and retell them. But, 50 years earlier, under Stalin's paranoid and brutal reign, why would ordinary Soviet people share jokes ridiculing their leaders and the Soviet system if they ran the risk of the NKVD (state security) breaking down the door to their apartment and tearing them away from their families, perhaps never to return?…"
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