I formally introduce for your internet distraction and pleasure:

The Weekly Russia Roundup of Humor

Welkome to my new weekly internet column (see, I spelled “Welcome” with a “k” to make it seem more like Russian!)  I’ll be distilling a week’s worth of important Russian jokes, photos, videos, stories, news, and internet humor into one condensed post. Any comments or requests are encouraged.

Joke of the Week
During his visit to the USSR, Nixon was intrigued by a new telephone capable of connecting with hell. He spoke briefly with the devil, and the call cost him 27 cents. When he came back home, he found out that this same service was now available in the US too. He tried it again and received a bill for $12,000. Nixon was distressed.
– How come?! The same call only cost me 27 cents in the USSR.
– Well, said the operator. Over there it is a local call.

News of the Week
Sochi, a Russian southern resort town on the coast of the Black Sea, is hosting the 2014 Winter Olympics.  As usual, the preparations are plagued with corporate scandal as less-than-environmental construction projects attempt to distract from the fact that the area still does not even have adequate plumbing, water, or electricity. It’s a disaster in the making.

According to human rights activist Garry Kasparov, numerous families are being illegally evicted in preparation for (past-deadline) construction projects, and all the work combined is costing Russian taxpayers more than three times what it has for the last three Olympic games combined (see this story for more details).
Russia! magazine highlights the best part of this ineptness:

Early this year, 24 hours before the International Olympic Committee inspectors landed in Sochi, the Black Sea-resort town which will be hosting the 2014 Winter Olympics, there was an emergency meeting held in several local schools. Teachers were instructed to put on their best clothes, pack their best luggage and hand-pick five students each. Instead of going to class the next day, they were told to arrive at the local airport and stay there for a full day, posing as tourists and making the airport look packed with travelers.
Video of the Week
Following up on the theme of the insane bureaucracy and inefficiency in Russia, check out this footage of some tenants dealing with inept construction and coming up with unusual solutions.
That’s all for now – come back next week for more!


  1. Also, Boris Timanovsky on The Moth – podcast from May 4th. You’ll love eet.

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