Throughout Russian history, political repression has been offset by jokes as an outlet for real feelings. Among the most popular jokes of the late Soviet era was one about a local party official coming into the office and seeing the first secretary in a panic because someone had broken in overnight to steal the election tallies. “Don’t worry comrade, they have all been published in the newspapers,” said the official. “You don’t understand,” replied the first secretary. “They stole the results of next year’s elections.”
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