A couple of sites I found that gave me a chuckle:

Родословная русской эпиграммы [Rodoslovnaya russkoi epigrammy, ‘the genealogy of the Russian epigram’] starts with an amazing anecdote about a young guy named Nikolai Glazkov who in 1941 had just gotten a medical exemption from the draft and wrote an epigram predicting the suicide of Adolf Hitler:

Может быть, он того и не хочет,
Может быть, он к тому не готов,
Но мне кажется,
что обязательно кончит
Самоубийством Гитлер Адольф.

A quarter of a century later, he played the guy who took the balloon ride at the start of Tarkovsky’s Andrei Rublev!

The other site is Гусарская азбука [Gusarskaya azbuka, ‘Hussar’s alphabet’], which has obscene little distichs for each letter of the Cyrillic alphabet:

Жизнь на радость нам дана.
Жопа – фабрика говна.
[Life is given us for joy;
The ass is a factory for shit.]


  1. Can we get a translation of the first epigram please?
    (Sorry if this is a repost. I don’t see my other post up.)

  2. Sorry, I should have provided one:
    Maybe he doesn’t want it,
    Maybe he’s not ready for it,
    But it seems to me
    that Adolf Hitler
    will without fail end in suicide.

  3. michael farris says

    “he played the guy who took the balloon ride at the start of Tarkovsky’s Andrei Rublev!”
    You know, they just don’t make 3-hour plotless fictionalized biographies of medieval icon painters like they used to.
    (Seriously that’s one of my favorite movies. But I guess it’s not for everybody. I remember being flabbergasted when I dragged a film buff friend to see it and she pronounced it ‘boring’.)

  4. I feel your pain. Tarkovsky is one of my favorite directors, but most people have a hard time with him.

  5. More Russian humor.
    Владислав Ходасевич:
    Было на улице полутемно.
    Стукнуло где-то под крышей окно.
    Свет промелькнул, занавеска взвилась,
    Быстрая тень со стены сорвалась, –
    Счастлив, кто падает вниз головой:
    Мир для него хоть на миг – а иной.
    And this is my favorite, perhaps due to its Russian variety of optimism.
    Макс Мартов:
    Бросив взгляд последний вниз,
    Снявши тапочки,
    Я на проводе повис
    Вместо лампочки.
    Да не держит, е-мое,
    Вот поэтому житье

  6. Just to make it clear, Glazkov was well-known after the war for his witty poems. He got some of them published under the Soviets, I think. He seems to have coined the word “Samizdat.”
    Khodasevich was dead serious in that poem. Check out Oleg Grigoriev, LH, if you haven’t already.

  7. Will do, thanks!

  8. michael farris says

    “More Russian humor.
    Владислав Ходасевич: …
    And this is my favorite, perhaps due to its Russian variety of optimism.
    Макс Мартов: …”

  9. Oleg Grigoriev is the author of the immortal poem about Petrov the Electrician:
    Я спросил электрика Петрова:
    — Ты зачем надел на шею провод?
    Ничего Петров не отвечает,
    Только тихо ботами качает.

  10. And the following one, which probably much fewer folks will find funny:
    Девочка красивая
    В кустах лежит нагой.
    Другой бы изнасиловал,
    А я лишь пнул ногой.

  11. > Perevod?
    It was half-dark outside.
    Somewhere under the roof a window clattered.
    A light flashed and the curtain flung open.
    A quick shadow tore across the wall.
    Happy is the person falling head first.
    The world looks different, even if only for a moment.
    After casting my last glance downward,
    And taking off my slippers,
    I hung myself on the wire,
    Where the lightbulb goes.
    But it didn’t hold — dammit.
    Tore away.
    Therefore life,

  12. Heh – trying to catch up after two weeks offline makes for interesting coïncidences.
    Mark Perakh‘s collection of Soviet jokes. Via that godless, liberal superhero PZed.

  13. That’s a great find! Ah, good old Radio Erevan jokes:
    This is Armenian Radio. Our listeners asked us, “Was comrade Lenin a scientist or a politician?”
    We’re answering: “Of course, a politician. If he were a scientist, he would’ve first tried his theories on dogs.”

Speak Your Mind