Jokes in Soviet Estonia Cover Image

Jokes in Soviet Estonia
Jokes in Soviet Estonia

Author(s): Arvo Krikmann
Subject(s): Customs / Folklore
Published by: Eesti Kirjandusmuuseum
Keywords: Jüri Viikberg; macaronic style; political jokes; puns; Russian loans; Soviet Estonia; Soviet jokes; Soviet leaders

Summary/Abstract: This study seeks to offer a brief empirical overview of jokes told in Estonia between the 1960s and the 1990s and introduces and tests two main suppositions: First, the period of Brezhnev’s rule (and particularly the last part of it) was a golden era of joke-making in the former USSR and possibly in the countries of the Eastern Bloc in general, and second, a great amount of the joke material (especially political jokes) that circulated in Estonia in the Soviet period was of Russian origin. The article also addresses the issues of the temporal dynamics of the popularity of some joke characters (Juku, Chapaev, Jew ~ Rabinovich, Chukchi, Lenin, Stalin, Nikita (Khrushchev), Brezhnev, Gorbachev); the macaronic telling of Russian loan jokes; jokes of supposedly genuine Estonian origin, including examples of punning in Estonian, and bilingual puns in Estonian and Russian, jokes based on grammar, jokes based on toponyms and anthroponyms, jokes based on popular songs, etc. Brief concluding remarks discuss the general typological structure of canned (folkloric) jokes, the basic nature and specificity of Soviet-era jokes about Socialism, the problem of their function, and the main generic content clusters of jokes told in Soviet Estonia.

  • Issue Year: 2009
  • Issue No: 43
  • Page Range: 43-66
  • Page Count: 24
  • Language: English