Opening of the exhibition «I will tell you an anecdote»

The unusual exhibition which is called «I will tell you an anecdote», was opened at the Museum of political history of Russia, that offers to look on the past of our country through the political humor.

Here you listen and read the anecdotes in those heroes were famous politics from Lenin, Stalin, Khrushev and Brezhnev to Putin. In soviet period that genre was very popular. Political anecdotes reflected society mood and attitude to the power. Humor was an expression of protest, an attempt to criticize the system. In 1930-1950s, you could go to the jail because of this. The central place at the exhibition is occupied by extracts from real criminal cases that were initiated for the spread of anecdotes.

To understand what the Soviet people laughed about during the years of Stalinist repressions, in the era of stagnation, thaw and restructuring will help museum exhibits. At the exhibition you can see things of political prisoners, souvenirs for anniversaries, food stamps, a crimson jacket and many other symbols of the twentieth century. Among the exhibits, there are things those have recently appeared in the museum's collection and on display are for the first time, - said the head of the group of authors, research associate of the museum, Alexander Smirnov. Many Soviet jokes are difficult to understand for those who did not live in that era, therefore the exhibition creators supplied the exhibits with detailed historical commentaries.

The Soviet anecdote as a genre appeared immediately after the October Revolution. And if jokes were told in western countries in order to laugh, in the USSR, especially in the Stalin era, humor helped to overcome inner fear, Smirnov notes. In the late Soviet times, jokes allowed "let off the steam" and gave a feeling of freedom, therefore they were no longer hunted for them.

Deputy Director of the Museum of Political History of Russia Elena Kostyusheva says that the idea to create such exhibition appeared a few years ago. Jokes have been long the subject of serious scientific research, but museum exhibitions, where this phenomenon would have been presented, are still rare. Meanwhile, at the space of the Museum of Political History of Russia, anecdotes "live" for a long time, reminds Kostyusheva. For example, they can be heard in the exposition "The Soviet Epoch: Between Utopia and Reality".

Kostyusheva thanked everyone who participated in the preparation to the exhibition. In addition to researchers Alexander Smirnov, Yuri Sokolov and chief artist Vitaly Baranov, almost all museum departments were involved to the work on it - employees of foundations, restorers, editors, and specialists in multimedia technology.

The exhibition will be opened until March 2019 (3rd floor, room 34)

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