Russian Language Journal


anekdoty, Post-Soviet, literary genres, humor, language


As a genre, anekdoty have been among the most popular oral narratives in the Soviet as well as post-Soviet era.2 Similar to other folkloric and literary genres, the post-Soviet social and linguistic liberalization has had an impact on Russian humor lore, but to a much lesser degree than it might seem on the surface. Since effective humor narratives impart laughter by way of reacting to significant sociopolitical phenomena, the changed economic and ideological reality in post- Soviet Russia fostered paradigmatic classes of anekdoty that feature new protagonists. The question, however, is whether what made a Soviet anekdot funny differs from what makes a post-Soviet anekdot amusing. The answer to that question offers further insights into the social functions of humor as well as into the sociology of language.