Some of Putin's best sarcasm, quips, anecdotes and humorous stories from over the years
On the current international situation.
The Pessimist, the Optimist, and the Bedbug
"I told this oldie-but-goodie before, but can't help but tell it again. Well, there once was a pessimist and an optimist. The pessimist was drinking cognac, and said, 'This smells like bedbugs!' The optimist grabbed a bedbug from the wall, sniffed it and said, 'Well, doesn’t this smell a bit like cognac!'
"My point is, I’d rather be a pessimist who drinks cognac, than an optimist who sniffs bedbugs. Even if the optimist lives a little more happily…"
Gas and Germany
"I don’t get why Germans don’t like nuclear energy. I don’t want to comment, but… I don’t understand how you’re going to keep warm. You don’t want gas, and you don’t want to develop nuclear energy, so what are you going to do, burn firewood? Of course, however, you would have to get the wood from Siberia…"
On Ukraine again
During a speech by Christoph Leitl, president of the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber, on Ukraine (in German):
Leitl: "And, Mr. President, in 1914, Ukraine was part of Austria…"
Putin: "What is that supposed to mean... What are you proposing here?"
Leitl: "It’s supposed to mean, that Ukraine today, a hundred years later…"
Putin: "I’m already afraid to listen anymore! What are you going to say next?"
On Europe’s relationship with the U.S.
Angela Merkel is rather unimpressed with Putin’s jokes:
"There are all sorts of jokes on this matter…as in, no matter how you act on your wedding night, the result should always be the same. Get it?"
The Economy in Black and White
When asked whether he thought the economic crisis was over in Russia, Putin responded with a joke:
"I’ll tell you an old anecdote of ours: two friends meet up, and one asks the other:
- How are things?
- Well, things right now are like stripes, you see, black and white.
- Well, how are things right now?
"Half a year passes before they meet again.
- Well, how are you – wait, I remember, like stripes, how are things right now?
- Right now, they’re black.
- But back then it was also black!
- Nope, it turns out it was white back then!"
The Spy Who Just Wanted to Surrender
Putin tells an old anekdot from Soviet times about bureaucratic unpredictability and the whims of Russian officialdom:
A spy goes to Lubyanka (headquarters of the Soviet secret police in Moscow) and says:
- I’m a spy. I want to turn myself in.
- Who do you work for?
- OK, go to room 5.
He goes to room 5 and says:
- I’m an American spy. I want to turn myself in.
- Are you armed?
- Yes, I’m armed.
- Go to room 7, please.
He goes to room 7 and says:
- I am an American spy. I’m armed. I want to turn myself in.
- Go to room 10.
He goes to room 10 and says:
- I’m a spy. I want to turn myself in!
- Do you have any communication with the Americans?
- Go to room 20.
He goes to room 20 and says:
- I’m a spy, I’m armed, I'm in communication with America and I want to turn myself in.
- Have you been sent on a mission?
- Well, get out and go do it! Stop bothering people while they’re working!
John Kerry and His Suitcase
During a meeting at the Kremlin with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Putin casts suspicion on the contents of Kerry’s briefcase.
Putin: "We are always glad to have you visit here because it is always very businesslike and gives us a chance to make headway on very important and serious matters. But today, when I saw you getting off the plane carrying your own luggage, I was a little upset. On the one hand, it’s a rather democratic way of doing things. But on the other hand, I thought the situation in the U.S. must probably be pretty bad if there is no one to help the Secretary of State with his luggage. I hear your economy is doing OK, and there is no slow down. And then I thought, probably there was something in that briefcase of yours that meant you couldn’t hand it over to anyone? Money maybe…to haggle with us on key matters?
"Seriously though, we are happy to see you – jokes aside, we have now found some common ground in order to move forward in matters regarding our bilateral agreements and the international agenda. Welcome."
Kerry: "Thank you, Mr. President. When we have a private moment, maybe I will show you what's in my suitcase – you’ll be presently surprised!"
Source: Russia & India Report