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Douglas Ayling

to the totalitarian model, as research showed … Empirically, of course, most of the

soviet-type systems in the 1980s were not totalitarian”16. It is a moot point whether an

anthology which was compiled and published in 1978 represents the jokes of a USSR

closer to the post-totalitarian than a totalitarian regime type by that stage. Did the award of

Hero of the Soviet Union, the order of Lenin and the Gold Star to Leonid Brezhnev on his

70th birthday in December 1976 represent the personality cult of a leader who invoked fear

or rather whose self-aggrandisement would be met with apathy? Based on my reading of

the situation and of Linz and Stepan’s remarks, I made the decision to regard all of these

sources as presenting jokes from a post-totalitarian regime.

Poland appears as the locus for jokes included in both the humour of the Third

Reich and of Eastern Europe. The argument made by Linz and Stepan that Poland has

represented the one Eastern European country closer to authoritarianism than to

totalitarianism17 will be overlooked on the following basis. Certainly in the case of Third

Reich jokes, occupied Poland falls within the Nazi regime. Regarding Polish incidences of

political humour within the Eastern European collection from 1990, the source relied upon

16

ib., p.41

17

ib., p.255

page 9

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