Back in the late 70s, some Soviet journalists showed up at my college (Fordham University) ostensibly to interview American college students. I think the real purpose of the exercise was to show how ignorant American college students were. The journalists first asked us to name any cities in the Soviet Union. My classmates came up with Moscow and Leningrad, but then there was an awkward pause as they struggled to think of another one. Then one of them hesitantly said St. Petersburg -- the old name for Leningrad. I winced as the journalists exchanged bemused smiles.
Next they asked us to list the names of major Russian writers. We identified Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky, then there was another awkward pause. The Soviet journalists were having a hard time containing their amusement. The "interview" was going even better than they anticipated. At this point, I had a moment of inspiration. I raised my hand and mentioned Alexander Solzhenitsyn. Their smiles immediately vanished. Then I asked the guy with the tape recorder if he had any idea when The Gulag Archipelago would be published in the Soviet Union. The interview abruptly ended.
Sounds like a Clinton press conference. Bravo, WW. (^:
Then one of them hesitantly said St. Petersburg -- the old name for Leningrad.
Another Russian Joke, circa 1990:
An old Russian man is getting ready to retire. He goes to pension office to prepare his claim.
Grey Bureaucrat: Comrade, where were you born?
Old Russian: St. Petersburg.
Grey Bureaucrat: Where did you grow up?
GB: Where did you live as an adult?
GB: Where do you wish to live when you retire?
OR: St. Petersburg.
BTW, it's St. Petersburg Today!