Russian joke on state-planned research

The website of Mark Perakh, a retired electrochemistry professor of Russian-Jewish origin, has a rich collection of translated Russian jokes. As a Russian coworker once explained to me, Russian humor tends to fall in one of two categories: either very coarse and anatomical, or very sophisticated and scholarly. (Soviet-era jokes add a third category of absurd humor.) The following joke (entry 1.32 here) about government-planned science clearly arose in academic circles but is undeniable crude (if, sadly, only too realistic):

To alleviate the perennial shortages of butter, The Politburo of the Communist Party ordered the Soviet scientists to develop a technology for converting sh*t into butter, and to complete this project on or before the anniversary of the Great October Socialist Revolution. After six months of work, the Politburo demanded an interim progress report. The scientists reported that they had achieved a 50% success. The party requested elaboration. The reply from the Academy of Sciences explained, “One can already spread it, but not yet eat it.”

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