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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Cartoonists Open April Fools' Show

City Hall, showing a distinct lack of humor, did not want an exhibit of satirical cartoons at the Museum of the Contemporary History of Russia. But it need not have worried.

With the exception of every man's favorite political clown Vladimir Zhirinovsky depicted as a weathervane and Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov beaming out flatteringly as a sun rising up from the Christ the Savior Cathedral, few of the cartoons tackle political issues at the April Fools' Day exhibit that opened Monday.

There are biting cartoons attacking bureaucracy, greed and general political corruption, but individual targets are sorely lacking.

Instead, a typical cartoon, finding a grim humor from a far too realistic situation, is a Omar Godines drawing of a man eating a sandwich surrounded by a scattering of crows eager for some crumbs. Next to him, a man sips on a bottle of beer as a scattering of old ladies surround him eyeing the bottle as eagerly as the crows.

A cartoon from Sergei Tyunin, who won the award for the best work at the exhibit, shows a police officer stopping Jesus and checking his passport for registration.

"The Second Coming is impossible in Russia because [Jesus] hasn't got registration," Tyunin said.

The exhibit of 300 works from 95 artists was opened by the country's most famous centenarian, caricaturist Boris Yefimov, 101.

Represented are modern cartoonists such as Andrei Bilzho of Kommersant, Kukso of Noviye Izvestia and formerly of The Moscow Times, and Petrovich, both of cartoon and restaurant fame.

A selection of Yefimov's work from the 1930s and from the most famous Soviet satirical magazine, Krokodil, is also on display. Many of the drawings are rather tame compared to the often vitriolic work he drew in the 1930s when the three-time winner of the Order of Lenin berated fascists, Trotskyists and so-called enemies of the people at the behest of the Communist Party and sometimes Stalin himself.

At the show, Yefimov was feted by a fan a few years younger than himself, Alexei Matveyev, a 76-year-old retired surgeon who brought along his collection of Yefimov cartoons and books that he had collected as a small child in the 1930s.

"Nobody drew better than him," said Matveyev, who wasn't very impressed with the exhibition. "I didn't like modern caricatures. I don't get them."

The exhibit runs until April 30.