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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Crisis Takes Toll on April Fools' Pranks

After 18 months of economic turmoil that saw unemployment soar and savings crash, far fewer Russians are planning April Fool's jokes this year, the Levada Center said in a poll released Wednesday.

Fifty-two percent of respondents said they would probably attempt a prank on friends or relatives on April 1, down from a record 66 percent in March 2008. This year, 42 percent of those polled said they weren't planning gags, up from 29 percent in March 2008.

The pollster also found a broader downturn in public humor, with only 38 percent of respondents saying they laugh often, down from 46 percent two years ago. The number who laugh rarely remained almost unchanged, at 17 percent, compared with 18 percent in 2008.

The survey of 1,600 Russians was conducted from March 19 to 23, before this week's suicide bombings in Moscow and Dagestan. Its margin of error is 3.4 percentage points.

In light of the recent violence, The Moscow Times is skipping its traditional April Fool's joke story but wishes its readers a safe and happy Den Duraka.