In Soviet Russia, Trope Mocks You
"In America[...] you can always find a party.
Roses are red
In Soviet Russia, topic describes YOU!!
A type of joke, commonly called a Russian Reversal (but technically called the transpositional pun), popularized by Ukranian comedian Yakov Smirnoff. It is based on taking a statement about capitalist America and inverting it to describe the then-Communist Russia as an Orwellian hellhole. Smirnoff later added the prefix Soviet, to indicate the jokes were meant to target the past regime, as opposed to The New Russia. For instance:
In America, you watch Television.
The joke originated on Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In, where Arte Johnson's ambiguously Eastern European character Rosmenko simply refers to "Old Country."
Here in America, is very good, everyone watch television. In Old Country, television watches you!
Long after the fall of Soviet Russia, this joke underwent Memetic Mutation. The Internet being what it is, these jokes ignored any attempts to make it seem Orwellian in favour of non-sequiturs like "In Soviet Russia, motorcycle rides YOU!" or the trope name. Now a Discredited Meme in some parts of the Net because of overuse.
The source of many trope names, including Ass Kicks You, Dog Walks You, Bullet Dodges You, The Door Slams You, The Can Kicked Him, and The Game Plays You.
See also Glorious Mother Russia for the Hollywood Atlas version of Soviet Russia that inspired the jokes.
- The Trope Namer is, of course Yakov Smirnoff  who made jokes about how the U.S.S.R. had a Big Brother Is Watching regime. It's also a case of Beam Me Up, Scotty; his most famous line was simply "In Russia...", not "In Soviet Russia..."
- Half of his jokes were this. The other half were jokes about being a Funny Foreigner (e.g he goes into a a restaurant and gets asked how many are in his party, whereupon he replies "100 million")
- He shifted his comedy after starting his theater in Branson back in 1992 (where he is still playing,) which means he quit using this joke long before it became an internet meme.
Anime and Manga
- In Space, garbage disposes of YOU!
- Sakura is red, Hinata is blue, In Soviet Konohagakure, prison is in YOU!
- In most Gundam series, Earth lords over the space colonies. In G Gundam, the colonies lord over Earth.
- In Soviet Amestris, arm loses you!
- In Soviet Amestris, body loses you!
- In Soviet Amestris, soul loses YOU!
- In Soviet Amestris, pride swallows you!
- In Soviet Amestris, body loses you!
- In real life, you eat meat. In Bio-Meat: Nectar, meat eats you!
- Rozen is red, Suigintou is blue, In Soviet Japan, Dolls break YOU!
- In Soviet Japan, persocom finds YOU!
- In Puella Magi Madoka Magica, cake eats you!
- In the city, the Matrix enters you!
- In Communist Romania, you snuff children. In Roanapur, children snuff YOU!
- In America, Sarah Palin can see Russia from her house. In Soviet Russia, Ivan Braginski can see Alaska from his house.
- Note also that in Soviet Axis Powers Hetalia, Russia is in YOU!
- In Soviet Anatoray, ship steals YOU! - helped by the fact that the Silvius' captain is named Tatiana, a Russian name.
- In America, Jack Atlas kicks your ass. In Soviet Russia, Jack Atlas also kicks your ass.
- "I'm not locked up in here with you...you're locked up in here with ME!"
- In America, you're scared of Batman. In Soviet Russia, Batman scares you!
- A piece of the Stargate/X-COM crossover XSGCOM: Goa'uld Defense:
'MALP shows all clear' reported the control room over the loud speaker system.
- Another Stargate fanfiction spends several pages detailing the operation of a Soviet-run SGC, all to set up the punchline when a KGB major mocks a captured goa'uld: "In Soviet Russia, Gods bow to you!".
- From "It's a small world after all" the characters get kidnapped by fangirls. Russia responds "In Russia, fangirls don't kidnap chibis, chibis kidnap them, da?"
- One of the first examples, and a contemporary with Yakov Smirnoff's standup comedy, comes from the movie Spaceballs, when the henchman of galactic gangster "Pizza the Hut" warns Lone Starr...
"You'd better pay up, or Pizza is gonna send out for you!"
- In Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, Jay imagines a Planet of the Apes-style dystopian world where "we will not spank the monkey; the monkey will spank us!"
- Teeth In Soviet Russia, Pussy eats you!
- In Van Helsing Igor says this, when the the hot female ally and the Q of the hero try to force Igor into givinjg them the Werewolf antidote:
"You try to get Igor. Igor get you!"
- In Mother Russia, Waldo finds you!
- This is a glorious example from the 2004 Punisher movie. There's a scene in which a massive hitman known only as the Russian shows up at the Punisher's apartment and proceeds to kick his ass. Like the comic series from which it was adapted (Welcome Back, Frank), the Russian (played by pro wrestler Kevin Nash) is wearing a very distinctive horizontally striped red and white shirt. This prompted fans into proclaiming "In Soviet Russia, Waldo finds you!"
- "Sometimes you eat the bar and sometimes the bar, well, eats you."
- In Soviet Russia, I must break you!
- Blood is red, Serum is blue, In Former Soviet Russia, Vampire is bitten by YOU!!
- The 4th theme of the Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol's soundtrack is named "In Russia, phone dials you".
- In Tropic Thunder, though not Soviet :
Kirk Lazarus : I don't read the script. The script reads me.
- Horror satire The Stuff concerns a yogurt-like, addictive food that turns out to be a parasite. It eventually makes those who eat too much of it into zombies. One of the last lines is an investigator asking pointedly, "Are you eating it...or is it eating YOU?"
- Friedrich Nietzsche: "If you gaze for long enough into the abyss, the abyss gazes back [into you]."
- Nineteen Eighty-Four, one of the trope inspirations: In Real Life you are watching Big Brother. In Nineteen Eighty-Four, Big Brother Is Watching YOU!
- That's weird, because NO ONE WATCHES BIG BROTHER!
- Even in Real Life, Big Brother Is Watching You.
- A popular phrase from the Havemercy fandom: "In Soviet Volstov, Dragon ride you!" This is because Volstov is generally accepted as a fantasy parallel to Russia.
- From Ye Gods! by Tom Holt:
When Jason opened his eyes, all he could see was a perfectly ordinary Underground carriage, and Virgil sitting on one of the seats, meditatively stirring a large pile of ash and charred bones. Jason winced.
- Mad Magazine in an 1962 issue: "Russian politics can best be understood by comparing them with American politics. For instance, in America, politicians have to kiss babies, and if they don't, the mothers can take their offices away from them. In Russia, the system is somewhat different. To get food, mothers have to kiss politicians and if they don't, the politicians can take their babies away from them."
- Subverted in the philosophy book Plato and a Platypus Walk Into a Bar, when describing the difference between capitalism and communism.
Under capitalism, man exploits his fellow man. Under communism, the opposite is true.
- This is a pretty common joke in the old Eastern Bloc. I've most often heard it cited as an East German "Fritzchen" joke, although it's been told as a Russian/Soviet "Vovochka" joke, as well.
- Mike Myers parodies this on a behind-the-scenes feature on the DVD for The Cat In The Hat, combining it with a running joke. "Under capitalism, man exploits his fellow man. Under communism, it's the complete opposite. *pause* Because of the sand which is there."
- City of Thieves mentions this:
We couldn't feed our pets, so our pets fed us.
- In Mid-Flinx, Teal warns Aimee about the flower in her hair: "You do not wear the cristif, the cristif wears you." Unfortunately for Aimee, Teal's not making a Yakov Smirnoff reference: The "flower" is an invasive parasite, which sends its tendrils fatally bursting from Aimee's flesh seconds later.
- Roger Zelazny's Jack of Shadows turned the tables on a vampire when she was too weakened by hunger to bite him first. He later made "I drank the blood of a vampire" part of his Badass Boast.
- MST3K had a Yakov Smirnoff knockoff saying: "In your country, you watch movie The Rock. In my country, we break rock in Gulag!"
- Hilarious in Hindsight: guess what movie the Gulag level in Modern Warfare 2 ripped off.
- This is kind of the point of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. In other horror works the girl, or child, will look under the bed for monsters. Here...here the monster checks under the bed for Buffy.
- On Bering Sea, piñata hits you.
- Older Than Television: The Ur Example is a line in Cole Porter's song "Anything Goes" (1934):
(if the pilgrims could see what became of American society) "Instead of landing on Plymouth Rock, Plymouth Rock would land on them!"
- Of Montreal has a song titled The Party's Crashing Us (Do they mean the party?)
- A line in the Muse song "Knights of Cydonia" goes, "Don't waste your time or time will waste you".
- In a strange sort of Fridge Brilliance / Hilarious in Hindsight example, the Amazons from Classical Mythology. In the myths, they were just about the only civilization at the time where women oppressed men instead of the other way around. (And, as chance would have it, according to Herodotus they inhabited parts of what is now Ukraine and Russia.)
Recorded and Stand-up Comedy
- In Soviet Russia, the war begins you``
- In Port Coquitlam, pork eats you!
- Inverted with the text your question company in the United States, KGB. Thus, "in mother Russia the KGB ask you the questions, in the United States you ask the KGB the questions."
- In Soviet Russia you eat Cthulhu (text on a label:).
- On the other hand, in Soviet Kanto, Pokémon catches YOU!!.
- In ... everywhere, your ass is kicked by badass. In Soviet Russia, badass kicks the ass of YOU!!
- In Soviet Russia environment destroys YOU!
- Germany learned this the hard way (twice - apparently Hitler didn't take heed of what happened to the Teutonic knights). As did Napoleon beforehand.
- Charles XII of Sweden also fell for it about a century before Napoleon. They never learn...
- And many, many miners.
- Played straight in the Aral Sea region.
- And many, many miners.
- In Soviet Russia, Curtain Irons you!
- In Soviet Germany, Berlin walls YOU!
- Subverted by writer Emil Vrabie: "Don't you know the difference between the two economic systems? Under capitalism man exploits man. But, under communism, it's just the other way around."
- In Exalted, Autochthonian civilization has a decidedly communist aesthetic, and is unique in that the Alchemical Exalted are not the rulers of the civilization, but heroes in service to it. Thus, in Soviet Autochthonia, Exalted serve YOU!!
- In Rifts, the standard cyborg presented in the main book is pretty underwhelming. However, in the Russia splatbook, there are numerous cyborg variants that can be some of the more powerful options. Thus in America, you defeat cyborgs; in Soviet Russia, cyborg defeats you!
- One collection of epic monsters for Dungeons & Dragons introduces the junkyard golem with the line, "On the world of the Sklavadok, the trash takes you out!"
- In the musical Leave It to Me! (1938), set largely in Soviet Russia, journalist Buck Thomas is handed a telegram by a messenger. He reaches in his pocket for a tip, but the messenger tells him:
Graustein: No tipping. In Soviet Russia, messenger tips you.
- Anything Goes, the title song:
Times have changed
- In "Monica" from I Love My Wife, the effects the eponymous girl has on people include "Men go ape/Apes go man."
- In Final Fantasy XI there was the Republic of Bastok, the only one of the three starting nations that was not a Monarchy, jokes soon followed.
- In Soviet Bastok, party looks for you!
- BioShock (series) has this trope between two ghosts the player encounters:
Ghost 1: Fuck Fontaine!
- In Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth, this is one of several memes spouted by Sal Manella curing his brief cameo in case 2.
In Soviet Russia, World Flags Lunchboxes eat j00!
- In Guilty Gear, Hair cuts YOU! (bonus points- the character whose hair cuts you is russian)
- From Touhou Imperishable Night:
Marisa: Move and I'll shoot! ...I messed up. I mean, shoot and I'll move. In a flash.
- A certain mod of Sonic Robo Blast 2 contains an extra difficulty known as "Soviet Russia Mode". You know how Sonic breaks monitors by jumping on them? Well, in Soviet Russia, monitors break Sonic!
- Robotnik monitors break Sonic too!
- In World of Warcraft, when you attack a monster named Lurk, he says "In Nagrand, food hunt ogre!"
- Gorgeous Princess Creamy Beamy: "In Russian East Stereotypia, prostitute pays YOU! ... Why did I ever leave Russian East Stereotypia?"
- In nearly all Hentai featuring Naughty Tentacles, tentacle monsters rape schoolgirls. In Pintsize's Doujinshi, it's the schoolgirls raping the tentacle monsters (see the similar example under "Web Original").
- When Mulberry and her friends visit Russia in one comic, Jack claims to have trouble believing they're really there, since "the movies aren't watching people, the hamburgers aren't eating people, [and] the pants aren't wearing people". Mulberry explains that things have changed since the Soviets lost power. However, a later panel shows an anthropomorphic burger threatening to eat a Russian.
- Dead Winter has it's resident Badass Russian say a version of this.
- Schlock Mercenary had the eponymous amorph remind local frat boys that "Sometimes you have fun, and sometimes the fun has you."
- Despair.inc advertised a t-shirt which mocked the bail-out General Motors received with the text: 'In Soviet America, the car drives you... bankrupt'
- Rock Paper Cynic gave us In Capitalist America, Hope Loses You. Next In Capitalist America, Money Makes You. Next they made a contest about it!
- Roses are red, violets are blue...
- ...In Soviet Russia, poem writes you!
- During The Nostalgia Critic and Linkara's joint review of Superman IV, the two of them are stunned when Superman talks to some Russian astronauts...while still in the vacuum of space. "In Soviet Russia, physics breaks you!"
- Invoked in the Riff Trax of Spider-Man 3 when Spidey nearly gets hit by a subway car: "In Soviet Russia train misses you!"
- "In Soviet Russia, Chick remembers you!". C'mon, she was reviewing Anastasia, she had to.
- In the second season of Game Dogs they're called "game makes you" when they meet the new Russian owners.
- Courtesy of DeviantArt: In Soviet Russia, Tentacle Monster gets raped...by you.
- In certain pieces of Tifa fan art, which shall not be linked because of their NSFW nature, Chocobo rides you.
- In Soviet Spira, ze shoopuf rides you.
- The best (so far) Yakov Smirnoff metajoke.
- From Yu-Gi-Oh!: The Abridged Series episode 52: In Soviet Cyber World rules screw you.
- Twice in SF Debris's review of the ST:TNG episode "The Naked Now", referring to the Soviet-built ship Tsiolkovsky
(as Picard) You know, number one, in your country, you send ships into space, but in Soviet Russia, ship sends YOU into space!
- Weebl's "Russian Dancing Men" has an image of a Whac-a-Mole machine with the caption, "Do not whack Russian, Russian whaks [sic] you."
- IN SOVIET RUSSIA MICHELLE GOROBOCHOP
- In Soviet Wikipedia, bad article delete YOU!
- An episode of Family Guy involved a car with a GPS system, and one of its voice settings was "Yakov Smirnoff".
GPS: Turn left at the fork in the road. In Soviet Russia, road forks you!
- In one episode of Futurama, Zoidberg's brief career as a stand-up comedian consisted solely of this type of joke.
Zoidberg: Earth! What a planet! On Earth, you enjoy eating a tasty clam. On my planet, clams enjoy eating a tasty you!
- From the episode "Crimes Of The Hot":
Fry: That ice dispenser is so big, the ice crushes you. Yakov Smirnoff said that.
- Yet another Futurama example: In a comic I can't remember the name of right now, an entire race of aliens speak like this.
Alien: You don't feel the pain, the pain feels YOU!
- There was The Simpsons episode with a revue of stars of The Eighties. There is the line "So sit back, relax, and watch our revue," and Yakov slides in and says, "In Soviet Union, revue watches you!" This probably had a hand in revitalizing the meme for the Internet crowd.
- After Grandpa causes his mischief on stage, Smirnoff comments "In Russia, stage is for performers only." Then Charlie Callas, who is not dead, starts making funny sounds.
- The King of the Hill episode guest starring Smirnoff has him buying one of these jokes from Bobby, despite the comedian's protestations that he has abandoned this type of material in favor of relationship humor.
- But give Bobby credit, at least he plays with the trope. "In America, you put 'In God We Trust' on the money. In Russia, we have no money!"
- And Yakov pays Bobby for the joke and says "keep them coming."
- But give Bobby credit, at least he plays with the trope. "In America, you put 'In God We Trust' on the money. In Russia, we have no money!"
- In Transformers Generation 1 Galvatron is Ax Crazy while Cyclonus is the Sane Man. In Transformers Armada Galvatron is the Sane Man (well sort of) while Cyclonus is Ax Crazy.
- From an episode of Rick and Morty: In order to escape the Council of Ricks, the duo enters a dimension populated by Pizza-People who eat humans, evidenced by the fact that two of them are ordering one for delivery on the phone. Then they switch to another dimension populated by Phone-People who use pizza as chairs and eat chairs, ordering one on a human-shaped phone. Finally, they find refuge in a dimension full of chair-people who use humans as chairs, and eat phones, ordering one on a pizza-shaped phone. Fortunately, they're non-hostile, despite being a little curious. The duo is later able to throw the pursuers off again by using two of the people-chairs that look like them as decoys.
- This t-shirt. In Soviet Russia, zero divides by you! But it's bad for your health.
- In Soviet Russia, shirt wears YOU!
- In America, You Break Law. In Soviet Russia, Law Breaks You!
- "In Soviet Russia, Russia invades GERMANY!"
- The Party is red, Your fingers are turning blue, In Soviet Russia, prose writes YOU!!
- In Soviet Russia, sin commits YOU!!
- In Soviet Russia, president assassinates YOU!!
- In Former Soviet Russia, president still assassinates YOU!! ... Or maybe not?
- In Soviet Russia, english learns YOU!!
- In America, you consume vodka. In Soviet Russia, vodka consumes YOU!
- Unfortunately, in Former Soviet Russia, vodka still consumes YOU!
- In Soviet Russia, pepper eats you!
- In Soviet Russia, rocket launches you!
- In Soviet Russia, cannon fires you!
- A Ferengi Rule (Probably Nr. 190) which is equally true in Real Life: Drive your business or it will drive you.
- Inverted example: in Soviet Russia, you break Busby's Chair; in England, Busby's Chair breaks you!
- Another inversion: In Soviet Russia, leader purges military brass; in America, military brass purges leader.
- Darker and Edgier: In Soviet Russia, baggage claims you.
- In Soviet Russia, Mouse trap you!
- ...which could be played the other way around: "In Soviet gulag, you trap and eat mice to survive. In American Disney theme park, Mouse Trap YOU!"
- When Tropes Collide: In Soviet Russia, shark jumps you!
- In Soviet Russia, STF U!
- Not Russian, but a while back there was an anti-smoking ad campaign proclaiming "Tobacco smokes you!"
- During the 1978 World Chess Championship match between the World Champion Anatoly Karpov of the Soviet Union and ex-Soviet Viktor Korchnoi of Switzerland, there were seemingly endless negotiations about playing conditions thanks to Korchnoi's defector status and the mutual hostility between the contestants. At one point during the negotiations, a Soviet chess official declared (I paraphrase, but this is mostly verbatim): "Since we, the Soviet Union, are the strongest country in the world, we do not accept conditions - we impose them!"
- In America, NASA fires rockets. In Soviet Russia, rocket fires you!
- Older Than They Think non-comedic example:
If we don't end war, war will end us. -H. G. Wells
- In America, you can travel river by boat. In Russia, boat can travel river by YOU!
In Soviet Russia, Tropes ruin YOU!
- ↑ Although, in Soviet Russia, meme discredits YOU!
- ↑ which actually had "In Soviet Russia Bullet Dodges You" as a redirect for a while
- ↑ although in Soviet Russia the trope made him
- ↑ From a YouTube comment.
- ↑ It refers to the final scenes of Blade 1, which features Blade hunting Russian vampires in... Russia
- ↑ Innsmouthian Cthulhus, 400 roubles