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Ok , So After reading This sentence :

As Russia has changed rapidly in the past six years , so has its sense of humor, The political Joke held sway , the secret jest that jabbed at 70 years of repressive regimes.

I've find difficulties understanding the meaning of the paragraph due to my poor vocabulary , so i looked at The oxford dictionary and google translator and i came up with following ;

Hold sway : Dominate , have a controlling influence over

a Jest : a Joke

Jab : Poke

After I Re-read again the text i still have difficulties understanding it , are the synonyms wrong ?? If so , What are the correct ones ?, Thank you.

  • This is an interesting article on the difference between "joke" and "jest": the-difference-between.com/jest/joke - jest is an action, and may also have connotations of a "jester", which was a role in some medieval courts which was like an in-house comedian/entertainer who was often given more license to mock the establishment than the average person - which may have some relevance in this context of mocking the Communist party. – Max Williams May 9 '16 at 11:36
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That's pretty much correct, with an additional comment: "jab" in boxing terms is a short, straight punch designed to knock your opponent back and open him up for the knockout punch and I suspect that is at least partially relevant, given the context. It is also a colloquial term for a medical injection but that's not the meaning here.

  • In the sense of poking fun, a "jab" is a minor "poke", but likely one that hits a sore spot. Eg, your drinking buddy brings up how well your ex is doing after she divorced you and married that other guy. – Hot Licks May 9 '16 at 17:11

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