This Joke takes place in Soviet Russia, the 1980s... (ignore all parts that are factually incorrect)

Ivan was a conductor on in a moscow street car, he was poor, but he had a solid party job, a beautiful wife, and an apartment in which the heat usually worked.

One day his wife, Svetlana, showed him a picture of some french lingere that she found in a magazine her sister had smuggled in with her from a visit to family in Germany. Ivan's jaw nearly hit the floor as Svetlana nibbled his ear and suggested that she would wear that for him any time he wanted if only he could figure out how to buy it for her.

Seeing her husband's obvious excitement, and being both not-dumb, and quite attractive, she had a brainstorm... "Ivan," she cooed "you're in charge of the collection box for the street car, yes?"

"Yes, I am" he answered obviously distracted by other thoughts..

"What do you think would happen if you just took, I don't know, 2 rubels a day off the top of the box before doing your shift count?" she asked coyly...

Ivan, despite being distracted, was also not dumb... "OH!!" he jumped up, "You, my dear are brilliant! They would never notice, never!" Ivan kissed her passionately, tore the picture out of the magazine, pasted a picture of Svetlana's face over the model's and took it to work the next day, hanging it on the door of his locker as encouragement to commit the crime he was about to commit...

After a few weeks of skimming he had collected enough to make the cobbled together picture on his locker door into a reality in thier tiny appartment bedroom, and as Ivan and Svetlana lay in bed exhaused she sleepily asked; "Ivan, how much do you think you could get away with steeling every day?"

"I'm not sure, but more than I am, I know that" he replied. "Ridership is down on a bunch of the other lines, and I have full control of all counts for my line..." he mused, "I could fudge the records and easily get, maybe 10 rubels a day."

Svetlana giggled and rolled over, hugging her husband tightly "Do it!" she squealed. "Imagine if we were watching a color TV right now, here in bed!"

Ivan couldn't deney the appeal of his wife's suggestion and set about putting a new, more ambitious skimming scheme into action.

The next month Ivan watched his first soccer game in color, in his own home, from his bed, after sex with his wife. This was going well.

Six months later Ivan bought a car.

The year after that they moved into a house in the suburbs...

You know where this is going don't you? The KGB may not always be the fastest organization, but they catch on eventually.

They broke down his door, hauled off his screaming wife and new baby, smashed his TV, confiscated his car, tore open his mattress and took all his money, and in a classic Party Trial sentenced him to death for crimes against the people and state. He was to be killed the very next week by electric chair....

On the day of his execution Ivan is led into the death chamber and sees his wife crying through the observation window, and his party superiors glaring sternly... also some of his co-workers are present, looking nervous. clearly this is to be an example execution.

They strap Ivan into the chair and blind fold him. He whimpers, knowing whats coming...

The executioneer looks to the party official in charge and nods, receiving a nod in return., and throws the switch... *CHUNK!*

Ivan nearly jumps out of the restraints at the noise, and cries out... but then he settles back down... now crying... but very much, NOT dead.

The executioner frowns and flips the switch up and down a coupple times. Ivan jumps and twitches, but does not die...

The executioner pulls out his polishing cloth and cleans the contacts carefully, then selects a higher setting.. *CHUNK!*

Ivan looks even more nervous, if thats possible, but is still alive.

The party official nods at the executioner and he turns the chair up to max... and REALLY slams the switch home *KA-CHUNK!!*

Nothing.

Svetlana is clinging to the window screaming and Ivan is crying like a blubbering child, but he still lives!

The Executioner pulls the saftey breakers and links the chair directly to the main A/C line, throws the switch and half the lights in moscow go out... hundreds of miles away in a small Ukranian city a certain famous nuclear reactor shows it's first signs of impending meltdown; in the darkness Ivan's screams are silenced and Svetlana's face illuminated for one last terrifying moment by the muzzle flash of the prison guard's gun... They had to shoot poor Ivan.

You know why they couldn't electrocute him?

Becuase he was a poor conductor.