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Ukraines Take on Why East Is East

Published: February 5, 2014 (Issue # 1796)


: Eastern backwardness (derogatory)

I came across aninteresting exchange online incomments about aseries ofdramatic photos ofdemonstrations inKiev. Someone, presumably Russian, asked with admiration anda dose ofcondescension: - ? (And what do those valiant Ukrainians want?) Theanswer, presumably fromone ofthose valiant Ukrainians, was dry but tothe point: (We want tobreak with Eastern culture andthe Soviet mentality).

Well, that was thegist ofit, but required abit ofresearch.

Like all words ending inthe suffix /- that denote thecharacteristics ofa place, philosophy or people, is derogatory. So you know right away that it means all thebad stuff connected with Asia. But what bad stuff andwhere inAsia?

Also by this author: My Resolutions for 2014

One dictionary defines neutrally: , , (the way ofthings, theway oflife andbehavior characteristic ofAsians). But theother dictionaries I consulted are far fromneutral anddefine it as , , (lack ofculture, cultural backwardness, crudeness). Andone dictionary fromthe turn ofthe 20th century was extremely clear: , .. ; (the opposite ofEuropean customs that is, crude; theabsence ofcivilization). Yikes. Makes you appreciate (political correctness).

But I still did not know what part ofAsia was meant or, more important, what connotes toaverage folks today. So I started asking around. Formost people, refers tothe Eastern parts ofthe former Russian Empire andSoviet Union theCaucasus andCentral Asia plus theEastern cultures surrounding it tothe south andwest: Turkey andthe Middle East. Everyone excludes theFar East (China, Korea, Japan) andSoutheast Asia (India, Nepal). Some people exclude Georgia or Armenia, presumably because they are Christian.

Also by this author: Words of the Year 2013

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Friday, Jan. 30 through Wednesday, Feb. 4



A retrospective of the films of Roman Polanski starts today at Loft-Project Etagi, 74 Ligovsky Prospekt, with a screening of Repulsion at 7 p.m. and Rosemarys Baby at 9:15 p.m. The series runs through Feb. 4 and will include Polanski's eminently creepy The Tenant, the cult comedy The Fearless Vampire Killers and Cul-de-sac among others. Tickets are 150-200 rubles and the complete schedule is available at www.vk.com/artpokaz/



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