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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?

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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

Saturday, Sept. 20


Starting on Sept. 18 and ending tomorrow is the Extreme Fantasy Wakeboarding Festival in Sunpark by Sredny Suzdalskoye lake in the Ozerki region of the city.


Those after something more laid back can instead head to Jazz and Wine night at TerraVino with legendary jazz guitarist Ildar Kazahanov. 12/14 Admiralteyskaya Emb.



Sunday, Sept. 21


Learn more about African culture and get some exercise during todays Djembe and Vuvuzela, a bike ride starting in Palace Square that includes several stops where riders can listen to the music of Africa or watch short films about the continent. The riders plan to set off at 4 p.m. and all you need to join is a set of wheels.



Monday, Sept. 22


Do you love puppetry? If so, then be sure to go to BTK-Fest, a five-day festival that starts on Sept. 19 celebrating the art. Contemporaries from France, Belgium, the U.K. and other countries will join Russian artists to put on theatrical performances involving a variety of themes, materials and eras. Workshops and meetings are also scheduled for a chance to discuss the artistic medium in further depth.



Tuesday, Sept. 23


Marina Suhih, Director of the External Communications Department at Rostelecom North-West, and Yana Donskaya, HR Director for Northern Capital Gateway are just some of the confirmed participants of todays round table discussion on Interaction with Trade Unions being hosted by SPIBA. Confirm your attendance with SPIBA by Sept. 22.


Kino Expo 2014, an international film industry convention, will be at LenExpo from today until Sept. 26. The third largest exhibition of film equipment in the world, the expo focuses on not only Russia but former Soviet republics as well.



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