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How to Interpret Ukraines Turmoil

Published: January 1, 2014 (Issue # 1800)


By Michele A. Berdy

: Ukrainian thugs forhire

As Ive been reading thenews andblogs onevents inUkraine, I came across quite afew words that I didnt understand. So I thought alittle primer onUkraine news might be useful.

But as I began tocompile my primer, it turned out tohave alot ofRussian nouns, slang andotherwise, used toinsult people inUkraine. So with apologies:

: Euromaidan. Although (maidan) is asquare, theword refers tostreet protests over then-President Viktor Yanukovychs decision not tosign atrade agreement with theEU.

: Thugs forhire. These are thetough guys intracksuits who act as agents provocateurs. Thename comes fromVadym Titushko, amixed martial artist who was part ofa group that beat up some journalists in2013. During theKiev demonstrations thetitushki were believed tohave been brought inby thegovernment toinstigate violence.

: Stepan Bandera, aleader ofthe Ukrainian nationalist movement. He is admired bysome as afierce protector andadvocate ofUkrainians andtheir state; he is reviled byothers as aNazi collaborator andviolent opponent ofeveryone he considered athreat toUkraine, including Russians, Poles, andJews.

: Banderists, used todescribe theactual historical followers ofBandera andanyone who is perceived as aUkrainian nationalist. Inthe latter sense, today is asynonym forfascist, anti-Russian, nationalist Ukrainian scum. , . (Whoever supports Nazis atBandera-Maidan demonstrations andcalls forfascist regime change is not welcome inRussia). Here - is used as aplay on- in (Euromaidan).

: derogatory term forUkraine, apparently amix of (Ukraine) and (Ukrainian kulaks or rich peasants; slang fora rich, greedy person). Used inphrases such as (That stupid Ukraine hasnt existed fortwo days).

: slang forUkrainian, sometimes derogatory or condescending. Intodays political rhetoric it seems tobe used todescribe abad Ukrainian, i.e., aUkrainian who doesnt support Russia andRussian political positions. Since there isnt aslang word forUkrainians inEnglish, its hard totranslate. , . (All you dumb Ukrainians get out ofdemocratic Ukraine)!

: goons, thugs. Although insome literary contexts can just be ayoung man, incontemporary usage is aguy looking fortrouble, aguy who is part ofa criminal organization, or aguy who is part ofa right-wing, reactionary, criminal group. or (fascist or nationalist goons) were code words foranti-Soviet, fascist youth. TheRussian Foreign Ministry statement included theterm (aggressive young thugs) grouped with (armed fighters fromultra-right-wing, nationalist organizations) todescribe Ukrainian demonstrators.

Im not sure how this rhetoric is going towin thehearts andminds ofRussias Ukrainian neighbors. Remember: (you get more flies with honey, literally a friendly calf nurses ontwo cows).

Michele A. Berdy, aMoscow-based translator andinterpreter, is the author ofThe Russian Words Worth (Glas), acollection ofher columns.





 


ALL ABOUT TOWN

Monday, Oct. 20


Amateur pictures from World War I are on display for only one more day at Rosphotos exhibition On Both Sides, chronicling the conflict through the eyes of observers on both sides of the trenches. The price of entrance to the exhibition is 100 rubles ($2.50).



Tuesday, Oct. 21


The Environment, Health and Safety Committee of AmCham convenes this morning at 9 a.m. in the organizations office.


Take the chance to pick the brains of Dmitry V. Krivenok, the deputy director of the Economic Development Agency of the Leningrad region, and Mikhail D. Sergeev, the head of the Investment Projects Department, during the meeting with them this morning hosted by SPIBA. RSVP for the event by emailing office@spiba.ru before Oct. 17 if you wish to attend.


Improve your English at Interactive English, the British Book Centers series of lessons on vocabulary and grammar in an informal atmosphere. Starting at 6 p.m., each month draws attention to different topics in English, with the topic for this months lessons being visual arts.



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