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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

Friday, Oct. 24


SPIBAs ongoing Breakfast with the Director series continues today, featuring Tomas Hajek, Managing Director of the Northwest Division at Danone Russia. Hajek will be discussing collaborations between businesses from different cultures. The meeting is at 9 a.m. at the Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel and all who wish to attend must confirm their participation by Oct. 23.


Get your gong on at Sounds of the Universe, a concert at the city planetarium this evening incorporating six different gongs to create relaxing songs that will transport you upwards into the stratosphere. Tickets are 700 rubles ($17).



Saturday, Oct. 25


AVA Expo, the eighth edition of the event revolving around all things pop culture, returns to Lenexpo this weekend. Geeks, nerds, dweebs and dorks will have their chance to talk science fiction and explore a variety of international pop culture. Tickets for the event can be purchased on their website at avaexpo.ru.



Sunday, Oct. 26


Zenit St. Petersburg returns home for the first time in nearly a month as they host Mordovia Saransk in a Russian Premier League game. Currently at the top of the league thanks to their undefeated start to the season, the northern club hopes to extend the gap between them and second-place CSKA Moscow and win the title for the first time in three years. Tickets are available at the stadium box office or on the clubs website.



Monday, Oct. 27


Today marks the end of the art exhibit Neophobia at the Erarta Museum. Artists Alexey Semichov and Andrei Kuzmin took a neo-modernist approach to represent the array of fears that are ever-present throughout our lives. Tickets are 200 rubles ($4.90).



Tuesday, Oct. 28


The Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel plays host to SPIBAs Marketing and Communications Committees round table discussion on Government Relations Practices in Russia this morning. The discussion starts at 9:30 a.m. and participation must be confirmed by Oct. 24.



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