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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

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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