How to Interpret Ukraineĺs Turmoil
Published: January 1, 2014 (Issue # 1800)
By Michele A. Berdy
ĎŔ˛ˇ°ŕŔ: Ukrainian thugs foráhire
As Iĺve been reading theánews andáblogs onáevents ináUkraine, I came across quite aáfew words that I didnĺt understand. So I thought aálittle primer onáUkraine news might be useful.
But as I began toácompile my primer, it turned out toáhave aálot ofáRussian nouns, slang andáotherwise, used toáinsult people ináUkraine. So with apologies:
┼ÔţýÓÚńÓÝ: Euromaidan. Although ýÓÚńÓÝ (maidan) is aásquare, theáword ňÔţýÓÚńÓÝ refers toástreet protests over then-President Viktor Yanukovychĺs decision not toásign aátrade agreement with theáEU.
ĎŔ˛ˇ°ŕŔ: Thugs foráhire. These are theátough guys inátracksuits who act as agents provocateurs. Theáname comes fromáVadym Titushko, aámixed martial artist who was part ofáa group that beat up some journalists iná2013. During theáKiev demonstrations theátitushki were believed toáhave been brought ináby theágovernment toáinstigate violence.
Đ˛ň´ÓÝ ┴ÓÝńňÓ: Stepan Bandera, aáleader ofáthe Ukrainian nationalist movement. He is admired byásome as aáfierce protector andáadvocate ofáUkrainians andátheir state; he is reviled byáothers as aáNazi collaborator andáviolent opponent ofáeveryone he considered aáthreat toáUkraine, including Russians, Poles, andáJews.
┴ÓÝńňţÔ÷ű: Banderists, used toádescribe theáactual historical followers ofáBandera andáanyone who is perceived as aáUkrainian nationalist. Ináthe latter sense, today ßÓÝńňţÔ÷ű is aásynonym foráfascist, anti-Russian, nationalist Ukrainian scum. ╩˛ţ ´ţńńňŠŔÔÓň˛ ÝÓ÷Ŕ˝˛ţÔ ÝÓ ßÓÝńňţýÓÚńÓÝÓ§ Ŕ ´ŔšűÔÓň˛ ŕ ˘Ó°Ŕ˝˛˝ŕŔý ßˇÝ˛Óý, ˛ţýˇ Ô đţ˝˝Ŕ■ ńţţŃŔ Ýň˛. (Whoever supports Nazis atáBandera-Maidan demonstrations andácalls foráfascist regime change is not welcome ináRussia). Here ßÓÝńňţ- is used as aáplay onáňÔţ- ináňÔţýÓÚńÓÝ (Euromaidan).
╩ˇŕÓŔÝÓ: derogatory term foráUkraine, apparently aámix ofáËŕÓŔÝÓ (Ukraine) andáŕˇŕˇŰŘ (Ukrainian kulaks or rich peasants; slang foráa rich, greedy person). Used ináphrases such as ╩ˇŕÓŔÝű ˇŠň ńÔÓ ńÝ ŕÓŕ Ýň˛ (That stupid Ukraine hasnĺt existed forátwo days).
Ňţ§ţŰ: slang foráUkrainian, sometimes derogatory or condescending. Inátodayĺs political rhetoric it seems toábe used toádescribe aáôbad Ukrainian,ö i.e., aáUkrainian who doesnĺt support Russia andáRussian political positions. Since there isnĺt aáslang word foráUkrainians ináEnglish, itĺs hard toátranslate. ┬˝ň§ §ţ§ŰţÔ ˝ ńňýţŕÓ˛Ŕ¸ň˝ŕţÚ ËŕÓŔÝű, Ńň˛Ř. (All you dumb UkrainiansáŚ get out ofádemocratic Ukraine)!
╠ţŰţń¸ŔŕŔ: goons, thugs. Although inásome literary contexts ýţŰţń¸Ŕŕ can just be aáyoung man, inácontemporary usage ýţŰţń¸Ŕŕ is aáguy looking forátrouble, aáguy who is part ofáa criminal organization, or aáguy who is part ofáa right-wing, reactionary, criminal group. ďÓ°Ŕ˝˛˝ŕŔň or ÝÓ÷ŔţÝÓŰŔ˝˛Ŕ¸ň˝ŕŔň ýţŰţń¸ŔŕŔ (fascist or nationalist goons) were code words foráanti-Soviet, fascist youth. TheáRussian Foreign Ministry statement included theáterm ÔţŔÝ˝˛Ôˇ■¨Ŕň ýţŰţń¸ŔŕŔ (aggressive young thugs) grouped with ßţňÔŔŕŔ Ŕš ˇŰŘ˛Ó´ÓÔű§ ÝÓ÷ŔţÝÓŰŔ˝˛Ŕ¸ň˝ŕŔ§ ţŃÓÝŔšÓ÷ŔÚ (armed fighters fromáultra-right-wing, nationalist organizations) toádescribe Ukrainian demonstrators.
Iĺm not sure how this rhetoric is going toáwin theáhearts andáminds ofáRussiaĺs Ukrainian neighbors. Remember: ŰÓ˝ŕţÔűÚ ˛ňŰŞÝţŕ ńÔˇ§ ýÓ˛ţŕ ˝ţ˝Ş˛ (you get more flies with honey, literally ôa friendly calf nurses onátwo cowsö).
Michele A. Berdy, aáMoscow-based translator andáinterpreter, is the author ofáôThe Russian Wordĺs Worthö (Glas), aácollection ofáher columns.