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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

Wednesday, Aug. 20


AmCham gets back to business after a summer hiatus with todays EHS Committee Working Group Meeting. Check their website for more details.



Thursday, Aug. 21


Time is running out to see the fantastic creations on display at the 2014 Sand Castle Festival on the beach at the Peter and Paul Fortress. Adhering to the theme of Treasure Island, visitors can wander amongst larger-than-life interpretations of pirate life or attend one of the workshops held to educate a future generation of sand artists. The castles will remain on the beach until Aug. 31.



Friday, Aug. 22


Get ready to pledge allegiance to the flag during National Flag Day, paying tribute to when, 23 years ago today, the iconic hammer-and-sickle was replaced with the tricolor that now flutters in the wind. Petersburgers will be treated to a free concert on Palace Square, a military parade and a culminating air show featuring Russias Russian Knights stunt pilots.



Saturday, Aug. 23


Uppsala Park plays host to Fairy Noon today, a performance of five separate fairy tales ranging from folk classics to more haunting selections. There will be three different renditions of the tales throughout the day and tickets start at 500 rubles ($13.80) for adults and 300 rubles ($8.30) for children.


Classic Finnish cartoon characters the Moomins expect to receive a warm welcome from Russian fans during todays Moomin Festival at the Pearl Plaza Shopping Center at 51 Petergofskoye Shosse. Become a kid again or introduce a new generation to the beloved creation of Finnish writer Tove Jansson.



Sunday, Aug. 24


The tortured genius of Dutch master Vincent van Gogh gets his day in the centers Konnushnaya Ploschad during Make Art Like Van Gogh, a daylong celebration of the artist that will allow amateur artists to try and replicate the work that made the famed painter world-renowned.


Experience a variety of dances highlighting the diversity of the world around as at the final day of the Ethno-Dance International Dance Festival that has been at the St. Petersburg Humanitarian University of Trade Unions this past week. Tonights performance will feature Egyptian dancers accompanied by local orchestras.



Monday, Aug. 25


Today kicks off the Elena Obraztsovoy International Competition for Young Vocalists in the large hall of the Shostakovich Philharmonic. Talented youngsters will showcase their range over the next six days before a winner is chosen on Aug. 30.



Tuesday, Aug. 26


Love movies but hate all those words? Then check out Rodina Cinema Centers Factor of Consensus film forum this evening. Silent movie classics from the beginning of the 20th century will be screened and accompanied by a pianist, who will provide the soundtrack for the ongoing action. The screenings begin at 7 p.m. Check Rodinas website for more details.



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