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Перевести на русский Перевести на русский Print this article Print this article

Russian Speakers of the World, Unite!

By Michele A. Berdy

Published: June 28, 2014 (Issue # 1817)



Photo: Sailko / Wikimedia Commons

Русский мир: Russian world, broadly and vaguely defined

As someone deeply concerned with the protection of human rights — mine in particular — I have of course been very interested in the whole notion of русскоязычный человек (a Russian-speaking person) and Russia's eagerness to take such a person — possibly me — under her governmental wing.

So I started reading up on ways of being a Russian speaker and citizen. As usual, it's all a bit more complicated than I thought. Dictionaries are not in agreement about some terms, and people, those русскоязычники (Russian speakers, slangily), have their own definitions too. Here's what I have learned so far:

Гражданин/гражданка России: Citizen of Russia. If you are born in Russia, it does not matter what your native language or ethnicity is.

Россиянин/россиянка: Russian citizen. Like the word российский, this means a person who is a citizen of Russia regardless of ethnicity or language.

Русский/русская: Ethnic Russian. May or may not be a citizen of Russia.

Человек, чей родной язык — русский: A person whose native language is Russian. Seems to be the highest grade Russian speaker, cited wittily by Joseph Brodsky in his Nobel Prize speech: Хотя для человека, чей родной язык — русский, разговоры о политическом зле столь же естественны, как пищеварение, я хотел бы теперь переменить тему. (Although discussions about political evil are as natural as digestion for someone whose native language is Russian, I'd like to change the topic.) Родной язык (native language) is a person's primary functional language and not the language of one's ethnicity.

Носитель языка, a language speaker who is not necessarily native. For fast-track citizenship in Russia, носителем языка признается человек, который владеет русским языком и повседневно использует его дома и в культурной сфере (a language speaker is someone who speaks Russian and uses it at home and in the cultural sphere every day).

That's me! I definitely speak Russian, at home the pooch and I converse exclusively in Russian — Где мячик? Поищи! (Where's your ball? Go look for it!) — and even though I'm a little shaky on what культурная сфера is, watching television and translating must count, right?

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Saturday, Nov. 1


The men and women who dedicate their lives to fitness get their chance to compete for the title of best body in Russia at today’s Grand Prix Fitness House PRO, the nation’s premier bodybuilding competition. Not only will men and women be competing for thousands of dollars in prizes and a trip to represent their nation at Mr. Olympia but sporting goods and nutritional supplements will also be available for sale. Learn more about the culture of the Indian subcontinent during Diwali, the annual festival of lights that will be celebrated in St. Petersburg this weekend at the Culture Palace on Tambovskaya Ul. For 100 rubles ($2.40), festival-goers listen to Indian music, try on traditional Indian outfits and sample dishes highlighting the culinary diversity of the billion-plus people in the South Asian superpower.



Sunday, Nov. 2


Check out the latest video and interactive games at the Gaming Festival at the Mayakovsky Library ending today. Meet with the developers of the popular and learn more about their work, or learn how to play one of their creations with the opportunity to ask the creators themselves about the exact rules.



Monday, Nov. 3


Non-athletes can get feed their need for competition without breaking a sweat at the Rock-Paper-Scissors tournament this evening at the Cube Bar at Lomonosova 1. Referees will judge the validity of each matchup award points to winners while the city’s elite fight for the chance to be called the best of the best. Those hoping to play must arrange a team beforehand and pay 200 rubles ($4.80) to enter.



Tuesday, Nov. 4


Attend the premiere of Canadian director Xavier Dolan’s latest film “Mommy” at the Avrora theater this evening. The fifth picture from the 25-year-old, it is the story of an unruly teenager but the most alluring (or unappealing) aspect is the way the film was shot: in a 1:1 format that is more reminiscent of Instagram videos than cinematic art. Tickets cost 400 rubles ($9.60) and snacks and drinks will be available.



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