Михаил Наумович Эпштейн (mikhail_epstein) wrote,
Михаил Наумович Эпштейн
mikhail_epstein

В России сначала слова, потом дела. Статья в "Вашингтон пост"

В "Вашингтон Пост" вышла статья об итогах "Слова года", о политических протестах в России и о том, как язык воздействует на общественные события. Московский корреспондент газеты взял интервью у Ольги Северской и меня.

WASHINGTON POST December 12, 2011

In Russia, words then deeds

 Will Englund
MOSCOW — You heard it first. A new mood of disgust and anger was brewing in Russia, and the clues were in the language.
Sardonic and satirical catchwords and phrases slipped into blog posts, then everyday conversations, then radio chatter — until they found expression in the street protests that have abruptly broken Russia’s long spell of apathy. A newly coined vocabulary had led the way, and its most trenchant examples are to be honored this week by a distinguished panel that chooses the words of the year.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said on Sunday that he had ordered an investigation into the allegations of electoral fraud during the Russia's parliamentary vote just over a week ago. (Dec. 11)
But if there’s a single word that stands out day after day as people denounce, lambast and lampoon the Russian authorities, it’s an old one that over time has taken on a new meaning. That word is dostali — and it means “fed up.”
There was a time when Russians wouldn’t get fed up, no matter what the fates threw at them. The fates, in fact, were the problem: They tended to discourage the idea there was much anyone could do about anything.
Twenty years ago, as Russians watched the Soviet Union crumple around them and as their world was plunged into poverty and disorder, the interjection that leaped into seemingly every conversation was, “What a nightmare!” Anyone complaining about a murder or a haircut or a traffic cop or rampant thievery would hear a sympathetic koshmar! from those around him. But what are you going to do about it?
More recently the faddish response was voobshche, a word that literally means, “in general,” but took on a sense akin to the English, “You gotta be kidding me!”
But now Russians are fed up. From passively standing by while a nightmare enveloped them, they moved into a state of incredulity, and now, faced with mushrooming corruption, arrogance and stupidity, they say: Enough. We’re fed up. And when people are fed up, the implication is that they’re not going to take it any more.
“This characterizes the time and epoch in Russia,” says Olga Severskaya, a professor and host of a radio show on the Russian language.
“It shows you’ve reached your limit,” she says. “You’re irritated by everything, and you haven’t been able to do anything about it. Of course, we wish this person would do something. But whether you act or not depends on you.”
The thousands who protested Saturday against what they believe was a fixed election, and against the regime of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, are dostali. They say they are going to be out again this weekend, and the weekend after that. They vow that they’re not going to take it any more. Putin is betting they do.
In Soviet times, the root word for dostali meant getting something that was hard to obtain. Now it has been flipped around, grammatically, and it literally means that something or someone you don’t like has gotten to you.
The current sense began to appear over the past decade, a time of plenty, and also a time of creeping authoritarianism that Russians were seemingly willing to tolerate. For the past year the word has been ubiquitous, cropping up even in ads. It was, in hindsight, a harbinger of the disgust that has suddenly gone very public.
 
 Because of its age, it didn’t make the Word of the Year list. Instead, a panel of about two dozen judges, assembled by the Center for Creative Development of the Russian Language, attached to the Saint Petersburg State University, anointed a word that is the name of one of Russia’s most famous blogs: RosPil.
RosPil is a pun on the word for sawed, because Russian bureaucrats are said to saw off a piece of every contract for themselves. The name was coined by Alexei Navalny, an anti-corruption crusader who is currently doing 15 days in jail for his role in a protest early last week.
 
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said on Sunday that he had ordered an investigation into the allegations of electoral fraud during the Russia's parliamentary vote just over a week ago. (Dec. 11)
Navalny has a knack. He also coined the Expression of the Year, as selected by the same jury: “The party of crooks and thieves.” It refers to the ruling United Russia party, founded by Putin.

 Mikhail Epstein, a Russian professor at Emory University in Atlanta, organized the judging. The panelists included philologists, writers and cultural scholars, including Severskaya. Although the politically charged results are to be formally published Saturday, he said the selections were actually made in November, before the Dec. 4 parliamentary balloting. (There’s also a Phrase of the Year: “Our madhouse votes for Putin.”)

“It was already in the consciousness of the people,” he said in a phone interview from England. The lexical list anticipated the earthquake that was about to strike.
“The linguistic initiative is being taken away from the authorities,” he said. This is the first time that has happened since the era of Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev — and then it was only intellectuals talking around their kitchen tables. “Whenever there is a strong propagandistic pressure on the language” from above, Epstein said, Russians will turn it into parody. The difference this time is that few shrink from voicing that parody in public.
And now — maybe — they’re prepared to act on it.

Some of the other contenders this time around for Word of the Year, now in its fifth annual installment, were tvitter, feisbuk and Vikiliks. To tweet has been russified to tvitnut (pronounced TVEET-noot). Is it linguistic piracy? “The Russian language prefers to steal rather than invent its own — and then assimilate it,” Epstein said. “I don’t like this, but I have to acknowledge that this is the case.”

If the judges had met this month instead of last, there would have been other strong possibilities on the lists, Epstein said. Among them would be karusel, which refers to the system of carousel voting that saw busloads of young United Russia supporters reportedly going from polling station to polling station, casting ballots at each. That’s the kind of thing that has now inspired another candidate for the list: belaya lentochka, or white ribbon. It’s the newly adopted emblem of Russian protest.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/in-russia-words-then-deeds/2011/12/12/gIQAfqRfpO_story.html

Появился и перевод статьи – но плохой, безграмотный, скорее всего машинный, рекомендовать его не могу.
Tags: language, politics, society
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