Sunday, February 19, 2023

What’s the Russian for ‘Human Rights?’ Muscovites Ask

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Feb. 18 – Now that the Duma has banned the use of foreign words where there are Russian analogues, Russians will have to start calling their president the tsar and their citizens a mob. As for human rights, some Muscovites say, there is no good translation of that concept because it isn’t clear that what it points to even exists in Russia.

            That is just one of the new anecdotes reflecting what Russians are thinking that Moscow journalist Tatyana Pushkaryova offers in her latest batch ( The best of the rest include:

·       A boy asks his grandfather if he voted for president before Putin was in power. Having received a positive answer, the boy asks but how did you know whom to vote for?

·       Putin’s message to the Russian people in his speech next week will be simple: “The special military operation is over and the Great Defensive War has begun. We were attacked in Ukraine, we are defending ourselves … Everything for victory.”

·       After Kazakhstan announced that it will give special oil accounts to each new child on its birth, Russia has decided to open criminal investigations of all Russians on their birth.

·       Bryansk Oblast shows that Russia has surpassed the Soviet Union. In a decade of the Afghan war, that region lost 133 men; now, in only one year of the Ukraine war, it has lost more than 200.

·       After the Duma banned the use of foreign words, the speaker of the Russian legislature, Vyacheslav Volodin, will henceforth be referred to as “the babbler” (boltun).

·       The reason so many UFOs have been sighted in recent months is that the extraterrestrials are fleeing this planet because they are less willing to risk their lives by staying here than earthlings are.

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