Thursday, February 8, 2024

Moscow has Its Reasons for Using Foreign Words Despite Its Proclaimed Intention of Fighting Foreign Borrowings in the Russian Language

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Feb. 5 – One of the many ironies of Putinism is that his cronies, having declared war on foreign borrowings in the Russian language, have imported a variety of foreign words, including “fake,” “prankster,” and “killer,” all of which have alternatives long used in the Russian language, Ivan Zubin points out.

. Writing in Novyye izvestiya, the Moscow commentator says that there is method in the madness of those senior officials who are using foreign words in this way (

Citing the observations of Pavel Pryanikov, another Russian commentator, Zubov points out that there is a perfectly adequate equivalent in Russian to the English word “fake.” It is best translated as slander. But while there is a law setting punishments for slanders, these are far less than now being meted out for those held guilty of “fakes,” a word never defined in Russian law.

One would like to know, Zubov says, “whether the struggle for the purity of the Russian language will eventually go so far that it will finally get rid of ‘fakes,’ ‘pranksters,’ and ‘killers.”

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