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The notes of a journalist working in Europe for Russian TV

Archive for November 2008

Editorial slang

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“He is a neighbour” (“on sosedskiy” in Russian) – a delicate phrase from the Soviet times. Apart from obvious meaning it was used in journalistic circles to describe a KGB officer working in a foreign bureau of a Soviet medium under cover. I have been working as a foreign journalist since 2007 and never knew the term, an older colleague just mentioned it. I never heard of the same practice either – there are so many other covers for intelligent services nowadays. But my knowledge is obviously limited.

Agents of the military intelligent service under similar cover had a definiton, too (the service is called “GRU”). I would never guess what it was but there is actually some logic in it. Let’s see if anybody who reads it can suggest something.

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Written by andreyshilov

November 23, 2008 at 2:28 pm

The Wall

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Nobody reproached me while I was walking along the former Berlin Wall and made a report about today’s perception of it. Even though so many people were killed when trying to cross it, the city and the country are still divided, and it was over just 19 years ago.

 

Nobody said a word about Soviet ideology, communists from Moscow etc.

 

As if the Wall appeared from nowhere and vanished by itself.

 

We didn’t have long discussions with people on the street but if I were asked by a television crew about the Wall I would have mentioned the Soviet authorities, if not the USSR. At least I would have asked back a Russian journalist, “what do you feel?”

 

So if I ask myself the question – I am ashamed. And I am really interested how many Russians share the feeling.

Written by andreyshilov

November 9, 2008 at 1:42 am

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“Na zdarofie!”

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I wonder who is the author of this phrase. Really.

 

Every single foreigner drinking and playing a la Russe says “Na zdarofie!” Why? The meaning is far from “Cheers!” (which people mean). “You are welcome”, that’s what it means. It is what a doctor can say in Russia to patient’s “thanks”, or one can hear it in a pharmacy, again as a reply to “thank you”.

 

I heard “Na zdarovie” from Brits, French and just recently from Germans – there must be an explanation! So far I have two versions, both from the readers of my Russian language blog:

-it is a quotation from another Slavic language;

-people once heard ‘Za zdorovie’ and made mistake.

Yeah, everybody makes the same mistake everywhere… I am really puzzled.

 

P.S. Drinking Russians say very many different things, an article can be written on the topic. Among the most well known are:

“Cheers!” (literally “For your health” – “Vashe zdorovie”)

“Let dreams come true” (“Za sbychu mecht”)

“For all of us and f*** them” (“Za nas s vami I khren s nimi”)

“For the ladies present” (unpronounceable “Za prisutstvuyuschikh zdies dam”)

Written by andreyshilov

November 9, 2008 at 12:52 am

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