March 01, 2020

Whatever it is, we're against it

Whatever it is, we're against it

If you believe the papers, Russia is in the grips of протестное настроение, which literally means a mood for protest, but which might be better translated as “loaded for bear.” All over the country, and especially in Moscow, there have been weekly санкционированные и несанкционированные демонстрации (lawful and unlawful demonstrations), пикеты (picketing); шествия (processions), and even гуляния (strolls) to protest something or everything.

In Russian the word протест (protest) is both the emotion and the act. So there are, for example, знак протеста (sign of protest) and акт or акция протеста (act of protest). Angry citizens proclaim: Мы готовы принять участие в беспорядках, акциях протеста! (We’re ready to take part in unrest and acts of protest!) Протест can also be the demonstration itself, although the guilty party these days is often not the протестующие (protesters) but their purported financial supporters: Полиция уверена, что протесты организовали враги России (The police are certain that the protests were organized by Russia’s enemies).

Another way of expressing your disagreement is the verb возражать (to object to). This can be very mild, as it is used in the common phrase: Ты не возражаешь, если я (You don’t mind if I…). This is usually followed by some form of annoying behavior:… тут поработаю, покурю, позвоню (… work here, smoke, make a phone call). In most cases you respond Пожалуйста! (Go right ahead, I don’t mind). But in other cases you can say, Возражаю! (I do mind!).

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