May 10, 2024

Наши в Украине, Ваши на Украине

Наши в Украине, Ваши на Украине

In our winter issue, we addressed the linguistic codes that Russians use to signal their political position without being too explicit. That discussion involved words and phrases. But in our heightened state of tension, we Russians have continued to fine tune our hearing to pick up on the subtlest aspects of language – down to the level of suffixes and prepositions. Earlier this year, for example, it came to our attention that the government had strong opinions about feminitives – the suffixes (most commonly -ка or -ица) that identify members of a particular profession as female. Feminine endings on professional designations have long been common for certain jobs such as журнали́стка (journalist) or проводни́ца (train conductor), but others are being treated as insidious neologisms, such as режиссёрка (film/theater director) and психологи́ня (psychologist), terms that have come into fashion among liberal Russians.

Pretty much everyone knows that you’re not supposed to call the current war a war (even if President Putin himself and his press secretary Dmitry Peskov have started dropping the W-word on occasion), but what about other words? How can we avoid making a slip of the tongue that brings a police search team to our home? Here’s a primer on the safe use of the Russian language, right down to individual letters.


Digital Subscription Required

Get unlimited digital access for just $2 a month.

Don't have an account? signup

About Us

Russian Life is a publication of a 30-year-young, award-winning publishing house that creates a bimonthly magazine, books, maps, and other products for Russophiles the world over.

Latest Posts

Our Contacts

Russian Life
73 Main Street, Suite 402
Montpelier VT 05602