April 13, 2020

Meet Russia's Newest Meme: Pechenegs



Meet Russia's Newest Meme: Pechenegs
If Russia can overcome these guys, it can overcome coronavirus. Skyllitzes Matritensis, fol. 173r, detail. Public domain.

Like many world leaders, Putin has gone on TV to provide some comfort to his citizens in this crazy time of global pandemic. What he couldn't have anticipated, however, was an uproarious internet response.

In the address last week, Putin said

“Everything passes and this too will pass. Our country has been through serious tests more than once: when tormented by the Pechenegs and the Cumans, Russia coped with everything."

The choice of the relatively obscure Pechenegs and Cumans (the latter being "Polovtsy" for all you non-medievalists out there), both semi-nomadic Turkic peoples who entered what is now southern Russia and Ukraine in the early medieval period, drew some bewilderment. After all, Russia suffered, similar, more recent, and, arguably, greater trials against Vikings, Mongols, Teutons, the French, Turks, Japanese, Poles, Cossacks, Swedes, Finns, and, of course, Germany.

In response, the Russian corners of the internet have exploded with some delightful memes. And, it seems, a sense of relief that Putin isn't comparing coronavirus to the Great Patriotic War.

 "Natasha, are you asleep?"
"The Polovtsy have tormented us."
"And the Pechenegs have tormented us, Natash."
"And, frankly speaking, the coronavirus infection, Natash."

 

Knights of the Don
  • July 01, 2006

Knights of the Don

For centuries, the Don Cossacks guarded Russia’s borders, fought its enemies, explored its nether reaches. Fiercely independent and the source of much historical controversy, these warriors are an inalienable part of Rus.
Like this post? Get a weekly email digest + member-only deals

Some of Our Books

Bears in the Caviar

Bears in the Caviar

Bears in the Caviar is a hilarious and insightful memoir by a diplomat who was “present at the creation” of US-Soviet relations. Charles Thayer headed off to Russia in 1933, calculating that if he could just learn Russian and be on the spot when the US and USSR established relations, he could make himself indispensable and start a career in the foreign service. Remarkably, he pulled it of.
The Little Humpbacked Horse

The Little Humpbacked Horse

A beloved Russian classic about a resourceful Russian peasant, Vanya, and his miracle-working horse, who together undergo various trials, exploits and adventures at the whim of a laughable tsar, told in rich, narrative poetry.
The Moscow Eccentric

The Moscow Eccentric

Advance reviewers are calling this new translation "a coup" and "a remarkable achievement." This rediscovered gem of a novel by one of Russia's finest writers explores some of the thorniest issues of the early twentieth century.
Maria's War: A Soldier's Autobiography

Maria's War: A Soldier's Autobiography

This astonishingly gripping autobiography by the founder of the Russian Women’s Death Battallion in World War I is an eye-opening documentary of life before, during and after the Bolshevik Revolution.
Marooned in Moscow

Marooned in Moscow

This gripping autobiography plays out against the backdrop of Russia's bloody Civil War, and was one of the first Western eyewitness accounts of life in post-revolutionary Russia. Marooned in Moscow provides a fascinating account of one woman's entry into war-torn Russia in early 1920, first-person impressions of many in the top Soviet leadership, and accounts of the author's increasingly dangerous work as a journalist and spy, to say nothing of her work on behalf of prisoners, her two arrests, and her eventual ten-month-long imprisonment, including in the infamous Lubyanka prison. It is a veritable encyclopedia of life in Russia in the early 1920s.
Woe From Wit (bilingual)

Woe From Wit (bilingual)

One of the most famous works of Russian literature, the four-act comedy in verse Woe from Wit skewers staid, nineteenth century Russian society, and it positively teems with “winged phrases” that are essential colloquialisms for students of Russian and Russian culture.
22 Russian Crosswords

22 Russian Crosswords

Test your knowledge of the Russian language, Russian history and society with these 22 challenging puzzles taken from the pages of Russian Life magazine. Most all the clues are in English, but you must fill in the answers in Russian. If you get stumped, of course all the puzzles have answers printed at the back of the book.
The Pet Hawk of the House of Abbas

The Pet Hawk of the House of Abbas

This exciting new trilogy by a Russian author – who has been compared to Orhan Pamuk and Umberto Eco – vividly recreates a lost world, yet its passions and characters are entirely relevant to the present day. Full of mystery, memorable characters, and non-stop adventure, The Pet Hawk of the House of Abbas is a must read for lovers of historical fiction and international thrillers.  
At the Circus

At the Circus

This wonderful novella by Alexander Kuprin tells the story of the wrestler Arbuzov and his battle against a renowned American wrestler. Rich in detail and characterization, At the Circus brims with excitement and life. You can smell the sawdust in the big top, see the vivid and colorful characters, sense the tension build as Arbuzov readies to face off against the American.
Murder and the Muse

Murder and the Muse

KGB Chief Andropov has tapped Matyushkin to solve a brazen jewel heist from Picasso’s wife at the posh Metropole Hotel. But when the case bleeds over into murder, machinations, and international intrigue, not everyone is eager to see where the clues might lead.

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
PO Box 567
Montpelier VT 05601-0567

800-639-4301
802-223-4955