28 December 2009

Putin's putrid prose

With the publication of a Russian translation of my book Lend Me Your Ears scheduled for early next year, I'm grateful to my brother for some encouraging news from a friend of his, a native speaker of the language who's been resident in the UK for a number of years.

She thinks there should be a 'healthy demand' for it in Russia, not least because of the unsophisticated language used by the likes of Mr Putin. If that's the good news, there's also some bad news that highlights just how little we know about Russian politics in the post-Soviet era.

According to her, "Russians are still desperate to put behind them politicians like Brezhnev, who could hardly put two words together, and Yeltsin who was a laughing stock."

Apparently there's a big difference between Putin and Medvedev: "The latter makes speeches in a Western style, complete with jokes, and is extremely smooth compared with Putin who, as an unreformed KGB man, speaks extremely crudely."

You can see a specimen of just how crude he can be in the following reply to a question from a French journalist.

He's also been known to make jokes about rape and, if you want to get really depressed about the prospect of his coming back as Russian president once he becomes elegible again, have a look at this:

P.S. Two years later
I've just noticed that the original YouTube video had been removed. Luckily, there are plenty of others of the same thing.

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