These days, if you read Russian periodicals in order to improve your language skills, you are getting lots of practice in ways to lie. Or not lie. Or insist you are not lying when you really are. If you need help determining how bad a lie is, here’s a short primer in The Art of Not Telling the Truth.
First of all, low on the ladder of lies is “that’s not what I meant.” This is an important category for the head of an organization, be it a company or a country, or the press secretary of said head. Sometimes the boss lets something slip out. When that happens, his minions tell the press: “Он про́сто оговори́лся. Когда́ говори́л «крах», он име́л в виду́ другу́ю фи́рму / страну́.” (“He misspoke. When he said “collapse” he was talking about another firm / country.”)
If that doesn’t quite work, the press secretary might say: “Он не то́чно вы́разился.” (“He was a bit unclear.”) Or change the focus to “it’s your fault”: “Вы ослы́шались.” (“You misheard.”)
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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.
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