October 17, 2013

RuNet: The Silly and the Serious

RuNet: The Silly and the Serious

Fall is here! And what has Russian Internet been up to?

Much as was the case last month, Russian bloggers are travelling, sightseeing, writing, sharing. One Sergei Nikitskiy, for example, just put up photos of his cruise in the Volga watershed (an approximate map of his route can be found here). He may not be a professional photographer, but his photos manage to capture the eclectic, at times faded and dilapidated, but always unique Russian landscape, both urban and natural. And the most telling sign that this is Russia? The boat he was on was the Karl Marx.

Meanwhile, some denizens of RuNet have been asking some strange questions – and receiving even stranger answers:

By the way, do you know when we’ll start bombing the US already? We’ve produced enough plutonium & uranium, about time we got started.

Beria lavrentiy
As the nuclear project manager, I can answer you with complete authority: we’ll start bombing as soon as we freshen the nip. All hail the CPSU!

Satire alert! This is but one example in a long exchange of “forum posts” in which Russians present themselves exactly as Westerners supposedly see them – radical communists, vodka drinkers, balalaika players, bear tamers, and owners of personal nuclear arsenals:


Comrades! Here in Siberia we had a warm spell yesterday (-40 F), so I decided to plow up the garden in my courtyard. Meanwhile, my wife Dunya was playing on the balalaika and dancing “barynya” (I find it’s easier to work that way). Long story short, I got carried away and lost my vodka ration cards, and they won’t give us new ones for another month! Can anyone who’s had this problem give me a hint – how did you deal with it?


Lev Sergeevich
Yesterday the traffic police stopped me on my bear. They seemed to think I was sober. So I had to prove to them I was drunk by drinking 11 bottles of vodka with them, so that they wouldn’t revoke my license for sobriety.


Vadim Gerasimov
Comrades, have some restraint! Here at the KGB we don’t have the time to go out and delegate firing squads for everyone. Could anyone who has harmed a bear in any way please come visit us in the Lubyanka to be shot? By the way, does anyone know if it’s true that starting Monday they’re going to start shutting off the hot vodka in apartments?


Ura Buera
I just got back from work […] But here’s the thing. I got my paycheck in rubles instead of vodka rations. I glued them onto my reactor and admired my own work. The reactor looks so nice with the Leader’s face on it, but I really do want some vodka. Comrades, can anyone tell me what to do with rubles? Can I exchange them for vodka rations?


Comrades! Today I was strolling by the Iron Curtain, and heard non-Russian speech on the other side. How can this be? Are we not alone in this world?

The whole list (in Russian) can be found here.

With all that silliness, let’s not forget the serious side of things! Politically, the internet community has been preoccupied with a recent pronouncement by Valentina Matvienko, suggesting a return of the “against all” (protiv vsekh) option in elections, last seen on ballots in 2006. Reactions range from touching stories of how the option saved elections in the past to how it’s just a power play by the ruling party, to reasoned analysis of how it may affect voting patterns. (Plus, with typical Internet creativity, even the level-headed analysis includes the wonderful neologism vredinorossy, a portmanteau of vred ‘harm’ and edinorossy ‘members of United Russia.’) So silly or serious, there’s always something to be found on RuNet!

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons. Translations by Eugenia Sokolskaya.

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