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Putin vs. Medvedev Posted by on May 16, 2011 in language, News

Well, «дорогие читатели» [dear readers], I owe you an apology for abandoning you for so long. I was delayed in returning to England and «в результате» [as a result], I had to do extra work to catch up. «Весь день» [All day], I would be reading. However, now I seem to have caught up, so I am back to posting, and I hope the fantastic video in this post makes up for my long absence.

I know we usually try to stay away from politics here on the Russian Blog, but I cannot resist getting just a little bit political today. You see, I found this excellent video on YouTube and I cannot resist sharing it. It is «шутка» [a joke] about «выборы 2012» [the 2012 elections]. Best of all, it is «на русском» [in Russian], so we can learn from the phrases. I have picked out some of my favorite bits so we can analyze them grammatically and learn new vocabulary. They are in order of appearance in the video, but I won’t tell you where they are – you will have to listen and find them. (If there is something that you do not hear in the video even after a few viewings, just let me know in the comments and I will tell you where it is.)

So, you should probably watch the video first. Then, read about these phrases I have selected.

  • «Я думал у нас будет больше времени.» [I thought we were going to have more time.] Notice two grammatical points in this sentence: when saying that you have something in Russian, you typically use «у» plus the genitive case. And «больше» takes the genitive case as well.
  • «Два кандидата» [Two candidates] This phrase demonstrates a rule of quantification in the Russian language: with «два, три, и четыре» [two, three, and four], we use the genitive singular. I do not want to go into these rules too much on this post – if you would like me to post about quantification in Russian, please let me know.
  • «У нас сложился очень эффективный тандем с президентом Медведевым.» [President Medvedev and I have formed a very effective tandem.] I confess, this is a new expression to me. One thing I find interesting is that the imperfective of «сложиться» is «складываться».
  • «Вот это да.» [Wow; Well, how about that.] I actually have a story about this expression. My Russian professor told my class once that he was talking to a family friend’s young son (in Russian) and the child used the English word “Wow.” My professor said that he was teasing the child for not using the Russian version of the saying since, after all, there is a perfectly good expression in Russian.
  • «Предвыборная гонка начинается.» [The electoral race is beginning.] When talking about something that is beginning, you have to use the reflexive form of the verb. But if a person said that he or she was starting something, the verb would not be reflexive.
  • «В ход пойдёт всё.» [Everything comes into play.] A useful little expression, showing how the word order in Russian can be very fluid.
  • «Время пришло [The time has come.] I have not read a specific rule on this, but I have noticed that the verbs of motion usually used with «время» [time] are the ones used for motion on foot.
  • «Выбора нет.» [There is no choice.] This sentence shows how we use the genitive case for negations.

There appears to be a strange little advertisement at the end for «КПРФ» [KPRF (Communist Party of the Russian Federation)]. I am not sure why that is – perhaps the video’s creator supports «Геннадий Зюганов» [Gennady Zyuganov (leader of the Communist Party in Russia)].

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed the video. I think it is completely and utterly brilliant (and very amusing as well).

Comments? Questions? Let me know using the form below!

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About the Author:Natalie

I'm Natalie and I love the Russian language and sharing my knowledge with others. I graduated from university with a dual degree in Russian language & literature and history.


  1. Татьяна:

    “тандем президенту Медведеву” – неправильное управление. Тандем с кем (Instr. case)

  2. Linda Buchanan:

    I enjoyed this so much I had Russian in college. It was a little intimidating, but I focused on the words I did know and then the other ones became easier. And yes, the flexibility Russian has in placing whatever word where they want it in the sentence. I will really be looking forward to this. And I will review this blog several times.

  3. Natalie:

    Спасибо, Татьяна!

    Linda, I’m glad you liked it. 🙂

  4. Joerg:

    Natalie, а Вы не можете подсказать, что Путин говорит после 1:41? Я только понимаю “Нужно маленькое…” Заранее спасибо за Ваш ответ!

  5. Tommi:

    XD Thank you, Natalie!
    It really was a wonderful video.. seemed like a movie advertisement to me~ (hohoho ;D)
    And the “Я””Я””Я””Я””Я””Я”..

    Thanks again! ( I especially liked the fact that I got to know «Вот это да.», something, from my point of view, even my Russian friends wouldn’t know XD)

  6. Блэр:

    Just bookmarked your page as a resource to show some students of mine. Надеюсь, что Вы не возразите! Когда будет время, я повнимательнее посмотрю Ваш сайт! Удачи. Блэр

  7. Rob McGee:

    Medvedev, at 1:01 — “Это враньё!” (“That’s a bunch/pile/pack of lies!”)

    The verb врать means “to tell a lie”; and although the noun враньё is singular, in general it’s better translated as “lies” or “lying” or “a bunch of lies,” rather than “a lie.”