Russian Language Blog

And the Winner of Russian Presidential Election 2012 is Posted by on Mar 5, 2012 in language, Russian life

Way back, when the genre of рекламный ролик (advertising clip) was in its infancy in Russia, there was a commercial with a tagline При всём богатстве выбора другой альтернативы нет (Given all the choice, there is no other alternative).

Coincidentally, at about the same time свободные выборы (free elections) in Russia were also in their infancy. Not to date myself, but the first демократические выборы (democratic elections) I was old enough to vote in had among others, the leader of the Communist Party, Геннадий Зюганов (Gennadiy Zyuganov)  and the leader of the Liberal-Democratic Party, Владимир Жириновский (Vladimir Zhirinovsky) on the ballot. I remember it as if it was just yesterday…

Wait just a second! Yesterday was the Presidential elections in Russia. And both Zuganov and Zhirinovsky were on the ballot. Of course, you know that they took the distance second and forth places. While not all the ballots have been counted at the time I’m writing this post, it looks like Владимир Путин (Vladimir Putin) won handily (over 64% of the votes) and unsurprisingly.

On the night of the elections, after the voting places in Moscow closed, the President and the Prime Minister appeared at митинг в поддержку (a support rally). Among other things, Putin said

«Мы показали, что нам никто ничего не может навязать. Наши люди действительно в состоянии легко отличить желание к новизне и обновлению от политических провокаций, которые ставят только одну цель – развалить российскую государственность и узурпировать власть».

(We showed that nobody can force anything onto us. Our people can easily distinguish desire for novelty and renewal from political provocations aimed solely at destroying the Russian statehood and usurping power.)

According to this article, Putin concluded his speech with «Мы победили! Слава России.» (We won! Glory to Russia) as по его щекам текли слёзы(tears were streaming down his face). In other words, он прослезился or пустил слезу (shed a tear) as opposed to заплакал (cried) or зарыдал (sobbed), neither one of which is viewed as manly or presidential.

There are quite a few избитые фразы (trite phrases) or клише (clichés) that include the word слёзы (tears).

For example, промокшая от слёз подушка (a pillow soaked with tears) is usually something reserved for a romance novel in which a heart-broken heroine cries море слёз (an ocean of tears; lit: a sea of tears).

Счастливые детские слёзы (tears of a happy child) might be called for in a children’s story if, say, the little one finds his hamster which he любит до слёз (loves to pieces; lit: loves to tears)

Горькие слёзы (bitter tears) are shed at расставание (parting), but could also be слёзы сожаления и раскаяния (tears or regret and repentance)

If a character sheds крокодиловы слёзы (crocodile tears), you can bet your money that he’s up to no good.

Скупые слёзы (scanty tears) are reserved for men and sometimes for women hardened by life’s tribulations.

Even in otherwise somber stories or movies, there are moments of comic relief when we might experience смех сквозь слёзы (laughter through tears).

So while Russia’s Центризбирком (Central Election Committee) is finalizing the results and news media follows up on widespread reports of election fraud, maybe we can watch Putin’s rally speech one more time. And then find the one афоризм (maxim, dictum) in Russian that has the word слёзы (tears) that you like best and share it in the comments (or on the FB page).

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  1. Samuel:

    Conguratulations mrs president elect” we foreigner students happy for your re-election as the president of Russia federation’ long live Putin!!

  2. Sarahjane:

    Not an aphorism, but a snippet of chanson:

    “И тогда я спою до слезы, до рассвета,
    Будет время дрожать на звенящей струне,
    А я буду вам петь и надеяться где-то,
    Что не скажете худо никогда обо мне.”

  3. Rob McGee:

    “Иисус прослезился.” — Иоанна 11:35
    “Jesus wept.” — John 11:35

    (With just two words, this is generally considered to be the shortest verse in the Christian Bible, or at least in English translations. The context is that Jesus — who knew that Lazarus was very ill, and was coming to visit him — has just learned that Lazarus is already dead.)