Russian Language Blog

The Russian Ironic T-shirt Posted by on Dec 12, 2008 in Uncategorized

Walking down Yekat’s answer to Moscow’s Arbat – улица Вайнера – I came upon these two t-shirts on an ad for a souvernir shop. The first one says: «Лето на Урале было! Но я в тот день работал» [There was summer in the Urals! But on that day I worked.] The second one says: «Екатеринбург любит тебя» [Yekaterinburg loves you].

The white t-shirt got me thinking of the popular ‘Russian reversal joke’ when compared with the very often seen type of t-shirts in the West with such sentences as “I [heart] NY”: In Russia you don’t love your city, in Russia your city loves you! As the ironic generation of the 70’s are growing up and slowly taking over the world, more and more popular becomes the tradition of showing your emotions ironically in the form of words on your chest. In Russia I’ve seen very many, for example «Наша Раша» [Our Rasha – after both the way ‘Russia’ in English is pronounced with a Russian accent, and the popular comedy show with the same name], «100% настоящий мужик» [100% real man], “No Sex Only Drink”, «Да, но не с тобой» [Yes, but not with you], and «Нам пох*й [‘We don’t care!’ paired with a print of a thick gold chain]. The last one was released as an answer from the rich new Russians to the current economic crisis, but have become everyone’s answer to everything. I don’t think there’s much difficulty as to see the reason for that…

What kind of funny or not so funny but nevertheless ironic t-shirts have you seen while in Russia?

Tags: , ,
Keep learning Russian with us!

Build vocabulary, practice pronunciation, and more with Transparent Language Online. Available anytime, anywhere, on any device.

Try it Free Find it at your Library
Share this:
Pin it


  1. Saint:

    Don’t forget the famous red and yellow McLenin’s t-shirts!

  2. Josefina:

    Oh yes! I must have tried my best to forget those! When my mother came to visit me in Saint Petersburg back in 2004 she bought one of those, but it was made of such poor quality that it lost all form and shape after one washing and was left hanging on the wall… (My mother also framed the Russian IKEA bag I brought back with me. We do view Russia differently…)

  3. David:

    One of my businesses is a tee shirt business so I take an interest in clever or unusual tees. I spent 3 months living in Zaporozhye, a Russian speaking part of of Ukraine. During my time there I failed to find any tees for sale with Cyrillic text. It was all English. I had to laugh at some worn as I often wondered if the wearer’s were aware of what the stuff written on their bodies meant. This was particularly true of young women wearing tees with sexual references on them! In the end a friend and I hand made our own, “Я был в Запорожье и привёз оттуда всего лищь эту футболку!”, which was our attempt at a Russian version of “I was in Zaporizhia and all I got was this lousy tee shirt”. I’m told the translation of the word ‘lousy’ to Russian needs to done with caution or the meaning will be lost.

  4. Anyse:

    I am so sorry not to have seen your blog now since December 13. are you back in Sweden? Are you OK? Are you healthy and eating correctly?


    One of your many mothers out here on the web.