History, traditions

Indecency Russian style

Interesting facts about Russian foul language

My contemporaries live in the epoch of liberation of the Russian foul language. This can definitely be considered an important historical event that can only be compared with the invention of personal computer. At first it seemed as though Russia was acting as a copycat, repeating the Western experience by getting involved in passionate discussions regarding all pro and cons of obscene words and expressions. According to Russian expert obscenities/foul language Anatoly Baranov, “unacceptability of the Russian foul language is way higher than in the Western countries.” In contrast to other languages, Russian obscenities are way more lamellar, possess multiple sub meanings and are also tremendously multifunctional. Our foul language stretches beyond mere swearing. It not only characterizes philosophy of the language, but philosophy of life in general.

Russian rulers have always demonstrated their tremendous interest in the foul language, while constantly trying to keep it under control. Catherine the Great for instance, has declared a war against profanities. She particularly prohibited the used of the word “blyad” (which literally means “promiscuous woman”). Perhaps, this had something to do with her personal rather promiscuous love life.

Taboos pertaining to the subject of sex and sexuality throughout history has had its impact on the overall development of the language. There are almost no “normal” words that refer to one’s sexual life. Russian attitudes towards the body and sex differed considerably from the Western perspective. Foul language in this regard was mostly a rage against cultural destruction of the body. It was particularly that power of the forbidden fruit that only stimulated our desire to take a closer look at our bodies. Schizophrenic state of Russian cultural life has lead to the lack of morals.

The matrix of the Russian unconscious

Russian foul language is like a cry, a cry for help. However, this isn’t a cry of a defeated soldier on a battlefield asking for help. Russian foul language is a warrior’s call, the language of a magical war….

Obscene expressions possess unique meanings when used alone or in a form of expressions. All of them possess sexual connotation; it enables a person to express anger, frustration, happiness, and so on with a sexual undertone. Obscene expressions are not meant to praise women.

This language is also quite picturesque. Flexibility of Russian suffixes and a wide array of prefixes combined with phonetically similar normal words leads to the creation of rather anthropomorphic images. Foul language is like a linguistic theater. 

Even Dostoevsky himself in his “Author’s Diary” used to write that Russian person can express the entire spectrum of emotions by means of just one indecent word. [This three-letter word can in fact be compared to the English Four-letter word]. This three-letter word possesses so much energy that any emotion carries tremendous magical power. The ever-present desire of the Russians to see their country as a superpower, perhaps have something to do with this “magical” word. Obscenity knows no borders; it is analogues to the Russian imperialism: the three-letter word is like a red flag above Reichstag, meaning “We’ve come, we’ve conquered.”

In the country with chronic lack of freedom, foul language has also played a role of a dissident. Liberal nobility and later intelligencia began using profanities in various anecdotes.

The future of the foul language begins today

Nowadays, there is a clash of those who are for and those who are against the use of the foul language. Those who oppose such measures are afraid of society’s degradation. Those who act in support of obscenities are certain that legalization of the foul language will be a stress reliever that may also weaken the power of the Russian language.

Nowadays, we are witnessing the times when this language is turning into the language of a newly acquired body, returns to its original sexual function; this time however, it no longer attempts to break the taboo but rather acts as the language of passion. Love of the foul language of the new generation is slowly turning into the foul language of love.