Survival Greek

By Ivanov, Mikhail | Russian Life, September-October 2012 | Go to article overview

Survival Greek


Ivanov, Mikhail, Russian Life


IT WOULD BE a [??] (Sisyphean Task) to catalog all the Greek idioms that have made their way into Russian. So I will share here only the survivalist minimum commonly used by Russians who still dare call themselves the [??] --at the risk of opening the Pandora's Box [??] that surrounds the definition of a [??]

Let us agree that the [??] ought at least to understand why we should "Beware of Greeks bearing gifts" [??] --i.e. fear the Danaans, the mainland Greeks who gifted the Trojans the so-called Trojan Horse -[??].

Yet is it enough for our [??] to be versed in idioms with roots in Greek mythology? Or should he also strive to become a [??]? (This word with Greek origins means more than just an orator; it refers to someone who voices the protest of' the people from the, [??] the rostrum).

With age I have come to realize, at least as concerns modern Russia, that it is far easier to deliver non-committal lien' diatribes or philippics [??] from the rostrum than to take on the boring, low-profile job of cleansing the Aegean stables [??]. This conclusion struck home this summer as I saw my Favorite corners of Moscow turned into [??] by our home-grown--those insistently calling for a [??] (campaign of civil disobedience). Or, as they call it here in their new Aesopian language (a promenade through Central Moscow), a creative local form of political disobedience to sidestep a ban on public demonstrations.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

But if you don't feel you are up to the Herculean task of stable-cleansing, if the laurels of Demosthenes give you no rest [??], then you need to at least have Demosthenes' integrity, courage and dedication. You can't pretend, like Pushkin, to ignite people's hearts with your words [??] if all you have in common with Pushkin is a cafe located a stone's throw from Moscow's monument to the poet. Like that cafe owned by Kseniya Sobchak, daughter of the late St. Petersburg governor (and mentor to President Putin), Anatoly Sobchak. This new Russian "revolutionary" was not exactly raised [??] (in Spartan conditions) and allegedly owes her vertiginous career in show business (and lately in politics) to her ties with Putin--in short, to the very "King Philip" whom she has been targeting with her philippics of late.

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