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Shevchuk?€™s Provocative Bazaar

?‘?°?·?°?€: marketplace; free-for-all, talk, chatter, an issue to discuss (slang)

As a longtime fan of the rock group DDT and its lead singer and songwriter, Yury Shevchuk, I was fascinated by the discussion between Shevchuk and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin that took place a week ago. But after reading the transcript, I was puzzled, too. First question: Who invited Shevchuk? And did they really think he’d drink his tea and keep his mouth shut?

Second question: Did Putin really look at Shevchuk and ask: ?? ???°?? ?’?°?? ?·???????‚, ???·?????????‚?µ? (Excuse me, but what’s your name?) This would be like British Prime Minister David Cameron not recognizing Mick Jagger, or U.S. President Barack Obama not recognizing Bruce Springsteen. Maybe I should send Putin a collection of DDT’s greatest hits.

Then there was the question of who called Shevchuk and told him not to ask ?????‚?€?‹?µ ???????€?????‹ (pointed questions). Was it Putin’s ?????????‰?????? (aide), as Shevchuk thought, or ???€?????????°?†???? (a provocation), as the prime minister suggested, or ???°??????-?‚?? ?‡?????°?? (some jerk), as Shevchuk conceded?

And then this ?????€???°?»?????‹?? ?????¶???????? ?€?°?·?????????€ (regular man-to-man talk), as Shevchuk called it, was filled with such extremes of lofty language and base slang expressions that listening to it was like being on a linguistic roller coaster.

Take this example from Shevchuk: ?­?‚?? ???????»???????°?? ???‚?€?°???°, ?‚?‹?????‡?µ?»?µ?‚??????. ?•???‚?? ???????·???? ?? ?±?????€?µ ?? ???????°?»???°????, ?µ???‚?? ?‚?????»?????‹?? ???°?€???? — ???€?????°???‚?? ?????€???????°??. (This has been a class society for thousands of years. There are princes and boyars riding in cars with flashing lights, and there are working stiffs, with a huge gap between them.)

Or this from Putin about traffic cops: ???°?? ?µ???‚?? ?»??????, ?????‚???€?‹?µ ???µ?€???? ?? ???€?°???????? ???»???¶?°?‚ ???????µ???? ???°?€?????? ?? ???µ ?¶?°?»?µ???‚ ???µ ?‚???»?????? ?·?????€????????, ?? ?¶???·???? ???????µ?? ???µ ?¶?°?»?µ???‚, ?? ?????? ?????»?? ???????‚. … ???µ ?¶?µ ???°???‹?µ ???°????????????, ?????‚???€?‹?µ «???·???? ?????????°???‚» ?? «?±?°?±???? ???‚?€???????‚» ???° ?????€?????µ, — ?µ???‚?? ?‚?°?????µ. (There are people who serve their people faithfully and honorably. They risk their health and even their lives. They put themselves in the line of fire. Yes, there are some traffic cops who “take a payoff” or “pull in some loot.”)

Another possibly puzzling word was ?±?°?·?°?€. The primary meaning is a marketplace, but in today’s slang, it has several meanings. ?‘?°?·?°?€ can mean “an issue to be discussed,” as in the phrase: ?? ???µ???? ?? ?‚?µ?±?µ ?±?°?·?°?€ (I got something we need to talk about). Or it can mean a screaming tantrum, as in the phrase: ???µ ?????‚?€?°?????°?? ?±?°?·?°?€ (Don’t make a scene). Or it can be a disorderly argument, as in Putin’s rebuke when Shevchuk tried to interrupt him: ?? ?’?°?? ?????????°?‚?µ?»?????? ???»?????°?» ?? ???µ ???µ?€?µ?±?????°?»! ?? ?‚?? ?? ???°?? ?????????????????? ???µ ?????»???‡???‚????, ?° ?????»???‡???‚???? ?±?°?·?°?€! (I listened to you attentively and didn’t interrupt. Otherwise we won’t have a discussion, we’ll have a free-for-all!) Later, on the subject of protest rallies, Putin used the related verb ?????±?°?·?°?€???‚??, here meaning noisy, pointless blathering: ?•???»?? ?? ?????¶??, ?‡?‚?? ?»?????? ???‹???»?? ???µ ???€?????‚??, ?‡?‚???±?‹ «?????±?°?·?°?€???‚??» ?? ?????????°?€???‚?? ???µ?±??, ?° ?‡?‚??-?‚?? ?????????€???‚ ???µ?»???????µ, ?????????€?µ?‚?????µ, ?????°?·?‹???°???‚ ???°?????µ-?‚?? ?±???»?µ???‹?µ ?‚???‡????, ???° ?????‚???€?‹?µ ???»?°???‚?? ?????»?¶???° ???±?€?°?‚???‚?? ?????????°?????µ, — ?‡?‚?? ?¶?µ ?·???µ???? ???»???…???????! (If I see that people haven’t come out to make a ruckus and get some PR, but to say something sensible and concrete, to point out some real problems that the authorities should pay attention to — what’s wrong with that?!)

Hey, sounds good to me. But I guess a bazaar, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.

Michele A. Berdy is a Moscow-based translator and interpreter.

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