Vladimir Putin has made it perfectly clear: Russia is sick and tired of everyone’s potty mouths. The Russian President has signed legislation that will banish cursing from all Russian television, film, theatrical performances, or from concert stages. Unlike most other things in Russian law, the punishment for transgressing this rule is a mere fine. But we assume that repeated offences won’t be viewed upon too fucking kindly.
Swearing and the Russian language have a rather unique relationship. The new legislation is aimed squarely at the lexicon of Russian swearing known as mat. Mat is considered wildly inappropriate in civilised conversation, more so that profanity in the English language, however its use is particularly widespread among military, criminal and other male-dominated social circles.
The legislation focuses on the four primary pillars of mat, which are khuy (“cock”), pizda (the ole’ see you next Tuesday), ebat’ (“to fuck”) and blyad (“whore”). But throughout the history of mat, there has been literally thousands upon thousands of combinations and variations of these, making mat one of the more extensive and interesting collections of profanity in any of the global languages.
Poetry and mat have a long and storied history in Russia. Some of Russian history’s most noted poets in Mikhail Lermontov or Ivan Barkov were fluent with their sailor talk and often included it in poems.
Whatever the case, if you’re planning on making a film in Russia after July 1st, when the legislation takes effect, you’d better watch your goddamned, shit-sipping, cock-mongering, fucking asshole of a mouth, bitches.
Photo: Mikhail Klimentyev via Getty Images.
via The New Yorker.