Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Here's an ordinary-looking children's playground somewhere near Sportivnaya subway station:

And here's the bench up close:

The writing on it says that a certain Djavat, an [ethnic] Georgian (gruzin), is a khach and a blackassed jerk. There's more, but it's irrelevant, so I won't bother translating it.

The relevant part is that Djavat doesn't sound like a Georgian name to me, but rather like an Azeri or a Turkish one - so it probably means that gruzin is used as a slur here, not as an indicator of ethnicity. Must be a new trend. If this is so, then this use of gruzin is similar to the use of "blackass" and khach. In Armenian, khach means "cross" (and Armenia was the first country in the world to adopt Christianity as state religion, in 301) - but this word in Russia is by now an established ethnic slur, used for people from the Caucasus, regardless of whether they are Georgian, Armenian or Azeri.

Back in the Soviet times, it wasn't so complicated - there was nothing but zhidy, kikes, then. Or so it seems now.


(I apologize if this entry has made someone sick: it sure does make me sick to be writing about it like this.)


  1. Underlined all the more in the Former Soyuz by Putin's recent establishment of state racism with his anti-immigrant policies in response to xenophobic riots in northern Russia last year. The more things change, the more they stay the same...

  2. In August 1990 a friend of my friend Masha invited us into a posh restaurant in Moscow. He brought his best friend along. Before we entered, Masha whispered in my ear: "Please, do not mind the nasty looks we might get. People are likely to think we are prostitutes."
    "Why should they?", I asked. "Your lipstick is not red and I am even wearing a trouser."
    "Nonetheless", she answered with a sad and low voice. "Just because our two companions are Armenian."

    Masha herself like many of her well-educated friends didn't think well about African students. I met others who hated the Tartars.

    And even back in 1984 Russian people made differences between the two Germanys. If you were vom FRG, you were interesting, if you were from GDR, you weren't. Immediately they stopped taking notice of you (I remember an East-German tourist, staying in the same hotel, complaining about it to one of my class-mates). As soon we found out, we answered we were from GDR, whenever we wanted to be left alone. Because sometimes it was a bit difficult with the people wanting to change money or asking if we would sell our jeans. We couldn't sell our jeans, we were only pupils, we were from the West, yes, but not that well-off we had a suitcase full of jeans. Most of us had only the jeans we were wearing and perhaps a spare one.