Now They’re Going to Spend Months Sweeping for Bugs

Back in December, 2016, the US Government officially punished Russia by closing down their beautiful love-shack on the Chesapeake Bay. [stderr]

Now, the Trump administration is going to let the Russians re-open the place. [wp] It may just seem like it’s schoolyard “tit for tat” but that’s basically what international diplomacy is: a bunch of the bratty kids you hated in school, except they’re running the world. Presumably, the intervening months were used to upgrade the bugs and communications tapping systems that are doubtless installed all over the place. I wonder if the Russian FSB has a Department Of Trolling that holds fake satanic rituals and sex orgies for the listeners. Presumably the US does, if the “kompromat” the Russians supposedly had on Trump is anything but completely imagined. I believe the Russian word for disinformation operations is “Maskirovka” – here we call it “News.”

"Closed Permanently"

“Closed Permanently”

“The dialogue between Russia and the U.S. is now free from the ideology that characterized it under the Barack Obama administration,” – Sergei Lavrov


  1. jrkrideau says

    Maskirovka” – here we call it “News.

    I’m glad I did have my tea cup in my hand.

    My Russian prof told us that, Back in the good old days of the USSR, there was a saying about the two major Soviet newspapers, Pravda (Truth) and Isvestia (News).
    which I think went like this:
    Известия не Правда и Правда не Известия.
    which translates more or less as
    The News is not Truth and the Truth is not News
    but it’s a bit punchier in Russian.

  2. says

    The News is not Truth and the Truth is not News

    That’s a good one!! I used to know a couple of reenactors who were a couple: Mercy and Ruth. When they drifted apart and broke up, they took to calling themselves, “Ruth, the Mercyless” and “Mercy, the Ruthless”
    Points for style.

    Reminds me of other joke: Man says “you know the difference between socialism and capitalism is under capitalism man exploits man – under socialism, it’s the opposite.”

  3. says

    I believe the Russian word for disinformation operations is “Maskirovka” – here we call it “News.”

    Sorry, but this is only partially correct.

    Russian word “маскировка” (maskirovka) means “disguise”, “camouflage”, “concealment”. The word is usually used to refer to, for example, what insects do to look like leaves or branches. Or it can be used to describe military camouflage clothing. And so on. The word is used in pretty much the same contexts as the English translations I just gave.

    “Кампания дезинформации” would be Russian for “disinformation operations”. Don’t ask me to transcribe that, because I would probably make a mistake. I know that there are rules how to correctly transcribe Cyrillic alphabet into Latin alphabet, but I never learned those rules. I never needed them, because, when I write in Russian, I use Russian alphabet. Anyway, “кампания” is what you get when you take English word “campaign”, adjust it to Russian pronunciation and write it with Russian letters. And “дезинформация” is what you get when you do the exact same thing with English word “misinformation”.

    Now, back to “маскировка”. This word can be used not only when talking about insects, but also in military context and translated as “military deception”. Russian Wikipedia page, which is linked to English equivalent as “military deception”,
    gives a nice summary in the first paragraph, which I translated for you:

    “Маскировка in military affairs – a complex of measures aimed at misleading the enemy about the presence, location, constitution, actions and intentions of your own troops. In English language Russian word “маскировка”, often used in transliteration as English “maskirovka”, is used to refer to the comprehensive role of disguise in Soviet military doctrine.”

    The first sentence defines how Russians themselves use the word. The second sentence is about how English speakers use the word, but Russians themselves don’t. Basically, if Putin paints his military vehicles to look like civilian trucks, then a Russian speaker would use the word “маскировка”. If Putin creates a big propaganda media campaign to mislead everybody in the world about his real actions, then Russians would use the words “кампания дезинформации”.

    Bottom line. You cannot use Russian word “маскировка” as synonym for “кампания дезинформации” just like you cannot use English “military deception” as synonym for “disinformation operations”. One has somewhat different meaning than the other. English speakers who use the word “maskirovka” in this way with the wider meaning ignore the fact that Russians themselves never do that.

    And what a Russian would call “маскировка” definitely is not the same thing as what an English speaker would refer to as “news”.

    “Кампания дезинформации” is a rather dry term and consists of two words of foreign origin. If a Russian wants to get creative and use less dry and boring language, he could substitute this with, for example, “дымовая завеса” (literally: “smoke curtain/veil”, meaning the same as “smoke screen”), or “пускать пыль в глаза”, which is an idiom meaning literally “to blow dust in somebody’s eyes”. Meaning is the same as English “to pull the wool over someone’s eyes”.

    I always get skeptical when people try to use words from languages they do not know. Occasionally they get it correct and can proudly appear smarter than they are. Usually they get it wrong. It’s crazy how many times I have seen cafeterias and other businesses use French or Italian words and get them wrong. It’s irritating for somebody who actually understands the language and sees the mistake.

    I never use words from languages I do not speak. But then again, as somebody who knows a lot of languages, I could decorate my sentences with countless foreign words that I actually do know. Except that I don’t. If I use a foreign word from a language my listener does not know, that will only hinder communication and annoy them. For the listener it’s just as irritating as me bluntly saying, “Look at me, I speak six languages, now kneel in front of me and admire my intellect”. I only use foreign words when I’m absolutely certain that my listener knows the language as well. For example, when I’m speaking in German with a friend, who also knows English just like me, I occasionally use an English word or phrase in the middle of my German sentence, when the English word expresses what I want to say better than any German equivalents. In such situations using foreign words actually improves communication and nobody does any annoying showing off.

  4. jrkrideau says

    @ 3 Ieva Skrebele

    Thanks Ieva.

    I had the feeling that маскировка was not quite the correct term here but what very little Russian I once knew has just about completely disappeared. Still in English, “maskirovka = news” is funny in the context of Marcus’ posting.

    Somehow “Кампания дезинформации = news” is just not as funny though it seems more accurate.

    BTW, does the use of Я for R drive you crazy? I was reading a post in another blog today and someone had written Tяump. ARRGH!

    I will say my brief study of Russian was very useful in reading the street signs in Athens. Someday I may get to Russia and decode the street signs there too.

  5. says

    BTW, does the use of Я for R drive you crazy? I was reading a post in another blog today and someone had written Tяump. ARRGH!

    No. Because you don’t use “я” for “r”. The correct way how to write Trump’s name in Russian is “Дональд Трамп”. Russian letter for the “r” sound is “р”. But “я” is used for a totally different sound.

    Or were you referring to some “online speak” written by people who want to appear cool?

    I never get annoyed by “cool individuals” who make up their own unusual “writing systems”. I just don’t care. I can simply choose not to read their “masterpieces”.

    What do irritate me are stupidities in “official” writing systems, the one’s I’m forced to use. Among the languages I know English writing system is by far the worst. In other countries you don’t have any children competitions similar to spelling bee events, simply because their writing systems are consistent, have logical rules and actually make sense.