The following bilingual Russian MiniLesson is meant to build your vocabulary by providing Russian phrases within English text. Hover over the bold Russian to reveal its English translation.
The Russian language, like English, has a rich vocabulary for discussing conflicts. The verb “to fight” has several equivalents in Russian. If we list them according to the degree of severity, the most severe areand (note that the root of the word is ).
sounds less severe and more official. Even less severe, and more commonly used, are the verbs and . Friends may , or . Married couples the world over often or .
Friends might спорить andeach other or because one the other. A particularly strong may result in a (note that “вражда” is from the root ). is a softer term and may exist even between friends who, for example, want to excel in their studies or who have fallen in love with the same person. An escalated fight might turn into .
Russian also has a rich lexicon for reconciliation. It may be possible to reconcile people who are fighting by saying to them:or .
There is a belief thatThere also exist sayings like and . In English, we often say that it’s best to let bygones be bygones. Russian phrases the same thought very strongly, perhaps reminiscent of Gandhi’s “an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.” Russians say: .
After all, if a fight is left unchecked, friends might. Spouses or lovers might , , or .
Fighting on an international scale can be even more dangerous. When Russians speak about fighting between countries, they most often use the formal verb, which can refer to just about any type of conflict that might occur. Countries might fight over , , , , or they might fight . An international fight often starts with and and can result in , , or .
American President Barak Obama declared at a summit in Moscow, that. However, war very rarely ends so simply. and the violence it causes can lead to lasting tensions. For instance, the Caucasus region of Russia was very recently a war zone and is still widely seen as in conflict. Those who have had relatives, family members, or clan members killed will, according to their culture, declare a on those whom they blame for the deaths. These types of tensions can persist even after those involved in the initial violence officially or .
Two examples of international conflict in Russia’s recent history also show that conflict can be handled and thought of very differently. The trade conflict between Russia and Belarus in 2009 was treated quite softly by the Russian side. Prime Minister Putin struck a conciliatory tone, statingHowever, in the aftermath of the 2008 military conflict with Georgia, President Medvedev’s words can be seen as anything but conciliatory: referring to Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili’s decision to invade Georgia’s breakaway province of South Ossetia.
Even the Cold War, it can be argued, has not ended quite as simply as Obama’s quote assumes. In fact, it would seem that on many levels, relations between Russia and the US are still marked paradoxically by. This can often happen when two countries with a complicated past, with both , and when both countries are strong enough to prevent the other from declaring war or escalating tensions too far – as is the case with Russia and the US today.