Today I have a translation of a piece by Alexander Rogers. Despite his English-sounding name, Rogers is apparently Russian, and writes in Russian. I am not sure, but I think he is a Russian Jew, possibly living in Israel. His analytical pieces in the Russian blogosphere are trenchant, mean, and funny. I think he deserves better translation than the gibberish such as this example from Niqnaq.
Niqnaq translations are notoriously bad, so here is my shot at translating the same piece. I am confident that my version will make more sense. The piece is about Poroshenko’s Christmas Eve visit to Israel and his speech before the Knesset; and all his mis-steps in the process.
Poroshenko In the Knesset:
How to Become a “Kosher” Banderite and Sit on Two Chairs at the Same Time
Linguistic/translator notes (or: I like to put my footnotes on top.)
- Rogers uses a derogatory name for Poroshenko which I haven’t seen before, namely Пецюндер (Petsyunder). I googled this word and only found a few references, mostly in tweets, in which the context (e.g., “Petsyunder from Mordor”) seemed to imply that there was a Tolkien reference. Not a Tolkien fan myself, I have no clue who the characters are. But I DID wiki the Tolkien world, and in the catalogue of characters, under the letter P there is a character name Pelendur. Who was apparently the Steward of Gondor. Therefore, unless somebody corrects me on this, I am going to assume that the in-joke with Poroshenko’s derogatory nickname involves this Tolkien character.
- Reference to the “Vampire Shevchenko”: Rogers uses the Russian word Вурдалак (“Vurdalak”) which is a mythological half-dead creature, mentioned in Pushkin’s poems, among others. Rogers is alluding to the work of Ukrainian writer Oles Buzina. Buzina wrote a controversial book called “Vurdalak Taras Shevchenko” which was a more critical way of looking at the iconic Ukrainian poet, Shevchenko. Whom Ukrainian children are taught to worship. Buzina suffered for his iconoclasty and critical thinking – he was assassinated last April. But probably for more than just this particular book.
- Reference to Lev Natanovich Shcharansky. This is a blogger, almost certainly an assumed name – nobody actually knows his real identity — who “poses” as a Soviet-era Jewish dissident, in order to thoroughly trash that milieu. Using Solzhenitsyn as his avatar, Shcharansky’s blogposts are mean-spirited and hilariously funny. He has authored many neologisms and “winged expressions” which are popular in the Russian blogosphere. Among them, such expressions as “handshakability” (Russian рукопожатность). The speculation is, that the person posing as Lev Natanovich is either an anti-Semite posing as a Jew, or, more likely, a Jew himself who knows the subculture from within. More than likely, Poroshenko was not alluding to Lev Natanovich, but rather to the real Shcharansky, Natan, who is a former Russian dissident/emigre, now an Israeli citizen and political figure.
And now, without further ado, the translation:
Yesterday the little squirrel Poroshenko surpassed even himself. Boris Nikolaevich Yeltsin directing his orchestra in Hell, peers out of his grave enviously.
How dumb is it to cross yourself, while wearing a yarmulka? At that moment, all the Jews in the world, who watched this miracle, thought to themselves: “Oi veh, what a putz!”
And the Orthodox Christians are in shock too.
However, all of this is just trivial, compared to Poroshenko’s speech in the Knesset. Where Petsyunder demonstrated his attempt to sit on ALL chairs simultaneously.
There was a wealth of riches: Direct “domestic” flights from Kiev to Tel-Aviv (“Hello, Khazar Khanate!”). Tall tales of how Ukrainians and Jews – are the two most ancient peoples on the planet. The children’s story about how Ukraine created the State of Israel. And the fairy tale about how the Jews helped to create the state of Ukraine. All that remained to clear up was the question of Adam and Eve – which one was the Ukrainian, and which – the Jew.
Smart Jews applauded the particularly outlandish passages of Poroshenko’s speech. To them, this was a better, and cheaper entertainment, than going to the circus. Not even the best clown in a 3-ring circus can light up the tent like Poroshenko does.
But when Poroshenko dived into the history of Ukrainian-Jewish relations, I somehow wanted to put an end to this insanity. I do understand that it is in the tradition of Ukrainian presidents, to shoot the bull. Kuchma in his time also used to bullshit about the “ageless traditions of Polish-Ukrainian friendship”. (In which they friended each other so much, that periodically they even butchered each other to the tune of entire cities.) But Poroshenko, for his part, surpassed even this level of B.S.
After all, was it not the “Vampire Shevchenko” who praised the slaughter of Jews, including women and children, in the town of Uman. Or is Poroshenko not familiar with Ukrainian literature? In that very same town of Uman, on a regular basis, almost every year, Hassidic pilgrims arrive and are regularly subjected to harrassment on the part of Ukrainian nationalists-Banderites.
Poroshenko went on to unconditionally condemn the crimes committed by Nazi collaborators against the Jewish people on the territory of the Ukraine, during the time of the Second World War. But this is strange, no? Was it not those very same Banderites from OUN-UPA, who are now honored as “hereos” in the Ukraine? After all, it was Banderites from the Waffen-SS “Galicia” Division who unleashed the pogroms in L’viv in 1941. After all, it was the “politsai” recruited from among Ukrainian nationalists, who committed the massacre of Babiy Yar. Given these facts, whom exactly was Poroshenko condemning?
Was it not Poroshenko himself who donned a camouflage jacket with the inscription: “Cynical Banderite”? I wonder why he didn’t wear that costume to the Knesset? He should have. Along with his yarmulka he would have appeared completely normal (for him), bolstering his “Petrushka” clown image.
Above and beyond this, how to even categorize his declaration that “Shcharansky fought against Soviet repressions, and for the freedom of the Ukraine”? Historians and archaeologists, of course, are aware of the existence of a certain Natan Shcharansky, but I am not even sure that he is the one whom our Kosher Piglet had in mind. Lev Natanovich, on the other hand, has much to be proud of: His “handshakability” factor went up several notches yesterday.
In conclusion, yesterday Poroshenko demonstrated such gymnastic nimbless in his floor routine, attempting to please simultaneously the descendants of Nazis, and the descendants of victims of Nazis, that Jean-Claude Van Damme turned green with envy. But all the same, nobody gave Poroshenko any money.