Every country has a set of national symbols: flag, state emblem, anthem. But not only. Some countries also have a national motto. For example, American motto is “In God we trust” while France boasts the famous “Liberte, egalite, fraternite” (Liberty, equality, fraternity).
Russia, however, does not have its own national motto. And that’s a pity…
Two days ago “Komsomolskaya Pravda” asked its readers to brainstorm different ideas for the Russian national motto. That article amassed few hundred comments and I want to share here the most interesting/funny suggestions with you.
While some of the proposals are self-explanatory, others need some background explanation. So, let’s use it as the opportunity to understand what Russians think about themselves and learn some Russian idioms.
Suggestions for Russian national motto
BPL Provornyj: For Russia the best [motto] would be “It’s all the fault of Jews!”
Andrey: “We’ll show everyone Kuzka’s mother.”
[Note: This idiomatic expression was popularized by Nikita Khrushchev when he threatened to show “Kuzka’s mother” to the West...]
Pushkin: “All [escape] from Russia!”
Muh Drozophil: I listened to ABBA’s song and thought – aren’t these words about our Russia?
“Money, money, money
Should be funny
In the rich man’s world… ”
Howard: “As long as we steal, we are undefeatable.”
Fritz ryzhiy lis: We should make as motto the toast “Well, for Russia!”
[Note: In Russia it is accepted that before every round of drinking alcohol someone says the toast. Good and meaningful toasts can be long. For this reason alcoholics who want to make many quick rounds of drinks often use the “creative” toast formula consisting of three words – “Well, for XXX” (eg. “Well, for friendship” or “Well, for women” or “Well, for motherland”)]
sasha: “Orthodoxy. Autocracy. Nationality.” What’s the need to split hairs?
[Note: This was actually Russia’s national doctrine in the beginning of the 19th century]
Vladmir: For modern Russia I suggest the following motto “Through hardships to the stars” (from Latin “Per aspera ad Astra”).
ket: “Russia is gas, oil and gold.”
Marlin: Constructive suggestion – across the tri-color [to write] in big letters, “In spite of everything…”
VPK: “Умом Россию не понять! ” [literally can be translated as “Russia can’t be understood with the intellect”]
[Note: This is the famous line from Tyutchev’s verse which in itself became a popular maxim. It is often used as an argument that many aspects of Russian reality cannot be understood rationally. Below is one of translations of the mentioned verse:
Who would grasp Russia with the mind?
For her no yardstick was created:
Her soul is of a special kind,
By faith alone appreciated. ]
Imperator Alexander 3: “Russia for Russians and in Russian.”
[Note: nickname which the commenter chose for himself implies that it is the quote of the Russian emperor Alexander III but I haven’t found any evidence of it]
Anonymous (replying to the comment above): Was said by Alexander III who himself was 1/32 Russian.
[Note: Actually could be even 1/64 – quick browsing through Wikipedia reveals that the first Russian (by blood) predecessor of Alexander III was his great-great-great-great-grandfather Peter the Great]
Sosedka: “Migrant workers of all countries, come!”
[Note: Parodying the famous Communist motto “Proletarians of all countries, unite!”]
V.I.: “For the Motherland!”
[Note: Sounds like a shortened version of the Soviet war cry during WWII “For the Motherland! For Stalin!” used by soldiers going into attack]
student: “He who does not work, shall he eat.”
[Parodying aphorism with the opposite meaning “He who does not work, neither shall he eat” which although Biblical in origin had been widely adopted in Socialist countries]
Inna: “From slogans – to work!”
Aleksandr: “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.”
[Note: this is famous Marxist aphorism ]
Dmitry: “Мы Можем Многое или Мы Материализуем Мечты” [“We Can Do a Lot or We Materialize Dreams”]
[Note: these are slogans of the infamous Russian financial pyramid MMM, victims of which became about 20 million people. Pay attention that both Russian versions have three words, each beginning with “M”]
Aleksandr: “If you have the power – you can spit at everyone!”
Natik: Reading comments here – I feel sad ((( Such impression that besides corrupt leaders, alcoholism and problems we don’t have anything good. People, let’s change the world around us! We can do a lot!!!
[Note: Ironically, this commenter in her last sentence repeated the suggestion of @Dmitry (from two comments above) who seemingly used it in satirical form]
Hromaja loshad: Russia’s main motto should be: “We wanted the best!”
[Note: This is a part of famous catchphrase said by the former Russia’s Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin. Here is the explanation from Wikipedia:
One of his expressions "We wanted the best, but it turned out as always" (Хотели как лучше, а получилось как всегда in Russian) about the economic reforms in Russia became a very popular proverb. The phrase was uttered after a highly unsuccessful monetary exchange performed by the Russian Central Bank in July 1993.]
Valera: “Altruism and harmony. Honesty and integrity.”
toValera (replying to the comment above): Who has altruism and the rest? People who falsified the elections organizing the “carousels” and throwing-in the absentees ballots?
Much more fits us “Lies. Phariseeism. Totalitarianism.”
Valeriy: “Unity of nations and diversity of cultures - the strength and future of Russia!”
Pavel: “Great country, great history!”
anatoli: Given the complexity of our country (and great number of ethnicities) the motto FOR ALL THAT UNITES US, in my opinion, reflects the biggest necessity for survival and prosperity of the country.
Islam: “Our strength is in truth.”
Anton (replying to Islam): Good idea, by the way +
Dyadya Lyosha (also replying to Islam): I like it!
AK61: You don’t have other problems? Though, if you wish – here is idea for you: “Oligarchs is our everything!”
Ha,ha: “Catch up and overtake Nigeria!”
[Note: parodying “Catch up and overtakeAmerica!” - motto popular in the USSR (when it was a superpower and had high economic ambitions)]
Yuri: “Russia is conscience and spirit of the world!” or “Love Russia, believe in Russia, rely on Russia!” or “Have faith in Russia and God!”
Knigochey: The slogan should express our identity. Lets’ accept the one of Karamzin – “We steal!”
kardan: “We are the best!”
Boris: The wording was created long time ago – “Fatherland, Duty, Honor.”
Did you like any of these mottos?
Do you have your own version?