Monday, May 07, 2007

Beyond "we will bury you" with N.S. Khrushchev

We all remember Nikita Khrushchev's tendency to bluster and go off on people. First, there was the fierce argument with Nixon in the model American kitchen in l958, then the "we will bury you" speech at the U.N. John F. Kennedy emerged shaken and a little bit dazed after trying to argue Leninism with the Soviet premier in Vienna and getting threatened with nuclear war over Berlin. Well, it wasn't all threats...the late, great Nikita Sergeevich was a master of colorful scatology, as a linguist friend recently made clear:

Khrushchev's earthy language came straight from his youth, and William Taubman(Khrushchev's biographer) has
many happy examples. Time and again when under pressure, Khrushchev returned to a story about poor little Pinya, the saddest of sad sacks, who unexpectedly got his stronger comrades out of a tight spot: "That little Pinya, that's me." He had a special rustic line in animal images -- for instance, saying that the U.S. needed a fight over Berlin "like a dog needs
five legs," or asking, "What if we throw a hedgehog down Uncle Sam's pants?"Scatology came naturally to him, with plentiful references to all parts of the body and their functions. Berlin, he said as he put the political squeeze on it, was "the testicles of the West." Or again, "If Adenauer pulls down his pants and you look at him from behind you can see Germany is divided. If you look at him from the front, you can see Germany will not stand."

They just don't make pols--Russian or otherwise-- the way they used to, do they?! And what if they DID throw a hedgehog down Uncle Sam's pants?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Makes the whole slamming a shoe on a table to make a point seem tame, doesn't it.

9:40 PM  
Blogger buckarooskidoo said...

the odd thing is that Russians absolutely hate him for things like this, believing that he makes them look peevish and ignorant. Americans liked him precisely because he was colorful and possessed of normal human emotions and feelings. Lenin wasn't exactly warm and fuzzy, a guy you'd have a shot of vodka with, and Stalin looked like something that required tightening the lugs near the neck on a regular basis. nikita sergeevich was like a breath of fresh air.

11:35 PM  

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