MIND YOUR LANGUAGE YELTSIN TELLS RUSSIANS

Paolo Gambi, Rinascimento poetico

"MIND YOUR LANGUAGE" YELTSIN TELLS RUSSIANS
BC-RUSSIA-LANGUAGE

ST. PETERSBURG, RUSSIA, JUNE 6 (REUTER) – PRESIDENT BORIS YELTSIN TOOK A PRUDISH SWIPE AT HIS COUNTRYMEN’S USE — AND ABUSE — OF THEIR MOTHER TONGUE ON FRIDAY.
STANDARDS ARE SLIPPING IN THE MEDIA AND, WHAT IS WORSE, RUSSIA’S NEW BREED OF WELL-OFF TOURISTS ARE BESMIRCHING THE COUNTRY’S IMAGE BY SWEARING IN PUBLIC AROUND THE WORLD, SAID THE KREMLIN LEADER, IN LECTURING MODE IN ST PETERSBURG.
HE WAS ON A TRIP TO RUSSIA’S CULTURAL CAPITAL TO, AMONG OTHER THINGS, MARK THE 198TH BIRTHDAY OF ALEXANDER PUSHKIN, NATIONAL POET AND FATHER OF RUSSIAN LITERATURE.
"PROPER LANGUAGE IS BEING PUSHED OFF TELEVISION AND RADIO," YELTSIN SAID. "I’M TELLING YOU LET’S DECLARE A REAL WAR TO PRESERVE OUR OUR NATIVE LANGUAGE."
YELTSIN ALSO SUGGESTED BANNING FOREIGN-LANGUAGE ADVERTISING, WHICH HAS FLOURISHED ON THE STREETS OF RUSSIAN CITIES.
JUST AS BAD, THOUGH, WAS THE USE OF BAD RUSSIAN: "I’VE BEEN TOLD RUSSIANS ARE WALKING ABOUT MADRID, PARIS OR ROME SWEARING AND USING THE WORST RUSSIAN SWEAR WORDS IN THE HOPE NOBODY HEARS AND UNDERSTANDS THEM. IT’S A NIGHTMARE."
"I HAVE NEVER USED A SINGLE SWEAR WORD IN MY LIFE," HE CONCLUDED.
AIDES SAY YELTSIN DOES STAND OUT AMONG THE KREMLIN ELITE FOR HIS EXEMPLARY SELF-RESTRAINT IN LANGUAGE — THOUGH IT IS REMARKABLE INDEED THAT, IN A LIFE IN RUSSIAN POLITICS, NOT A SINGLE "K CHYORTU" (GO TO HELL) HAS PASSED THE PRESIDENTIAL LIPS.
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