Folk speech
Stereotypes/Blason Populaire

Russian ROTC proverb

Ksenia Chumakova

Russian ROTC proverb

“Мама с папой говорят, что самое ценное, чему научил воинкомат в университете это то, что в любой непонятной ситуации “Первое- уяснить задачу. Затем принять план действий. Далее приступить к выполнению” Они одновременно смеются над источником сей мудрости и передают её своим детям в минуты, когда те сомневаются о чем либо. ”

Translation: “Mom and Dad say that they had a ROTC coach who’s sole wisdom imparted to all in his charge was that in any uncertain circumstance, “The first thing is to determine the objective. The second – to make a plan of action. The third is to put that plan into life.” They make fun of him to this day but they also pass on his advice to their children who know it by heart.”


Context: The ROTC in Russia was compulsory for everyone in university in the Soviet Union, and had many formal yet inspiring phrases that were drilled into the minds of the students. Some were bureaucratic and redundant in the extreme, and students would mock their formality. However, that same process would also make them remember it more, and perhaps had a grain of wisdom in it as well. The irony was that most of those students would never see war, and teaching them these aggressive, formulaic strategies was rather absurd.


Analysis: This is a proverb because it attempts to teach something valuable, but it is meant to be received with a dose of humor and mockery as well. This too-general, very obvious formalized way to understand any unknown situation is a way that they could repeat the teachings of their commanders without those realizing it was mockery. This points to the Russian people being rather aware of propaganda and feeling a heavy sense of irony in many of the lessons they had to learn in the ROTC.

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