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Russian nicknames, and cold war insults
yankeedandyfan wrote in little_details

Hey, two questions.

1.)    I have character A, who's the surrogate uncle/big brother type to Character B, and I'm looking for a teasing nickname he can call Character B. A is from Russia, so I want a word in Russian that can either be abut B's short stature, or the fact B looks rather feminine. Even something like "dove" or "princess" would be fine, unless it has negative connotations, like "fairy" would in English. I’ve tried searching for “Russian nicknames” but that just gives the nicknames from Russian names, and as B’s name isn’t Russian, that won’t work.


2.)    In the early 1980's was there any discrimination or rude insults to Russians living in the US?  My character is in grade school, and his mother is from the USSR, so would his classmates have any insults for him, like American Germans had to deal with during WWI? No clue what to google on this one.

2) Well, 'commie' comes to mind, but I'm not sure how prevalent that was among kids in the 80s. Probably would have been way more common in the 60s.

Any of that might also depend on how the child doing the namecalling was raised. Someone with strong bias would pass that on, where someone who couldn't care less would have a kid who was like, 'whatwhonow?'.

The Cold War was still going on, so there would have been plenty of animosity, I'm sure, but I don't know how much kids would know about the Cold War. I can think of the generic term 'Russkie,' but I would think that's from a decade or so earlier.

2) Absolutely. If you had an eastern European name you were clearly a filthy commie.

(Hell, there's a large mouthbreather population today that still thinks like that.)

You could just add "ka" or "ichka" to the end of the character's name.

Sarah would become "Sarichka" for example.

Boris becomes "Borka"

This was in responce to the nickname question...

Adding ka or ichka is endearing, but only used with people close to you, if you aren't close, the person will be insulted (if they are russian).

What would nina be Ninichka??
Aza would be Azichka??

I was a kid in the early 1980s with a Slavic Jewish face and a name to match. Hell, yes, there was discrimination! The worst part was, it didn't so much come from other kids as from the teachers. My sixth-grade teacher (in 1988-89, no less!) was particularly offensive, and missed no opportunity to insinuate that I must be a dirty Communist because my grandparents were Russian Jews.


My name goes the other way: I'm a Jewish woman with a Muslim first name. In the context in which I teach, it creates space for my often Muslim students to consider me.

That's sad. In grade school my own friends used to call me, "starpit"
My friend used to say that she called me that because I "stunk."
She's also a bitch.

I think he might get called "commie" or "comrade ______" by classmates who thought it was funny, but probably no worse than that. If they did a study unit on the Soviet Union, he might get tagged with something more creative.

I was in an American elementary school in the eighties. Russians were about the only ethnic group not in my school, and ethnic teasing was fairly well discouraged (mostly for fear of old country rivalries coming to life, I think), but I'd agree with those who've suggested "commie," "ruskie," or "comrade _name_." Perhaps "comrade _name_ _patronymic_" if some kid were creative enough and knew about Russian naming structures.

Or maybe a Russian villain's name from a contemporary movie--a Rambo movie or one of the Bond films or Red Dawn?

Edited for Mispelling


2008-02-12 01:12 am (UTC)

1) When I was little- early 80s- my best friend was born of a Mexican mother and Ukrainian father and both she and I were always and irrevocably dushka meaning sweetheart, or dearheart, in Ukrainian. Over the years, I have found that it is a surprisingly common nickname, regardless of birth name, for girls in either Ukrainian or Russian.

As for insults, I know few, but I remember the films of the time were full of "commies' and 'Russkies' and the 'damn Reds' and such.

Edited at 2008-02-12 01:14 am (UTC)

1. Hmm, trying to come up with some good nicknames :) The most obvious would be "malysh" - "little one." A more informal way to say "little one" would be something like "melkiy" (at lest it was in my school). Another variant would be "kroshka" but this sounds more like "little girl" or "baby" (it will go well with feminine side, though). "Bratishka" is "little brother," "sestrenka" - "little sister."

Diminutive suffixes can also be added to the name. This will provide comical effect if the name is not Russian :)

1) "Korotyshka" is pretty much ok for someone short. "Melkiy" is regional, so is "maloy". "kroshka", "dove" and "princess" are out of question in masculine speech. What's B's name? With certain names you've got common nicknames.

1) Malysh for boys or Malyshka for girls would imply "little one" and for a boy, if he's older than 10, would also imply, imo, a somewhat femenine appearance without being insulting.

cool story bro