- Kiev, 1941
- July 15th, 2011
This community is as much fun as a barrel of monkeys! I have been looking for something like this forever. I have done some research into this- some Google, some Wikipedia, some JSTOR, some library books. It hasn't been particularly helpful. The next logical step is to interview old people, which I will attempt to do. But first- you guys!
My story is set in Kiev (the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic/Reichskommissariat Ukraine) in 1941. My character is a collaborationist policeman, in his mid 40s. Here we go, Soviet questions galore!
N.B. While I am not fluent, I speak enough Russian to not require much translation.
1. My exposure to spoken Russian is strictly post-Soviet, and full of old women- consequently, a lot of "my God," "Lord," and "glory to God." In Soviet times, did these phrases go away? Did people who weren't old women say them? Do men ever say them? My suspicion is that people concerned about their image never uttered them, but that people said them in the following situations: between friends, in villages (i.e. away from the prying ears of informers), when utterly unconcerned about the police (criminals, quasi-criminals), etc.
2. Did mat' as we know it exist? My guy is a cop, so he would be familiar with criminal slang, but it's only 1941 and Stalin is still alive- not many people have returned from the camps.
3. To what extent could one be a cop in the Soviet Union and not work with the NKVD (Cheka, KGB, what have you)?
4. A special question for anyone who specializes in Ukraine: at that point, how much Russian was spoken in Kiev? I've taken a look at the 1897 census, and I see that the number of Russian and Ukrainian speakers was about equal in the cities (I would prefer in the city itself, but that seems not to be an option), but between then and 1941, there were a civil war, korenizatsia and the purges. Does anyone know?
Thanks in advance! I'm really looking forward to seeing what people say!
EDIT: I probably should have mentioned that I lived in Ukraine for 2 years, and have some familiarity with its history. Oops.