Cancel Culture in Russian

Today I discovered that there’s now a translation of the expression “cancel culture” into Russian. It’s an ugly, stupid calque that sounds extremely tortured (“культура отмены.” Brrr, ridiculous. Each word means something different than the English original, and together they simply don’t work.)

In the past 10 years (the decade that passed since the massive anti-Putin protests that were organized on social media), the formerly great Russian-speaking online space has been destroyed. Livejournal was eviscerated, and people had to move to Facebook. Of course, Facebook censors anybody who makes the tiniest anti-Putin peep. As a result, only the type of idiot who is into all these stupid American fads – the cancel culture, the #MeTooting, the vaxx fanaticism – were allowed to keep their social media presence.

It’s so sad. The Russian-speaking internet space in 2012 was what the Anglo online space had been in 2002. And now it’s all a bunch of terrified robots, reciting their pro-vaccine pro-cancel culture mantras. And badly translated ones, at that.

One thought on “Cancel Culture in Russian

  1. Weirdly, FB also seems to randomly censor people who post/comment in more than one language. My Dad’s only reason for being on the platform at all is to keep up with overseas friends, he never posts anything remotely controversial– it’s 100% “Happy Birthday!” “chúc mừng năm mới!” and “How are the kids doing in school?” and he still gets suspended, no reason given. His personal theory is that FB’s “algorithms” peg you in one language, and then if you start posting in a second language, it can’t switch, and decides you’re spam-posting.


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