Translation: On Liberasts and Liberasty

What liberasty does to you over the years.

What liberasty does to you over the years.

So I decide to write about Putin’s mistakes to counter my public image as “ein strammer Putin-soldat“, and guess what, the first comment I get denounces me as a “completely naive and/or delusional person” for daring to “take “Russia’s corruption trends” seriously” (I suppose it proves the old dictim that you can’t please everyone all of the time). Anyhow, to atone for my brief lapse into liberast heresy, I return to my old neo-Soviet ways by translating Russian businessman and LJ blogger gosh100‘s excellent short essay “On Liberasts and Liberasty” (Про либерастию и либерастов) from June 2007. In doing so, I hope to introduce “liberast” and “liberasty” into the English lexicon to denote Russia’s self-styled liberals, who are in fact anything but liberal in word and deed*. Enjoy!

Liberasty is a contagious disease that binds the patient’s worldview to a few uninspired principles:

  1. There’s nothing but shit in Russia and it will never improve.
  2. The state is incompetent by definition, and anything it does only worsens the situation further.
  3. The Russian people deserve their suffering because they are a herd of brain-dead sheeple.
  4. Russia must make unconditional concessions and show unflinching obedience to the West.
  5. This is because the West is, by definition, the beacon of freedom, justice, and rationalism to the entire world, and wishes Russia only the best.

Liberasty affects the human brain with varying degrees of severity, from the first degree (mild form of disease that has almost no effect on the personality) to the fourth degree (critical, irreversible degeneration, frequently associated with a disturbed psyche). Below are some examples of liberasts classified according to the severity of their illness:

This pathosis can be both innate (under certain mental disorders) and acquired (infectious). There are several avenues of transmission, including long exposure to liberasty carriers or mass media with a liberast slant (e.g. Novaya Gazeta, Russian Newsweek, Profile, Echo of Moscow, Kommersant, Novye Izvestia, MK).

Liberasty can be diagnosed by the following symtoms.

  • Usage of expressions such as “this country”, “fed up with this sovok”, “need to bug-out [from Russia]”, “but in the West”, “Rasha”, etc**…
  • Devotion to liberast media outlets (see above).
  • Negative reactions to all new state initiatives and negative spin on any events that happen in Russia.
  • Only very active or negligible involvement in political life.
  • Frequent quotation of Solzhenitsyn, Suvorov (Rezun), and articles by famous liberasts (see above).
  • Poorly educated liberasts can be identified through their frequent use of the word “putztriot”*** (since they find the idea of Russian patriotism altogether difficult to understand).

High risk groups: Persons of Jewish nationality, students, unemployed with higher educations, liberal arts majors with low earnings, tourists from the provinces recently returned from their first trip to the West.

Recommended treatments: High-paying job or profitable business, a failed emigration, reading non-liberast literature and journals, frequent communication – preferably on business matters – with typical Westerners.

Preventive measures: Regular perusal of
PS. That’s it, Inosmi has been infected. Achtung!
But Profile has since achieved recovery under its new editor Mikhail Leontyev.

* Most of Russia’s self-styled liberals would be considered reactionary neocons and Tea Baggers in America (progressive Europeans and Americans might be interested to know that Russia’s liberals are only “liberal” in the 19th century sense of the word, in that they love capitalism and the middle class but hate the poorsupport bombing brown people, and deny global warming).

Since most Russians are statists, the liberasts enjoy the support of, at best, 5% of the population (this rejection makes the liberasts bitter, making them view Russians as stupid and herdlike, which certainly bolsters their wild popularity and electoral prospects). Nonetheless, they are taken to be the genuine voice of the Russian opposition by ignorant or cynical Western chauvinists.

** Translating “употребление выражений «эта страна», «достал совок», «надо валить», «а вот на Западе», «Рашка»” literally is pretty hard.

*** The Russian word the liberasts use in referring to а Russian patriot, or “патриот”, – is “поцтреот”. According to an this site, this word is an amalgamation of paTRIOT (треот) and POTS (поц), which is Yiddish slang for the male sexual organ. Translated directly in English, this would be “putztriot”, from “putz” and “patriot” (h/t poemless). An archetypal example of a putztriot is someone who leaves absurdly over-the-top nationalist comments on YouTube videos such as this (e.g. “РУССКИЙ НАРОД В СТАНЕТ С КОЛЕН. НЕ ДОЛГО ОСТАЛОСЬ СМУТЕ!!!”).


  1. I am convinced that Berezovsky isn’t a liberast. If his best chance of shitting in Putin’s Cheerios would be pretending to be a hardcore Marxist, we’d see him quoting Das Kapital on a daily basis.

  2. You will have to tell us how to cure neoconservatism/libertarianism in the West.

  3. “Persons of Jewish nationality”

    Cute. Well, I guess it’s a step up from the blood libel.

    Doug M.

    • Oh really, pointing out the truth is not anti-Semitism. There are more Jewish Russian liberals than would be expected from their share of the population. That is or was also the case for neocons, bankers, Bolsheviks, academics, and media pundits (from Chomsky left to Horowitz right). This is like calling someone a Russophobe for pointing out Russians have a propensity to alcoholism or anti-American for noting that Americans are a high risk group for obesity!

  4. It’s a bit like a white guy from Alabama pointing out that the blacks, they do commit more crimes, don’t they?

    “This statement is objectively true” is just not the first thing that comes to mind.

    Doug M.

  5. I am a bit disappointed with this.

    “Mr. Karlin”, I tell people, “is a smart cookie. Stays away from partisan bickering. Brilliant arguer, even when I disagree with him. Can be bit self-centered at times, but he is young and that is to be expected. His devotion to facts easily makes up for it. Unlike the rest of the blogosphere, his currency is not snide mutterings or snark. He is above such stuff. ”

    It seems I was wrong.

    • The hey?

      It’s not his essay; he’s just translating it.

      Doug M.

    • Da Russophile, the sub-blog in which I post Russia-related stuff, does get pretty partisan at times. If you only want my objective views on world affairs, I recommend only reading the stuff in the Sublime Oblivion and Sublime News sub-blogs.

      That said, as Doug pointed out, this is not my essay and can serve equally well as an insight into popular Russian opinion (I’m fairly sure that a majority of Russians would agree with most of it).

  6. The “5 principles” are accurate, but the rest of this essay is kind of a mess. “Quotations from Solzhenitsyn”? Solzh. is about as far from liberasm as you can get – he was an Orthodox Russian nationalist and conservative.

    Also, it seems the author doesn’t believe there’s a legit middle ground between “liberasts” and scuzzy characters like Leontyev.

    A linguistic note: terms like потреот or поцреот are jocular examples of modern-day Internet & LJ Russian, where mockery is accomplished by re-spelling a word in such a way as to preserve the original pronunciation (another example: фошыст).

  7. Good work, Anatloy – and thanks – haven’t seen this previously (while I loath for some reasons the word “liberast” , I totally agree with the spirit of the text. Maybe because I got used to thinking the same of plain “liberals” ? :))

    In the following : ” Liberasm can be diagnosed by the following symtoms.

    * Usage of expressions such as “this country”, “fed up with this sovok”, “need to bug-out [from Russia]“, “but in the West”, “Rasha”, etc**…

    It is is “RUSHKA” in the original – for some reasons, I also (as it seems, the author) cannot stand when former Russians say this word about their motherland and “sovok” about people who lived there..


    PS your German is not as bad as you claim: ))

    • Few Anglophones (for whom I was translating) would now what to make of “Rashka”, but the use of “Rasha” to mock it is more widely known.

      I agree, it’s very annoying when they use those terms. Liberasts complain of being hounded by putztriots on Internet forums (they even write essays about web brigades), but many of them are themselves no better towards reasoned arguments from moderate Russian patriots, whom they call sovoks, etc.

      PS your German is not as bad as you claim: ))

      Erm, thanks I guess, but my German is extremely primitive and I have no idea why you would bring this up?

  8. I’d translate it as “liberasty” instead of “liberasm” 😀

    • Liberasty sounds like the plural of liberast to a Russian.
      I prefer liberasm because it is – маразм. 😉

      • Yeah, but if you were writing for Russians you’d write in Russian. Gotta preserve the roots of this word in “pederasty”. If you say “liberasm”, what comes to mind is “orgasm” rather than маразм, and that’s a positive experience that you probably wouldn’t want to associate with liberasts and their liberasty.