March 1, 2014

Which Sergei Aksenov is which in Crimea?

Trying to keep track of what's going on in Eastern Europe is difficult because there are two sets of spellings. For example, the capital of Ukraine is Kiev in the familiar transliteration of Russian, but Kyiv in Ukrainian. 

This can be particularly confusing when there are individuals with similar names. The NYT reports:
The newly installed, pro-Russia prime minister of Crimea declared on Saturday that he had sole control over the military and the police in the disputed peninsula and he appealed to President Vladimir Putin of Russia for help in safeguarding the region. 
Ukraine’s government accused Russian armed forces on Friday of taking up positions in Crimea, an autonomous republic on the Black Sea, in what Ukrainian officials said was an invasion and a violation of Ukraine’s sovereign territory. President Obama on Friday warned Russia against military intervention.
In his statement, the Crimean prime minister, Sergei Aksenov, said: 
“Understanding my responsibility for the life and safety of citizens, I appeal to the president of Russia, Vladimir Putin, for assistance in providing peace and tranquillity on the territory of the autonomous Republic of Crimea.”

I went to look up who this new ruler of the Crimean peninsula Sergei Aksenov is on Wikipedia. It said:
Sergei Aksenov (Russian: Серге́й Аксенов, born April 3, 1971, Vladimir) is
Russian political dissident, publicist, former prisoner, member of National Bolshevik Party since 1997, cofounder of coalition The Other Russia[1] ...

National Bolshevik babe
So, this guy is sort of associated with Aleksandr Dugin, who was in the National Bolsheviks a long time ago. Above is the flag of this Aksenov's new party The Other Russia (at least according to Wikipedia).

Swell.

But I think the NYT is confused or their transliteration policy is confusing, because Wikipedia says the two-day-old ruler of Crimea is Sergey Aksyonov:
Sergey Valeryevich Aksyonov (Russian: Сергей Валерьевич Аксёнов; born November 26, 1972 in Bălți, in the Moldavian SSR of the Soviet Union) is a Ukrainian politician and the current Prime Minister of Crimea.[1] Aksyonov was elected into office during an armed occupation of the Crimean parliament by pro-Russian militia. The position of Prime Minister is normally appointed by the President of Ukraine.[2]; and in Aksyonov case this consultation never took place.[original research?]  
In 1993 he graduated from the Higher Military-Political Construction College in Simferopol.

The Higher Military-Political Construction College sounds like a real hippie-dippie place, doesn't it? Kind of the Bennington or UC Santa Cruz of the Crimea ...

Here's his "Russian Unity" party of Ukraine logo. Just screaming eagles, so that's a lot more reassuring than the other guy's logo.
   

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

Steve, those are two different guys, but they do have the same surname. The correct transliteration of that surname is Aksyonov. The original in both cases is Аксёнов. The Russian letter ё is pronounced as an o (i.e. aw). It does other things besides that, but explaining them would unnecessarily complicate things. E without the dots is pronounced as an e (like the e in the English word let). Confusingly, Russians usually omit the dots of the ё. Every native speaker knows which pronunciation (e or o) is meant in which word anyway. The dropping of the dots only confuses foreigners. The ones who first transliterated Gorbachov's name as Gorbachev were confused by the lack of dots over the e in his name. They do belong there, but are usually omitted. Same with Khruschov's name. And with Aksyonovs'. There's no e (as in met, get) sound in any of those names. It's an o (like the aw in law) sound in every one of them.

Anonymous said...

The two eagles' heads refer to the double-headed eagle which appears on the Russian coat of arms. It's not a particularly controversial symbol in Russia.

Anonymous said...

Oh, and in every one of the names I talked about (Gorbachov, Khruschov, Aksyonov) the stress falls on the aw sound.

Paul said...

I don't think there was confusion in the transliteration of Gorbachev, rather that the convention is to transliterate "ye" as "ye" whether it is accented or not. Seeing an "o" follow K, Ch, Shch violates the genitive declension that forms Russian surnames (the "ov" or "ev" implies "of the") and seems dissonant.

Whiskey said...

I thought you liked the Nazis?

Oh wait, that was your commenters. ;)

Whiskey said...

Ironically the Kaisers emblem was double eagles. Its a Roman thing. OT massstabbing in Kunming China killing 28! and wounding over 100. Rumored to be Uighurs AQ. Major embarrassment for Beijing.

Reg Cæsar said...

… (Gorbachov, Khruschov, Aksyonov) the stress falls on the aw sound. --анонимный

But to Western ears, that sounds ëful.

Anonymous said...

In an interesting coincidence, there is also the novelist Vasiliy Aksyonov, who is the son of Evgenia Ginzburg who was in Stalin's labour camps and wrote "Into the Whirlwind" about the Stalinist camps. Ironic in view of the situation today, Vasiliy Aksyonov wrote a novel "The Island of Crimea" about an independent Crimean state that remained a White (anti-bolshevik) enclave after the Russian Civil War and never joined the Soviet Union---but which is now being invaded by the Soviet Union.

Anonymous said...

@3:48

Perhaps not controversial in Russia. But perhaps controversial in Ukraine.

Skip G. said...

Steve, your picture of the National Bolshevik babe reminds me of the Twilight Zone episode: "Two",where Elizabeth Monygomery plays the role of a post-apocalyptic warrior hottie who hooks up with Charles Bronson,an apparent Eastern-Bloc solder of the future.

http://bewitchvic.tripod.com/two05.jpg

Anonymous said...

Mono
additional info Aksyonov: one of the leaders of Crimea organized crime group "Salem" with nick name "Goblin". Active in the group from 1990. Some leaders were killed: Chavich and Slatvinskyi, some - Aksyonov - turned into politics for legal immunity which political activity provides.. Leader of political party Russian Unity who had 4% votes in Crimea Parliament. Elected head of government by this 4% "majority" ...

scottlocklin said...

Definitely the latter: Сергей Аксёнов, though it would be much, much more awesome if Eduard Limonov's lot were in charge of Crimea. The NYT is generally full of beans. The entire Western media seems to be just making stuff up. It's quite funny to watch. I'm no expert. I read a travel book, spent a month there, and retain pals who live there. Apparently, that makes me vastly more qualified to comment on the place than 99.9% of the establishment media dopes. Really, anybody with google should be able to figure it out.

Anonymous said...

ok, and?
what is your point EXACTLY yankee?