2014: The Return of History (for dummies) UPDATED: An Angry Russian guide from A to Z (with 31 new items)


Russia, Ukraine, Donbass, Novorossia… In 2014 we saw some exciting, terrifying and truly historic events. We were introduced to a whole range of colorful characters and important figures. We saw war, we saw drama, we saw reality. Our lives were changed and things will never be as they used to be. This is an attempt to summarize some of the stuff that has transpired so far, a quick overview of the Russian Spring and the Ukraine crisis. The people, the places, the events.

This article was originally posted on September 17. September 27 update includes 31 new items (marked accordingly)


aidar Aidar, Azov – Ukrainian paramilitary battalions known for their bravado, Nazi fetishism and almost total lack of prowess on the battlefield.Made up of volunteers, including former “Right Sector” fighters. Accused of crimes against civilians in the Donbass.
annexation Annexation (of Crimea) – aka the return of Crimea. The smoothest, slyest, most impressive political feat in all of Russia’s post-Soviet history that did more to boost patriotism, nationalism and the prestige of the military than any type of propaganda or government-sponsored campaign before it. The consequences are unpredictable, though.
avakov Avakov – Arsen Avakov, an Armenian from Kharkov currently at the head of the Ukrainian Ministry of the Interior. Tries to hide his criminal past (and present). Loves his Facebook to the point of making it his only outlet for official statements and announcements.
 akhmetovx Akhmetov – Rinat Akhmetov, Donbass oligarch and Ukraine’s richest man. Thinks he can pussyfoot through the entire crisis by playing the quiet, semi-neutral, please-don’t-touch-me card. Appears to support Kiev, but not too openly.


babay Babay – aka Alexandr Mozhaev, probably one of the most eccentric rebel fighters, a crazy fuck with a thick beard who was good at posing for cameras wearing sunglasses and a Cossack hat. Decided that he had enough in July and fled to Russia.
ballistic Ballistic — Ukraine “went ballistic” so many times this summer. In July they did this literally, firing a Tochka-U short-range missile at the suburbs of Donetsk. This is like trying to smash a fly with a sledgehammer.
bandera Bandera – Stepan Bandera, the cult hero of all svidomy Ukrainians and Russian government propaganda’s undead boogeyman.
bes Bes — the nom de guerre of Igor Bezler, the elusive rebel commander in Gorlovka. Bes is known not only for his bushy mustache and strange personality, but also for several impressive victories over Ukrainian forces.
buk Buk — the sophisticated Russian anti-aircraft missile system. Kiev accused Russia of supplying these to the rebels. Kiev accused the rebels of using a Buk to shoot down the Malaysian Boeing. But Kiev provided no proof.
 berkutx Berkut – former Ukrainian special police forces that were blamed for many of the civilian deaths on the Maidan by the Junta and subsequently disbanded. They were incorporated into the Russian police after the annexation of Crimea and became yet another symbol of resistance against the Maidan madness.


chechens Chechens – Ukraine cried wolf all summer long trying so hard to spot the swarthy bearded Chechens among the rebel fighters. They found them alright, though not among the rebels, but in their own ranks — firing at Russians near Donetsk and yelling “Allah Akbar!”
crimea Crimea – a peninsula on the Black Sea which became part of the Ukrainian Soviet Republic by the will of Nikita Khrushchev. Russia brought it back home after the Maidan crisis in Ukraine, triggering international sanctions and other tragic and exciting events.
colorado Colorado – a US state in the Rocky Mountains. It is also a derogatory term used by the Ukrainians for the Donbass separatists – a reference to the Colorado potato beetle whose black and orange stripes happen to resemble those of the St. George’s ribbon.
chaliy Chaliy – Alexey Chaliy represents the new generation of Russian public figures. A successful Sevastopol businessman-turned politician, he helped the city and the region in the difficult period after the annexation. Patriotic, yet cool-headed, soft-spoken, yet strong-willed, Chaliy is indication that perhaps not all is lost in Russian politics.
 ashtonx Catherine Ashton – Gayrope’s foreign policy chief. Aristocrat, beauty queen, a fine specimen of genetic, professional and intellectual supremacy.
 couchx “Couch troops” – a name for the numerous armchair generals who know everything about war and geopolitics, but despite all the tough-talk and smart-mouth comments, they will never lift their asses from their chairs and couches. This includes the Russian “patriots” and “nationalists” who go berserk over Novorossia and the Russian Cause online, but shit their pants at the thought of actual fighting.


donbass1 Donbass – the Donetsk basin, a mining and industrial region in eastern Ukraine. The post-Maidan political crisis escalated into all-out war when the Russians of the Donbass launched a campaign of active resistance against the new Kiev authorities.
donbass2 “Donbass” is also the name of a Ukrainian paramilitary battalion sponsored by Igor Kolomoysky. It was completely wiped out by the rebels in August, after which its ever-masked commander Semen Semenchenko finally showed his war face.
donetsk Donetsk — a major Russian city in eastern Ukraine, an industrial and economic center. The seat of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR). The fighting around Donetsk has been especially severe as the Ukrainian army barraged it with everything imaginable attempting to drive out the rebels.
dnprk Dnepropetrovsk – the seat of power of Igor Kolomoysky. The first “PTN PNH” sighting was witnessed here. An eastern Ukrainian city that chose to stay Ukrainian (for now).
dugin Dugin – Alexander Dugin, the man who tries to put Eurasia back on the map. Leader of the Russian Eurasian movement, hater of the West, narcissistic “philosopher” and self-proclaimed New Right ideologist. Gloats over Putin, irrendenta and the Russian Spring (from his own Eurasian viewpoint) and is said to have some degree of influence over Russia’s hardline camp.


economy Economy — something both Russian and Ukrainian officials (especially Ukrainian!) prefer not to discuss in the midst of this crisis. Winter is coming, though.


firtash Firtash – Dmitry Firtash, Ukrainian (Jewish) oligarch, rumored to be one of the main sponsors of the Maidan protests, along with Poroshenko and Kolomoysky. A falling out with Kolomoysky and the overall escalation of the crisis led to him fleeing Ukraine for Austria where he was almost immediately arrested. Coincidence?
federalisation Federalization (of Ukraine) – something that could’ve settled this crisis months ago. But apparently, no longer a plausible solution.
 fascistsx Fascists — according to Russian propaganda, fascists are the people that took power in Kiev after the Maidan protests and are now crucifying children in the Donbass. According to Ukrainian propaganda, fascists are the people in the Kremlin who wish to wipe Ukraine off the map and crucify children in Lvov. Fascists everywhere!
 flagx Flag – a self-proclaimed republic has to have a flag. The flags of the DNR and the LNR may not be the prettiest banners out there, but at least they stand for something. Novorossia’s flag should look good to anyone who loves the Confederacy – a red background with the Russian Navy’s St. Andrew’s cross. The good old rebels.


gas Gas – Russia’s way of keeping the EU in check, a lifeline for the economy and something that belligerent Ukraine thinks it doesn’t need to pay for.
grad Grad – Soviet 122-mm multiple rocket launcher system. Used by both sides of the conflict, but the Ukrainian army specializes in firing these at civilians.
gayrope Gayrope – this is what Russians sometimes call the European Union, referring to its love for Gay Pride parades, excessive tolerance and the overall lack of muscle and political will. The sanctions imposed by the EU against Russia only increased the annoyance.
gubarev Gubarev – Pavel Gubarev, the so called People’s Governor of the DNR, acting as the self-proclaimed republic’s articulate public face. Spent time at the frontlines and as a prisoner in Kiev, thus earning a generally respected status among the rebel supporters both in Russia and the Donbass.
georgievskaya-ribbon Georgievskaya ribbon – St. George’s ribbon, a black and orange-striped ribbon that was meant to remind us all of the Great Patriotic War but in 2014 became a symbol of Russian resistance in Crimea and the Donbass.
 genotbax Genot’ba (Ukrainian “gan’ba” – shame + “borot’ba” — struggle) – the essence of being Ukrainian, the nation’s painful and shameful existential journey towards The Abyss peremoga.
 gepax Gepa & Dopa – Gennady Kernes and Mikhail Dobkin, Kharkov’s Dumb&Dumber, Beavis&Butthead, Cheech&Chong, etc., two Jews who took turns trying to run the Kharkov city and region, becoming Internet memes in the process. Kernes turned out to be the smarter, more cunning one, holding on to his power (for now) through a risky balancing act.
 grux GRU – Russia’s military intelligence. Said to have orchestrated the infiltration and subsequent annexation of Crimea, receiving jealous praise from both the well-wishers and the haters.


hopping Hopping – skipping, jumping in place. Ukraine’s favorite pastime. “Hop if you’re not a Moscal!” was one of Maidan’s rallying cries, a way to stay warm in the February frost and a game Ukrainians thought was really funny. Eventually they hopped their way into war and economic ruin.


irredenta Irredenta – the Russian irredenta, a process that supposedly began with Crimea, the Russian Spring and the war in the Donbass. A noble, dangerous, almost utopian goal, so appealing to so many Russians from all walks of life. There is a price to pay, however.
 holmogorovx Holmogorov – Egor Holmogorov, the Russian ginger nationalist who tries too hard.
 huilox Huilo (a derivate from “hui” – “dick”) – an untranslatable Russian curse word. This is how intellectual Ukrainians have come to call the Russian president. See also PTN PNH.
 gumax Humanitarian convoy – the convoy of dozens of trucks with humanitarian aid that Russia sent to the Donbass. Despite Ukraine’s attempts to prevent the convoy’s entry, the aid was of great help to both the rebel fighters and the civilians. There is, however, a whisper in the wind that the cargo was not just “humanitarian”. We may never know…


junta Junta – the word that Russians (both in Russia and in parts of Ukraine) sometimes use to describe the Kiev authorities, referring to them coming to power through a violent upheaval, i.e. illegitimately.


kolomoyskiy Kolomoyskiy — Igor Kolomoyskiy, Ukrainian oligarch and governor of Dnepropetrosk region. Trying to be the ultimate conniving arch villain, Tywin Lannister and Peter Baelish rolled into one, but in the end just another Jew with a lust for gold (and lots of blood on his hands).
kyev Kiev – “the mother of all Russian cities” and the still beautiful capital of Ukraine. It was in Kiev that the Maidan protests started and launched the most unbelievable and dramatic chain of events in the entire post-Soviet history.
klitschko Klitschko – Vitaly Klitschko, former Ukrainian boxing champion-turned politician. An excellent speaker with clear, beautiful thoughts and a love for Germany and fire extinguishers.
kerry Kerry – John Kerry, current US Secretary of State. Fail.


lugansk Lugansk — a major city in eastern Ukraine that decided it’s better to be Russian. The Lugansk People’s Republic was formed leading Kiev to launch a major assault on the city and its vicinities.
LNR Lugansk People’s Republic (LNR) – along with the DNR, a self-proclaimed state in eastern Ukraine and a hard nut to crack for the Ukrainians, militarily and politically. Its declared independence, however, is still to be recognized by… anyone. Including Russia.
 lavrovx Lavrov – Sergey Lavrov, Russian’s half-Armenian Foreign Minister. A masterful, articulate old-school Soviet diplomat doing what old-school Soviet diplomats do best: bullshitting talking the talk.


mh-17 MH-17 — the flight number of a Malaysian passenger plane that was shot down over Ukraine in July. 298 people died, the investigation is ongoing. Ukraine blamed Russia and the rebels, Russia and the rebels blamed Ukraine, but when the truth will finally be revealed, few will care. Unfortunately.
motorola Motorola — the name of a crappy American cellphone maker and the nom de guerre of a Russian rebel fighter with somewhat of a cult status among the rebel supporters. Known for his combat videos, wartime wedding and a slick sense of humor.
maidan Maidan – Kiev’s central square, the sight of mass anti-government protests last winter that quickly escalated into all-out war and chaos. It all started at the Maidan…
moscal Moscal – a derogatory term for Russians (Muscovites). Similar to vatnik, rusnya, rashik, rashist, katsap… the list goes on.
 mariupolx Marioupol – one of the frontline cities during the war, in part because of its proximity to Russia and the DNR and its important location on the Azov sea coast. Marioupol has seen some ugly things during the spring and summer of 2014, like Ukrainian military firing at civilians and trying to run them over with tanks.
 mozgovoix Mozgovoi – Alexey Mozgovoi, a bad-ass rebel commander, leader of Novorossia’s “Phantom” brigade. Doesn’t just kick ass on the battlefield, but does the hard, boring, but painfully necessary work, as well. Like helping bring in much needed supplies from Russia.


nato NATO – the North Atlantic Treaty Organization which was created after World War 2 to deter the Soviet Union. Its purpose became somewhat unclear after the Soviet Union ceased to be. But now with Russia once again becoming scary, NATO is feeling rejuvenated. And Ukraine so wants to join.
nationalism Nationalism – the driving force of the Russian spring, the Donbass resistance, the Maidan protests and the Ukrainian punitive operations. The most significant political ideology during this crisis, in both Russia and Ukraine, something that even Vladimir Putin began flirting with.
novorossiya Novorossia – an area north of the Black Sea that was once part of the Russian Empire and later became part of Soviet Ukraine. The Russian resistance in the Donbass once again made it significant. It was even mentioned in a speech by Vladimir Putin. Once.
nuland Nuland – Victoria Nuland, aka “Fuck the EU”, Assistant US Secretary of State, who made it blatantly clear that post-Maidan Ukraine was America’s for the taking. But those damn Russians just had to mess everything up!


odessa Odessa – an old Russian city on the Black Sea coast, officially part of Ukraine since the Soviet days. The sight of the May 2nd tragedy, where dozens of Russians burned to death after being chased down by Molotov cocktail-throwing Ukrainians.
obama Obama – Barack Obama, the idealistic American president who for reasons unknown sometimes desperately tries to play realpolitik, but is impaired by his own Congress, administration and incompetence.


poklonskaya Poklonskaya – Natalia Poklonskaya, aka “Attorney Nyasha”. The young woman who was appointed Chief Prosecutor of Crimea in April making her an almost instant Internet meme thanks to her good looks and overall cuteness. Fan clubs started popping up all over the world, we even saw Japanese girls dressing up as Poklonskaya for cosplay events.
polite-people Polite people –the badass motherfuckers that led the silent invasion of Crimea in spring. Said to be Russian speznaz on a secret mission. Uniforms with no insignia. Weapons, helmets, facemasks. Smiles, handshakes and photos with the locals. Smooth, quiet, deadly, 100% effective. Human casualties – zero.
poroshenko Poroshenko – Petr Poroshenko, Ukraine’s post-Maidan president and number one sweet tooth. Rumored to have Jewish roots and to be one of the main sponsors of the Maidan protest movement. Poroshenko’s determination in rising to power is almost impressive, but his motives and endgame remain unclear, though, to say the least.
propaganda Propaganda – the substitute for news and information during the 2014 crisis. The bread and butter for mass media both in Ukraine and Russia. Perfect for making people believe that they “know the issues” and “have opinions”. Highly influential and often unidentifiable.
ptn-pnh PTN PNH – an abbreviation for “Putin Poshel Nahui” (“Putin, fuck off!”). Along with “Putin huylo!”, a favorite slogan of cultured intellectual Ukrainians with IQs well into the genius range. These slogans could be seen all over Ukraine, from car bumpers to women’s breasts.
praviy-sektor Praviy sector – Right Sector, a loose union of Ukrainian right-wing organizations that acted as the pounding muscle during the Maidan protests. Many of their members joined paramilitary battalions during the conflict in Novorossia, but became disillusioned with the people that came to power in Kiev.
psaki Psaki – Jen Psaki, the red-headed, uninformed, word-bound and illogical US State Department spokesperson. A good example of a wrong person in the wrong job and the overall degradation of US diplomacy and foreign policy-making. See also Kerry.
putin Putin – Vladimir Putin, Russia’s pissed-off cornered-rat-of-a-president who was put before some of the most difficult decision of his life by the events of the Russian Spring. According to his propaganda, Putin has “outplayed them all”, but in reality the real game is just beginning. Wishes the 00s were back.
 peremogax Peremoga — the light at the end of the endless Ukrainian tunnel, the unachievable, almost mystical “victory”. Always so close, yet so far away.


queer Queer – this is what Igor Kolomoysky once called Ukrainian nationalist parliament deputy Oleg Lyashko, referring to his homosexuality. Lyashko is known as a political clown in Ukraine, the court’s official Fool, so to speak. The gay Nazi gimmick is indeed a funny act.


ruban Ruban – Vladimir Ruban, a retired Ukrainian army general who specializes in bringing POWs back home. Seems to be one of the few sane individuals left in the country.
russia Russia – aka the Russian Federation, official heir to the Soviet Union, a country stuck in a major identity crisis and overall national, cultural and geopolitical limbo. The year 2014 brought it face to face with events that may either lead to catharsis and reinvigoration or to ruin and oblivion.
rebels Rebels – those who are currently fighting the Ukrainian forces in Donbass and Novorossia. From local rag-tag militia to mercenaries and volunteers and professional soldiers from Russia itself (be it retired, on leave or on duty), they are simply “The Resistance”. And this summer they certainly kicked some ass.
refugees Refugees – the tens of thousands of Russian-speaking people that fled Ukraine during the crisis. This includes able-bodied men who could’ve taken up weapons and fought, but decided it was not their war.
russianspringx Russian Spring – the name given to the Russian mass protests in eastern Ukraine against the post-Maidan Kiev authorities. The protests soon turned into all-out war with thousands of dead and wounded and put Russia itself in a difficult position both politically and economically. The good news is that the Russian Spring brought Crimea back to Russia, gave (re)birth to Novorossia and was basically an eye-opener for lots of Russian people.


slavyansk Slavyansk – a town that became not only a major focal point of the war, but also somewhat of a symbol of the Russian resistance. The battles around Slavyansk made Strelkov and Babay famous. The rebels were forced to withdraw from Slavyansk in July, but even this turned out to be a tactical and strategic success.
sevastopol Sevastopol – the legendary Russian city in Crimea, home of the Black Sea Fleet. Sevastopol saw many dramatic moments in its history, including the siege of 1854-1855, the battles of WW2 and the return to Russia in 2014. Ukraine still wants it back, though.
strelkov Strelkov – Igor Strelkov, the Avenging Angel of the Russian Spring, one of the key figures of the entire conflict, soldier, warrior, nationalist, an enigmatic, religious man with an almost philosophical worldview. A Russian special forces (and secret services) veteran, Strelkov took command of the Donbass rebels in April and, even though vastly outnumbered, held off the Ukrainian army for several months. After being dismissed from his position in August, Strelkov turned up in Russia, apparently, with a renewed mission.
sanctions Sanctions – the United States’ and the European Union’s slap-on-the-wrist response to Russia’s meddling in Ukraine. The sanctions forced Russia to come up with her own countermeasures, banning Italian parmesan and Spanish jamon among other things and causing lots of butthurt to those who call themselves ”pro-Western”.
svidomiy Svidomy – a true, patriotic Ukrainian, possessing sacral knowledge of Cossack U-boats and the Ukrainian people’s eternal God-blessed crusade against Moscow, i.e. Mordor.
 sbux SBU – the Ukrainian secret service. Gestapo without glamour, KGB with no arms, Stasi with bad hearing, etc.
 shoigux Shoigu – Sergey Shoigu, Russia’s Mongoloid Minister of Defense. The Maidan, Crimea and the Russian Spring all happened during his tenure, so you know at least some of the decisions (the good and the bad) were his.
 slavax “Slava Ukraine!” – “Geroyam slava!” (“Hail to Ukraine!” – Hail to the Heroes!”) – Ukrainian for “Sieg Heil!”, “Allah Akbar!” and “Salam Aleykum!” Used as “hello”, “goodbye” and when there’s nothing else to say.
 spx Sputnik and Pogrom – you either love it or you hate, but you know you read it.
 surkovx Surkov – Vladislav Surkov, the half-Chechen, half-Jewish advisor to Vladimir Putin. Once deemed almost all-powerful and credited with devising such concepts as “sovereign democracy”, his current role in the Kremlin is somewhat unclear. So is his position on the Russian Spring, but rumor has it that Surkov is with those who want to dump Novorossia.


terrorists Terrorists – this is what the Donbass rebels and their supporters have been labeled by the Kiev authorities. The Ukrainian army calls its drive into Novorossia an “anti-terrorist operation”, making it easier to ignore the rules of war and the numerous civilian casualties. But from a military point of view, the Ukrainian “anti-terrorist operation” has been disastrous.
timoshenko Timoshenko – Yulia Timoshenko, Ukraine’s Evil Queen. An unkillable, unsinkable, undead lich-matriarch with madness in her eyes and a lust for money and power. She’s been fairly quiet in recent months, but rest assured – this is only temporary.
 titushki Titushki – just your average country boys wanting to make some cash. Used as cannon fodder in provocations during the Maidan crisis, especially by Yanukovich and his henchmen.
 tsarevx Tsarev – Oleg Tsarev, a former Ukrainian pro-Russian parliament deputy who would literally do anything in hopes of getting a piece of the Novorossia pie. That includes making a fool of himself, voluntarily or by order. He’s been beaten up, humiliated and almost gang-raped in broad daylight, but he never gives up. Perhaps someone has plans for him?
 tyagnix Tyagnibok — Oleg Tyagnibok, another Ukrainian political clown, leader of the right-wing Svoboda party. Bandera fan, Moscow-hater and anti-Semite who tries to act tough and master the art of balancing between unapologetic svidomy nationalism and kowtowing before the US and the EU.


ukraine Ukraine – a former Soviet republic that failed as an independent state.
usa USA – ‘Murica, the global hegemon whose hegemony is coming to an end. The cause of all of Russia’s woes (if you watch Russian TV) and Ukraine’s best friend and ally (if you watch Ukrainian TV).
 ukrainx “Ukraina tse Europa” (literally “Ukraine is Europe”) — the mantra that Maidan supporters kept on chanting, honestly believing that becoming a second-rate Romania means aiming high.
 ukrinizx Ukrainization – the process of becoming Ukrainian, turning someone into a Ukrainian (kind of like vampirism or joining a sect) or aggressively spreading Ukrainian language and identity. This includes the traditionally Russian-speaking regions. The forced ukrainization that has been taking place since the breakup of the Soviet Union through government policies and programs, as well as mass media propaganda, was one of the indirect causes of the 2014 crisis.
 ukropx Ukrop – a Ukrainian who supports the Maidan and the new Kiev authorities. “Ukrop” means “dill” in Russian, so, for all you English-speakers, how about starting to call these guys simply “dills”?


vatnik Vatnik — a type of thick, grey, ugly cotton-stuffed Russian coat, worn mostly by convicts and, possibly, dirt-poor country people. It is sometimes used as a name for Putin supporters or those who call themselves “Russian patriots”, i.e. the only ones who would supposedly wear these.
 voentx Voentorg – a chain of Russian stores that sell military uniforms and equipment. According to Vladimir Putin, this is where the polite people got their stuff from – in thousands.


war War – war never changes and more often than not comes unexpected. Few could’ve imagined artillery barrages and tank battles when hopping on the Maidan back in February. But war became a reality soon enough.
 vyshix Wyshivanka – a traditional Ukrainian peasant shirt. Wearing it means you’re a true svidomy patriot with a love for your country and a sense of style that would make both Dolce and Gabbana die of jealousy.


5th-column No words that start with X, but let’s put 5th column here, i.e. those in Russia who get accused of undermining the Russian Cause with their alternative opinions. Easy, almost perfect hate-target and scapegoat.


yanukovich Yanukovich – Victor Yanukovich, Ukraine’s deposed president, the former criminal godfather of the Donbass, who thought he could fool them all by balancing between Russia and the EU. Yanukovich’s absence of balls during the Maidan protests cost him everything, including his golden toilet mansion. Luckily for him, Russia was there to take him in… after which he disappeared into oblivion.
yarosh Yarosh – Dmitry Yarosh, the leader of the Right Sector. At one point Russian propaganda painted him as the most dangerous man alive, an Adolf Hitler brought back to life. In reality though, Yarosh’s influence and capabilities turned out to be limited.
yatsenyuk Yatsenyuk – Arseny Yatsenyuk, aka “Yats is our man”, Ukraine’s acting prime minister, America’s pawn, Timoshenko’s pawn, everybody’s pawn. Drama queen with a bitchy attitude.


zapadentsy Zapadentsy – a semi-offensive term for the people of Western Ukraine, a poor, mostly agricultural region, who make up the majority of Bandera worshippers and Right Sector fighters.
 zdobx “Zdobuly!” (literally «we did it!”, “we made it!”) — the Ukrainian sigh of joyous relief during brief moments of euphoria. Also used as sarcasm when commenting on military bundles, salary cuts, layoffs or such things as no heat during heating season.

P.S. – If you think that something is missing, feel free to add.