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17 March 2014

Can Mr Putin’s cousin really walk on water?

Roman Putin: walking on water?
This morning’s Moscow Times carries a story with the headline: “Putin’s Relative Promises ‘Special Protection’ for Firm’s Foreign Clients”. It seems that Mr Putin’s “first cousin, once removed” understands the realities of the Russian business environment.  His website, Putin Consulting, makes this revealing assertion:
It is a well known fact that investors in Russia often face corruption, aggressive bureaucracy, extortion from local and municipal authorities, and the unfair games of competitors.”
     Roman Putin (for that is his name) goes on to say:
The nature of business management in Russia implies close interaction with the state authorities. When treading uncharted waters, accurate guidance must be provided.  Therefore, it is vital to have a consultant who has influence within the state authorities, ranging from the Government and Office of the President to the leading banks and State Corporations.”
     I wrote offering to correct the grammar in this website. I wonder if I will get a reply? I have in mind such solecisms as “treading uncharterd waters”. Only Christ claimed to be able to walk on, or “tread” water, charted or uncharted.
     An alternative reading might be the meaning applied to swimming, in which “treading water” means simply staying afloat without moving in any direction. On reflection, maybe that  is better and the site needs no correction. In which case, we can all relax and get back into bed alongside Mr Oblomov—as it were!


  1. Well, that might come from the russian Navy language - the ship or the sailor never "sails" or "floats" but always "ходит" (walks? goes? - sounds not solemn enough). Any man having even the miniscule relation to navy would correct your "плавать" with "ходить". Which, of course, does not justify the mistake in English translation in any way.
    It's like that for russian person it's unthinkable to reference a ship with a "she", but it's still feminine in English.

    1. Indeed. This is a sheer Russicism based on Russian naval slang.

    2. If you are right, Anonymous, that is almost worse. What sort of arrogance is it that expects to sell services to an English-speaking audience by misusing the language on the basis of military slang which nobody in the target audience is ever likely to have heard of?