Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Is Putin planning to say thank you for the Nobel Peace Prize in Swedish (or Norwegian)?

Tack så mycket! Takk!

The following nugget of information, offered by Sergei Borisovich Ivanov, Russian dictator Vladimir Putin's old KGB buddy and present Kremlin Chief of Staff, is quite interesting:

In an odd  aside, Ivanov said that he and Putin sometimes exchange phrases in Swedish. "The president knows German well, and I know English. Swedish is somewhere between," he said. "He will say something in Swedish, and I will answer in the same language. Although he isn't a philologist, he loves languages ​​and linguistics."
Ivanov, who like Putin is a former KGB officer, did not say whether he had picked up Swedish while he was posted for several years at Moscow's embassy in Helsinki during Soviet times. Swedish is widely spoken in Finland.

As a matter of fact, Ivanov studied English and Swedish at the Leningrad State University before joining the KGB. But it is likely that he was able to improve on his skills while working for the KGB in Helsinki.

Where Putin learned Swedish, is not immediately clear. However, this could be the reason for his interest in Scandinavian languages:

President Putin should get the Nobel Peace Prize for his moves to resolve the Syrian crisis. A group of Russian activists and political scientists have indicated that they are officially proposing the president’s nomination.

Maybe Putin is planning to give his thank you speech in Swedish - or even Norwegian? That would be another PR coup for the leader of the world's greatest kleptocracy.

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