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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

The Four Horsemen Of Post-Communism

Ever get the feeling that we're living in a country of arbitrary rule, disorganization and confusion that goes beyond all accepted limits?

Apparently Boris Yeltsin does. Last week, the prez trotted out the four horsemen of the post-communist Russian experience.

These are proizvol (despotism), nerazberikha (rampant disorganization), putanitsa (all-out confusion), and bespredel (the state when things have gone too far).

When the guy responsible for running the country pulls all four of these out in his state-of-the-nation speech, it's time to write a column.

Deistvuyushchiye struktury gosudarstva do sikh por pronizany dukhom bezotvetstvennosti i proizvola, Yeltsin thundered from the podium of the Kremlin's Marble Hall. "The current government structures are still imbued with the spirit of irresponsibility and arbitrary rule."

It wasn't clear if Yeltsin meant the structures he himself heads, although certain opponents have been using the p-word to describe his presidency for some time. Proizvol used to also mean "whim" or "freedom of choice." This meaning survives in the adjective form, heard by Olympic figure skating fans who watched local television coverage of the women's freestyle program, or proizvol'naya programma.

The only other remnant of this meaning is found in the phrase, also generously used in today's Russia, brosat' na proizvol sud'by, "to cast to the whims of fate."

Proizvol inevitably leads to chaos:

V rabote organov vlasti kak v tsentre, tak i na mestakh mnogo nerazberikhi i putanitsy, roared the president. "There is much disorganization and confusion in the work of the power structures in the center and in the regions."

Nerazberikha, which originates from the verb razobrat'sya, to figure things out, is the state that occurs when no one can figure anything out.

Following close behind is putanitsa, a state of all-out confusion that derives from the verb putat'sya, to become confused.

Again, it was not clear if Yeltsin was indulging in a little self-criticism. What he did make clear is that a state ruled by proizvol and racked by nerazberikha is bound to witness some pretty outrageous events.

Nado polozhit' konets apparatnomu bespredelu, said Yeltsin. It's not easy to translate this sentence, but the president was talking about the unthinkable acts of bureaucrats.

Bespredel falls into the huge category of what Russian language specialists call prostorechiye, popular language that has no place in locally published dictionaries. Derived from the adjective bespredel'ny, which refers to something that has no limits, bespredel could be rendered in English as "the state when things have gone beyond the normally accepted limits."

Ruble Creeps Down

n MOSCOW (MT) -- The ruble rate on the Moscow Interbank Currency Exchange rose slightly Monday to 1659 against the dollar, up two rubles from the close of trade last week. The total volume was $70 million, with an initial demand of $73.6 million, a bit higher than the initial supply of $68 million.

The Deutsche mark traded at 973 rubles to the mark Monday, with a volume of 8.11 million Duetsche marks.

Farmers May Not Sow

n MOSCOW (MT) -- Up to 40 percent of Russian farmers may fail to sow crops this spring because they have not received promised government credits, Interfax reported Monday.

Vladimir Bashmachnikov, president of the Russian Farms and Farms' Cooperatives Association, said that the government promised to pay out 15 percent of the 700 billion rubles allocated for the agricultural sector in the first six months of the year.

But the news agency reported that instead of delivering the money to farmers' banks, the government has given it all to the Russian Agricultural Bank, where it has remained.

Reformists Deny Rumor

n MOSCOW (MT) -- Two deputy finance ministers denied press reports Monday that they had offered their resignations.

Reuters, quoting senior Finance Ministry sources, reported that Sergei Aleksashenko and Andrei Kazmin, two reformist deputy prime ministers, had offered to quit last week in protest at an imminent monetary union with Belarus and delayed financial stabilization.

But their offices flatly refuted the reports Monday. Both men were said to be at work.

Soros Loses Millions

n NEW YORK (AP) -- Financier George Soros suffered a $600 million loss on Feb. 14, the first full day of trading after trade talks between the United States and Japan collapsed, according to a published report.

Soros, 63, bet the wrong way on the direction of the Japanese yen's value relative to the dollar.