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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

What Is Moscow Youth Coming to These Days?

"What are young people coming to these days?" this cry of frustration is as old as the alternation of generations itself. Russia's most popular newspaper, Argumenty i Fakty, recently devoted half a page to answering this question. But the main thing this article demonstrated was that the generation gap in Russia these days is compounded by a language gap, and anyone wanting to understand young Russians today had better speak that strange mixture of Russian and English that seems to have taken over popular culture in Moscow.

According to Argumenty i Fakty, the younger generation today can be divided up into the following groups: baikery (bikers), khippi (hippies), metallisty (heavy metal fans), skinkhedy (skinheads; also called britogolovye or "shaved heads"), panki (punks), tolkinisty (Tolkienists), grandzhery (grungers), reppery (rappers) and rollery (rollers, people who like rollerskating).

The article provides information about how each group dresses, where they congregate and what sort of music then listen to. We are also told about various subtle nuances of each subculture such as, for instance, that the women to be seen in groups of baikery can be subdivided into devushki baikerov (bikers' girlfriends) and baikershy (female bikers).

Khippi, or deti tsvetov (flower children), are a harmless group given to flashing patsifiki (peace signs) and listening to Jimi Hendrix. Panky, likewise, are not dangerous, khotya i neskol'ko grubovaty (although they are a little rude).

On the contrary, skinkhedy like to beat up people, especially reppery because oni slushayut "chyornuyu muziku" (they listen to "black music"). Skinkhedy are, after all profound racists. Metallisty can be divided into "khevi-metallisty (heavy metalists) and tresh metallisty (trash metalists) although this distinction only matters to those who think there's a difference between Iron Maiden and Megadeath.

And how can you identify reppery? Po shtanam, spushchennym chem nizhe, tem luzshe, i primel'kavshimsya beisbolkam (By their pants -- the lower they're worn the better -- and their omnipresent baseball caps.)

Tolkinisty, fans of the novels of J.R.R. Tolkien, gather Sundays at Tsaritsyno to enact boi na derevyanykh mechakh (fights with wooden swords) and to sing pesni na el'fiiskom yazyke (songs in the Elfin language). Anyone is welcome to come watch or even join in, assuming they can speak Elfin.

Most of those who read Argumenty i Fakty's article were probably wondering whether it had been written in Elfin. But this is just the language of the streets, the language of a culture suddenly thrown open to a vast array of foreign influences. But it's enough to make one throw up one's arms and scream, "What are young people coming to these days?"