Blat Poetry

Take, you’ll learn the art with ease!
Take whatever you can seize!
G-D for this your hands did make,
That you may take!

( Kapnist 1849, p.101; translation taken from Wiener 1902: p. 400 )

For those who give and those who take the verdict is the same,
So why the devil should one wish to report?

( Kapnist 1849:p. 77 )

Now the whole world knows
How the land captain and secretaries make life impossible for us.
By the command of their chief, thieving hundred men
Constantly make requisitions.
They treat us inhumanely,
Something which has never been heeded

( Zhaloba-complaint )

The ‘brotherhood of nations’
Meant for his literally,
Do the best by your brother, sisters, and aunts

( Maiakovskii 195501961: vol. 7, p 135 )

He thinks: how should he cut down on the staff?
Kate’s eyes- they are like coals! Good gracious!
But maybe Nata should hang on to her job,
Since Nata is so curvaceous.
Out there in the waiting room voices are raised
And the air’s thick with smoke, it’s turned blue
The official sits at his desk and shrugs:
Too bad! Not a thing I can do.

( Maiakovskii 1955-1961: p136 )

- ‘I think’, says Ivan to Volodya, ‘that we must have the richest country in the world.’
- ‘Why?’ asks Ivan.
- ‘Because for nearly sixty years everyone has been stealing from the state and still there is something left to steal.’

( Rosner 1986: p.29 )


Blat Folklore

Russian folk proverbs :

One hand washes the other

One must have not 100 rubles but 100 friends

If you don’t drink you’re not one of us

If you don’t take bribes you aren’t one of us

I help you help me