Tuesday, August 27, 2013

'Monkey with grenade.'

'The West is behaving in Islamic world like a 'monkey with a grenade,' tweeted Dmitry
Rogozin today. His tweet is widely reported by international press as representative of Russian attitudes to the Syrian crisis as the West is preparing for military action in the wake of apparent use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime.

Rogozin is a vice-premier in the Russian government responsible for the military industries, a Special Representative of the President (Putin) and an outspoken nationalist. He also has the diplomatic rank of ambassador because he served as Russia's representative at NATO, where he appalled Ukraine and Georgia with his comments about these two former Soviet republics. And he has an academic degree of a doctor of philosophy. His Twitter account (in Russian) has 150,000 followers. He is a controversial figure because of his comments.

The 'monkey with a grenade' in his comment, while taken as insulting in international media, is an established, though recent, idiom in Russian. It simply means foolish or dangerous behaviour.

The idiom comes from an anecdote (joke) that apparently started making circles in the early noughties. Currently the expression is often used in reference to blondes (blonde jokes) and bad driving.

One popular version goes like this:

A man sees a monkey playing with a grenade.
—Monkey, stop playing with this. It's dangerous, it may blow you up.
—It's okay,—says the Monkey,—I have plenty more in store.

Take it as you will, black humour or not. Getting involved in Syria may turn out to be 'playing with grenades.'

Photo of Rogozin by A.Savin

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