Everyone Is Jumping Off the Brooklyn Bridge

Friday, July 21, 2006

Words to Your Mother: Perestroika

Although depending on your age, Mom may be more likely to remember this one than you are.

Poster showing Mikhail GorbachevPerestroika is a Russian word that means "restructuring", although it has been successfully integrated into English vocabulary thanks to the restructuring efforts of Mikhail Gorbachev back toward the end of the Soviet Union. Glasnost probably didn't help much either, although I'm sure it seemed like a good idea at the time. Good intentions paved the road for what some called "catastroika", the catastrophe that involved the fall of the USSR.

If Wikipedia can be believed (in this case at the moment I'm writing this), perestroyka is also Greek for "accident". Oops.

If there's any sort of linguistic relation between Perestroika and troika (a group of three) beyond the obvious and the fact that they're both Russian words, I have no idea what it is.

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