Love them or hate them but memes are a great learning tool when it comes to foreign languages. They help you keep up to date with modern slang alongside social and cultural news. In this article I will explain two memes that, for some reason, have only become popular in Russia as well as two more memes that you’ll find across the globe.



The Zhdun Ждун


Ждун: (ждать - to wait, Я жду - I’m waiting)


Margriet van Breevoort, a Dutch artist, created a sculpture called the Homunculus Loxodontus -- which is now a part of the Leiden exhibition. Ever since, Russian netizens adored the sculpture for a variety of reasons. But for a lot of us the Zhdun is a source of language wit and humour. Try sending someone an email and then immediately send this pic.


  • Вы посмотре́ли уже́ на́ше предложе́ние? [Have you seen our proposal yet?]



And you can’t seriously be mad at someone so adorable who says:


А что, исхо́дники на́до бы́ло сохрани́ть? [Why, was I supposed to save the source code?]



Furthermore, a Zhdun will help you to say sorry for ruining someone’s files:


  • Я чё-то нажа́ла, и всё исче́зло. [I pressed something and now it’s all gone]




The Zhdun also fits perfectly into Russian art.



Spread the word: Я ждун.



The Vzhooh Cat Вжух


(It’s a kind of a made-up sound for when you wave your magic wand and you’re not really experienced in that)


It was said that the picture of a cat in a funny magician hat first appeared in England in 2013. But it was in December 2016 that someone put a wand in his hands and taught him how to “вжу́хать” (“vzhooh” can be a verb too). Sometimes he “вжу́хает” good things.


  • Вжух, и всё рабо́тает. [vzhooh, everything’s working just fine]



But you know, he’s a cat. They aren’t that good at magic.


  • Вжух, и нет зарпла́ты. [vzhooh and your month’s wages are gone]



  • Вжух, и ты не вы́спался. [vzhooh and you didn’t get enough sleep]



Even college professors love the Vzhooh Cat.


  • Вжух, и ты отчи́слен. [vzhooh, and you’re expelled]


(a list of students with mediocre grades)

Whereas the Ждун (Zhdun) prefers to wait for things to happen Кот-Вжух (Vzhooh Cat) just goes for it and вжу́хает (vzhooh).


But some memes are universal like the one with Boromir (Lord Of The Rings). Thanks to whom, one does not simply say what is difficult for them to do, they have to make a meme out of it.


  • Нельзя́ про́сто так взять и ввести́ паро́ль пра́вильно с пе́рвого ра́за.
  • One does not simply enter the correct password at the first attempt.



  • Нельзя́ про́сто так взять и искупа́ть кота́.
  • One does not simply bathe their cat.



And you know that awkward moment when...


  • Э́тот нело́вкий моме́нт, когда́ ты учи́тель и сде́лала оши́бку, кото́рую все заме́тили.
  • You are a teacher and you made a mistake that everyone noticed.
  • Молодцы́, де́ти, что заме́тили оши́бку, я её специа́льно сде́лала.
  • Well done for spotting the mistake, children, I made it on purpose



And also...


  • Э́тот нело́вкий моме́нт, когда́ мем вы́шел из мо́ды.
  • That awkward moment when the meme became old.



That’s it for today’s article. The next time you take a class learning Russian, ask your teacher what their favourite or least favourite meme is, or try creating your own.


Hero image by Arkady Lifshits on Unsplash