Friday, December 1, 2023

Donald Trump, Vladimir Lenin and Vladimir Leneen


There’s an aphorism that Donald Trump has shared with the viewers at political rallies previously few years: What issues isn’t who votes however who counts the votes — implying, unsubtly, that vote totals will be or are manipulated after submission.

This, by itself, just isn’t worthy of a information story. It’s only one piece of spaghetti sitting on the ground subsequent to a really greasy wall, one other effort by Trump to gin up suspicion a few presidential election he unquestionably misplaced. However, throughout a speech in New Hampshire on Thursday, he added a really peculiar twist, one that truly piqued our curiosity.

He invented a brand new title for Vladimir Lenin.

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Effectively, not a brand new title as such however, apparently a brand new pronunciation. In elevating the quote on social media, a supporter of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) targeted on the embrace of Lenin fairly than Trump’s odd pronunciation.

A fast type observe: For the remainder of this text, phrases in italics point out another pronunciation of Lenin. The everyday American pronunciation, then, could be: Lennon. Then there’s Trump’s model.

Leneen — did anybody ever hear of Leneen?” Trump mentioned in New Hampshire. “He mentioned, the vote counter is much extra vital than the candidate. Has anybody ever heard that — Lennon. Leneen, as they are saying, as they are saying in Russia.”

Leneen! Actually an out-of-left-field entry within the canon.

Because it seems, Thursday’s wasn’t the primary iteration of this explicit riff. At a marketing campaign rally for Republican Senate candidate Mehmet Oz in September, he mentioned a lot the identical factor — with a twist.

“Did you ever hear the assertion by, I imagine it was Leneen. Did anybody ever hear of Leneen?” Trump said then. “Individuals would say it with much less sophistication: Lennon. Leneen! I like the best way they are saying that.”

So the query is, then: Who’s they? Who says it that means?

Being curious, I did what any trendy American would do. I went to an internet site targeted on the pronunciation of names and typed in “Lenin.” The consequence:

However who’s to say that is dependable? A few decade in the past, a YouTube account that made up faux pronunciations went comparatively viral, given the interval. For instance:

Was I merely falling sufferer to some web pranksters, like a non-sophisticate?

My subsequent cease, then, was to suss out the pronunciation supplied by Lenin’s most up-to-date successor, Russian President Vladimir Putin. I don’t have his cellphone quantity, which might be for one of the best, however he likes to drape his rhetoric about, say, invading overseas nations in historic garb. So discovering a video of him speaking about Lenin was like shooting down Su-25s over Donetsk.

On the outset of the renewed invasion of Ukraine final yr, Putin addressed his nation. He blamed Lenin and his allies for “severing what’s traditionally Russian land” — Ukraine. And he pronounced the title Leenin.

That’s how the girl who answered the cellphone at London’s Russian Language Centre pronounced it, too: Leenin. A local Russian speaker who didn’t give her title, she famous that the letter at the beginning of Lenin’s final title is a “comfortable L.” It’s a bit just like the ñ in Spanish, a kind of L-Y mixture. Leeyenin, perhaps? Both means, it isn’t Leneen.

Since we’re on the topic, I’ll level out that the quote about vote-counters seemingly originates a lot nearer to residence for Trump. The web site Quote Investigators, which does what it says on the tin, identifies the primary reference to elections being determined by vote-counters to a political cartoon from 1871 in a New York Metropolis newspaper. All-powerful political boss William Tweed is pictured subsequent to a poll field, the textual content beneath him studying, “So long as I depend the Votes, what are you going to do about it?”

The positioning contains numerous different iterations of the identical kind of feedback over the next many years, earlier than Lenin rose to energy. It’s attributed to a politician in California, to Napoleon Bonaparte, to an unnamed political determine from South America. It’s seemingly, actually, that the saying predates all of these, however our capacity to trace its use is restricted by entry to historic materials.

That Quote Investigators article, like different assessments of the “vote-counters” factor, additionally introduces one extra wrinkle. The quote is normally misattributed to not Lenin however to Joseph Stalin.

Or as subtle Russians say: Joseph Staleen.

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