Unknown Knowns of Russian

The Russian language has many unknown knowns. This is one of the pleasures of learning the basics of Cyrillic Alphabet

On Monday I was listening to Esko Aho, ex prime minister of Finland, deliver a talk about various kinds of challenges Finns face in Russian markets. As I was about to receive, a few minutes later, an award for the proposal to teach the Cyrillic Alphabet in Finnish Schools, I was trying to pick something from his talk.

At some point Aho was referring to Donald Rumsfeld’s well-known remarks on the known knowns and unknown unknowns. I had a vague recollection of reading that Slavoj Zizek had been emphasizing the importance of unknown knowns as something that Rumsfeld never paid much attention to. Continue reading

Why Teach Cyrillic Alphabet in Finnish Schools

As the number of Russian speakers will continue to grow, the Finnish mindset about Russians needs to change. There are all kinds of things to be done, and here I make just one practical proposal. Finnish schools should teach every child the basics of the Cyrillic alphabet.

Let me recount briefly some of the moments when the idea has been discussed thus far. Continue reading