Posts Tagged 'Arcadi Gaydamak'

The meaning of the name Gaydamak

Lera Henkel asked me: “Can you translate the Russian name Gaydamak into English?”

Gaydamak is not exactly Russian: It came to Russian from Ukrainian, and it came to Ukrainian from Turkish.

The original Ukrainian word is more correctly spelled “Haydamak” in Latin letters, but in case of Mr. Arcadi Gaydamak the custom is to write it with a ‘G’.

For information about who were the original Ukrainian Haydamaks, see the Wikipedia article Haidamaka, which appears to be pretty good.


OK, i just can’t believe this. I just can’t believe this.

Mr Gaydamak,care of Amir Aharoni,


My name is …

… And he goes on to explain that some sporting bodies in Israel conduct competitions from which representatives of this country are then selected to compete overseas on Shabbat. So his son can’t be accepted to the Israeli all-star team, because he is religious and he doesn’t roll on Shabbos. So he wants Mr. Gaydamak to help him with this thing. And i think that his plea is perfectly fair.

P.S.Yes, i didn’t write for a lot of time because i moved to a new apartment, then went to a lovely trip in Catalonia and then started working at a new company. So i don’t have any time for anything, not even for my crumbling academic career.

P.P.S. To the people from NDS who found this humble blog of mine: Hi. I love you all. Life is good.

Reality – 9 May

9th of May poster, courtesy of Mr. Arcadi Gaydamak

Hebrew: Keeping the heritage

Russian: Thanks for your valiant feat

These signs were put all around Jerusalem by Mr. Arcadi Gaydamak. Remember him? This time he is organizing a parade of The Great Patriotic War veterans, which the municipality of Jerusalem allegedly tried to cancel.

Gaydamak has money, so the design of these signs is very good. The writing is in Hebrew – throughout the whole city i’ve seen only one in Russian. There’s an Israeli flag too. But what is that Yellow-Black stripe? And the flowers? And what heritage is the sign talking about?

Every year as the 9th of May comes Soviet-born Israelis are shocked to find out that nobody knows what happened on the 9th of May, let alone celebrates it.

On that day the Soviets, with a little help from from the Western Allies, kicked the German Fascists’ ass – at least that’s what they taught us in Soviet schools. In the USSR “The Great Patriotic War” was usually said instead of “The Second World War”, “German Fascists” was usually said instead of “Nazis”, “Soviets” was mixed up with “Russians” in various ways, and the role of the Western Allies is a matter of heated discussion, but the main thing always remained – the 9th of May is День Победы, the Victory Day. Many countries have their national holidays in the form of an Independence Day, but Russia needs no independence from no-one (although there is some ridiculous “Independence Day” in Russia since 1992, but few people take it seriously.) USSR and Russia’s greatest national holiday, one with which the people really identify is the Victory Day. The concept of Victory was pretty strong in the USSR; it was especially convenient to talk about The Great Victory over the German Fascists, ‘cuz hey – the whole wide world agrees that the German Fascists were the bad guys.

In Israel few people know what happened on the 9th of May. So they don’t understand what is that “heritage”.

The Yellow-Black stripe is Ribbon of Saint George, attached to the Cross of Saint George award in the Russian Empire, canceled after the October Revolution and restored in The Great Patriotic War under the name “The Order of Glory”. Now it is called George’s Ribbon again and is becoming a semi-official symbol of the Victory Day in Russia, like the Israeli flags on cars on Israel’s Independence Day. Together with the flowers it looks very much like a Soviet greeting card for – you guessed it – 9th of May.

There’s also a linguistic curiosity: In Hebrew the date is written as “9 מאי” – literally “9 May”, while it should have been “9 במאי” – literally “9 in/of May”. But in Russian there’s no preposition, but a case ending – “9 Мая”. I wonder what exactly were they thinking. I’m quite sure that it’s not just a silly mistake – there must be a sensible reason for that.

A rebel without a clue

Mr. Arcadi Gaydamak is a Jew that was born in Russia, emigrated to France, made millions there trading weapons and a few years ago came to Israel. Here he does a lot of business of various kinds and attracts a lot of media attention – he invests in soccer teams and gives a lot of money to charity, among other things. He also organized a big Independence Day party this year, free for everyone. He was harshly criticized for this and other overblown charity projects, such as providing free shelter for refugees from Northern Israel in the last war. The critics say that this way he “buys” the public support and eventually he will manipulate local politics (they are at least partly correct – today he announced his intentions to run for the mayor of Jerusalem).

And you know what? I don’t care. It’s his right to spend his money on anything he likes. Our politics can’t get much worse.

But i haven’t heard anyone criticize for making millions out of weapons – until today.

Apparently at his big Independece Day party the singer Shay Gabso appeared. Gabso got to the third place at the first season of “A Star is Born”, the Israeli “Pop Idol” and went on to a moderately successful pop career, with two albums and several radio hits. At the party he sang Dylan’s “Masters of War”. He says that he was asked by the organizers not to sing it, but he rebeled! Yeah!

He made up his own melody, changed the mood of the song and translated the lyrics to Hebrew without any rhymes. But in this case i salute him anyway.

Video: Shay Gabso – Masters of War (streaming wmv video; it is badly nonstandard, but i am making an exception).

Hebrew readers are welcome to read the YNet article “Woodstock is Here” (as if you haven’t already).