On envying Monica

Governor Ayatskov of Russia’s Saratov oblast’ (region) said this after meeting with President Clinton during his 1998 visit to Russia:

What a great guy! I envy Monica.

The governor tried to erase and rewind later, but, according to a Russian saying, a word is not a sparrow: once it flies out, you can’t catch it. Apart from that incident, Ayatskov is know as an efficient, pro-reform, pro-market regional leader, who allowed trading in land before Moscow legislators passed the necessary bill.

“Great guy” is not an exact equivalent of klassnyy muzhik — in this context, muzhik is a colloquial, approving reference to a real man, a macho of sorts; klassnyy… no, I won’t bore you any more today.

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