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Lesson Transcript

Oksana: [Здравствуйте, с Вами опять Оксана]. I’m Oksana and welcome to the second lesson of the series Russian Idioms. Today we’re going to touch on the subject of true friendship in Russia. Oksana: What is the criteria a person should meet to qualify as a good friends? Russian say: [Друг познается в беде]. Literally, it means: „You get to really know your friend when trouble comes.” The English equivalent for this phrase could be: “A friend in need is a friend indeed!”.
Oksana: Let’s break down this phrase. [Друг] is the word for “friend” in Russian. We can translate [познается] as “known”, “learned”, and [в беде] means “in trouble”. So, all together again, we have [Друг познается в беде]. I can’t say I agree with this saying 100%. My own experience tells me that good times can also be a good test for a friend. Can he really genuinely be happy for you, your achievements, your luck? Won’t there be a shadow of envy or jealousy in his eyes? Isn’t sympathy much easier to feel and express than true happiness for someone else? Well, of course, when real trouble comes, only the closest friends come to the rescue. A real friend wouldn’t just sympathize with words. He’d make sacrifices. He would try to put a part of your problems in his shoulders and share your bur gun. That’s when you could hug him and say [Да, друг позвается в беде]. I wish you fewer troubles and more true friends. See you next time! [Пока!].


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RussianPod101.com Verified
Wednesday at 06:30 PM
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Hi users, Have you ever used this proverb? In which situation?

RussianPod101.com Verified
Wednesday at 10:46 PM
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Hello robert groulx,

You are welcome 😄

Please let us know if you have any questions.


Team RussianPod101.com

robert groulx
Sunday at 05:43 AM
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thank you for th lesson transcript


RussianPod101.com Verified
Thursday at 04:01 PM
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Hi Jeanine!

Thank you for your comment!

It's a really funny story, I imagine the great moment it was to imagine such a scene! I laughed too while reading your comment ;)

I think this would be the best way to know who are your best friends, for sure!

It's nice of your friend to finally explain the meaning!

I wish you a great day!


Team RussianPod101.com

Thursday at 04:19 AM
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I have a true story about this saying. Once I was skyping with a Siberian friend and he tried to type this to me--in English. But he was using an online translator, and he's not the very best typist ever. What he ended up telling me, after about 20 minutes of trying, was "You learn who your real friends are when the bidet is broken."

Needless to say, I just about died laughing. You find out who your friends are when you need help washing your bottom? OMG. I just imagined some poor Russian with two broken arms, in casts, needing to go to the bathroom and looking pleadingly at his friends for assistance. YES, that WOULD be the way to learn on whom you can REALLY depend... but most old sayings aren't quite THAT, um, ON-THE-NOSE...

It was 2 days before another Russian friend informed us both that "в беде" was not the same as "in the bidet."