OK, good luck with that, but nevertheless, a very interesting article from the New York Times.
MOSCOW — Russia’s prison system, the successor to the notoriously harsh gulag, has issued an edict that would have shocked even the victims of Stalin’s purges: From now on, officials say, some prisoners will be forbidden to swear.
Under a new rule, detainees in pretrial detention centers will be banned from addressing either one another or their guards in the traditional, foul-mouthed slang of the Russian prison system, known as “fenya.”
It is a rich and filthy language, one that the Ministry of Justice has been trying to crack down on for some time.
The ban, reported by the Interfax news agency, prohibits inmates from “socializing with other individuals using lewd, threatening, demeaning or slanderous expressions or slang.”
There was no immediate indication of how the authorities intended to enforce the rule. Russian prisoners generally live in large, barracks-style communal cells with as many as 80 inmates to a room, where guards have little sway on what goes on.
They are typically left alone at night, locked in and largely left to enforce their own rules of behavior.
Under President Vladimir V. Putin, Russian politics have taken a hard conservative turn. A 2014 law banned swearing in the arts, whether in novels or at the theater, unless properly labeled for adults.
That ban left literary types scratching their heads. Russian dictionaries of cursing draw on a rich tradition: Some words have thousands of variants and are woven into Russian literature and culture, particularly in works concerning the prisons and the army.
Dostoyevsky wrote that it is possible to express “even deep analytical thoughts” with one common, versatile Russian word for penis.
The prison cursing ban is a new twist in a larger effort to overhaul Russia’s prisons, moving away from the large, common barracks of the gulag, which are seen as contributing to recidivism. The authorities are now focused on building smaller cells and strengthening discipline inside penal colonies.
The swearing ban for inmates in pretrial detention follows an effort begun in 2013 to prohibit guards from speaking in fenya, the prison slang, to one another and to inmates.