Today the ruble dropped the worst since the great crash of 1998
It was at 58 this morning at 5 am when I started writing and is now at at 65 after going even higher and bouncing throughout the day.
Russians have been greeting this with grim humor and no particular panic because things have already been bad and they've become inured to their savings being devalued or confiscated and they've always tried to buy dollars or euros or gadgets to keep value.
So Twitter is filling up with pictures of white foxes and people making all sorts of jokes about white foxes. What does this mean?
Well, the word in Russian for "fucked" or "fucked-up situation," based on the word pizda, or cunt, is pizdets. For a total fuck-up, you say "pol'ny pizdets". This is the word you hear Russians use most often to describe what is happening to their economy with the ruble crash and the price of oil dropping.
So the word for white fox is pisets, or pisa for the female white fox -- hence, a ready-made visual aid to the sound-alike euphemism for "totally fucked up."
Russians love swear words -- it's an entire separate language of its own called mat-- and love euphemisms for swear words, so they say "polny pipets" -- which has come to mean "kick-ass" after the movie by that title, and isn't as nasty sounding as pizdets.
But now they're saying polny pisets -- a full or fat white fox -- which just about describes the situation, especially because the white fox is associated with winter, and with stealth, sneaking up on you with, white-on-white, its fur against the snow.
The picture of the white fox with the oil barrels is one that seems to grimly delight Russian Twitter the most.
Sometimes, Russians are actually only talking about real white foxes in Siberia:
Although even there, there's a hint of humour because they say "in the literal sense" to describe the photo.
But more and more, the white fox spells disaster:
Полный песец.. pic.twitter.com/fs1iOol5VI— Настя Анисимова (@NAnisimova43) December 4, 2014
Translation: A fat white fox -- i.e. a full white fox or totally fucked.
(К) Путину приходит песец pic.twitter.com/A9JX46PBqe— Эдуард (@sicksist) December 12, 2014
Translation: Putin is fucked (or "the end will come to Putin").
Кому-то достался коала, а кому-то -песец on pic.twitter.com/Z3XVQC8lSw— Александр Трухин (@ATruhin26) December 5, 2014
Translation: some got a koala, some got a white fox (i.e. got fucked at the G7 meeting in Brisbane, Australia).
Писа и баррели: pic.twitter.com/jX2olg1byb— Пeрзидент Роисси (@KermlinRussia) December 16, 2014
White female fox and barrels.