Hello, My Name Is Ashchf Lshtshfum

This post is a promised continuation of  the  Crime Scene Investigation. Russian Mafia. The focus, however, will be shifted from movie reviews to nit-picking.

It’s a tedious task, primarily because is has to do with laughably ridiculous Russian inscriptions in American films. It’s not easy to explain just how ridiculous and why it’s so laughable. Russians, naturally, need no explanation. A few dozen of these “pearls” have been posted on various sites, such as this one Русские надписи в американских фильмах.

Burne Identity

The Bourne Identity (2002) stars Matt Damon as Jason Bourne, suffering from extreme memory loss, attempting to discover his true identity amidst a clandestine conspiracy within the CIA. 

This is the Russian passport of Jason Bourne, otherwise baffled by his identity. He doesn’t have to be baffled anymore. His name is Ashchf Lshtshfum. Seriously. If he looks only at the right side of his “Russian” passport, he might introduce himself as FOMA KINIAEV.   FOMA KINIAEV, a rather unlikely name very likely to raise a few bushy Russian eyebrows. Still, it’s kind’a sort’a sounds remotely Russian or at least  pseudo-Russian.  Written in Russian,  FOMA KINIAEV should look like ФОМА КИНИАЕВ — a rather simple transliteration, letter for letter.

What do we see on the Russian side of his document? Practically unpronounceable  ЛШТШФУМ AЩЬФ, which, in transliteration, is equally unpronounceable  ASHCHF LSHTSHFUM.  Well, hello, sweet prince! With the name like this, any CIA super-agent is simply asking for a failed mission.  Unless, of course, he has been trained in Hollywood. 

terminalIn the Terminal (2004), an eastern traveler from fictional Krakozhia, Viktor Navorski (Tom Hanks), arrives at New York’s  JFK airport… only to find that his passport is suddenly no longer valid. In the movie, the reason for this misfortune is the outbreak of a civil war in his homeland. As a result, the United States no longer recognizes Krakozhia as a sovereign nation. Poor guy is not permitted to either enter the country or return home.

However, let’s take a look at Mr. Navorski’s travel documents. In all appearances, it’s a Belorussian driver license of a female person Гульнара Гулина, that should’ve been transliterated as Gulnara Gulina, NOT Victor Navorski. No wonder there is no country for the guy!


Hitman (2007) was shot, among other locations, in Sofia, Bulgaria.hitman

That is, Bulgaria stands for Russia in this movie. And it shows. Народен Театър Иван Вазов is a real place, but nowhere near Russia. It’s an Ivan Vazov National Theatre in Sofia. 

From Russia with Love (1969) is the second James Bond film made by Eon Productions and the second to star Sean Connery.


Here, fictional MI6 agent James Bond happen to visit a no less fictional Russia. In the huge letters on the doors of the embassy, in fictional Russian, there are two words. If my imagination doesn’t deceive me, these words meant to mean PUSH and PULL for the weak-eyed MI6 agents.

ДЕРГАТ and ДИХАТ is what is actually written. The misspelled first word, given the corrected spelling, could mean JERK. The second word is made up of 5 letters. Put together, they have no discernible meaning. Bond — James Bond was a real clever chap. He pushed when it came to shove. But, honestly, if he were fluent in Russian, he wouldn’t know what to do with that bloody door. Well, that’s  from Russia with Love for you.

Russians have several explanation, often contradictory, of why Hollywood does what it does.

  • Filmmakers cut corners and didn’t want to hire Russian-speaking consultants: Hollywood knows how to make money and how to count it.  If corners can be cut without much damage to the product, corners will be cut. Not hiring Russian actor to play Russian character, and forfeit the services of Russian editors… Most of it could be explained by the fact that these films weren’t intended for distribution in Russia.
  • Americans have no respect to other cultures and disregard feelings of non-Americans;
  • The hired Russian consultants did it on purpose because they hate Russia and Russians.
  • Filmmakers did it on purpose, out of spite and disregard for Russians;
  • Spelling mistakes and stylistic fuckups, rather than being a  profound  manifestation of the lack of professionalism is, quite to the contrary, an elaborate strategy of psychological warfare: Russia means so little to us, we are too lazy to spend money on correct translation.

However, nowadays, rare movie, particularly mega-blockbusters, escapes being shown in Russia. Much to the chagrin of the Russian moviegoers, blunders and bungling happen even in hundred million dollar Hollywood blockbusters.

Whatever… And lastly,

Fantastic Four 


The upper line says — no misspellings here — “Head of the finger of the foot”, or, perhaps, Tip of the Toe. That would sound more “poetic”, particularly for the transport barge LATVERIA (a completely meaningless word as well).


12 comments on “Hello, My Name Is Ashchf Lshtshfum

    • “to pull” is more like ТЯНУТЬ, ДЁРГАТЬ is really closer to “to jerk” or “to twitch” (дёргаться). BTW Russians use “На себя” and “От себя” (literally “towards yourself” and “from yourself”) rather than Russian translations of “Pull” and “Push”. But westerns are usually too lazy to ask ethnic Russians about Russia 🙂

  1. This post is BRILLIANT! I watched Independence Day for the first time yesterday and I am still seething that they misspelled the name of Novosibirsk, which incidentally is my hometown. They spelled it Новосйойрск (Novosyoyorsk). URGH! It’s so annoying! And then I posted this on Facebook and a friend (not from Russia) said that it looks like a typo that nobody would notice. Right, nobody, except for 150 MILLIONS RUSSIAN and whoever else happens to speak Russian.

  2. Pingback: Talk Intel To Me | Duck of Minerva

  3. Wikipedia: “‘Foma’ are harmless untruths, intended to comfort simple souls, lies that, if used correctly, can be useful”. Neologism created by Kurt Vonnegut in the novel Cat’s Cradle. “Foma Kiniaev” is the false name used by Bourne as he travels to Moscow to tell Irena Neski the truth about her parents’ deaths (that her father did not murder her mother and then kill himself).
    Just a rare Russian name, or elliptical Vonnegut reference (or both)?

    • “Foma” is more likely popular among Russian emigrants (since it was in use in tzar times). Nowadays, it’s rather rare name, and sounds a little snobbish (like, e.g., Julius or Claudius or something the same from the past), in other words, unusual and pretentious. Very unlikely CIA will choose this name for an agent 😀

  4. “Written in Russian, FOMA KINIAEV should look like ФОМА КИНИАЕВ”
    As they did in second film. Yet it is again a freaking mistake. Correct spelling of this name in Russian is Фома Киняев, freaking correct Russian Я, not american spy fake russian иа. Since that and due to how Russian written in English on Russian passport, it should be not Foma Kiniaev, but Foma Kinyaev.
    “Гульнара Гулина”
    Omg omg such a shame, it’s actually Гульнара Гудина, my shock has nearly reached my heart

  5. ДЕРГАТ and ДИХАТ is what is actually written. The misspelled first word, given the corrected spelling, could mean JERK. The second word is made up of 5 letters. Put together, they have no discernible meaning.

    The first word intended to be ДЁРГАТЬ — to pull.
    The second one misspelled ПИХАТЬ — to push.
    Authors misused “Д” instead if “П”, as they looked similar. And both words omitted sound softeners at the end “Ь”, so it looks like they got the translation in latin symbols, and later transliterated to Russian: “dergat” and “pikhat”.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s