Ian Boswell’s Russian Lesson

Privet (Greetings!) from the Tour de France! Since moving to the Swiss-Russian sponsored team, Katusha-Alpecin, Ian Boswell has been learning some Russian. Here is what he’s learned while chatting with the team’s Tour de France GC contender, Ilnur Zakarin.


Although it wasn’t a “season” of bad roads, the cobble stage certainly felt like a “rasputitsa”! The day felt as long as a season to me, and was a whole different type of road compared to the awesome dirt roads we have back home.

I called up my “malishka” after that stage to tell her that I did not need to do that again. “Baby, that was rough!” I said. Zakarin doesn’t know my fiancées name, and from hearing me talk on the phone with her, just refers to her as “malishka” now. How is your “malishka” in Vermont?

Though technically a Serbo Croation-Russian word, use “muflon!” to communicate your displeasure with a despicable human, or, as a familiar term of vulvar endearment when you see a friend on the road/at the bar/on the fly. On par with “mother fucker.”

Once you see said friend, perhaps you do want to clink glasses/cans/fists, so you may say “nostrovia!” to celebrate the occasion. After sitting on the wheel of a pal, too, offer him some cheers: “nostrovia!” Traditionally, this term is to thank one of a meal or drink.

Or, you could simply say “spasibo” to go with a simple “thank you.” This is always an important one to remember, especially after a massage from one of the team staff or even moreso if you’re handed a Snickers bar right before Alpe d’Huez! (That didn’t happen, unfortunately.)


At the end of the day, we’re all buds. The best term of endearment for your bros who have endured the rasputitsa is “bratan.” Hug your bros after a hard ride…especially if they don’t make the time cut…or fracture a spine…but don’t do that! Just have fun out there, bratan! Nostrovia!