Russian MiniLessons: Star Wars по-русски

Published: October 11, 2020

The following bilingual Russian MiniLesson is meant to build your vocabulary by providing Russian phrases within English text. Hover over the bold Russian to reveal its English translation.

The film Star Wars is well-known in Russia and if you look online, there are actually discussions of whether or not a Russian should ever name a daughter Лея. Most argue against it because of the fact that a Russian уменьшительное имя would actually be Лейка, which means “watering can/pot” in Russian.

The Russian word “лейка” is related to the Russian verb “лить”. 19951f5cee00f6c0eb26e9364e540196-3203996

Perhaps even more striking is the appropriateness of Jabba’s name, given the fact that he looks so similar to a creature that, in Russian, has almost exactly the same name! See below.


When Star Wars was first released in the USSR, it was billed as a галактический вестерн. The below is an actual movie poster used in the USSR.

Галактический вестерн is sometimes also said as космический вестерн. Both are taken from the English “space western” – which is an actual genre that places the traditional western in the far future and/or another planet. In English, the term has fallen out of favor, perhaps because so many of the resulting works came across as rediculous, with robotic horses and ray guns in holsters, but the Russian is still in use. For instance, the recent TV show Firefly was also billed as a космический вестерн.

About the author

Josh Wilson

Josh has lived in Moscow since 2003, when he first arrived to study Russian with SRAS. He holds an M.A. in Theatre and a B.A. in History from Idaho State University, where his masters thesis was written on the political economy of Soviet-era censorship organs affecting the stage. At SRAS, Josh assists in program development and leads our Home and Abroad Programs. He is also the editor-in-chief for the SRAS newsletter, the SRAS Family of Sites, and Vestnik. He has previously served as Communications Director to Bellerage Alinga and has served as a consultant or translator to several businesses and organizations with interests in Russia.

Program attended: SRAS Staff Member

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