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I recently found out that Pripyat has/had a place called Дворец культуры Энергетик (Palace of Culture Energetik). The phrase reminded me of the German term "kulturelle Energetik", which was used by Wilhelm Ostwald according to the book "Scientific Babel" by Michael D. Gordon.

Is "культуры Энергетик" a commonly used set phrase, derived from the German "kulturelle Energetik", or was this just a once-off combination of two unrelated words?

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No. The set phrase is дворец культуры, and «Энергетик» should properly be in quotes as it's the name of that particular Palace of Culture. An энергетик is a person, a power engineer. Naming things after members of a prevalent local profession was common in the USSR.

"Kulturelle Energetik" would be культурная энергетика.

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    Although this is not the meaning here but I think it worth mentioning that in contemporary Russian language энергетик is more likely to be a reference to an energy drink rather than to a power engineer. – SomeWittyUsername Sep 29 '17 at 14:36
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Энергетик here is a proper name, with correct punctuation it should have been Дворец культуры "Энергетик".

Энергетик means "power systems engineer".

In USSR, it was common to name local things after trades prevalent in the area: there are sports teams with names such as Металлург ("Metallurgist"), Металлист ("Metalworker"), Химик ("Chemist"); palaces of culture named Текстильщик ("Textile maker"), Горняк ("Ore miner") etc.

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  • Nikolay and you even used the same word (prevalent) to describe meaning of энергетик. :) – Sergey Slepov Sep 29 '17 at 13:58
  • @SergeySlepov I'm not sure who of us is sock puppeting the other one! – Quassnoi Sep 29 '17 at 16:16

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