Just came across this phrase:

Эти странные русские верят в то, во что никто не верит?

and I still can't figure out what's the function of "во" here. Can't I just say something like:

Эти странные русские верят в то, что никто не верит?

Why are we using the proposing "in" twice? I'd really appreciate some insight into this.

  • 1
    Just for the sake of comparison, German and Russian handle this differently. It's like adding an incorrect extra "an" to its German equivalent: "Glauben sie etwa an das, (an) was niemand glaubt?". Commented Jan 6, 2019 at 9:02

2 Answers 2


Эти странные русские верят в то, во что никто не верит?

  • Main clause: "... верят в то"
  • Relative clause: "во что ... не верит"

The two prepositions "в" and "во" are both necessary. Just because the main and relative clauses both have the same verb "верить в(о) ...", it doesn't make the second preposition "во" redundant.

For comparison's sake, I'd say, for instance:

К тому, с кем я веду переговоры, я внимательно присматриваюсь.

  • Main clause: "... присматриваюсь к тому"
  • Relative clause: "с кем ... веду переговоры"

It's just that the prepositional combination such as "... к тому, с кем ..." happens to be made up of the same prepositions in your example: "... в то, во что ...".

As another example with a similar structure, I'd say something like:

Я сначала разберусь с тем, с чем надо разобраться в первую очередь.


Эти русские верят в то, во что никто не верит.

There is the verb верить twice, and each of them demands the same case and preposition usage.

Я не верю в то, что эти действия были необходимы.

In this case the second clause relates not to верю, but to то. We can translate it as 'I do not believe in the idea, that these actions were necessary'.

Thus, these are two different cases, but if you have heard the second type more often, you may be surprised that the first type exists.

Besides, the verb верить can have a direct object in the Dative case.

Я верю тому же, чему и вы. (Я верю тому же, чему верите и вы, just верите is omitted)
Я верю тому, что он говорит. (the second clause is related to тому)

У этих русских есть правила грамматики, которых ни у кого нет?

  • I wonder what this answer adds compared to the answer given 2 hours earlier.
    – shabunc
    Commented Jan 6, 2019 at 9:46
  • @shabunc, read it twice more.
    – Elena
    Commented Jan 6, 2019 at 10:41

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