In the US we say that someone "couldn't even be elected dogcatcher" to indicate that the person is very unpopular or unqualified; the position of dogcatcher is imagined to be the lowest kind of elective office, so you're truly disliked or incapable if you can't win an election to that position. (In reality, the position of dogcatcher is never on a ballot; the phrase was born in the 19th century.) Is there anything even close to this kind of phrase in Russia to convey indirectly that a person is very unpopular or incompetent?

  • 1
    There are no sayings about elections in Russian, since elections are not typical for Russia.
    – Yellow Sky
    Sep 9 '13 at 5:42
  • 2
    @YellowSky А как же "Голосуй-не голосуй, всё равно получишь хуй"?
    – КуЪ
    Sep 9 '13 at 9:12
  • @YellowSky: In fact I initially intended for the last sentence to start as "Even though Russia and elections have a tenuous relationship, is there anything even close...", but decided to drop that side comment.
    – KCd
    Sep 9 '13 at 23:38
  • 1
    Guys, please stay away from politics. I do not want this site to help to promote bombing of my city.
    – Anixx
    Sep 10 '13 at 1:11
  • На конкурсе мудаков занял второе место. Source: anekdot.ru/id/577862
    – StasM
    Sep 15 '13 at 19:45

There is no such idiom but depending on the meaning you want to convey, you can express it figuratively:

Он годится только в мусорщики.

Его бы и в мусорщики не взяли.

Он бы только дворником мог работать.

Его и в дворники не возьмут.

Дворник, уборщик, мусорщик are considered the lowest professions by prestige. These phrases are used to express incompetence. I currently cannot construct a similar phrase to express unpopularity.

  • Not being electable even as a dogcatcher is a lot more often used to convey incompetence rather than unpopularity, so your suggestions are close to what I was looking for. Thanks.
    – KCd
    Sep 9 '13 at 23:45

This one is very rude, but may match what you need:

Ни в пизду, ни в Красную армию

о человеке или предмете, который никуда не годится, не имеет видимых достоинств, или о котором нельзя сказать что-либо определённое. ru.wiktionary.org

This proverb says about a human or an object that is not worth anything, has no visible advantages or one that cannot be characterized in any way.

I think non-rude proverb would be one of the list that Anixx has posted (my favourite one is "Его даже в дворники не возьмут").

During Soviet time all men had to serve in military forces*, so one had almost 100% chance to join the Red Army without having any developed skills. Other part of the proverb says that one cannot cope with having sex with a woman.

Basically this proverb says that someone cannot cope even with simpliest tasks that do not require any qualification at all.

* Previously I described here a misleading medical aspect of being selected to military forces, but in fact this is not the case.

  • Hmmm... I have never heard this one before. When did it appear?
    – fedja
    Sep 14 '13 at 1:52
  • @fedja First time I faced this saying in the form of Latin proverb: "Non vaginus, non rotes legionus". This happened back in 2001.
    – Artemix
    Sep 16 '13 at 6:40

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.