In Shostakovich against Stalin documentary it's explained how Shostakovich once reacted to Stalin's oppinion ("life is now better", "let's make life better") by proposing a toast and sarcastically saying, according to the subtitules there:

Let's drink to life not getting any better.

I think I hear

"давайте выпем за то, чтобы лучше не былa (бы)" (Д.Ш.)

Now бы is in parenthesis, since I'm totally unsure if that's the word pronounced after былa (or maybe было). First question would be to confirm this. The second question is, if this a better translation?

"Let's drink to life, for it not be that good."

I mean, given the background.

1 Answer 1


He says давайте выпьем за то, чтобы лучше не было бы, so subtitles translation is correct. Notice the accent: не́ было / не была́.

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