What does the text on this poster say? Is it grammatical at all?

enter image description here

  • 2
    It is grammatical, just written in an old-fashioned manner ("лик", "некто", "электротелеграф") and pre-Reform Orthography. As far as I can tell, they got the pre-1917 spelling correct. It is important to understand that people trying to imitate pre-Reform spelling may use ѣ, і and ъ even when not appropriate, while still being grammatically correct. This is not taught at school, after all.
    – Shady_arc
    Commented Feb 19, 2015 at 11:14

2 Answers 2


The translation by @user4419802 is absolutely correct, still it is practically impossible to understand what it means without knowing what the lawsuit and the meme mentioned in it are. Let me tell the story.

In 2005 a Russian band made a video that contained the phrase “бей бабу по ебалу” (‘hit women into their faces’ expressed in obscene words). Later, in 2008, in a Russian social network a meme appeared, it was the portrait of a stylish Russian rock’n’roll singer Valeri Syutkin in the Obama election campaign altered colors with the abbreviation ’BBPE’ which is the abbreviation of the above rude phrase transliterated into the Latin alphabet. The image was used in the social networks to troll camwhores. And later, in December 2014, the Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology and Mass Media of the Russian Federation applied to the court with a lawsuit against the Internet encyclopedia Lurkmore to make the encyclopedia delete the article about that BBPE meme, explaining that Syutkin cannot bear his mom's distress when she learned what her son's portrait is used for. However, the court rejected the claim, and another meme appeared, the one you are asking about. The image shows the Дореволюцiонный Совѣтчикъ – The Pre-Revolution Adviser – also a meme, an aristocratic-looking guy speaking the pre-1917 aristocratic archaic language using the old spelling. ‘The electrical telegraph’ obviously means ‘the Internet’, and the meme mentioned there is the BBPE image.

Now you can see that to understand the text the understanding of at least four other Internet memes is needed.

  • 3
    The aristocratic looking guy is Robert Downey Jr. from the popular "my face when..." meme, upon which this one is based.
    – Quassnoi
    Commented Feb 19, 2015 at 19:24
  • 1
    @Quassnoi - Oh, yes, but that's just the head of Robert Downey Jr. which is attached to the body of an Unknown Man in a Black Frock Coat and Black Cloak from the mid-19th century portrait signed by JX Kaniewski.
    – Yellow Sky
    Commented Feb 19, 2015 at 22:43

The text is written in old (pre-1917) grammar (though I'm not sure, if it's free of errors).

The translation is: [This is] my face, when someone files a lawsuit against the electrical telegraph, being the well-known [Internet] meme.

  • 2
    It is free of errors — a rare and beautiful sight. I'm not sure являясь isn't a stylistic anachronism, though. Commented Feb 19, 2015 at 14:01
  • @Artemix Me too. I put "Internet" for a clarity, though probably it's better not to.
    – Matt
    Commented Feb 19, 2015 at 14:08
  • @NikolayErshov: also it would most probably be spelled электро-телеграфъ back then. Conjoined spelling was used too but more rarely.
    – Quassnoi
    Commented Feb 19, 2015 at 19:37
  • @NikolayErshov: according to the corpus, являясь was used in 1800s mostly in in the direct meaning ("showing up"), however the abstract meaning ("being") is also recorded, especially in scientific and official texts. So it does not need to be an anachronism.
    – J-mster
    Commented Feb 20, 2015 at 14:01
  • 1
    Well, but at least "лик" seems too archaic even for 1800s speech.
    – Matt
    Commented Feb 20, 2015 at 14:30

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