I’m about halfway through Любимов [Lyubimov] by Andrei Sinyavsky writing as Abram Tertz in 1963, translated by Manya Harari as The Makepeace Experiment; it’s a very funny book that strikes me as to some extent a combination of Platonov’s Chevengur (with Lyubimov as the autonomous city leaping into the future of communist fulfillment, menaced by approaching forces from the surrounding Soviet Union; I wrote about Platonov’s novel here and here) and Bulgakov’s The Master and Margarita (with Leonid Ivanovich Tikhomirov, called Makepeace by Harari, in the role of the wish-fulfilling magician)—neither of those novels would be published for some years after 1963, but Sinyavsky very likely read them in samizdat or at least knew a fair amount about them. At any rate, I just hit the bit where a Soviet agent sneaks into town in the guise of an American reporter and interrogates the great leader Tikhomirov in a hilarious mix of German and bad Russian (original after the cut):
“I have the honor to be introducing myself, Herr Tikhomirov,” he pronounced, scandalously mangling the wonderful Russian language. “Ich bin Harry Jackson, nicknamed ‘The Old Gangster,’ a correspondent of the bourgeois newspaper Perdit Intrigan vrot okh Amerika. My transoceanic masters vants to have from you a leetle interfew.”
(For some reason, Harari omits the nickname: “‘Allow me to introduce myself, Herr Makepeace,’ he godlessly mispronounced our beautiful language.’ Ich bin Harry Jackson, correspondent of the bourgeois paper Perdit Intriguer Och Aus America.’”) The name of the paper starts off with a good (if vulgar) mini-sentence in Russian, “Пердит интриган в рот” [Perdít intrigán v rot], ‘The/an intriguer farts into the/a mouth’; it continues with the mock-German “ох Америка.” Compare the “French” title of the essay sent to the Revue de Paris by Venichka, the hero of Venedikt Erofeev’s great Moskva-Petushki: “Шик и блеск иммер елегант” [Shik i blesk immer elegant], ‘Chic and brilliance immer elegant,’ which also ends with a bit of German. German is historically the great Other to Russians, who have encountered it in contexts ranging from philosophy to war; in the old days, немец [némets] ‘German’ was used for any foreigner, and clearly any foreign language can be transmuted into German for comedic purposes.
Имею честь познакамливаться, хер Тихомиров,- произнес он, безбожно коверкая чудесный русский язык.- Их бин Гарри Джексон, по кличке “Старый Гангстер”, корреспондент буржуазной газеты “Пердит интриган врот ох Америка”. Моя заокеанский хозяев хошет иметь от вас маленький интер-фью.