I suddenly realized that it had been a long time, maybe years, since I’d set aside The Russian Language Today by Larissa Ryazanova-Clarke and Terence Wade (see this old post), and it was high time I got back to it, since I learn something or get a new insight on virtually every page. And sure enough, I immediately hit this passage:
An interesting tendency characterises the slang of the 1990s: its development runs counter to that of the general stratum of the language. Throughout the period from the 1960s to the 1980s, English was the primary source of Russian youth slang, whereas in the 1990s, when the language was saturated with new words of foreign origin, slang drew on native resources. The reason for this is that while, previously, English had been the means of isolating one sub-culture from another, and thus those who used slang from the rest of society, English is now becoming too popular to be a sub-cultural code.
They go on to discuss the word тусовка [tusovka] ‘gang, crew’ and its derivatives, like тусоваться [tusovatsya] ‘to hang around, go to parties’: “Etymologically, these words probably derive from the verb тасовáть (кáрты) ‘to shuffle (cards)’. Тусóвка, тусовáться originated in criminal argot, тусóвка originally meaning ‘fight, scene, quarrel’ … Thence, the words spread to hippy slang in the 1970s and later to young people’s informal speech in general. The meaning of тусовáться changed to ‘to hang out’, and the meaning of тусóвка changed to ‘company, circle of acquaintances’, or ‘meeting place’.” Fascinating stuff.