Despite the lengths they have to go to adapt to the challenges of the Russian media space, legally and linguistically, Ru Paul’s Russian translation team is in unanimous agreement that their work is vital for fans, LGBT-identifying or otherwise.Another translator, Elizabeth, told Ru Net Echo that “Mama Ru is a sip of freedom in a conservative society that constantly surrounds us.Everyone sends in their translations to a designated editor who then splices together the subtitles. And to a native or near-native English speaker, the play on words with a certain expletive would not be lost.But without such a vocabulary in Russian, the play on words could be lost to foreign viewers.Ru Paul himself has addressed the issue by stating that “the oppressed take on the characteristics of their oppressors.” Nevertheless, Nikita sees the show as a source of hope.“There is even a split in the community and I think that this show can help bring people together.” Note: translators’ full names were not used in this article to protect their identities because members of Russia's LGBT community are a discriminated-against minority.Nikita explained, “The biggest problem with translating Ru Paul’s Drag Race is a lack of developed drag culture in Russia, and with that, a lack of vocabulary associated with it.” “I thought about [motherfishin’] for two months and then I had an epiphany,” Elizabeth Rusakova, one of the group's primary translators, told Ru Net Echo.
Much of the dialogue in Drag Race includes slang that is particular to the LGBT and drag communities in the U. Though drag culture is less developed in Russia than in the West, it does exist, largely underground.
It’s dramatic, it’s campy, it’s gay, and it comes with Russian subtitles: since 2014, a group of volunteer translators on the Russian social media network VKontakte has been working to bring “Ru Paul’s Drag Race,” an award-winning American reality show that documents international gender-bending superstar Ru Paul Charles’ search for America’s next top drag queen, to the Russian-language internet.
Since forming three years ago, the Ru Paul VKontakte group has attracted a dedicated team of 10 translators and has expanded to reach an audience of over 5,000 regular viewers across the former Soviet Union.
Known as , it’s been around in Russia for decades and persists despite state pressure against LGBT groups and a rise in hate crimes against members of the LGBT community.
In 2014, Nightline profiled a Russian drag performer who fled the country for the U. after violent attacks at the club in Moscow where he used to perform.