[Ads-l] _kompromat_

Stephen Goranson goranson at DUKE.EDU
Wed May 31 12:28:59 EDT 2017

I vaguely thought it might have been mentioned here before.

So I used the Custom Google Search, and kompromat did not show up. (Don't know why.)



From: American Dialect Society <...> on behalf of Ben Zimmer <...>
Sent: Wednesday, May 31, 2017 12:12 PM
To: ...
Subject: Re: [ADS-L] _kompromat_

Chris Waigl suggested "kompromat" as an early WOTY contender on Jan. 12:


I wrote about it for my WSJ column the following week:


If paywalled, try this Twitter link:


As I mention in the column, I found a couple of early English-language
cites on Google Books.


The Art of Spying<https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=https-3A__books.google.com_books-3Fid-3DtasgAQAAIAAJ&d=DwIFaQ&c=imBPVzF25OnBgGmVOlcsiEgHoG1i6YHLR0Sj_gZ4adc&r=uUVa-8oDL2EzfbuMuowoUadHHcJ7pjul6iFkS5Pd--8&m=oQx8ng1oQeS4FJz2aaXWmD_-NcDWo_COry_A56YY7Zw&s=uBfvNNp51x8uGBd9HJVZbF4LFpP6sNTGDd9q5ypmhOc&e=>

Enrico Altavilla, _The Art of Spying_ (1967), pp. 53-4
Other potential victims of blackmail are the people without nationality,
200,000 on Germany territory, and the refugees from East Germany. Every so
often one of these receives a letter informing him of illness in his
family; he hurries to the East only to discover that the letter was false,
written at the behest of the secret service with the hope of enlisting him
in their ranks. Usually this offer is made to people who have something to
hide. This is why East Germans have created the "Kompromat," the
investigation bureau which delves into the private lives of the men and
women whom they hope to recruit by blackmail.
Lev Kopelev (transl. Antonina W. Bouis), _Ease My Sorrows_ (1983), p. 164
Gumer told me that Shikin had been planning to take care of us for
"snitching" to the Central Committee; he had already called in several zeks
and free employees, started gathering a kompromat, a compromising affidavit.

It starts showing up in news databases in 1993.

Reuters News, Apr 25, 1993
Rutskoi promises to back up corruption allegations.
MOSCOW, April 25, Reuter - Russian Vice-President Alexander Rutskoi renewed
his allegations of corruption against President Boris Yeltsin's team of
advisers on Sunday and said he planned to provide evidence next week.
Speaking to reporters as he voted in Moscow in a referendum on Yeltsin and
his reforms, the 45-year-old former air force officer said he would be
addressing parliament on April 28 to present documents supporting his case.
Rutskoi, a critic of economic reform, has sided with parliament against
Yeltsin, who has stripped him of some of his responsibilties and suggested
he should resign.
"I will be presenting documents which confirm corruption in the highest
ranks of power," he said.
Rutskoi told parliament last week he had 11 suitcases full of documents
proving corruption by Yeltsin's entourage and his young reformist ministers.
Former prime minister Yegor Gaidar and Privatisation Minister Anatoly
Chubais hit back, accusing Rutskoi of collecting "kompromat" (compromising
material) for political ends.


On Wed, May 31, 2017 at 10:07 AM, David Barnhart <dbarnhart at highlands.com>

> _Kompromat_ and many like it are, or shortly will be, entries in
> _Barnhart's Never-finished Political Dictionary of the 21st Century_.
> See a sample of this brand-new dictionary:
> https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=http-3A__secure.combinedbook.com_barnharts-2Dnever-2Dfinished-2Dpoli&d=DwIFaQ&c=imBPVzF25OnBgGmVOlcsiEgHoG1i6YHLR0Sj_gZ4adc&r=uUVa-8oDL2EzfbuMuowoUadHHcJ7pjul6iFkS5Pd--8&m=oQx8ng1oQeS4FJz2aaXWmD_-NcDWo_COry_A56YY7Zw&s=1LjO2OsKdDb2thh18mX0nqXh9tXiL9QZW_WDhLvHHYc&e=
> tical-dictionary-of-the-21st-century_167926.html
> *kompromat*, kom proh MAHT /kom prou'mat/, *n*. {w}  subversive or
> otherwise negative documents, such as fake news, designed to compromise the
> integrity of a politician or the like.  *Nonstandard* (used in contexts
> dealing especially with Russian espionage; common)
> In real life, U.S. intelligence agencies are investigating Trump’s ties to
> Vladimir Putin and the possibility that a dossier of secret information—
> *kompromat*—gives Russia leverage with his [Trump’s] regime.  Judith
> Thurman, “What-If Dept.; Roth On Trump,” *The New Yorker*, Jan. 30, 2017, p
> 18
> Terry Gross: And that would fit a Russian pattern. They blackmail people
> all the time. They destroy opponents with embarrassing information or
> videotapes. They even plant false information. The word is kompromat. The
> New York Times did an excellent story a week or two ago about a—I believe
> he was, like, a Russian political dissident living outside of the country
> who had child pornography found on his computer by the authorities. And
> there seems to be compelling evidence that it was planted on him.  Terry
> Gross, “Journalist: Trump Seems ‘Willfully Blind’ To Putin’s Real
> Goals,” *Fresh
> Air *on NPR (Google News), Dec. 21, 2016,
> https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=http-3A__www.npr.org_2016_12_21_506302106_journalist-2Dtrump-2Dsee&d=DwIFaQ&c=imBPVzF25OnBgGmVOlcsiEgHoG1i6YHLR0Sj_gZ4adc&r=uUVa-8oDL2EzfbuMuowoUadHHcJ7pjul6iFkS5Pd--8&m=oQx8ng1oQeS4FJz2aaXWmD_-NcDWo_COry_A56YY7Zw&s=03WP8jPgCgHPwwgl_2jCUSAdZp5shrdX4weVwaGOyKo&e=
> ms-willfully-blind-to-putin-s-real-goals
> But fiscal problems have taken a back seat to a Soviet-style Kremlin
> struggle, making many skeptical that the authorities care about their
> problems or are capable of solving them.
> The kompromat, or compromising evidence drama, reached its peak when
> Yeltsin fired his bare-knuckled Security Council chief Alexander Lebed
> after he was accused of plotting a coup. Olivia Ward, “Yeltsin threatens to
> sack more top Kremlin officials ‘It’s time to stop fighting for influence.
> It’s time to work’,” *The Toronto Star* (Nexis), Oct. 26, 1996, p A11
> 1996.  Loan word (borrowing): from a Russian word popular in the KGB
> meaning “compromising material” [ultimately from *компро*(метирующий
> )*мат*(ериал)
> transliterated as *compromising material*].

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