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"Putin – khuylo!" (Russian: Пу́тин — хуйло́, IPA: [ˈputʲɪn xʊjˈlo]; Ukrainian: Пу́тін — хуйло́, IPA: [ˈput⁽ʲ⁾in xʊjˈlɔ]; Belarusian: Пу́цін хуйло́, IPA: [ˈput͡sʲin xujˈɫo]; commonly translated as "Putin [is a] dickhead") is a slogan deriding Russian President Vladimir Putin. It originated in Ukraine in 2014 having grown from a football chant first performed by FC Metalist Kharkiv ultras and Shaktar Donetsk ultras in March 2014 on the onset of the Russo-Ukrainian War. The phrase has become a protest song and is very widespread throughout Ukraine amongst supporters of Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity and more generally those who oppose Vladimir Putin in both Russia and Ukraine.
The obscene term (mat) хуйло́ is variously transliterated as huilo, huylo, khuilo, khuylo, or xujlo. Its core is хуй (khuy), literally "penis" in both Russian and Ukrainian. In combination with the suffix -lo it is a personal insult. It can be translated as "dickhead", but its connotation is far more pejorative in those languages than in English. The words are identical in Russian, Ukrainian, and Belarusian.
Another abbreviation containing a similarly suggestive meaning is "ПТН ПНХ" (PTN PNKh), which stands for "Путин, пошёл на хуй" (Putin, poshol na khuy, which is similar to "Putin, go fuck yourself", which could be rendered in English as "PTN GFY").
The chant has its origins in "Surkis Khuylo!", a football chant that was initiated by the ultras of FC Metalist Kharkiv some time in 2010, during the height of a feud between two Ukrainian oligarchs, Oleksandr Yaroslavsky, then-owner of "Metalist", and Hryhoriy Surkis, then-president of the Football Federation of Ukraine who had strong historic and family ties with FC Dynamo Kyiv. The Kharkiv fans, who sided with their club president, chanted "Surkis Khuylo!" to express their dislike of the Football Federation president in vulgar and profane form.
The first recorded public performance of the "Putin khuylo!" chant and the song that grew from it took place in March 2014 in Kharkiv when the local fans chanted it during their street march. The recording was soon posted to YouTube. Various groups of Ukrainian ultras of major Ukrainian clubs with the exception of FC Sevastopol have historically held strong pro-Ukrainian, sometimes nationalist, political views. These football fans sided with Ukraine at the onset of the Russian annexation of Crimea and military intervention as well as during the pro-Russian unrest in the east and south of Ukraine, when the city of Kharkiv was in turmoil. Soon, the song that vulgarly derided Putin gained wider popularity, spreading amongst other clubs, such as the fans of Shakhtar Donetsk (Donetsk) and Dynamo Kyiv (Kyiv), who were formerly feuding but sang the song together. During the 2014 Russian intervention and partial occupation of Ukraine,[nb 1] the ultras of various Ukrainian clubs set aside their rivalries and chanted the song in joint street marches. The chant became "a nationwide cultural meme" according to The Guardian. Alexander J. Motyl reported, "A shorthand, more modest version of the lyrics has even entered the popular discourse. If you want to express your views of Putin, all you need do is say 'la-la la-la la-la', and everything's quite clear," which is a reference to the refrain of the chant.
When Russian television channel TNT aired one episode of the Ukrainian sitcom "Servant of the People" in December 2019, a scene containing a joke that referenced the song, in which the fictional president played by Volodymyr Zelensky asked "Putin hublo?" («Путин — хубло?») when told that Putin wore a Hublot watch, was cut out of the episode. The omission occurred only within central Russia and the Moscow region, but not in the eastern regions of the country.
Several Ukrainian mainstream rock music bands included or adapted the chant into their music. A metal remix, released on April 21, 2014, by AstrogentA, added instrumentation and reworked the video of the March 30 protest chant to depict its spread throughout Ukrainian football clubs. The Ukrainian band Teleri (band) received international attention following the May 6, 2014 release of a song and a video titled "Putin Hello!" Their song uses a double entendre, substituting the objectionable word "khuylo" with the English word "Hello!" Alluding to the "Putin Khuylo!" chant, the video features band players wearing Ukrainian football club colors and posing as ultras marching and chanting "Putin Hello" as the refrain of the song. The band members asserted, tongue-in-cheek, that the linking of their song to an offensive anti-Putin chant was a misunderstanding and insisted that the only people who found the chant objectionable were Russians unfamiliar with English.
Hromadske.TV aired a live performance of the song by Lemonchiki Project on May 29, 2014. The rock band Druha Rika performed the song at their concert on June 13, 2014. Other rock adaptations were made by Mad Heads and Haydamaky. The Kyiv Post reviewed nine video versions of the song and two other related songs.
In October 2014, Belarusians joined visiting Ukrainians in a performance of the chant by "nearly the entire stadium" at a UEFA Euro 2016 qualifying match in Barysaw, Belarus, resulting in more than 100 Ukrainian and 30 Belarusian football fans being detained and questioned, reportedly on suspicion of using "obscene language". Seven, all Ukrainian, were sentenced to five days in jail for obscene language, whilst one was given a 10-day sentence for allegedly wearing a swastika.
In the world press
The phrase received attention in the world press and was the subject of publications in influential international newspapers, magazines and numerous online publications.
In the USA
- The Washington Post.
- The Wall Street Journal.
- The Atlantic.
- World Affairs.
- Business Insider.
- Bloomberg View.
- International Business Times.
- Foreign Policy.
Hromadske.TV aired a footage showing Andrii Deshchytsia, then-acting Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, uttering the word "khuylo" in reference to the Russian President Putin during his plea with protesters in front of the Russian Embassy in Kyiv on the evening of June 14, 2014 following the Ukrainian Air Force Ilyushin Il-76 shoot-down by the Russia-armed rebels. Deshchytsya pleaded the protesters to refrain from violence pointed at the Embassy that would cause a bigger diplomatic scandal. Deshchytsia stated: "He (Putin) is a khuylo, but - disperse, please!" Shortly afterward, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko nominated a different diplomat to lead the Foreign Affairs ministry. According to the Ukrainian media, the presidential plan to replace the minister was known prior to the incident, being proposed as part of a bigger reshuffle in the Ukrainian government. Soon after, Poroshenko praised the work of Deshchytsia, who was then leaving his ministerial position, and the parliament gave the outgoing minister a standing ovation.
Deshchytsia's use of the wording caused widespread discontent amongst the Russian leadership. However, Geoffrey Pyatt, the US ambassador to Ukraine, wrote on Twitter that minister Deshchytsia's use of the chant had been "seeking to defuse a dangerous situation", calling Deshchytsia "a skilled diplomat and credit to Ukraine."
On July 2, 2014, Arsen Avakov who was Ukrainian Minister of Internal Affairs, one of the country's major security agencies, published a Facebook post with a photo he took that showed a bus stop near Sloviansk covered by a "Putin Khuilo!" graffiti. The minister post included his comment to the picture saying: "A private opinion some place near Slovyansk. Aligning myself." A week later, on July 9, Avakov met the troops of the Kyiv-1 Special Police force battalion. After the traditional drill exchange of "Glory to Ukraine!" greeting followed by the customary "To Heroes, Glory!" response, Avakov exclaimed "Putin!" to which the troops responded "khuylo!" The minister was clearly happy with the response and gave a "Vol'no!" ("at ease!") drill command.
2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine
The phrase became popular again during the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine. Ukrainian brewer Yuri Zastavny began preparing glass bottles to be used for anti-Russian Molotov cocktails with the English-lettered label "Putin Huylo".
Vanity plate "ПТН-ХЛО", abbreviation of the phrase, on a car in Ukraine
Label with disemvoweling on car in Poland
- Russia has denied supporting the pro-Russian militia forces of the 2014 insurgency in Donbass; but on 17 April 2014, Russian president Vladimir Putin admitted that Russian troops were active in Crimea during the March 2014 Crimean referendum that asked if Crimeans wanted to secede from Ukraine to join Russia, claiming this facilitated self-determination for the peninsula.
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AutoEnterprise's Facebook page re-posted a video taken by an Instagram user from the M11 motorway showing the disabled chargers. The chargers show an error message reading in English "CALL SERVICE NO PLUGS AVAILABLE" before new screens show additional messages in Russian: 'GLORY TO UKRAINE / GLORY TO THE HEROES / PUTIN IS A DICKHEAD / DEATH TO THE ENEMY.'
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Instead of recharging vehicles, the stations displayed a message that said, among other things: 'GLORY TO UKRAINE / GLORY TO THE HEROES / PUTIN IS A DICKHEAD / DEATH TO THE ENEMY.'
Media related to Putin khuilo! at Wikimedia Commons