The Washington Post

‘Khuilo': The offensive term that has attached itself to Putin

On Saturday night, the strong words over the Ukrainian crisis took an unusually vulgar turn: Ukraine’s interim foreign minister, Andrii Deshchytsia, called Russian President Vladimir Putin a "d---head."

“I am ready to be here with you and say, ‘Russia, get out of Ukraine,’ ” Deshchytsia said as he tried to calm protesters outside the Russian Embassy in Kiev. “Putin is a d---head, yes.” The incident was captured on film (around 35 seconds in):

As my colleagues Carol Morello and Michael Birnbaum reported, the incident sparked an outcry from Russia, where officials were angry that their president would be spoken of in such undiplomatic terms. But Deshchytsia didn't conjure up this term on his own.

The phrase "Путін хуйло" (transliterated alternatively "Putin Khuilo!" or "Putin Huylo!" – roughly, "Putin is a d---head!") has been around since at least March. It goes something like this:

Pu-tin Khui-lo
la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la
la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la
la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la

You can hear the crowd singing that refrain in the video above, or in the video below, which shows soccer fans in Kharkiv singing it and helped popularize the song:

The song seems to have emerged from the football terraces, and united rival fans. In this video, fans of rival teams Shakhtar Donetsk and Dynamo Kiev both sing the song during a game:

The chant has spread further since then: Here it is in Japan:

And here it is in Los Angeles:

Someone even made a "power mix" of it:

Kremlin supporters are understandably a little annoyed that Deshchytsia would publicly acknowledge an offensive football chant, but Deshchytsia claims he was trying to defuse a situation that saw Ukrainian nationalists trying to storm the Russian embassy.

Besides, Russian officials aren't always so diplomatic either – Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was once accused of a "f-word tirade" when talking about Georgia with former British foreign minister David Miliband.

Adam Taylor writes about foreign affairs for The Washington Post. Originally from London, he studied at the University of Manchester and Columbia University.

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