Russian Translation (Russian: Русский перевод) is a 2007 Russian TV miniseries, based on the novel The Journalist by Andrey Konstantinov (1996).
The plot is set in the 1980s and follows Soviet military advisors and translators working in Arab countries, specifically in Yemen and Libya.
The film story begins in the second half of 1984 - the final months of Konstantin Chernenko era - ending in the first part of 1991 - a few months before the anti-Gorbathev's GKChP coup d'état attempt.
A hero - Andrey Obnorsky (Nikita Zverev), a young student-orientalist from Leningrad - along the line of the Soviet Defense Ministry falls on his Arabic language practice into Marxist South Yemen.
When he comes by Aeroflot Tu-154M plane in PDRY's capital Aden he feels shocked! He has to understand a local dialectal speech - but they learned only the language of the Quran! He has to survive in this Arabian heat - but they say Soviet predecessors - Englishmen - freed their servicemen, who served in Aden, from the penal responsibility for several years because of it.
Above this, Obnorsky has had to be a translator and interpreter in a newly forming elite 7th Airborne brigade of the General Staff of the People's Democratic Republic of Yemen, to take part in the near-boundary clashes of southerners with the northerners (the way to the unification of Yemen was entirely complex) as well as between government forces and murtazaks, southern local armed opposition men, coming from abrod.
Without his own will, Obnorskij occurs in the middle of a dangerous plot with the participation of the KGB, GRU men, and Palestinians, who had to receive a large party of weapons from the USSR, and the quarreling fractions in the ruling Yemeni Socialist Party authorities, President Ali Nasser Muhammad supporters and opposition, before and during bloody combat on the streets of Aden.
Yet in the Happy Arabia the hero of film will meet his love, and then will find two most loyal friends. Another Arabic language student-interpreter Ilya Novoselov (Andrey Frolov), a cadet from the legendary Moscow VIIJa (the Military Institute - formerly the Military Institute of Foreign Languages of the Red Army), will introduce him into the vicious circle of military interpreters. The Palestinian instructor officer called Sindibad (Ramil Sabitov), the master of a hand-to-hand fighting, will teach him to fight.
After being graduated from the Leningrad State University and urgent service of two years in one of the Soviet flying military schools - already as the interpreter/translator- officer - Obnorsky goes again to the Arab World, now to Libya. This mission from The Ten (the 10th Main Direction of the General Staff of the Ministry of Defence of the USSR) also will not be calm. There will be some Moscow's gilded youth in his, senior translator, subordination, who must be run and translate! There will some modern Soviet-made fighters disappeare from the Benina Libyan airbase, and Obnorskij will be asked to clear up the situation for the Soviet competent bodies.
Finally, his friend Ilya Novoselov commits suicide leaving a very strange letter, and Obnorsky begins his own dangerous investigation which leads him to his old enemy from Adeni times - his elder colleague and GRU man Kukarintsev (Pavel Novikov).
Despite of his own life experience as a military interpreter/translator with the Soviet military advisors in South Yemen and Libya the author of the novel, Andrey Konstantinov, stresses in the very beginning of his bestseller: any coincidences with real historical persons, places and events are sudden but all the differences from a real historical accuracy are "conforming to the laws of nature". It was really a big and hard task to camouflage a routine lowest ranking serviceman-interpreter every day work and life with a war and detective plot full of danger and adventure making a readable novel for a wide Russian public of the mid-nineties. To hyperbolise and puzzle true facts and change some geography and peoples' names and to generate new unknown "historical facts" to make a novel looking alive. However, despite the author's words he has told in his preface to the story, which were mentioned above, the young generation of Russian readers continue to read this novel.
The book format helps a lot in this switching on every reader's individual fantasy.However the film or series format demanded a return to some kind of remaking of true historical realities and to restore some general distinctive features of that time local environmental and cultural, political, ideological, military, social, native, conversational and many other exotic details, which are easy to be remembered and recognised by those who took part in that or similar events.
The music for the film was composed by Igor Kornelyuk. The song Pismo (The Letter) is the first rap experience of this known composer from Saint Petersburg. Words - Regina Lisits. Performance - Pavel Ostroumov and Nina Vedenina.Nikita Zverev as Andrey Obnorsky
Andrey Frolov as Ilya Novoselov
Ramil Sabitov as Sindibad, Palestinian officer
Sergey Selin as major Doroshenko
Sergey Veksler as colonel Gromov
Pavel Novikov as Kukarintsev, then Djomin
Aleksandr Tyutin as KGB-man Tsarkov
Aleksandr Pashutin as general Sorokin
Aleksandr Tsurkan as head of translators in Aden Pakhomenko
Aleksandr Jakovlev as colonel Gritsaljuk
Alyona Yakovleva as a wife of an artillery advisor
Tatiana Abramova as secretary Marina
Victor Alferov as translator Nazrullo Tashkorov
Mikhail Politseymako as translator Fikret Gusejnov
Vladimir Epifantsev as translator Vikhrenko
Aleksandr Makagon as translator Vyrodin
Sergey Shekhovtsev as colonel Karpukhin
Anton Eldarov as translator Tsyganov
Ivan Mokhovikov as translator Gridich
Konstantin Karasik as driver Gena
Kirill Pletnev as investigator Kondrashov
Maria Antipp as Irina
Anton Kukushkin as translator Kolokol'chikov
Denis Yasik as translator Bubentsov
Roman Nesterenko as military school lecturer
Aleksandr Ablyazov as colonel Sectris
Aleksey Oshurkov as our man in Benghazi
Polad Fuad Agaragim Ogly
Fuad Osmanov as major Mansour
Firdavsi Atakishijev as colonel Isa