16:44 GMT +321 November 2019
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    Democratic U.S. vice presidential nominee Senator Tim Kaine and Republican U.S. vice presidential nominee Governor Mike Pence (L) pass each other after the conclusion of their vice presidential debate at Longwood University in Farmville, Virginia, U.S., October 4, 2016.

    Bear Comments: Republican VP Hopeful Makes Up ‘Old Russian Proverb’

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    An “old Russian proverb” quoted by Republican Vice Presidential hopeful Mike Pence during Tuesday’s televised debate immediately went viral on the web inviting an avalanche of online head-scratching and mockery.

    While lashing out at Russia’s military campaign in Syria during the 90-minute sparring with his Democratic contender Tim Kaine, Mike Pence recalled what he called “an old Russian proverb.”

    "There is an old Russian proverb that says the Russian bear never dies, but hibernates," Pence stated authoritatively.

    ​​Because no one else could recall any such saying, Internet users were quick to point this out. 

    ​"a bear never dies, it hibernates." — Dwight K. Schrute, also Mike Pence

    ​Some Twitter users were quick to draw comparisons to popular TV shows.

    Buzzfeed went even further suggesting that the politician get a patent on his “proverb” and do it fast.

    Proverbs about the Russian bear, like the one Mike Pence mentioned, do not exist in the Russian language and hardly have any analogues in other languages, Vladimir Slavkin, a senior Russian language specialist at Moscow University, told Sputnik.

    “The mere fact that Mr. Pence invented such a text doesn’t yet make it a Russian proverb. The notion about the Russian bear is pretty widespread but the way he put it makes it neither a saying nor a proverb” he said.

    Slavkin added that each nation has its own symbols and notions.

    “I don’t think that this “bear image” can possibly be found in any folklore anywhere,” he emphasized.

    He added that if delayed action was what Mr. Pence really had in mind, then he should have mentioned the epic Russian warrior Ilya Muromets who  performed his heroic deeds after spending 33 years lying on a Russian oven.


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