Monday, 4 July 2011


I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.

Said Douglas Adams, and I'm inclined to agree. However, today I discovered a word that is so useful that it describes most, if not all, of my futile life. The word is shturmovshchina, and it may even be worth learning how to spell it.

Shturmovshchina is the practice of working frantically just before a deadline, having not done anything for the last month. The first element means storm or assault, the second is a derogatory suffix.

Shturmovschina originated in the Soviet Union. Factories would be given targets and quotas and other such rot by the state. However, they often weren't given any tools or raw materials. So they would sit around with their feet up and their tools down waiting until the necessaries arrived, and it was only when the deadline was knocking at the door and the gulag beckoned that they would panic, grab whatever was to hand, and do a really shoddy, half-arsed heap of work.

This too is my policy.

Shturmovshchina is an excellent and usable word. It can be put on your CV in the Special Skills section. It can be used as an excuse to cancel dates/drinks/dinner parties or the occasional orgy.

A busy day at the Inky Fool offices


  1. When my students hand in their assignments I can always tell who has been "shturmovschchining" or whatever the verb is in english. I have decreed that the Latvian verb will be šturmovščināt!

  2. How should it be pronounced please?

    1. Stress on the second syllable: shturm-OVS-chee-ner (or at least that's approximately how a Russian explained it to me once).

    2. is that chee as in kee, hee or cheese?