Uncle Vanya: meaning, definition, explanation


“Uncle Vanya” is the name of a drama in four acts by Anton Chekhov, and it is said to be the name of a Russian fast-food chain that will replace McDonalds in Russia.

Uncle Vanya: Russia, McDonalds

McDonalds withdrew from Russia because of the Russian attack on Ukraine (2022) and closed its stores in Russia. (For a list of companies that have pulled out of Russia, click here). The Kremlin now wants to replace the fast food chain (and its 800 closed branches) with a domestic fast food chain called “Uncle Vanya” (Cyrillic Дядя Ваня).

The logo of “Uncle Vanya”, released on March 18, 2022, looks very similar to the McDonalds logo. The McDonalds-M has been turned 90 degrees to the right on its side and a horizontal line connects the ends of the two arcs, visually creating a “B” (in the sense of the Latin alphabet). In the context of the Cyrillic alphabet, the letter looks like a Latin “B”, but is pronounced as “V” (in English). The “V” stands for “Vanya.” The color design of “Uncle Vanya” uses a yellow letter on a red background, like McDonalds.

The network community reacted with derision to the proposal and suggested other alternatives: Netflix should become “Njetflix”.

The Moscow administration declared that it would support the “Uncle Vanya” project together with businessmen and that only products that are “one hundred percent Russian” will be offered in the stores.

On the homepage of the Russian company “Uncle Vanya” expressed that it has no intention to create a network of catering establishments.

Uncle Vanya: Anton Chekhov

The drama “Uncle Vanya” by Anton Chekhov was published in 1896 and premiered in Moscow in 1899.

Resignation

Ivan Petróvich Voynitsky (Uncle Vanya), together with Sonya (his niece), the rightful owner of his dead sister’s estate, is the administrator of it. With the proceeds he subsidizes the career and dissolute life of his brother-in-law, Professor Serebryakov, whom Vanya admires and adores. Only too gladly would he himself have devoted his life to art, like Serebryakov. His daughter Sonja, raised by her uncle Vanya on the estate, is of age and, to her chagrin, not very pretty. She has long had a crush on Vanya’s friend Ástrov, the district doctor. But he is bitter from the monotonous country life, overworked and a drunkard to boot. He has no eyes for Sonja.

Change and realization

Serebrjaków is already retired when he decides to return to the estate with his second, quite young wife Jeléna. The life of the inhabitants changes. Jeléna’s beauty magically attracts Vanya, but she has only friendly feelings for him and gives him the cold shoulder. Moreover, Vanya realizes that he was mistaken about Serebryakov. He is not a highly paid scientist at all, but rather a clever bon vivant with hypochondriac tendencies.

Escalation

Out of nowhere, Serebrjaków announces to the residents of the estate that he is going to sell the farm and invest the proceeds in stocks in order to resume his city life. Vanya’s life’s work is about to come to an end. Shortly before that, Vanya catches his adored Yelena and Ástrov in an ambiguous situation. Agitated by the events, he lets the situation escalate completely without notice and takes up a gun in the heat of the moment. Twice he shoots at Serebryakov, but does not hit him.


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Reversal

After Vanya’s suicidal thoughts and the search for a stolen bottle of morphine, Ástrov still tries to persuade the beautiful Yeléna to stay. But all efforts for change and new impulses come to nothing. The estate residents realize that they must return to their old lives and nothing will change.

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