“Халтура,” pronounced roughly “hahl-TOO-rah” (accent on the second syllable), means “slipshod, careless work,” perhaps sometimes with the subtext of “slipshod, careless work as an institutional way of life.” (It also means “moonlighting,” but that’s a separate matter.)

Well, to be precise, a real Russian would probably have many other words on his mind, too, of varying degrees of vulgarity. But a Russian speaker like me, who left the Russosphere when he was seven, and was raised in an intelligentsia family where the other words just weren’t said ….

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