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What is the meaning and usage of "Хотели как лучше, а получилось как всегда"?

+1 vote

I've read that this Russian expression was invented by a Russian politician and I'd like to use it when talking to my Russian friends. What does it mean exactly? Is there a similar expression in English and how to use it correctly?

asked Jan 15, 2013 by Emilia (170 points)

4 Answers

+2 votes
Best answer

A good way to translate this aphorism by Victor Chernomyrdyn is "We wanted the best, you know the rest."

You can use it in situations when things don't work out as planned even though you had all the best intentions to make them work.

Let's say you wanted to help your granny to carry groceries on the way back from a store. You grab the heavy bags with the utmost satisfaction and carry them proudly across the numerous cross-roads and intersections. Then you accidentally stumble and find all the eggs smashed into pieces. In an attempt to soothe the ferocious screaming of the granny you utter and excuse: "Ну вот! Хотел как лучше, а получилось как всегда!" :)

answered Jan 15, 2013 by Alex (13,670 points)
selected Jan 15, 2013 by Emilia
+1 vote


It's popular idiomatic expression. Somebody decide to do something cause he think that it'll be good for some people but result is wrong. Kind of Murphy's law.

For example: one stadium in my city is being repaired now. Administration decided that the disassembled tribunes aren't beautiful (good idea!) and covered it with big false front with bright advertising material. Making this cover isn't cheap so now they haven't enough money to finish repairing stadium (wrong result).

answered Jan 15, 2013 by Larusja (1,210 points)
+1 vote

This is Victor Chernomyrdin's, the former prime-Minister aphorism. The literal translation is "We tried (wanted) to make it better, and it came out as always". It became popular because he shaped in an aphorism, the opinion, widely accepted by self-critical Russians, that whatever Russians try, nothing good comes out. In Russia this expression is used mostly to criticize the government actions, or any other failures which the speaker pertain to Russianness. For more general use the translation "We wanted the best, you know the rest."- offered by Alex (see the top) is, indeed, the best.

answered Jan 15, 2013 by Igor_the_student (270 points)
0 votes

It is similar to "the road to hell is paved with good intentions"

answered Jan 15, 2013 by makpod (220 points)