“You are afraid of revanchists in Bonn,
That Washington threatens to go far...
But Khrushchev himself said at the UN,
That we will show them Kuzka’s mother!
Most people share Vysotsky’s error and are convinced that Nikita Sergeyevich showed Kuzka’s mother at the UN banging the shoe on his desk. It was not quite so. The fifteenth session of the General Assembly of the United Nations, during which this shoe incident occurred, was held in September 1960. Nikita Sergeyevich showed Kuzka’s mother a year earlier.
On July 24, 1959, Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev and the then U.S. President Richard Nixon officially opened the first U.S. exhibition in the Soviet history in Moscow’s Sokolniki Park. Nixon took the Soviet leader to the showcase house of the American family. Bitter about the abundance of household appliances, including microwave ovens, never seen in the Soviet country, Khrushchev started a real fight in the American kitchen over advantages of the Soviet lifestyle. Overwhelmed by the hunger for vengeance, he said, “We have means, which will have grave consequences for you... We shall show you Kuzka’s mother!” Everyone was stunned and so was the interpreter. Out of fear, he said something literal about “the mother of Kuzma.” The philologists can confirm that idiomatic phrases are very difficult to translate.