The root of this word is куп meaning ‘buy’, add the prefix ‘вы’ which means ‘out of’ and it means kind of like ‘to buy out’. But here it means ‘ransom’.
For those of you who are just tuning in (alright that makes it sound like I have a following, which I don’t) the words this week are based on the story of the kidnapping of Dasha Popova that has been all over the news in Russia.
Dasha’s kidnapper, Aleksander Maximov, explained to police that his business was going under, he was deeply in debt and that his motivations in kidnapping the daughter of a prominent local businessman were fiscal.
One headline reads:
“Похититель хотел получить выкуп в 500 тысяч рублей с родителей 9-летней Даши Поповой”
“The kidnapper wanted to receive a ransom of 500 thousand rubles from the parents of 9 year-old Dasha Popova”
The article then quotes Maximov as saying:
“- Я задолжал 500 тысяч. Деньги очень были нужны. Взять их неоткуда. Вот и решил ребенка украсть, а потом потребовать выкуп у родителей”
“I was in debt 500 thousand dollars. I really needed money. I had nowhere to get it. So I decided to steal a child and then demand a ransom from the parents”
On a lighter note (sorry this week’s theme is kind of depressing), another fun place you might encounter a выкуп is at a Russian wedding. There is a tradition called “выкуп невесты” which could be understood in English as “paying the ransom for the bride”. A groom has to come to the brides house and then, with the help of money and various other goodies, try and buy his bride out of captivity. Only once he has paid the price that the family feels is appropriate does he get access to his bride.