Putin's Russia or Russia's Putin
by Ilya Levkov
Students of Russian history can be divided into two groups: believers and skeptics. The first accepts the Russian poet-diplomat Fyodor Tyutchev's (1803-1873) assessment of Russia's character, concisely explained in four lines that are proudly learned by all Russian pupils and remain deeply engraved in the minds of millions:
One can't grasp Russia by the mind
Or measure Her by common feeling,
She has a particular insideâ€”
She is a subject only for believing.
Those in the second group are more inclined to support Churchill's famous summary of Russian character, less poetic but no less descriptive: "Russia is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma."
Even Tom Clancy, master author of techno-thrillers, once said, "I do not understand Russians; I simply simulate their thoughts and actions."
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Related Topics: Russia | Winter 2014 inFocus | Ilya Levkov
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