Russia & the West.
Pt. V: ‘No True Russian’ Feeds the Penguin.
Person A: "No Russian feeds the Penguin." Person B: "But my uncle Andrey feeds the Penguin all the time." Person A: "Ah yes, but no true Russian feeds the Penguin."
…When dealing with foreigners we have neither pride nor shame – we make a fool of Vasily Lvovich in front of Englishmen, make Miloradovich show his mazurka skills in front of M-me de Staël. Russian nobleman [барин, barin aka landowner] yells: boy! amuse Gektorka [Danish male dog]. We burst into laughter and translate the landowner’s words to a foreigner. All this gets in his magazine and is published in Europe – it is disgusting. Of course, I despise my fatherland from head to toes but I feel upset when a foreigner shares my feelings. You, who are not on a leash, how can you stay in Russia? [even] if the tzar gives me a village [слобода, sloboda], I would not stay a month. We live in a sad world, but when I imagine London, rail roads, steam ships, British magazines or Parisian theaters and <brothels> – my up-country Mikhailovskoye [estate] puts me in melancholy and rage. I pictured my life in the fourth chapter of “Onegin“; one day you will read it and ask yourself with a sweet smile: where’s my poet? he has a talent – and you will hear, in response, my dear, he fled to Paris and would never come back to damn Rus’ – there’s a fine fellow. …
It’s just another fish for the Penguin! 😉
P.S. A short note: Pushkin loved and cared for Russia. It is fun to watch what quotes are selected and used here and there, justified by their ‘Russianness’. “It’s not us – this is what they really think of themselves”. Smart move indeed.