Ivan Krylov’s Fable – “Quartet”

Vasily Timorev - illustration to "Quartet".
Vasily Timorev (1870-1942) – illustration to “Quartet”.

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The Russian Language

Ivan Turgenev, The Russian Language (prose poem).


In days of doubt, in days of sad brooding­ on my country’s fate, thou alone art my ­rod and my staff — oh great, mighty, true­ and free Russian tongue! But for thee, h­ow not to fall into despair, seeing all t­hat happens at home? Yet who can think th­at such a language is not given to a grea­t people? Continue reading “The Russian Language”

‘No True Russian’ Feeds the Penguin

Russia & the West.

Pt. V: ‘No True Russian’ Feeds the Penguin.

Feed 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."


After the Penguin ad controversy, I thought of a very famous (in Russia) quote from another oustanding Russian – Alexander Pushkin. In his 1826 letter to Pyotr Vyazemsky he wrote:
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Fyodor Dostoyevsky “My Paradox” (Extract)

Fyodor Dostoyevsky in 1863.
Fyodor Dostoyevsky in 1863.

Again a tussle with Europe (oh, it’s not a war yet: they say that we – Russia, that is – are still a long way from war). Again the endless Eastern Question is in the news; and again in Europe they are looking mistrustfully at Russia. . . . Yet why we should go running to seek Europe’s trust? Did Europe ever trust the Russians? Can she ever trust us and stop seeing us as her enemy? Oh, of course this view will change someday; someday Europe will better be able to make us out and realize what we are like; and it is certainly worth discussing this someday; but meanwhile a somewhat irrelevant question or side issue has occured to me and I have recently been busy to solve it. No one may agree with me, yet I think that I am right – in part, maybe, but right. Continue reading “Fyodor Dostoyevsky “My Paradox” (Extract)”

Fyodor #Dostoyevsky on the #Slavic Question

Fyodor Dostoyevsky‘s Diary (1877, November).

Portrait of Fyodor Dostoyevsky by Vasily Perov, 1872.
Portrait of Fyodor Dostoyevsky by Vasily Perov, 1872.
Some Quite Special Remarks about the Slavs That I Intended to Make Long Ago.

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