Wednesday, December 10, 2008

A fat lot of good

My friend Greg Levonian is posting this beautiful quote on the value of Sovietology:
Quote From Defense Secretary Robert Gates from after the Russia-Georgia war:

"For the first time, both the United States secretary of state and secretary of defense have doctorates in Russian studies. A fat lot of good that's done us.
There are beautiful and very true verses by a Russian poet Fyodor Tjutchev:
Умом Россию не понять,
Аршином общим 
не измерить:
У ней особенная стать –
Россию можно только верить.
You will not grasp her with your mind
Or cover with a common label,
For Russia is one of a kind –
Believe in her, if you are able...
Der kühle, wägende Verstand
Kann Rußlands Wesen nicht verstehen;
Denn daß es heilig ist, dies Land,
Das kann allein der Glaube sehen.
Nul mètre usuel ne la mesure,
Nulle raison ne la conçoit.
La Russie a une stature
Qui ne se livre qu'à la foi.
I think these words should be written in every travel brochure about Russia, on every air plane ticket to Moscow, every Russian embassy and customs office. Hell, put it into the anthem! Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch'intrate. All hope abandon, ye who enter in.

Russia 1; Sovietology 0

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