Tuesday, 15 September 2009

My interest in Russia

I became interested in Russia during the mid- eighties when I was learning about the russian revolution at school, although it wasn't until I visited the place that my interest became quite so serious.

In 1988, I went to Russia for the first time when it was still the Soviet Union and I have been back four times since then: 1989, 1993, 2002 and 2003. As I write this, I can't believe it's been so long since my last trip! Although all my trips have included Moscow I have also visited St Petersburg and the Golden Ring cities of Vladimir and Suzdal.

There is something about Russia which makes most of us foreigners who live here spend most of our idle hours discussing the country's ills, proposing remedies and speculating about prospects for recovery. In a sense this is patronising. However it also demonstrated Russia's unique ability to stimulate foreigner's interest, even love. Perhaps because of the universality of its great literature and art, perhaps because of its size, strength and a particular kind of purity, Russia represents the human condition and struggle of the human spirit more vividly than our own countries. We are fascinated by what we see here, we want to be part of the struggle. We personally - often involuntarily - identify with this people's difficulties and fate. This is not patronising, but a testimony to Russia's greatness.

George Feifer, Message from Moscow

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