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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016


Courage to Stay or Go


Foreigners living in Russia tend to complain of being unable to leave the country because of its unaccountable attractiveness. One foreigner said that Russia was a good place to test your courage. People often enjoy proving their endurance. Perhaps this is one of the secrets of Russia's attraction?

But what about its own citizens? Are they not silent heroes? It is enough to mention communal flats or kennel-sized "apartments" in dark suburbs, badly heated houses in winter, constant revolutionary changes and reforms, usually leading to greater hardships and so on. But, unlike foreigners in Russia, they cannot boast to their friends about their heroism.

As for being unable to leave the country, yes, it is difficult to leave places in Russia. When I was camping on a river bank for a couple of days in the summer I had the feeling that I would never go back home.

Russia's climate and history are certainly behind much of this. They have, perhaps, been conducive to that pessimism so characteristic of Dostoevsky's works which can foster grim expectations of the future. Even reforms can lead to hardships. Courage is necessary to live in this country, and willpower to leave it if necessary.

Karren George Danielyants

Irrecoverable Treasures

In response to "Top Secret Trojan Gold Resurfaces at Pushkin," by Sophia Coudenhove, Jan 13.


I do not want to criticize the author of the article, although she evidently sympathizes with Germans, from whose museums Russians -- ah, those Russians -- shamelessly removed "stolen works." I just want to tell you some of my thoughts on this subject.

I am by no means a nationalist. I have many friends in Germany. I like German culture. I speak German. But the fact is that Germans made millions of people suffer terribly.

It is not even necessary to recall that there are innumerable priceless works of art which have been removed from our museums and icons taken away from Russian churches. And there is not a thought about returning them.

And it is not just a matter of Trojan treasures. Although they would certainly bring fantastic sums at Sotheby's, Russia would never sell them. They will remain at the Pushkin Museum. It is the question of returning itself that matters. Fascists blew up churches, destroyed monuments without any strategic purpose. Can they return them to us?

Suppose the fascists had realized their barbaric plan and annihilated Moscow -- they were only several kilometers from our capital -- what would have happened then? Germans simply do not have any right to demand or ask for anything.

And the most important thing is that fascists robbed the country of its most valuable treasure: They killed at least 30 million civilian people. Can Germans return all those people?

So I think the only way out of this situation is for Russians and Germans to stop talking about returning.

Stanislav Oleinik