Sunday, April 19, 2015


From an interview with Kennan in "The New York Review of Books," 1999

But consider their situation. Since the Thirty Years’ War, no people, I think, have been more profoundly injured and diminished than the Russian people have been by the successive waves of violence brought to them by this past brutal century. There were: the Russian-Japanese War of 1904-1905; the fearful manpower losses brought about by Russia’s participation in the First World War; the cruelties and the fighting that were a part of the consolidation of Communist power in the immediate aftermath of that First World War; then, the immense manpower losses of World War II; and finally, extending over some seven decades and penetrating and in part dominating all these other disasters, there were the immense damages, social, spiritual, even genetic, inflicted upon the Russian people by the Communist regime itself. In this vast process of destruction, all the normal pillars on which any reasonably successful modern society has to rest—faith, hope, national self-confidence, balance of age groups, family structure, and a number of others—have been destroyed. The process took place over most of an entire century. It embraced three generations of Russian people. Such enormous losses and abuses are not to be put to rights in a single decade, perhaps not even in a single generation.

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