Last modified on 2 November 2014, at 04:04

Russia

From the southern seas to the polar lands. Spread are our forests and fields. You are unique in the world, one of a kind. This native land protected by God! ~ National anthem of the Russian Federation
When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretence of loving liberty — to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be take pure, and without the base alloy of hypocracy. ~ Abraham Lincoln
If I lived in China or even Russia, or any totalitarian country, maybe I could understand the denial of certain basic First Amendment privileges, because they hadn't committed themselves to that over there. ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.
A riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma. ~ Winston Churchill

Russia is a transcontinental country extending over much of northern Eurasia. It is a semi-presidential republic comprising 83 federal subjects. Russia shares land borders with the following countries (counterclockwise from northwest to southeast): Norway, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania (via Kaliningrad Oblast), Poland (via Kaliningrad Oblast), Belarus, Ukraine, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, China, Mongolia and North Korea. It also borders the Arctic Ocean, the Pacific Ocean, the Caspian Sea, the Baltic Sea, and the Black Sea. Russia is close to the United States (Alaska) and Japan.

QuotesEdit

  • From the southern seas to the polar lands. Spread are our forests and fields. You are unique in the world, one of a kind. This native land protected by God!
  • You know, I never planned to leave. I was not extremely patriotic about Mother Russia. You know, I played their game, pretending, of course. You have to deal with, you know, party people, KGB... Horrifying.
  • I cannot forecast to you the action of Russia. It is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma; but perhaps there is a key. That key is Russian national interest.
    • Winston Churchill, BBC radio address “The Russian Enigma” (October 1, 1939) (partial text); in Robert Rhodes James, ed., Winston S. Churchill: His Complete Speeches, 1897–1963 vol. 6 (1974), p. 6161.
  • Judged by every standard which history has applied to Governments, the Soviet Government of Russia is one of the worst tyrannies that has ever existed in the world. It accords no political rights. It rules by terror. It punishes political opinions. It suppresses free speech. It tolerates no newspapers but its own. It persecutes Christianity with a zeal and a cunning never equalled since the times of the Roman Emperors. It is engaged at this moment in trampling down the peoples of Georgia and executing their leaders by hundreds.
    • Winston Churchill, speech to the Scottish Unionist Association, Edinburgh, Scotland (September 25, 1924); ; in Robert Rhodes James, ed., Winston S. Churchill: His Complete Speeches, 1897–1963 vol. 4 (1974), p. 3472.
  • It would appear that the natural frontier of Russia runs from Dantzic or perhaps Stettin to Trieste.
    • Friedrich Engels, "The Real Issue in Turkey", Karl Marx and Engels, Collected Works, vol. 12, p. 16 (1979). This article was originally published in The New York Daily Tribune, April 12, 1853, p. 4, and since that paper's European correspondent was at that time Karl Marx, it has generally been assumed the author was Marx. Collected Works, vol. 12, p. 639, note 17, makes it clear that Engels was the author.
  • In a Russian tragedy, everybody dies. In a Russian comedy, everybody dies, too. But they die happy.
    • Barry Farber, radio talk-show host in New York City, during a program on radio station WMCA; reported in Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations (1989).
  • If the Russian word "perestroika" has easily entered the international lexicon, this is due to more than just interest in what is going on in the Soviet Union. Now the whole world needs restructuring, i.e. progressive development, a fundamental change.
  • If I had to choose between life in the Soviet Union and life in the U.S.A., I would certainly choose the Soviet Union.
    • Attributed to Graham Greene, Parade magazine (October 29, 1967), p. 2. Reported as unverified in Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations (1989).
  • I think Russian people are learning that democracy is not an alien thing; it's not a western invention. It's probably the most affordable mechanism to solve problems inside the country, inside the society because Putin proved to all of us that democracy has a world of alternatives, security forces and police and power abuse and that's why I think eventually the people of Russia will embrace democracy as the least costly institution to help them to solve their daily problems.
    • Garry Kasparov, statement in interview: Monica Attard (April 3, 2005). "Gary Kasparov", Sunday Profile, Australian Broadcasting Company.
  • My letter to Castro concluded an episode of world history in which, bringing the world to the brink of atomic war, we won a Socialist Cuba. It's very consoling for me personally to know that our side acted correctly and that we did a great revolutionary deed by not letting American imperialism intimidate us. The Caribbean crisis was a triumph of Soviet foreign policy and a personal triumph in my own career as a statesman and as a member of the collective leadership. We achieved, I would say, a spectacular success without having to fire a single shot!
  • Complete equality of rights for all nations; the right of nations to self-determination; the unity of the workers of all nations—such is the national program that Marxism, the experience of the whole world, and the experience of Russia, teach the workers.
    • Vladimir Lenin, "The Right of Nations to Self-Determination", reported in Vladimir Lenin; Doug Lorimer (2002). Marxism & Nationalism. Resistance Books, p. 125. ISBN 1876646136.
  • The Autocrat of all the Russias will resign his crown, and proclaim his subjects free republicans sooner than will our American masters voluntarily give up their slaves.
  • As a nation, we began by declaring that 'all men are created equal.' We now practically read it 'all men are created equal, except negroes.' When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read 'all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and catholics.' When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretence of loving liberty — to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be take pure, and without the base alloy of hypocracy.
  • They're our next-door neighbors, and you can actually see Russia from land here in Alaska, from an island in Alaska."
    • Sarah Palin, to Charles Gibson, ABC News, September 11, 2008.
      • This was parodied as "I can see Russia from my house", on "Saturday Night Live", a comedy television show, two days later, by Tina Fey. Fey resembled Palin in appearance, and was portraying Palin, and so the latter quote is often misattributed to Palin.
  • Russia has made its choice in favor of democracy. Fourteen years ago, independently, without any pressure from outside, it made that decision in the interests of itself and interests of its people -- of its citizens. This is our final choice, and we have no way back. There can be no return to what we used to have before. And the guarantee for this is the choice of the Russian people, themselves. No, guarantees from outside cannot be provided. This is impossible. It would be impossible for Russia today. Any kind of turn towards totalitarianism for Russia would be impossible, due to the condition of the Russian society.
  • In my former constituency there is stud "Khrenovskoy" and that stud is older than all of the United States, older than America. Naturally, that's why we have archaic views.
  • A Frenchman is self-assured because he regards himself personally, both in mind and body, as irresistibly attractive to men and women. An Englishman is self-assured, as being a citizen of the best-organized state in the world, and therefore as an Englishman always knows what he should do and knows that all he does as an Englishman is undoubtedly correct. An Italian is self-assured because he is excitable and easily forgets himself and other people. A Russian is self-assured just because he knows nothing and does not want to know anything, since he does not believe that anything can be known. The German's self-assurance is worst of all, stronger and more repulsive than any other, because he imagines that he knows the truth--science--which he himself has invented but which is for him the absolute truth.
    • Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace, (1865-1869). Book 9, Chapter 10.
  • Let a man find himself, in distinction from others, on top of two wheels with a chain — at least in a poor country like Russia — and his vanity begins to swell out like his tires. In America it takes an automobile to produce this effect.
    • Leon Trotsky, The History of the Russian Revolution (1930). See edition: Leon Trotsky; Max Eastman (1957). The History of the Russian Revolution. University of Michigan Press, p. 213.
  • I got very well acquainted with Joe Stalin, and I like old Joe! He is a decent fellow. But Joe is a prisoner of the Politburo.
    • Harry S. Truman, informal remarks, Eugene, Oregon (June 11, 1948); Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Harry S. Truman, 1948, p. 329. Truman refers to his meeting with Stalin at the Potsdam conference in July 1945.

AttributedEdit

  • I live in the USSR, work actively and count naturally on the worker and peasant spectator. If I am not comprehensible to them I should be deported.
  • Russia was a slave in Europe but would be a master in Asia.
    • Fyodor Dostoevsky, reported in Dominic Livien (April 1999). "Dilemmas of Empire 1850-1918: Power, Territory, Identity". Journal of Contemporary History 34 (2): p. 180.
  • We do not want a single foot of foreign territory; but of our territory we shall not surrender a single inch to anyone.
    • Joseph Stalin, reported in Sándor Forbát ; Alex Forbath (1938). Europe Into the Abyss: Behind the Scenes of Secret Politics. Pallas Publishing Co., Ltd., p. 462.
  • We bow our heads in respect for those Soviet women who displayed exceptional courage in the severe time of war. Never before but during the days of the war the grandeur of spirit and the invincible will of our Soviet women, their selfless dedication, loyalty and affection to their Homeland, their boundless persistence in work and their heroism on the front manifested themselves with such strength.
    • Leonid Brezhnev, reported in IE IU Kastelli, V karǐni zdiǐsnenoǐ mriǐ (1979) p. 54
  • I could have gone on flying through space forever.
  • My arms are up to my elbows in blood. That is the most terrible thing that lies in my soul.
    • Nikita Khrushchev, reported in Melvyn P. Leffler (2007). For the Soul of Mankind: The United States, the Soviet Union, and the Cold War. Macmillan, p. 496. ISBN 0809097176.
  • We don't appreciate what we have until it's gone. Freedom is like that. It's like air. When you have it, you don't notice it.
  • In my view, the composer, just as the poet, the sculptor or the painter, is in duty bound to serve Man, the people. He must beautify human life and defend it. He must be a citizen first and foremost, so that his art might consciously extol human life and lead man to a radiant future. Such is the immutable code of art as I see it.
    • Sergei Prokofiev, reported in S. Shlifstein; Rose Prokofieva (2000). Sergei Prokofiev: Autobiography, Articles, Reminiscences. The Minerva Group, Inc., p. 136. ISBN 0898751497.
  • Generalissimo Stalin directed every move … made every decision … He is the greatest and wisest military genius who ever lived...
  • In Russia we only had two TV channels. Channel One was propaganda. Channel Two consisted of a KGB officer telling you: Turn back at once to Channel One.
    • Yakov Smirnoff, reported in Bob Fenster (2005). Laugh Off: The Comedy Showdown Between Real Life And The Pros. Andrews McMeel Publishing, p. 101. ISBN 0740754688.


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