Emily · Quoth Gwen Stefani (sort of), "I'm just a girl in the world studying Soviet-era legal dissidence in Bremen, Germany"
To Do List: Quote George F. Kennan some more
George F. Kennan, about whom I am now reading in John Lewis Gaddis’ absolutely amazing biography, is the ultimate notable quotable when it comes to the study of Russia, Russian, and Russians. So much so that I jotted down some of the most shining gems while reading the book on my flight home. Which I will now record for posterity (should posterity ever forget to read the biography and check here instead):
- On Russian politics and governance: “The strength of the Kremlin lies largely in the fact that it knows how to wait. But the strength of the Russian people lies in the fact that they know how to wait longer.”
- On Russians themselves: [Russians were used to] “extreme cold and extreme heat, prolonged lethargy and sudden feats of energy, exaggerated cruelty and exaggerated kindness, ostentatious wealth and dismal squalor, violent xenophobia and uncontrollable yearning for contact with the foreign world, vast power and the most abject slavery, simultaneous love and hate for the same objects.”
- On what was then Leningrad: [Somehow in that strange city] “where I have never lived, there has nevertheless, by some strange quirk of fate—a previous life, perhaps?—been deposited a portion of my own capacity to feel and to love, a portion—in other words—of my own life.”