No one seems to know what to do with Russians. Play chess? Make purple soup together? Tramp with them through snow-filled forests in felt-lined boots and fur-lined hats to shoot bears and fleeing Germans? Read one of their novels, and die in the process from old age or grief?
They are not an easy people, and I should know because I’m married to one. Well, half-Russian which makes our children one-quarter Russian and therefore emotionally manageable, most of the time. Russians are mercurial, vengeful and petty. They’re also expansive, magnaminous and indulgent. They are their own worst enemy (how else do you explain how the world’s largest nation isn’t also the most powerful?) and their own saviours (no one else saved Russia in WWII except Russians). Their lands have been besieged as much as they’ve laid siege. They manufactured rubbish cars and tractors but launched the first man into space.
They define bipolar disorder. What the rest of the world takes medication for, they’ve turned into a national trait. It makes them unpredictable, volatile, brilliant and passionate. Do I generalize? Of course but not without planting a kernel of truth…I think. Do you agree with my assessment? If you do, what accounts for it? Something in the Volga? What has been your experience with Russians?