As we approach this Valentine’s Day, with New England buried in Siberia-like snow, we can’t help but turn to Russia – a country whose complexity and mystery is just as vast and profound as the intricacy of love.
Winston Churchill, in a 1939 radio address, described it best when he said: “I cannot forecast to you the action of Russia. It is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma…”
And Fyodor Tyutcheve (1803-1873), one of Russia’s greatest 19th century poets, said: “Russia cannot be understood with the mind alone…”
Is not love more often than not a riddle? A mystery? An enigma? Is love not as vast as the Russian landscape and imagination, and as complex as human nature, which is so beautifully captured and depicted by the great Russian writers?
In fact, some of the greatest pieces of literature on love came out of Russia – from Ivan Turgenev’s story “First Love” (a “small but perfect jewel of a story,” writes Charles Van Doren in his book Joy of Reading) to Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina, considered to be one of the greatest pieces of literature of all time.
And so, in the spirit of Valentine’s Day, we celebrate “all things Russia.” From books to recipes with a bit of history along the way, we hope to unravel a little bit of the mystery and enigma that is so inherent in the Russian land and its people.