Crimea nd Punishment

Lunghu has not been spending a great deal of time pondering the deep geopolitical significance of recent events in Ukraine.   Nor has he been reviewing that 19th C. English literature warhorse “The Charge of the Light Brigade” to glean any insights into the likely outcome … “cannons to the right of them, cannons to the left of them” is just about all you really have to know.   Instead, Lunghu was inspired to reflect upon the possible influence of 19th c. Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoyevsky on 2014’s unfolding tragedy.

Dostoyevsky used the characters, dialogue and narrative in Crime and Punishment to articulate an argument against westernizing ideas in general.  The original title (“Преступление и наказание“) is not directly equivalent to the English “Crime and Punishment“.  “Преступление” is literally translated as a stepping across.  The [visual] image of crime as a crossing over a barrier or a boundary is [thus] lost in translation.

Raskolnikov

The novel’s principal protagonist is named Rodion Romanovich Raskolnikov:

  • the root word raskol means a schism, or split;
  • raskolnik is “one who splits”;
  • the verb raskalyvat’ means “to cleave”, “to split” or “to break”.

And in case you’ve forgotten, the events of the novel are set in St. Petersburg, the ancestral home of … Comrade Bear.  It is therefore likely that Dostoyevsky’s emphasis on the importance of social cohesion, religious faith, and Slavic culture resonated strongly with the young bear cub when he first encountered this work, and perhaps remain a significant aspect of his worldview even today.  For whatever that’s worth.

To sum up:  Putin‘s imagination appears guided by Dostoyevsky, Medvedev‘s perhaps by Gogol.

gratuitous partial nudity

gratuitous partial nudity

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