Russia

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Russia is a new phenomenon... A state defined and dominated by former and active-duty security and intelligence officers... There is no historical precedent for a society so dominated by former and active-duty internal-security and intelligence officials; men who rose up in a professional culture in which murder could be an acceptable, even obligatory, business practice. ~ Reuel Gerecht

Russia (Russian: Росси́йская Федера́ция), also known as the Russian Federation, is a country extending over much of northern Eurasia. A former member of the Soviet Union before its collapse and dissolution in 1991, Russia is a semi-presidential republic comprising 83 federal subjects and 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 also has maritime borders with the United States of America via Alaska and Japan.

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Quotes[edit]

You know what impresses me more about Russia than its T-80 tanks and MiG-31 fighters? The writing of Tolstoy, Pushkin, and Dostoyevsky. The music of Rimsky-Korsakov, Tchaikovsky, Mussorgsky. The scientific achievements of Lomonosov and the engineering genius of Tsiolkovsky. What these brilliant Russians achieved will still be spoken of long after... ~ Jeffrey Evan Brooks
A riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma. ~ Winston Churchill
In a Russian tragedy, everybody dies. In a Russian comedy, everybody dies, too. But they die happy. ~ Barry Farber
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. ~ Abraham Lincoln
We have now seen the weakness of Russia's democratic institutions, the ease with which a Russian leader can stoke nationalist hysteria. ~ Stephen Sestanovich
Russia is not corrupt. Corruption is what happens in all countries when businessmen offer officials large bribes for favors. Today’s Russia is unique. The businessmen, the politicians, and the bureaucrats are the same people. They have privatized the country’s wealth and taken control of its financial flows. ~ Andrei Pionkovsky
Elections are not a viable means of ensuring democratic change in Russia. ~ Boris Berezovsky
The Russians are liars; you can't trust them... They agreed to everything and broke their word. It's too bad the second world power is like this, but that's the way it is. ~ Harry S. Truman
You don't fight Russia and America. You get Russia and America to fight each other, and destroy each other. ~ Richard Dressler
You know, I never planned to leave. I was not extremely patriotic about Mother Russia. You know, I played their game, pretending, of course. ~ Mikhail Baryshnikov
Russian society as a whole does not care if its leading scholars and scientists have a way to publish their research and discoveries and that nobody has the power to prevent abuses and torture by the police. ~ Ivan Sukhov
Russia has become an assassination-happy state. ~ Reuel Gerecht
Russia... Where despotism can be take pure, and without the base alloy of hypocracy. ~ Abraham Lincoln
Russia’s economic, information, and diplomatic powers are highly contextual and often geographically limited. ~ Michael Kofman
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
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. ~ Leon Trotsky
Look at Russia. They keep trying help each other out, extend a hand to a neighbor, and guess what? Every ten years, some one is invading, burning down their homes and taking their toilet paper. ~ Pastor Richards

A[edit]

  • Russia has only two allies; its army and navy.
  • If Russia is to be a great power, it will be, not because of its nuclear potential, faith in God or the president, or Western investment, but thanks to the labor of the nation, faith in knowledge and science and the maintenance and development of scientific potential and education.
  • You don't fight Russia and America. You get Russia and America to fight each other, and destroy each other.
    • Richard Dressler in The Sum of All Fears (2002), written by Paul Attanasio and Daniel Pyne, Paramount Pictures.
  • Russian Communism is the illegitimate child of Karl Marx and Catherine the Great.
  • The Russians are a queer mixture of strength and weakness. They have got a passion in their intellect, say, a passionate intellect. They have a distracted and restless emotional being, but there is something behind it which is very fine and psychic, though their soul is not very healthy. And therefore I am not right in saying that Gandhi is a Russian Christian, because he is so very dry. He has got the intellectual passion and a great moral will-force, but he is more dry than the Russians. The gospel of suffering that he is preaching has its root in Russia as nowhere else in Europe... other Christian nations don't believe in it. At the most they have it in the mind, but the Russians have got it in their very blood. They commit a mistake in preaching the gospel of suffering, but we also commit in India a mistake in preaching the idea of vairagya [disgust with the world].
    • Sri Aurobindo, June 22, 1926 quoted from Sri Aurobindo, ., Nahar, S., Aurobindo, ., & Institut de recherches évolutives (Paris). India's rebirth: A selection from Sri Aurobindo's writing, talks and speeches. Paris: Institut de Recherches Evolutives. 3rd Edition (2000). [1]
  • Russia is a geriatric maritime giant surrounded by much more energetic rivals.

B[edit]

  • In the 21st century, nations cannot; and we cannot allow them to redraw borders by force. These are the ground rules. And if we fail to uphold them, we will rue the day. Russia has violated these ground rules and continues to violate them. Today Russia is occupying sovereign Ukrainian territory. Let me be crystal clear: The United States does not, will not, never will recognize Russia’s attempt to annex the Crimea. (Applause.) It’s that saying -- that simple. There is no justification.

C[edit]

  • The Russians have sometimes said one thing and done another... The Russians have been way off track since the very beginning. They have not done what they said they were going to do and they are not doing what is in their interest to do in terms of fighting... Thinking of Russia as a competitor was not something that we had to do, and now... We are going to have a competitor in Russia... Sadly, Russian conduct in Europe makes that necessary... But, I don't think that's in the long-term interest of the Russian people... Russia's a country I've worked with a lot over the years.
  • This faith in the power of schmoozing has deep roots in American politics, where a lot depends on negotiation, dialogue and dealmaking. But Moscow doesn’t work that way. Russia’s long authoritarian traditions condition it to view its relations with other countries in terms of pure power. Russia does not have friends. It has competitors and it has vassals. Vassals are countries that pay rhetorical tribute to Moscow and follow its lead on everything that matters — usually because they are deeply dependent on Russia for security, economic support or energy supplies. It’s no coincidence that its current vassal states — such as Belarus, Armenia and Kazakhstan — are themselves corrupt autocracies, which makes it easier for the Kremlin to work with them.
  • "Never mind," he repeated. "Yours is not the worst of sorrows. Life is long, there will be good and bad to come, there will be everything. Great is mother Russia," he said, and looked round on each side of him. "I have been all over Russia, and I have seen everything in her, and you may believe my words, my dear. There will be good and there will be bad. I went as a delegate from my village to Siberia, and I have been to the Amur River and the Altai Mountains and I settled in Siberia; I worked the land there, then I was homesick for mother Russia and I came back to my native village. […]"
  • 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.
  • Across the world academics still clung to the words and ideas of Marx and Engles and even Lenin. Fools. There were even those who said that Communism had been tried in the wrong country; that Russia had been too far backward to make those wonderful ideas work.
  • The Soviet Union is dead and gone and replaced by the Russian Federation, which is a country we can be friends with now, thank God; and we want the Russians to prosper, and should help the Russians prosper in every way we can within reason... Fifteen years ago, there was this country called the Soviet Union that had over 10,000 nuclear warheads pointed at us... they're not there anymore. That's a good thing.

D[edit]

  • 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.
  • Charge of inferiority is an old dodge. It has been made available for oppression on many occasions... When Russia wanted to take possession of a part of the Ottoman Empire, the Turks were “an inferior race.”

E[edit]

  • We are inclined to overemphasize the material influences in history. The Russians especially make this mistake. Intellectual values and ethnic influences, tradition and emotional factors are equally important. If this were not the case, Europe would today be a federated state, not a madhouse of nationalism.
  • 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.

F[edit]

  • 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).
  • Russian leaders and regular citizens have felt increasingly insecure... They have a sense that Russia is under siege from without and has been robbed of its rightful status as a world power... Europeans at least have recourse at the ballot box; they can angrily vote in or out whoever they like. Russians do not enjoy the luxury of democracy. Russians do not enjoy the luxury of democracy... The U.S. is many times more powerful and influential than Russia.
  • I think the idea people had after 1991 that there would be a quick transition is clearly wrong... A lot of it has to do with relationships with economic growth because I think in really high-growth countries with a large middle class, with lots of educated people, there is a tendency to demand greater political participation... I think what you are seeing with the rise of Putinism in Russia and in parts of Eastern Europe is in a way the failure of that kind of modernization to produce a really broad middle-class society... His model is based on a narrow energy-dependent economic model which right now is falling apart... I think what is happening in Russia right now as global commodity prices have fallen is the exposure of the hollowness of this and we will see after another decade of economic failure whether Russians really think this is such a great alternative to the kind of both freedom and prosperity that is seen in Western Europe.

G[edit]

  • Russia is a new phenomenon in Europe: a state defined and dominated by former and active-duty security and intelligence officers. Not even fascist Italy, Nazi Germany, or the Soviet Union – all undoubtedly much worse creations than Russia; were as top-heavy with intelligence talent... There is no historical precedent for a society so dominated by former and active-duty internal-security and intelligence officials; men who rose up in a professional culture in which murder could be an acceptable, even obligatory, business practice... Those who operated within the Soviet sphere were the most malevolent in their practices. These men mentored and shaped Putin and his closest friends and allies. It is therefore unsurprising that Putin's Russia has become an assassination-happy state where detention, interrogation, and torture; all tried and true methods of the Soviet KGB; are used to silence the voices of untoward journalists and businessmen who annoy or threaten Putin's FSB state.

K[edit]

  • 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.
  • [W]hat makes Russia’s war on truth so ominous is that it transcends ideology. Once Moscow had Pravda and espoused the virtues of the international proletariat. Today it uses “fake news” as part of a long-term strategy to transform Western publics into conspiracy-addled zombies.
  • For the first 500 years of its existence, Russia did not have a coat of arms, or a national flag or anthem.
  • The predominance of the intelligence services and mentality is a core feature of Putin’s Russia that marks a major and critical discontinuity from not only the 1990s but all of Soviet and Russian history. During the Soviet period, the Communist Party provided the glue holding the system together. During the 1990s, there was no central organizing institution or ideology. Now, with Putin, it is “former” KGB professionals who dominate the Russian ruling elite. This is a special kind of brotherhood, a mafia-like culture in which only a few can be trusted. The working culture is secretive and nontransparent.

L[edit]

  • If I see that the Russians are amassing their planes for an attack, I'm going to knock the shit out of them before they take off the ground.
    • Curtis LeMay, conversation with presidential commissioner Robert Sprague (September 1957), quoted in Kaplan, F. (1991). The Wizards of Armageddon. Stanford University Press, p. 134.
  • 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.

M[edit]

  • Putin's Russia is our adversary and moral opposite. It is committed to the destruction of the post-war, rule-based, world order built on American leadership and the primacy of our political and economic values…There is no placating Putin. There is no transforming him from a gangster to a responsible statesman. Previous administrations have tried and failed not because they didn’t try hard enough, but because Putin wants no part of it.

O[edit]

  • In my opinion, nothing has contributed so much to the corruption of the original idea of socialism as the belief that Russia is a socialist country and that every act of its rulers must be excused, if not imitated.

P[edit]

  • 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 is not corrupt. Corruption is what happens in all countries when businessmen offer officials large bribes for favors. Today’s Russia is unique. The businessmen, the politicians, and the bureaucrats are the same people. They have privatized the country’s wealth and taken control of its financial flows.
  • 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.

R[edit]

  • Try to tell a Russian housewife, who trudges miles on foot in sub-zero weather in order to spend hours standing in line at a state store dispensing food rations, that America is defiled by shopping centers, expressways and family cars.
    • Ayn Rand, as quoted in The New Left: The Anti-Industrial Revolution (1971).
  • History shows that the process of modernization leads societies to form liberal democracies with market systems. Yet some leaders insist on trying to create alternative models, even though those models are unstable and retrograde. Putin's authoritarian effort to create a managed democracy in Russia offers a good example... After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 many people expected Russia to make a rapid transition from communism to democracy... However, what followed in Russia was a period of experimentation with relatively greater liberalism under President Boris Yeltsin that led not to democracy, but the rise of Putin and an authoritarian system... Putin's authoritarian system does not mean that he has built a successful alternative to liberal democracy. Instead, the system owes its existence in part to the slow development of a middle class in Russia that normally would demand a share of power. That slow development, in turn, is largely thanks to the state's monopolization of the country's most lucrative business activities: the export of energy and other natural resources.
  • Rule of law is not consistent with state-sponsored brutality. When the Russian government attacks civilians in Chechnya, killing innocents without discrimination or accountability, neglecting orphans and refugees, it can no longer expect aid from international lending institutions. Moscow needs to operate with civilized self-restraint.
  • Look at Russia. They keep trying help each other out, extend a hand to a neighbor, and guess what? Every ten years, some one is invading, burning down their homes and taking their toilet paper. Napoleon, Stalin, Attila the Hun, all of them. After you read my book you will understand. I may have been born in the see, but I'm no dummy!

S[edit]

  • In Russia we only had two T.V. 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.
  • Russian society as a whole does not care if its leading scholars and scientists have a way to publish their research and discoveries and that nobody has the power to prevent abuses and torture by the police... Russians have been more united during these last 18 difficult months than during the whole of the post-Soviet period. As they say, the person who holds the flag determines what is written on it.

T[edit]

  • After weeks of dancing around the issue, the Obama administration has expressed concern about “heightened military activity” by Russia in Syria. But what if we are facing something more than “heightened military activity?” What if Moscow is preparing to give Syria the full Putin treatment? For years, Russia has been helping Syrian despot Bashar al-Assad cling to a diminishing power structure in a shrinking territorial base without trying to impose an overall strategy. Now, however, there are signs that Russia isn't content to just support Assad. It wants to control Syria. The Putin treatment is reserved for countries in Russia’s “near neighborhood” that try to break out of Moscow’s orbit and deprive it of strategic assets held for decades. In such cases, unable to restore its past position, Russia tries to create a new situation in which it keeps a sword dangling above the head of the recalcitrant nation. Russia’s military intervenes directly and indirectly, always with help from a segment of the local population concerned. Russia starts by casting itself as protector of an ethnic, linguistic or religious minority that demands its military intervention against a central power vilified with labels such as “fascist” and “terrorist.”
  • Get ready for Russia to cast itself as the protector, not only of the Alawites but also of other minorities such as Turcoman, Armenians and, more interestingly for Moscow, Orthodox Christians who have fled Islamist terror groups such as ISIS. Russia has always seen itself as the “Third Rome” and the last standard-bearer of Christianity against both Catholic “deviation” and Islamist menace. By controlling a new mini-state, as a “safe haven for minorities,” Russia could insist that if Syria returns to some normality it be reconstituted as a highly decentralized state. This is what Putin is also demanding in Georgia and Ukraine. The Syrian coast will become another Crimea, if not completely annexed, at least occupied. Unless stopped, the Putin treatment will not end in Syria. The two next candidates could be Moldova and Latvia, both of which have large Russian-speaking minorities.
  • 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.
  • The Russians are like us... They are fine people. They got along with our soldiers in Berlin very well. As far as I am concerned, they can have whatever they want just so they don't try to impose their system on others.
    • Harry S. Truman, statement to a group of four congress freshmen (2 July 1947), as quoted in The Memoirs of Richard Nixon, p. 44
  • The Russians are liars; you can't trust them. At Potsdam they agreed to everything and broke their word. It's too bad the second world power is like this, but that's the way it is, and we must keep our strength.

Y[edit]

  • 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.

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