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Founding Editor's Blog - February 2011

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There is nothing predictable about Russia. Things are never going to happen as they are meant to in other countries of the world. For in the country that straddles more time zones than any other, things will always happen in their own way, in the Russian way. It is a world, in a sense, by itself and over there things will happen in ways perplexing to most in the world, but par for the course for most of its citizens. There are, of course, those who are on the other side of ‘the way things happen’. And they sometimes pay a particularly wicked price. But that is Russia, an enigma in itself.

There is something extraordinary about a country that barely registered on the reformation, enlightenment, industrialisation and invention maps. Even as the rest of Europe was swept, to varying degrees admittedly, by these humankind changing phenomena, Russia went about in its own way, at it own pace. It still does and that has a lot to do with the country not being limited to a continent. Even as Europe is incomplete without Russia, Russia is incomplete without its Asia landmass and psychological impact. Even as Russia covers both continents, it also reflects in its psychological make up. There are distinctly European and Asian traits in the Russian way of doing things. And that only makes the country and its people mindboggling for most that try to follow and comprehend it.

The Russian people made some of the most gut wrenching sacrifices in the face of foreign conquest and not once, but twice over. If they stopped Napoleon from becoming the emperor of Europe, they also beat back Hitler’s war machine ranged against them. There has been enough written and documented about these two episodes in Russian history and their impact on the world. For both contributed in no small way to changing the course that had been predicted for the world. Just as the Russian Revolution had an impact on the world for decades after the tragedy had struck the vast country. It was an event that shook the world for many decades after it happened. That revolution also transformed the Russian mind in many ways and at a cost that is still being extracted in some form or the other. Despite not being in the core of all those changes happening in Europe, Russia still produced some of the most remarkable literary works of all time. And in its revolutionary mode, Russia produced some of the most brilliant physicists in the world. Some also very brave.

All of these contrasting features make up the vastness that is Russia, also seemingly adding to its contradictions. But that is Russia, doing it in its own way. An enigma of sorts. And a country that is always going to be there, making a mark on the world stage. The once upon a time spoiler, now contributing to stability and status quo. With a distinctly Russian flavour.



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