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June 2, 2006

Window on the West

Russia’s historical relationship to America feels relatively simple. It’s based on the balance of power. Our remotest regions in Siberia and the Aleutians are only a few miles apart, but for the most part we are on the opposite sides of the earth. Russia’s relationship to Europe is far more ambivalent. It’s about culture and acceptance. There’s envy, desire and resentment mixed in as well as simpler needs like power and might. That is why Saint Petersburg is so magnificent; it was built not only to have access to Europe, but to show it up as well. We know our relationship with Russia, but we don’t understand Russia until we think of their relationship with Europe.

Posted by Leigh Witchel at June 2, 2006 6:09 AM

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