What would Russian authors think of our current ‘schism’?

Any reader of great Russian authors appreciates the themes of experiencing; or rather enduring life during specific periods of hardships and history. In summation: Life is often completed with loose ends fraying in the wind and events are bestowed upon personalities and households as only the passage of time and such circumstances sees fit.

Without consideration for concepts such as fate or destiny, it is worth pondering what some Russian characters and authors, such as Dr. Zhivago, Raskolnikov or Leo Tolstoy, would observe of the United States; as participants in 2018.

The concept of history as a river that sweeps all participants along in its unstoppable current is a simple summation of Leo Tolstoy’s view of history. For him, opportune passengers would be all emperors, personalities or American presidents; they are all simply ancillary characters; Donald Trump, Napoleon, Robespierre; that they have only surfaced above the waterline is due to the ebb and flow of history’s current and predetermined path.

Deep, still pools and shallow rapids are shaped by the current of history’s flow or stagnation, the design of history; and it allows, without mankind’s input, for remarkable and horrible things to be seen and heard; but it is only the path of history, not any remarkable trait of the individual, that has allowed for the occurrence to be observed.

Dr. Zhivago would struggle to find beauty in a culture so divisive, and not by loyalty to any faction in power, but by the divisiveness and inability to exchange thought or dialogue without a greater purpose than a self-gratifying and justifying cause or slogan; reaffirming a belief already held in their heart by the selective information they digest and then form ideas that become fact from; and not any collective common source from experience, art, life or education.

Rodin Romanovich Raskolnikov was the great protagonist and murderer in Doestovesky’s ‘Crime and Punishment;’ and the very name Raskolnikov is a derivative of the Russian word for “schism.” While his struggle was with his conscious for a specific crime was epic, it was also a journey of transformation, confession and possible retribution.

Beauty, loss, art, thoughtfulness, struggle and life.

Much like the conclusions of the great Russian novels, we are often left wanting more.

John Krause, Blue Springs