|Battle on the Ice - Alexander Nevsky|
I'm not sure what prompted me to think of this thread this morning. I do remember being in Odessa, Ukraine at this time some 30 years ago, going down to the Black Sea to a "retreat" with about 20 ophthalmologists and eating plates of roasted peppers, cured meats, bowls of caviar and Georgian red wine that was priceless. In the traditional way, the talk always turned sentimental; family, heritage, meaningful things and trying to get me to understand the love of the land.
Родина means "Rodina" or Motherland and when our folks in Congress, Donald Trump, or the folks loitering outside at the local 7-11 talk about it, well it baffles me. Russia slips in and out of some sort of love/hate with us and that is what prompts this thread. Unfortunately that ball of yarn is wound and spun into into a cold war bit of propaganda that is breathtaking.
I'm constantly amazed by the lack of historical understanding of Russia versus our colossally banal understanding of their former system. If you watch the segment from Alexander Nevsky, the great "crusade" film of the 30s (score by Prokofiev), (below), you might think of a history remote by our standards but when it was/is trotted out, or at least it was, it is a sublime message to re-kindle Russian patriotic longing for the heritage that was/is. Nevsky was our George Washington; the difference being that he (Alexander) fought to preserve and protect while George fought for freedom.
I spent a lot of years there. I thought the entire idea of struggling to free ones self from the yoke of communism and the system was noble and I did my best in my own little way. But communism wasn't/isn't/never was and never will be Rodina.
But, at the same time, there is history to reconnect with. Deep and long. It is as much a "feeling" of the land and your place in it as there is book learning trying to convey it with words.
Here, where we are, we feel we can do anything and get bent out of shape when things don't go our way. Over there was something of an acceptance of fate as the country presents it. Not that there wasn't ambition. There was. But it was ambition partly to further the heritage of the Motherland realizing that the country was somehow greater than the sum of the individuals. There was no talk of individual "exceptionalism", whatever that is, but of a long wagon ride on a highway on which you only ride for a little bit. Now that the break up of the Union is over a quarter century old, I'll visit this now and then.