Svetlana Alexievich’s interviews with Russian people, first conducted after the fall of the Soviet Union, then again during the first decade of this century, reveal among other things a certain militaristic leaning.  Even in their own words, some of the interviewees mention being schooled for war.  

This comment, however, takes the biscuit: proposing war as a way to prompt more kindness in society. 

We need a war, maybe then we’ll have real, upstanding people.  My grandfather always said that he only ever met truly good people during the war.  There’s not enough kindness these days. 

War is now raging in the east of Europe; wonder if that interviewee is happy with the result. 

Source: Svetlana Alexievich, Secondhand Time: The last of the Soviets, trans. by Bela Shayevich (New York: Random House, 2017), p. 363

Photo credit: Rozbooy at pixabay


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