Russia's Grand Inquisitor
Archived Articles 02 Jul 2009  EWR
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David Ignatius, The Washington Post

MOSCOW - As Barack Obama packs for his trip to Russia next week, he should bring along a copy of "The Brothers Karamazov." For the modern Russia of Vladimir Putin is still struggling with the same political riddles that Fyodor Dostoyevsky described 130 years ago.

Human beings would happily trade their freedom for food and security, Dostoyevsky wrote in the novel's famous chapter, "The Grand Inquisitor." In place of this anarchic freedom, the Inquisitor offered the people "miracle, mystery and authority. And mankind rejoiced that they were once more led like sheep, and that at last such a terrible gift, which had brought them so much suffering, had been taken from their hearts."

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