UPON THE FACE OF EARTH
Anna Yaroslavna1 was a Queen of France. Another Yaroslavna2 was married to a Scandinavian, King Harald. Yuri, a sun of Andrei Bogolyubsky, was married to the famous Georgian Queen Tamara.3 Roksolana, the influential and favorite wife of the Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent, was a Russian from Podolia, "Hurem Sultan," she was called. Golenishcheya-Kutuzova was married to Czar Simeon of Kazan. Prince Dolgoruki was a highly revered personage at the court of the great Moguls. Genghis Khan had a Russian militia. During the reign of a Chinese emperor there was a Russian guard regiment and a few centuries later the Albasians.4 There were Cossacks in America. The Foreign Legion has many Russians.
No matter what centuries we look at, everywhere one may find these unusual combinations of Russian people with the peoples of the whole world. We do not even mention the wanderers, travelers, merchants — we see Russian names in most influential posts; they are favored. They are entrusted with the highest defense. At present the terms "being dispersed" or "carrying a mission" are so often used. Unforgettable are all former, deep penetrations of the Russians into the public service of the nations of the whole world.
Again we see not only those "being dispersed" hut also a multitude of Russian names linked with the honor and progress of great nations. France is proud of Metchnikoff, England of Vinogradov, Kovalevsky in Sweden, Mme. Blavatsky in India, Rostovtzeff and Sikorsky in America, Lossky in Prague, Metalnikoff in Paris. Bark is at the head of a vast financial enterprise in Great Britain. Yourkevitch builds the "Normandie" with its oceanic victory. Belyaev commands an army in Paraguay. In France, Yugoslavia, China, Persia, Siam, Abyssinia — everywhere active Russian workers can be found in very responsible and trusted positions.
If we look into the list of professors in European universities, if we examine the lists of various leaders in engineering, if we walk through banks, and factories, if we glance into the legal profession, everywhere we see Russian names. Among the foreign scientific works in catalogues, you will be astonished by the quantities of Russian publications. Recently I saw one such catalogue of scientific publications, almost one half of which belonged to Russian works.
I wrote before about the pantheon of Russian art and science. Great names were listed — Chaliapin, Stanislavsky, Stravinsky, Pavlova, Prokofiev, Benois, Yakovlev, Fokine, Somov, Remisov, Balmont, Bunin, Merezhkovski, Grebenstshikoff, Kuprin, Aldanov: and all the numerous remarkable leaders in art and science, widely scattered throughout the world. They cannot even be enumerated! Honored are the names of Pavlov, Glazunov, Gorki. Even in the remote islands of Oceania, the names of Moussorgsky, Rimski-Korsakov, Borodin ring out. There is a sort of noble, self-renouncing generosity in this universal contribution.
By no means do we wish to say, "See who we Russians are!" On the contrary, one wishes to record the immutable, historic fact. In future chronicles this Russian universal contribution will be noted. It takes place within truly planetary confines. There cannot be any accidental, small divisions. In such dimensions all political and social considerations fall away. The consideration of creativeness for good grows, and each and every one must and should adhere to it as an indefatigable worker.
I often had occasion to tell foreigners about the life of St. Sergius of Radonega, and frequently I heard in reply, "Now we understand whence you Russians have the striving to give and to work." Indeed, a life such as was ordained by the Educator of the Russian people will always be a reminder that from a small framework made by one's own hands grow bright focal points for people's enlightenment.
Not with pride do we pronounce the names of builders and propagators of enlightenment. Again, this is an irrevocable historic fact. It can be explained in different words, but the basic, lofty expression of this serene service for the good of humanity will remain a strong quality. We also know many other great, enlightened builders in different countries. Among beautifully sounding names we only remember those which, in their unchangeable construction, in their untiring achievement, at present call so powerfully to human hearts.
Without pride, without boastfulness we recall the many Russians who occupy entrusted, responsible positions in different countries. It will not be pride to mention the trust that was inspired by many leading Russian workers through their achievements in the whole world. To evoke confidence is not simple by far; as we already have said, it must ring in the heart with full convincingness. And if, in different countries, this trust resounded, it means that one more pan-human universal value has been established.
Sometime there will be written a just history based on facts about how much Russia helped different nations at different times; and this help was not offered because of thoughts of gain; on the contrary, Russia herself often became the party that suffered. But help should not be weighed on a scale. And on what kind of scale should one place magnanimity and self-sacrifice? In any case, the value of such magnanimity does not rust, in centuries to come it develops into trust. Many, many nations see their friend in Russia. And this circumstance was molded not by some kind of craftiness, but by time, deeds, and giving.
It is a great blessing if we can evoke a smile of trust. In these large concepts will the appellation "being dispersed" be correct? Is it dispersing when since ancient times we can see everywhere the contacts of our ancestors with the life of many nations? Those bearers of Russian names: Anna, Roksolana, Yuri Andreevich, Dolgoruki, all written and unwritten, known and unknown, they certainly were not "being dispersed," but on the contrary, concentrated their forces, carrying their gift of magnanimity to peoples.
Life was hard for many of them. Read, at least, the narrative of Afanasy Tveryatyanin5. These hardships are so pan-human that they are erased in the historical process; but the unforgettable signs of magnanimity, perfectment, and benevolent offering remain.
The Russian language is now popular as never before. Also, as never before Russian writers are being translated; Russian plays and symphonies are being performed, and Russian departments are being established in museums. Is this dispersing? On the contrary, it is something different, far more harmonious and important. If many nations have confidence in the Russians, entrusting them with responsible positions, then we also become strengthened in magnanimity toward other nations. From a united cooperation of peoples grows a structure, and it will be beautiful.
Pythagoras says: "Harken, my children, to the description of what the state is to be for good citizens. It is more than a father and a mother; it is more than a husband and a wife; it is more than a child or a friend. The honor of his wife is precious to a good husband, whose children nestle close at his knee; but much more dear should be the honor of his country, which safeguards his wife and children. If a courageous man readily gives up his life for his home and hearth, how much more willingly will he die for his country."
June 15, 1935
1The Russian princess, Anna, daughter of Yaroslav I, Grand Duke of Kiev; born in the thirties of the eleventh century; married Henry I, King of France, in 1051; enjoyed great respect after his death.
2Elizabeth, daughter of Yaroslav of Novgorod; in 1042 married Harald III (King of Norway).
3Tamara, born before 1160, Queen of Georgia 1184-1212.
4A Russian Cossack volunteer regiment formed in the second half of the seventeenth century in the Amur River region. They guarded Far-Eastern Siberia and defended it from Chinese attacks. The regiment was named for the little village, Albasin, which still exists.
5A Russian merchant and explorer from Tver, hence his pen name. His real name was Nikitin. Traveled in Persia and India 1466-1472. Author of Traveling Over Three Seas. Died in 1472.