Russia's Gift to the World

Russia's Gift to the World

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Russia's Gift to the World

Russia's Gift to the World

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Excerpt

RUSSIA is, for the mass of people in England, an unknown country. It is separated in many ways: by distance, by language, by social organisation and habits. It is at the other end of Europe, so that the journey from one country to the other is long, expensive, and rather laborious. Not only the language, but even the alphabet is different from ours, and the ways of common life are in many respects strange, and take some pains to understand. To these difficulties in the way of intercourse has to be added, not only the national English dislike of foreigners, but the alienation caused by past hostility. The Crimean War, one of the greatest blunders of English statesmanship, drove a wedge between the two nations just when they might have begun to understand one another. Then there followed a long period of jealousies over our Indian frontier and conflicting interests in South-Eastern Europe. Twice we were on the brink of war with Russia, once over Constantinople in 1877-78, and again over Afghanistan in 1884-85. Then the Franco-Russian Alliance was formed at a time when Great Britain was on uneasy and almost hostile terms with France. It is only in recent years that we have come to regard Russia as a neighhour and tried to understand the Russian nation and the Russian life.

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