--Image from, with caption: We Russian liberators are so popular we have to wear masks so people won’t kiss us.
Regarding the Oprichnina during Ivan the Terrible's reign:
"Thus," commented a Livonian knight who took service under the Tsar, "they prepared the whip and the birch with their own hands and all those ... devil-masks before which all the spiritual and secular orders bowed down."
Rather surprising that among the Western pundits I've read (and there are so many of them, the pundits!) speculating on Ukraine none of them has mentioned Aksyonov's "Ostrov krym"
in connection with the recent events in that part of the world. Here's a plot summary of a quite remarkable (and humorous) book:
In The Island of Crimea, set on the Crimean peninsula, Aksyonov imagines that Crimea is an autonomous society separated from the Soviet Union. The novel is another social satire reliant on a stretch of the imagination, but it is deemed less surrealistic and far-fetched than Aksyonov's previous works.
It is not unimportant to remember, in connection with the controversial Winter Olympics soon to be held in Sochi in the Russian Federation, that President Vladimir Putin hails from St. Petersburg, the city (in the Soviet era known as Leningrad) created in the early 18th century by Peter the Great...
A Princeton PhD, was a U.S. diplomat for over 20 years, mostly in Central/Eastern Europe, and was promoted to the Senior Foreign Service in 1997. He has taught courses for many years at Georgetown University pertaining to propaganda and public diplomacy. He currently shares ideas on the theme "E Pluribus Unum? What Keeps the United States United" to Eurasian/European delegates participating in the "Open World" program.
Brown’s articles have appeared in numerous publications. A recent piece is “Janus-Faced Public Diplomacy: Creel and Lippmann During the Great War” (published in Nontraditional U.S. Public Diplomacy: Past, Present, and Future).
He is the author (with S. Grant) of The Russian Empire and the USSR: A Guide to Manuscripts and Archival Materials in the United States. He also served as an editor/translator of a joint U.S.-Soviet publication, The Establishment of Russian-American Relations, 1765-1815.