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grantcart's Journal
grantcart's Journal
October 16, 2022

Old Russian Parable

How to explain something that has been endemic to the Russian soul and seems to be guiding Russian decision making for the last 103 years as Russia has made one morbidly bad decision after another?

During my first day of Russian history the Professor, who was an expert on Soviet history and worked at the DIA, told this parable. He said, "Whenever you read something about Russian or Soviet history that appears to make no sense remember this parable and it will become clear

Two Russian peasants lived next to each other on identical plots in the desolate Russian steppes.

Everything that the two Russians had mirrored each other. Their ramshackle hut, their pathetic potato garden, their outside latrine, all identical except one had a miserable goat that provided a little milk that the one peasant made into cheese which he shared with his neighbor.

One day the other peasant was foraging for mushrooms when he found an ancient lantern. He took out the lantern and polished it up and a Genie appeared and told him, "I have been trapped in that lantern for more than a thousand years and for giving me my freedom you will get one wish." The peasant was quiet and said, "If I only get one wish then I want to make sure that it is the right one, please come back tomorrow and I will tell you my wish".

Exactly at noon the Genie returns and the peasant says, "I know my deepest desire. This is my wish. Do you see my neighbor tending his potato garden?"

"Yes", says the Genie.

"Do you see that old goat that is next to him? He gives him milk and companionship".

"Yes, I see the goat, what is your wish?".

"Kill the goat".

In this extremely moving thread https://www.democraticunderground.com/100217256858 DUer Blue-Wave tells us that the composer of the Kherson orchestra was murdered because he refused an order by the Russians to hold a concert.

It is in this one completely senseless crime that we see a tragic element that has come to dominate the Russian soul and explains the entire war.

There are geopolitical reasons for a Russian occupation of Crimea including the 500 year Russian ambition to have a good warm water port.

But the real reason is that Putin cannot stand to have a neighbor that is more righteous, more well liked, more respected and enjoys more freedom and democracy than Russia. And then Ukraine had the audacity to elect a President that is more of a leader, more respected and is bringing the country more to a European standard than Russia. He knows that as Ukraine flourished he would be found wanting.

Putin could have done many great things. In the end he just wanted to kill his neighbors goat.

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