(A Book Of Russian Aphorisms
Compiled And Translated By Yana Djin)

Yana Djin -1234c

Part 3




(to Yana Djin's main page)


A man enters his married life alive and comes out a corpse. Sholom Aleichem

Adam was the luckiest man: he had no mother-in-law. Sholom Aleichem

To a wedding, walk, to a divorce, run. Sholom Aleichem

Because of black bread and faithful wives

Pernicious anemia has poisoned our lives. E. Bagritsky

If you are human, you love and doubt. The only thing there shouldn’t be any doubt about is your wife. If there is, it’s finished. M. Chagall

If you want to live by someone else’s mind, get married! Contemporary Saying

It is not worth it to court your own wife: she, after all, is married! Contemporary Saying

Some people endure their losses, others endure losers. Contemporary Saying

Travel lightly means: take a holiday cruise without your wife. Contemporary Saying

Marriage for the sake of love rids one of all other calculations. Contemporary Saying

If a woman shares a man’s opinion, then he is right; if she doesn’t share it, he is her husband. Contemporary Saying

A wife can prove to be quite a good companion, but it is still much better if you are being accompanied by luck. Contemporary Saying

For some people a wife is everything; for others - merely a half. Contemporary Saying

She looked for a husband in every man, because she couldn’t find a man in her husband. V. Klyuchevsky

It is too early for a young man to get married, and too late for an old one. Proverb

Devil’s wife is also a witch. Proverb

Someone else’s wife always seems to be a pure virgin. Proverb

Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. L. Tolstoy

Married people should strive together to rid themselves of temptation, to purify their own selves, and to put an end to their sins. L. Tolstoy


To my utter despair I have discovered, and discover every day anew, that there is in the masses no revolutionary idea or hope or possession. M. Bakunin

Who’s to believe? Whom do I make peace with?

The doctors, poets, and the popes.

Oh! If I could only learn the ropes

Of the immortal lowliness of crowds. A. Blok

Love, friendship, respect, do not unite people as much as a common hatred for something. A. Chekhov

How inconspicuously people became a human factor! Contemporary Saying

All that man searches for on this earth is: whom to bow down before, whom to hand over his conscience,and how to finally unite with the rest of mankind into a common, indisputable ant-hill. F. Dostoevsky

I see some pig-snouts instead of faces, and nothing more. N. Gogol

Do not humiliate yourself. Don’t flaunt

Your fierce anger or meek sadness.

And don’t reveal in arrogance your wounds,

To the dark crowd filled with madness. M. Lermontov

They’ll stuff their stomachs up, and then

Will slip into their feathered beds with cotton-balls.

And in the blindness of the night will start to sweat,

Shaking the city with squeaking sound of their falls. V. Mayakovsky

Always contented with his life,

And with his dinner and his wife. A. Pushkin

One who has lived and thought

Is certain to feel the scorn for men

Deep in his soul. A. Pushkin

Crowd greedily reads diaries, confessions, and notes because in its lowliness it is happy to witness the humiliation of the great, the weaknesses of the prominent. Upon the discovery of some loathsomeness, the crowd falls into exhilaration, as if to say: “Look! He is just as loathsome as we are!” You are wrong, you scoundrels, he is loathsome and weak not like you, but differently! A. Pushkin

Superficiality and hastiness of the 20th century are illnesses which are most strikingly observed in mass media. A. Solzhenitsyn

After the suffering of decades of violence and oppression, the human soul longs for things higher, warmer, and purer than those offered by today’s living habits, introduced as by a calling card, by the revolving invasion of commercial advertising, by TV stupor, and by intolerable music. A. Solzhenitsyn

The fight for our planet, physical and spiritual, a fight of cosmic proportions, is not a matter of the future; it is already going on. The forces of evil have already begun their decisive offensive, while your screens and publications are overburdened with prescribed smiles and raised glasses. What’s the joy about?! A. Solzhenitsyn

All people are divided into two categories: those who are ruled by thought and vice versa. Herein lies the key to all the madness of the world. L. Tolstoy

It is a mistake to divide people into the living and the dead. Y. Zamyatin


It is never too early to ask yourself: is what I am doing worthwhile or not? A. Chekhov

To each his own: some learn from others’ mistakes, others live. Contemporary Saying

Except for being born, he wasn’t accused of anything blameworthy. Contemporary Saying

Sometimes, in order not to fall, you need to stumble at the right time. Contemporary Saying

Sometimes good taste comes with bitter experience. Contemporary Saying

Some people commit the mistakes of their youth well into their old age. Contemporary Saying

Don’t repeat the mistakes of others! Be original! Contemporary Saying

Man may err, but an error is not a lie. Even several mistakes cannot make a good cause collapse, while one single lie can do it. F. Dostoevsky

It is not the gods who burn our pots. Proverb

Those who don’t walk, don’t fall. Proverb

A horse has four legs but it still stumbles. Proverb

Our worries are mainly constituted of our attempts to reform others while we forget about our own reformation. L. Tolstoy

Everlasting anxiety, struggle, and privation - these are necessary conditions that no man should ever try to avoid. To live an honest life one must strain, flounder and err, begin and give up, begin again, give up again, and struggle forever, and forever be deprived. For complacency is baseness of heart and soul. L. Tolstoy

The ancient God created an ancient man, i.e., a man who was capable of making a mistake; thus, God himself made a mistake. Multiplication table is wiser, more perfect than the ancient God; it never makes a mistake. Y. Zamyatin

Errors are of greater value than truths: truth is machine-like, error is alive; truth reassures, error unsettles. Y. Zamyatin


We can’t expect mercy from nature; nature itself is at our mercy. Contemporary Saying

We should write as much as we can about nature now, so that later on we should have something to remember it by. Contemporary Saying

Amidst the argument between man and nature, environment was born. Contemporary Saying

Lightning kills man, diseases torture him to death, other animals take away his food; all this is natural, all this is a part of order of things, all this conforms to the laws of nature. How inexorable and pitiless this nature is! L. Shestov


The longer a blind man lives, the more he sees. Sholom Aleichem

In old age we forget the holy

And life is led by dry attention. A. Blok

Man is as old as his connective tissues. A. Bogomoletz

I would reach my age, but I don’t have enough time. Contemporary Saying

Wrinkles start appearing not because of aging, but because of thoughts about aging. Contemporary Saying

Everything that’s ever good in us

People are so used to calling “youth” R. Gamzatov

Old age is the long-awaited discovery of meaning which lies, most of the time, in the lack of all menaing. V. Gandelsman

Youth is happy because it has a future. M. Gorky

In my soul, there isn’t a single gray hair,

No senile tenderness does it hold!

My voice thundering everywhere,

I go, handsome, twenty-two years old. V. Mayakovsky

Not for long will I be young

Time will catch up soon.

And like an unchangeable, golden coin

I’ll roll around the moon. B. Okudjava

Oh! My youthful dreams -

what a mistake!

Amongst fluffy, white clouds I fluttered.

Then, it was unknown to me -

nature’s cruel stake

And, as it turns out, I have somehow faltered. B. Okudjava

And the soul, one thing’s for sure,

If it has been hurt before,

Is more just, more virtuous,

More generous, and much more pure. B. Okudjava

Experienced is not he who is old, but he, who’s seen it all. Proverb

An old bird is not caught with chaff. Proverb

Ask not the old, but the old-timer. Proverb

A bull forgets the time when he was a calf. Proverb

A goat has a beard, but that doesn’t mean he should be respected and feared. Proverb

Old wine breaks through every barrel. Proverb

Blessed is he, who in his youth was young. A. Pushkin

We all want our youth to come back, although we know that this passed youth doesn’t exist. V. Shklovsky

How good it is to be 80 years old! You don’t make plans: do this or that, but simply live. L. Tolstoy

Old age is the most unexpected of all the things that happen to man. L.Trotsky


We are used to regarding life

As an object of our conclusions. J. Brodsky

About opinions and tastes, say either good or nothing. A. Chekhov

Don’t consider an echo as your unanimous support. Contemporary Saying

He was going in step with everyone, only in a different direction. Contemporary Saying

When there is no other way , it is easier to find the right one. Contemporary Saying

When people don’t argue about opinions and tastes, their absence doesn’t make any difference. Contemporary Saying

If you are not able to do anything, at least, make some conclusions. Contemporary Saying

A canary with someone else’s voice,

Is a pitiful and funny trinket.

World needs a melodic song,

So, sing your own way, even as a cricket. S. Esenin

Be it a little mind, but be it your own. M. Gorky

He will rise! He will make his way, the rogue!

Men who say nothing are in vogue. A. Griboedov

Why is it that only other people’s opinions are holy?! A. Griboedov

The cuckoo praised the cock of course,

Because the cock was praising the cuckoo! I. Krylov

If you wish to make sure

That the earth is round,

Sit on your ass

And roll! V. Mayakovsky

On tastes and on colors there are no friends and no foes. Proverb

There are people who don’t even like nightingales. Proverb

Every tailor has his own view on art! K. Prutkov

Public opinion - here’s our idol,

the spring of honor and the pin

on which the world is doomed to spin. A. Pushkin

The willful God of the Bible created this world, as they say, according to his own image, but this is said only of Adam. Besides Adam, there also exist ants, elephants, giraffes. They are not like each other... But don’t get angry at that! People are not like each other either. V. Shklovsky

“Everybody has the right to know everything” - is a false slogan of a false era; the long-lost right of the people not to know everything, not to cram their godly soul with all sorts of rumors, small talk, and hearsay is of much higher value. A. Solzhenitsyn

How many rash, hasty, superficial, and immature judgments and opinions are expressed daily; they litter the brains of the readers and leave them hanging. A. Solzhenitsyn

Man is born to live by his own mind. L. Tolstoy

I agree with no man’s opinion. I. Turgenev


Pessimist is a man who is waiting for something bad to happen, while an optimist is the one to whom these bad things are happening. Anonymous

Someone else’s optimism isn’t bad if it doesn’t interfere with yours. Contemporary Saying

The world has seen everything except that which it is seeing now. Contemporary Saying

The difference between a real optimist and a pessimist is that the former is not afraid of being a pessimist. Contemporary Saying

Humor is the last reality (the last refuge) of optimism. F. Iskander

The difference between a pessimist and an optimist is that a pessimist is a well-informed optimist, whereas an optimist is a well-instructed pessimist. Joke

One must borrow money from pessimists only. They know in advance that they’ll never get it back. M. Svetlov


Oh! Remembrance of the heart! You have

More power than sad remembrance of reason! K. Batyushkov

Feelings precede knowledge; those who haven’t felt the truth haven’t understood or known it. V. Belinsky

Only a sober head is able to create something that is giddy. Contemporary Saying

Man has a predilection for systems and abstract deductions and he is ready to deny the evidence of his own senses only to justify his own logic. F. Dostoevsky

An eagle or a warrior above

Will never ask how high the rock above! R. Gamzatov

Yes, Alexander the Great was a hero indeed, but why break chairs over this?! N. Gogol

Do not humiliate yourself. Don’t flaunt

Your fierce anger or meek sadness.

And don’t reveal in arrogance your wounds

To the dark crowds filled with madness. M. Lermontov

I hope, I trust that

lowly prudence

Will never overpower me! V. Mayakovsky

Our passions are the most cruel tyrants; as soon as you’ll yield to them, you’ll be in a constant struggle without even the strength to breath freely. God, deliver me from the slavery which people are not ashamed to call freedom! L. Tolstoy

It is bad and unfortunate if a man has no such thing for which he is ready to die. L. Tolstoy

That which was begun in anger will end in shame. L. Tolstoy

Seal your lips, to none impart

The thoughts and dreams that fill your heart.

There they’ll flare up, there sink and die,

As do the stars up in the sky.

When over the earth night’s shadow’s creep,

Take joy in them - and silent keep. F. Tyutchev

No - nothing by halves will do for me!

Give me the whole sky! The whole world wide!

Mountains, avalanches, rivers, seas -

are mine! I won’t agree to divide! Y. Yevtushenko

The great force of logic strips everything that it touches. Y. Zamyatin


It’s better to walk and to rest, than to run and fall down fast. Proverb

A fast-flowing river never gets to the sea. Proverb

Lot’s of sweat - but no use from that. Proverb


I have not learned to love my country with closed eyes, with bowed head, and with sealed lips. P. Chaadaev

Real patriotism transcends personal relationships and interests and is closely bound to love for all humanity. N. Dobrolyubov

Love for one’s homeland should give way to love for a fellow man. L. Tolstoy


A philosopher prefers a beautiful lie to a horrifying truth. Contemporary Saying

Only while philosophizing a man doesn’t lie, for when he philosophizes, he imagines. M. Gorky

Who has not been a philosopher at the sight of sea? It’s just water! V. Mayakovsky

The idealist is afraid all of his life to set foot on the monster that encircles him until it kills him. L. Shestov

Where philosophy must halt before the limitation of human power, preaching begins. L. Shestov

There will always be clear days for him who rises to the sky with his thoughts; sun always shines above the clouds. L. Tolstoy

Children are, after all, the boldest philosophers; they come into life naked, not covered by one small leaf of dogma or creed. That is why their questions are always so ridiculously naive and so frighteningly complicated. Y. Zamyatin

Philosophers of genius, children, and ordinary people are equally wise, because they ask equally stupid questions - stupid for a civilized man who possesses a well-furnished apartment, with a magnificent bathroom, and a well-furnished dogma. Y. Zamyatin


The first plagiator was the originator of his trade. Contemporary Saying

Nowdays they’re writing such trash that it would be a shame to steal it. Contemporary Saying

It doesn’t make me laugh when a poor painter

Attempts to copy Raphael’s Madonna.

It doesn’t make me laugh when a vile rhymester

Dishonors Dante by an imitation phony. A. Pushkin


People are divided into two categories: worthless scoundrels and worthless scoundrels. If you don’t have any money, you are, obviously, a worthless scoundrel. If, however, you do have money, you are undoubtedly a worthless scoundrel because, otherwise, you wouldn’t have any money. Sholom Aleichem

God must hate the poor; why else would he make them poor? Sholom Aleichem

If the rich hire the poor to die for them, the poor would make a great living. Sholom Aleichem

No rich man eats dollar bills, no poor man gnaws on stones. Sholom Aleichem

Collective property and individual property are the two banners under which all the battles of the future will be fought. M. Bakunin

Money is a lot like virtue

Never falling from above -

my witness is the Lord!

Money often flies right out the door,

Much like a promised word. J. Brodsky

Some people have money as their goal, others just have it. Contemporary Saying

Some philosophically observe things , others - their absence. Contemporary Saying

Money comes and goes, but our thoughts about it stay forever. Contemporary Saying

Most people aren’t worth much, if you judge them by their salaries. Contemporary Saying

Time is same as money, but money is better. Contemporary Saying

Throw money out to the wind , only if the wind is blowing in your direction. Contemporary Saying

Poverty is not a vice, it is a virtue. Destitution is a vice. F. Dostoevsky

Poverty and wealth are inborn qualities. In the same way as, for instance, haircolor or ear for music. One is born poor, the other - rich. Money has practically nothing to do with it. S. Dovlatov

Putting more stamps on a heavy envelop makes the envelop lighter. Joke

The surest way to make a small fortune is to start out with a big one. Joke

In a house that has burned down,

Vagabonds sometimes make shelter. V. Mayakovsky

Munch on your pineapples,

Chew on your grouse.

Your days are numbered,

Bourgeois louse! V. Mayakovsky

To paupers I was once inclined

From no ideal consideration,

But simply that there I did find

Life less parade or ostentation. B. Pasternak

A rich man won’t give you snow in the winter. Proverb

A rich man eats whenever he wills, but a poor man - whenever he can. Proverb

Snow is white and bland to eat, poppy-seed’s black, but it’s a rich man’s treat. Proverb

We all see the same sun, but we don’t all have the same fun. Proverb

In a rich man’s house even a cock has chickens. Proverb

When money talks, truth shuts up. Proverb

An empty spoon scrapes the tongue. Proverb

Neither house, nor home, or a bull with a horn. Proverb

Our house is fenced by a field and covered with sky. Proverb

Golddiggers! How loathsome must be all of your ambitions if they, taken together, aren’t even worth one single leaf from the laurel wreath of a poet! K. Prutkov

Poor have always served and will continue to serve as a means for the rich. If it is impossible to draw material goods from them, they can, nevertheless, bring “moral” consolations. L. Shestov

Money, not only in its authentic sense, but also in its first realization, is extremely terrifying to children. V. Shklovsky

Yes, we will do anything for the poor man, anything but get off his back. L. Tolstoy

Riches, just like dung, stink when they are concentrated in one pile; when, however, they are scattered, they fertilize the earth. L. Tolstoy

There are two ways not to suffer from poverty: increase one’s wealth and decrease one’s needs. The former is not in our power, the latter - always is. L. Tolstoy


Powerful states can maintain themselves only by crime, little states are virtuous only by weakness. M. Bakunin

Everything is in our hands, except that which is in the hands of others. Contemporary Saying

Nothing makes one more helpless than the realization of one’s helplessness. Contemporary Saying

Knowledge is power! But then, if you have power, you don’t need knowledge. Contemporary Saying

He, who is able not to care the most is the lawmaker, while he, who’ll dare the most is the rightful one. F. Dostoevsky

Power is given only to those who will bow down and take it. F. Dostoevsky

Born to crawl will never fly. M. Gorky

Born to crawl are not born. Contemporary Saying

Born to crawl can crawl very fast at times. Contemporary Saying

The master promised a fresh cut, but instead, gave me a kick in the gut. Proverb

What to me are your laws, if the judges are my in-laws. Proverb

What’s a knife for if there is noone to slice?! Proverb

Cats! Don’t tease dogs, or you’ll come home in rags and flogs! Proverb

An eagle kissed a chicken till its last feather. Proverb

Try to live your life in such a way so as never to have to resort to violence. L. Tolstoy

The true strength of a human being is not in impetuosity but in ceaseless serenity.

L. Tolstoy


To kill someone for committing murder is a punishment incomparably worse than the crime itself. Murder by legal sentence is immeasurably more terrible than murder by brigands. F. Dostoevsky

“They’ll lock you up in a prison!”

“So?! And who do you think they keep in prisons? People!” S. Dovlatov

When we neither punish, nor reproach the evil-doers, we are ripping the foundations of justice from beneath new generations. A. Solzhenitsyn

From the paradise gardens,

I’ll bring you pale-pink and red apples.

Pity! - Gardens are watched,

And the soldiers are ordered to shoot at the spot. V. Vysotsky


Man’s depth draws him upward. N. Berdyaev

I’m not taken with others’ satisfaction,

It’s only a jest in a noble direction.

I’m taken with inner perfection:

Midnight - half-a-bottle - lyre.

For me, trees are worth more than forests,

I don’t have a common interest,

But the sped of inner progress,

Is faster than the speed of the universe. J. Brodsky

There are no partings, there is no end,

And in vain were our pleas for forgiveness

that we asked of our dead.

And for winter, there is no return.

So, what’s left? - Only to go through life

with no alarm.

And that means, that we never, never fall behind,

Going forward, and forward ahead, is the

essence of our earthly stride. J. Brodsky

Sometimes it is impossible to see the future behind the veil of progress. Contemporary Saying

I live in a big city and speak its language,

But in me lives the mischief of your village times.

I didn’t yet exchange for a lacquered hat

a Russian kerchief,

I didn’t yet forget about God. S. Esenin

And when life today is boldly throwing

On my fate a light unknown before,

I still feel that I remain a poet

Of the timber cottages of yore. S. Esenin

The purpose of life is the drive forward. M. Gorky

In speaking of evolution it is necessary to understand from the outset that no mechanical evolution is possible. The evolution of man is the evolution of consciousness and “consciousness” cannot evolve unconsciously. The evolution of man is the evolution of his will and “will” cannot evolve involuntarily. The evolution of man is the evolution of his power of doing, and “doing” cannot be the result of things which happen. G. Gurdjiev

He who doesn’t go forward, goes backward: immobility doesn’t exist. A. Herzen

History is forever on the side of one party - the party that is in motion. A. Herzen

Growth is not only unnecessary but ruinous. A. Solzhenitsyn

Noone on this earth has any other way left but - upward. A. Solzhenitsyn

Not our place is important, but the direction in which we move. L. Tolstoy

After a man was left without a tail, it took him a long time to learn how to scare off flies without the help of his tail. He, undoubtedly, missed his tail for a while. But now, can you imagine yourself with a tail. Y. Zamyatin


Meat is better than bones, but bones are better than air. I. Babel

Depth is merely a lowered height. Contemporary Saying

Today is the day-after-tomorrow’s the day-before-yesterday. Contemporary Saying

Nothing interferes with one’s rest as much as the necessity to go to work. Contemporary Saying

We all see the same sun, but we don’t all have the same fun. Proverb

Every bird gets its fill with its own beak. Proverb

Each has its own happiness, but the pig’s in the gutter. Proverb

He who has been stung by a snake, fears strings. Proverb

A hen picks a seed at a time, but gets filled up. Proverb

If someone asks you: what’s more useful, the sun or the moon? Respond: the moon, for the sun shines during the day when it is light anyway, whereas the moon shines at night. But, on the other hand, sun is better because it gives light and warmth, whereas the moon gives just light , and only on moonlit evenings! K. Prutkov

It’s a well known fact that the earth which shocks us with its eccentricity would merely look as a smooth and meager ball to someone who was looking at it from the sun. K. Prutkov

The lowliest of beggars is capable of being the foremost rich man under different circumstances. K. Prutkov

Those who can see, can also understand and discern that which is in front of their eyes; a blind man pokes around with his stick and asserts that nothing else exists except that which the touch of the stick shows him. L. Tolstoy


If there were only evil rich men and poor vagabonds in this world, then how would holy people live? I. Babel

Christianity is the complete negation of common sense and sound reason. M. Bakunin

Religion is a collective insanity. M. Bakunin

Christ came to this world not with peace, but with a sword. N. Berdyaev

The worship of dead rich men is the basis of religion. N. Bukharin

Calm down! The dirty evil spirit is in clean, responsible hands! Contemporary Saying

Christ was not a Christian if only because a Christian, unlike a Jew, needs a mediator between himself and God. All those called Christians today, have “appointed” this remarkable Jew from Nazareth as that mediator. N. Djin

I want to see it with my own eyes when the doe will lie down beside the lion, and when the stabbed will embrace the one who stabbed him. I want to be here when everyone will suddenly find out why everything was the way it was. Upon this desire are based all the religions of the world. F. Dostoevsky

Man should not look upon religion as a good-in-itself. Religion should be a guide to action. S. Dubnov

Get rid of the devil and the priest will have nothing to do. N. Khrushchev

Religion is the opium of the people. Religion is the kind of spiritual vodka in which the slaves of capitalism drown their human shape and their claim for any decent human life. V. Lenin

No free man needs a God. V. Nabokov

To God - fame’s beacon, and to a priest - a piece of bacon. Proverb

Be born, baptized, married, die - for everything pay the priest on time. Proverb

A church is always close to a pub. Proverb

Priest prays not for the soul’s salvation, but for money’s accumulation. Proverb

Christ could certainly not have established the church. That is, the institution we now call by that name, for nothing resembling our present conception of the church with its sacraments, its hierarchy, and, especially, its claims to infallibility, is to be found in Christ’s words or in the conception of the men of his time. L. Tolstoy

The true religion is not a religion of reason, but the true religion cannot contradict reason. L. Tolstoy

One shouldn’t hope to see the coming of God’s kingdom on earth, but one shouldn’t doubt that it will come. L. Tolstoy

Whatever a man prays for, he prays for a miracle... “Great God, let not two times two make four!” I. Turgenev

There is one - believes in Jesus,

In Muhammad, and in Allah.

But there is one who won’t believe

In anything else except himself. V. Vysotsky


From today’s vantage point the Russian Revolution looks like nothing so much as an outmoded and absurd act of violence. American capitalism, on the other hand, is on its way to truly new, as yet unknown and undefined age of liberalism. V. Aksyonov

I want to do away with everything behind man, so that there is nothing to see when he looks back. I want to take him by the scruff of his neck and turn his face toward the future. L. Andreev

Revolution - we will say “yes” to it, but will we then say “no” to the Sabbath? “Yes”, I say to the revolution, “yes”, I say to it, but it hides from me and sends forth nothing but shooting. I. Babel

A pole was shooting because he is counter-revolution. You shoot because you are revolution. But revolution is supposed to be pleasure, and pleasure doesn’t like orphans in the house. Good people do good deeds. Revolution is a good deed of good people. But good people don’t kill. Then, revolution is made by bad people. But Poles were also bad people. So, who will tell me, where is the revolution and where is the counter-revolution? I. Babel

There are but three ways for the populace to escape its wretched lot. The first two are by the route of the wine-shop or the church; the third is by that of the social revolution. M. Bakunin

Our first work must be the annihilation of everything as it now exists. M. Bakunin

The passion for destruction is a creative passion. M. Bakunin

If one would make a thorough revolution, one must attack things and relationships, destroy property and state. Then, there would be no need to destroy men. M. Bakunin

Never play with insurrection, but having begun it , make up your mind to go through with it to the end. V. Lenin

If compromise continues, the revolution disappears. V. Lenin

Seizure of power is the point of the uprising; it’s political task will be clarified after the seizure. V. Lenin

What else could have we done?

V. Lenin (Last words)

Only the angel on top of the Alexandrian Column was not suspected of being a revolutionary. V. Shklovsky

The debilitating dream of the status quo is the sign of a society that has ended its development. A. Solzhenitsyn

You can’t make a revolution with silk gloves. J. Stalin

These solid people of capital, the press, the pulpit - where have they ever fought? They are accustomed to find out by telegraph and telephone the results of the battles that settle their fate. L. Trotsky


We Russians are heirs to the whole world. We shall take as our own all that is exclusive in the life of every European nation. Take it, we shall not as exclusive, but as an element added to our own life, the exclusive side of which must be versatility. V. Belinsky

In respect of polarization and inconsistency, the Russian people can be paralleled only by the Jews: and it is not merely a matter of chance that precisely in these two people there exists a vigorous messianic consciousness. N. Berdyaev

The Russians are fugitives and bandits. The Russians are also pilgrims in search of divine truth and justice. N. Berdyaev

Russia is the most stateless, the most anarchic country in the world. Russian people are the most apolitical people who never know what to do with their own country. N. Berdyaev

A Russian man can be holy, but he can never be honest. Honesty is the Western ideal. Russian ideal is holiness. N. Berdyaev

Any kind of an appeal for self-discipline irritates Russians. N. Berdyaev

When a Russian man is religious, he believes that the saints or God himself would do everything for him; when, however, a Russian is an atheist, he thinks that society will be the one doing everything for him. N. Berdyaev

A moralistic character of the Russian soul gives birth to a suspicious treatment of thought. N. Berdyaev

Russian politics can only be imperialistic and never nationalistic, and our imperialism should only be generously-giving, and never greedily-taking. N. Berdyaev

Russia’s biggest misfortune is the lack of real people. N. Berdyaev

The Sphinx is Russia. Grieving and exulting

And weeping black and bloody tears enough,

She stares at you adoring and insulting,

With love that turns to hate , and hate to love. A. Blok

In Russia we have the minority of voices, but how overwhelming this minority is! Contemporary Saying

How difficult it is to choose a worthy one out of all these candidates in Russia! Contemporary Saying

In the USSR we kept quiet for such a long time that now, it’s the only thing we talk about. Contemporary Saying

The most original Russian “boys” spend all of their time discussing eternal questions. F. Dostoevsky

Russian women have a peculiarly guilty smile. Foreigners don’t know how to smile like that, either because they don’t know of any guilt within themselves, or that guilt never rises to the surface, never reaches their eyes, their skin. V. Erofeev

But for the dreamer, night-oil burner

The dearest place is here, in Moscow,

At home and at the primal sources

Of all with which the age will blossom. B. Pasternak

Through deep suffering, people in our country ( Russia ) have achieved a spiritual development of such intensity that the Western system in its present state of spiritual exhaustion does not look attractive. A. Solzhenitsyn

This would seem a common dispensation,

And at one conclusion we arrive:

That rejoicing, rage and tribulation

Make it good in Russ to be alive. S. Esenin

It seems to me that an American lives today presupposing that tomorrow will be better. A soviet man, however, torturously remembers his yesterday cherishing a dim hope that tomorrow will be just a little bit worse than today. A. Vainer


Without theatricals and loud manifestations,

Beyond strong feelings, categories grand,

Plain human grief, unkempt, unostentatious,

Is all that counts, I’ve come to understand. P. Antokolsky

I am oppressed by dense melancholy of memories. I. Babel

Let the moon shine in the dark night,

Let life bring people happiness.

But in my soul the spring of love,

Will not replace the sadness. A. Blok

Why do you wear black all the time?

I am mourning my life. I am unhappy. A. Chekhov

Do people around us deserve our sorrow? Are they as pure as we could be pure when they deserve our sorrow? N. Предыдущее словоDjin

It all would have been quite funny,

If it were not so sad. M. Lermontov

Joys must be forgotten. Sadness - never. M. Lermontov

It isn’t much equipped for merriment - our world,

Let’ s wrest joy from the grips of a future day. V. Mayakovsky

Sun keeps shining,

Music is playing,

So, why does my heart

Keep dying? B. Okudjava

Let’s grieve and cry sincerely.

Sometimes together, other times alone.

Let’s not pay attention to gossip that’s evil,

For sadness always accompanies love. B. Okudjava

There is no sadness on this earth that snow could not have cured. B. Pasternak

We are doing well: we don’t borrow grief from neighbors. Proverb

Your own grief is dearer than someone else’s joy. Proverb

A philosopher easily conquers the future and past despairs, but he is just as easily conquered by the present ones. K. Prutkov

Don’t drown in sadness; sadness itself causes sadness. K. Prutkov

People with a great and beautiful soul are always serene and satisfied; people with a worthless soul are all dissatisfied and sad. L. Tolstoy

Strange that joy sometimes resembles grief, and sad that grief never resembles joy. P. Valyuev


When you are running away from yourself, never inform anyone of your destination. Anonymous

In order to find my true self, I went several times around the world. Anonymous

The way to fight with your faults is not to notice them, stand above, and, perhaps, a bit to the side of them. Contemporary Saying

Self-digging is especially dangerous for small, thin souls. Contemporary Saying

How often a man is satisfied with himself only because he doesn’t know himself at all! Contemporary Saying

The purpose of life is to improve man. M. Gorky

Do not hesitate to laugh at yourself. Self-criticism is as vital as washing. M. Gorky

Change your biography. Take advantage of your life. Break yourselves against your knees. V. Shklovsky

How difficult it is to know what to cry about; how hard it is to know what to reproach yourself with. V. Shklovsky

Our worries are mainly constituted of our attempts to reform others while we forget about our own reformation. L. Tolstoy

He, who knows his own self better than the rest, respects himself the least. L. Tolstoy

To say: I cannot resist an act of immorality is the same as saying: I am not a man, not even an animal, but a thing. L. Tolstoy

Have a goal for your life, a goal for a fixed period, a goal for a year, for a month, for a week, for a day and an hour, and for a minute as well. Sacrifice the lesser aims for the bigger! L. Tolstoy

Thoughts are the beginning of everything. And thoughts can be controlled. Hence, the main thing in improving yourself is to improve your thoughts. L. Tolstoy


Brevity is the sister of talent. A. Chekhov

Mankind works its way to the simple truths over thousands of years, whereas complex truths were always in abundance. A. Herzen

One should know how to speak in a banal way, but without banalities. A. Khvostenko

Simple is what people need,

Complex is the only thing they understand. B. Pasternak

To say something well is to say little, but well. K. Prutkov

Quit writing about how, how, how much you love me, because when you get to the third “how”, I start thinking about other things. V. Shklovsky

Let us believe in the simple. Upon obtaining some tension, it becomes the great. V. Shklovsky

Why dwell on refinements when there are so many crude truths yet to be discovered. L. Tolstoy

68. SIN

Taking upon oneself a burden of sin is already redemption. Sin is somehow more virtuous than purity. N. Berdyaev

The sin of the first-born isn’t the essence of orphanhood,

Many, it’s doubtless, would much prefer beastlihood,

It’s easier to find the difference than likelihood. J. Brodsky

If you won’t sin, you won’t repent. If you won’t repent, you won’t be saved. F. Dostoevsky

Do you know that centuries would pass, and mankind will proclaim with its mouth of wisdom and science that there is no such thing as crime and, therefore, no such thing as sin, but there are only the hungry. F. Dostoevsky

There is always a dark spot in our sunlight: it is the shade that falls from us. L. Tolstoy

The fact that a criminal was raised amongst monsters already makes his guilt weaker. L. Tolstoy

The purpose of a human being is the observance of his soul, whereas the observance of his soul is its return, its expansion. L. Tolstoy


Provincial inferiority complexes have played an enormous role in the spread of Marxist doctrine. V. Aksyonov

The worship of mammon instead of God is a characteristic of socialism as well as capitalism. N. Berdyaev

Socialism in its best manifestation is a fruit of the Jewish spirit. H. Byalik

Capitalism is the exploitation of one man by another man, while socialism is vice versa. Joke

Socialism is the longest route to capitalism. Joke

The substitution of the bourgeois state for the proletarian is impossible without a violent revolution. V. Lenin

If socialism can only be realized when the intellectual development of the people permits it, then we shall not have socialism for at least 500 years. V. Lenin

Socialists cannot achieve their great aim without fighting against all oppression of nations. V. Lenin

Marx and statistics are only a new form whose content is already quite old: inner devotion to an idea, self-denial, self-sacrifice, the surrender of one’s own will for the sake of a higher “principle”. Where can there be more morality? L. Shestov

Socialism of any type or shape leads to the overall annihilation of man’s spiritual essence and ultimately to death. A. Solzhenitsyn

70. SOUL

We live in violence because we live in a human flesh. N. Berdyaev

Bodily incompetence and material poverty are not the sign of the strong spirit. N. Berdyaev

Things are worth more than their valuations

Trouble is - economy is now in the center.

It’s what unites us instead of the altar.justifies all our actions. J. Brodsky

The soul, well, that’s for sure,

If it has been burned before

Is more just, more generous,

More virtuous, and much more pure. B. Okudjava

Even biology tells us that a high degree of habitual well-being is not of the utmost importance for a human being. Today, especially in the West, well-being has begun to slowly reveal its fatal mask. A. Solzhenitsyn

The Middle Ages came to exhaustion through a despotic repression of man’s physical nature in favor of his spiritual one. But then, we rejected the spirit and embraced the flesh, excessively and incommensurately. A. Solzhenitsyn

After the suffering of decades of violence and oppression, the human soul longs for things higher, warmer, and purer than those offered by today’s mass-living habits, introduced as by a calling card, by the revolting invasion of commercial advertising, by TV stupor, and by intolerable music. A. Solzhenitsyn

The purpose of a human being is the observance of his soul, whereas the observance of his soul is its return, its expansion. L.Tolstoy

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