On the back of every Russian ruble coin is a two-headed eagle … one head looking West to Europe, the other looking to the far reaches of the East.
For nearly 600 years, it has been the symbol of the Russian people, defining Russian identity as its inverse: though the Eagle gazes to the East and to the West, Russia itself is neither Eastern or Western, but Russian.
And here you have the beginning of insight when it comes to understanding the current Russian state.
Northern flowing rivers. Winters of near total darkenss. Suicidal novelists. Epidemics of addiction. Religious persecution throughout the ages. An expansive and indefensible plain from the Neva river to the Pacific, security elusive, environment harsh but somehow giving.
Russia has endured the Golden Horde, the Ivans, Napoleon, Hitler, Stalin and America, it has withstood dissolution, fracture & defeat, and it has still never ceased to surprise the world with a testy, impenetrable resolve . . . solitary and brooding.