THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL
On Russian Nature
mong the major peoples of the earth, the Russians have always been
insufficiently understood by the rulers and publics of other countries.
Yet if we are to live in peace with him, we must learn to understand his nature,
which is both virtuous and unchaste, is rich in imagination and vision but short
on the organizational talents so essential to 20th-century life.
It is not accidental that those who try to probe the Russian soul have per-
sistently noted one of its ingredients to be an inbred suspicion toward other
persons’ principles and motivations. Mistrust comes easily to a community
which has so often been forced to defend itself against its neighbors and
even more distant powers. … Centuries of contact with all kinds of enemies
have made the Russians a people able to detect hidden meanings and inten-
tions with great skill.
To the Russian, any opportunity to procure authentic information is as
valuable as money in other societies. Questions asked of foreigners are
searching and penetrating. They reveal both a genuine desire to be informed
and a process of serious thinking.
—From “The Russian Nature,” by James A. Ramsey,
, June 1965.
50 Years Ago
he United States
Agency for Inter-
deployed a Disaster
Team to Nepal, India
and Bangladesh fol-
lowing the magnitude
7.8 earthquake that
devastated the region
on April 25.
The team comprised more than 130
of USAID’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disas-
ter Assistance humanitarian specialists
and urban search and rescue personnel
from the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue
Department and the Los Angeles County
Fire Department. As of press time, the
death toll from the quake stood at more
The DART arrived in Nepal on April
29 and began addressing immediate
concerns including the critical need for
The U.S. Disaster Assistance Response Team works with
canine rescue units to locate survivors in Nepal.