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THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL

|

JUNE 2015

15

On Russian Nature

A

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,

FSJ

, June 1965.

50 Years Ago

USAID

Responds

to Nepal

Earthquake

Crisis

T

he United States

Agency for Inter-

national Development

deployed a Disaster

Assistance Response

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

than 8,000.

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.

COURTESYOFUSAID