Alexander Pushkin: And, Frankly, You Are Hating Us

In 1831 Alexander Pushkin wrote ODE TO DEFAMERS OF RUSSIA. It was his response to some voices in the French parliament calling for armed intervention on the side of Polish insurgents against the Russian army (up to 1917 Poland was part of Russia). In the poem Pushkin explained why the quarrels between Slavs must be decided between Slavs themselves. He called on Europeans not to interfere and made it very clear why they hate Russia. True as it ever was. Enjoy reading and make your own opinion about it.

What’s that you’re trumpeting about, calumniators?
How come you threaten us with excommunication?
What has enraged you? Lithuanian unease?
Forget it: this is Slavic beef among their kindred,
Domestic ancient squabble, fate has long since figured,
A puzzle, you don’t have whatever chance to read.

These here contiguous tribes already
Have long been feuding up to now;
Each party, be it ours or theirs,
Bent under gathering storm clouds.
Who’ll stand the ground when odds are heavy:
A haughty Lech? A faithful Russ?
The question is if Slavic floods will ever
Blend in the Russian sea or it’ll reduce.

Leave us alone: you’re unacquainted
With suchlike bloody sacred tablets;
This family, domestic feud
Is alien, obscure to you;
For all you care, Prague or Kremlin;
Instead, you’re foolishly entranced
By daring courage of a melee –
And, frankly, you are hating us…

Why? On the grounds that, on the ashes
Of blazing Moscow, we refused
To buy the power of the brash, who
You trembled underneath, subdued?
Respond: because we sent the idol,
Who’d been predominating kingdoms, to abyss,
Thus having paid with our lifeblood
For Europe’s freedom, state and peace?..

To hear you talk, you’re tough; then test yourselves in action!
As if an aged hero, calm in relaxation,
Can’t fix his Ismailian bayonet to a gun;
As if the word of Russian tsar is but a trinket
Or brawls with Europe any different
Or Russians out of form to overcome.

As if we’re few; as if from Taurida to Perm reels,
From ardent Caucasus to Finnish chilly skerries,
From Kremlin, shaken to the core,
Up to the walls of quiescent China
The Russian soil will never rise up
And scintillate with her steel thorns.

Then send your bellicose  descendants,
Defamers, over to our place!
There’s room enough, in Russian grasslands,
Among deserving of them graves.

Alexander Pushkin, 1831