When I lived in
Moscow I regularly
frequented an antique shop on Malaya
Nikitskaya Street that had a small selection of
English books. A lot of the stuff was awful, but they had a good selection of volumes
from “Progress”, the USSR’s
foreign language publishing house. Progress specialized in works by soviet
authors and bad translations of the Russian classics. My favorite Progress book
however (which I found in the shop) was Words
from the Wise, a selection of Russian and Soviet quotations.
Some of the words within are wise, others are banal while many are flat-out lies. My favorite quotes however come from Felix Dzerzhinsky, the Polish Bolshevik who founded the Cheka, embraced Lenin’s policy of terror and established
Russia’s first concentration camps.
A bad man? Certainly. But he knew the human heart.