September 01, 2021

Profiles in Courage


It takes something special in a human being to create a thing from scratch, to see a slab of stone and carve it into a sculpture, to see an empty storefront and turn it into a store, to sketch out a multistory building on paper and then shepherd it into existence in the real world.

It takes not just imagination and vision, but grit, dogged persistence, and a good measure of foolhardiness. For it is far easier to reproduce something someone else has created, or to get paid to execute on someone else’s dream.

Now consider how much harder it is to do all these things in Russia – no matter whether it is late imperial Russia, early Bolshevik Russia, the hopeful era of perestroika, or even the present day. The bureaucracy and corruption is far more insidious, social inertia has greater historical weight, and there is far less trust for outliers or those who dance to the proverbial beat of a different drummer.


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