Thomas de Waal (I’ve posted his articles before; he’s one of my favorite Georgia-watchers) has a fascinating new piece in Foreign Policy magazine (yes, another favorite of mine) on using great Russian literature to better understand the political situations of the Former Soviet Union. He uses Dostoevsky’s “The Brothers Karamazov” as his analogy for Georgia. Now, unfortunately I’ve never read Karamazov (my apologies to my many excellent Russian literature professors, I’m more of an early-19th-century girl: Pushkin, Lermontov, and Durova!) so I can’t offer an opinion on de Waal’s literary parallels, but based on his description I agree that he is on to something. Maybe I’ll read The Brothers Karamazov and be able to share more.
And, in other thoughts on the article, I think de Waal’s format of using literature to talk about politics really shows the importance of Area Studies as an academic field. I studied East European Studies in graduate school and received a Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowship, and am a big proponent of the program.