‘Fight of Scythuians and Slavs’ (1879) Oil on Canvas by Viktor Vasnetsov
The following sums up why Russia will never be completely European:
You are millions. We are hordes and hordes and hordes.
Try and take us on!
Yes, we are Scythians! Yes, we are Asians -
With slanted and greedy eyes!
For you, the ages, for us a single hour.
We, like obedient slaves,
Held up a shield between two enemy races -
The Mongols and Europe!
Russia is a Sphinx. Rejoicing, grieving,
And drenched in black blood,
It gazes, gazes, gazes at you
With hatred and with love!...
-Excerpts from Scythians by Aleksandr Blok
© Adeyinka Makinde (2016)
Adeyinka Makinde is a London-based writer