The Brothers Karamazov

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The Newspaper

“In the spring of last year all the newspapers reprinted the item that had appeared in The Russian Veteran describing the martyr’s death of Sergeant Foma Danilov of the Second Turkestan rifles.  Danilov had been taken prisoner…and barbarously murdered…after long and most refined tortures because he refused to enter their service and accept the Mohammedan faith. The khan himself promised to pardon him and to give him a reward and honors if he would agree to renounce Christ.  Danilov answered that he could not betray the cross… His tormentors…marveled at the strength of his spirit and called him a “batyr,” meaning a valiant hero…. He is the emblem of Russia, the whole of Russia…right here we have what amounts to the portrait, the complete picture of the Russian People…They may be coarse and vile and sinful and unremarkable, but when their hour sounds…you will be astounded by the degree of freedom of spirit which they will show before the burdens of materialism, passions, the lust for money and possessions, and even before the fear of the cruelest martyr’s death…” (from A Writer’s Diary  pp. 820 -824).

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