All has been looted, betrayed, sold;
black death's wing flashed ahead.
-Anna Akhmatova, "Looted" (1921)
Since I've been back in the US for the summer, a lot of people have asked me, "So, why Russia?" It's a fair question. Why, indeed? I've given a variety of answers: the intrigue the "Evil Empire" has to a Reagan baby who saw the end of the Cold War, a fascination with Russian literature, a good experience teaching English there in '07, a desire to do something different, a ministry that had a need I was able to meet, the merits of Russian women, the lack of enforcement of open container laws... the list is endless. Today, I'm going to add another one: Anna Akhmatova. Pretty dark stuff, huh?