“Russians” (Revisited)

In his 1985 solo debut album, Sting sang of the “Russians” and the looming threat of the Cold War and its assured destruction.  Interestingly, some of the very same lyrics apply to today’s Russia…

“In Europe and America, there’s a growing feeling of hysteria
Conditioned to respond to all the threats
In the rhetorical speeches of the Soviets
Mr. Krushchev said we will bury you
I don’t subscribe to this point of view
It would be such an ignorant thing to do
If the Russians love their children too…

…We share the same biology
Regardless of ideology
What might save us, me, and you
Is if the Russians love their children too.”

The haunting underscore of the reflective lyrics is a classical piece by Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev.  For me, it illicits images of a Russian cityscape cast in gray and where blue skies and sunshine are as rare as a smile.

While the missle crises have been averted and Mr. Gorbachev has long since answered the call to tear down the wall, a new crisis looms. 

In late December, Russian President Vladimir Putin called for a ban on any further adoption of Russian children by American parents.  Shortly thereafter, the Russian parliament signed into law new prohibitions that prevent Americans from providing any further opportunities to Russian children seeking a loving home.

Putin’s antics are rooted in his cowardly efforts to retaliate against the Magnitsky Act – a piece of legisltation passed by the U.S. Congress and signed by President Obama in mid-December.  The Act restricts the travel and financial activities of persons identified as having abused human rights in Russia.

Putin may be a warrior in his own mind, but it is the weakest of the playground bullies who stand behind a protective shield comprised of innocent children in need.

Children are not pawns on a chessboard, rather, they are a gift with which we have been entrusted.  To manipulate them as human, political shields only confirms that Russia remains in the hands of small-minded bullies who walk within reach of their oppressive roots. 

I am preoccupied with thoughts of those children and adults who have met each other and patiently anticipated a time when they can be together as a family – only now to be told that they’ve been torn apart, presumably for good, by selfish and vile politicos with hardened, cold hearts. 

If not each other, who will love and be loved?

According to Wikipedia, about 650,000 Russian children are in orphanages today.  At the age of 16, they are dispatched to the streets where 40% remain  homeless, 20% turn to crime, and 10% commit suicide. 

The Russians have transformed their orphans into hostages.  In an already uncertain existence where their odds of success in redeeming a full life are severely handicapped with seemingly insurmountable challenges, Putin and his cronies have dealt them a handful of marked cards.

My hope is that our leaders in Washington will find the appropriate way to stand up to Russia and demand that children be allowed to be – well, children.  If so compelled, I hope you will join me in writing to our leaders and demanding their attention to this crisis.  Make some noise.

And, while I am consciously aware that our own elected representatives don’t always demonstrate the best that we have to offer, I do believe that both sides of the aisle stand together for most issues of basic humanity.  As for those who choose to find political excuses to turn the other cheek and ignore these matters, I remind them of Dante Alighieri’s observation that “the darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis.”

“…We share the same biology
Regardless of ideology
What might save us, me, and you
Is if the Russians love their children too.”

Unfortunately, the song remains the same.

God bless,



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