I have always admired the expressiveness of the Russian language. Popular turns of phrase that have become enshrined in everyday language reveal quite colourfully Russians’ attitudes towards themselves and ongoing events. In particular I am struck by the way Russians reflect on failure with easy humour, as captured in the phrase ‘they hoped for better, but it turned out as usual’. This particular phrase keeps coming to mind when thinking about the Ukraine crisis. Europeans, Russians and Americans alike all meant well, but what we got was something quite different.
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In Europe we address community tensions and violence in the UK, and train European government officials on their role in peacebuilding and conflict prevention.