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Russia's "Real People" in Politics: Maria Zakharova

Maria Zakharova
Maria Zakharova dances the Kalinka dance

When video surfaced of Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova dancing the traditional Kalinka dance at the Russia-ASEAN summit in Sochi, YouTube and other shared media went viral. Zakharova, who is famous for her professionalism and directness, shows another side to Russian political figures' popularity.

Most onlookers can recognize real people, and fake ones too. So if credibility is ever tied to being genuine, it's no wonder Russia's leadership overshadows their western colleagues. Maria Zakharova's rendition of this famous Russian folk dance is the the first instance of her diverse personality. Earlier this month she offered a rhymed reply, when asked about frequent telephone conversations between US Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. In a four-line stanza - an unmistakable allusion to My Heart’s in the Highlands, by Robert Burns - Zakharova ventured to suppose that "John’s heart is in Moscow". 


The Russian sense of humor, Zakharova's human duality, amid the most trying geo-political times in the last 40 years, reveals an unmistakable truth. Russians are the most resilient people when it comes to hardship, a genuine folk able to laugh with hope, when hearts and pocketbooks get broken. The video below speaks more than 1000 words, and a look at Maria's social media profiles tells any onlooker all they need to know about the reality of Russia's government administration today. This Kremlin official's Instagram here (see the comic share above), is a montage of selfies, food shares, official imagery, and personal "likes" that is unmistakably transparent. Zakharova, like her boss Sergey Lavrov, and even Vladimir Putin himself, they have a rare humility. The same transparency reaches everyone through Facebook and the other social spheres as well. 

I am reminded of a superb and fitting quote from Fyodor Dostoyevsky:

“At some thoughts one stands perplexed - especially at the sight of men's sin - and wonders whether one should use force or humble love. Always decide to use humble love. If you resolve on that, once and for all, you may subdue the whole world. Loving humility is marvelously strong, the strongest of all things, and there is nothing else like it.”