Fyodor Dostoyevsky
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Quotes for
Fyodor Dostoyevsky (Character)
from "Russia" (1986)

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"Russia" (1986)
Peter Ustinov - Host: Mister Dostoyevsky, a short time ago you made a speech at the unveiling of the monument to Pushkin. It was a wonderful speech, it was of evident sincerity and colossal power and you said the Russia's destiny was to revitalize the world by the example of it's selflessness and the brotherly love expressed in the Orthodox Church, and people acclaimed you as a prophet, as a saint.
Fyodor Dostoyevsky: What is sincere one moment may be suspect the next. There are times when rational people become wildly enthusiastic, and a day later they'll forget all about it.
Peter Ustinov - Host: Well, at the risk of shocking you I might say the same about Jesus Christ or his followers like Peter, Doubting Thomas?
Fyodor Dostoyevsky: People are the same today as they were then - they hailed all sorts of insignificant hotheads as prophets. Jesus Christ is the only sure thing in an inconsistent world. We believe that because we must believe in something. It's a human need. It's a human need to be sure about at least one thing. And what better example than Jesus Christ.
Peter Ustinov - Host: [smiles] And on his own level?... Dostoyevsky?
Fyodor Dostoyevsky: [angry] Now you shock me!... I'm a believer, at least at this moment, as I reply to you that only the Russian people understand that suffering is the only way to future happiness. Suffering purifies everything. Every moment of happiness must be paid for in the coin of misery.
Peter Ustinov - Host: [disagrees] Well, I don't think that is entirely true.

Fyodor Dostoyevsky: [firmly] Nothing is always true. A few things are always untrue.
Peter Ustinov - Host: Mr. Dostoyevsky, when you were younger you were led out into a public square in order to be shot as a revolutionary. In the last moment there was a reprieve and you were sentenced to four years in Siberia and eight further years in the army. Don't you sometimes resent those 12 wasted years of your life?
Fyodor Dostoyevsky: [passionately] No! They gave me everything. My literature, my characters, my understanding, my compassion. Why should I resent a superficial injustice? So, I am grateful, even thankful to the fools, the idiots who sentenced me to be shot.
Peter Ustinov - Host: [conciliatory] Well, I must say... your speech at the Pushkin memorial was quite something. It was. But I think in light of his opinions about Pushkin, I don't think our friend Tolstoy would even have accepted the invitation to speak there.

Fyodor Dostoyevsky: Poor Lev Nikolaevich - so aristocratic, so balanced. He tries so hard to pretend to be insane - at times quite without success... While I... who have traces of insanity... try desperately to look normal - to be understood... There's Russia for you, my friend.