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Thoughts on Richard Pipes from an MEF colleague

Reader comment on item: NYT: Richard Pipes, Historian of Russia and Reagan Aide, Dies at 94

Submitted by Cinnamon Stillwell (United States), May 31, 2018 at 15:40

I'd like to offer my condolences to Daniel, my Middle East Forum colleague, on the passing of his father, Richard Pipes.

Richard Pipes wrote a 2004 article for Foreign Affairs, "Flight from Freedom: What Russians Think and Want," that had a big impact on my views of the Middle East. Russia went from feudalism to communism to Putin, which, as RP noted, hardly bespeaks a history of, nor predilection for democracy. In addition to hard lessons learned through experience, his piece helped me to stop projecting Western mores onto the Middle East---and other cultures in general---and shaping my expectations accordingly. The result wasn't cynicism, but a healthy realism.

I also wanted to relay that a certain Trotskyist I know (I do live in the San Francisco Bay Area, after all) told me that although he disagreed with Richard Pipes's politics, he read and respected his work for its high level of scholarship. So even communists appreciated him.


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Daniel Pipes replies:

Thank you, Cinnamon. Interesting to hear his work influenced a Middle East-hand like yourself.

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