Pine Nuts: An open letter to Mr. Putin |

Pine Nuts: An open letter to Mr. Putin


Dear Mr. Putin,

At the height of the cold war, 1960, Russia issued a 40-kopec Mark Twain stamp for interior postage…

You were only eight years old at the time, old enough to have read “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer,” perhaps, though not yet old enough to imagine a second cold war of 2022, in which you would be playing a major role.

Just as Americans harbor a love for Tolstoy, Russians seem to harbor a love for Twain. I know this firsthand, for I have traveled to Russia as an impressionist of Mark Twain, and received the warmest welcome I’ve had outside of Texas; even invited to climb inside Sputnik Two…

So my question to you, Mr. President, is simply this, how is it our people get along just fine, and our politicians can’t? Therein lies the rub. We common folks don’t get it, and we’re about fed up with the absurdity and peril of it all.

Here we are jointly fighting a pandemic, working hand-in-hand to save lives, while at the same time, threatening to move nuclear missiles closer to potential targets. This is, to use a word common to us both, “nuts – чокнутый.”

In a 1906 letter to Russian revolutionary Nikolai Tchaikovsky, Samuel Clemens wrote, “Some of us, even the white-headed, may live to see the blessed day when tsars and grand dukes will be as scarce there as I trust they are in heaven.” Frankly, I fear both of our exalted countries are drifting backward toward perceptible forms of archaic monarchy.

When I lectured at Leningrad University in your birthplace of Saint Petersburg, the first question I entertained from a student was, “You come to us from Nevada?”

“Yes, I am proud to say, the great Silver State of Nevada.” I answered.

“Can we see your gun?”

We each have our domestic problems and fears with which to deal, Vladimir, but there is no rational reason in the world for our two noble countries to be pointing nuclear weapons at each other. It is time to scale-down, draw-down, and disarm.

As one man to another, I thank you in advance for your compassion and cooperation. The hour has come for complete and unparalleled cooperation between nations to save the home we mutually enjoy, called Earth, земной.

Your friend in a shared peace,


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At the height of the cold war, 1960, Russia issued a 40-kopec Mark Twain stamp for interior postage.
Provided photo
McAvoy Layne visiting Russia as a Mark Twain impressionist.
Provided photos
McAvoy Layne visiting Russia as a Mark Twain impressionist.
Provided photos

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