One of the characteristics of Russia which should be percieved before everything else is its vastness. It seems to us that Moscow is way removed from Western Europe even though in fact it is located close enough to the Western border of Russia. The geographical center of the country is rather Novosibirsk, given that Siberia occupies almost all its Eastern part. Everything is massive in Russia: geography, history, tempers, emotions, tragedies. This very vastness lies at the heart of the Russian’s understanding of God which underlines his majesty and the awe he evokes. No other understanding of the devine would have found a response in a counry of such a large scale... The same is in terms of the emotions: everything inclines to a vast scale. To people who were brought up as a part of a more reserved Western culture the characters described by Dostoyevsky seems to be awkward freaks, though the writer himself claimed that they coincided with the reality to the full. Few people who have lived in Russia would argue with that.
Russia has a centuries-old history which the Russians are proud of. The country became Christian long before America was even discovered, that is why messianistic ambitions appear in its self-awareness. They were specifically noticeable during the epoch of Marxism when Russia, positive about its nationallistic chosenness, was bringing the undeniable truth to the world. However these ambitions have a long history which begins in a famous prophecy about Moscow becoming a heiress of a devine mission that used to belong to Rome and then to Byzantium: "Two Romes went down, now there is the third, and the forth will never exist." That is why a person who has come to Russia for the first time will act wisely if she will be consciously cultivating genial respect to this country.