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自分が読んで興味深く感じた英文記事を中心に取り上げる予定です

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a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma

 


こちらの動画は2016年のものですが冒頭部分のチャーチルの引用があったので使わせてもらいました。ロシアの動きが今だに読めない中で、導入のキャッチとしてちょくちょく使われているのがこのチャーチルの言葉です。最近でも三つの記事がありました。

We spoke with Fiona Hill, a former Trump adviser, about how the Russian leader’s view of history has led him to the brink of war.
Feb. 18, 2022

Winston Churchill once described Russia as “a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.” It’s a phrase that could equally apply to Vladimir Putin, the Kremlin’s leader, as the world awaits his next move on Ukraine.

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For Russia, invasion would come with a heavy cost. So what's Moscow's endgame?
Murray Brewster · CBC News · Posted: Feb 16, 2022 4:00 AM ET | Last Updated: February 17

As the threat of an invasion of Ukraine again appeared to slip into a holding pattern, Western leaders and diplomats were left scrambling Tuesday to interpret conflicting signals coming out of Moscow.

Famously described by Britain's wartime prime minister Winston Churchill as "a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma," Russia put its willingness to play by its own rules on full display with a token withdrawal of some troops exercising in Crimea and the offer of renewed security dialogue with the West.

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2/14/2022 7:30:00 PMShare This Episode

Condoleezza Rice: It's a pleasure to be with you.
Garard Baker: Let me start, obviously with this, as I said, you spent a lot of your career studying Russia, researching Russia, and then dealing with Russia as an official in the George H.W. Bush administration and then of course, as I said, as a senior official in the George W. Bush administration. So you've met Vladimir Putin many, many times, you know that famous riddle in a mystery wrapped inside an enigma or whatever it was at Winston Churchill, however else, Winston Churchill describe it. As we sit here, now, we are still very unclear about what exactly is going to happen on the border between Russia and Ukraine right now. And things could happen very quickly in the next few hours and days. But I wanted to ask you, first of all, Secretary, what's your sense, given what you know about Russia? What is Putin's strategic objective here? What does he really want?

あくまでキャッチで使われており、それほど深い意味はないようですが、実際どんな場面で使われていたのかを見てみます。



マンガでもなぜかこの引用句を使っているものがありました。イディオム辞典でも取り上げています。引用の際には短めのバージョンa riddle wrapped in an enigmaもあるようです。

a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma
That which is so dense and secretive as to be totally indecipherable or impossible to foretell. It is from a line used by Winston Churchill to describe the intentions and interests of Russia in 1939: "I cannot forecast to you the action of Russia. It is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma; but perhaps there is a key. That key is Russian national interest." Many versions, variations, and appropriations of the quote, its structure, and its meaning have since been in use.
Political campaigns make my head hurt. They're just a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.
I just don't have any idea what Mary expects from me. She's a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.

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a riddle wrapped in an enigma
That which is so dense and secretive as to be totally indecipherable or impossible to foretell. It is a shortened version of a line used by Winston Churchill to describe the intentions and interests of Russia in 1939: "I cannot forecast to you the action of Russia. It is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma; but perhaps there is a key. That key is Russian national interest." Many versions, variations, and appropriations of the quote, its structure, and its meaning have since been in use.
I can't make any sense of this calculus textbook, it's like a riddle wrapped in an enigma.
I just don't have any idea what Mary expects from me. She's a riddle wrapped in an enigma.

BBCが背景を含めて丁寧に説明してくれていました。それもそのはず、チャーチルのBBCの初めての戦時放送で登場したフレーズだとか。ドイツがポーランドに侵攻したのが1939年9月し、その1ヶ月後のことです。チャーチルは首相ではなく海軍大臣だった頃です。1940年の夏のスピーチ("Blood, Toil, Tears and Sweat"のことでしょうか?)ほど有名ではないとしていますが、ロシアの意図について触れた演説と説明しているので、このチャーチルのロシア観はそれだけ有名だということでしょう。

1 October 1939

On 1 October 1939 Winston Churchill gave his first wartime broadcast, on the recently created BBC Home Service. Churchill, the First Lord of the Admiralty, delivered his assessment of the first month of hostilities. He did not like the BBC - which had defied the government to carry statements from strike leaders during the 1926 general Strike - and had only broadcast infrequently before the war. However, he understood the power radio gave him to speak to the nation.

The speech is not as famous as the ones Churchill delivered as Prime Minister during the summer of 1940, but did contain his opinion of Russian intentions as “a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma”. Churchill spoke of the defence and fall of Poland against the onslaught of Germany and Russia.

He suggested that Russia’s natural interests would not coincide with those of Germany. He also asserted that the Germans were not winning the U-boat war, despite initial success. Churchill said the nation should prepare for a long conflict of 3 years and ended by likening the struggle against Nazism to the American Civil War fight against slavery.



その音源がYoutubeにもありましたが残念ながら有名なロシアのところはカットされて入っていません。スピーチ全文を読みたい方はリンク先を参照ください。

Posted on September 24, 2011 by Callie
Reproduced below are the principal passages from Winston Churchill’s eagerly awaited broadcast speech of October 1st – this is a direct word for word copy as appeared in the War Illustrated.

横道に逸れますが、論点を三つあげるというおなじみのセオリーをチャーチルもthree important things have happened.という形で述べています。

The British Empire and the French Republic have been at war with Nazi Germany for a month tonight.  We have not yet come at all to the severity of fighting which is to be expected, but three important things have happened.

First Poland has been again overrun by two of the great Powers which held it in bondage for the last 150 years, but were unable to conquer the spirit of the Polish nation.

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What is the second event of this first month? It is, of course, the assertion of the power of Russia. Russia has pursued a cold policy of self-interest.

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What is the third event? Here I speak as First Lord of the Admiralty with special caution. It would seem that the U-boat attack upon the life of the British Isles has not so far proved successful.

2番目のところがロシアで、有名なフレーズが出ているところが以下です。音源ではカットされてしまっています。

I cannot forecast to you the action of Russia. It is a riddle wrapped in mystery inside an enigma; but perhaps there is a key. That key is Russian national interest.
It cannot be in accordance with the interest or safety of Russia that Nazi Germany should plant itself upon the shores of the Black Sea, or that is should overrun the Balkan States and subjugate the Slavonic peoples of south-eastern Europe. That would be contrary to the historic life-interests of Russia. But in this quarter of the world, the South East of Europe, these interests of Russia fall into the same channel as the interests of Britain and France. None of these three Powers can afford to see Rumania, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria and above all, Turkey, put under the German heel.

「実際はどうなの??」という知りたがりなのでちょっと調べてしまいましたが、「ロシアってよく分からないよね」というのをかっこよく言うためにチャーチルを引用している部分があるので深掘りは無用でしょう。こんな使われ方もありました。確かにこの件も謎に包まれたものです。



1:15あたりから
Jim Garrison : And who killed the President?
David Ferrie : Oh man, why don't you fuckin' stop it? Shit, this is too fuckin' big for you, you know that? Who did the president, who killed Kennedy, fuck man! It's a mystery! It's a mystery wrapped in a riddle inside an enigma! The fuckin' shooters don't even know! Don't you get it?

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