Russia’s Foreign Ministry has recommended a communist poet to US ex-Secretary of State John Kerry, after he advised US students to learn Russian.
In a speech, Mr Kerry strongly criticised President Donald Trump and his team, amid an investigation into their alleged close links with Russia.
A ministry spokesperson said the former US administration should have read the Soviet poems of Vladimir Mayakovsky.
Maria Zakharova suggested one which glorified Russian as Lenin’s language.
Russia is marking the centenary of Lenin’s 1917 Bolshevik Revolution.
Mr Kerry made the comments during an address at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government on Wednesday.
“I’m often asked what the secret is to have a real impact on government. Well, it’s recently changed. I used to say, either run for office or get a degree from Harvard Kennedy School. With this White House I’d say, buy Rosetta Stone and learn Russian,” he said.
Rosetta Stone is an online language-learning resource.
In a Facebook post, Ms Zakharova said it was a mistake that Russia had not given the US state department under ex-President Barack Obama a collection of Mayakovsky poems.
She quoted a verse from Mayakovsky’s long poem from 1927 called To Our Youth, which translates as:
“Even if I were an elderly black man I would learn Russian, without being despondent or lazy, just because Russian was Lenin’s language.”
The poem suggests that Russian can serve as a lingua franca binding the diverse nations of the Soviet Union in a new communist order.
Mayakovsky – a propagandist in the early years of the Bolshevik regime – is still much-admired in Russia for his poetry and avant-garde posters.
He made searing criticisms of the US after touring North America in 1925, comparing its cultural diversity to the Tower of Babel.
“I don’t know which Russian language textbooks should be bought for ‘this’ US administration, but for the ‘last one’ it would be best to get a little volume of Vladimir Vladimirovich [Mayakovsky], on the eve of the 1917 centenary,” Ms Zakharova wrote.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has revived some elements of Soviet life, including pro-Kremlin youth movements and displays of military hardware.
In 2005 he called the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 “the greatest geopolitical catastrophe” of the 20th Century.
Read Bolshevik poet Mayakovsky, Russia advises US