Alexey Savvateev: "Wisdom is you take on exactly the problems that you can solve"
Vladimir Legoyda
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Our next topic is forgiveness, with which, as you said, you seem to have no issues.

Let’s say I have to understand, why did a person do something offensive, I have to understand it in full, and if a person offended me somehow, I will …

But this is about forgiving, and my question is about asking for forgiveness.

Ah, I didn’t even think about it.

And look, the question is: when is it easier, or just the reverse, harder to ask for forgiveness — when you realize that you somewhere, excuse me for using low style, “screwed up” in your profession or in what they call in your life? You gave an excellent example of birthday paradox, when you said to a group of 42 people that you bet them a gold coin or a chocolate bar that there would definitely be two persons, and they were not there, and then you went to explain why this did not come through. And by the way, what happened next, how did you work with them further on?

Well, I gave away a chocolate bar, of course.

Well, it’s clear about a chocolate bar, it’s clear that you gave it, you had no other chance, and how did they treat you after this?

Wonderfully. No, mathematics is a field where at a science seminar any academician, even the greatest academician in the world, could make several mistakes and not worry about it, and postgraduates in the audience would correct him several times. This is beautiful, there is something to it of ancient events, like Pythagorean groups. Overall, this is a service, we are nobodies, God is everything, in this case this is mathematical truth, we serve it. An academician is wrong, he says: “Yes, certainly, here it is not + 5, we got + 3”, and goes on business as usual, this cannot affect anything. I teach all my learners like this, I come to tell about some super-language, about some theorems, which I could hardly understand myself, it took me 12 times, 12 attempts to prove the great Fermat theorem with n=3 without any errors, and there still was a fault. And we together seek this knowledge, which is hard and borders on the edge of human capacity, I mean, to keep it in one’s head, a man has to develop, develop and develop himself once again, and we are developing together without any regard for titles, that’s why I never mention any of my titles, but for Doctor of Physics and Mathematics, but this is just a formality. And it does not matter, an error and its correction in mathematics is no sin. Forgiveness is asked for this or that sin, for example, being insensitive to a person, if you offend a person — these are all sins. An error in mathematics is no sin, it needs to be understood, if, of course, you are not an adept of Fermat, and if you are one, you are profoundly deluded, Fermat adepts need to be taken to see a priest, because they are profoundly deluded.

Look, it’s clear, there was an error, in calculations …

Yes, you correct it and go on …

Correct it and go on. And I had a discussion with wonderful Tatiana Alexandrovna Kasatkina, a major expert in Dostoyevsky, and she has this point, it seems to me, a very important one, she says: teachers (it’s obvious, that she primarily means the humanities, probably) very often associate themselves with the knowledge they have, and when a student or a pupil challenges this knowledge instead of taking this opportunity to develop or move further: let’s assume, you have for 20 years thought that Dostoyevsky in this case means this thing, you have been teaching this for 20 or 40 years, and a 15-year old boy tells you: “Listen, this is totally not so”. And you, instead of being happy for him, you are afraid of this, of something, I don’t know, this could be vanity or something else: “How come, could I have been wrong for 30 years”, isn’t it so? You understand, this number +3, +5, we move on — this is not a problem, and you have been proving something for 20 years, and it turns out you went the wrong way. Chekhov wrote in his “Notebooks”: N all his life studied bacilli, wrote a heap of articles on their lethality, and it turned out that this bacillus was completely harmless for people and so on — your life crashes down.

Yes, that’s clear.

Are there any issues with this?

There’s none in mathematics, all errors in mathematics are local: you make an error, detect it and correct it. But it can be very frustrating, when you were sure you had achieved a super beautiful solution to a problem, and when you found an error or it was pointed out to you – this can be horribly frustrating, but this is just for one day, you forget about it the next day.

So you believe it’s not just your personal attitude, this is still something like …


Is it?

It is, because only mathematics is devoid of paradigms,

Look, I said it was not about forgiving, it’s about asking for forgiveness.

Asking for forgiveness in real life. Yes, it is very hard for me.

Have there been any occasions when you could not ask for forgiveness, while being aware that you had to?

Yes, there have been, many occasions. My life is very hard, I have a health condition: I am always right, I am a man’s man, how could I be wrong, I have thought it all through … I am a very headstrong man, I know this life, I go out to the street being aware of processes going on around me, and how could this be — I am wrong? All it takes is understanding of having been wrong, and it happens that you are being incited by it, if you are right, then do this, this and this, tread on lives of these people, not on lives literally, but you tread on human fates, you say something rude to a person, you name and shame a person, that he should not be in mathematics, because he has no talent, and maybe you should not have said it at this moment. It is very hard to ask for forgiveness, and he is already in tears, he won’t forgive you, he would say: “OK”, but he will remember what my first thought was. I offend people often, very often.

But is it specifically related to mathematics?

With me being so self-assured, no-no, I am a very self-assured person, my life is under my thumb, I am always in control of it, and this very often creates situations when I have to ask for forgiveness, actually.

And how is it related to you at the same time saying that you forgive easily?

Yes, indeed, it is very hard for me to ask for forgiveness, but it is very easy to forgive, just because a dude screwed up, that’s it, what’s the big deal? No, if he is asking for forgiveness …

And what if he isn’t?

It is very hard to forgive if he won’t ask me for it. If a person does bad things again and again, being careless about it or thinking there is nothing bad about it, it would be very hard for me to forgive this sort of person, and if he comes to me and says: “Yes, it’s my fault, I was a complete fool, forgive me, Alexei” — I forgive at once.

This is interesting: we are talking about patience, and from show to show I get more and more convinced that forgiveness, the hardest for me personally, today or yesterday I was getting prepared and recalled a recent story about a man I met several times while working, and he did not do anything special to me, I just understood that I had not forgiven him, because I have a thorn in my side, and I still have this bad attitude towards him. The topic of forgiveness is very complicated; I think we often do not give it a second thought…

Holding a grudge is a mortal threat, so you’d better forgive. Actually, when you come to confession, you are asked whether you forgave everyone, and not if you asked everyone for forgiveness. So there is something, which is probably more important for God. If you offend a thousand people left and right, and then you come to confession, repent and say: “God, I can’t even remember those I have offended”, and a priest will tell you: “All right, I hope God will forgive”. But if he asks you whether you hold a grudge against someone, he will not let you near the Chalice.


This is what I need, this is what I am trying to work on. I hold no grudges against anyone now, meaning I’ve coped with the ones I had, I do not get offended by fools, there are so many fools around, but I hold no grudge against any of them as a matter of principle, if any of the persons I have mentioned on this comes to me and holds out his hand, I would be happy to shake it with a smile.


Love, Alexei, love.

Yes, I love my enemies, this is a very good commandment, by the way, I came to Christ when I saw this.

Tell us about it.

I was 13 years old, I went to an ordinary school class, in a quite tough street environment, and I was a nerd, favored by hooligans, because they would copy math and physics homework from me, and I hung out with them like a little apprentice, they used to say: Savatan is off limits, Savatan is one of us, with us, don’t you dare touch him. I was protected and safe, but the rules were quite strict: an enemy means an enemy, forgiveness is not an option for an enemy. And I always felt that this was bad, wrong somehow, why would a regular guy from a different street be an enemy, we’re playing a game, it really is only a game, and I felt it. And there came a person and said: “Listen, those who are with Christ love their enemies”. So this is a very obvious and simple construct: we essentially play games all our life. What is Russia and America — at the highest level it’s only a game, actually this is just a game, we play mock battles, this makes our life merrier, they feel merrier holding their population in this situation, and correspondingly, it’s merrier to us. I love America, though it is our enemy. I love some people that I am constantly fighting about this and that, it is easy to understand for me, it was very easy for me to realize this, and I accepted it at once, because where it says “Love your enemy”, I see what I always knew, and I had known it before.

I was just shown that here, with Christ, this is so, and it is not so in other religions, and there is another important thing here: an enemy, he says or does something, and he is still a person.

I mean, if he says something bad about my Motherland, gets me offended by saying bad things about my Motherland, and then he goes and adopts a child from an orphanage, it is a real life story actually — that’s it, I cannot but love him, and it’s clear, it’s simply fantastic.

Yes, I understand what you are saying, but you definitely know the saying, I think, Philaret of Moscow said “love your enemies, despise God’s enemies and destroy enemies of the Fatherland”?

Destroy, but not in the sense of hating them, destroy— but love, it is perfectly normal. If a nuclear war were to start, we’d push the button, no doubt about it, but we will love them.

And what does love of enemies mean in this case?

We wish them to go to heaven, you kill him but wish he got to the paradise.


You cannot wish for him to go to infernal hell forever, this would be a nightmare. It is all a game, our life, it’s actually all a game. I am a game theory expert, we are playing and playing here, but up there in heaven there will be no borders, there will be nothing, because even if you fight, I think this was exactly how Dmitry Donskoi and his elite troops went into battle, to destroy those unreasonable fools, maybe God would take them, pull them up somehow. And finally, Islam is not so bad at all, versus all this transgender atheism and overall madness, if compared to this — oh, our Muslim brothers, our blood brothers, by the way, I visit their channel, I’ve gone there and will go again. Today we are on the same side of the frontline, we used to be on different sides, but I think that when our forefathers went to war, they prayed for all of them to go to heaven, this is all right.

And let’s talk about yet another love, to the main one or one of the main loves — about mathematics. You said wonderful words, you said “I am sure that Alexei Savvateyev, God’s servant, was created by God for this very purpose — to “preach” mathematics among Russian-speaking people, and when I do not preach mathematics, it burns me from within”. The question is: do you entertain the idea that life may change, some circumstances may change or is there something else that must happen for you to abandon this love? Maybe this is an artificial question, then we may put it aside. Let’s imagine Gogol, Gogol who quits writing literature?

If life should call upon me for more important matters of state, then yes, it is possible.

So there may be some service, related to the Motherland?

Yes, to the Motherland, higher mathematics of the Motherland.

So if it seems to you that…

If they call upon me to become, for instance, the minister of education, if…

Will you go?


To be the Minister of Education?

Yes. And God have mercy on those who would tumble from their offices, I keep a list.

Say, do you have a draft plan “if I were a minister”?

By all means.

What if, I am just very curious, what would you do about education in general or about primary education …

It depends, there’s a lot, I have a plan for any position I could occupy, whether it would be science or education, I mean, if I am tasked with science — I have a specific plan, if I am tasked with school — another plan, if it would be a university, I have it too, a university would be the hardest thing.

Let’s go with school — what will your first three decisions be?

The first decision would be an immediate moratorium, absolutely immediate from this day on any reporting whatsoever for a few years, I usually say “two years” …

You mean teacher reporting, don’t you?

Yes, I would ban superior organizations from demanding more than one A4 page report from a school a week — and that is if they cry out and say that they cannot do without reports. It would be a ban, just one А4 regular font page per week from a school. If you demand more, a special commission from me pays you a visit, and you’re gone. Any teacher would have my phone number and phone numbers of my deputies, and if there’s hell once again or if they only pretended but kept the reporting, I would immediately find out about it and I will destroy this system. It is not so easy, unfortunately, even “our everything” has other things to worry about apart from education, he is busy with serious issues at the political front. Academicians come to him, they have come to him several times: “Vladimir Vladimirovich, it’s a complete nightmare, please do something”. — “Listen, if you cannot set this straight, how could I?”

Well, reporting is removed …

I can take absolute care of the situation, and I am warning …

Yes, what’s your second decision?

The next decision would be to immediately raise teacher salaries by three or four times across Russia, and not to some select teachers who win in a contest, as it is now.

And third?

This is not too hard, because Putin has said that there is a trillion of unspent money. Do you know why this trillion has not been spent? I know. Because people are afraid of signing off money to anyone, they are scared of this horrible overblown reporting, their hands are shaking: we’d rather give this money back than be held responsible for it. This atmosphere of fear and horror has paralyzed the Ministry of Education today, everything that is related to education in Russia is paralyzed. I mean, the West is paralyzed by this transgender humanism, and we have been paralyzed by red tape reporting, this will be just blown away to hell.

And third? I am just very curious: reporting, salaries and what is the third decision?

Well, the third decision would be to implement my mathematics program …

I should give credit to you that this comes third, and not first.

Moreover, I know who to call upon, for those issues that I do not have an answer to, I know who I will ask those questions to, so rest absolutely assured, I am completely ready for this, any day.


If I am appointed minister of education, there are also certain activities there: ten thousand of scientists coming back. My conditions are: not a single page of reports, I just bring them back. The cost of the reform: one billion rubles per month. Zero, zero, and if we want to accommodate them really well, provide world-class conditions — there should be three billion. You do understand, don’t you?

I understand.

It is zero, and everyone knows it is zero, but it’s not being done because the current system is incapable of any positive activities due to reporting, I mean, there are some efforts to get scientists back, they are promised huge salaries, but if they will still be involved in writing this crap, my gloves will be off.

No-no, it’s clear, it is so.

All this will be swept away, completely swept away. What sort of reporting does education need will be established in 2-3 years through in-depth discussion with actual scientists. And what do we do with the officials of the present day?

What do we do with the officials of the present day?

Give them a disability pension.

Alexei, I am afraid you won’t get this appointment. (Both laughing.)

As you can see, I am not even putting them in jail, there’s nothing to send them to jail for, they are just unhappy exhausted people, just like the ones who they are abusing now. This system has driven itself into this clinch, I think they are dreaming of us sending them all some place away.

Alexei, it’s the finale, and I told you that I would ask you to put a punctuation mark.

Just imagine that, today we have discussed a lot that God’s existence cannot be proven etc., imagine your child or a student of yours with such a concerned attitude tells you: “ I have decided to look into the issue of faith, God and so on, and I understand that there is no God, there is no God just because there isn’t any proof of it, I have looked into everything, verified it — it does not work, that’s where it does not work, there is no God”. “Convince cannot stay silent” — where do you put a punctuation mark in this situation?

“Convince, cannot stay silent”, because this person is obviously under the thumb of the Cult of Reason. This is a religion of sorts — worshipping reason, which, like I said, led to multiple human sacrifices. And if he continues on this path, he will be completely enslaved by this scary sect.

And it would be better to explain to him as early as possible that if existence of somebody cannot be proven, it does not mean anything. This Occam’s Razor is a tool of the Cult of Reason only, where they use it for shaving, no regular person would use it for shaving.

Look at parishioners of any church — these are normal persons, balanced, they use logic when it needs to be used. If I want to calculate the time of my tram’s arrival to the end of the line, I take the number of stops, I know that on the average it takes two minutes per stop, and I multiply it. This is normal, I use the tools of science. But a person who says that everything that happens around is done with the help of science — he is a slave to this cult, he’s immersed in the cult, I want to drag him out of there. Life is not equal to mind, life is an irrational and a very chaotic thing, and if these bastards ever design a homo sapiens, I mean, turn a man into a robot — this will be the end of history.

Thank you, Mr Savvateyev. This was Alexei Savvateyev, communicator of mathematics for children and adults, Doctor of Physics and Mathematics. And we will continue painting portraits of our contemporaries next week.