The insightful and uplifting May 13 Metro article “Crime and punishment, change and progress” should be required reading for anyone interested in the rehabilitation of young offenders and the role that Russia’s immortal Leo Tolstoy can play in achieving it. His understanding of the human condition, together with that of Dostoevsky, Chekhov, Pushkin and other giants of Russian literature, should inform our relationship beyond the fleeting demands of politics and diplomacy.

Bravo, then, to the University of Virginia and its enterprising fellow, Andy Kaufman, for this imaginative and transforming initiative to bring troubled young American lives back on track.

James W. Symington, Washington

The writer is chairman of the American Russian Cultural Cooperation Foundation.