Anatoly Vorobey quotes (in Russian) a passage from an 1811 letter by Konstantin Batyushkov to Nikolay Gnedich complaining about the Russian language so strikingly I thought it was worth translating here:
Guess what I’m beginning to be angry about. What? The Russian language, and the writers who deal with it so unmercifully. And the language, it’s just not very good, it’s a bit boorish, it smells of Tartary. What is this y [ы]? And this shch [щ]? What about these sh, shii, shchii, pri, try? O barbarians! And the writers? Never mind them! Forgive me for getting angry at the Russian people and their dialect. I have just this minute been reading Ariosto, breathing the pure air of Florence, delighting in the musical sounds of the Ausonian language and speaking with the shades of Dante, Tasso, and sweet Petrarch, from whose lips each word is bliss.
Anatoly goes on to quote a passage from Bely’s Peterburg complaining about how awful the sound y [ы] is, concluding “Not a single cultured language knows the y: it’s something obtuse, cynical, slippery.” A strange coincidence of attitudes! Anatoly says he himself thinks the y is a very nice sound: “I like it a lot.”