Hi Emotion: smile
I'd like to know why 'with a passion' is used in the following sentence instead of 'with passion' which is more familiar to hear.

A self-declared patriot with a passion for Russian history, Mr. Tikhonov refused to smoke or drink alcohol, insisting that a blend of temperance and civic engagement might help revive his country.
with a passion for Russian history = with a special, keen interest in Russian history.

This phrasing is typical: with a passion for ...

Thank you very much Emotion: smile