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Introduction 3 


Absolutism versus Revolution 8 

Absolutism the outcome of the unification of disparate nationalities — V 

Foundation of the autocracy — Destruction of traditional demo- 
cratic elements — Byzantism — Causes of " the anarchy " — Condi- 
tional sovereignty — Power of the Patriarch — The principle of unity 
— Imperial ambitions — Absolutism and peace — Anti-revolutionary 
role of the autocracy — Stein's view of German unity — Mettemich's 
view of Alexander I — Fluctuations of mental attitude of Alexander I 
— Nicholas I as anti-revolutionist — The Crimean War — Psycho- 
logy of Russian absolutism — Effect of absolutism upon the 4uration 
of life and upon the character of the Tsars — Peasant views upon the ^ n 

autocracy — Relation of the autocracy and the gentry — The revolu- 
tionary " state of mind " — Revolutionary propagandas. 


The Disturbances among the Cossacks and the Peasants, and the 

Rising of Pugachev {1773-1775) .21 

The origin of the Cossacks — Cossack communities — Effect of flights of 
peasants upon the peasant mass — Stenka Razen — Ground of the 
hostility of the Cossack towards the peasant — Effect of changes in 
administration — Mutual suspicion of the peasants — Grievances of 
the Cossacks — Origin of the disturbances — The Cossacks of the Yaek 
or Ural River — Changes in the military position of the Cossacks — 
Obhgations to render military service — Grievances about arrears of 
pay, &c. — Deputation to St. Petersburg — Conciliatory attitude of 



Katherine II — Recalcitrance of the Cossacks — Movement among the 
Kalmuks — Compromise with the Cossacks — Further misunderstand- 
ings — Second deputation to St. Petersburg — Tactless conduct of the 
chief of the Military Collegium — Text of a Cossack petition — Begin- 
ning of the disturbances — Riot of January 1772 — Indiscretion of 
commander — His death — Vindictiveness of the Cossacks — Inade- 
quate measures of authorities — Eventual " pacification " of 
the Yaek Cossacks — Series of impostors, each representing 
himself as Peter III — Bogomolov — The Don Cossacks — Their 
grievances — Emergence of Pugachev — Relation of the clergy 
to the situation — Arrest and escape of Pugachev — He openly 
raises the standard of rebellion — Connivance of the Cossacks — Small 
garrisons overpowered — Cossacks generally join the rebel ranks — 
March of the rebels upon Orenburg — Investment of Orenburg — 
External complications prevent decisive action — Liberation mani- 
festoes issued by Pugachev — Ascribed peasants join the rebellion — 
Defeat and retirement of Russian commander — Imperial troops 
ambushed — ^Discipline of Pugachev — Situation at Kazan — Gloom 
at St. Petersburg — Tactless manifestoes — Flight of proprietors — 
Rising becomes peasant revolt — Successes of Pugachev — Mobility 
of his forces — Defeat of Pugachev at Tatisheva fortress — FHght of 
Pugachev — He incites the Bashkirs — Second defeat — Third appear- 
ance of Pugachev with an army in the Urals — Spreading of the 
disturbances and of the fame of Pugachev — Further manifestoes by 
him announcing the liberation of the peasants — Pillage of estates — 
Assault and partial destruction of Kazan by Pugachev — Attack 
upon his forces by Mikhelson — Flight of Pugachev — Continued 
pillage — Close of the Turkish War — Energetic attempts to subdue 
the rebellion — Betrayal, arrest, and execution of Pugachev — Signi- 
ficance of the rebellion. 


The Revolutionary Movements of 1824-182 5, 1830, and i 848-1 850 63 ^ 

The Dekabristi — Influence of Western Europe — Aristocratic character 
of the Dekabrist movement — ^The Kiril Methodian Society — ^The 
"circles" — The Slavophils — Structural changes in Russian 
society and their intellectual consequences. 


The Revolutionary Movements, i 860-1 874 71 / 

Emancipation — Peasant disorders — Fluctuations of opinion in all 
"spheres" — Student movement of 1 860-1 861 — Influence of exile 
— Zemlya e Volya — Great fires at St. Petersburg — Agitation in 



Poland — Revolt in Poland — Racial character of Polish movement 
— Relation of Polish to Russian revolutionary movement — Detach- 
ment of peasants from Polish insurrection — Suppression — Reaction 
— Zemlya e Volya — Permeation versus immediate action — At- 
tempted assassination of Alexander II — Suppression — Nech^ev — 
The circle of Tchaikovsky — Peaceful propaganda. 


The Influence of Western European Socialism upon the Russian 

Movement 77 

The International Working Men's Association — Dominant influence of 
Karl Marx — Controversies on theory and tactics — CentraUzation 
versus regional autonomy — Marx and Bakunin — ^The Federation 
of the Jura — Russian interpretation of the disputes — Divisions 
among Russian sociahsts — Bakunists and Lavrists — The emergence 
of the idea of " going to the people " — Anarchist propaganda. 


The " V Narod " Movement / . 103 

Origin of the movement — Characteristically Russian — ^Mental attitude 
of the enthusiasts — Idealization of peasantry and working men — 
Disillusionment — Panic of the Government — Suppression — Benefits 
of the movement — Prosecutions — Emergence of policy of violence 
— Vera Zasulich — Corruption among high officials — New attitude of 
adherents of V Narod — ^The Kiev group — Valerian Osinsky — Attack 
upon Kotlarevsky — " The Executive Committee " — New parties — 
The Narodnovoltsi — The Chorniy Peredyeltsi — ^The Lipetsk- Voronej 
meeting — ^The demonstration at Kazan Cathedral, St. Petersburg — 
Zemlya e Volya — ^The North Russian Working Men's Union. 


" Narodnaya Volya" 114 

Terrorism — " Delenda est Carthago " — Views of the Narodnovoltsi — 
Indictment of the Government — Reasons for jxjUtical action — De- 
mand for a Constituent Assembly — Programme of the " Executive 
Committee " — Absence of political power on the part of the people 
— A Constituent Assembly — Local autonomy — Propaganda — ^War 
against the Government — Osinsky — Incident of attempted assassi- 






nation — ^Terroristic attempts — Assassination of Mezentsev, Chief 
of Political Police, Prince Dmitri N. Kropotkin, Governor-General 
of Kharkov, and of General Drenteln — Attempt on the life of the 
Tsar— The Lipetsk-Voronej meeting— J elydbov — Disagreement — 
Compromise — Composition and organization of the " Executive 
Committee " — Elaborate plot against the life of the Tsar — Mines 
at Alexandrovsk, Moscow, and Odessa — Failure of plot — The plot ^ 

at the Winter Palace — Khaltiirin — Jely^bov — The explosion — / 

Espionage — The circular of Makov, Minister of the Interior — Die- sj 
tatorship of L6ris M§lik6v — Preparation of a constitutional scheme 
— Assassination of the Tsar — Sudeikin — Dugaiev — Vera Figuer — 
Lopatin — Orgich — Bogoraz — Final collapse of the Narodnaya 


The Reaction 135 

Accession of Alexander III — Pobyedon6stsev — Asiatic theories of 
Government — Causes of the reaction — Changes in university ad- 
ministration — Subordination of education to politics — Reactionary 
legislation on administration of justice — Fears of Western demo- 
cratic influences — Depression of trade — Prices — Combination by 
working men prohibited — Colonization — Flights of peasants — 
Racial quarrels — Demoralization of the people — Religious fana- 
ticism — A false Tsar — Disorders — Brigandage — Strikes — Pogroms 
against the Jews — Peeisants resist sanitary administration — The 
nobihty — Demands upon the Government — Exhaustion after fever 
— Fair harvests — Industrial prosperity — Famine in 1891 — De- 
ficiencies of crop in 1897 and 1898 — Distress in 1899 — Views of the 




The Social Democratic Movement in Russia . . . .142 

Dispersal of the oppositional groups — Russian refugees in Switzerland 
— Searchings of heart — Beginnings of Social Democratic organiza- 
tion — Influence of Marxism — Programme of 1885 — Plekhanov — 
Separation from Russian revolutionary groups — Appearance and 
arrest of allies of Plekhanov in St. Petersburg in 1885 — Effect of 
Marxist determinism upon Russian intelligentsia — Sel^-education 
and inquiry — Absence of political agitation — The famine of 1891 — 
New views upon the causes of famine — Policy based on these, 
adopted by the Social Democrats — Zemstvo opposition to the 
Government— Skilful Social Democratic organization — Incipient 



trade unions — RoJe of the intelligentsia in these proceedings — Spon- 
taneity of working-class movement in 1 892-1 896 — Cause of limited 
scope of this movement — Practical direction of Social Democratic 
effort — Neglect of theoretical studies and slavish adherence to 
Marxist dogmatics — Rejection of English trade union methods — 
The Government begins to notice the movement in 1894 — Arrest 
of intelligentsia members of Social Democratic groups, and banish- 
ment to their villages of working men — Social Democratic reliance 
upon the city proletariat — " The Moscow Working Men's Union " 
— Effect of expansion of trade — Movement of population — Ad- 
herents of the autocracy are alarmed at the growth of a city pro- 
letariat and the risk of its being inoculated with Social Democracy 
— Distinction between Marxism as an economic theory and Social 
Democracy as a political propaganda — " Legal Marxism " — ^Wide 
interest in theories of economic evolution — ^The " subjectivists " 
— Fresh points of view — Marxist newspapers — " Liberalizing " of 
Marxist ideas — Strikes in 1895, 1896, and 1897 — Growth of a pluto- 
cracy — Newly acquired political and diplomatic influence of the 
bourgeoisie — Views of the Social Democrats — Isolation of the latter 
from other social groups — " Brentanism " — " Unions for Struggle '* 
— Interior discords — Pessimism of the liberal elements in Russian 
society — Arrests and banishments — Oppositional chaos — Projects 
of unification — Congress at Minsk in 1898 — The model of 1848 — 
" Economism and politicalism " — ^The " periphery " and the centre 
— Pulverization of the unions — " Union of Russian Social Demo- 
crats Abroad " — " Revolutionists' Organization of Social Demo- 
crats " — Development of factions — " The Credo " and " The Pro- 
test " — Destructive criticism of Marx by the intelligentsia — Futility 
of spasmodic outbreaks — Strikes, 1 895-1904, their causes and 
results — Success of " economism " — External causes of Russian 
industrial stagnation — Inferior crops in Russia, 1 897-1 899 — ^Dis- 
turbances — Revolutionary state of mind — Crisis of 1 899-1 900 — 
Stimulus to Social Democratic movement — Fresh lapse into sterile 
controversies — Labour movement continues — Spontaneous move- 
ments among students — Excommunication of Tolstoy — Many 
demonstrations — Revolutionary agitation — Losses and gains of the 
Social Democratic Party. 



The Social Revolutionary Movement 174 

Spontaneous economic movement — Strikes — Unorganized revolutionary 
agitation of nineties — Idealism of the Social Revolutionaries — Pes- 
simistic mood — Student movement of 1900 — Demonstrations — 
Attitude and dilemma of the revolutionaries — The Socialist Revolu- 



tionary Party — Congress of 1 898 — The Peasants' Union — Polemics 
between Social Democrats and Social Revolutionaries — Practical 
programme — Further polemics — Problem before Social Revolu- 
tionaries — Gradual emergence of terroristic ideas — Hopes from 
these — Psychology of terrorism — Civil war — Question of compara- 
tive sacrifice — Death of Sipiaghin — Relations of Social Democrats 
and Social Revolutionaries to Marxism — Absence of formal dogma 
among Social Revolutionaries — Incidents of the terror. 

kJ chapter XI 

" Police Socialism " and the Labour Movement — " Zubatovshina " . 1 88 

Attempts to control the labour movement by the political police — 
Zubdtov — ^Trade unions organized by the police — Economism 
versus politics in practice — Professor Ozerov — Factory inspectors' 
reports on demands made by police trade unions — Strike at 
Goujon's factory — Imitation of police trade unions — Meeting of 
Moscow manufacturers — Zubitov's policy attempted to be carried 
out in St. Petersburg, Odessa, and Minsk — The Odessa affair and 
dSbdcle of Zubdtov — Significance of these incidents. 

Jewish Pogroms 207 

The pale — Status of the Jew — Jew-baiting — Fundamental cause of 
pogroms — Periodical recurrence of anti-Semitism — Von Plehve — 
Kishenev — Jewish pogroms incidents in the counter-revolution — 
Peasant views on anti-Semitism. 


Russia in the Far East 211 

Early Russian adventures in Asia — ^The Strogonovs — Yermak — Rapid 
conquest of Siberia — The Amur — Khabarov — The Manchus — Alba- 
zin — The Tungusic Emperors — Nurkhatsi — The Manchu dynasty — 
Treaty of Nerchinsk — Delimitation of the Russo-Chinese frontier 
in Mcinchuria — Colonization of Siberia — Discoveries in the North 
Pacific — Occupation of Alaska — The navigation of the Amur — 
Count N. N. Muraviev — The Crimean War — Its significance for the 




Russian Far East — The Treaty of Aigun — The Amur Company — 
Attempts at colonization of the Amur basin — Occupation of Hi by 
Russia — The Siberian Railway — Position of Japan — Inevitability 
of the conflict between Russia and Japan — Necessity for a prelimi- 
nary war between Japan and China — Japan temporarily deprived of 
some of the fruits of this campaign — Li Hung Chang — The Russo- 
Chinese Bank and the Chinese Eastern Railway — Lease of Liao-tung 
peninsula — Agreement between Russia and Great Britain — The 
Boxer disturbances — Occupation of Manchuria by Russia — Secret 
agreement between Russia and China — Inevitable isolation of 
Russia — The war — Tangible advantages of the war for Russia — 
Effects in Europe of the outcome of the war — Mongolia — Possible 
railway development — Mongolia a Russian protectorate — Relations 
of Russians with Chinese. 


National Particularism within the Russian Empire . . , 244 

Russian national feeling — The Little Russians — The Poles — The Fin- 
landers — ^The Letts — The Georgians — Attempts towards Russianiza- 
tion — Disappearance of Pan-Slavism. 




Introduction 251 



Peasant Character and Peasant Classes 253 

General characteristics of all peasantry — Special characteristics of the 
Russian peasant — Effects of separation of classes — ^The peasant 
classes differentiated — Primitive customs — Measurement of land — 
Tally sticks — Holidays — Disregard of private property — Old 




Survivals of Primitive Family Customs and of Popular Concep- 

The undivided or joint family — Spontaneous disintegration — " Separa- 
tions " — Administrative discouragement of separations for fiscal 
reasons — Vacillation of the Government on the " separation " ques- 
tion — Impetus to " separation *' given by the abolition of the 
Redemption Tax — Peasant views about land tenure — Peasant 
conceptions of equality and unanimity— Survivals of primitive 
customs — Redistribution of peasant lands in practice. 



The Contemporary Pomyetschek 276 

Classes of pomyetscheke — The great proprietors — Intermediate pro- 
prietors — Small proprietors — Experiences of Prince Urusov — 
Great Russian gentry — Little Russian gentry — Social results of 
economic changes. 


Agriculture after Emancipation 282 

Extent and character of agricultural lands in different regions — Areas 
under fallow — Areas under crop — Rye — Maize — Yields from land- 
owners' and from peasants' lands — Sugar beet — Fertilizers — Agri- . 
cultural implements — Cattle-raising — Sheep — Systems of agricul- 
ture — Regional divisions — The Zemstvos and agricultural education 
— Zemstvo statisticians. 



Grain Deficiency and the Marketing of Crops .... 289 

Self-contained character of peasant economy — Amount of grain neces- 
sary for peasant subsistence — Deficiency of consumption. 





The Peasants' Union 297 

Attempts to enlist peasant opinion in favour of the autocracy — Con- 
gress of peasant delegates called to counteract these attempts — 
" The All-Russian Peasant Union " — First assembly — Conflict of . j 

opinions — Peasant demands — Complaints of the Zemsky Nachalneke j 

— Attitude of the peasant representatives towards the Tsar — Anti- j 

cipation of action by the Duma — Concessions by the Government. 


Inquiries into the Condition of the Peasantry in 1905 . . 303 

The Imperial Free Economical Society — Details of inquiries in Byeloz- 
yerskoe district — Illegal cutting of timber — ^The tyaglo promish- 
lennikie — Significance of the disputes — Analysis of the motives of 
arbitrary acts on the part of peasants — Influence of the " parties " 
— Influence of the village teachers — " Righting " of the Zemstvos 
— Reasons for the collapse of the agrarian movement — The central 
agricultural region — Arbitrary pasturing — Arson and pillage — 
Peasants' demands — Peasants' wages — Hours of labour — Regula- 
tions by peasants — Aims of the peasants — Varying views — Peasant 
reasonings — Pillage — Resulting inequality of distribution of plunder 
— General review of evidence — Action of authorities — Two currents 
among landowners — Repression and agrarian reform — Arrests — 
Prices of land — Peasant views — Constituents of plundering groups 
— Rented lands — Exercise of power by the peasants — Views of 
private landowners' peasants and of the State peasants — Advance 
of rents — Fall of rents after the acute stage of the revolutionary 
movement — Cause of this. 



Conclusions from the Foregoing Evidence regarding the Con- 
dition OF THE Peasantry in 1905 ^^6 

Character of the regions selected — Ripeness of the peasantry for an 
agrarian movement — Characteristic features of the movement — 
Need of land — L'action directe — Pecisant views upon ineconomical 
agriculture and landholding — Peasant views about the Duma and 



its probable agrarian legislation — Peasants more " advanced " 
than revolutionary parties — Implications of the peasant ideas — 
Contradiction between peasant and artisan views — Antagonism 
between the rich peasant and the village proletariat — Conclusions 
regarding the causes of the partial failure of the revolution. 


The Law of 9th November 1906 340 

Fundamental law regarding land reform — Collective character of 
Russian landownership — Restrictions upon free transference of land 
— The system of collective responsibility for taxes — Limited rights 
of individuals — Effect of cancellation of redemption tax — Law of , 
9th November 1 906 — Effect upon mobilization of land — Individual 
private property in land recognized — The marrow of the ukase — 
Previous formal recognition of private property in land — Relation 
of communal to individual property — Social effect of the ukase — 
Peasant proprietary and peasant proletariat — Examples of the 
working of the ukase — Land reform measures other than the ukase 
— ^Legislation before the Third Duma — Land Reform Committees i 
— Effect of the constitution of these — Interference of Ministry of 
Interior — Operations of committees — Results. 


The Agrarian Situation since 1906 347 

Hopes of the peasantry — Improvement in agriculture — Disillusionment 
— Agrarian leanings of the First Duma — Government measures 
prepared for the Third Duma — Objections to these — Reactions of 
the agrarian and industrial policy of the Government — Changes in 
wages during and after the revolution— Standard of comfort of the 
peasants — Sub-letting of land — Rotation of crops — Self-contained \ 

character of peasant economy — Peasants' budgets — Deficits In- 

solubiUty of Russian agrarian problem on the terms proposed by 
the Government — Provisional conclusion — Awakening of the 





Introduction 361 



The Factory System since Emancipation . . . * f * 3^^ 

Immediate effects of the liberation of bonded labour — Desertion of the 
workmen from the factories — ^Temporary return to the land — The 
Ural ironworks — Advance of wages — Different conditions in tex- 
tile industry — Commercial crisis of 1857 — Stagnation of industry 
— The cotton famine — Austro-German crisis of 1873 — Railway con- 
struction in Russia — ^The Franco -German War — Arrest of railway 
construction — Russo-Turkish War — Great increase of production 
— Inflation of fiduciary currency — Depression of trade in England, 
1 877-1 886 — Commercial stagnation in Russia — Unemployment 
in St. Petersburg — Effect upon kustarni industry of depression 
— Vigorous trade movement of 1 895-1 896 — ^The Don ironworks — 
Price of coal lands advances — Increase in the production of pig iron 
— Great industrial expansion — Arrest of this movement in 1899- 
1900— Movements of population and economic effects — Inferior 
harvests — Stagnation in cotton industry — Financial crisis — Capi- 
talistic development and its consequences — Causes of this develop- 
* ment — Structural changes in society — Foreign capital — The cotton 
trade — Knop — Immense domestic market of Russia — Effect at 
railway construction — The protective tariff as a cause of industrial 
expansion — Views of Professor Tugan-Baranovsky — Marxist views 
of the theory of markets — Important growth of Russian trade 
recent and fluctuating — Views of the Narodnik group — Proportion 
between the increase of industrials and the increase of population 
— Concentration of factories — " Mergers " — Concentration of com- 
mercial capital. 


Wages 389 

Advance in price of labour after Emancipation — Cause of this pheno- 
menon — Increase of cost of Uving — Effect of introduction of 
machinery — Fall of wages — ^The land as a reservoir for labour — 
VOL. n h 




The machine as a " separator " between land and factory — Pro- 
portions of temporary absentees in different industries — ^Workmen's 
contracts — Anomalous position of peasant workmen — Gradual 
emergence of a proletariat — Vicious circle in factory-land economics 
— Schulze-Gavemitz's scheme of the process of factory-land 



The Housing of the Working People 397 

Increase of city population — St. Petersburg — Underground dwellings, 
garrets — Unhygienic conditions — Moscow — Conditions among 
miners — Metallurgical workers — Fishermen of the Volga — Russian 
harvesters — Night shelters — Factory housing enterprises. 


Factory Legislation 407 

Child labour in factories — Special commission of 1859 — Project of a law 
— Opposition of some of the manufacturers — Commission of the 
Ministry of Finance — Factory inspectorship and court for the settle- 
ment of industrial disputes suggested — Sanitary measure of 1 866 — 
Imperfect enforcement of this law — Project of Kolbe in 1 867 — Com- 
mission of 1870 — Congress of mechanical engineers in 1875 and 
the Imperial Technical Society in 1874 take an interest in the 
question — Principal points — Great length of working day and em- 
ployment of children — Eventual legislation in 1882 — Division of 
opinion between St. Petersburg and Moscow manufacturers, the 
latter advocating laisser faire — Acts of 1884 and 1886 — Effect of 
the depression of trade upon the legislation — Improvement of trade 
leads to agitation to amend factory legislation — Act of 1890, retro- 
gressive — Acjfcs of 1897 and of 1898. 



The Labour Movement since Emancipation 413 

The consequences of Emancipation to the artisan — Migration from rural 
to urban districts — Scarcity of capital — Continuation of pre-Eman- 
cipation methods — Strikes — Increasing discontent and disaffection 
— 1 870-1 880 — Appeals to the Crown Prince (afterwards Alexander 
III) — Sympathetic strikes — General Trades Union proposed — ^The 
General Russian Workers' Union — The North Russian Workers' 
Union — First efforts of the Social Democratic Party towards the 



leadership of the working class — Attempts of intelligentsi to 
organize unions — Factory Acts — Factory inspection — ^Labour or- 
ganization driven underground during period of reaction — Strike 
movement of the eighties — New legislation — Improvement in trade 
and quiescence in labour — Political forces begin to influence the 
labour movement — Formation of Social Democratic Working Men's 
Clubs — " The St. Petersburg Union for the Struggle for the Emanci- 
pation of the Working Class" — General strike in St. Petersburg 
textile industry — Extension of organization — Formation of Russian 
Social Democratic Working Men's Party in 1897 — ^The friendly 
society or mutual assistance movement — Reasons for its late ap- 
pearance in Russia — Earhest examples — Jewish societies — ^The 
Hevra — Characteristics of Russian retail trade — Salesmen's 
societies — Friendly societies in metal industries — Aid by the State 
— Miners' societies — Compulsory payment by employers of cost of 
medical attendance upon workmen — Cessation of contributions by 
employers to mutual assistance funds — Friendly societies in the 
Ural Mountains — Societies of railway servants — Government 
control of labour. 



Employers' Associations 429 

The " trust " movement — HoUday rests — Effect of the political situa- 
tion in 1906 — The lock-out — Polish nationaUsm and the labour 
movement — Sectional development of employers' associations — ^The 
Moscow manufacturers — Lodz and Vitebsk — Imitation of the Ger- 
man Kartel — Effect on the trade union movement. 


Introduction • 437 


The General Strike in South Russia in 1903 .... 443 

First signs of turbulence provoked by a minor immediate cause — Strikes 
of 2nd November 1902 — Economical demands — Social Democratic 
agitation — Great public meetings — Denunciations of the autocracy 



— Perplexity of the authorities — Pohtical meetings in the spring 
of 1903 — General strike — Stagnation of life in the cities — Activity 
of the Social Democrats — Zubdtov's agents — Odessa — Baku — 
Large meetings — Attacks by Cossacks — Working men's views upon 
the Government — Gradual rise of revolutionary spirit — L'action 
directe — Relation of the socialist parties to the strike movement. 


The Movement of Father Gapon 451 

Personality of Gapon — Similarity of Gapon's ideas to those of Zubdtov 
— Attitude of the police towards Gapon's movement — Gapon 
founds his society — Its constitution — Failure of Gapon to enlist 
sjnnpathy of working men — Aid given to him by a small group of 
" influential working men " — Constituents of Gapon's movement 
— Rapid growth — Epoch of lectures and discussions — Absence of 
intelligentsia — Discordant elements — Social Democratic influence — 
Women members — The " Spring " of Prince Svyatopolk-Mirsky — 
The Zemstvo petitions — Desire for imitation — Critical position of 
Gapon — Change of policy — Gapon no longer leader but reluctant 
follower — Political character of the movement — Attitude of the 
Social Democrats and the Socialist Revolutionaries towards Gapon 
— Strike at the Putilovsky Works — Numerous strikes in St. Peters- 
burg — Gapon forced to agree to a demonstration and to the pre- 
sentation of a petition — Numbers of adherents of Gapon's society 
— The 9th of January 1905 — The demonstration — ^The processions 
attacked by troops — ^The " Gaponiade " — End of Gapon — Psycho- 
logy of the movement — Criticism of the action of the authorities 
— Attempts to rehabilitate the autocracy in the public opinion of 
Europe — Significance of the Gapon movement — Political effect of 
the action of the Government. 

Appendix to Chapter II ,. . . 468 



The Strike Movement in Russia in 1905 475 

General sketch — Infrequency of strikes in Russia prior to 1905 — 
Statistics of the strikes of 1905 — Schidlovsky committee — Arrest 
of working men electors — Spasmodic character of strike movement 
— Its significance — Rise of poUtical thought among working men — 
Clamour for a Constituent Assembly — Legislation upon strikes. 





The General Strike of October 1905 481 

Moscow engine-drivers initiate strike — Rapid progress of strike all over 
Russia — Complete cessation of movement of population and goods 
and stagnation of life in towns — Government and bank of&cials 
join the strike movement — Its political character — Effect on local 
administration in Estland — Civil servants, financiers, and manu- 
facturers make representations to the Government — Effect of the 
strike upon foreign trade — Business reduced to confusion — Exten- 
sion of the terms of obligations — Destruction of credit — Significance 
of the strike — Organization of the striking mass — The Council of 
Working Men's Deputies — Its Manifesto — Its demands upon the 
Government — Arming of the working men — Relations of the 
Council of Working Men's Deputies with the St. Petersburg Duma 
or City Council — Relations of the Social Democratic Party with 
the Council of Working Men's Deputies — The Socialist Revolu- 
tionary Party^ — ^The dilemma of the retail shopkeepers — Incidents 
of the strike — Imitation of the St. Petersburg Council of Working 
Men's Deputies throughout the country — ^The question of publicity 
— ^The printers and the general strike — Antagonistic interests — The 
zenith of the strike — The Tsar's Manifesto of 17th October 1905 — 
The reception of the Manifesto — Difficulty of securing publicity for 
it — Attacks by troops on the i8th October — Social Democratic 
views upon the Manifesto — Amnesty demanded — Demonstration 
for amnesty — Capitulation by the Government — The amnesty 
signed on the same evening — Ebb and flow in the intensity of 
popular feeling — Conclusion of the poUtical strike ; continuance 
of economic strikes — Reopening of factories, &c. — Funerals of the 
victims of 1 8th October — Fear of counter-revolutionary movement. 


Counter-revolution in i 905-1 906 499 

The Union of Russian People — The Black Hundreds — Counter-revolu- 
• tionary " underground " printing office — The pogrom — Attempt to 
excite the Russian against the non-Russian elements — Prince 
Uruzov's exposure of pogrom tactics — Constituents of the Union 
of Russian People and of the Black Hundreds — Assaults upon 
working men's deputies in St. Petersburg — Determination to form 
militant drujini for defensive purposes, not carried into effect — 
" Party " drujini employed to guard deputies — General arming of 
working men — Open sale of arms and open purchases by general 



Police shot by revolutionaries — The disarming of " reservists " 
— The revolt begins to subside — Presnya Quarter — Heavy bom- 
bardment — Surrender — The toll of the " uprising " — Shares of the 
revolutionary parties — Conclusions about the uprising. 


The Disturbances in the Urals in 1907 568^ 

Bogoslovsky Mountain Foundry — Terror and " expropriations " — Lvov 
— Guerilla warfare — Communications interrupted — Reaction against 
Lvov — The " Syetch " in the mountains — Capture of Lvov and 
cessation of disturbances. 


The Political Police, A2efshina, and the Collapse of the Terror 572 

Ambiguous role of the police in political and revolutionary movements 
— ^The system of espionage and provocation — The political police — 
The case of Sudeikin — Russian police abroad — ^The spy Azef — 
Details of his career — His varied activity — Catalogue of his alleged 
crimes — Official communiqui — Lopukhin — Bakaya — Burtsev — Dis- 
covery of the treachery of Azef — Net results of the episode — Ad- 
missions and denials of M. Stolypin — General conclusions upon the 
revolutionary movement 



The " Intelligentsia " and the Revolution 585 

Ambiguity of the expression intelligentsia — Constituents of the group — 
The intelligentsia in the Zemstvo — ^The " righting of the Zemstvos " 
— Failure of the intelligentsia to effect reforms — Social reasons for 
this feiilure — Views of Tugan-Baranovsky — Contrast between 
Russian and Western European society — Reasons for the adoption 
of socialist views by the intelligentsia — Detachment of the intel- 
lectual Russian — Self-criticism by intelligentsia — Vyekhe — Future 
of sociaUsm. 



Appendix to Book VII , . . 600 

Diagram of the Strike Movement 6oi 

Note 602 

Glossary 603 

Index 605 


TO 1903 



While terroristic phases, or phases during which the political or 
social order is sought to be overturned by violent means, are fre- 
quent, if not invariable concomitants of revolution, Russian revolu- 
tionary movements throughout their history have been peculiarly 
characterized by violence. This circumstance may be attributed 
largely to the racial antagonisms which have excited or have con- 
tributed to the revolutionary movements ; but it appears also to be 
due to certain characteristics of the Slavic peoples. Conspicuous 
among these characteristics is the combination of immense patience 
and of impulsiveness.^ The Russian is capable of endurance of 
wrong to an extreme degree ; but when accumulated grievances 
reach a certain point, they become unbearable to him, and, yielding 
to impulses normally foreign to his kind and amiable disposition, he 
may exact immediate and sometimes dreadful reckoning.^ This 
characteristic is supplemented by another which makes its appear- 
ance in the most ordinary affairs of life, but which on acute occasion 
becomes most impressive, viz. the habit of pursuing an object with 
remorseless logic, regardless of consequences, without delay and 
without compromise. Disregard of consequences has indeed been 
elevated in Russia to the dignity of a principle of morals. The habit 
of disregarding consequences may not inappropriately be considered 
as a sign of youthfulness, feminism, or optimism in the people who 
practise it. 

Mature life is a series of compromises, primitive life in societies 
and juvenile life in the individual are remorselessly logical. Thus 
whenever the mature minds in a society become inactive, and the 

1 The characteristic of impulsiveness is attributed by the Russian anthro- 
pologist Ivanovsky to the weakness of the controlling centres. He con- 
siders that the Russian temperament is more impulsive than that of Western 
Europeans. See Psychological and Philosophical Questions (Moscow Psycho- 
logical Society). 

* Also noticed by Ivanovsky {op. cit.). Russian peasants still torture horse 
thieves ; and in the Caucasus they sometimes obliterate the Kurdish villages. 



youth of society alone represents vigour, recrudescence of violence 
is likely to occur.^ Intellectual decay in aristocracy and bourgeoisie 
is the almost invariable precursor of reform and of revolutionary 

The primitive attitude of mind, partly habitual and partly 
reverted to at intervals, on occasion leads under the stress of 
widespread emotion to the execution in primitive forms of what is 
regarded as justice. For example, the adoption by the Novgoro- 
dians in the fifteenth century of the earlier form of punishment by 
" flood and pillage," ^ was a reversion of this kind, and it is permis- 
sible to regard the pillaging of estates by the peasants in 1902 and in ' 
1905, as well as the pogroms against the Jews in 1903, as being the 
outcome of the same attitude. 

The social disintegration of which in these historical examples 
the peasants were in some measure made the victims, appears to have \ 
induced them to fall back upon primitive methods of punishing 
alleged wrong-doers, a usual result of individual or social psycholo- 
gical tempests.* These orgasms, though sometimes terrible in their 
intensity, have usually, in the case of Russian revolutionary move- 

1 This appears to apply to all societies, of whatever kind and magnitude, 
and to all races. In France, e.g., those who played a leading part in the 
Revolution and its consequences were, for the most part, young men. In 
1789 Danton, Robespierre, Desmoulins, Tallien, and many other conspicuous 
figures were under thirty years of age ; Napoleon was twenty-seven when he 
received the command of the army in Italy. Nearly all the leaders of the 
revolutionary movements in Paris in 1830, in 1848, and in 1871 were also 
young men of from twenty-five to thirty years of age. Within the revolu- 
tionary ranks even, youth counts for much, partly because the fundamental 
idea of revolution involves rebellion against authority, and the " old men " 
of revolutions soon lose their prestige. (Louis Blanc, e.g., was in his prime 
in 1848-; he was an "old man" in 1871.) For an interesting account of this 
characteristic in Russian revolutionary ranks, see Debogoriy-Mokrievich 
(Reminiscences, St. Petersburg, 1906, p. 584). That the peasant revolts in 
Russia in 1 902-1 903 and in 1 905-1 906, as well as the risings in the cities, were 
led or chiefly participated in by young men, is shown infra, p. 331. In China 
the Boxer movement, which was essentially revolutionary, was characterized 
by the extreme youth of many of its adherents (c/. Smith, A. H., China 
in Convulsion (Edinburgh, 1901), i. p. 172). The apparent connection 
between increase in the influence of youth and the recrudescence of violence 
in recent years throughout Western Europe and in America is acutely dis- 
cussed by M. Paul de Rousiers in " Les Solutions Violentes " in La Science 
Sociale (Paris, September 1909). 

2 Cf. Sorel, Georges, on the decadence of the bourgeoisie in Riflexions sur 
la Violence (Paris, 1910), pp. 91 et seq. 

3 Cf. supra, vol. i. p. 32. 

* So also the feminist terrorism in England in 1912-1913. 


ments, been brief in their duration. It is indeed impossible for the 
nervous system to sustain a long-continued strain of this kind. Thus 
among the peasants, after the storm of passion was exhausted, the 
results of the pillage were, in frequent cases, returned, the peasants 
calmly awaiting the decision of the Duma on the whole question of 
their grievances, and reverting to their habitual mode of life although 
their relations with the landowners had changed sharply. So also 
after the Jewish pogroms, when the fury of the moment had spent 
itself, Christian and Jew alike settled into their normal state of 

The conduct of the Government at various epochs is not dis- 
similar. Reduced to panic by widespread disaffection, the func- 
tionaries resort to measures of great severity, suspend or neglect all 
processes of law, and, reverting like the peasants to a primitive atti- 
tude of mind, commit needlessly acts of indiscriminate cruelty ; and 
then, when the passion of the moment has been expended, they some- 
times offer unprecedented concessions. The history of the early Slavs, 
of the later Russians, as well as that of the non-Russian elements, is 
a history of frequent clashing of economical and political interests, 
with intermittent outbreaks of violence among peoples racially 
widely divergent and very prolific, and frequent antagonism between 
the rulers and their immediate entourage, the mass of the people 
being drawn only from time to time directly into the latter conflicts, 
although they were at all times implicated in the larger issues which 
these conflicts involved. Warfare for centuries, urged with deter- 
mined bitterness, and often accompanied by unrestrained cruelty, has 
left deep traces in the character of the people. 

The revolutionary spirit has not only frequently been inspired or 
intensified, it has often been distracted, by racial antagonisms.^ 
Even the autocracy is more considerate of Russian than of non- 
Russian elements. The tendency on the part of individuals and 
of governmental authorities alike to proceed rapidly to violent 
action, without thought of ulterior reactions, seems to be due to 
these fundamental characteristics, deepened and strengthened as 
they have been by centuries of conflict. 

On these grounds, therefore, it is not surprising that dislike of 

^ Particularism has been a source of weakness in all the revolutionary 
movements. There are, e.g., separate Polish, Little Russian, Finnish, and 
other oppositional parties. 


governmental policy, after long endurance of its arbitrary character, 
should lead to immediate and summary violence towards the in- 
struments of it, and that such violence should in turn lead to violent 
action by the authorities, and this again to reprisals, and so on. 
Count Leo Tolstoy's propaganda against all violence, though impos- 
sible of complete success, partly because of the incompatibility of 
meekness and government, and partly because of the struggles in- 
cident to increase of population and to contact of different races, is, 
nevertheless, based upon a profound appreciation of the character 
of the Russian people, and of the source at once of their strength and 
of their weakness. 

While the growth of the autocratic power in Russia has been very 
gradual, and while that power has been greatly intensified in com- 
paratively recent times, it is evident that at no period of its history 
could that power have been overthrown without violence. It is also 
evident that the autocracy owed its existence primarily to the numer- 
ousness of the races by which its seat of power was surrounded, and 
secondarily to the numerousness of the races over which it ruled. 
It has owed its historical justification to the circumstance that con- 
temporary conditions made it appear as though only through the 
autocracy could the political unity of the heterogeneous groups be 
secured. So long as there was in progress the process of welding, for 
the most part by violent means, these different elements into a poli- 
tical whole, it was impossible to permit the controlled groups to 
share in the task of government ; at all events it was impossible 
within the limits of the political insight of the autocratic rulers, or 
even of their contemporary critics, such as they were. The revolu- 
tionary ideas which from about the sixteenth century began to affect 
Europe were thus late in affecting Russia. The Protestant Revolu- 
tion of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, which deeply 
affected Western Europe, affected Russia not at all ; and the revolu- 
tionary ideas and events of the eighteenth century touched her 
somewhat tardily. Antagonism to the ruling order, with occasional 
outbursts of violence,^ had been chronic ; but the spirit of revolt 
against absolutism was not really aroused in Russia until more than 

^ For early revolutionary movements, see, e.g., Kluchevsky, Course of 
Russian History (Moscow, 1908) ; for the period 1 584-1614, see Waliszewski, 
La Crise R^olutionnaire (Paris, 1906) ; for the rebellion of Pugachev (1773), 
see infra, chap. ii. The Cossack and peasant revolt of 1 773-1 775 were 
revolutionary movements, but they were not revolts against absolutism. 


thirty years after the French Revolution. Katherine II had co- 
quetted with liberal ideas, and had initiated discussion and investi- 
gation of the " condition of the people question " ; but she had 
abandoned liberalism with characteristic decision whenever she 
found that its progress might impair her own power. Alexander I 
in the beginning of his reign had been influenced by liberal ideas ; 
but he also speedily turned his back upon them. Up till the period 
of the Napoleonic wars, even the most highly educated of the Russian 
upper class had little contact with Western Europe, and the mass 
of the people had none. The revolutionary movement in Russia 
towards the political and social ideas of Western Europe is thus a 
distinctively modem phenomenon. It is coincident with the rise 
of capitalistic industry. The emphasis of the social as distin- 
guished from the political features separates it in a certain measure 
from all previous revolutions. Social disintegration has no doubt 
preceded or accompanied all outbreaks against authority ; but 
political changes have frequently satisfied the demand for change, 
and the social relations have in effect remained undisturbed. The 
revolutionary movement in Russia during recent years has been 
otherwise characterized. It is true, as the following details disclose,") 
that the industrial and social movement has exhibited a tendency to( 
" pass over " into a political movement ; but it has also been very 
evident that no political change which was not accompanied by j 
profound social readjustments would be likely to produce any serious ^ 
effect. The reason for this lies deep in the history and in the present \ 
condition of the Russian people. 



Ivan III (the Great, 1462-1505) is regarded as the founder of Russian 
autocracy,^ because during his reign what remained of the primitive 
democracy of medieval Russia was destroyed. The " free towns " 
were drawn or forced into the imperial sphere through abolition of 
their privileges and the subordination of their princely houses ; and 
the princes of the appanages were subjected to the Moscow State. 
Moreover, the Tsar, on his marriage to Sophia, grand-daughter of 
Manuel (II) Palaeologus, Emperor of the East, advanced the preten- 
sion of succession to the Roman Emperors in the leadership of Greek 
orthodoxy ,2 and in the defence of Christian Europe against pagan 
Asia.3 The subjection of the appanage princes and the rule which 
compelled them to reside within the limits of Moscow,* brought the 
hoyars to court, but did not necessarily bring them to council. 
Ivan III did not in fact habitually consult his hoyars ; he acted on 
his own initiative, taking advice from " self-made men " ^ who sur- 
rounded the throne. The old Boyarskaya Duma was altered in its 
character,* and after the accession of Ivan IV a new council — the 
Sohor — came into existence, composed of those Moscow groups which 
were disposed to aid in the aggrandisement of the power of the Tsar, 
including a considerable number of the clergy."^ Many of the ancient 
noble families refused to attend the Moscow court and to reside 

^ Kovalevsky, M., Russian Political Institutions (Chicago, 1902), p. 40. 

2 Ibid. 

3 On the role of the later Roman Emperors as defenders of Europe 
against Asia, see the suggestive remarks of Professor Bury, History of the 
Later Roman Empire, vol. ii. p. 536. The tribal groups of early Russia had, 
centuries earlier, played a considerable part in this struggle. During the 
period when the Roman Empire was immune from their attacks, they were 
themselves engaged in formidable conflicts with Asiatic hordes. Cf. supra, 
vol. i. pp. 8-9. 

* As the Shoguns compelled the Daimios of Japan to reside in Tokyo. 
^ Kovalevsky, op. cit., p. 42. 

" Cf. ibid. Its functions became less political and more judicial. 
' Cf . ibid. 


within its precincts. They preferred to suffer the loss of their estates 
and to emigrate to Poland.^ 

There, attempts on the part of the Polish nobility to establish 
serfdom, and attempts on the part of the Latin clergy to suppress 
Greek orthodoxy, led to flights of peasants. Meanwhile the growth 
of serfdom in the Moscow State was producing similar flights. The 
two streams of fleeing peasants met and formed bands, armed for de- 
fensive and offensive purposes. The d5dng out of the KaUta dynasty 
and the unsuccessful attempt on the part of the Godunovs to estab- 
lish a new one led to the absence of a masterful hand. Absolutism 
imder these conditions was impossible, and anarchy supervened. 

During the period of anarchy the question of choosing a new 
Tsar brought into relief the conditions under which the new Tsar 
must accept his high office. To begin with, the hoyars agreed that 
the new Tsar should be a foreigner, that he should uphold the Or- 
thodox Church, that he should acknowledge the right of the hoyars 
to counsel the Tsar, and that there should be held a general assembly 
of the people — the Zemsky Sobor.^ Vladislav, son of Sigismund of 
Poland, accepted these terms ; but the conduct of the Poles and the 
rising spirit of the Russians brought his brief reign to an end, and 
after prolonged intrigues Mikhail, the first Romanov, was elected by 
the hoyars. That Mikhail, who was only sixteen years of age at his 
accession, accepted the throne with conditions, there seems to be no 
doubt, but what these conditions were is not definitely known. It 
is clear, however, that they included concessions to the hoyars by 
whom and by the Cossacks he was elected. » In the early years of 
the reign of Mikhail the Zemsky Sobor, or popular assembly, was 
frequently summoned in order that money might be granted to the 
Tsar ; but later, when his father, Philaret Romanov, returned to 
Russia from Poland, his influence came to be felt, and, in the 
interests of his son, he seems to have prevented the Sohori from 
being summoned.^ For a time Russia was a theocracy, the Patriarch 
having power at least equal to that of the Tsar, and reigning 
with him. 

* Cf. Kovalevsky, op. cit., p. 47. 

2 Ibid., p. 58. This general popular assembly was not an indigenous 
Russian institution. It seems to have been suggested by the existence 
of a similar institution in the PoUsh-Lithuanian kingdom (cf. ibid.). On the 
Zemsky Sobor, see supra, vol. i. p. 42, &c. 

^ Kovalevsky, op. cit., p. 61. 


Although the Tsar Alexis, the son of Mikhail, does not seem to 
have entered into any pacta conventa, yet the Zemsky Sobor was con- 
vened to confirm the act of coronation, and later was called to codify 
the law, and to advise concerning the method of dealing with insur- 
rectionary movements.^ In all these matters at this time its influ- 
ence was recognized, but later it fell into decay ; and during the 
period of the consolidation of the Moscow State, the personal power 
of the Tsar increased, and the importance of the Zemsky Sobor 

It is not surprising that in the processes of welding numerous 
races into one mass and of forcing the reconciliation of divergent 
national and economical interests, the highest importance should 
be attached to the principle of unity. Cohesion was necessary to 
enable the Russian people to resist the pressure of the Tartars, 
the Poles, and the Swedes, and unity was necessary to place the 
nation beyond the danger of internal divisions after the inroad 
of the moment was overcome. This notion of the necessity of unity, 
and of its corollary, unanimity, appears to be quite fundamental 
in Russian local and national life. In the village as in the State, 
dissent must not exist. Where opinions differ, the differences 
must be resolved. People must not agree to differ ; they must 
not differ. Thus in the local assemblies decisions must be unani- 
i , mous.2 The " sentence " must be the " sentence " of the whole 
ki assembly.^ This conception of the cardinal importance of unani- 
I Ijmity with its implications may be regarded as the principal feature 
{Which distinguishes Russian political ideas from those of Western 

The principle of unity is not merely a political conception. 
It is based upon a theory of morals. The late M. Pobyedonostsev, 
Procurator of the Holy S5mod, puts this quite clearly : 

" Les esprits forts, les ^^rudits pretendent : * I'^tat n'a rien 
k voir dans I'^glise, ni I'Eglise dans I'foat ' ; done rhumanit6 
doit 6volver en deux spheres, de telle sorte que le corps aura sa 
place dans Tune et Tesprit dans Tautre, et entre ces deux spheres 
il y aura I'espace comme entre le dpi et la terre. Cela est-il possible ? 

^ Kovalevsky, op. cit., p. 68. 

* In the Polish Diet, the principle of individual veto prevented the passing 
of any but unanimously accepted measures. 

* For an exception see supra, vol. i. p. 144. 


On ne peut s6parer le corps de I'esprit ; le corps et I'esprit vivent 
d'une vie unique, inseparable. . . . Le principe moral est unique. 
II ne peut etre divis6 de telle fa9on qu'il y ait une doctrine de 
morale privee et une autre de morale publique ; la premiere s6cu- 
liere, la seconde religieuse. . . . L'feat ne peut se bomer a repre- 
senter les interets materiels de la societe, car alors il se depouillerait 
lui-meme de sa force morale et d^truirait son union spirituelle avec 
la nation. Ce n'est qu'a cette condition que se maintiendront 
dans le peuple le sentiment de la legalite, le respect de la loi et la 
confiance dans le pouvoir. . . . Le pouvoir politique est appele 
a agir et a ordonner ; ses actes sont des manifestations d'une 
volonte unique : sans cela, aucun gouvemement n'est possible." ^ 

Although it is conceivable that political unification of disparate 
elements should be accomplished and sustained by the general 
will, and not by an " unique will," the necessity of unification, in 
the absence of demonstrative manifestation of the general will, 
affords the appropriate soil for the growth of autocratic power. 
In one of its aspects the history of Russia is the history of the 
growth of autocracy under these conditions. The ** inflexible 
will " 2 Qf the Tsar ^ is " the unique will." He is at once head of 
the State and of the Church. He is ordained of God to be the 
arbiter of the destinies of his people. While absolutism is not a 
peculiarly Russian phenomenon, and while its characteristics in 
Russia were gradually developed, not without imitation of the 
models of Byzantium and of Western Europe prior to the eigh- 
teenth century, the fundamental idea of it was not out of harmony 
with the principle of unity which was deeply rooted in the Russian 
mind as a social necessity of the first order. The difficulty which 
the Slavs and their allies experienced in making themselves masters 

^ Pobiedonostsev, Questions religieuses, sociales et politiques (Paris), 
pp. 10, II, 17, and Z7- 

2 This is the expression employed in the imperial ukases. It is used 
even in the manifesto of 17th October 1905, announcing the advent of liberty. 

' According to Professor Kluchevsky, " Tsar " is an abbreviated South Sla- 
vonic and Russian form of " Caesar " or Tsesare, by the ancient transcription 
Tsesare, the unaccented e's being silent in both transcriptions. The elision 
of the silent letters and of the superfluous 5 gave " Tsar " as an abbreviation. 
See Kluchevsky, op. cit., vol. ii. p. 152. The title of the sovereign used in 
internal official documents in the rei^ of Ivan III and sometimes in that 
of Ivan IV (the Terrible) is Samoderjets, which is the Slavonian translation 
of the title avroKparup used by the Byzantine Emperors. (C/. Bury, J. B., 
Later Roman Empire, ii. p. 173.) 


of the vast region which they were colonising thus led perhaps 
inevitably under the conditions of the time, internal and external, 
to absolutism. 

Deficient as they were in knowledge of the social and political 
development of contemporary France and England, and of the 
impossibility of the permanent re-establishment of arbitrary power 
in the West, successive Russian Tsars, from Alexander I (1801- 
1825) onwards, and most conspicuously Nicholas I (1825-55), 
seem to have looked upon themselves as instruments of Heaven 
entrusted with the high task of stemming the revolutionary tide. 
They have conceived the idea that popular government would 
be fatal to Russia, and they have rightly foreseen that if it were 
granted to the rest of the world, its advent in Russia could not 
for long be delayed. While self-interest thus impelled them to 
observe and even to share in the affairs of countries other than 
their own, they no doubt honestly conceived that popular govern- 
ment would be as fatal to these countries as they supposed it woiild 
be to Russia. Consumed with a desire to play a great role in the 
history of humanity, they threw themselves in 1814, in 1849, ^^^ 
again in 1854, into the struggle against what they conceived to be 
the spirit of revolution — in 1814 against Napoleon I, in 1849 against 
Hungary, and in 1854 against Napoleon HI. 

So early as 1804 the Tsar Alexander I formulated a plan for a 
European Confederation, by means of which continental wars 
would be rendered impossible. To this confederation there might 
be submitted " the positive rights of nations," and by it there might 
be drawn up " a new code of the law of nations." Attempts to 
infringe this code " would risk bringing upon " the nations by 
whom these attempts might be made " the forces of the new 
union." ^ 

Although this project was formed at a time when Alexander I 
was in one of his liberal phases, it is really conceived not only in 
an anti-revolutionary spirit, but even in an anti-liberal spirit. 
The nations were to be confederated under a code, and whoever 
attempted to infringe the provisions of the code was to suffer the 

^ See extract from despatch of nth September 1804, by Alexander I. 
containing a plan for a European Confederation to be submitted by- 
No vossilzev, the Russian Special Envoy to Great Britain. Quoted by W. A. 
Phillips in " The Congresses, 181 5-1822," in The Cambridge Modern History, 
X. p. 3. 


weight of the forces of the *' new union." Clearly such a con- 
federation might be used for the purpose of crushing a movement 
like the French Revolution, and for the re-establishment of ab- 
solutism on a firmer basis than ever, as well as for the extinction 
of small nationalities like Belgium and Switzerland.^ 

Stein no doubt accurately represents the attitude of mind of 
Alexander I when, after the retreat from Moscow, the question 
arose as to what next must be done. Defensive tactics had been 
so far successful, and Napoleon had, so to say, committed felo de 
se. But should such tactics continue ? 

** A false and crafty policy or ignorance may perhaps counsel 
a defensive war, destructive to the armies that carry it on and the 
country which will be its arena, and allowing the enemy time to 
avail himself of all the resources of the west and south of Europe. 
. . . Such timorous and unsound notions are repugnant to the 
Emperor Alexander's noble and magnanimous character ; he will 
choose to be the benefactor and pacificator of Europe, as he has 
been the saviour of his kingdom. ... He will offer his alliance to 
Austria and Prussia, and it will be accepted with gratitude ; he 
will demand that England form an army . . . which may con- 
tribute to the execution of these plans, and in co-operation with 
that Power he will set up a political organization in Germany which 
may restore to the nation its independence and put it in a con- 
dition to withstand France and secure Europe against the attempts 
of the violent and capricious nation which inhabits it." ^ 

According to Stein also, the Emperor Alexander I " was set by 
Providence in his happy and splendid position to be a benefactor 
to the present generation." ^ Stein's view of unity as the solvent 
for contemporary German difficulties is substantially the same as 
the Russian view. " The old rotten forms " associated with the 
decaying medieval castles and the private jurisdictions of their 
possessors must go down before the idea of unity, as these castles 
must crumble before modern artillery. " My confession of faith is 

1 It is difficult to avoid the suspicion that any League of Peace might 
have an outcome of this kind. Appreciation of this danger caused the smaller 
states of the American Union to resist consohdation between 1776 and 1789 ; 
and their influence sufficed to prevent union in the strict sense. 

2 Quoted in Seeley's Life and Times of Stein (Cambridge, 1878), iii. 

p. 13. 

3 Ibid. 


unity, and if that is not attainable, then some shift, some transition 
stage." ^ Throughout all this there is definitive association between 
unity and absolutism, between the fitting together into one whole 
of the national elements and highly centralized autocratic 

The penetrative analysis of the character of Alexander I by 
Mettemich^ throws further light upon the mental states of an 
absolute monarch. While Katherine II was in her liberal phase, 
she entrusted the education of Alexander to the Swiss, La Harpe,^ 
who, from Metternich's point of view, filled " the mind of his pupil 
with doctrines wrong in themselves and ridiculous in their ap- 
plication. . . . Convinced, no doubt, that the empire which his 
pupil would one day be called upon to govern was not sufficiently 
advanced in civilization to bear immediately the practice of these 
doctrines, he thought of preparing in the future autocrat a mighty 
lever to secure the upheaval of other countries which he considered 
more ripe for the purpose, and especially his own fatherland, 

Metternich relates that in 1805 Alexander was liberal in the 
largest sense of the word, but in 1807 " a great change came over 
his mode of thinking " ; in 1812 he reverted to his former liberal 
views, which in 1814 reached their highest point. He was then 
thirty-seven years of age. In 1815 he became a religious mystic ; 
in 1817 he reacted from mysticism and became " a champion of 
monarchic and conservative principles " ; in 1818 he was already 
on his way back to mysticism. In 1823 he realized that not only 
in other countries, but even in Russia, revolutionary opinions were 
increasing, and that those who were beginning to suffer for them 
under his rule might fairly " reproach him with having been the 
cause of their error." 

When, in 1849, Nicholas I sent two army corps (40,000 men) 
to help Austria to suppress the Hungarian revolution, he thought 

^ Quoted in Seeley's Life and Times of Stein (Cambridge, 1878), iii. 
p. 17. 

* Memoirs of Prince Metternich, 1 773-1 81 5 (English translation, London, 
1880), i. p. 314 et seq. 

* For La Harpe's account of his pupil, see Le Gouverneur d'un Prince. 
F. C. de La Harpe et Alexandre I (Paris, 1902). See also for La Harpe's 
influence upon Alexander I, Semevsky, V. E., Peasant Question in Russia 
in the Eighteenth and First Half of the Nineteenth Centuries (St. Petersburg, 
1888), i. p. 236. 


that all the monarchs in Europe should recognize him as the bul- 
wark of monarchical power. In his own country the crushing of 
the incipient revolutionary movement of the Dekabristi in the 
beginning of his reign, and the suppression of the Polish insurrec- 
tion in 1830, had, so far as concerned Russia, stamped out the 
influences of the French Revolution as well as those of separatist 
national ambitions. 

Although the causes of the Crimean War were very complex, 
yet one important factor in the situation which immediately 
preceded the war was the attitude of the Tsar Nicholas I towards 
Napoleon III. Not only did he look upon him as a parvenu, as 
belonging to the scum which the turmoil of the Revolution had 
thrown to the surface, but he looked upon him as representing 
the Revolution, and as the ostentatious advocate of oppressed 
nationalities.^ Moreover, he must have been fully aware of the 
fact that already in the peasant villages the people were talking 
of a war which was to be waged by France against Russia for the 
purpose of emancipating the peasantry from bondage.^ Tradition 
and policy combined to provoke the Tsar to inflexibility ; and 
ample opportunity was given to Napoleon, Stratford de Redclifle, 
and Palmerston to embroil England and France with Russia. 
The consequences of the war to Russia were manifold. The course 
of events was not unlike that of the Russo-Japanese War.^ Military 
disasters followed one after another. There were no roads, and 
the means of transport were most inadequate. Ammunition was 
deficient. Exposures of the incompetence of the commanders and 
of the ofiicers, and of the fraudulent conduct of the commissariat, 
infuriated the people against the Government. The military 
system and the Government were alike discredited.* 

^ On the reasons for the adoption of this role by Napoleon III, see Rose, 
J. H., Development of European Nations (London, 1905), p. 25. When a 
young man of twenty-two. Louis Napoleon was on his way to join the Polish 
insurgents in 1830, when he was met in Germany with the news of the sup- 
pression of the revolt. 

* After the fall of Sevastopol a story became current that Napoleon III 
had stipulated that the liberation of the peasants must be a condition of 
peace. Cf. Simkhovitch, V. S., "The Russian Peasant and the Autocracy," 
in Political Science Quarterly, xxi. p. 569. 

' Russian pubUc men of all shades of opinion were almost unanimously 
in favour of the Crimean War, as they were in favour of the Japanese War. 
For the Russian point of view, see, e.g., article by de Martens in Vestnik 
Evropy, 1897. 

* Cf. supra, vol. i. p. 365. 



The collapse of his lofty pretensions was deeply mortifying to the 
pride of the Tsar. The country was in disorder, but the Emanci- 
pation brought new hopes, and the autocracy entered upon another 
lease of power. 

The Tsars Alexander II, Alexander III, and Nicholas II have 
2^so played a Quixotic part in tilting against windmills. All have 
jbeen inspired by the desire to exercise and to bequeath unimpaired 
to their successors sole autocratic power within their own dominions, 
$,s well as by ambition to confer the benefits of autocracy upon other 
nations. There is reason to believe that some of them, in moments 
of religious exaltation, have regarded themselves as being in very 
direct relations with the Divine Power and as sharing in its attri- 
butes. The touch of fanaticism which this suggests accounts for 
the vacillation of the " inflexible will," for the general benevolence 
of intention, for frequent lapses into barbaric cruelty, for the lack 
of judgment with which successive Tsars have chosen their ad- 
visers, and for the ardour with which many of them, notably 
Alexander III, endeavoured to control every department of Govern- 
ment down to the smallest detail. 

The practice just mentioned has been followed by the present 

Tsar, and this circumstance accounts in a large measure for the 

confusion in which the administration was plunged in the 

revolutionary years of 1905-1906. When the Tsar held himself 

/iresponsible for everything, there is little wonder that the people 

/'also held him responsible. 

The effect of autocracy in detail upon the duration of life of the 
Tsars is significant. Omitting Paul I, who, after a reign of four 
years, was assassinated by a group of palace conspirators in 1801, 
the mean age at death of the four remaining Tsars who died during 
the nineteenth century was only fifty-four years. Alexander II 
was assassinated at the age of sixty-three ; Alexander I and 
Nicholas I died, the first at forty-eight and the second at fifty-nine, 
for want of the will to live ; Alexander III died at forty-nine, a 
nervous wreck, in close retirement. Yet all, especially the last, 
were physically strong men, well endowed with physical courage. 
The mean period of their reigns was 23 J years. " The trade " ^ 
of autocracy is an exhausting and dangerous business, imposing a 

^ The phrase alleged to have been applied to his office by King Humbert 
of Italy after he was struck by his assassin. 


severe strain upon the physical constitution and tending to the 
disturbance of mental equilibrium. 

Autocracy upon a small scale may conceivably be successful 
in maintaining " good government," but the demands of a numerous 
nation of manifold racial origins, upon an autocrat who is at 
once priest, soldier, judge, official, and " first policeman," tend 
to become cumulative and to reach beyond the endurance of the 
human mind or body on their present plane. An ideal Tsar must 
not merely be divinely anointed — he must himself be indeed a god. 
When an autocrat attempts to govern an empire which has rapidly 
attained a population of 150,000,000, the inherent difficulties of 

y the system develop into impossibilities, and the situation ap- 

"^ preaches an impasse. 

The history of the movement for the emancipation of the) 
peasantry from bondage right ^ shows how, autocratic as the Tsar 
was, the real foundation of the autocracy was the good-will of the ^ 
landowning gentry, and that, if this good- will were forfeited, the \ 
stability of the system would he most seriously compromised. 
It was quite indispensable, therefore, for the autocracy to con- 
-^ ciliate the gentry, and to provide for the carrying out of emanci- 
pation and other reforms without permitting any of the cost of 
these to fall upon them. Emancipation was retarded for years, 
and when it came it was deprive3" ofits full value because no scheme 
could be devised which would liberate the peasants firom 'ffie 

'i ^ authority of the pomyetschek, and at the same time preserve that 
' authprity^ unimpaired. In the immediate interests of the gentry ,''*^ 
and in the ultimate interests of the autocracy. Tsar after Tsar 

^^ attempted this impossible task. The emancipation of the peas- 
// antry and the maintenance of the influence over them of the gentry 
appeared alike to be necessary for the safety of the autocratic state, 
and they were incompatible. In the early ages of serfdom, the 
Tsar appeared as impartial arbiter between the peasant and his 
lord ; but as the discussions upon emancipation proceeded, it 
became gradually patent that there was a fundamental identity 
of interest between the autocrat of the State and the owner of the 
serf. Government and serf-ownership were alike autocratic. As 
this identity of interest came to be recognized, the recognition was 
fatal to the peasant view of the functions of the Tsar as disinter- 

^ Cf. supra, vol. i. pp. 316 et seq. 


ested arbiter ; but for a time the autocracy succeeded in rehabili- 
tating itself in the eyes of the peasants by temporarily assuming 
the cost of emancipation. The peasants were ultimately to bear 
the whole burden, but the financial operations were facilitated and 
enmncipatjonjwasjiaste^edj)^ the Government. The relations be- 
tween tEe autocracy and thelanded gentry which have been de- 
scribed account for the almost ferocious bitterness with which in 
successive reigns the autocracy has borne itself towards those of 
the gentry who have exhibited revolutionary sympathies. 

Up till the recent revolutionary epoch popular recognition of 
the impossibility of the adequate performance of the traditional 
role of the Tsarship, as weU as remnants of Caesar-worship which 
lingered among the simple rural folk, combined to render the public 
attitude towards the Tsar one of large tolerance. ** The Dear 
Father ^ does not know our situation, or he would change it," was 
the popular formula. One sign of the great change which has 
passed over Russia during recent years is that this formula is 
recognized to be no longer applicable. The Tsar must know what 
everyone else knows. He had the power to effect radical changes 
in the condition of the peasantry ; although he has retained this 
power, he has not exercised it, therefore he is responsible. Although 
from the peasant point of view the present Tsar is not worse than 
any, perhaps even better than most, of his predecessors, his failure 
only proves that autocracy is worn out and must be abolished. 

Thus stage by stage the revolutionary state of mind develops. 
Private grievances and difficulties come to be intermingled with 
public grievances and difficulties. " Lawlessness " ^ on the part 
of the Government has its inevitable counterpart in " rightless- 
ness " on the part of the people. Gradually class after class comes 
to be infected with the desire for drastic political change. In 
countries which enjoy the advantages, such as they are, of repre- 
sentative and " responsible " government, this desire is expressed 
and expended in the polling booths ; in an autocracy it can only 
be expressed in sullen discontent, or expended in conspirative or 
open attacks upon the representatives of authority. 

^ " Dear Father " represents more exactly the Russian expression than 
the customary " Little Father." 

2 As in procedure by administrative order instead of by ordinary process 
of law. 



To this factor — the desire for drastic political change — must be 
added the fatalistic habit of thought which is characteristic of the 
Russian mind ; once the necessity of change is realised, it must take 
place somehow immediately. The practical means of carrying out 
any change are not really considered, nor is the character of the 
change itself at all deeply regarded. The means might have to be 
violent ; who might know ? The character of it would have to be 
left to the people to determine ; who might know the result ? A 
*' Constituent Assembly " might be convened, and this would reveal 
" the will of the people." Such was the state of mind of Russia in 

The suppression of criticism and the destruction or exile of the 
bearers of critical intelligence were paid for heavily in the confused 
and haphazard projects which the Government and the bolder 
publicists now began to advance. All this fermentation, trouble- 
some and painful as it must be, is nevertheless an evidence of growth. 
It means that the lethargic masses of the Russian people were shak- 
ing themselves into waking life. This was the real revolution — 
the rousing of the people from stagnation. For the moment their 
immediate material interests sank into the background ; and not 
until the necessity of caring for these brought the people back to 
practical exigencies did the result of the fermentation become a new 
organic part of the national life. People cannot live for any great 
length of time at white heat. Human nerves will not endure in- 
definitely such an experience. The acute stage of the revolution 
through which Russia passed in 1905 and 1906 left the autocracy 
and the people alike in a state of nervous exhaustion. Like the 
campaign in Manchuria, the conflict was not fought out to the bitter 
end. Neither combatant was completely defeated, but both had 
gone nearly as far as their strength at the time permitted. Although 
the advantage remained with the autocracy, the people gained 
much. When all is said, and the reaction notwithstanding, Russia 
stands now upon a level substantially higher in point of political 
development than she did before the war and the incomplete 
revolution which followed. 

In all great revolutions there is this widespread or imiversal 
" state of mind." Distinct from it, although acquiring their force 
from the prevalence of the revolutionary state of mind, are the 
various revolutionary propagandas. These are conducted by en- 


thusiasts sometimes numerically insignificant, sometimes influenced 
largely by hysteria ; but frequently inspired by disinterested love 
of country and of humanity. With the uttermost self-abnegation, 
these enthusiasts throw themselves against authority, well knowing 
that they must perish, but believing that the blood of the " martyrs 
is the seed," not in their case of the Church, but of liberty. These 
enthusiasts and their propagandas of action or education, or both, 
are rather the result of the revolutionary state of mind than the 
cause of it ; reaction of one upon the other being of course constant. 
The history of revolutionary movements must therefore be con- 
sidered as having two sides — the history of the emergence and de- 
velopment of the revolutionary state of mind and the history of the 
movements considered as propagandas. These histories are so 
closely related, however, that they must for the most part be told 



Throughout the period of the Kalita dynasty the nomadic tribes 
on the frontier of the Moscow State continued to harass the settle- 
ments on the edge of the steppe. This was especially true of the 
region situated immediately to the south of Moscow — ^the region 
of Ryazan. Here peaceful agriculture was impossible, and the region 
could be occupied only by wariike people.^ ^^Bj^""" ^^"'^ Hr^w 
to itself a population different from that of Moscow — a population 
peculiarly f^Hapfprl fr> frr>rif;^f /^r^r,/^;^^,v>»o From an early period 
this population was composed of two elements — landless people. 
who were accustomed to earn their own Uving upon the land of 
others, and who were drawn into the region by offers of high wages, 
and adventurous people who liked the free life of the steppe, who 
liked to fight, and who preferred to live partly by means of the 
military pay which they derived from the Government and partly 
by means of plunder which they might derive from their defeated 
enemies. Xhese-te o elements were both known as Ka^^gM nr, 
Cossacks. ^ While such elements of the population were to be found 
from early times and in every part of the Moscow State, they make 
their appearance as a compact localized group for the first time in 
the middle of the fifteenth century and in the region of Ryazan.^ 
It is not surprising that on both sides of the indefinite frontier, people 
of a similar character should be found, and thus there were Tartar 
as well as Russian Cossacks. The latter were Mohammedans, and 
were in the same relation to the Sultan as were the Russian Cossacks 
to the Tsar. The Cossacks on both sides of the frontier appear to 

^ C/. Soloviev, History of Russia from the Earliest Times (ed. St. Peters- 
burg, n.d., cir. 191 1), vol. v. p. 1684. 

^ In the Teurki group of languages Kazak means bachelor, and in its 
derived Russian form it meant originally a man without a settled domicile. 

* Cf. Soloviev, loc. cit., and Kluchevsky, op. cit., iii. p. 132 (English trans- 
lation, iii. p. 107). 


have been mercenary troops. So long as they were paid and were 
not interfered with they seem in general to have refrained from dis- 
turbance, although they sometimes engaged in raids or even in 
formal warfare on their own account. For example, the Cossacks—J 
of the Don and those of the Yaek, or Ural River, engaged, 
in 1632, in a war with Persia on the Caspian Sea.^ Occasionally 
they attacked and plundered the Russian cities in their neighbour- 
hood, and then escaped into the steppe, where they were practically 
immune from pursuit .^ The Cossacks sometimes allied themselves 
with frontier tribes, as they did, for example, with the Kalmuks, 
who were subsidized both by the Tsar and by the Khan of the 
Crimea ; ^ and as they did with the Bashkirs. So also in the wars 
with Poland and Sweden, they constituted an uncertain element, 
disposed to serve the power which offered them most conspicuous 

The Cossacks did not belong to one racial group ; on the con- 
trary, they were drawn from many races, although those who settled 
on the Dnieper were predominantly of Little Russian origin. They 
collected together near the Falls of Sula, and there fortified an 
island, which came to be known as the Syech, and the community 
which they formed as the Zaporojtsi, or Zaporojian.* So also the 
Cossacks of the Don and the Yaek, or Ural River, formed com- 
munities and regarded these conmiunities as independent of any 
State. The Cossack settlements which were near the places popu- 
lated by Russians, were in general kept under restraint with com- 
parative ease ; but those settlements which were far in the steppe 
were occupied by practically autonomous communities over whom 
the rule of the central State was very slender. ^ Such Cossack 
communities elected each its own ataman and aldermen, who con- 
ducted their communal affairs. The former also acted as the 
representative of the Cossacks in communications with the Moscow 
authorities.* Even the ataman was usually illiterate. The Cos- 

1 Soloviev, ii. p. 1247. 

2 As in their attack upon Guriev in 1677. See Soloviev, iii. p. 860. 

* Ibid., iii. p. 574. 

* For an account of the Zaporojians, see Soloviev, ed. 191 1, iii. p. 12 et 
seq. There is a vivid description of them in With Fire and Sword, by Senkie- 

* Soloviev, op. cit., i. p. 1684. 

* The Moscow Government assumed to appoint the ataman, but such 
appointment was recognized only when the Cossack communities were 


sacks of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries were, therefore, 
unacquainted with the Russian laws, and were, moreover, at the 
mercy of the army clerks who were sent to settle accounts with 
them. Their own atamans were sometimes dishonest and often 
negligent in their dealings ahke with the Cossack communities 
and with the Government. Disputes and disorders occurred fre- 
quently from the attempts of officials to take advantage of the 
ignorance of the Cossacks.^ Payments for military service were 
customarily made partly in money and partly in kind, or the Cos- 
sacks were granted rights (to fisheries, e.g.), and the value of these 
rights was counted as part of their payment, or the wages of the 
Cossacks were counted as part pajmient for the rights which had 
been granted. Sometimes through alleged embezzlement of funds 
by the ataman, sometimes through alteration in the amounts 
imposed by the Government or collected by its officials, disturb- 
ances in connection with settlements of balances took place in the 
seventeenth century .2 

Although in proportion to the total peasant mass the Cossacks 
were not numerous, and although, as we have seen, all the Cossack 
communities were not free and autonomous, the withdrawal from 
among the peasants of the more energetic and courageous for the 
free hfe of the steppe resulted in diminution of will and power to 
resist oppression on the part of the peasantry as a class. The 
recruiting of the ranks of the Cossacks by these enterprising ele- 
ments, therefore, at once localized such elements, increased the 
subserviency of the peasantry remaining under bondage, and 
contributed with the intensification of bondage right to promote 
the disarticulation of Russian society. We have seen that at 
frequent intervals in the history of the peasantry, flights occurred of 
peasants from the estates to which they belonged, the peasants 
sometimes fleeing in masses. On these occasions the peasants 
often went out into the steppe and took refuge among the Cossacks. 
On the complaints of the pomyetscheke, the Government demanded 
of the Cossacks the return of the peasants because their evasion 

within reach of the arm of the Government. Cossack atamans spoke with 
pride of having been elected by their fellows, even when they were at the 
same time appointed by the Tsar. 

^ For this reason Tatishev suggested, in 1737, that Cossack schools should 
be estabhshed. Cf. Soloviev, iv, p. 1546, 

' Cf. Soloviev, ii. p. 1058 ; so also in the eighteenth century, see infra. 


diminished the numbers on the tax rolls. When the Government 
was strong enough to enforce its demands the peasants were re- 
turned to their owners ; but when the central authority was weak — 
as it was, for instance, in the time of the Tsar Alexis, the father of 
Peter the Great — the Cossacks were able either to dissemble or to 
resist actively. The first open revolt of the Cossacks on account 
of demands from Moscow for the return of fleeing peasants took 
place in 1670, under Stenka Razen, ataman of the Don Cossacks. 
This revolt was suppressed, but the practice of flight still continued, 
and in the next reign the Cossacks and the refugees again engaged 
in armed rebellion in 1716 under Bulavin. The Cossacks were 
again defeated, on this occasion by a comparatively insignificant 
force. The policy of Peter, who was then engaged in his formidable 
industrial enterprises, in which he had the greatest difficulty in 
securing a sufficient mmiber of working hands, was not compatible 
with the drawing ofl of productive powers to the non-productive 
steppe. He forbade the Cossacks to build new towns and destroyed 
the refuges of the runaways.^ 

JTh fi-p^wrr f^f Mnnf^owj whif:h hnri nlwg yiiJirrji. dis£]yLtfid-fey-4ha 
Cossacks, wfl^ now<| for thafimp, and the Cossack com- 
munities became more compact and less influenced by accession 
from the peasantry. The character of the Cossack comes now to 
be differentiated from that of the peasant. 

The success of the free Cossack life inspired the Cossack with 
hope, while increase of burdens and intensification of bondage 
continued to oppress the peasant with gloom and despair. The 
Cossacks had by their own valour and energy conquered for them- 
selves a large element of independence, and they therefore looked 
with some contempt upon the peasantry who were humbly sub- 
mitting to excessive burdens. There is to be found the historical 
ground of the hostility which, save on rare occasions, the Cossacks 
have entertained against the peasantry, and of the confidence with 
which the Government has been able to rely upon the Cossacks in 
punitive expeditions and the like. Yet there were and are many 
traits of peasant character which the Cossacks presented even in 
an exaggerated form. For example, alike among the peasantry 
and among the Cossacks, every administrative change, and still 
more every change in the occupancy of the Imperial Throne, pro- 
^ See Soloviev, op, cit., iii. pp. 291 and 1472. 


duced a fermentation in their narrow worlds. Both alike formed 
exaggerated anticipations of the benefits to be derived from 
" the grace of the new Tsar," and when disappointment ensued, 
disturbances occurred. The accession of a new Tsar was thus 
usually the occasi on ^^^ ^"-n'lSa^^ ''"^ pAoconf mifi->r^a]^<^ 1 jf that 
which they expected did not happen immediately, they soon began 
to exhibit symptoms of disorder. For example, when they learned 
that Peter III had forbidden the purchase of peasants for the 
factories, the previously purchased peasants understood that this 
meant freedom for them, and forthwith began to act upon this 
behef .2 So also when the peasants of the Church were transferred 
to the State, and when the nobility were released from compulsory 
service, the peasants thought that freedom for them must ensue.' 
When this result did not follow, they regarded themselves as being 
defrauded by the proprietors of the benefits which had been con- 
ferred upon them by the Tsar. In general they refused to believe^ 
that ukases were genuine unless the ukases gave them what they 
wanted. If an alleged ukase met their views, they customarily 
regarded it as genuine, in spite of evidence to the contrary. Peas- J 
ants and Cossacks alike were thus peculiarly exposed to deception 
by false ukases * and by impostors. It may be that this and other 
peasant traits were the natural consequences of habitual oppression,^ 
and that the peasant psychology predisposed peasant and Cossack 
alike to look adways for some benefit from above — to hope always 
for some ukase of the Tsar which would by a stroke of the pen alter 
all the conditions of their life. The peasants were indeed always 
in an attitude of expectancy that a Messiah would arise among them 
and by a mere announcement prevent oppression and bestow upon 
them economical prosperity. 

The grievances of the peasants, alike of the State and of the 
pomyetscheke, in the first half of the eighteenth century have already 
been described. From the details which have been given it may be 
surmised that almost at any time the mood of the peasants, in 
spite of their humility, predisposed them to revolt against their 

^ Cf. Fersov, N. N., " Peasant Agitation up till the Nineteenth Century," 
in The Great Reform, ii. p. 45. 

2 Ibid. 3 Ibid. 

*■ The circulation of false ukases is frequently mentioned above (see, 
<j.g., i. p. 240). 

'^ As suggested by Fersov, op. cit., p. 46. 



masters and against the officials with whom they came in contact. 
Leadership among them was, however, hard to find. They were 
dispersed over an immense area in comparatively small communi- 
ties. They were habitually insubordinate to authority, and they 
were mutually suspicious of one another. 

The situation in the reign of Katherine II had become acute. 
Enormous grants of land and of peasants to Court favourites, and 
the intensification of bondage right, especially through ascription 
to industrial enterprises, had brought about a " state of mind " 
among the peasants, chiefly among those of the Volga region, 
which rendered them ripe for revolt. 

The Cossacks had simultaneously their own grievances. They 
disliked the new military system which had been introduced by 
Peter the Great, although it had been very gradually applied to 
them ; and they were frequently engaged in disputes with the local 
authorities about their pa57ments to the Government. 

The discontent among the Cossacks, which eventually developed 
into the formidable rebellion of 1773-1775, appears to have had its 
specific origin soon after 1752 among the Cossacks of the Ural 
River (in the eariier part of the eighteenth century called the Cos- 
sacks of the Yaek). These Cossacks took from the Empress a 
lease of the fishings of the Yaek River, and undertook the collec- 
tion of the duties within that region upon wine. They were also 
granted a monopoly of the sale of salt fish. For these privileges 
the Cossacks were to pay to the Government a yearly sum of 10,450 
rubles. An ataman called Borodin was appointed by the Military 
Collegium for the collection of this sum as well as for other duties 
in connection with the affairs of the Cossacks. His appointment 
was the first grievance. The Cossacks had been accustomed to 
elect their own ataman, and they naturally usually chose one of 
themselves. Borodin was an appointee of the Government and was, 
moreover, not a Cossack. He appears to have collected the sums 
due by the Cossacks, but the Cossacks alleged that for three years 
previous to 1767 he had not rendered any accounts of his intro- 
missions. When some of the Cossacks reminded Borodin of the con- 
ditions of his appointment, and demanded the rendering of accounts, 
they were " punished with lashes as insolent and riotous people." ^ 

1 State Archive VI, Affair No. 505, cited by Dubrovin, N., Pugachev 
and His Accomplices (St. Petersburg, 1884), i. p. 2. 


About 1760 a certain Loginov, described as a person of doubt- 
ful integrity, who had been an ataman of the town of Sakmarsk, 
appUed to Borodin for employment as a tax-collector. Borodin 
refused to employ him, and thereafter Loginov appears to have 
devoted himself to the destruction of Borodin. Loginov went to 
St. Petersburg and secured an appointment in the administrative 
office of the Yaek Cossacks. On his return Borodin refused to 
receive him, and Loginov then placed himself at the head of the 
party of Cossacks who had been opposing Borodin, advising the 
Cossacks to refrain from paying their duties to Borodin until 
accounts had been rendered showing the intromissions of the pre- 
vious fifteen years, and accusing Borodin of levying duties unjustly 
and of embezzling the amounts illegally collected.^ In 1762 the 
Military CoUegiimi sent a Commission to Yaek to inquire into the 
quarrel between Borodin and Loginov and into the consequent 
disturbances among the Cossacks. The Conmiissioner (Brookfeld) 
reported that undoubtedly Borodin had embezzled funds and had 
exacted money illegally from the Cossacks ; but that there was no 
one in the region who could be trusted to do otherwise.^ The 
Mihtary Collegium, however, ordered that if Borodin had really 
abused his office, he should be dismissed and a staff officer from 
Orenburg sent to take his place, with two aldermen elected by the 
Cossacks to advise him. The Senate did not, however, approve 
of this plan, on the ground that it might lead to further disturb- 
ances. Nothing was done. Brookfeld remained on the Yaek ; 
Borodin continued nominally to act as ataman, and Loginov con- 
tinued to collect the taxes. In February 1763 two Cossacks went 
to Moscow to lay the affair before the Military Collegium, and at 
the same time a complaint against Borodin was sent to the Empress 
by Mir-Ali-Khan on account of the Kirghiz. 

The result of these complaints was the appointment of a new 
Commission of Inquiry into Cossack grievances with certain execu- 
tive powers. Major-General Potapov was appointed head of the 
Conmiission, and was required to dismiss Borodin, to arrest 
Loginov for insubordination, and to appoint another ataman from 
Orenburg, and not from among the Cossacks. The Cossacks pro- 
tested against the latter measure. They said that it involved 
infringement of their privileges. The Empress Katherine II, 

^ Dubrovin, op, cit., i, p. 7. * Ibid., i. p. 9. 


usually good-natured in such matters, wrote to Prince Trubetskoy 
to the effect that if it was customary for the Cossacks to elect an 
ataman from simong themselves, they should be allowed to elect 
anybody they chose.^ Potapov considered the carrying out of 
this order impracticable ; but he eventually agreed that the Cos- 
sacks should elect an ataman from among themselves. They chose 
a young nephew of Loginov, His election appeared to mean that 
the real power should be in the hands of the latter. On that ground 
Potapov objected to ratify the election and on leaving for St. 
Petersburg, appointed an officer of dragoons from Kazan as tem- 
porary ataman. The nephew of Loginov at once made friends 
with this officer, hoping to have his own election confirmed, and 
proceeded to act in a manner very similar to that in which Borodin 
had been acting, thus simultaneously opposing his uncle, the 
Cossack party, and the Borodin party. 

Meanwhile a new ukase upon Cossack affairs was promulgated 
in December 1765. Under this ukase the anomalous status of the 
Cossacks was altered. Instead of being free to render military 
service or not, as formerly, the Cossacks were now obliged to serve 
by turn — every able-bodied Cossack being obliged to serve. The 
practice of election of their own officers was abolished. This 
adjustment of their affairs was not what the Cossacks expected. 
They were gratified by the dismissal of Borodin, but they were 
disturbed by the new military regulations, which they regarded as 
infringing upon their privileges. The Cossacks were further irri- 
tated by the orders of the Military Collegium, under which Loginov 
was banished to Tobolsk in Siberia, and the forty representatives 
who had been elected under the instructions of Potapov were to be 
beaten and exiled because they were unable to prove some of their 

In order to prevent disturbance on the part of the Cossacks 
in the execution of the instructions of the Military Collegium, 
dragoons were sent from Orenburg to the Yaek town. The 
Cossacks continued to make complaints, and deputations were 
sent to St. Petersburg. One of the deputations succeeded in pre- 
senting a petition personally to the Empress, who seems to have 
taken a more serious view of the situation than did the Military 

* Dubrovin, i. p. 14. 

* State Archives VI, Affair No. 505, and Dubrovin, i. p. 16. 


Collegium.^ That department appears to have evaded the instruc- 
tions of the Empress, for it ordered that in future, petitioners should 
not be permitted to leave the Cossack conmiunities. Katherine, 
however, sent a confidential agent to the Yaek with instructions 
to endeavour to put an end to the disturbances. This agent (Captain 
Chebyshov) found that it was impossible to settle the triangular 
dispute — the Cossack party, the party of Borodin, and the Military 
Collegium all representing different and irreconcilable interests. A 
new ataman was eventually elected and his election was confirmed ; 
but the primary causes of the dispute still remained, aggravated as 
these were by the regulations of the ukase of 1765 abolishing the 
system of volunteering and establishing that of compulsory service. 

In 1769 the Cossacks were still refusing to render service under 
the new regulations. Conscripts were taken by force, but they 
escaped from their captors, and the agitation against the ex-ataman 
Borodin gradually became an agitation against the Government. 
On the one hand the war with Turkey rendered it necessary to 
secure all possible troops, and on the other, the quarrels among 
and with the Cossacks rendered it impossible to secure troops 
from among them excepting on the customary terms. The Cos- 
sacks steadfastly refused to be enrolled as " regular " soldiers, and 
they regarded enrolment as a kind of punishment imposed by the 
Government for their exercise of what they considered the inde- 
feasible right of petition.2 

In 1770 also there appears a ground of objection to serve as 
regular soldiers other than that based upon the established prac- 
tice of volunteering. This ground of objection was that the regular 
soldiers were obliged by the regulations to shave off their beards. 
The Cossacks, who were mostly raskolneke, or dissenters from the 
Orthodox Greek Church, entertained religious scruples about shav- 
ing. The new system thus not only interfered with previously 
established practice, but interfered with religious beliefs. The 
Mihtary Collegium gave way upon this point, and offered to allow 
the Cossacks to retain their beards if they wished to do so. But 
the Cossacks still obstinately refused to submit. The local autho- 
rities then attempted to reduce them to submission by preventing 

1 Letter of Katherine II to Count Chernyshev, Moscow Archives of the 
General Staff, cxix, sec. 4. Affair No. 43 ; cited by Dubrovin, i. p. 21. 
* Dubrovin, op. cit., i. p. 36. 


the Cossacks from engaging in their usual employment of fishing 
during the season. This measure produced fresh compUcations, for 
by means of it the Cossacks were more impoverished and became 
more discontented than formerly. The Cossacks sent messengers to 
Orenburg to complain to the Governor and to ask for passports to 
St. Petersburg in order that they might carry their new grievances 
to the Throne. These messengers were arrested and imprisoned, 
but others were sent direct to St. Petersburg, where now (September 
1770) there were eighty deputies from the Cossacks of the Yaek. 
Katherine received the new petition, and ordered the Military 
Collegium to remedy nearly all the grievances which it detailed, 
to see that the Cossacks were paid the five years' arrears of 
money due to them if their statements on this head were found 
to be accurate, to liberate those who had been arrested, &c. 
An ukase in these terms was read to twenty-six of the petitioners 
at the Military Collegium, but they indignantly refused to be satis- 
fied with the terms of it. They demanded simply that they should 
be allowed to live and to render military service as formerly. The 
MiHtary Collegium then ordered all the Yaek Cossacks who might 
be found in St. Petersburg to be arrested and conveyed under a 
convoy to their homes on the Yaek River. Many were arrested 
and despatched, but some could not be found. Of those who were 
secured, only six reached the Yaek ; the others escaped in the course 
of the journey.^ 

With a pertinacity characteristic of Cossack and peasant alike, 
those who escaped succeeded in returning to St. Petersburg and in 
presenting another petition to the Empress, begging to be relieved 
of the obligation to serve in regiments of the regular army, and 
continuing to complain of the abuses to which the petitioners 
alleged they had been subjected by Borodin's allies — the so-called 
aldermen's party. Again Katherine sent an emissary to the Yaek 
and withdrew the regulation respecting enlistment in the regular 
army .2 For the moment the Cossacks were content, and the large 
group of petitioners returned to their homes. 

1 Memorials of New Rttssian History^ part ii. p. 291 ; cited by Dubrovin, 
i. p. 44. 

« The project had involved the formation of so-called foreign legions in 
the regular army. It had never been proposed to make the Cossacks troops 
of the line. The objectionable ukase had been issued in December 1765, 
the cancelling ukase was dated 7th December 1770. 


Almost simultaneously with these disturbances among the 
Cossacks there was observable in 1771 a movement among the 
Kalmuk Mongols, among whom was then beginning the agitation 
which eventually led to the flight of the Kalmuks across Asia. This 
distraction caused the local military authorities to be more anxious 
than formerly to placate the Cossacks and to reconcile the two 
contending parties. They, therefore, conciliated one party by 
exacting a fine which had been imposed upon the aldermen, together 
with an accounting of their intromissions, and at the same time 
hesitated to carry out to the full extent the instructions of the 
ukase by dismissing the aldermen and rendering them incapable 
of being re-elected. The result of this compromise was that neither 
party was satisfied. The aldermen's party had been punished; 
but in the opinion of the other party, they remained in a position 
to commit fresh offences. 

It appeared also that, as frequently occurred at that period 
even on grave occasions, the copy of the ukase of 7th December 
1770 which had been given to the Cossack petitioners at St. 
Petersburg was an inaccurate copy. Instead of merely relieving 
the Cossacks from the obligation to serve in the regular army, 
and thus leaving them in the position in which they were before 
the ukase of 1765 was issued, the ukase of 1770, as they had 
it, appeared to relieve them of service of any kind. The Cossacks 
were not slow to attach this meaning to the ukase, so that when 
a demand was made upon them for a draft of 500 troops to 
pursue the Kalmuks, only the aldermen's party supplied troops, 
the " disobedient " Cossacks declaring that they were now by 
ukase exempted from military service. They objected even to 
volunteer unless they were permitted to elect all their own 

Another large group of petitioners made their way to St. Peters- 
burg, the journey occupying from Easter until June. When they 
arrived one of their number, Kerpechnikov, went to the Mihtary 
Collegium and asked Count Chemyshev to hand their petition to 
the Empress. Chemyshev seems to have lost his temper and to 
have literally kicked the Cossack out of his presence. This act 
rankled in the mind of the Cossack, who at once drew up a petition 
of complaint against Chemyshev, and succeeded in having it placed 

* Dubrovin, i. p. 49. 


in the hands of the Empress.^ The petitioners disguised themselves 
as coachmen and other working men, and distributed themselves 
about the city in order to escape the arrest they knew must follow. 
Most of them were, however, hunted down and confined in the 
fortress of Peter and Paul. 

The petition was both quaint and cunning. It was written in 
a spirit of servility to Katherine, and was cunningly contrived to 
enable the Cossacks to profit by the intrigues of the Court. Count 
Chernyshev was denounced, but the Cossacks invited the protec- 
tion of his rivals the Orlovs. Kerpechnikov succeeded in escaping 
from St. Petersburg, carrying with him a letter which he had pro- 
cured from Orlov. 

Meanwhile the attitude of the Cossack party on the Yaek had 
become more bellicose. They still refused to supply troops for 
the pursuit of the Kalmuks, and a conspiracy was discovered which 
had as its objects the seizure of the guns and ammunition and an 
attack upon the ataman and aldermen. Under these circumstances 
an officer, Major von Traubenberg, was sent from Orenburg to the 
Yaek. He was famihar with Cossack affairs, but he was irritated 
at the refusal of the Cossacks to supply men for his command, and 

^ The following extracts from the petition are given by way of illustration 
of such documents : 

" To God and you, most gracious Empress, the deputies are writing. 
Your most devoted slaves are falling with bitter tears at your feet. Mercy, 
most gracious Empress, upon all those who live on the Yaek, and who depend 
upon your life, and who exist under your Imperial protection. Have pity, 
most gracious Empress, on us for the offences which we have survived, as is 
known to your Imperial Highness personally through our petitions. We, 
unfortunates, and most devoted slaves, not only do not have satisfaction, but 
we suffer most inhuman tortures from the ataman, Peter Tambovtsev, and 
his aldermen, who are still appointed by the Military Collegium, and especially 
by Count Chernyshev. . . . Most august, most gracious Monarch ! at your 
sacred feet we fall, your most devoted slaves. With tears we implore you 
to deliver us, by your monarchical grace, from insupportable ruin. Not only 
are we decayed (economically), but we have become beggars. By God, we 
are brought to such conditions that we cannot continue any more your 
Imperial service on account of our case having been continued for eleven 
years, and of our having spent so long a time here (in St. Petersburg). We 
are short of funds for food and for other expenses, and we are deeply in debt. 
Have pity, most gracious Empress, defend us from the attacks of the ataman 
and all the aldermen, and the generals, staff, and over-officers. . . . Honour 
•us as we were honoured in the time of the father of the country, the Emperor 
Peter the Great. . . . We want to be under His Excellency Count G. G. 
Orlov, in order that our Yaek troops may be saved from invasion, and this 
mother's pity of yours we shall count not otherwise than as new life given 
to us " (State Archives VII, d. No, 2331 ; cited by Dubrovin, i. pp. 51-2). 



he proceeded at once to punitive measures. Those Cossacks who 
were most active in promoting resistance were ordered by him to 
be flogged, and he ordered the necessary number of men for the 
command to have their beards shaved o^ and to be sent on under 
convoy. The convoy was, however, inadequate, the 300 Cossacks 
who had been taken forcibly, turned upon the convoy and carried 
it back to the Yaek.^ 

In January 1772 Kerpechnikov returned from St. Petersburg, 
told the Cossacks of the failure of his mission, and urged them to 
send an ultimatum to the ataman to the effect that unless the over- 
due fines were paid and the offending aldermen dismissed within 
three days, the Cossacks would act by " armed uprising." 2 Ker- 
pechnikov was ordered to report himself to Traubenberg at the 
Military Chancellery. He refused, and a riot ensued, in which the 
" disobedient " Cossacks fought the ** obedient," and prisoners were 
taken on both sides. Traubenberg then called a general meeting of 
all Cossacks to discuss the affair — a very hazardous proceeding 
under the circumstances. The " disobedient " Cossacks poured 
into the town of Yaek until they mmibered a thousand, while 
Traubenberg had only seventy men of the regular troops and fifty 
" obedient " Cossacks upon whom he might rely in case of disorder. 
Traubenberg despatched a messenger to Orenburg for assistance. 
Dragoons and infantry were sent at once, but they did not arrive in 
time to prevent the catastrophe which took place on 13th January. 
On that day a large crowd of " disobedient " Cossacks attended a 
service in the cathedral, and then carrying three ikons — one of 
them a thaumaturgical picture of Christ which was believed to 
weep when perils threatened the Cossacks — ^marched along the 
street towards the Military Chancellery. Fearing an attack, Trau- 
benberg ordered his regular soldiers to attack the crowd. The 
Cossacks then threw aside all disguise, rushed upon the Chancellery, 
turned the guns in it upon the defenders, killed many of them, 
including Traubenberg, and wounded severely the next in command, 
an officer named Dumovo. The latter was only saved from being 
killed through the efforts of Shegaev, a Cossack, who afterwards 
was one of the chief supporters of Pugachev. The ataman and 

1 Report of Dumovo, August 1772. Military-Scientific Affairs, No. 104, 
Division 15, cited by Dubrovin, i. p. 55. 
* Dubrovin, i. p. 53. 


some of the aldermen were killed. In blind fury the Cossacks 
looted the houses of the officials and destroyed the records. Many 
barbarities were conmiitted— ^.g. two of Traubenberg's fingers 
were cut off in order to secure the rings which he wore upon 

On the evening of the 13th the Cossacks dispersed to their 
homes, but marvellous to relate, a deputation of them went to 
Durnovo, who lay severely wounded and a prisoner, and asked 
him to permit them to elect a new ataman and new aldermen, as all 
were either dead or in prison. Durnovo naturally said, "Do as 
you please. I am not in a position to give orders." The Cossacks 
replied that they looked upon him as the military commander ap- 
pointed by the Empress, that in acting as they had done they had 
carried out the will of the Empress as expressed in the ukases, and 
that they were prepared now to take his orders in respect to a new 
election. Fearing further disturbance, Durnovo consented, where- 
upon they required him to countermand the order for assistance 
which had been sent to Orenburg. This he was obliged to do. 

On the morning of the 14th the victorious Cossacks held a meet- 
ing at which they decided that some of the prisoners they had 
captured on the previous day should be executed, that then the 
party quarrels should be forgotten, and that no one should go to 
St. Petersburg of his own vohtion. It was also decided to send 
deputies to St. Petersburg for the purpose of explaining the reason 
for the action of the Cossacks. The executions took place, and the 
deputies departed with a formidable array of documents, some of 
the signatures to which, as in the case of Durnovo, were procured 
through fear of consequences. 

The authorities at St. Petersburg now determined to deal dras- 
tically with the situation, by aboHshing the locally elective offices 
in the Cossack communities and by compelling the Cossacks to 
enter the regular army service. They did not realize, however, the 
extent of the military measures which might be necessary to enforce 
this answer to the Cossack question, and they proceeded to impose 
upon the mihtary forces which they detailed, an impossible task. 
Had the Military Collegium decided to send a properly equipped 
force of 10,000 men into the disturbed district in the summer of 1772, 
several years of bloodshed might have been prevented, although, 

^ Dubrovin, i, p, 70, 


on the other hand, the aspirations of the peasants and the Cossacks 
aUke would have been checked. It became later necessary to take 
a measure of this kind after the Volga between Kazan and Oren- 
burg had been ravaged, and after indescribable cruelties had been 
practised both on the side of the rebels and on the side of the 

The Cossacks had tasted blood and the disturbances continued. 
Their pay was in arrears ; the amounts due to them by the officials 
of whom they complained were still unpaid, and they proceeded to 
pay themselves by plundering those of their own number who had 
been of the ataman's party. They even turned upon their former 
leaders and, for example, put Kerpechnikov in irons. ** You were 
with us at first," they said to him ; " now you want to rule." ^ 

Troops were sent, but their number was so insignificant that 
their commander, Reynsdorp, was obliged to parley with the Cos- 
sacks and to refrain from advancing. Meanwhile the Cossacks 
prepared themselves for determined resistance, and sent messengers 
to the Kirghiz Tartars asking for their assistance. Major-General 
Freiman, who had been sent from St. Petersburg to undertake the 
military operations against the Cossacks, arrived at Orenburg in 
May 1772 ; and as soon as his troops were available, he began to 
move upon the Yaek. The Cossacks sent emissaries to meet Frei- 
man, and these emissaries were told that if the persons guilty of 
causing the disturbances which led to the death of Traubenberg 
were surrendered, no one else would be punished. Freiman was 
told that the guilty persons were Borodin, the ex-ataman, and the 
aldermen. However guilty of the initial offences these persons 
may have been, they were not the persons indicated by Freiman. 

On the 3rd June Freiman reached the Embulatovka River, 
where the Cossacks had made up their mind to attack him. After 
a desultory engagement, during which the Cossacks surrounded 
Freiman and set the steppe on fire, the Cossacks sent couriers to 
the town of Yaek announcing a victory. On the 4th and 5th June 
Freiman crossed the river in spite of the resistance of the Cossacks, 
whom he succeeded in out-manoeuvring. The Cossacks then retired 
upon the town of Yaek, to which the way was now clear for Freiman. 
As he approached, the inhabitants fled with their cattle and bag- 
gage. They were eventually induced to return, but with the loss 

^ Dubrovin, i, p, 78, 


of their cattle. Under the orders of the Empress, Freiman altered 
altogether the administration of the Cossacks, bringing it into 
conformity with the administration of the rest of the country, and 
established a garrison. So many Cossacks were arrested that the 
prisons of Orenburg were filled, and the prisoners had to be dis- 
tributed in different places. The Yaek was " pacified," though 
several of the leaders of the disturbances escaped and afterwards 
made their presence felt. 

Simultaneously with the close of the Yaek episode, there arose 
among the dispirited Cossacks rumours about the reappearance of 
the Emperor Peter III,^ who was alleged to have been in hiding, 
but to be now about to declare himself for the benefit of his people. 

The reason for the growth of the idea that the return of the Tsar 
would be of advantage to the Cossacks and the peasantry was that 
in his earlier years Peter III had freely announced his opposition 
to bondage right and his desire to abolish it. The weakness of his 
character not only prevented him from doing much towards miti- 
gating bondage, but in the presence of the strong and unscrupulous 
character of Katherine II, cost him at once his throne and his life. 

The first of the group of impostors who personated the dead 
Peter, and who exploited the popular belief that he had survived 
the revolution of 1762, was Gabriel Kremnov of the odnodvortsi, a 
soldier.2 He was arrested at Voronej in 1766, soon after he had 
announced himself.^ The second was Peter Chemyshev,* of the 
village of Kupenka, in Ezyomovskoe province, who made his 
appearance in 1770. He was supported by the local clergy, but 
his career was speedily cut short by arrest and execution. The 
third impostor was an lUyrian called Stefano Piccolo, who appear- 
ing in Montenegro in 1769 or 1770, declared himself as the Emperor 
Peter III. He was arrested, but he escaped.^ The fourth im- 

^ Peter III had died on 19th July 1762, a few days after the revolution 
which gave Katherine II the throne. Although there seems to be no doubt 
that he was murdered by the Orlovs in the interests of Katherine, his death 
was alleged to have been due to natural causes, and his body was exposed 
publicly for three days in St. Petersburg in order to mitigate the risk of 
subsequent imposture. For an account of the death of Peter III, see De 
Rulhiere, A History or Anecdotes of the Revolution in Russia in the Year 
1762 (translated from the French, London, 1797). 

* Soloviev, op. cit. (191 1 ed.), vi. pp. 124-5. 
' Dubrovin, op. cit., i. p. 127. 

* Soloviev, op. cit.y vi. p. 125. 

* [Tooke] Life of Catherine II (London, 1800), ii. p. 185, 


postor was Theodore Bogomolov, a bonded peasant of one of the 
Vorontsevs who had fled from the estate to which he belonged. 
Bogomolov had been a boatman on the Volga, had been serving 
in some capacity among the Kalmuks, and for a time had been 
with the Cossacks of the Volga working as a farm labourer. In 1772 
he volunteered for mihtary service, describing himself as a Don 
Cossack. The fifth impostor was Emihan Pugachev, a Cossack of 
the Don. 

The three earlier impostors need not detain us, the career of the 
fourth is significant, that of the fifth highly important. The signi- 
ficance of all of the impostors is that they emerged at psychological 
moments. Had Peter really survived, and had he conducted him- 
self with any sagacity, the impostures suggest that he might have 
regained his throne as the head of a great popular movement. The 
character and the methods of both of the two later impostors were 
almost precisely identical. They were both illiterate, therefore 
they had at the very beginning of their careers of imposture to 
find literate persons to act as secretaries. They both founded 
their claims upon alleged Tsar's signs or marks upon the body, 
and they both possessed a certain power of attracting adherents 
notwithstanding the risk which was inevitably incurred. In both 
cases their immediate supporters were, with high probability in 
the case of Bogomolov, and with certainty in the case of Pugachev, 
rather accomplices than dupes. Many among the Cossacks realized 
the advantage of having a central figure round whom a tradition 
had gathered, or might gather, and against whom the govern- 
mental vengeance might turn in case of non-success, while the 
accomplices might escape on the ground that they had been de- 
ceived. On the other hand, in the improbable event of success, 
the impostor would be wholly at the mercy of his accomplices, who 
would be able to extort any concession from him they might desire.^ 

In 1772, soon after he went among the Cossacks of the Volga, 
Bogomolov, being " immeasurably drunk," declared himself as the 
Emperor Peter III.2 The rumour that the expected Tsar had made 
his appearance spread rapidly among the Cossacks of the Volga, 
and many people visited Bogomolov for the purpose of ascertain- 

^ The temporary success of pseudo-Demetrius I and II gave colour to 
this view. 

* Dubrovin, i. p. 107. 


ing whether or not he resembled the portraits of the Tsar Peter 
which they had seen. They seem to have agreed that the resem- 
blance was at least doubtful, but that the lapse of years might 
account for a change. A definite adherent made his appearance 
in a soldier named Dolotin, who, either convinced of the vaHdity of 
the claim of Bogomolov, or acutely discerning the importance of 
the r61e played by him at that juncture, attached himself as secre- 
tary and proceeded to circulate the rumour of the reappearance 
of the Tsar Peter. 

In May 1772 the rumour had spread so widely that the Cossacks 
inmiediately surrounding Bogomolov prepared to take advantage 
of the situation. They arrested their officers, but one of these 
had the courage to ask an interview with the alleged Emperor. 
Immediately upon seeing him he struck him in the face, saying, 
" What kind of an Emperor is this ? Arrest him." 

From the manner in which Bogomolov took the insult he stood 
revealed to the Cossacks, who put him in irons and, together with 
his secretary, despatched him to headquarters. The two prisoners 
were sentenced by the Military Collegium to be publicly whipped, 
and to be banished to Nerchinsk with hard labour for life. In 
addition Bogomolov was to have his nostrils slit and was to be other- 
wise marked. While Bogomolov was awaiting his sentence he 
was not idle. He did not contrive to escape, but he succeeded in 
setting afloat, through conversations with his guards, rumours 
about the reappearance of Peter III, and these rumours spread 
among the Cossacks of the Don as they had previously spread 
among the Cossacks of the Volga. 

The Don Cossacks had experienced grievances somewhat similar 
to those of which the Yaek troops complained. They had, however, 
a stronger ataman to deal with. This ataman, Daniel Efremov, 
persuaded Katherine II to appoint as his successor his own son in 
order to begin a hereditary atamanship. He also proposed to 
enlarge the powers of the ataman in such a way as to give him con- 
trol alike of the civil and military affairs of the Don Cossacks. 
This would have made the Efremovs practical dictators of the 
community. The younger Efremov was, however, denounced 
to the Military Collegium by a Cossack, and accused of abuse of 
authority. The Mihtary Collegium ordered him to St. Petersburg, 
ostensibly to consult about the military situation in the Don region. 


Efremov understood the risk he ran in putting himself into the 
hands of the authorities, and refused to comply with the order. 
He then began a journey through the Cossack stations announcing 
that the Government was demanding more recruits from the Cos- 
sacks, and urging them to petition against the proposed recruiting, 
and as well to demand the return of recruits previously sent to 
Azov and Taganrog. This astute manoeuvre brought the Cossacks 
round to the side of Efremov, who now proceeded to defy the 
Military Collegium. Major-General Cherepov, who was sent to 
demand the presence of Efremov at St. Petersburg, was roughly 
used by the Cossacks, and orders were then given by the Empress 
to arrest Efremov. The arrest was effected on 9th November 1772, 
and Efremov was conveyed to Rostov-on-Don and immediately 
afterwards to St. Petersburg. The alarm bell was rung in the 
Cossack towns, and the whole population became greatly agitated. 
Efremov was tried at St. Petersburg for accepting bribes and for 
embezzlement. He was found guilty and sentenced to be hanged. 
The sentence was afterwards commuted to banishment for life. 

While these agitations were going on among the Cossacks of 
the Don, one of the discontented Cossacks, a Little Russian called 
Pevchy, decided to go to Tsaritsin, where Bogomolov was confined, 
to investigate for himself the rumours about the reappearance of 
Peter HI. He had two interviews with the impostor, who showed 
certain marks upon his body which he alleged were Tsar's marks, 
or marks which were made upon the heirs to the throne. The 
exhibition of this alleged Tsar's cross convinced Pevchy, who 
undertook to endeavour to secure the adherence of a hundred 
Cossacks and to attempt the rescue of Bogomolov. Pevchy went 
a second time to Tsaritsin, carrying a small sum of money which 
had been subscribed by the Cossacks. He gave the money to 
Bogomolov and asked for a receipt. The impostor, who was quite 
illiterate, made the pretence that he had no writing materials. The 
influence which Bogomolov, in spite of his imprisonment, was 
exerting upon the Cossacks became known to the Empress, and she 
ordered^ that inmiediate steps be taken to punish the impostor. 
Bogomolov was mutilated and whipped, and was then sent off 
secretly under convoy in August 1772 to Nerchinsk. He died on 
the way. 

* In an autograph letter to Chemyshev. 


Some of the accomplices of Bogomolov who had escaped were 
still being searched for in 1774, when the fifth impostor appeared 
upon the scene. This was a fugitive Cossack of the Don, Emilian 
Ivanovich Pugachev. According to his own statement, Pugachev 
was bom in 1744.^ Since Peter III was bom in 1728, there was so 
great disparity in age that there seems little excuse for the Cossacks 
being deceived, simple-minded as they were. Certainly those 
inmiediately about the impostor were not. Yet it appears that 
he looked older than he was.^ Pugachev was born on the Don, 
was married to a Cossack girl, and was enlisted in the army. He 
fought in Pmssia in the Russian campaign during the Seven Years 
War. In one of the minor engagements he lost a horse belonging to 
his Colonel, and for this was "mercilessly beaten." ^ The Russian 
troops were withdrawn from Prussia on the accession of Peter III 
in January 1762, and six months afterwards, on the death of Peter, 
the Cossack troops were disbanded. In 1764 Pugachev was in 
service again in Poland, and afterwards on the frontier in the war 
with Turkey. During the latter campaign he was invalided. In 
Febmary 1771 he appeared at Cherkask on the Don, and later at 
Taganrog. In the course of these visits Pugachev became acquainted 
with the grievances of the Cossacks, his long period of service abroad 
having prevented him from knowing of them earlier. Pugachev 
compromised himself in the first instance by aiding his sister and 
her husband to escape across the Don from the Cossack territory. 
They were arrested, but at that time he evaded capture, and then 
began the odyssey of Pugachev which led later to momentous 
consequences. Pugachev was arrested repeatedly, but he escaped 
as often. In the course of these earlier wanderings Pugachev was 
being driven on the steppe when the following conversation took 
place between him and his driver. This conversation and another 
which followed both throw light upon the manners and way of life 
of the steppe in the third quarter of the eighteenth century. 

The travellers, Pugachev and his young driver,* had halted for 

^ Statement of Pugachev to Sheshkovsky, 4th November 1774. State : 
Archives VI, Affair No. 512 ; cited by Dubrovin, i. p. 132. 91 

2 Peter was deeply pitted with smallpox, a fact which was probably '^ 
unknown to the Cossacks. i\ 

' Dubrovin, i. p. 133, quoting State Archives VI, Affair No. 506. 

• Alexis Koverin, step-son of Ivan Koverin, from whose statement the 
narrative is taken. The statement is dated nth December 1774. State 
Archives VI, Affair No. 512 ; cited by Dubrovin, i. pp. 142 et seq. 


supper. Pugachev remarked " insinuatingly '* to his companion, 
who was a raskolnek or dissenter : 

" I want to Hve for God, and I do not know where to find God- 
fearing people." 

" I know where to find a God-fearing man," said the driver. 
" He accepts people who want to live for God." 

" Please take me to him. Who is that God-fearing man, and 
where does he live ? " 

** This man is a Cossack of Kabaria settlement. He lives on 
his own farm ; and his name is Korovka." 

On the next evening they arrived at the farm of Korovka. 
Pugachev remained concealed in the cart while the driver went to 
reconnoitre and to interview the farmer. 

" Who are you ? " asked Korovka. 

** I am an emigrant from Poland, a raskolnek, an inhabitant of 
Belgorodskaya gub., of Volnysky uezd (district) of the Courts' 
(Court peasants) raskolnek settlement Chemigovka on the river 
Koysukha, Alexey Ivanovich Koverin. I have brought here a 
man who wants to Uve for God alone." 

" Where is that man ? " 

Pugachev then emerged from the cart. 

" What is your rank ? " asked Korovka. 

"I am a Don Cossack, Emelian Ivanovich Pugachev. ... I 
want to live for God. Let me live here in service, doing what good 
for God a man can do." 

" I should be glad," said Korovka, " but it is quite impossible. 
I have kept such people, but they have often robbed me. Indeed, 
I am afraid they have almost ruined me. . . . Life is hard here for 
us Old Believers. I have suffered for beard and cross ^ in Bel- 
gorod ; but God give good health to our gracious Empress. She 
gave her ukase, and I was relieved." 

Korovka kept Pugachev for two days, sent his son with him to 
guide him, and gave him money, two horses, and a passport in 
Korovka's own name. Throughout his wanderings this extra- 
ordinary man found always charitable persons, dupes, or shrewd 
allies who protected and assisted him. In the course of these 

^ In being taxed for wearing a beard and for dissent by the tax laws of 
Peter the Great. The Old Believers attached extreme importance to sym- 
bolism. They approved only the eight-branched cross. 


wanderings Pugachev heard the story of Bogomolov. He learned 
that Bogomolov had been sent secretly to Siberia, and that his fate 
was unknown. He learned also of the disturbances on the Yaek. 
Much of this information was derived from a monk called Philaret, 
whom he found at a hermitage at the village of Malikovka (now 
the town of Volsk, near Saratov). This monk appears to have 
recognized in Pugachev some capacity for leadership, and to have 
suggested to him the idea of raising another insurrection among 
the Cossacks.^ Pugachev adopted the suggestion, and seems to 
have added an idea of his own, namely, that he should induce the 
Cossacks to leave the Yaek and to enlist in the service of the Sultan 
of Turkey. As he approached the Yaek he learned of the flights 
of Cossacks from that region, and he was confirmed in the impression 
that by directing these flights he might become ataman of the 
transferred Yaek Cossacks. Pugachev arrived at the town of Yaek 
on 22nd November 1772.2 

Two months earlier the Commission charged with the investiga- 
tion of the occurrences at the Yaek had reported and recommended 
that of the Cossacks found guilty of participation in the uprising, 
twelve should be quartered, forty-seven hanged, three decapitated, 
twenty beaten, and eight shaved and sent into the regular army. 
The property of those who had been found guilty, but who had 
been able to escape, was to be confiscated, and on recovery of their 
persons they were to be hanged. The children of those who were 
punished were to be sent into the regular army.^ This formidable 
sentence was sent to St. Petersburg for confirmation, and those to 
whom it appUed were kept in prison. Pugachev found the Cossacks 
in deep depression. Their leaders were awaiting death, and the 
fear of punishment hung over the community. He also heard 
renewed rumours about the appearance at Tsaritsin of the Emperor 
Peter in the person of Bogomolov. Pugachev was aware that that 
impostor had disappeared, and he seems then to have determined 

^ In more than one of the insurrections of peasants and Cossacks at this 
period, incitement by the clergy appears as a prominent incident. It is 
difi&cult to dissociate this fact from clerical antagonism to Katherine 
on account of the secularization of the Church lands in 1764, although the 
process was begun in 1762, under the nominal rule of Peter III. Cf. supra, 
I. p. 233, and [Tooke] Life 0/ Catherine II (London, 1800), ii, p. 184. 

* From the statements of Pugachev and others made in 1774. State 
Archives VI, Affairs Nos. 506 and 512. See Dubrovin, i. pp. 150-4. 

^ Archives of the General Staff, Moscow, Inventory No. 93, Roll 492, 
No. 517; cited by Dubrovin, i. p. 155, 


to personate him, and thus to secure what benefit might be derived 
from Cossack sympathy with him. He therefore began cautiously 
to announce that he was himself the Emperor Peter, and that he 
had escaped death in Tsaritsin as well as in St. Petersburg. The 
fact that Pugachev had entertained the design of leading the Cos- 
sacks away from the Yaek was betrayed to the authorities. He 
was arrested, and in January 1773 he was sent to Kazan. There 
he was detained in prison until the end of May, when he escaped. 
Advice of the escape of Pugachev was accidentally delayed, 
and was not in the hands of Prince Vyazemsky, to whom it was 
directed, until the beginning of August. At St. Petersburg it 
was at once taken seriously. It was reported at midnight to 
Count Chernyshev, vice-president of the Mihtary Collegium, and 
on the following morning orders were despatched to take every 
possible measure to find Pugachev. It was too late ; Pugachev 
had already declared himself to be the Emperor Peter, had suc- 
ceeded in surrounding himself with a considerable force of armed 
Cossacks of the Yaek, had captured an outpost, and had nearly 
reached the Cossack town. Imitating Bogomolov, Pugachev had 
exhibited to his adherents certain marks upon his body which he 
said were Tsar's signs. He remained on the steppe receiving visitors 
and disseminating the idea that he was the Emperor and that he 
had come to redress the wrongs of the Cossacks. 

The sentence upon the Cossacks which had been formulated by 
the investigating Commission was not approved by the Military 
Collegium. Instead an order was sent to deport to Siberia a number 
of the Cossacks, and to impose a heavy fine upon the Cossack com- 
munity as a whole,^ the amount of individual assessment being left 
to the local authorities. Although the proposed punishment was 
greatly diminished, the Cossacks were still dissatisfied. Among 
the visitors of Pugachev were some of the leading spirits of the 
Cossack disturbances who had contrived to evade arrest. One of 
these, a Cossack named Karavayev, was interrogated by another 
Cossack called Chika, who afterwards took a very active share in 
the revolutionary campaign, and who obtained the title of ** Count " 
from Pugachev. 

" Tell me the truth, what kind of man is he whom we regard 
as an Emperor ? " 

^ The fine was 36,000 rubles. Dubrovin, i. p. 185. 


*' Even if he is not an Emperor, but only a Cossack of the Don, 
he shall intervene for us instead of an Emperor. It does not 
matter to us what he is." 

" Very good ; so let it be. This means that he is necessary for 
the Cossacks." ^ 

Chika took an early opportunity of interrogating Pugachev. 

"Tell me, little father, the essential truth. Are you a real 
Emperor ? " 

" I am a real Emperor to you," said Pugachev. 

Chika then said, " You may conceal it from men, but you shall 
not be able to conceal it from God. ... I have sworn that I will 
tell no one. ... It is not of much importance whether you are a 
Don Cossack or not, if we have accepted you as Emperor. So be it." 

" If so, then, keep it secret. I am really a Don Cossack," said 
Pugachev. " I have told this to a few of the other Cossacks. But 
under the name of Peter I shall acquire power and shall have many 
people with me, and I shall capture Moscow, where there are no 

Chika at once imparted this confession of Pugachev to another 
Cossack, Myasnikov, who said : 

** It does not concern us whether he is an Emperor or not. Out 
of earth we can make a prince. Even if he does not conquer the 
Moscow State, we shall make the Yaek our own kingdom." 

Pugachev was thus in a large measure a tool of the Cossacks. 
They required a man of his type to act as nominal leader and pos- 
sible scapegoat, and they found in Pugachev the man they wanted.^ 
Myasnikov afterwards confessed this fully. " When Pugachev 
came to us and told us that he had escaped from Kazan, that he 
had been wandering about the steppe, and that he needed shelter 
in order to escape the search which was being made for him, we had 
many conversations about him, and we recognized in him a certain 
shrewdness and talent. We, therefore, thought of protecting him 
and of making him master over us, and of re-establishing our sup- 
pressed habits and customs. . . . For this reason we have accepted 
him as our Emperor, so that we may re-establish our customs 
and destroy all the boyars who think themselves so much cleverer 

^ State Archives VI, Affair No. 506 ; cited by Dubrovin, i. p. 217. 
* In this respect the history of Pugachev resembled the history of Father 
Gapon in 1905. Cf. infra, p. 455. 


than other people. We hoped that our undertaking would be 
supported, and that our power would grow by the adhesion of 
the common people, who are oppressed and ruined to an extreme 

By the i8th September 1773 Pugachev felt himself strong enough 
to use force to compel the Cossacks to resort to his standard. He 
caused a loyal Cossack to be hanged, and he circulated a manifesto 
to the effect that he would confer great benefits upon the Cossacks 
if they supported him, and that he would hang and torture them 
if they did not. When he appeared in force before an outpost, the 
Cossacks realized that they were on the horns of a dilemma. If 
they joined him they were certain to be punished by the Govern- 
ment in the future ; if they did not join him they were to be hanged 
immediately. A future punishment was less to be dreaded than a 
present one, therefore they decided to join Pugachev's forces. They 
marched out of their small fortified posts, accompanied by their 
priests, and prostrated themselves before Pugachev, offering him 
*' bread and ssJt." This occurred, for example, on 21st September 
at one of the outposts. The commandant, deserted by the Cossacks, 
was hanged, and Pugachev went to the church, ordering that the 
name of the Empress should be excluded from the prayer and the 
name of Peter substituted. After the service the people, begin- 
ning with the priest, took an oath of fealty ; and Pugachev pro- 
mised on his part to reheve the people from " oppression and 
poverty," saying that he would take the villages from the boyars, 
and give them, as well as money, to the peasants.^ Such captures 
enabled Pugachev to recruit his forces, to acquire money, which he 
took from the administrative offices, and to obtain ammunition 
and guns. He had gun carriages made for the latter, and converted 
small fortress guns into field artillery. When resistance was made, 
Pugachev easily overpowered the small garrisons, hanged the 
conmiandant, and sometimes also his wife, as well as any active 
defenders, and then compelled the remainder of the garrison to 
join his standard. 

Although Pugachev went within a few miles of the Yaek town, 
he did not feel himself strong enough to attack it, but he proceeded 

* State Archives VI, Affair No. 421, statement of 8th May 1774 ; cited by 
Dubrovin, i. p. 221. 

* Dubrovin, ii. pp. 16 and 17. 


^on his way towards a more important place — the fortress of Oren- 
burg — slaying and recruiting as he went. The Cossacks ever5Avhere 
not only joined his ranks, but information about his movements 
did not circulate, and the people and garrison of Orenburg were 
quite unaware of his rapid approach. Even when news was re- 
ceived it was discredited. Reynsdorp, the commandant, refused 
to accept verbal reports. There were no others, for the excellent 
reason that those who should have given them had been hanged. 
Only on the 24th September, in consequence of a message from the 
Khan of the Kirghiz horde, which indicated Pugachev's movements, 
did Reynsdorp take the matter seriously. He then despatched an 
officer named Bilov with a detachment of 400 men and six field 
guns, with orders to intercept and capture Pugachev. In addition 
Reynsdorp ordered 500 Kalmuk Tartars to go to the reinforcement 
of this detachment. On the 26th, Bilov arrived at an outpost 
82 versts from Orenburg, where he received a message from the 
commandant of one of the outposts which Pugachev had attacked. 
The message was a pathetic appeal for assistance, the Cossack 
garrison having deserted and left the commandant to his fate. By 
the time the message reached Bilov the commandant had been cut 
to pieces. Such information as Bilov could obtain showed that 
Pugachev had now at his disposal a force of 3000, with an unknown 
number of guns. He therefore retired upon the fortress of Tati- 
sheva, which was situated upon a hill overlooking the confluence 
of the Ural River and one of its tributaries. This was looked upon 
as an important place, military supplies were stored there, and the 
garrison consisted of 1000 men equipped with 13 guns. The fortress 
was under the command of Colonel Elagin, a brave and capable 
officer. On the 27th September Elagin sent out a party to recon- 
noitre. The officer was killed and almost all the party taken 
prisoners. A sortie of Orenburg Cossacks from the fortress was 
then ordered, with the object of frightening the rebel forces. The 
Cossacks deserted in a body, and went over to Pugachev. The 
fortress was then attacked by the rebels in force, set on fire, and 
captured, Elagin and Bilov both being killed. The fall of Tatisheva 
not only gave Pugachev a quantity of plunder and some additional 
guns, but it produced a great moral effect upon the surrounding 
Cossack population, and moreover opened the way to Orenburg. 
Pugachev was joined by a large body of Kabnuks and by 500 Bash- 


kirs, and was now within 28 versts from Orenburg, without any inter- 
vening fortress. The city was practically defenceless. The garrison 
of regular troops was small (only 1200 men), and it was scattered 
in different outposts ; the Cossacks, who had been relied upon only 
for resistance to the Tartar hordes, were under strong suspicion. 
The people were panic-stricken; the excesses of Pugachev had 
become known, and had excited the utmost horror. The inhabitants 
proceeded desperately to repair the neglected defences. 

Pugachev did not attack the city immediately. Had he done 
so he might have taken it. He proceeded by making himself 
master of the surrounding region and by isolating Orenburg, 
Reynsdorp, the Governor of Orenburg, suggests that Pugachev's 
object in going into the surrounding country was to announce to 
the peasants that he was going to emancipate them, and by this 
means inducing them to join him. He certainly destroyed many 
houses of pomyetscheke and caused a general flight of serf-owners 
and their families. 

The news that Pugachev was investing Orenburg reached St. 
Petersburg on the 19th October 1773, but in spite of the transparent 
gravity of the situation, action was difficult. Russia was engaged 
in the war with Turkey, and France and Sweden together were 
threatening Russia in the Baltic. A Cossack attack upon a remote 
outskirt like Orenburg appeared to be a minor affair. Besides, to 
send any considerable reinforcement of troops to the Volga was to 
disclose the interior troubles, and thus to compromise external 
relations ; and to send any large number was difficult, because of 
the demands of the unsuccessful Turkish campaign and the need 
for defensive measures in the north. Thus, although Katherine 
seems to have grasped from the beginning the gravity of the Cossack 
movement, she found herself in a dilemma. Detached bodies of 
troops were thus sent to Kazan in such a manner as to avoid attract- 
ing attention. 

Meanwhile Pugachev circulated through the whole region mani- 
festoes ordering the liberation of peasants and promising religious 
freedom, abohtion of bondage right, and the allotment of land to 
the liberated peasants. He invited all " enslaved persons " to join 
his ranks and to fight for their liberty. Emissaries were sent by 
him among the peasants at the State and " possessional " factories. 
Since the adoption of a policy of concentrating the mihtary forces 


became necessary in consequence of the growth of Pugachev's 
army, the outlying posts were abandoned, and thus in the regions 
round about these posts the influence of the Government decUned 
and the influence of Pugachev increased.^ Cossacks of the Yaek 
belonging to Pugachev's army went about among the estates, 
collected the peasants, and told them that by the order of Pugachev 
they were liberated. To make this manifest, they burned the houses 
of the pomyetscheke. At the works where bonded peasants were 
engaged, they killed the managers, plundered the works, and carried 
off the peasants as recruits. Some of the commanders of outposts, 
being deserted by their troops, capitulated to Pugachev in prefer- 
ence to being hanged by him.^ 

As in all such historical cases, Pugachev's army was a very 
fluctuating quantity, but he succeeded in maintaining the invest- 
ment of Orenburg, although he feared to attack the town. He 
destroyed the hay in the suburbs and prevented any supplies from 
being taken in, hoping to reduce the population to submission by 

In the beginning of November (1773) Pugachev learned of the 
advance of General Kar,^ who had been sent by the Government 
to take command of the troops on the Volga and to endeavour to 
relieve Orenburg. Kar collected the scattered elements of an army 
and proceeded towards Orenburg, but he found himself in a hostile 
country. The whole of the Russian population was agitated and 
more or less disloyal, while the Kalmuks and Bashkirs were in open 
rebelUon, marauding and disappearing on the steppe.* Advance 
was difficult, because provisions and forage could not readily be 
procured, and from the middle of October there had been a heavy 
fall of snow. Kar had under his command very few regular troops,^ 
and the irregulars could not be relied upon. The country had 
never been surveyed, and the distances between points were not 
accurately known. In addition to the forces under Kar himself, 
there were moving upon Orenburg, or available to move upon it, 
about 4000 regular and irregular troops from Tobolsk, under the 
command of Dekalong, a smaller detachment under Chemyshev 

^ Dubrovin, ii. p. 81. * Ihid.y p. 83. 

* Properly Ker, a Scotch soldier of fortune in the Russian service, 

* Dubrovin, ii. p. 98. 

* Only 631. Ibid., p. 99. 


on the Volga, and another detachment under Korf, in one of the 
fortresses south of Kazan. Had all of these various forces been 
able to precipitate themselves at the same moment upon Pugachev, 
the rebellion would have been at an end. But the distances were 
great, means of communication in a hostile country difficult, and 
each commander was unaware of the whereabouts of the others.^ 
Pugachev, whose information was much more ample, was thus able 
to meet the various detachments individually, and to defeat them in 
detail. Nor was Pugachev left to act alone. The emissaries whom 
he had sent to rouse the peasants on the estates and at the " pos- 
sessional " and State works were highly successful. They were 
received with " joy " at the works at Avzyano-Petrovsk, for in- 
stance, where Prince Vyazemsky had found the ascribed peasants 
had been drawn to the works from immense distances, and had 
been for this and other reasons connected with the administration 
of the works in a state of discontent for years.^ Pugachev's 
emissaries obtained at these and other works men, money, and 
materials of war. Forming a force they were able to attack Kar, 
to prevent reinforcements from reaching him, and even to induce 
the desertion of some of his troops.^ In spite of the need of haste, 
which he felt necessary to accomplish his object, Kar was obliged 
to retire and to await reinforcements before continuing his advance. 
Korf and Chernyshev, however, succeeded in reaching, one 
within 20 and the other within 40 versts of Orenburg, and they con- 
trived to convey despatches to Reynsdorp, who ordered them to 
march towards the town at daybreak on the morning of the 13th 
November, on which morning he would make a sally. On the night 
of the 1 2th Chernyshev received news of the defeat and retirement 
of Kar, and also of a threatened attack by Pugachev upon himself. 
He was urged by the Cossacks, who gave him this information, to 
endeavour to reach Orenburg by a night march, and under cover 
of the night to try to evade Pugachev, through whose lines he must 
pass. Pugachev, by whom probably the plan was concocted, had 
prepared an ambush, and in the early morning, on emerging from a 
defile, the head of Chernyshev's column was attacked by Pugachev in 
force. The column was demoralized, the irregulars first deserted, and 

^ Dubrovin, ii. p. loo. ' Cf. supra, i. pp. 458-9. 

^ Economical (formerly Church) peasants deserted, for instance. Du- 
brovin, ii, p. 104, 



then the garrison troops. Chemyshev was made prisoner and almost 
immediately afterwards was hanged, together with thirty-three 
officers and one officer's wife. Elated with this victory and occupied 
with the despatch of his unfortunate prisoners, Pugachev allowed 
Korf to slip past him and to enter Orenburg with 2500 men and 
22 guns.^ This accession of numbers was at once too many and too 
few. The fresh troops were too many to feed and too few to reUeve 
the town. Reynsdorp ordered a sally the following day, but the 
force was defeated by Pugachev, who now had before Orenburg 
10,000 men and 40 guns. This was not, however, all his force. In 
December 1773 he appears to have had altogether 15,000 men and 
86 guns. The rebel army was, as might be expected, indifferently 
organized and badly armed. Following the Cossack practice, the 
officers were elected, the Cossacks of the Yaek taking the leading 
part in the elections and allowing only those of Whom they approved 
to be elected. Pugachev estabUshed a so-called miUtary collegium, 
with whose proceedings it appears he did not interfere. Some were 
armed with pikes, some with pistols, some with the swords of cap- 
tured officers, a very few with rifles.^ They were all or nearly all 
well mounted.^ The armed crowd was, however, only a small part 
of the total of Pugachev's adherents. There were about him a 
nimiber, unknown even to himself,* of escaped dvorovie lyude, 
agricultural peasants. State works peasants, ascribed peasants, Kir- 
ghizes, Bashkirs, and others. Of all of these the most zealous were 
the peasants ascribed to the works to whom Pugachev meant liberty 
from the intolerable conditions to which they had been subjected.^ 

The discipHne of Pugachev in certain directions was very severe. 
One of his confederates, who ventured in his cups to say that he 
knew where the " emperor " came from, was hanged the following 
morning, although he had been personally intimate with Pugachev 
and a useful conmiander. From an early period denunciations 
and treachery were frequent in the camp of the impostor. 

While the investment of Orenburg occupied the greater number 

^ Dubrovin, ii. p. iii. 2 ji)id,, p. 135. 

' Reynsdorp complained that they had all the good horses in the region. 

* Pugachev's statement, 4th November 1774. State Archives VI, Affair 
No. 512 ; cited by Dubrovin, ii. p. 136. 

^ Report of the Orenburg Secret Commission, 21st May 1774. State 
Archives, Affair No. 508 (2) ; cited by Dubrovin, ii. p. 136. See also suprOy 
i. pp. 434-521. 


of the immediate adherents of the impostor, the mirest which his 
movement produced spread far and wide. In Kazan the situation 
was very serious. The disturbances of the previous years, the 
rigorous enforcement of the laws, and the arbitrary action of the 
authorities, both local and central, had filled the prisons. The 
local miUtia was composed of tribesmen of the native races of the 
Upper Volga — ^the Cheremissi, the Mordva,^ and others — ^all more 
or less unreUable elements, and there were few regular troops. 
Migrations in mass of the gentry of Kazan to Moscow began early 
in the winter of 1773.^ 

General Kar, who had been driven back by the adherents of 
Pugachev, found himself in the beginning of winter without reliable 
infantry and without cavalry. He determined, suffering from 
fever as he was, to leave his command in winter quarters, and to 
go to St. Petersburg for the purpose of consulting with the autho- 
rities and endeavouring to induce them to send an adequate force 
to put down the rebellion. On his arrival at Moscow he was dis- 
missed the service for leaving his command without orders.^ He 
was replaced by General A. I. Bibikov,* who was given one regiment 
of cavalry and two of infantry, although the reinforcements which 
Kar had asked for had been refused. The infantry regiments were 
to be forwarded from Moscow to Kazan in post-carts in order to 
save time. 

A manifesto written by Katherine was read to the Council at 
which Bibikov was present, on the eve of his departure. " My 
spirit," Katherine said, " shivers when I think of the times (150 
years earlier) of Godunov (Boris) and Otrepiev (the pseudo-Deme- 
trius I), in which Russia was plunged in civil war, when, because 
of the appearance of an impostor, the towns and villages were 
ruined by fire and sword, when the blood of Russians was shed by 
Russians, and when the imity of the State was destroyed by Rus- 
sians themselves." ^ 

^ See supra, i. p. 580. * Dubrovin, ii. p. 147. 

' The Eighteenth Century, ed. Bertener, i. p. 102 ; cited by Dubrovin, 
ii. p. 162. 

* Cf. supra, i. p. 465. 

• Moscow Society of History and Antiquities (i860), ii. p. 72 ; cited by 
Dubrovin, ii. p. 168. Both Chernyshev and Orlov objected to the comparison 
between Pugachev and the pseudo-Demetrius, and the names of Godunov 
and Otrepiev were deleted ; but Katherine had a clearer idea of the sig- 
nificance of the rebellion than had any one about her. 



Bibikov had previous experience, both as soldier and as diplo- 
matist. Katherine gave him large powers, advised him to inform 
himself fully upon the whole situation, and then to act, attacking 
the insurgents with the " superiority which science, education, 
and courage always give against a mob which is moved only by 
stormy and fanatical religious or political inspiration." ^ 

The Government, however, perversely forbore to bring common 
sense to bear upon the problem which confronted it. In the first 
manifesto which Bibikov was required to promulgate an appeal 
was made to the Greek Orthodox to defend Holy Russia, and pardon 
was offered to those who should leave Pugachev. Since the back- 
bone of Pugachev's force was composed of Russians who were 
raskolneke, and of Tartars who were either Mohammedans or pagans, 
the appeal not merely failed of its purpose, it excited hostility, 
because it suggested the continuance of the intolerant measures 
which had been among the causes of the rebellion. 

During the winter of 1773-1774 the influence of Pugachev ex- 
tended still more widely. The flight of pomyefscheke from their 
estates facilitated the growth of the movement among the peasants. 
They declared themselves free, and they attributed their freedom 
to the Tsar Peter III, who for them was really alive. The peasants 
had now no taxes to pay, for there was no one to collect them, and 
this again they attributed to the Tsar Peter. " Our time has 
come," said the common people ; " we shall get to the top, and we 
have nothing to fear." 2 

The officers sent on in advance by Bibikov found that through- 
out the Volga region the authority of the Government had simply 
disappeared. The pseudo-Peter III reigned in no real sense, but 
his influence was diffused everywhere. The nomad tribes, now 
unimpeded by the forces of the Government, which were shut up 
in Orenburg, Kazan, and a few other fortresses, passed their usual 
boundaries and pillaged indiscriminately, driving off the peasants' 
cattle and plundering their crops. But this fact, troublesome as it 
was, had no importance compared with the fact that the peasantry 
throughout the Volga region had been liberated, partly through 

^ Collections of Imperial Historical Society, xiii. p. 371 ; cited by Dubrovin, 
ii. p. 174. 

* Report of an officer, Captain Mavrin, 27th May 1774 » quoted by Du- 
brovin, ii, p. 181. 


their having joined an uprising of the Cossacks and partly through 
the flight of their owners. This fact gave importance to the rebel- 
lion of Pugachev. His own share in it, as we have seen, was in- 
significant. Urged by the Cossacks, he acted as a standard round 
which they rallied ; but the rising would have been a mere riot 
had it not affected the peasants. When it affected them it became 
a peasant revolt of a character similar to those revolts which 
occurred in France almost if not quite simultaneously.^ When 
Bibikov arrived he recognized the signs at once. " This is a riot 
of poor against rich, kholopi against their masters." ^ 

When Kar left his post south of Kazan he left General Freiman 
in command. Freiman had scarcely any cavalry, and he there- 
fore spent an anxious winter, almost surrounded as he was by an 
extremely mobile enemy, not only well mounted, but taking with 
them, in order to increase the rapidity of movement, a supply of 
spare horses. The meagreness of the force of Freiman greatly 
increased his peril. The peasants at the works and on the estates 
remarked the delay in sending troops from the capitals. If, they 
said, the leader of the Cossacks before Orenburg is an impostor, 
why does the Government not send troops to put him down. That 
months have passed during which nothing has been done, shows 
that he is the real Emperor.^ In some cases the officials and their 

^ The beginning of the peasant revolts, which were among the premonitory 
symptoms of the French Revolution, appears to have taken place immediately 
after the death of Louis XV in 1774. The harvest of that year was inferior, 
and this fact, together with the relaxation of authority which ensued on the 
death of the King and the exaggerated hopes which were entertained by 
the peasants of benefits to be conferred by his successor, led to riots in the 
winter of 1 774-1 775 at Dijon, Auxerre, Amiens, Lille, Pontoise, Passy, and 
St. Germain, at least. (C/. ICropotkin, La Grande Revolution, 1789-1793* 
Paris, 1909, p. 31.) For the issue of false decrees in France (as in Russia) 
at this time, and for other revolutionary indications similar to those which 
appeared in Russia, see Rocquain, Felix, The Revolutionary Spirit preceding 
the French Revolution (English translation, London, 1891, pp. 126 et seg,). 
In the winter of 1 783-1 789, several months before the fall of the Bastille 
(14th July 1789), " spontaneous anarchy " broke out in the provinces. The 
peasants seized their liberty in the same way that the Russian peasants had 
done a few years before. They refused to pay taxes or to render " personal 
dues " ; they refused to pay octrois on produce entering the towns ; they 
announced explicitly that they " had declared a sort of war against land- 
owners and property . . , and that they would pay nothing, neither taxes 
nor debts." Taine, The French Revolution (English translation, London 
1878), vol. i. chap. i. 

2 Quoted by N. Fersov in The Participation of the Peasantry, &c., in the 
Great Reform (Moscow, 191 1), ii. p. 48. 

' Dubrovin, ii. p. 195. 


families, being without protection, left the works, and the peasants 
then elected their own chiefs, maintained order among themselves, 
and continued their occupations as usual, without troubling them- 
selves about either Empress or impostor, excepting to send a few 
men to the " Cossack troops " in order to secure immunity for the 

During the winter, Chika, the Cossack, Pugachev's "Count 
Chemyshev," made himself master of Bashkiria and of the whole 
of the region on the east of the Kama River. He appointed atamans 
and administered the district he had acquired.^ 

When Bibikov arrived at Kazan on 26th December 1773, he 
found the administration in a hopeless condition. The Governor, 
von Brandt, was an aged man, who thought only of keeping Puga- 
chev out of Kazan, and who had no grasp of the general situation. 
He was surrounded by officials whom Bibikov found not only useless, 
but obstructive. In some of the neighbouring towns the officials 
had simply fled. It was necessary to reorganize the whole military 
and civil government of the region, and for this purpose a new 
group of able and courageous officials was necessary. Bibikov 
insisted upon such a group being sent, and a number of experienced 
officers joined him early in 1774. At this moment the rebels broke 
into the guhernie of Kazan and crossed the Urals into Siberia.^ The 
investment of Chelyabinsk indeed imperilled communication be- 
tween Siberia and European Russia.* 

The Military Collegium, advised by Bibikov of the immense 
difficulty of a campaign against Pugachev, offered a reward of ten 
thousand rubles for his capture. Although Bibikov recognized 
very well that Pugachev in himself was insignificant — " a scare- 
crow " he called him — ^he also recognized that " the general 
movement was important," ^ and that since circumstances had 
determined that the general movement had centred upon Pugachev, 
it was necessary that he should be secured as an early step in the 
" pacification " of the country. 

There were contradictory incidents — on the one hand, the Cos- 
sacks of the Don, to whom Pugachev himself belonged, remained 

^ Dubrovin, ii. pp. 196-7. ^ Ibid., pp. 197 et sea. 

3 Ibid., p. 228. * Ibid. 

* Letter dated 29th January 1774 in Memoirs of Bibikov (Moscow, 1865), 
Supplement, p. 76 ; quoted by Dubrovin, ii. p. 248, 



generally loyal, while among the regular troops from other parts 
of Russia there was much discontent. They grumbled at the 
hardness of the service and the insufficiency of their allowances. 
It appeared also that the clergy of the towns were very gener- 
ally in favour of the rebellion. ^ The monks in the monasteries 
were not. 

In spite of the difficulty of campaigning in winter, when the 
snow rendered movement of troops extremely arduous and the 
movement of heavy guns almost impossible, Bibikov spent an active 
January. His subordinates, Prince Goletsin and his own relative, 
Colonel Bibikov, drove the rebels hither and thither, and brought 
a large region once more under the authority of the Government. 
The peasants began once more to pay their taxes and to bring in 
fodder for the use of the troops. Orenburg still held out, but 
Samara and the Yaek town had been taken, although the garrison 
of the latter still held a portion of the fortifications to which they 
were confined, while the rebels held the town. 

On 2ist March 1774 Goletsin arrived before Tatisheva fortress, 
occupied by Pugachev with about 8000 men. Goletsin had at his 
disposal 6500.2 After a stubborn engagement the fortress was 
taken, but not until after Pugachev and his chief supporters had 
fled. Between two and three thousand of Pugachev's following 
were killed in this engagement. It was believed in St. Petersburg, 
and widely announced, that this was the end of the rebellion ; but 
this was by no means the case. Pugachev had still a large force, 
for the most part concentrated at Berda before Orenburg. 

His confederate Chika, who had acquired control of Bashkiria, 
was investing Ufa, and in the spring of 1774 Mikhelson, one of 
Bibikov's active officers, was sent to take command of the troops 
in that region. He attacked Chika, and on 27th March com- 
pletely defeated him, Chika himself escaping with a few Cossacks. 
In both of these engagements it appears that the rebel forces fought 
with determination, and that they were commanded with skill. 

From the defeat at Tatisheva Pugachev fled to Berda, and there 
began immediately among the Cossacks intrigues towards his 

^ There were numerous cases in which they received Pugachev with open 
arms, either through fear or through sympathy with the revolt. Witness 
the case of the clergy of Samara. Dubrovin, i. p. 251. 

■ Archives of the General Stafif, Moscow, 47, vii. ; cited by Dubrovin, ii. 
p, 215. 


capture by them and the surrender of him to the Government.^ 
Having made of him all the use possible, the Cossacks were now 
preparing to make a scapegoat of him. Pugachev, who was not 
destitute of sagacity, discovered the plot, and in the early morning, 
with two thousand Cossacks of the Yaek upon whom he thought he 
could rely, he evacuated Berda and left the rest of his army to its 
fate and Orenburg still nominally invested. On the afternoon of 
the same day (23rd March) Berda was occupied by troops from Oren- 
burg, and the stores of the rebel forces were pillaged by the inhabit- 
ants, who, after a close investment of six months, had been reduced 
to starvation. Then began the hunt for Pugachev, who was as yet 
by no means at the end of his support, although his personal initia- 
tive seems to have been temporarily diminished. He was joined 
by about two thousand Bashkirs, and he was still prepared to offer 
resistance to the forces of Goletsin, by whom he was pursued. On 
1st April Goletsin engaged Pugachev and defeated him, but Puga- 
chev escaped with 500 men, leaving all of his principal accomplices 
and supporters in the hands of Goletsin, who made 2800 prisoners.2 
On the 15th the Government forces reached the Yaek town, and 
the small force confined in a portion of the fortifications, who had 
eaten their last morsel of food two days before, were relieved.^ It 
appeared now as though the Pugachev episode were closed, but it 
was not so. General Bibikov, who had with great energy and skill 
set himself to the task of putting down the rebelUon, became iU in 
March and died on 9th April. When the news reached St. Peters- 
burg, Sir Robert Gunning, the British Ambassador, wrote to Lord 
Suffolk, saying that it seemed ** Hkely that his death would raise 
the spirit of the rebels." * 

The prophecy was true ; the rebellion was rekindled, it became 
more formidable than ever, and six months elapsed before it was 
finally extinguished. This was not foreseen by the Government, 
which was moreover embarrassed by the war with Turkey and very 
unwiUing to be distracted by interior affairs more than appeared 
at the time to be absolutely necessary. A successor to Bibikov 
was therefore not immediately appointed. It was hoped that the 
local authorities, aided by the officers on the staff of Bibikov, would 
be able to deal with the small bands of rioters to whom the con- 

1 Cf. Dubrovin, ii. p. 374, 2 /^j^.^ p. ^87. 

' Ihid.^ ii. p. 394. * Quoted by Dubrovin, ibid., p. 399. 


tinuance of the insurrection was attributed. Upon Prince Tscher- 
batov, who had been Bibikov's second in command, there devolved 
the duty of succeeding him at Kazan, while Reynsdorp was en- 
trusted with affairs at Orenburg. At the latter place there was an 
enormous number of prisoners (4700) whose presence embarrassed 
the local authorities and perplexed the Government. 

Whether these people were punished or were liberated, further 
disturbance might be excited. They were sent in large mmibers to 
Kazan for trial. After Berda, Pugachev had disappeared, in spite 
of active pursuit, and three of his armies had been killed, captured, 
or dispersed. He had already lost some 15,000 men. There re- 
mained in the field numerous large groups, with whose organization 
Pugachev had httle or nothing to do, and these kept the troops 
moving over large areas in guerilla warfare for months. Pugachev 
himself reappeared in May in Bashkiria with a formidable force of 
Bashkirs. He was attacked and defeated by Dekalong, losing 
4000 men and 28 guns, together with more than 3000 people, includ- 
ing women and children, who had composed part of his camp. 
Again Pugachev disappeared, to reappear in the Ural Mountains, 
sweeping through small fortresses with an army of works peasants 
and of well-mounted Bashkirs, clothed in chain-armour and pro- 
tected otherwise by cuirasses made of tin, procured at the tin works 
in the mountains.^ There he was attacked by Mikhelson. The 
Bashkirs defended themselves against regular troops with great 
stubbornness, and large mmibers of them were killed. When re- 
sistance was no longer possible, the survivors dispersed, carrying 
off Pugachev with them. Pugachev again procured reinforcements, 
and ravaged the works in the Urals in the neighbourhood of the 
Mias River, upon which he established himself, and even delivered 
a counter-attack upon Mikhelson. 

Up till May 1774 the disturbances had been confined to the 
outskirts — to the guberni of Orenburg, Perm, Ufa, Samara, Saratov, 
and the borders of Kazan. In that month St. Petersburg was 
alarmed by the news that disaffection had made its appearance in 
Voronej and other adjoining guberni in Great Russia. The peasants 
of these guberni had learned that beyond the Volga the Tsar Peter 
III had liberated the peasants from the pomyetscheke, and some 
peasants had been sent off as a deputation to him to ask him to 

* Dubrovin, iii. p. 37. 


liberate the peasants on the west of the Volga.^ Katherine now 
urged upon all the Governors to be careful not to exact unusual 
work from the peasants, and to avoid irritating them in any way. 

Pugachev issued manifestoes, which he disseminated widely, 
promising freedom from bondage, reduction of poll-tax, and relief 
from compulsory military service. " No more," he said, " will the 
nobility burden the peasantry with great wars." ^ 

The effect of these manifestoes was enormous. In spite of the 
repeated defeats inflicted upon Pugachev, the movement had spread 
far beyond Cossack spheres. The Bashkirs and the Kalmuks were 
wholly up in arms, and the peasants from the State works and the 
Possessional factories were almost unanimously implicated in the 
rising. Works and estates were pillaged everywhere, not merely 
by forces over which Pugachev had control, but by spontaneously 
formed groups in many regions. The Cossack revolt had become 
a mass-rising of the peasants. The sheep had turned in its rage. 

Prince Tscherbatov being appealed to for protecting forces for 
individual works, replied that it was impossible to provide a guard 
for each establishment, and added, " the cruelty of the owners of the 
works towards their peasants arouses the hate of the peasants 
against their masters." ^ 

Pugachev and his Bashkirs fought only when they were forced 
to fight. They evaded the troops that were sent to surround them, 
and their great mobility enabled them to appear suddenly in un- 
expected places, to levy toll and to disappear.* The rebels were 
individually much better acquainted with the country than were 
the Russian generals, and they were able to make their way 
through forests impenetrable to regular troops with their munitions 
of war. 

Wherever he went Pugachev was able to raise local forces, and 
to invest and attack fortresses by means of the peasants of the 
immediate neighbourhood, as reinforcements of his nuclear troops 
of Cossacks of the Yaek and Bashkirs, with other tribesmen. This 
circumstance accounts for Pugachev's being able to change his 

* Dubrovin, iii. p. 44. 

* Archives of the General Staff, Moscow, 47, x., quoted by Dubrovin, 
ibid., p. 53. 

* Jhid., iv., quoted by Dubrovin, iii. p. 53. 

* The parallel between this condition and the later phases of the South 
African War is obvious. 


field of operations in such a way as to draw into one region the 
Government forces, and then suddenly to appear in a distant 
region where there were inadequate forces to impede his movements. 
In this way Pugachev passed rapidly from Bashkiria to Orenburg, 
and from Orenburg to the Yaek, and then northwards towards 
Kazan. Having seized the town of Osa, and burned it, no con- 
siderable place remained between Pugachev and Kazan, upon 
which towards the end of June he advanced with a force of about 
7000.^ The local authorities had refused to believe that the town 
was within the possible field of Pugachev's operations, the defences 
had been neglected, and the garrison had been allowed to fall to a 
low point. On the 12th July Pugachev, avoiding the principal 
defences, stormed and entered the town, and large numbers of the 
inhabitants threw themselves at his feet. The surviving defenders 
retired to the citadel, which they succeeded in holding, while the 
town was given up to fire and pillage. Out of 2873 houses, 2063 
were biumed or plundered.^ Pugachev withdrew from the burning 
town to his camp where he had now 12,000 men.^ 

Mikhelson, who had been following up Pugachev by forced 
marches, reached Kazan on the day after the capture of the town, 
but in time to relieve the refugees in the fortress, a portion of which 
was now on fire. The rebels were immediately attacked by Mik- 
helson, although the forces were as ten to one ; he routed them, but 
was unable at once to follow up his advantage. On the following 
day (14th July) there was another engagement in which the troops 
from the fortress participated. Pugachev's forces were dispersed 
in all directions, but no cavalry was available for pursuit, and thus 
Pugachev was enabled to collect his scattered forces, and even to 
add to them from the peasants in the neighbourhood, so that on 
15th July he had 15,000 men within 20 versts of Kazan.* On that 
day, after an engagement of four hours, Mikhelson defeated Puga- 
chev, who escaped with difficulty, losing 2000 killed and wounded, 
and 5000 prisoners, with all his artillery. 

* Statement of Pugachev, 4th November 1774, State Archives VI, Afiair 
No. 512, quoted by Dubrovin, iii. p. 77. 

* Tscherbatov to Chemyshev, ist August 1774, Archives of the General 
Staff, Moscow, 47, iv. 

' MSS. Journal of Mikhelson, Collection of Count Uvarov, No. 559, cited 
by Dubrovin, iii. p. 98. 

* Dubrovin, iii. p, 100, 


The dispersal of the survivors of Pugachev's forces, which fol- 
lowed the defeat and pursuit, resulted in the spreading over the 
Kazanskaya and Nijigorodskaya guberni of detached parties of 
desperate people. They pillaged the estates, hanged the pro- 
prietors, and drew off the peasants as they had done elsewhere. 
These parties infested the roads and destroyed the means of com- 
munication.i The forests were set on fire, and there was no material 
wherewith the burned-out towns and villages might be rebuilt. 
" There was no bread, no hay, no fuel, the population lived under 
the open sky ; where houses remained they were occupied by the 
military ; but the houses had neither roofs nor windows. The 
churches were filled with ruined people." ^ Not alone the parties 
resulting from the decomposition of Pugachev's forces, but the 
peasants everywhere rose against their pomyetscheke, and either 
put them to flight or hanged them. With characteristic reliance 
upon authority of some kind the peasants submitted themselves 
to Pugachev or his representatives wherever he went. They sent 
to Pugachev petitions asking him to settle disputes among the 
peasants about the distribution of grain and the like, which, owing 
to the flight or death of the proprietors, had fallen into the hands of 
the peasants.^ Fears began to be entertained that the agitation 
might envelope Moscow, and that the wave of discontent might 
carry the impostor to the capital. 

On 23rd July 1774 the news of Rumyantsev's victory over the 
Turks and of the consequent peace * came as a welcome relief to the 
horrible situation. It was now possible to turn the whole forces 
of the Empire against the interior rebellion. It was high time. 
Moscow, which had suffered severely from the plague of 1771, was in 
a state of disaffection, and the whole of the Volga region had been 
ravaged. Katherine entrusted Count Peter Panin, brother of the 
minister, with the task of subduing the rebellion. The real labour, 

^ " The damned owl frightened Kazan on the 12th July, and although 
his wings are damaged, it is evident that his bats are flying all over the out- 
skirts, barring all the roads, so that during this month there have been neither 
couriers nor post from or to Kazan." Lubarsky to Bantysh-Kamensky, 
24th July 1774, State Archives VI, Affair No. 527, cited by Dubrovin, iii. 
p. 104. 

2 Dubrovin, ibid., p. 109. ^ /^j^., iii. pp. 103-114. 

* The Treaty (of Cainargi) was signed 10/21 July 1774. It was drawn 
up in Italian. A copy of the original is printed in De Marten's Recueil des 
principaux Traites, 6-c. (Gottingen, 1795), iv. pp. 606 et seq. 


however, fell upon Mikhelson, who pursued Pugachev with tireless 
energy, and succeeded in cutting him off from the Moscow road. 
The most active of Pugachev's officers had been captured, and the 
excesses of his troops had induced a reaction. The back of the 
rebellion was already broken. One of his confederates, a certain 
Dolgopolov, made up his mind to betray him. He went to St. 
Petersburg, had an interview with Count Orlov, and afterwards with 
the Empress, and offered to deliver up Pugachev to the authorities 
on receipt of 20,000 rubles. The money was paid. Pugachev was 
delivered, brought to Moscow in an iron cage, tried in September 
1774, and executed in January 1775. 

The significance of the rebellion of Pugachev lay in the fact that 
it was a really revolutionary movement. When all the adventitious 
elements are allowed for, the incitement of the clergy in revenge for 
the secularization of the church lands,^ the sordid grievances and 
petty party quarrels of the Cossacks, and the personality of Puga- 
chev, there remains the substantial fact that the revolt was essen- 
tially the spontaneous outcome of the exercise of bondage right. 
This right had, as we have seen, been greatly intensified in the 
immediately preceding period. The policy of Peter the Great in 
forcing industry and in ascribing large numbers of peasants to the 
works of the State and to Possessional factories led to abuses so 
grave that only the aboHtion of the system and the freedom of the 
peasants could cure the evil. 

The agricultural peasant was also being kept down by the 
incidents of bondage, and in his case also there was no outlet but 
economic freedom, and under the then existing regime in Russia 
there seemed to be no hope that this should be granted from above. 

The growth of bondage had disintegrated Russian society. The 
sharpness of the division between the classes prevented homo- 
geneous social progress, and embittered the classes against each 
other. One fraction thus rose against the other fraction in a civil 
war, in which the masters were on one side and the bonded peasants 
on the other. The partial success of the revolt was due to the 
numbers of disaffected peasantry as well as to the numbers of the 

* Such incitement could not have been successful directly with the Cos- 
sacks, who were raskolneke, nor with the peasants, who had been by no 
means unwilling to be transferred from the hands of the Church to the hands 
of the State. It could not be otherwise applied than through leaders, and 
even, perhaps, through impostors. 


frontier tribes who joined the rebellion, and the partial failure of it 
was due to the absence of a town proletariat, which might have 
co-operated in the rebellion.^ The forces of the revolt were also 
compromised by the absence of intellectual capacity on the part of 
the leaders, who were unable to grasp the situation, and who were 
led into excesses of mere destructiveness. At no period did they 
reveal any constructive powers. 

It may be held that the rebeUion of Pugachev threw the whole 
question of reform back for perhaps fifty years. It frightened the 
mass of the people as well as the governing classes by " the red 
glare in the sky," the sign of a jacquerie. The French Revolution, 
which followed it closely, had a similar influence. Yet these popular 
uprisings proved that society might hover on the brink of reform 
too long, and that delay was perhaps more dangerous than pre- 

^ As was the case in the French Revolution, e.g. It was the Paris pro- 
letariat which made the Revolution possible, although it did not begin it and 
did not profit by it. 


1830, AND 1848-1850 

The first modem revolutionary movement in Russia was that of 
the Dekabristi in 1824-1825 . The movement had been in the making 
from about i8i4> The revolutionary ideas of that epoch were the 
outcome of the " impact " ^ of Western European liberalizing ten- 
dencies upon the minds of the younger nobles, and especially upon 
those of the younger officers, who had become acquainted with the 
currents of political thought in France and Germany.^ Many young 
officers had studied in the latter country during the later Napoleonic 
days, while others had become infected with revolutionary impulses 

^ Perhaps even a few years earlier. Prince Kropotkin (Ideals and Realities 
of Russian Literature, p. 35) has observed that the character of Pierre in 
Tolstoy's War and Peace is that of the young men who afterwards became 
Dekabristi. Pierre's enthusiasm for the humanitarian movement received 
its impetus from Freemasonry in 1809. During and since the year 1905, 
much light has been thrown upon the Dekabrist movement by the publication 
of documents and memoirs. The most important material is to be found in 
Popular Movements in Russia in the First Half of the Nineteenth Century, vol. i., 
the Dekabristi, by V. E. Semevsky, V. Bogucharsky, and P. E. Tschegolyev 
(St. Petersburg, 1905). There have also been published Letters and Confes- 
sions of the Dekabristi, b^ A. R. Borozdin (St. Petersburg, 1906) ; Memoirs of 
the Dekabristi (Kiev, 1906); The Secret Society of the Dekabristi (Moscovr, 
1906) ; The Ideals of the Dekabristi (Kiev, 1906) ; all by M. V. Dovnar- 
Zapolsky ; The Dekabristi, by A. Kotlyarevsky (St. Petersburg, 1907), Russkaya 
Pravda, by Paul Pestel (St. Petersburg, 1906), and Political and Social Ideas 
of the Dekabristi, by V. E. Semevsky (St. Petersburg, 1909). An excellent 
account of the Dekabrist movement is given in the Cambridge Modern 
History, vol. x., by Professor S. Askenazy. See also '*The Dekabristi and 
the Peasant Question," by V. E. Semevsky, in The Great Reforms, vol. ii. 
p. 176 (Moscow, 191 1 ). 

* A phrase of William Godwin's in relation to the effect of the French 

' Cf. Pushkin, Eugene Oneguine (translation by Col. Spalding, London, 
1 881). For a lively account of the German influence upon the Russian 
youth in 1814-1815 and in 1848, see Vicomte E.-M. de Vogue, Le Roman 
JRusse (Paris, 1892). N. E. Turgueniev, General Orlov, and Count Dmitriev- 
Mamonov, e.g., studied at Gottingen under Stein. See Kleinschmidt, Drei 
Jahrhunderte russischer Geschichte (Berlin, 1898), p. 316. Stein was invited to 
Russia during the period immediately preceding the French invasion. 




in France during the Russian occupation of a part of that country 
in 1814-15.^ 

The situation of the peasantry at that epoch, and the scanty 
numbers of the urban proletariat, rendered this movement inevit- 
ably aristocratic rather than popular. Yet it was inspired by 
humanitarian aims, among which were the abolition of serfdom,^ 
the education of the people, political equality, and " constitu- 
tional guarantees " against the exercise of arbitrary power. A few 
of the adherents of the movement thought of a return to the 
federal system of city republics ^ as in pre-Variagian days. 

Alarmed at the progress of liberalism in Western Europe, Alex- 
ander I abandoned his previously sympathetic attitude towards 
liberal ideas, and devoted himself in the later years of his reign to 
German mysticism and political reaction. Under the influence of 
Madame Kriidener and General Arakcheev, he set himself to com- 
bat the ideas he had derived from La Harpe, and formerly espoused. 
The effect of this attitude was that liberalism was driven " under- 
ground." Numerous secret societies were formed, e.g. " The Wel- 
fare Union " and " The Bund of Public Weal." The latter came to 
be divided into two factions, the Southern,* which fell under the 
influence of Pestel, and the Northern, which fell under that of Prince 
Obolensky.* In 1824 these societies * carried on an active revolu- 
tionary propaganda in the army. When Alexander I died, Con- 
stantine was proclaimed Tsar. His immediate abdication and the 
elevation of his younger brother, Nicholas, to the throne, was ac- 
companied by the denunciation of the group of conspirators. On 
the 26th December, two days after Nicholas had announced by 
manifesto, his accession,'^ the Dekabristi, with some hundreds of men 
from the regiments of the Guard and some men from the fleet, 
appeared before the Winter Palace. For several hours the fortunes 
of the new Tsar hung in the balance, but towards evening a salvo of 

^ Prince Kropotkin in Ideals and Realities of Russian Literature (London, 

1905). P- 34. 

* On the influence of surviving Dekabristi on the emancipation movement, 
see supra, vol. i. p. 388. 

3 Prince Kropotkin, op. cif., p. 35. 

* Cf. supra, vol. i. p. 360. ^ Cf . supra, vol. i. p. 388. 

* There was also founded at the same time a patriotic society in Poland. 

' For an account of the reasons for the abdication of Constantine and the 
accession of Nicholas, see Skrine, F. H., The Expansion of Russia, 1815-1900, 
pp. 74 et seq. ; see also Kleinschmidt, op. cit. 


artillery scattered the insurgents, and the Dekahrist movement was 
at an end. 

The leaders were arrested, and in June 1826 their trial took 
place. On 25th July, five were hanged, and afterwards eighty-five 
were exiled to Siberia, where the survivors remained until 1856. 
Although the Dekahrist movement was in effect confined to the 
aristocratic circle, it comprised many of the most intellectual and 
patriotic figures of their time, and their " sudden disappearance 
was disastrous." For thirty years Russia remained under the 
vigorous rule of Nicholas, and ** every spark of free thought was 
stifled as soon as it appeared." ^ 

The importance of the Dekabristi lies in their having effected the 
first organized revolutionary movement against the autocracy. 

The stagnation which characterized the revolutionary move- 
ment after the collapse of the Dekahrist conspiracy was broken only 
by sporadic attempts to organize secret societies more or less on 
the Dekahrist model ; but since the Dekahrist time no similar move- 
ment has affected the army to the same extent, until the recent 
instances of military revolt. Among the sporadic movements 
referred to there was that promoted by the Kerel-Methodian Society ^ 
{1846-1847), a small Slavophil movement, in which Kostomarov, 
the Russian historian and the first Pan-Slavist, was implicated. 
In 1830 there occurred the insurrection in Poland which, together 
with the revolution in Paris of the same year, influenced the 
Russian youth to a considerable extent. Still the field affected by 
the revolutionary tendencies was comparatively small. The 
peasant question had been the subject of continuous discussion, 
but the peasants, although they were discontented, were never- 
theless practically untouched by these tendencies. The urban 
proletariat was as yet too slender in numbers and too fluctuating 
owing to the habit of returning periodically to the villages practised 
by the artisans who were also peasants, for that class to be materi- 
ally influenced. The revolutionary impulses affected exclusively 
the youth of the aristocracy, those of the merchant class, and to 
a small extent the sons of the clergy. These impulses were thus 
predominantly of a political rather than of a social-economic char- 

^ Prince Kropotkin, op. cit., p. 35. 

* For an account of this society, see Semevsky, V., " Kerel-Methodian 
Society, 1 846-1 847," in Russkoe Bogatstvo, 191 1. 




acter ; the inevitable association of these had not at that time 
become fully apparent. In the early forties, however, there was 
observable among the Russian youth a new intellectual move- 
ment which expressed itself in a revived interest in the 
French Encyclopedists, in the Physiocrats, and in the 
Socialist writers — Saint-Simon, Fourier, Leroux, and Proudhon, 
for example. This interest seems to have arisen in various 
ways. Herzen,^ for instance, one of the youths of the time, 
made his first acquaintance with the French writers in his 
father's library. 

The absence of a free press and of open public discussion 
of all fundamental questions led to the formation of small 
groups or clubs, which came to be known as ** circles," in 
which the intellectual movements of the time had their origin.^ 
Such ** circles " came to be identified with their leaders or 
those around whom the " circles " grew, and sometimes the 
influence of these leaders was very great, even although they 
may " never have written anything." ^ Among the young 
men who came under the influence of the " circle " move- 
ment was M. A. Butashevich-Petrashevsky,* who became the 

1 Alexander Herzen (i 8 12-1870), an illegitimate son of a Russian Senator 
and a French governess, was educated in the old " Equerries (or nobility) 
Quarter" of Moscow. Exiled to the Urals in 1834 for six years, then to 
Novgorod in 1842 for five years, he left Russia in 1847, and till the close 
of his life lived abroad. He collaborated with Proudhon in the newspaper 
L'Ami du Peuple. He suffered expulsion from France, and finally settled 
in London in 1857, started The Polar Star, and later The Bell. Died in 
Switzerland in 1870. Cf. Kropotkin, Ideals and Realities of Russian Literature 
(London, 1905), pp. 270-5. 

2 See also supra, vol. i. p. 354. There were numerous similar "circles" 
in Paris at various epochs, notably between i860 and 1870. 

^ Kropotkin, op. cit., p. 266. 

* M. A. Butashevich-Petrashevsky (1822-?) was educated at the Alex- 
ander Lyceum. At the age of fourteen, he had already attracted attention 
as a lad of a " liberal shape of mind." He went to the University, where he 
took his diploma in the Faculty of Law in 1 841 . At this time he was already 
a republican, an advocate of international peace, and of complete toleration 
in religion. When he left the University he " gave himself up with zeal to 
the study of Fourier." He formed his " circle " in 1845, and immediately 
afterwards began the publication of his Pocket Dictionary of Russian Words, 
which was, in effect, a medium for the expression of his views. In 1 849 the 
members of the " circle " were arrested, and several of them were condemned 
to death. See Semevsky, V. E., Peasant Question in Russia in the Eighteenth 
and the First Half of the Nineteenth Century (St. Petersburg, 1888), vol. ii. 
p. 370. Cf. also Peasant Law and Peasant Reform in Operation in the Works 
of M. E. Saltikov, by V. E. Semevsky (Rostov on Don, 1905). 


centre of a large group, among whom was the celebrated writer 

The role of the Slavophils in the discussion of the peasant ques- 
tion has already been noticed.^ The Slavophil groups were numerous 
and influential up till the period of emancipation of the serfs in 
1861.^ While some of the Slavophils were merely reactionary 
Chauvinists, the school as a whole may be said to have rendered 
the greatest services to Russian historical and juridical studies. 
The enthusiasm for Russian culture led to more serious study of 
its early phases, and this led to the disappearance of the illusions 
about the early history of Russia which had been prevalent. 

Slavophil historians like Byelyaev, for example, investigated for 
the first time the growth of serfdom and the growth of the auto- 
cratic power of the Moscow princes ; and the Slavophil jurists dis- 
criminated sharply between the imperial law and the customary 
laws of the people.^ 

Even after emancipation the characteristics of Slavophilism 
appear in the Narodneke movement,* and also as a stimulating in- 
fluence in the collection of Zemstvo statistics. The social revolu- 
tionary party of the present ^ is not untinctured with Slavophil 
ideas, as also are the Socialist Narodneke.^ In the 'forties (of the 
nineteenth century) the propagation of Slavophil ideas led to the 
counter-propaganda of the ZapadnekeP or advocates of the thesis 
that Russia is likely to follow the same course of development as 
the countries of Western Europe. This clash of theories appears 
in the polemical literature of the two parties. 

1 F. M. Dostoievsky (i 821-1883) was educated as a military engineer. 
He went to St. Petersburg in 1845, and soon acquired reputation as a writer 
by Ms novel Poor People. In 1849 he was arrested, together with other 
members of the Petrashevsky circle, tried in camera, and sentenced to death. 
He was reprieved on the scaffold at the moment fixed for his execution, but 
he never quite recovered from the shock of this horrible experience. He 
was exiled to Siberia, where he remained for ten years. He was pardoned in 
1859. He then returned to Russia in broken health, but survived to write 
his best-known work. Crime and Punishment, and probably his best. Memoirs 
from a Dead-House. Cf. Kropotkin, op. cit., p. 165, and De Vogue, Le Roman 
Russe (Paris, 1892), pp. 203 et seq. 

* See Book II, chap. xv. ' Cf, Kropotkin, op. cit., p. 269. 

* Represented by "V. V." (Vasili Vorontsev) and Nikolai-On (N. Daniel- 
son), e.g. Cf. infra. 

* Represented by Victor Chernov, e.g. Gershuni and Gotz, both now dead, 
were also important figures. Cf . infra. 

* e.g. Aniansky and Periakhanov. ' " Westerners." 



These movements, sporadic and general alike, were the results 
of a widespread fermentation, produced partly by the rapidity of 
5 1 the changes in the structure of Russian society and partly by 
f stimulus from without. This fermentation had been, as we have 
seen, in progress throughout the nineteenth century. The net 
result of it was the " revolt of the individual." ^ In Russia, the 
family, the community, and the State had counted for everything, 
the individual for nothing. Patriarchalism had retained its force 
in the family ; a strong sense of communal interest, together with 
the long-continued *' mutual guarantee," had subordinated the 
individual to the communal group ; and the service system had 
predestined the upper classes to the service of the State — all had 
combined to make life subject to rigorous regulation. Under these 
conditions individual initiative was tabooed, because it made 
inevitably for political cind social disintegration. The revolt of 
the individual meant a revolt against established order in every 
field. It meant the revolt of the youth against his father, and 
i against the collective interests of his family. It meant the revolt 
' of the daughter, against her mother, and against the conventions 
which prevented her from exercising her owa~will. It meant the 
revolt offhe youth of both sexes against the restraints of village 
discipline iii the rural districts, and against the social restraints in 
the towns. It meant also revolt against the Church, which sanc- 
tioned an3' emphasized these restraints, and against the State^ 
which on occasion lent its strong arm to enforce them. The revolt 
of the individual will against external coercion meant inevitably 
revolution in all the fields of restraint. The most potent influence 
in produting-irhis reaction Of the individual will against external 
restraint was probably the mere increase in numbers, together 
with the rapidity of that increase. The family became too large 
for patriarchalism ; the community became too^ large for the 
effective exercise of the communal spirit ; the State became too 
large for the effective centralized control which the whole system 
implied. Yet the^CQUcentrated forces of conservatism, aided as 

I they were by the mere inertia of the mass, were strong enough to 
isolate the scattered and unorganized groups of individual protest- 
ants. The prospect of the disintegration of the society to which 
they were accustomed, and the possibility of reactions whose ulti- 

^ Kropotkin, op. cit., p. 296. 



mate tendencies could not be-^fore^eeicfrightened even people of 
relatively progressive impulses, and thus the incipient insurrection 
against established order was met with a certain vindictiveness 
even by those whose general attitude of mind was benevolent. 
But while the individuals who thrust themselves forward with 
determined expression of their own individuality might be dealt 
with in detail, banished to Siberia in detachments, immured in fort- 
resses, or even executed, the disintegration which these proceed- 
ings were designed to prevent was going on. The family was 
breaking up through the operation of intricate forces, some of which 
have been described above ; the community was breaking up from 
similar causes ; and the State administration was rapidly becom- 
ing unworkable. The revolutionary spirit was an outcome of these 
conditions, and the growth of it went on in spite of suppression — 
indeed, suppression made it more and more active.^ 

The absence in Russia of the modes of expression of intellectual 
movements customary in Western Europe, due to the hostility of 
the autocracy and the ecclesiastical authorities against everything 
whatsoever that in their opinion teniied to disturb the established 
order, seriously affected^the cHaracter of the discussions which 
ensued. Immensely able as many of the best men of the literary 
circles of St. Petersburg and Moscow in the years 1840-1860 undoubt- 
edly were, such men, for example, as Bakilnin, Byelinsky, Herzen, 
Turgu^niev, politician, literary critic, publicist, and novelist, all ex- 
hibit in their writings a certain fretful impatience and rhetorical 
exaggeration, very natural and very interesting as historical evi- 
dence, but detracting somewhat from the permanent artistic value 
of their respective works.^ These characteristics arose out of the 
conditions of the time. The autocracy was either blind to the pro- 
• gress of West European society, and to t!ie inevitable effect of this 
progress upon the Russian youth, or it greatly overestimated the 
power of effective antagonism to its authority ^vhich the renascent 

1 A most vivid account of the psychology of the Russian youth between 
1848 and 1870 is given by Prince Kropotkin in his Memoirs (chap, xii.): 
" During the years 1 860-1 865 in nearly every wealthy family a bitter struggle 
was going on between the fathers, who wanted to maintain the old traditions, 
and the sons and daughters, who defended their right to dispose of their 
lives according to their own ideals " {op. cit., p. 301). So also Turgufeniev 
in his Fathers and Sons, and Gonchar6v in his Oblomov. 

* Cf. infra on the role of the Intelligentsia in the revolution, infra, pp. 
$8$ et seq. 


youth could possibly exercise. From the point of view of the re- 
markable group whose names have just been mentioned, the auto- 
cracy was merely stupid, and their impatience was simply the 
impatience of intellectual men with an impossibly unintellectual 
Government.^ \ 

* Cf. supra, vol. i. p. 352. The relations of these groups to the peasant 
question is described supra, vol. i. Book II. 




The declaration of the Emancipation of the Serfs, which was issued 
on 5th March 1861, although it was not to go into force until 
1863, was received with unbounded enthusiasm. The peasants 
appeared generally to be making honest attempts to understand 
the bulky document which described how the abolition of bondage 
right was to be accomplished. The nobility and the merchants 
also on the whole looked forward to a revivified national life. The 
period was coincident with the beginning of extensive railway con- 
struction, for which a plentiful supply of labour was necessary. 
Wages advanced for reasons explained in a previous chapter. Land 
rose sharply in value. There was a general air of optimism and 
good- will. Yet some of the older nobiKty did not share these feel- 
ings. They seemed even to be anxious to prevent the full accom- 
plishment of the design of emancipation. Nor were all of the peas- 
ants more content. Ere long in the rural districts they began to 
be agitated. " After all," they thought, *' we are being cheated." 
Disturbances took place in many guberni on the eastern frontier of 
European Russia. These sporadic attacks upon impopular land- 
owners may or may not have been excited sometimes by reac- 
tionaries who desired to demonstrate that the prophecies of the 
conservatives had been fulfilled, that the murders of landowners 
which they had predicted would occur the day after emancipation 
had taken place.. This ** provocation" may have occurred in some 
casfes ; but of the numerous peasant riots,^ the majority were un- 
doubtedly spontaneous. The peasants had their own crude antici- 
pation of what emancipation must mean. If the interpretations of 
the landowners or of the local authorities differed from those of the 
peasants the difference must arise from intentional or unintentional 
error. In either case the peasants could not suffer themselves to 

^ Stepniak speaks of one hundred such riots. 


be deprived of what they considered to be their rights. They 
therefore proceeded to take what they held to be their own. Those 
who resisted were attacked, and their property was sometimes de- 

The Government drafted considerable bodies of troops into the 
rural districts, and although repressive measures were frequently 
severe and sporadic disturbances continued for several ye^s, the 
danger of a general peasant rebellion was avoided, partly by repres- 
sion and partly by concession. 

The Russian youth, successive generations of whom had been 
excited about the conditions of the peasantry throughout the first 
half of the nineteenth century, became very ardent about it as the 
discussions upon emancipation went on. The fluctuations of hope 
and fear in the *' higher spheres !' have already been recount ed.^ 
Similar oscillations between optimism and despair were observable 
among the students of the universities at least as early as i860, and 
the feelings which were inspired ripened in the University of Moscow 
into a social movement in which, in 1861, two professors — Granovsky 
and Kudryavtsev — took part.^ This movement led many students 
into the rural districts round Moscow to speak to the peasants about 
the coming liberties. 

In 1861 there appeared the beginnings of a similar social move- 
ment in the Universities of St. Petersburg and Kazan ; and circles 
were formed of a character similar to those of an earlier time.* At 
this moment foreign influences do not seem to have played an im- 
portant role, save in a very general sense. It is possible that some 
suggestions came from the ** non-political " propaganda of Schulze- 
Delitsch for co-operative and mutual credit associations, which had 
been going on actively in Germany for ten years ; but the main 
current of ideas arose out of the currents of Russian life. Slavo- 
philism was active, and new economic problems arising from the 
liberation of the peasants confronted everyone. 

It was in many ways a great misfortune for Russia that at this 
critical moment many of her ablest, most candid, and most experi- 
enced public men were in exile. This fact at once embittered the 

^ Similar incidents occurred in 1905 and 1906. See infra, p. 301 et seq. 

2 Lenda, V. N,, " Moscow Students in 1861 and their Relation to Peasant 
Emancipation (Reminiscences) " in The Great Reforms (Moscow, 191 1), vol. v. 
p. 269. 

^ Ibid. * Cf. supra, vol. i. p. 354, and vol. ii. p. 66. 


attitude of such men and deprived the country of the advantage of 
their presence either as effective critics or as constructive statesmen.^ 
Moreover, it was impossible for them to appreciate fully in detail 
the conditions of the problems which the recent liberation of the 
peasantry presented. 

The circumstance of expatriation notwithstanding, exiles like 
Herzen were not urging in the early sixties an immediate revolution, 
or even an agrarian uprising. They knew too well the absence of 
preparation for such an adventure. Vague and diversified as the 
movement among the intelligentsia was in 1861, it grew in 1862 into 
a revolutionary movement which came to be known as Zemlya e 
Volya (Land and Liberty) ; and for the first time for many years 
there was a more or less definitely organized revolutionary party. 

On 26th May 1862 there broke out in St. Petersburg a fire which 
seemed at one moment likely to destroy the Ministry of the Interior 
and the Bank of Russia. Means of extinguishing fire were at that 
time practically non-existent in St. Petersburg. There was no 
wind, otherwise half the city might have been destroyed.^ Accusa- 
tions ^ were not wanting that the fire had been caused by Poles and by 
Russian revolutionaries, but the origin of it was never discovered. 
Other fires of a similarly mysterious character took place in other 
cities, and an uneasy feeling began to manifest itself. Meanwhile 
the Poles were preparing for a revolt. They secured the S5mipathy 
of Bakiinin and of the Zemlya e Volya group.* Herzen implored 
them to delay, and told the Poles bluntly that the number of revolu- 
tionaries in Russia was too insignificant to render material assistance. 
The Polish revolt broke out on 21st January 1863, and the small 
group of Russian revolutionaries was dragged into it. But the 

^ One of the most distinguished of these voluntary exiles told the writer 
that while no doubt he had saved his life by leaving Russia, it would probably 
have been more advantageous to his country if he had not done so. A 
public man, he thought, should not expatriate himself. 

" It is my country. Danger in its bounds 
Weighs more than foreign safety." 

Disraeli's Count Alarcos. 
Or, recalling the speech of Theodora to Justinian — " Yonder is the sea, and 
there are the ships. Yet reflect whether, when once you have escaped to 
a place of security, you will not prefer death to safety." 

'^ A most lively account of this fire is given by Prince Kropotkin, 
Memoirs, &c., p. 157. 

' e.g. by Katkov, ibid., p. 162. 

* See Melyukov, P., Russia and its Crisis (Chicago, 1905), p. 390. 



Polish uprising was a national and racial rather than a social move- 
ment, and the sympathy of the Russian liberal elements was soon 
sacrificed. A peasant insurrection was planned to take place on 
the Volga simultaneously with the Polish revolt ; but this incipient 
rebellion was easily put down, and the Polish peasants were sepa- 
rated from the revolt of their landowners by extreme concessions 
on the part of the Russian Government and by confiscatory 
measures at the landowners' expense. The Polish revolt had as- 
sumed the form of a guerilla campaign, but whenever the sympathy 
of the peasants was secured by Russia the revolt came rapidly to 
an end.^ 

After the Polish insurrection there were two years of extreme 
reaction, during which the ameliorating influences of the emanci- 
pation were largely neutralized, and the revolutionary forces, de- 
feated for the time, were driven " underground " to prepare for 
fresh assaults upon the autocracy. In 1864 the remnants of 
Zemlya e Volya, now divided into the two usual factions — 
the party of permeation, and the party of immediate action — 
prepared for further activity. The attempt of Karak6zov, on 
i6th April 1866, to assassinate the Tsar was apparently the out- 
come of the latter faction.^ This attempt was followed by the 
sternest measures. Mikhail Muravidv, who had been entrusted 
with the suppression of the Polish revolt, was now endowed with 
exceptional powers to deal with what was regarded as an extensive 
conspiracy. Although it does not appear that anyone but Kara- 
k6zov was actually implicated, wholesale arrests were made, and 
everyone whose tendencies were in the least radical either was 
arrested or was compelled to remain silent.^ 

Again reaction with suppression, voluntary or compulsory, of 
all oppositional forces, whether revolutionary or otherwise, inter- 
vened for nearly three years ; and, as before, once again ardent 
and reckless spirits made their appearance to continue the attack 
against the Government. In 1869 a secret revolutionary group 

^ At the conclusion of the revolt, Poland was treated with remorseless 
severity. A hundred and twenty-eight Poles were hanged, and 18,672 were 
sent to Siberia, where a large number of them again revolted on account of 
the treatment to which they were subjected there. 

2 It is alleged that Karak6zov acted on his individual initiative, and 
against the wishes of his friends. Melyiikov, op. cit., p, 394. 

' The result has been described by Turgueniev in his Fathers and Sons. 
See also Kropotkin, Memoirs, p. 256. 


of no special significance was formed among the students at various 
higher institutions of learning in St. Petersburg and Moscow.^ The 
leader of this group was Nechiiev. " He resorted to the ways of 
the old conspirators, without recoiling even before deceit when 
he wanted his associates to follow his lead. Such methods could 
have no success in Russia, and very soon his society broke down " ^ 
Nechaiev dragged down with him a large number of Russian youths. 
One of them, Ivanov, who opposed the measures of Nechdiev,^ 
was murdered at his instigation. Nechdiev fled, but was arrested 
in Switzerland and extradited as an ordinary accused. The re- 
maining members of the " circle " were arrested for complicity in 
the murder, tried, found guilty, and sent to Siberia. 

Meanwhile a new party of permeation opposed to the reckless 
violence of Nechaiev was organized, and was known as " The 
circle of Tchaikovsky." ^ To begin with this was simply a '* circle 
for self-education." Its importance lay rather in the character 
of the men and women whom it attracted than in its definite pro- 
gramme. From its ranks there came in 1874 the chief figures, 
and from the " circle " came one of the chief impulses of the 
V Narod movement, which altered for a time the whole course of 
Russian revolutionary history, and in a large measure altered 
the character of Russian society.^ In 1872 the *' circle " was dis- 
tributing books authorized by the censor but of a liberal tendency. 
It was quite eclectic in its selection — e.g. Russian historical works, 
and, on the social question, the works of Lassalle and of Marx. 
Some of the members of the " circle " aspired to enter the pro- 
vincial Zemstvos (or local government councils) which had been 
organized in 1864, and to this end studied seriously the rural econo- 
mical conditions.* These hopes were doomed to disappointment, 
but they indicated an entirely new phase of social activity. In 

1 Melyuk6v, op. cit., p. 394. " Kropotkin, op. cit., p. 305. 

' The programme of Nechaiev is given by Melyuk6v, op. cit., pp. 395, 396. 

* Nicholas Tchaikovsky (6. czVca 1840). Educated as a chemist. Arrested 
twice during the period of the activity of his " circle," but discharged, 
sufficient evidence to justify his punishment not being forthcoming. Went 
to America in the seventies, and later to London, where he went into business 
and resided until after the outbreak^f the revolutionary movement in 1905. 
He weis arrested in St. Petersburg, but was released on bciil. Afterwards 
he was tried and discharged. 

^ For an account of the V Narod movement, see infra, chap. vi. 

* An excellent account of the activities of the circle of Tchaikovsky is 
given by Prince Kropotkin in his Memoirs, pp. 304-42. 


1872 it would appear that the youths who were engaged in this 
movement were opposed altogether to terroristic enterprises,^ 
and were convinced that, while a constitution should be aimed at 
for Russia, much preparatory work would have to be done among 
all classes if the experiment of a constitution could be expected 
to be successful. The utmost which they attempted to do was 
to contribute to the creation of a situation in which a ** Parlia- 
ment " might be and would be summoned.^ The Tchaikovsky 
** circle " came in 1873-1874 to be merged in the general V Narod 
movement ; some of its members exiled themselves voluntarily, 
many of them were arrested. 

1 Prince Kropotkin naxrates a remarkable story of an occasion when 
the " circle " not only tried to dissuade by argument a young man from the 
southern provinces who went to St. Petersburg with the intention of assassi- 
nating Alexander II, but intimated that they would keep a watch over him 
and prevent him by force from carrying out his purpose. Memoirs, p. 316. 

2 Cf. ibid., p. 315. 



The Russian oppositional groups having been influenced both 
positively and negatively by contemporary thought and by con- 
temporary events in Western Europe, it is necessary to notice 
those movements by which Russian parties have been most con- 
spicuously affected. Each of the Russian groups took from Western 
Europe what suited its purpose, and attached importance to foreign 
progress and to foreign speculation in proportion as their elements 
harmonized with its own point of view. The nationalist aims of 
some of the West European political movements were regarded 
sympathetically by the Slavophils, while the internationalist pro- 
pagandas were approved and to some extent even adopted by the 
Zapadneke and their successors. The Russia of Peter the Great 
and that of Katherine II had both gone to fantastic extremes in 
attempting to adopt by crude and wholesale methods some of the 
elements of West European culture. These efforts were not con- 
spicuously successful, yet each succeeding age produced new 

The influence of the French Revolution and of the events of 
the first quarter of the nineteenth century upon the state of mind 
which produced the Dekabrist movement has already been noticed. 
That influence, together with the influences of the revolution in 
Paris in 1830 and of the general revolutionary movement of 1848, 
affected profoundly the successors of the Dekahristi. The French 
Revolution did not merely involve the destruction of the contem- 
porary social system — ^it involved also efforts towards a new order.^ 
It seemed to the system-mongers to be necessary to reconstruct 
society upon a fresh basis, alike in the spheres of politics, economics, 
and morals, as if society were a mechanism whose parts had been 

. * Cf. Harrison, Frederic, The Meaning of History (London, 1906), p, 180 
et 9eq. 



worn out by ages of use, and had been in some measure broken in 
pieces by the Revolution. It seemed also as if the next task were to 
clear away the debris of the past and to construct an entirely new 
social order. The difficulty which the system-mongers encoun- 
tered did not He in the invention of a new social order so much as 
in contriving means to get rid of what remained of the old. The 
reason for this appears to lie in the fact that while there are in the 
social structure certain mechanical elements, as there are in all 
organic and inorganic bodies, the organic character of the social 
structure, and even of these mechanical elements, was somewhat 
generally overlooked. So also was the essentially organic character 
of the changes which society had been undergoing. These changes 
had already resulted in a new society, in which there had been 
abundantly disclosed, that revolution notwithstanding, himian 
nature had not undergone material alteration. 

Towards the end of the eighteenth and in the beginning of the 
nineteenth century, great emphasis had been laid upon the influ- 
ence of surroundings upon the formation of character, yet by 1840, 
surroundings had been subjected to important changes, but the 
character of the people had changed slightly and slowly. 

The state of international relations in the last years of the eigh- 
teenth century and throughout the first half of the nineteenth 
suggested, in the contemporary mood, a new order of those relations 
in which reason rather than passion should be the dominant 
influence. Thus from 1791, when the Concert of Europe had its 
rise,^ international diplomacy was directed towards the concerted 
action of the European powers against revolutionary impulses. 
The diplomatists had indeed acutely discerned in the humanitarian 
enthusiasm of the post-revolutionary period a means of arresting 
the furore for political change. Whether or not the social order 
was really in peril the statesmen of the time proceeded to ** make 
common cause for the purpose of preserving * public peace, the 
tranquillity of states, the inviolability of possessions, and the faith 
of treaties.' " ^ i^ 1804 the Tsar Alexander I proposed a scheme 
for an European Confederation,^ and Napoleon I conceived the idea 

^ In a circular letter of Count Kaunitz {17th July 1791). See W. A. 
Phillips in " The Congresses," in Cambridge Modern History, x. p. 3. Mr. 
Phillips points out that the schemes of universal peace were based upon Ber- 
nardin de Saint-Pierre's Pyo;>^ de Traite pour rendre la Paix perpetuelle (1793). 

* Kaunitz quoted by Philhps, loc. cit. ^ Cf. supra, p. 12. 


of a Central Assembly or European Congress on the model of the 
American Congress, to which all the European States were to send 

These high poHcies, visionary as they were, cannot be said to 
have had any effect upon the working masses. Had any effect 
been produced, there must have arisen in their minds a reaction 
against policies which, were they realized, must render the task of 
the working class in its struggle for political influence incomparably 
more arduous than it otherwise would be. A federal authority 
endowed with the collective power of half a dozen great states could 
deal with a revolution in any one of them with irresistible effect. 
Nor could the bourgeoisie of liberal tendencies see in this form of 
intemationahsm other than hostility to the growth of the political 
influence of the middle class. The urban middle class of all countries 
is, indeed, inevitably of particularist rather than of internationalist 
tendencies. It is even sometimes obsessed with municipal as 
opposed to national points of view. The middle class is thus always 
the advocate of local self-government in distinction from centralized 
authority. The years immediately before and immediately after 
the year 1830 appear to exhibit the high- water mark of the influence 
of the urban middle class. It is not surprising that during this 
period the characteristic political phenomenon was by no means 
the development of internationalism. It was rather the intensi- 
fication of nationalism under middle-class domination as a reaction 
against the imperialism of Napoleon I and Alexander I alike. 

At the close of the first thirty years of the nineteenth century' 
there came the unsuccessful struggle for the independence of Poland 
and the successful struggle for the independence of Greece and of 
Belgium. Meanwhile there came the rise of Prussia, beginning with 
national, although it proceeded with imperial ambitions which led 
incidentally to a United Italy. The struggles for independence 
in Greece and Italy, though predominantly bourgeois rather than 
agrarian or proletarian struggles, were regarded sympathetically 
by the working class especially of England, probably chiefly because 
the first struggle was against a Mohammedan and the second against 
a Catholic power. 

The years of peace which followed the collapse of Napoleon I 
were characterized by unprecedented development of industrial 

1 Phillips, op. cit.y p. I. 


activity. The great inventions of the eighteenth century were 
perfected and the systems of manufacture and transport were 
transformed. The movement of population upon the industrial 
centres, which had always existed, was greatly accelerated, and the 
population of the towns outgrew the municipal machinery and the 
locally developed powers of administration. The national debts 
and the disorganized national finances, which were the inheritance 
of prolonged war, led to excessive taxation, and diversion of capital 
and labour from agriculture into industry led to enhanced prices 
of the necessaries of life. The disintegration of the family and the 
rupture of social relations which accompanied these movements, 
with the consequent destruction of the elements of social cohesion 
present in the older society, contributed to the general revolt against 
authority and precedent which now became apparent in all direc- , 
tions. Abrupt changes in the social order are at once caused hyi 
and are provocative of individuality. '* The wisdom of our ances- \ 
tors " was the subject of common jest in the fields of philosophy,^ 
economics,^ natural science,^ art,* and religion,^ as well as in those 
of politics. Destructive criticism in many fields induced discredit 
of the State and of its role as representative of the general will. 
But criticism does not always yield negative results ; by the middle 
of the nineteenth century reaction had begun, and so far as the 
State was concerned a new ideal State began to emerge from the 
critical discussions. The outcome of laisser-faire and aggressive 
individualism, unrestrained as it was at least for a time by tradi- 
tion, was an apparent contradiction between vastly increased 

* Feuerbach (Neo-Hegelian) published his first book in 1830 ; Bentham's 
" subversive " influence was dominant at this time, ahke in philosophy, law, 
and economics. 

2 Comte's attack upon the " orthodox " political economy may^ be said 
to begin with the publication of his Cours de Philosophie positive in 1839. 

* Laplace lived till 1827, and Lamarck till 1829. 

* On " the revolution of the arts " about 1830, see W. E. Henley, Memorial 
Catalogue of French and Dutch Loan Collection (Edinburgh, 1888). The in- 
spiration proceeded largely from England. Constable exhibited in the Louvre 
in 1824, and profoundly affected the French painters of the immediately 
succeeding time. Delacroix exhibited his Massacres de Scio in 1829. In 
the drama, Victor Hugo announced the literary revolution in his Hernaniy 
produced in 1830 ; and in criticism Sainte-Beuve had already written Joseph 
Delorme and Consolations. Scottish and English romanticism was in full 

* The critical attack upon the foundations of the Christian religion may 
be said to have been formally inaugurated by the publication of Strauss's 
Leben Jesu in 1835, 


powers of production and apparently contemporaneous diminution 
of well-being among the masses of the people. This contradic- 
tion led many thoughtful and conscientious, if too optimistic, 
persons to formulate niunerous schemes to ** remedy the distress 
of nations," and to undertake numerous inquiries into the "con- 
dition of the people " question. ^ In the more far-reaching of these 
schemes the international aspects of social problems assumed a 
large place. Among the first, if not the first, to promote the idea 
that a reorganization of society should be regarded as an inter- 
national affair was Robert Owen, who developed the idea in 1817.* 
Owen, who was himself of authoritative temperament, appears to 
have thought that an absolute government was on the whole most 
likely to act with the rapidity which the case seemed to demand.' 
He proposed to form an " Association of all classes of all nations," * 
but Owen seemed to have in his mind the idea that a working class 
regenerated by his " rational religion " would dominate the whole. 
The international character of his society was more formal than 
real ; the only importance of the society lies in the fact that it 
foreshadowed the international association, not of all classes, but ex- 
plicitly of the working class which was to follow thirty years later. 
The association which gave rise to the Chartist movement had 
international filiations and sjmipathies.* It issued, e.g., manifestoes 
to the working classes of Europe, and especially to the French and 

* The effect of some of these upon contemporary Russian intelligentsia is 
discussed infra, Book VII, chap. xiv. 

* At meetings held in London in August and September 181 7, and after- 
wards before the German Diet at Frankfort on the Main, and through Lord 
Castlereagh at the Conference of Aix-la-Chapelle in 181 8. See Owen, The New 
Existence of Man upon the Earth (London, 1854), pp. 3 and 4 and p. xxxv., and 
The Millennial Gaxette, No. 4, 15th May 1856 and ist August 1857. 

' Cf. The New Existence of Man upon the Earth, part ii., p. 5, and [Thomp- 
son, Wm.] Labour Rewarded . . . {London, 1827), p. 99. It should be 
observed that while Owen exhibited a preference for action through the State, 
he gave the primary impulse towards the foundation of the English co-opera- 
tive system, which is based wholly upon voluntary action, and which is not 
in any way indebted to State support or recognition. On the other hand, the 
writings of his contemporary, Thompson, strongly impregnated as they are 
with voluntary mutuahsm, and antagonistic £is they sire to State control or 
State action, seem to have given, if not the initial impulse to the State col- 
lectivism of Marx, at all events to have contributed to it important sugges- 

* The Constitution and Laws of the Univ. Com. Soc. of Rational Religionists 
(London, 1839), p. 20. 

* " The Working Men's Association for Benefiting politically, socially, 
and morally the Useful Classes." 



to the Polish people.^ These manifestoes urge the united action 
of the working class of all nations. " Fellow-producers of wealth, 
seeing our oppressors are . . . united, why should not we, too, 
have our bond of brotherhood and holy alliance ? " ^ The Chartist 
movement, had it been fully understood by contemporary Russians, 
would have been regarded as characterized by politicalism ; because 
although some of the Chartists had ulterior economic aims, these did 
not occupy a place in their programme.^ 

During the period which elapsed between the French Revolution 
of 1830 and that of 1848, there were practically numberless schemes 
for the reformation of society in a national or an international 
sense and for the regeneration of humanity. A new literature and 
a new vocabulary sprang into existence. " In 1830, Socialism was 
nothing ; to-day. Socialism is everjrthing," Considerant wrote in 
1848 ; and he continued, " A new order is about to be created. All 
creation is preceded by a chaos. Socialism has been, has to be, and 
is still but a chaos. . . . The problem of Socialism contains two 
historical formulae. The emancipation of the slave produced the 
serf. The emancipation of the serf produced the bourgeois and the 
proletarian. . . . There remains the social and, following, the poli- 
tical emancipation of the wage-earner, the proletarian."^ 

This was in effect the text of numerous pamphlets and mani- 
festoes issued during the period from 1830 till 1848. In the forties 
of the nineteenth century Paris teemed with social speculators. 
Saint-Simon ^ had died in 1825, and Fourier « died in 1837 > ^^^ 
during the forties, Proudhon,' Buchez,® Cabet,^ Leroux,^° Dupin,^^ 
Considerant ,^2 and Louis Blanc, ^^ were all alive and at the full height 

* Issued in 1838. In the manifesto to the working classes there is a lively 
summary of the democratic movement in Europe. 

* Address to the Working Classes of Europe (London, 1838), p. 7. 

3 The Chartists refused to be diverted from their political propaganda by 
the contemporary movements of Owenism, communism, and free trade. Cf. 
The Chartist Circular (Glasgow, 19th October 1839), and letter from Mac- 
Donnell, the Chartist, to Cabet, in ProUs du Communisme a Toulouse (Paris, 
1843), p. 29. 

* Considerant, V., Le Socialisme devant le mieux monde ou le vivant devant 
les morts (Paris, 1849), pp. 18-19. 

^ Saint-Simon (1760-1825), (Euvres (1832). See also Fournel, Biblio- 
graphie Saint-Simonienne (Paris, 1833). 

* Fourier (i 772-1 837), Thiorie des Quatre Mouvements (1808). 

' Proudhon (i 809-1 865). « Buchez (i 796-1 865). 

* Cabet (i 788-1 856), Voyage en Icarie (1840). ^^ Leroux (i 798-1871), 
" Dupin (1784-1873). 12 Considerant (1808-1893). 

" Louis Blanc (1811-1882). 


of their activity, each with his social specific. No doubt Socialism 
was a chaos, but the chaos was in a state of fermentation. The 
activity of the continental governments, and their determination 
to put down what they considered as subversive movements pre- 
vented any but small, isolated, and ephemeral associations of 
working men from being established, in spite of assistance from 
sympathizers among the '* intellectuals." Up till 1848, when 
revolutionary movements occurred in Paris, Berlin, and Vienna, 
no open revolutionary association was possible, but there were many 
secret societies, especially in France, Belgium, and Switzerland. 
In 1843 Karl Marx ^ went for the first time to Paris. He was then 
twenty-five years of age, almost fresh from the University of Bonn, 
where he had become impregnated with the philosophy of Hegel, 
and had become inclined towards the school of Neo-Hegelians, then 
led by Feuerbach. Marx plunged into the contemporary discus- 
sions of the Paris group, whose names have been mentioned, and he 
seems to have adopted their vocabulary and to have absorbed some 
of their ideas. A group of German workmen in Paris had formed 
themselves into a Communist League in 1836 ; in 1839 a number of 
these workmen were expelled from Paris, and in the following year 
they founded a similar society in London.^ Marx was expelled from 
Paris in 1844, and after three years of migration was to be foimd 
in London, where he attended a congress of the Communist League, 
founded by the German workmen in Paris eleven years before. 
Marx made himself conspicuous at this congress, and with his friend 
Engels undertook to draw up a manifesto. This manifesto (the 
celebrated Kommunistische Manifest) was written in German in 
January 1848, the manuscript being sent to the printer a few weeks 
before the French Revolution of 24th February .^ A French trans- 
lation appeared in Paris shortly before the insurrection of June 1848. 
Danish and Polish editions were published about the same time. 
The Communist manifesto is a controversial pamphlet in which 

* Karl Marx (1818-1883). See Stammhammer, Bibliographie des Social' 
ismus und Communism us, 3 vols. (Jena, 1909). For career of Marx, see Meyer, 
R., Der Emancipationskampf des vierten Standes (Berlin, 1892), i. pp. 114 
et seq. For an admirable criticism of the philosophical basis of Marx's opinions, 
see Bonar, J., Philosophy and Political Economy . . . (London, 1893). See 
also Simkhovich, Marxism versus Socialism (New York, 1913). 

* Rae, John, Contemporary Socialism (London, 1884), p. 135. 

* Preface by F. Engels to the Manifesto of the Communist Party. , t . 
Authorized EngUsh translation (London, 1886), p. i. 


Marx attacks almost all previous writers upon the subject. He 
develops in it what is usually described as a materialistic view of 
history — ^in other words, he lays emphasis upon the economical causes 
of political and social changes. The claim of originality which 
Engels afterwards advanced on the part of Marx and himself, 
cannot be regarded as tenable. Irrespective of earlier examples, 
Montesquieu had laid great stress upon the influence of climate and 
of the nature of the soil upon the laws of " civil slavery," upon the 
laws of " political servitude," and upon laws in general. This is 
undoubtedly, in modern phrase, the economic interpretation or the 
materialist view of history. ^ 

What Marx really did was to emphasize the influence, perhaps 
even to the point of exaggeration, of the economical struggle of the 
social classes upon the political struggle of the same classes. The 
force of his conclusions thus varies with the intensity of the econo- 
mical struggle and with the character of the contemporary political 

The issue of the manifesto caused a schism in the League, and a 
second manifesto, also by Marx, caused another schism, in which 
Liebknecht, afterwards well known as a Social Democratic member 
of the German Reichstag, left Marx.^ 

The revolution of 24th February 1848 at Paris was followed by 
the " massacres of Rouen " in April, and by the " inexpiable heca- 
tomb of June " in Paris in the same year, and these, with the results 
of the various revolutionary movements throughout Europe during 
that period, left the working class discomfited and disorganized.* 
It had compromised its immediate interests by its political fihations, 
and it had been attacked in detail and defeated. The associations 
of French working men,* which had been formed with internationa- 
list aims, were dispersed after the coup d'etat on 2nd December 185 1, 

^ Cf. Montesquieu, De I' Esprit des Lois, liv. xiii-xxiii. Two writers of com- 
munist tendency, Mably and Dupin, annotated Montesquieu, and both added 
notes to these very books. Marx s indebtedness to Mably and Dupin and their 
group otherwise cannot be questioned. 

' Cf. Lavollee, Les Classes ouvriires en Europe (Paris, 1884), i. p. 244. 

' Emigration from Europe to the United States was greatly stimulated 
in 1847 by the economical and political conditions combined. Cf. statistics 
in Bromwell, W, J., History of Immigration to the United States . . . (New 
York, 1856), pp. 175 et seq. 

*■ Cf. Malon, B., L' Internationale, son Histoire et ses Principes (Lyons, 1872),. 
p. 7. 


and the international labour movement, such as it was, was thrown 
into the background for ten years. During this period the con- 
ditions were preparing for the further uprising of the internationalist 
idea. The processes of social disintegration, whose beginnings 
have already been noticed, had now gone far. The development 
of the American wheatfields had thrown cheap food into the English 
and continental markets, and domestic agriculture had every- 
where receded, while the industrial centres had grown rapidly. 
The proletariat, whose numbers were relatively small when the 
existence of the class began to attract attention in the beginning 
of the nineteenth century, now assumed formidable proportions. 
Factory Acts notwithstanding, and notwithstanding the consider- 
able development of trade unions, the temper of the working class 
fluctuated closely with the state of trade. A single bad harvest 
was sufficient to produce an outbreak of discontent. There was 
as yet no national system of education and no broadening of the 
franchise even in England. The trade union movement was in 
effect under a ban. On the Continent working-class meeting:s and 
movements were prevented by the poHce and by the expulsion of 
influential advocates of working-class interests. The inevitable 
consequence of the banishment of propagandists from their own 
country and the suppression of their propaganda within its limits, 
is the spreading of their propaganda in other countries. Extreme 
nationalism on the part of governments leads to internationalism 
on the part of their opponents. Enthusiasts cast off by different 
countries have a conunon oppositional ground ; they tend to unite 
in formal or in informal alliances against all national governments. 
So, too, the exclusion of certain classes of people from sharing in 
the government of a country, or from representation in its assemblies, 
tends to create in the minds of these classes hostility towards their 
own Government, and therefore sympathy with those classes which 
in other countries are similarly excluded. This sympathetic hos- 
tility to all governments induces a certain cosmopolitan attitude 
of mind,^ which, although not identical with, may nevertheless 
prepare the way for internationalism. 

Where this cosmopolitan attitude has no deeper foundation 
than mere exclusion from representation it may disappear whenever 

* C/. Hutton, Richard Holt, in Essays on Reform (by various writers) 
(London, 1867), p. 33. 


the representation is granted. In so far as it exists, from whatever 
cause, it tends to make for a fresh classification of himianity. The 
national boundaries become less important, and the vertical cleavage 
of society which the nation involves assumes a sinister aspect to 
the mass of the people, and seems to account for the economical 
and political disadvantages under which the people labour. The 
existence of a horizontal cleavage becomes apparent in which the 
proletariat of aU countries form one mass at the base of society, while 
superimposed upon it are the other classes in whose hands appear to 
rest the instruments of economical and political power. The result 
of the fermentation of such ideas in the minds of the working class 
is the development of " class consciousness," a kind of patriotism 
of class in which the feehngs of kinship and of common interest, 
which constitute patriotism proper, are transferred, not to all 
humanity, but to the working class in all countries. Although in a 
vague and uncertain way, excited partly by experience and partly 
by propaganda, this feeling of " class consciousness " seems at 
certain epochs gradually to gain ground and then to be mitigated 
by returning racial animosities, which throw back the working 
class into reassociation with people of their own kin, even though 
they may belong to the classes whom they regard as exploitative. 
Such recurring waves of national feeling which exhibit themselves 
in the familiar episodes of chauvinism and jingoism illustrate the 
important fact that history cannot be interpreted exclusively in 
terms of economical conditions in the narrow sense. 

The initial impulse towards a recrudescence of the international 
working men's movement upon a more important scale than before 
was to come from an unexpected source. During the International 
Exhibition which was held in London in 1862, Napoleon III had 
permitted the election of some French workmen to visit London as 
delegates.^ A meeting was held at the Freemasons' Tavern on 
5th August 1862, and an address was presented to the French 
delegates by representatives of the English working men. This 
address urged that an organized union should be effected of working 
men in all countries in order that their interests might be protected, 

^ The idea seems to have originated with some manufacturers and certain 
newspapers, e.g. Le Temps and L' Opinion Nationale (de Laveleye, E., Socialism 
of To-day (London, n. d.), p. 149). Napoleon III is alleged to have desired 
to patronize the International at a later date. See a curious note by Kropot- 
kin, Memoirs, p. 485. 


because these interests were everywhere identical. To this address 
the French workmen replied that the working class in all countries 
must go hand in hand by means of a " holy alliance " to obtain 
their freedom.^ In the address a suggestion was made that com- 
mittees of working men should be formed in order to provide a 
"medium for the interchange of ideas on international trade '* ;* 
but the trade unions held aloof, and the international union remained 
a mere phrase.^ 

The Polish revolt began on 2ist January 1863, and on the 22nd 
July of the same year a meeting was held in St. Paul's Hall, London, 
to express sympathy with the Poles. To this meeting five French 
delegates were sent by French workmen.* In the address of George 
Odger to the " French brethren," suggesting a " Universal Labour 
Congress," Rudolf Meyer finds the " germ " of the " International." ^ 
The outcome of this suggestion >yas a meeting in St. Martin's Hall 
on 28th September 1864. The French delegates were again pro- 
minent, and there were also present Major Wolff, private secretary 
of Mazzini, who represented Italian working men, and Marx and 
Eccarius, who represented Germany. Altogether five foreign 
nations were represented. Professor Beesly presided.^ The address 
of the Paris working men, whose spokesman was Tolain, after refer- 
ring briefly to the situation in Poland, went on to lament the absence 
of solidarity among working men and the commanding position 
which capital had acquired under the influence of the development 
of mechanical industry and free trade, and to urge the union of 
workers in a class struggle. "^ After the discussion of this address, 
the meeting resolved to appoint a provisional committee, which 
was empowered to draw up a constitution of an International 
Working Men's Association, and to arrange for an international 
congress to be held in Brussels in 1865. This provisional conmiittee 

* Meyer, R., Der Emancipationskampf, i. p. 119. 

* De Laveleye, op. cit., p. 150. 
' Meyer, R., loc. cit. 

* Palmerston had refused to agree to the proposal of an European Congress 
upon the affairs of Poland. How far this meeting was engineered from Paris 
as a protest against the action of the British Government it is not necessary 
here to inquire. (C/. Meyer, op. cit., p. 120.) 

* Meyer, op. cit., p. 120. 

* Professor Beesly was at that time advocating intemationaUsm with 
special ardour. His point of view is put with great clearness in his " England 
and the Sea," contributed to International Policy : Essays on the Foreign 
Relations of England (London, 1866), pp. 153 et seq. ' Meyer, op. cit., p. 121. 


consisted of twenty-seven English representatives and eight for- 
eigners, among whom were Wolff and Marx. 

Almost inmiediately there occurred a dispute between Mazzini 
and Marx. Mazzini had composed an inaugural address and a con- 
stitution. In the address he developed his political programme, 
deprecated the class struggle, and proposed a highly centralized 
organization for the International. With the exception of the last 
point, the policy of Mazzini did not meet with the approval of Marx, 
who prepared a rival address and constitution. Mazzini thereupon 
withdrew from the association.^ Marx probably reaUzed that to 
draw the International at the outset of its existence into an indi- 
vidual national movement, in which the primary object of its 
existence, viz. to convert the national struggle into a class war, 
would be submerged, must be fatal to the association. Mazzini, 
for his part, undoubtedly desired to utilize the International, for so 
much as it availed, as an instrument in the campaign for Italian 
unity. The two views were irreconcilable. 

By the middle of 1865 the ** International " consisted of a group 
in London, one in Brussels, one in Geneva, and one in Paris. There 
were a few adherents in Rouen, Caen, Lyons, Neuville-sur-Saone, 
and Marseilles, " and that was all." ^ it had been intended that a 
congress should be held in Brussels in September 1865, but the 
Belgian Government took fright, and, bringing into force an old law 
against foreigners, prevented the congress from being held there. 
This action served, however, to advertise the ** International," and 
adhesions began to pour in.^ Sections were formed in Germany 

^ Mazzini' s views upon the Socialism and Communism of Saint-Simon 
and Fourier as he understood them are expressed at considerable length in 
his Thoughts upon Democracy (1847). See English translation in Joseph 
Mazzini : A Memoir, by [Madame] E. A. V[enturi] (London, 1875). Although 
Mazzini had not kept himself en rapport with the development of the social 
question in France and England, M. de Laveleye is far from just in attribut- 
ing to him inability to see anything " outside of Carbonarism {Contemporary 
Socialism (London, n. d.), p. 151). Bakunin, while opposed to Mazzini, is 
much fairer to him, Cf. Bakiinin, La ThSologie politique de Mazzini et V In- 
ternationale (Neuchatel, 1871). At that period Marx had not grappled with 
the agrarian question, nor, indeed, did he ever do so fully ; and Mazzini must 
have realized that an exclusive appeal to the urban proletariat of Italy (not 
numerous at that period) would involve the sacrifice at once of the support 
and of the interests of the revolutionary middle class and of the peasantry. 

' Malon, B., L' Internationale, son Histoire et ses Principes (Lyons, 1872), 
p. 19. 

» Ibid. 


and in the south of Italy, and when the first congress was actually 
held in Geneva on 3rd September 1866, the number of adherents 
was estimated at 70,000.^ Marx's address had become a manifesto 
of the General Council at London, and now his project of a con- 
stitution was adopted by the congress at Geneva. This constitu- 
tion remained without modification until 1873. 

Marx's address, though briefer and more moderate in tone than 
the Communist manifesto of 1848, was not inconsistent with that 
document. It refers to the identity of wage and slave labour, and 
calls upon the working men to take into their own hands the deter- 
mination of international policy, and to watch the proceedings of 
the diplomatists, thwarting them in case of need. It declares that 
such a struggle is a part of the struggle for the emancipation of the 
working class, and concludes with the watchword, " Proletarians of 
all countries, unite." ' These were the words which concluded the 
Communist manifesto of 1848. There can be no doubt that in 
Marx's mind at least the Communist League had come to life 

The constitution formulated by Marx — and adopted by the 
congress — employs substantially the same expressions as the earlier 
manifesto. " The emancipation of the working class must be 
achieved by the working class itself. . . . The struggle for the 
emancipation of the working class is not a struggle for class privi- 
leges and monopoly, but for equal rights and duties and for the 
abolition of all class domination." It goes on to say that the final 
purpose of all political action is the economical emancipation of 
the working class. This emancipation is not a local, nor a national, 
but is a social problem which affects all countries. It further 
declares that there are no duties without rights and no rights without 
duties. The by-laws of the association provide for a yearly 
congress and for the election of a general council, which shall act as 
" international agent between the different national and local 
groups." * The principal topics of discussion at the Geneva con- 
gress (3rd to loth September 1866) were the eight-hours working 
day, child labour, the trade union movement (which was reproached 

* Malon, L' Internationale, son Histoire et ses Principes (Lyons, 1872), p. 9. 

* Meyer, R., Der Emancipationskampf, i. p. 123. 

* Cf. Rae, J., Contemporary Socialism (London, 1884), p. 144. 

* Tlie text is given in full by Meyer, op. cit.y pp. 124-6. 


for too close adhesion to the wages question), and direct taxation 
(which was favoured) . On the question of the admission of members 
who did not belong to the working class, the French delegates 
declared themselves against the admission of mere parleurs — ' 
advocates and journalists. The German and English delegates, 
who themselves chiefly belonged to such classes, objected to their 
exclusion. Had the French proposition been carried, the Inter- 
national might have been a purely working class organization, but 
it would have had to expel at the outset Marx and the others who 
had at least rendered important aid in bringing it into existence, 
and who had stamped upon it its special character. 

Depression of trade in 1866, with strikes in France, Belgium, 
and Italy, brought accessions by the thousand.^ When the con- 
gress met at Lausanne in 1867, there were over 300,000 nominal 
adherents.2 Whether or not these adherents were fully convinced 
internationaHsts is not so much a matter of moment as the facts 
that, under the circumstances of the time, the International had its 
doors wide open, that all comers were admitted, and that large groups 
were added en masse. It is true that many of the adherents were 
likely to desert the cause, and that eventually differences of opinion 
on cardinal points must develop ; yet the numbers in gross were 
unquestionably becoming formidable, and the leaders of the move- 
ment, as well as the European Governments, began to exaggerate 
the importance of the following of the Association. The French 
Government in particular became alarmed, and endeavoured, but 
without success, to secure the co-operation of the British Govern- 
ment in suppressing the Association.^ 

During a strike of bronze workers in Paris in 1864, and during 
strikes in England in 1867, the International intervened success- 
fully.* Annual congresses were held. The congress of Lausanne 
in 1867 is important because of the events to which it gave rise. 
Marx was not present, and the resolutions bear the marks of his 

The principal resolution was to the following effect : Social 
emancipation is inseparable from political emancipation, and the 
establishment of political freedom is a first and an absolute 
necessity ; to this end it is decided to form an alliance with the 

* MaXonyB. ,V Internationale, son Histoire et ses Prtncipes (Lyons, 1872), p. 19. 

* Ibid., p. 20. • Meyer, op. cif., p. 128, * Ibid., p. 129. 


intelligent bourgeoisie, and to send delegates to the Peace and 
Liberty Congress at Geneva, for the purpose of carrying this into 
effect.* Had Marx been present, Rudolf Meyer says, this nonsense 
would never have been carried. In other resolutions the Lausanne 
congress decided to aim at the acquisition by the State of the 
means of transportation and at the breaking down of the monopoly 
of the great industrial companies. 

The third congress was held in Brussels from 5th to nth Sep- 
tember 1868. At this congress the communistic ideas accom- 
plished a complete victory.* It was decided that as all mines 
and railways belong to society as represented by the State, they 
should be exploited by it, and not by capitalistic associations. 
Land, canals, highwaj^, and telegraphs should be similarly pos- 
sessed and exploited by the State. Mechanical industries were, 
however, to be organized through co-operative societies and systems 
of credit and rewards for inventions by working men. The congress 
approved of properly organized strikes, but pointed out that the 
strike cannot in itself be regarded as the means of securing freedom 
for the worker. It also announced its adherence to the principle 
that the worker had the right to the whole produce of his labour. 
The congress called upon the working men of both countries to 
strike against a war between Germany and France. " As a farce 
following the congress of the International at Brussels, came the 
Liberty Congress at Berne." ^ To this congress of " La Ligue 
Internationale de la Paix et de la Liberte," * which was held at 
Berne, 22nd to 26th September 1868, the International sent repre- 
sentatives, who, however, were expected not to speak, but to vote. 
The resolutions adopted at the Berne congress were to the following 
effect : That standing armies are an obstacle to peace and to 
Uberty, that they therefore should be abolished, and that they 
should be replaced by a system in which every citizen, as an in- 
separable part of popular education, should be trained in the use 

^ Meyer, op. cit., p. 131. 2 jbid., p. 132. ^ Ibid., p. 136. 

* This league was founded at Geneva in 1867, when it held its first congress, 
which was presided over by Garibaldi. The second congress (at Berne) was 
presided over by Gustav Vogt, one of the founders, and the third (at Lausanne 
in 1869) by Victor Hugo. The fundamental principle of the League was de- 
clared to be the subordination of politics to morals. See Ligue interncUionale 
de la Paix et de la LiberU : Resolutions voices par les vingt-un premiers Congris. 
Recueil Officiel (Geneva, 1888). 


of arms for the purpose of defending his country ; and that the 
congress could not commit itself definitively upon the social ques- 
tion further than to say that it regards the freedom of the individual 
as a necessary corner-stone of all social reform. The congress also 
declared itself as in favour of a federative republican system, as 
opposed to Caesarism, and as in favour of the autonomy of 

From our present point of view the most interesting incident 
of this congress, which Rudolf Meyer not quite fairly regards as 
farcical, was the appearance there of a remarkable man whose 
influence upon the Russian youth of that time was very great, 
although his writings and utterances had been fragmentary and 
although a great part of his life had been spent in prison and in 
exile. Bakunin ^ had attended the first congress of the " Ligue," 
which had been held in Geneva in 1867, and he had been made a 
member of the permanent committee which met during the suc- 
ceeding winter. In the end of October 1867 Bakunin proposed to 
the committee to adopt a programme — " socialist, anti-authorita- 

^ Ligue internationale de la Paix et de la LiberU : Resolutions, &c., pp. 18-27. 

* Mikhail Bakunin (181 4-1 876) was born of a noble family at Torchok, 
Tverskaya gub. His first publication of importance was an introduction to 
a translation of some papers by Hegel, which appeared in the Moskovsky 
Nablyndatel in 1836 (Nettlau, M., Bibliographie de I'Anarchie (Paris, 1897), 
p. 42). In 1838 he entered the army, and in 1840 he left it, going to Germany 
and refusing to return to his military duties. During the succeeding decade 
he threw himself into revolutionary movements in Austria and in Germany. 
In 1848 he took part in the disturbances at Prague, and in 1849 those at Dres- 
den. In the latter city he was arrested and sentenced to death. His sentence 
was commuted to imprisonment. After two years in a German prison he 
was handed over to the Austrian Government, which demanded his extradi- 
tion on account of his complicity in the Prague uprising. In 185 1 he was 
again sentenced to death, and his sentence was again commuted. He spent 
some time in an Austrian prison chained by a foot to a cannon ball. On the 
demand of the Russian Government he was sent to Russia, where he was 
confined in the fortress of Schlusselburg until 1855, when he was sent to 
Irkutsk. There he found his distant relative, Count Muraviev-Amursky 
(cf. inffa, p. 219), Governor-General of Eastern Siberia. Bakunin spent some 
time in the society of Muraviev, discussing quaint projects for the future of 
Siberia, one of which involved the separation of the country from the Russian 
Empire and the federation of the United States of Siberia to the United States 
of North America. {Cf. Kropotkin, Memoirs, &c., p. 169). In 1861 Bakunin 
escaped from Siberia and returned to Europe via Japan. During the re- 
mainder of his life he lived chiefly at Locarno, asthmatic and dropsical, but 
actively engaged in socialistic controversy and in revolutionary agitation in 
Italy. He died at Berne in 1876. See also infra, p. 99. 


tarian, and anti-religious." ^ For the congress of 1868 he prepared 
an address (afterwards published under the title, Fed/ralisme, 
Socialisme et Anti-theologisme),^ in which he developed those views 
upon anarchism which eventually led to the disruption of the 
International, and which at the same time exerted a profound influ- 
ence upon the youth of Russia. 

Bakilnin was undoubtedly a disturbing element in the League 
of Peace and Liberty. His address, able fragment of a summary of 
social and political development as it was, the peculiarities of the 
author's point of view being taken into account, was also an ironical 
criticism of the membership of the League. " Here we have," he 
said, " Sabreurs and priests — ^why not also gens d'armes?*' The 
League was, in fact, composed of well-meaning sentimentalists and 
of persons who found association with it the most convenient means 
of making themselves internationally conspicuous. Bakunin en- 
deavoured by means of a resolution to capture the League for the 
Socialist propaganda. This resolution was defeated by eighty votes 
to thirty, and he thereupon seceded from the League and estab- 
lished a new organization which, though it was short-lived, was 
nevertheless not wanting in significance. He called this associa- 
tion " L' Alliance Internationale de la Democratie sociaUste." Its 
programme left little to be desired by the most thoroughgoing 
nihilism. " The Alliance declares itself for atheism. It desires 
the aboUtion of all cults, the replacement of faith by science, and 
of divine by human justice, and the abolition of marriage as a 
poUtical, religious, juridical, and civil institution. It desires also 
definitive and complete abolition of classes, and poUtical, economic, 
and social equality of individuals and of sexes, * involving equal 
profit of production and equal means of education in all branches 
of knowledge, industry, and art.' " ^ 

The International now became a field in which four different 
but related struggles were waged with great animosity, imtil eventu- 
ally the International was wrecked by them. These struggles were : 
firsi, the struggle between the statists and the anti-statists, or 

^ Introduction by " N." to Bakunin, CEuvres (Paris, 1895), p. xxiv. 

* (EuvreSy pp. 1-205. 

» Meyer, op. cit., p. 136. The groundwork of the programme is to be foimd 
in Fidiralisme, Socialisme et Anti-ihiologisme, mentioned above. Bakiinin 
seems to have developed his theory of anarchism in Siberia. His first writ- 
ings which exhibit this tendency appear to have been composed in 1863. (C/. 
Nettlau, op. cit.y p. 43.) 


between the Social Democrats, who aimed at a powerful democratic 
republic, and the anarchists, who objected to the exercise of autho- 
rity, whether this authority were in the hands of a despot or of a 
democracy ; second, the struggle as regards method between those 
who desired to proceed by legal and constitutional steps towards 
the capture of the representative chambers and the control of the 
mechanism of government, and those who conceived that the only 
effective path of reform was through " riot " — ^the former being in 
general statists and the latter anti-statists ; third, the struggle 
between those who advocated the individual autonomy of the 
national groups which composed the International, and those who 
advocated control by a strong central executive ; and fourlh, the 
struggle between the revolutionary socio-political aims and the 
aims of the trade unions properly so called, involving merely the 
control of wages and of the conditions of emplo5mient, and not 
involving any drastic political or social changes. 

Bakunin, almost from the beginning of his relations with the 
International, was hostile to Marx, partly because of the funda- 
mental divergence of their views in the first three struggles which 
have been described, and partly because of radical difference of 
temperament. Not only Bakunin, however, but many others, 
among them notably the French group, found Marx domineering. 
The plain fact was that Marx exhibited the faults of his qualities. 
He was, moreover, generally consistent with his central point of 
view,^ a circumstance which brought him into conflict with those 
whose opinions upon social progress were even more fluid than his 

Meanwhile the general economic movement had been bringing 
the industrial problem through new phases. The Civil War in 
America reacted upon England and Western Europe through the 
diminution of demand for general merchandise and the cessation 
of the supply of cotton. Unemployment and distress followed, 
but during the years of war and of trade depression money was 
plentiful and cheap, and a furore of company promotion made its 
appearance. This furore had its appropriate conclusion in the 
collapse and panic of 1866, intensified as these were by the economic 

^ How far this central point of view was Socialist in any incontrovertible 
sense is open to question. Cf. the acute criticism of Marx by V. Simkhovich, 
in Marxism versus Socialism (New York, 191 3). || 


disturbance caused by the Prussian campaign against Austria. 
Sadowa (3rd July 1866) brought peace, but five years elapsed before 
trade resumed its previous channels, the period of depression being 
prolonged by the Franco- Prussian War. Immediately after the 
close of that war trade recovered rapidly, and the following years, 
1871-1874, were years of unusual industrial prosperity. During 
the period of inferior activity, deepening into depression, or be- 
tween 1861 and 1871, wages were low and profits were insignificant. 
All the conditions existed for the emergence of industrial disputes. 
These disputes, resulting as they did in numerous strikes in every 
part of Europe, provided for the time " rich material for agitation '* ; 
but when conditions changed and when wages advanced, as they 
did by leaps and bounds between 1871 and 1874, the agitation, 
deprived of its material stimulus, became less influential. These 
conditions reflected themselves in the congresses of the Inter- 
national. In 1868 the French Government had suppressed the 
French branch of the International, though some of the individual 
members still retained their connection with the central organiza- 
tion. In 1869 a congress was held at Basle (6th to 9th September). 
The influence of the trade union principle is evident in the resolu- 
tion of this congress. Current events determined this. Strikes 
had been going on throughout the winter in the cotton trade, 
among coal miners, &c. These strikes had been entered upon by 
local organizations of the industries in question. The value of 
these strikes and of the local organizations to the International in 
a propagandist sense was obvious. It became therefore politic to 
encourage the formation of individual groups, proposing only to 
support their proceedings by the united force of the International. 
In this way the International assumed a practical character which 
had not previously been very manifest.^ 

Although the International had been to a large extent domi- 
nated by Germans, it had not succeeded in establishing itself in 
Germany. This was due to the fact that the German Socialist 

1 At the congress held in Brussels in 1868 the number of working men 
represented is stated at 1,000,000, and at the congress at Basle, at 2,000,000 
(Malon, op. ctt., p. 20). These figures and others issued at the time of various 
congresses are open to suspicion ; yet the number of nominal adherents was 
considerable. The number of effective leaders was small, but they were for- 
midable, because of their activity and because, like stormy petrels, they 
appeared wherever the political atmosphere was tempestuous. 


elements had been organized under the leadership of Lassalle.i 
After the death of Lassalle, in 1864, the "Universal German 
Workers' Association," ^ which he had formed, was presided over 
successively by Becker, Tolcke, and Schweitzer. On ist July 1867 
the North German Bund was created, and shortly afterwards the 
elections to the North German Reichstag were open to universal 
male suffrage.^ Schweitzer, Bebel, and other leading SociaUsts 
were elected. The original " Universal Association " was sup- 
pressed by the police at Leipzig on i6th September 1868.* Although 
another similar association was immediately founded by Schweitzer 
in Berlin,*^ the leadership of German Socialism was destined to fall 
into other hands. 

Liebknecht and Bebel, at the general meeting of the new associa- 
tion held at Barmen on 28th March 1869, brought an impeach- 
ment against Schweitzer. Their attack was unsuccessful,* but 
Schweitzer's authority was seriously impaired. Schweitzer was, 
moreover, shortly afterwards arrested and imprisoned. 

Meanwhile Liebknecht and Bebel were endeavouring to enlist 
the sympathies of the SaxoiTand South German working men for 
the International. From 1866 they had been availing themselves 
of every opportunity, and by 1868 they had won over a majority 
of the German working men's associations. The struggle between 
the group upon whom the mantle of Lassalle had fallen and the 
group led by Marx through Liebknecht and Bebel came to a head 
at the Eisenach congress, held 7th to 9th August 1869. The com- 
batants formed a curious group. According to Franz Mehring, 
on one side were Schweitzer, a ** hireHng " of Bismarck, and Tolcke, 
an " uneasy criminal " ; while on the other side were Liebknecht, 
an easy-going ally of the middle class, and Bebel, a stipendiary of 

^ Ferdinand Lassalle (i 825-1 864). For a sketch of his career, see Dawson, 
W. H., German Socialism and Lassalle (London, 1891) ; for Lassalle's point 
of view, see his Working Man's Programme (EngUsh translation, London, n. d.)- 

2 Allgemeiner Deutscher Arbeiterverein. 

' C/. Election Law of 31st May 1869, which embodied the previous law. 

• For an account of the proceedings which led to its suppression, see 
Mehring, F., Geschichte der Deutschen Soxialdemokratie, 4th edition (Stuttgart, 
1909), iii. pp. 314-29. 

• loth October 1868. Mehring, op. cit., iii. p. 341. 

• Forty-two delegates, representing 7400 members, voted confidence in 
Schweitzer, and fourteen delegates refrained from voting, out of a total of 
fifty-seven delegates. Mehring, op. cit., iii. pp. 352-53. 


the ex-King of Hanover.^ The German labour movement had 
fallen into strange hands. Schweitzer was still in prison ; but 
Tolcke appeared at Eisenach at the head of loo delegates with 
mandates from 102,000 workers. On the other side there were 
262 delegates with mandates from 140,000 workers. The struggle 
began with mutual recriminations and accusations of ** mandate 
swindles." * It is possible that both sides were equally offenders. 
The Eisenach congress marked the close of the influence of Lassalle ; 
but another " strife of factions " took place immediately after- 
wards at the Basle congress of the International.^ The result of 
these struggles was an undoubted victory for Marxism. The 
International had passed through its early eclectic phase and had 
become more and more a Marxist organization. The congress at 
Basle represents, however, the high-water mark of the influence 
of the International. From that moment it began to decline. The 
reasons for this are complex ; but the more important may be thus 
summarized. The Franco-Prussian war, which was looked upon 
as a war of defence by the German working men's associations, was 
not so regarded in France. The budding aUiance between the 
German working men and their fellows in other countries through 
the International was thus nipped almost in the beginning. The 
growth of a new and very powerful State, uniting the North Ger- 
man poUtical units, brought in many ways a new factor into the 
field of international relations. Although the full effect of the 
readjustment did not become obvious until much later, the decay 
of international proletarian feehng may be traced from that moment, 
as well as the growth of nationalist and even rival nationahst aims 
among the working men. It is therefore not surprising that con- 
temporaneously with the victory of the Marxists' dialectics and 
tactics, there should have been a real defeat of IntemationaUsm. 
This became evident in the year 1870. The congress was to have 
been held in Paris, but the outbreak of war rendered the holding 
of it there impossible, and it was not held at all. When in the 
spring of 1871 the rising of the Commune of Paris occurred, Marx 
endeavoured to organize its operations in detail from London,* a 

1 Mehring, op. cit.y iii. p. 364. * Ibid., p. 366. 

• The Eisenach congress was held from 7th to 9th August, and the Basle 
congress from 5th to 12th September 1869. 

* Yet the rising of the Commune had little in common with Marxism. 
Marx's attempt to control it was one of the inconsistencies of his career, 



proceeding which was not merely futile, but which was also quite 
destructive of the influence of the International both with the 
French socialists and with the English trade unions.^ No congress 
was held in i8'i7i ; but in September 1872 a congress was held at 
the Hague, where the struggle of factions was resumed. 

The controversies at the Hague may be divided into two related 
groups — those relating to Marx's personal dictatorship and to his 
control of the General Council, whose poHcy he had been directing 
since the Basle congress of 1869 ; and those upon questions of 
principle — the most important of these being the controversy 
between the advocates of political and those of non-political 
Socialism. The first controversies issued in an attempt to abolish 
the General Council. This was only defeated by a strategic man- 
oeuvre of Marx, who proposed that it be removed from Europe 
to America. The second controversy was the more important. 
The leader of those who were opposed to political action of a con- 
stitutional character by the International was Bakunin, who now 
came forward as the chief antagonist of Marx. There was nothing 
new in non-political propaganda — the trade union movement in 
England had been predominantly non-political in its agitation, 
the co-operative movement and the friendly society movement 
had both been wholly non-political — ^the two last, at least, entirely 
peaceful and non-revolutionary movements. But Bakunin did not 
advocate measures of that kind. He urged strongly that the con- 
ventional political methods were understood and practised with 
greater skill and success by the bourgeoisie than by the proletariat, 
and that, therefore, the proletariat must always in that field either 
be cheated or defeated by the bourgeoisie. Bakunin also urged that 
the bourgeoisie must succeed better than the proletariat in all 
contests of speech-making or of writing. Propaganda carried on 
by these means must thus in the end be recognized as useless. 
Therefore, the only effective propaganda is the " Propaganda of 
the Deed." Moreover, he looked upon political action on the part 
of the proletariat as contributing in so far as it might be successful 
to the increase of the power of the State and, therefore, to the 
diminution of individual liberty. 

1 Marx thus fell between two stools. In his more recent polemics he had 
scouted the idea of revolutionary as opposed to evolutionary processes. He 
plunged ineffectively and gratuitously into the one and offended those whom 
he had induced to beUeve in the other. 


The moderate elements of the International had been offended 
by Marx's patronage of the Commune, and deprived of their aid 
Marx had no sufficient majority to obtain a clear victory over 
Bakrmin. He nevertheless defended himself against the attack 
of Bakunin with great skill ; ^ but the International was doomed. 
One more congress was held in Geneva in 187^. Then the Inter- 
national passed to New York, where it expired in 1876. In its 
later years neither Marx nor Engels took any interest in its pro- 

The International played in its day a considerable r61e. It 
frightened every Government in Europe rather by what it appeared 
to be able to do than by what it actually did. This dread was 
after all created rather by what Marx opposed than by what he 

It is now necessary to notice the effect of these Western Euro- 
pean incidents and controversies upon contemporary Russian 

The interpretation given by one of them of the disputes of the 
International in 1873 may serve as illustration. 

" The West European International Association of Working 
Men, or as it was called at that time, * The International,' had fallen 
into two camps — Social Democratic and anarcliistic. The Social 
Democrats proposed that they should take possession of the 
Reichstag gradually by means of legal agitation and elections, in 
order, in the more or less remote future, to transform the German 
bourgeois-constitutional Empire into a Socialist State. The 
anarchists proposed completely to destroy the State as an authori- 
tative estabUshment. They denied that the influence of authority 
is beneficial, no matter in whose hands the authority might be 
placed, and affirmed that real equality could be brought into ex- 
istence only by free agreement between people, and not at all by 
means of State decrees and State reforms. The first appeared to 
be statists and the second anti-statists. When these two adverse 
propositions were placed before the Russian youth, they expressed 
themselves by a great majority for anarchy. I do not undertake 
here to point out the causes of this phenomenon. May be it was 
caused by the facts that we Russians have become tired of State 
intervention, and that in the State we see an enemy to progress 

^ Mehring, op, cit., iv. pp. 53 and 54. 



rather than an aid to it ; and also that we have no Reichstag, and 
nowhere to send our deputies. However it was, almost all ex- 
pressed themselves in favour of anarchist theories." ^ 

The distinction is put with more precision by Prince Kropotkin. 

" The conflict between the Marxists and the Bakunists was not 
a personal affair. It was the necessary conflict between the prin- 
ciples of federalism and those of centralization, the free commune 
and the State's paternal rule, the free action of the masses of the 
people and the betterment of existing capitalist conditions through 
legislation — a conflict between the Latin spirit and the German 
Geist, which, after the defeat of France on the battlefield, claimed 
supremacy in science, politics, philosophy, and in Socialism too, 
representing its own conception of Socialism as ' scientific,* while 
all other interpretations it described as * Utopian.' " ^ 

The controversy was not a new one. It had been waged with 
bitterness in the eighteenth century. Centralization had been one 
of the causes of the French Revolution, and federalism had been the 
leading principle of the constitution of the United States. The 
political history of Russia had been a history of progressive cen- 
tralization ; but in the solitary respect in which the superiority of 
the system was universally admitted, viz. in the consolidation of a 
great military power, the system had ignominiously broken down.^ 
The Crimean War had shown that incompetent centralization was 
quite fatal. It was thus not surprising that to the Russian mind 
of that period federalism should offer more promise of political and 
material progress ; nor is it surprising that the characteristic en- 
thusiasm and directness of Russian speculative thought should 
carry it to extremes. 

The principal avenue of federalist and anarchist influences 
through which they reached the Russian youth at that time was 
Zurich, where some three hundred Russians were living either as 

^ Debogoriy-Mokrievich, Reminiscences (St Petersburg, 1906), p. 81. 

' Prince Kropotkin, Memoirs, p. 386. At this period Marx had no in- 
fluence in North Germany, where the LassaUists held the field, and but little 
influence in South Germany, He had also but Httle influence in Russia at 
that time. 

' Cf. the discussion upon Federalism versus Centralization in De Tocque- 
ville, Democracy in America (ed. New York, 1838), p. 152, chap. ix. ; in J. S. 
Mill's Representative Government, and in Freeman's History of Federal Govern- 
ments. See also the disputes about centralization among the Russian Social 
Democratic groups, infra, chap. ix. 


students or as political exiles. Although all were favourable to 
anarchist rather than to Social Democratic opinions, they were by 
no means agreed upon one form of federalism. 

There were, indeed, two sharply divided schools. One was the 
school of Bakunin, who lived at Locarno ; and the other was the 
school of Lavrov,^ who resided in Zurich. 

The distinction between these two groups was a customary 
distinction in such cases. Both approved of revolutionary means to 
achieve the social revolution ; but the Lavrists believed in the 
poUcy of permeation — ^the gradual spreading of revolutionary ideas 
among the people, while the Bakunists believed in " riot " as an 
instrument of progress ; because dissatisfaction with the existing 
order was already prevalent, and a riot always afforded an oppor- 
tunity of transference into a popular uprising or a revolution. 
Even if the riot were suppressed, rioting would, nevertheless, be a 
school in which the people might be educated in the desired direc- 
tion and in which the people might be revolutionized — that is, 
made capable of creating the revolution.^ 

The various ideas of the International, irreconcilable as they 
proved, were fructif5dng in the minds of the Russian youth, discon- 
tented as they were with the political condition of their own country 
and with the oppression under which they beUeved the working 
men of all countries were suffering. Questions of principle were 
hotly discussed among the Russian youth at Zurich generally, as is 
the Russian manner, in loud voices on the streets, in restaurants, 
or in their rooms.^ 

The idea, which had been from the beginning more or less widely 

^ Piotr Lavrovich Lavrov (1823-1901), colonel of artillery and Professor 
of Mathematics. Arrested and sent to the Ural Mountains, from which he 
escaped. In 1874 he went to London, where he published a newspaper, 
Forward. " He belonged to the Social Democratic wing of the Socialist 
movement ; but he was too widely learned and too much of a philosopher 
to join the German Social Democrats in their ideals of a centralized communist 
State, or in their narrow interpretation of history" (Prince Kropotkin, 
Ideals and Realities in Russian Literature (London, 1905), p. 277). Lavrov 
pubhshed an unfinished History of Modern Thought, in four or five vols., 
from an evolutionary point of view. His chief influence upon the Russian 
youth was exercised in 1 870-1 873 through his Historical Letters, pubhshed 
under the pseudonym of "Mirtov" (Kropotkin, loc. cit.). For a sketch 
of the life of Lavrov, see L'HumanitS Nouvelle (Paris, 1900), xxxvii. 

PP- 35-49. 

' Cf. Debogoriy-Mokrievich, op. cit., pp. 95, ^6. 
* Debogoriy-Mokrievich, op, cit., p. 80. 


accepted in the International, and which had been also in accord- 
ance with the general attitude both of Lavrov and of Bakunin, to 
the effect that the working class mtist work out its own poUtical 
and social salvation, came to be widely entertained by the Russian 
youth in Zurich and elsewhere. Their acceptance of this notion 
did not, however, soothe them into inaction ; on the contrary, it 
presented itself to them as an imperative impulse towards them- 
selves becoming working men. To joinjthe working class thus 
became an object of ambition. The only means by which the 
people could be understood and aided was to become one of them.* 
Beside this idea, the strife of factions in the International and the 
sphtting up of its ranks into rival sects, occupying themselves with 
economical and political dogmatics, assumed a small place. 

In Russia this idea sent in the early seventies large numbers of 
educated persons into the country to live the life and to share the 
burdens of the peasants. At ^he same time and under the same 
influences, Russian students and others living abroad went to work 
as artisans, and even as railway navvies^on the lines then being 
constructed in Switzerland. Having qualified in such ways, they 
then became members of one of the local branches of the Inter- 
national. ^This movement towards the people came to be known as 
V Narod.^ ^ There remains merely to be indicated, as arising out of 
the activities of Bakunin, the formation of the ** Federation of the 
Jura" ^ and the propaganda of anarchist opinions among working 
men, especially in the Latin countries, by Bakunin and his adherents, 
Varlin in France, ^Caesar de Paepe in Belgium, Cafiero in Italy, and 

^ Bakunin had himself attempted this in Lyons in 1871. Cf. ibid., p. 85. 
^ For an account of the V Narod< movement, see next chapter. 
3 Cf. the letters of JBakunin to the Jura Internationals, (Euvres (Paris, 
1895), PP- 207 et seq., and Kropotkin, Memoirs, pp. 387 et seq. 



The movement which impelled the educated youth of Russia to 
go among the people and to h'e of the people arose partly out of the 
general state of feeling which the International had done much 
to engender in Western Europe, and which had had an echo inf^ 
the minds of the Russian youth. Yet the movement was never- 
theless characteristically Russian. It had no counterpart elsewhere. I 
It was the logical outcome of a state of mind which had gradually 
been subject to intensification, especially since emancipation. . 
The disasters of the Crimean War had aroused everyone to the ^ 
.fact that the Russian people occupied two quite separate and 
distant worlds. There could be no national cohesion so long as 
this phenomenon presented itself. Emancipation had formally 
restored the peasant to human dignity in a juridical sense, but 
some organic change was necessary in order that he might be able 
to avail himself of his newly acquired opportunities. The " knot " 
of bondage had left an impression upon him. He hardly yet felt 
his limbs released from its pressure. The formality of emancipa- 
tion was not enough. Society could not become homogeneous unless 
one-half knew how the other half lived, and as it was they did 
not do so. If it was difficult for a gentleman to see the world through 
the eyes of a peasant, it was still more difficult for a peasant to 
see the world through the eyes of a gentleman. Education had 
been in effect a monopoly of the superior class, and so long as it 
remained so the freedom ensured by emancipation was a mere 
juridical fact, destitute of social value. How was all this to be 
altered ? 

This problem struck the Russian aristocratic youth like a blow 
in the face, and produced in them varying emotions. Some of 
them, trained as they were in the physical and mental sciences, 
experienced a revolt against the apparent .selfishness of pursuing 


these studies while the mass of the people were not only deprived 
of the luxury of doing so,^ but were hardly able to keep body and 
soul together. Some of these proceeded to apply their training, 
such as it was, to the solving of this momentous question. But 
science afforded no cut-and-dried solution. Ages of discussion 
notwithstanding, patent and obvious facts of human life were still 
unexplained. To some this proved the futility of study. All ques- 
tions could not be solved even by the most arduous labour. There- 
fore it were best to act, and not to waste time in researches. Others 
insisted that intellectual labour simply removed the student farther 
from the people. The peasant was not intelligent, thus it was 
useless to hope to become like him by cultivating the intelligence. 
This attitude led to the adoption of mere formulae. " Do you 
consent to go at once to the people ? " " Yes." ** Then you are 
ours ! " What the convert was to do when he went to the people 
was a detail unworthy of attention. Peasants and working men 
alike were idealized, and when by actual contact was some real 
understanding achieved, the disiUusionment was frequently too 
^ great for the raw enthusiast. Many working men were themselves 
demoralized by the flattery of the ardent intelligentsia. " Working 
men are heroes, and the gentlemen are useless ! " Such phrases 
and " such an attitude of mind were a logical consequence of our 
outlook," Debogoriy-Mokrievich says in his frank and interesting 
Reminiscences.^ In the winter of 1873-1874 the members of various 
groups and circles remained in the cities, working at carpentry and 
the like, living with and as working men. Their work was in- 
efficient and unreal ; sometimes even from mere restlessness, some- 
times from desire to see as many phases as possible, they moved 
about from place to place, and learned little in any of them. In 
the spring of 1874 there was a great migration to the villages. 
/ Enthusiastic youths bought sheepskin coats, manufactured pass- 
/ ports, and prepared for assuming the life of peasants. Again they 
/ wandered about ; the novelty of the impressions kept them inter- 
I ested for a time, but it soon became apparent that nothing could 
\ come of these wanderings. Then arose an enthusiasm for entering 

^ " What right had I to these highest joys " (original researches upon the 
influence of the polar-ice cap) " when all around me was nothing but misery 
and struggle for a mouldy bit of bread." Prince Kropotkin, Memoirs, p. 240. 

* Debogoriy-Mokrievich, op. cit., p. 117. 



into the life of the people in an organic way. One enthusiast 
became a teacher, another a male nurse, another a craftsman, and 
so on. More might be hoped for from this, but no effect could be 
expected from the process in any short time. 

When the V Narod movement began, it was supposed that the 
peasants were eager for some drastic settlement of the land ques- 
tion, and that they would listen to any revolutionary solution of 
it. Soon it became apparent that the peasants were waiting for 
some miracle to happen, and that the idea of their doing anything 
to facilitate this miracle was quite out of the question. All changes 
I must come from above. Even when the peasants realized that 
'they were the victims of some specific act of injustice, either at 
the hands of the authorities or at those of the landowners, they 
simply murmured : "It seems that from our birth it was so de- 
signed." 1 "If, on one hand, poverty and perpetual oppression \ 
may bring q| man to acts of desperation, on the other they may j 
bring him to idiot cy." ^ " The peasants were moreover afraid to [ 
leave the known present for the unknown future. . . . They were , 
accustomed to obey and never to protest, and the purpose seemed \ 
to them too remote." ^ ♦^'V^c.'Cr 

Ardent and picturesque as in the best the V Narod movement 
was, the flippant student was speedily discouraged, and even 
serious observers and workers found that they made little pro- 
gress. The plain fact was that the peasants were not ready even 
/j for so mild a revolutionary movement as the V Narod offered. 
There is little evidence to show that the movement contained any 
peril for the Government. Had it been left alone, it would almost 
inevitably have died a natural death, both in the towns and in 
the country. JBut the Governm^iUjell into a.state_ of^panic. 
felt that the V Naroltmav^iSit must be suppressed. Suppressed 
it was. Wholesale arrests were made. Those who went into the 
people were hunted down. " The hunt spread all over Russia. 
They grasped right and left, innocent and guilty alike, sparing 
nobody, and halting for nothing." * This state of matters demora- 
lized the police and the authorities. Careers were made by those 
who engaged in these battues. Fear settled down upon everyone. 

^ E. Breshkovsky, quoted by Debogoriy-Mokrievich, op. cit., p. 180. 

* Ibid. « Ibid., p. 181. 

* Debogoriy-Mokrievich, op. cit., p. 182. 

in y 


Even those who disapproved of these proceedings were compelled 
to keep silence.^ 

" The V Narod movement was a failure. Yet," says Debo- 
goriy-Mokrievich, " we succeeded in producing that about which 
we did not care at all — the sjnnpathy of the thinking layers of 
Russian society." ^ The Government prosecutions intensified this 
sympathy, and little by little there began to grow the struggle 
between the Russian intelligentsia and the autocracy." ^ Thus 
failure as it was so far as immediate results were concerned, the 
\ V Narod movement undoubtedly contributed, in spite of the hos- 
M tility of the Government, and largely because of it, towards bring- 
ing more closely together the different elements of Russian society, 
and towards a better understanding of the real nature of the prob- 
lems presented by the lives of peasants but recently brought 
out of bondage. ^^ 

According to the secret report of Count Pahlen, written in 1875,* 
the greater part of European Russia was covered, towards the 
end of the year 1874, by a network of revolutionary groups. 
Thirty-seven out of fifty-one guberni were affected. The number 
of persons described as belonging to these groups was 770, of whom 
158 were women. At the date of the report 265 were in prison, 
452 were allowed to be at large, and 53 were undiscovered. Among 
the groups were persons of all ages and of all social positions.^ 
This report became the foundation of the prosecution of the 193, 
which marked the close of the peaceful agitation of the V Narod 

It seems to be quite clear that for a considerable time after the 
V Narod movement began there was in it nothing of a conspirative 
character. If there was, it was sporadic and trifling. The move- 
ment was too open and too eclectic for it to assume a general char- 
acter of a conspirative order. Its very eclecticism rendered it open, 
no doubt, to entrance by conspirators, but in the nature of the case, 

* Debogoriy-Mokrievich, op. cit., p. 183. ^ /^^-^ 3 md., p. 184. 

* Published in Deutsche Rundschau, vol. xxvii. (Berlin, 1881), p. 351 et seq. 
5 Op. cit., p. 358. 

* Stepniak says that the total number of imprisonments in connection 
with the trial was 1400, of whom 700 were shortly set free. The remainder 
were kept in prison for periods of from one to four years. Of the 193, 
73 either became insane or committed suicide, or both, during the four years 
over which the trials extended. Yet only 40 of the total number were 
eventually found guilty. Russia under the Tsars, chap. xiv. 


adherents of this type must have been few in number. When the 
suppression began, and when ** going to the people " involved risk of 
prosecution, the more timid elements tended to drop out and the 
bolder elements to remain ; and thus, although the two movements 
were distinct, even peaceful adherents of V Narod, proscribed and 
hunted, gradually formulated for themselves ideas hostile to the 
State, and some of them became active revolutionaries. Their 
mode of life was inimical to any settled ideas. They moved about 
continually, now in Russia, now in Switzerland, smuggling broad- 
sheets and pamphlets printed on thin so-called " conspirative " 
paper, sometimes succeeding in circulating these and sometimes 
falling into the hands of the police. In the latter event they were 
consigned to solitary confinement in some fortress. Deprived of 
books and of communication with their fellows even before trial, 
when they came before their judges, already generally prejudiced 
against them, they frequently exhibited the effects of the nervous 
strain to which they had been subjected.^ Many of them became 
insane, some committed suicide, or deliberately assailed their guards, 
hoping that a shot would put an end to their sufferings. 

Meanwhile the Government was passing through its most cor- 
rupt phase. It seemed to have fallen altogether into the hands of a 
formidable combination of peculators — Shouvalov, Potapov, Trepov 
— " while all the active men of the reform period had been brushed 
aside." * The State lands and the Treasury were plundered remorse- 
lessly. Through an isolated revolutionary act the scandalous situation 
was disclosed. Trepov, who was chief of the St. Petersburg police, 
had ordered a political prisoner ^ to be flogged in prison. Aroused 
by this act. Vera Zasulich shot at Trepov.* Although he afterwards 
recovered, Trepov believed himself to be mortaUy wounded, and 
made his will. This document revealed the possession of a con- 
siderable and previously unsuspected fortime, and gave rise to an 
investigation before the Senate sitting as a court of justice. Trepov 

^ Witness the case of Mushkin, whose speech in court is given by 
Debogoriy-Mokrievich. op. cit., pp. 188-90. The speech is described by 
Stepniak as having had an extraordinary effect throughout the country. 
Russia under the Tsars, chap, xviii. 

* Kropotkin, Memoirs, p. 242. 

' The student Bogolyubov, who had been arrested for participation in 
the demonstration before the Kazan Cathedral in St. Petersburg. 

* 23rd January 1878. 


was found guilty of peculation and dismissed. His assailant was 
tried, and acquitted. The deed of Vera Zasdlich created a profound 
impression throughout the V Narod groups. 

Up till the period of the wholesale arrests, the activities of those 
who went into the V Narod movement seem to have consisted in the 
circulation of books and pamphlets, and in propaganda of a more 
or less socialistic character among peasants and working men. In 
neither case could it be said that the revolutionary effects were 
important. When, however, these activities were arrested, some 
of those who had been engaged in them formed groups for propaganda 
of another kind. Various as were the t5rpes of socialism represented 
in the V Narod movement, their adherents agreed in general in the] 
doctrine that changes in the administration of government could | 
not alone bring about the regeneration of society. They looked 
with scorn upon contemporary liberalism, and indeed upon political 
action of all kinds. But they found by experience that whether or 
not political measures could promote a social revolution, they could 
do much to retard one. In spite of their doctrines they felt them- 
selves drawn into the position that the political situation must be 
altered, otherwise the social situation would remain as it was. 
Numerous groups formed themselves upon this new platform. 
Among these there was, in the year 1877, a small group at Kiev 
composed of some half a dozen students and others.^ According 
to Debogoriy-Mokrievich, it would appear that on the initiative of 
Valerian Osinsky,^ two or three members of this group decided upon 
an attempt to kill Kotlyarevsky, who, as public prosecutor, had in- 
vestigated the Chigirin case.^ 

The attempt was a failure,* but the group decided that it was 

^ A lively account is given of this group by Debogoriy-Mokrievich, 
op. cit., pp. 326 et sea. 

* For sketches of Osinsky, see Stepniak, Underground Russia, and Narod- 
naya Volya, No. 2, ist October 1879 (reprinted in Literature of the Social- 
Revolutionary Party, Narodnoe Vole (Paris, 1905), pp. 101-16). See also infra, 
p. 120. 

* The Chigirin case arose out of an accusation that the peasants of 
Chigirin were robbed by the Narodneke. The charges were that the 
peasants had been called upon to subscribe 5 kopeks each monthly, and 
that one-half of this sum only was devoted to the purposes of the movement ; 
the other half being appropriated by the Narodneke personally. (C/. Osinsky 's 
speech before the court in Literature, &c., p. 113.) 

* It was made on 23rd February 1878, a month after the attack upon 
Trepov by Vera ZasiiUch. (C/. Debogoriy-Mokrievich, op. cit., p. 329. 
See also infra, pp. 120-122.) 


expedient to make a public declaration of the reasons for the at- 
tempt. This they did by means of printed placards which were 
posted at night in the streets of Kiev. In order to give this declara- 
tion a formidable air, the placards were stamped " The Executive 
Committee." Debogoriy-Mokrievich says that this was the origin 
of the Executive Committee which afterwards entered upon the 
Terror that ended with the assassination of Alexander 11.^ ** Of 
whom this Executive Committee consisted (in 1878) it would be 
difficult to say, because it did not possess any definite organization. 
Everybody acted according to his own opinions. Osinsky, Iviche- 
vich, and some others apparently looked upon the affair very 
seriously. So also did my brother, who saw in it an attempt at a 
struggle of a political character. ' Up till now,' he said to me, ' you 
have been discussing about V Narod ; there has been in all this very 
little of revolutionism. You have been throwing the beans upon 
the kissel.^ As soon as the affair has reached your own interests, 
you see the result. They are shooting there at Tr^pov, here at 
Kotlyarevsky. There is no use in shutting one's eyes. These are 
facts of political struggle. . . . Just think of how many peasants 
have been flogged by ispravneke and governors ; nobody shoots 
them for that ; but Trepov tried once to flog an intelligent revolu- 
tionary, and he was punished. Thus, my brother, neither socialism 
nor V Narod is concerned in this thing.' " ^ 

This was undoubtedly a sound diagnosis. However natural 
and inevitable the transition from Narodnechestvo or the V Narod 
movement to the revolutionary Narodnaya Volya, the spirit of the 
two movements was not the same. The old Narodnechestvo looked 
upon political freedom as an advantage for the upper classes of 
society, because it would give them a definite political status and 
would greatly strengthen their position ; but this result would be 
disadvantageous for the mass of the people, because the more 
powerful are the enemies of the masses, the worse for the masses 
themselves.* The revolutionary Narodovoltsi, on the other hand, 
while they began by demanding political freedom in the form of 
constitutional guarantees, went on later to urge that, since a con- 

* There was, however, no precise continuity. For an account of the 
origin of the Executive Committee as eventually organized, see infra, p. 125. 

* That is, wasting time. 

* Debogoriy-Mokrievich, op. cit., pp. 333-4. 

* Ibid., p. 599. This was the view of Bakiinin. 


stitutional regime might be utilized by the bourgeoisie for their 
own advantage, political freedom must be employed for the pur- 
pose of securing a fundamental change in the whole social struc- 
ture.^ Debogoriy-Mokrievich points out quite soundly that, if 
the NarodovoUsi had confined themselves to the single aim of secur- 
ing a constitution, they would have gained allies among the Liberal 
elements. Apart from the characteristic reluctance of all Russian 
parties to ally themselves with one another, the NarodovoUsi were 
embarrassed by two ideas of doubtful validity : first, the possi- 
bility of transforming directly, without an intermediate phase of 
parliamentary constitutionalism, a " semi- Asiatic " ^ and highly 
heterogeneous Empire into a socialist state, corresponding more 
or less closely to their utopist ideas of what such a state ought to 
be ; and second, the possibility of overthrowing a Government 
whose weakness, as events showed almost immediately, was greatly 
exaggerated by them. 

While the NarodovoUsi laid stress upon political freedom, and 
the V Narod propagandists did not, they were in a strict sense 
both engaged in political movements. Stepniak,^ who was a 
member of both groups, recognizes this fully. " This movement '* 
(the early V Narod) " was in reality directed against our political 
system, for only a new free State could successfully take up and 
solve the agrarian question." * Stepniak goes on to say that the 
reason for the failure of the V Narod movement was that ** the 
young generation could not formulate its real desires, and the 
educated class could not understand the young generation. The 

1 Debogoriy-Mokrievich, op. cit., p. 570. ^ Jbid^ 

' Sergius Stepniak (i 852-1 897) (real name Serghei Kravchinsky) was a 
lieutenant of artillery when he threw himself, in 1873, into the V Narod 
movement. In Count Pahlen's secret report (cited above) he is described as 
one of the four or five principal figures in the propaganda among St. Petersburg 
working men. He also carried on a propaganda among the peasants. Under 
the influence of the repressions, Stepniak became an active member of the 
NarodovoUsi, being at the time about twenty-six years of age. On 4th 
August 1 878, he shot and killed in broad dayhght in St, Petersburg, General 
Mezentsev, chief of the Third Section. He escaped from Russia and spent some 
years in Italy, where he wrote his Underground Russia, originally in Italian 
(afterwards in Russian and in English). He reached England about 1882, and 
resided there until his death by accident at a railway crossing near London 
in 1 897. Stepniak possessed a singularly attractive personality. His writings, 
especially his Career of a Nihilist (London, 1889) (written originally in English), 
exhibit very high artistic powers which, however, were even more observable 
in his conversation. 

* Nihilism as It is (London, n.d.), p. 16. 



young extremists were left to depend upon their own powers, and 
this fact condemned the movement beforehand to complete and 
fruitless destruction." ^ 

Yet some of the V Narod groups refused to be drawn into 
Narodnaya Volya. By temperament or conviction they were 
indisposed to engage in the Terror which now began to make its 
appearance. Those who adopted this attitude may be said to 
have fallen into two camps — one the old Narodnechestvo, the other 
the so-called Chorno Peredyelisi.^ The latter group devoted itself 
especially to the agrarian question, which it proposed to settle by 
a drastic redistribution of the land, retaining in general the old 
V Narod ideas. The Chorno Peredyeltsi seem to have consisted 
for the most part of students who were " preparing themselves " 
for revolutionary activity among the people. But " preparation " 
did not always go very far. In the older V Narod movement, 
those who were " preparing themselves " were also making 
perpetual attempts in practice.^ They were really learning in 
the school of life. From the point of view of the adherents of 
the old agitation, the Chorno Peredyeltsi were engaged in 
endless " preparation," and in endless discussions and drafting of 

The definite division of the Narodnechestvo into NarodovoUsi 
and Chorno Peredyeltsi took place at a meeting of revolutionary 
parties held at Lipetsk, 17th to 21st June 1879,^ when the party of 
action emerged as a new party, and the party of permeation, repre- 
sented by the Chorno Peredyeltsi, remained, adhering so far as 
programme was concerned to the original ideal of the V Narod 
movement. From this time onwards there was a struggle between 
the two revolutionary wings for influence upon the Russian youth. 
Both published newspapers. The party of action issued the Narod- 
naya Volya, and the other the Chorno Peredyel.^ 

^ Nihilism as It is (London, n.d.), p. 16. 

* Literally " Black repartition " — the black referring to the soil. 
^ Debogoriy-Mokrievich, op. cit., p. 574. 

* This meeting was continued at Voronej. Cf. infra. 

^ The first number of Narodnaya Volya is dated ist October 1879. It was 
suppressed in January 1880. This issue was succeeded by Listok Narodnoe 
Vole, the first number of which is dated ist June 1880. At the fifth number 
of that issue the title was changed to Narodnaya Volya. It continued to be 
published at intervals under this title until October 1885. The Chorno 
Peredyel was suspended in March 1880. 


The history of the Narodnaya Volya, which gave rise to the 
social-revolutionary party, is recounted later ; that of the Chorno 
Peredyeltsi may be briefly concluded. Although during the period 
of its existence it represented incipient social democracy, and while 
many of its members became social democrats, the activity of the 
group was practically destroyed in the reaction after 1881. Some 
of its members went abroad, and carried on from Switzerland and 
elsewhere a desultory propaganda. In the famine year of 1891 
there was a revival of the spirit of the Chorniy Peredyel in 
the Narodnoye Pravo, or Folks' Right Party. Many enthusiasts 
went to the people, as others had done eighteen years before. 
The movement was sternly put down by the Government 
in 1893. 

The close of the year 1876 and the whole course of the year 
1877 formed an important period in Russian revolutionary his- 
tory, because the repressions of the Government in connection 
with the V Narod movement at least contributed to the separation 
of the groups engaged in that agitation into two camps, one of 
which grew into a formidable force. Apart, however, from this 
incident, there were other signs of a new phase of revolutionary 
activity. The first revolutionary demonstration of this epoch 
took place in the Nevsky Prospekt, St. Petersburg, in front of the 
Kazan Cathedral, on 6th December 1876. This demonstration 
was organized by the group known as Zemlya e Volya ^ (Land and 
Freedom). Although this group was not a distinctively working 
men's society, the demonstration was attended by some working 
men. The bulk of the persons who attended the demonstration 
were, however, intelligentsia. The first revolutionary society of 
working men organized during this epoch was the North Russian 
Working Men's Union.^ This union had a combined economical 
and political platform. Its principal demands were " the limita- 
tion of working hours," " the prohibition of the labour of chil- 
dren," " the institution of co-operative associations," ^ the estab- 
lishment of " land credit banks with free credit for working men's 

^ See supra, p. 73. 

* Cf. Svyatlovsky, V. V., The Labour Movement in Russia (St. Petersburg, 
1907), p. 386. See also Stepniak, The Russian Storm Cloud, chap. ii. 

* The prominence of " co-operation " was due to the desire of the union 
to put an end to the system of " truck." 


associations." ^ According to the constitution of the union, only- 
working men might become members.^ 

^ This meant free State credit, or loans without interest to working men's 

2 In this respect the union resembled the typical trade union in England. 
In Canada and in the United States the line is not customarily so sharply 
drawn. Small masters and even Government officials occasionally find their 
way into labour councils. At the head of the North Russian Working Men's 
Union stood Victor Obnorsky and Step^n Khalturin (cf . infra, p. 1 27 ). The 
principal success of the union was among the St. Petersburg working men. 
The first issue of their newspaper, The Dawn of the Worker, was confiscated, 
and the printing office seized in February 1880. The views of the union 
were similar to those of Lassalle, and were probably derived from them. 
The Union was attacked by the Narodovolsti. Its reply to the attack is 
to be found in Zemlya e Volya, Nos. 3 and 5. On the activities of the Union, 
see also Stepniak, The Russian Storm Cloud, ch. ii. 





The transition from V Narod, or " Into the people," movement to 
Narodnaya Volya, or " The People's Will," has been described in 
the immediately preceding chapter. We have now to examine 
the significance of the role of the new group in Russian revolu- 
tionary history. Authentic data concerning terrorist parties are 
invariably difficult to procure. Conspirators do not usually en- 
cumber themselves with unnecessary pikes de conviction. Even 
the evidence brought before the courts during the more important 
trials throws somewhat meagre light upon the psychology of 
terrorist groups, and the actual share of individuals in the opera- 
tions of these groups is, for obvious reasons, in general elaborately 
concealed. Significant indications of the " state of mind " of the 
members of revolutionary parties are, however, to be obtained to 
a certain extent from the revolutionary newspapers, issued in 
spite of police surveillance and frequent suppression, and from the 
occasional manifestoes, broadsheets, and pamphlets printed abroad 
or in " underground " printing offices, as well as from memoirs 
published subsequently to the termination of the particular phases 
of the movement to which they refer. 

The documentary material relating to the Narodnaya Volya is 
not voluminous. From its beginning the Narodnaya Volya was 
harassed by the police. Such documents as were issued by it were 
issued in small numbers, and it does not appear that any complete 
collection of them exists, save possibly in the archives of the De- 
partment of Police in St. Petersburg.^ 

An article entitled " Delenda est Carthago," in the first issue 
of the Narodnaya Volya^ the party organ, reveals fairl;^ the point 

^ A collection of these documents, admittedly incomplete, has been pub- 
lished in Paris by the Social Revolutionary Central Committee, entitled, 
Literature of the Social-Revolutionary Party Narodnoe Vole, 1905. 

* No. I, ist October 1879, reprinted in volume above quoted. 



of view of the Narodovoltsi, or adherents of the party. According 
to this article, the political theory upon which the Russian Govern- 
ment is based involves the idea that the people exist for the Govern- 
ment, as opposed to the idea that the Government exists for the 
people. " The Russian State is thus unlike an European State. 
... It is not a commission of delegates of a ruling class, as in 
Europe, but it is an independent, self-existent organization, a 
hierarchical, disciplined association which holds the people in 
economical and political slavery. Even if there were no exploiting 
class, the State would remain as private owner of half of the terri- 
tory of Russia. One-half of the peasants are merely lessees of the 
lands of the State." Yet this formidable association can only 
maintain its unique position by constant repression, by prosecu- 
tions and by executions and exiles. " The northern provinces 
and Siberia are full of exiles " who have incurred the displeasure 
of the Government. The Government, self-existent as it is, lives 
apart from the people ; it leans not upon them, but upon the 
rude force which it commands throi^gh the discipline and passive 
obedience of those in its own ranks and through the political igno- 
rance of the masses. These masses, like all masses, " are inert 
and cowardly. They desire peace first of all, and they cease to 
prefer existing evil to an unknown and risky future, only when the 
pressure of the Government reaches a certain point." Thus all 
oppositional parties must watch for the moment when this point 
arrives. Social thought develops beneath the surface ; under 
Government repression, indeed, a spirit of criticism is fertilized by 
this very repression. But this spirit of criticism is timid and 
negative, and the social thought of the general mass is limited and 
" without comprehension of the chief necessities of the time." 
There is thus opportunity for the oppositional party which boldly 
announces " I know the way out (of this apparent impasse) and 
where to go." " If such a party is able to seize the real needs of 
the time it must be a power, because the social problems may be 
solved under its guidance. A party which pretends to point the 
way to the future must, however, base its principles upon a real 
and severe relation to* actual life. The most rosy ideal is useless, 
and even dangerous, if it cannot be projected into actuality." A 
propaganda of idealism may be injurious if its proposed methods 
of action are impracticable, and if they are opposed to those methods 


of action by means of which alone the first barriers in the path 
of the people may be removed. A party of action must therefore 
set before it concrete, directly useful tasks, and choose those means 
that are at the particular moment most effective. In its prosecu- 
tion of the Narodneke (or the adherents of the V Narod movement) 
" the Government has declared war upon us. Whether we wish 
it or not, the Government prosecutes us. Certainly it is open to 
us to refrain from defending ourselves, but nobody ever gained 
anything by adopting that course. Our direct policy must be to 
approach and to throw down the obstacle that prevents us from 
acting, and that every day takes from us our best workers, that 
surrounds us with a network of espionage, and attacks us by de- 
nunciations. In the struggle with this obstacle we are spending 
90 per cent, of our force. We do not deny that it is impossible to 
carry on a propaganda among the people, or that riotous activity 
might not arise among them, but under existing conditions acti- 
vities of these kinds are too difficult. 

" The power of the Government need not frighten us. It is 
an iron giant with feet of clay." It is true that it may in time die 
a natural death, but ** for our party it is very important that the 
new order of things should correspond to the interests of the people 
and of the party itself. It would be a great mistake to aUow the 
new order of things to be without the management and influence 
of the people, or, while liberating the other classes and opening up 
the possibility of activities to other parties, to permit the new 
order to leave the mass of the people and also the Socialist party 
in the conditions under which they now exist. Even if the revolu- 
tion were accomplished, the party might condemn itself for cen- 
turies to hard (and merely) preparatory work. The present moment 
is a moment of great importance. Persecution, prosecution, im- 
prisonment are nothing compared with the results of the present 
moment to the people, if the Socialist party is able to comprehend 
the situation and to control it. . . . We are sure that the time 
is coming when the Socialist party shall stand against the Govern- 
mental system, not spasmodically, but systematically and steadily, 
and, destroying the oppressive Governmental mechanism, shall 
assure to the people . . . the possibility of free development of 
its thoughts, ideals, and forms of social life." ^ 

* Literature, &c., pp. 3-1 1. 



In the second issue of the same organ, the necessity of political 
activity is similarly urged. " First of all it is necessary to liberate 
the people from the yoke of the Government. For this reason our 
activity must be of a political character. . . . It is to be understood, 
however, that in calling upon the people to engage in a struggle with 
the Government, we do not object to a social and economical revolu- 
tion — ^we only say that in our circumstances, the political and social 
revolution are inextricably coupled, and that one without the other 
is impossible. For the politico-social revolution we are only point- 
ing out a new path — a path indeed not wholly new, but merely ill- 
recognized by our party." The article goes on to urge that a Con- 
stituent Assembly, after the model of the Assemblee constituante, 
should be convened.^ In this Constituent Assembly nine-tenths of 
the members must represent the peasantry. Thus the outcome of 
the Assembly must be "a complete revolution of all economical and 
State relations." 

An article in the same issue deals with the question, " On which 
Side is Morality ? " It accuses the officials of corruption, and refers 
to conspicuous cases — those of Tr^pov and Prince Volkonsky, for 
example.2 " Profiting by the impossibility of defending ourselves, 
we are set before the eyes of society as bloodthirsty, merciless 
monsters ; on the contrary, we give to spiritual, and especially to 
moral questions, a new meaning." When the political prosecutions 
and the system of espionage are considered, " do not be surprised 
that there are a few murders, but that there are so few." ..." Rus- 
sian revolutionaries are not adepts in terror ; they are humane and 
not given to bloodshed." 

The principles and methods of the Narodnaya Volya party are, 
however, most fully disclosed in the " Programme of the Executive 
Committee," first published in 1879.^ According to this document, 
the Executive Committee are " socialists and narodneke." * " We 
are convinced," they say, " that only by means of socialist prin- 

1 This became one of the watchwords of the revolutionary year 1905. 
See infra, p. 489. 

2 The Trepov case has ahready been noticed. Volkonsky was accused of 
robbing the Griaze-Tsaritsinsky Railway of 600,000 rubles. 

^ Narodnaya Volya, No. 3, ist January 1880, reprinted in Literature, &c., 
cited, p. 162. 

* Narodneke may be rendered " populists," but their position should not 
be confounded with that of the almost contemporary " populists " of the 
United States. 


ciples can humanity incorporate in its life, freedom, equality, and 
brotherhood, in order to secure common well-being and a full and 
large development of the individual, and therefore to secure progress. 
We are convinced that only ' the will of the people ' (narodnaya 
volya) can sanction social forms, that the development of the people 
is sound only when it is independent and free, when every idea 
which is incorporated in its life is so through the conscience and 
will of the people. The well-being of the people and the will of the 
people — these are our most sacred and most indissolubly binding 
principles." This is by way of introduction, the chief points of the 
programme follow : 

1. The people are in a state of complete economical and political 
servitude. " The working man labours merely to feed and keep the 
parasitical classes. He is deprived of the rights of a citizen." Not 
only does Russian life exist apart from his will, but he has no right 
to express this will. Pressed upon from all sides, the people become 
physically degenerate and dull, and are crushed into poverty and 
slavery in all senses. 

2. Chained in rows (like galley slaves), oppressed by layers of 
exploiters, who are brought into existence and defended by the 
Government. The State is the greatest capitalistic force in the 
country. It is the only political oppressor of the people. There is 
a complete absence of sanction by the people of this oppressive 
power, which forcibly introduces and maintains political and econo- 
mical principles and forms which have nothing in common with 
the wishes and ideals of the people. 

3. Notwithstanding these conditions, there are still alive among 
the people old traditional ideas — of the right of the people to the 
land, of communal and district self-government, of the beginnings 
of federal organization, freedom of conscience and speech. These 
ideas would be developed and would give a wholly new direction 
to the history of Russia, if only the people could live as they 

4. Therefore the nearest task is to remove from the people the 
crushing weight of the existing system, and to make a political 
revolution with the object of giving the power into the hands of the 
people. The results of this revolution would be — {a) that the de- 
velopment of the people would go on independently, in accordance 
with its will, and (b) that pure socialist principles (common to the 


Narodnaya Volya party and to the people) would be recognized and 

5. The will of the people would be quite well expressed in a 
Constituent Assembly, elected freely by universal suffrage, with 
" instructions " from the electors. A Constituent Assembly is, 
however, far from an ideal institution for the expression of the will 
of the people, but it is the only practicable form of such an institu- 
tion at present. 

6. " We therefore aim at the removal of power from the existing 
Government and the transference of it to a Constituent Assembly. 
This Assembly would have as its task to survey all our State and 
social institutions, and to rebuild them according to the instructions 
received from the electors. 

7. " While we submit to the will of the people, we consider it 
our duty, as a party, to place our programme before it. We shall 
make it our propaganda before the revolution, we shall recommend 
it throughout the period of agitation, we shall defend it before the 
Constituent Assembly." 

8. The specific points of the programme are : {a) A gradual 
popular representation, with full powers (to be enjoyed, it is to 
be presimied by the representative assembly) over all affairs of 
State ; (&) a large measure of local autonomy, secured by the inde- 
pendence of the mir and the economical independence of the people ; 
(c) " the land must belong to the people " ; ^ {d) the transference 
to the workmen of all mills and factories ; (e) complete freedom of 
conscience, speech, press, meeting, associations, and election ; (/) 
universal suffrage, without any class or property limitation ; (g) the 
replacement of the standing army by a territorial militia. 

9. The means of realizing this programme are as follows : (a) 
Propaganda with the general objects of familiarizing all classes of 
the population with the idea of a democratic political revolution as 
a means towards social reform, and of popularizing the progranune 
of the party, and with the special aims of protesting continually 
against the existing order, and of demanding the convocation of a 
Constituent Assembly : the forms of protest being meetings, de- 
monstrations, petitions, addresses, and refusal to pay taxes, &c. ; 
(h) destructive and terroristic activity, consisting in the exter- 

^ Like some other points in the programme, this is vague. The phrase 
might mean State, provincial, communal, or individual ownership. 


mination of the most prejudicial persons in the Government, in 
defending the party against espionage, in punishing those who en- 
gage in the most important acts of violence on behalf of the Gov- 
ernment : the objects of these activities is to destroy the influence 
of governmental power, and to give continuous evidence of the pos- 
sibility of struggling against it, and by this means to raise a revolu- 
tionary spirit among the people ; (c) the organization of secret 
societies and the binding of them about one centre ; (d) to acquire 
influential connections and position in the administration, in society, 
and among the people ; (e) it is necessary for the party (of Narodnaya 
Volya) to take the initiative in the revolution,^ and not to wait 
until the people do it without the party. 

In the separate issue of the programme as a manifesto there 
were added the following points : 

" I. Towards the Government, as an enemy, the end justifies 
the means ; we regard as permissible every means leading towards 
the end. 

"2. All oppositional elements, even although not associated 
with us, will find in us help and defence. 

"3. Individuals and social groups which are exterior to our 
struggle are regarded as neutral ; their persons and property will 
be respected. 

** 4. Individuals and social groups consciously and actively 
helping the Government in our struggle with it, are regarded as 
conamitting a breach of neutrality, and therefore as enemies." ^ 

These documents disclose sufficiently the point of view of the 
Narodnaya Volya ; there remains to be noticed the personalities 
of those who composed its inner circle, and the more important of 
the terroristic attempts in which they engaged. 

The first " Executive Committee " seems to have been indefi- 
nitely self-appointed within the ranks of the Narodneke, or ad- 
herents of the V Narod movement.^ The leading spirit in this 
committee was Valerian Osinsky, whose first attempt at political 
crime is graphically described by Debogoriy-Mokrievich. " At 
night, on the 23rd February 1878, 1 was aroused by a slight tapping 
at my window. I found that the tapping was by Valerian, and 

* Here there apparently followed a specific plan which was not published. 

2 Third edition of the Programme, 15th August 1881. 

3 See supra, p. 1022. 


I hastened to open the door. He was accompanied by two com- 
rades. The night was damp and cold, and I immediately returned 
to bed. Osinsky approached me, and, looking over his pince-nez, 
the glasses of which were damp, whispered, ' Kotlyarevsky is killed.' 

* When ? * I asked, feeling as if tar were being poured upon me, 
' Just now. We are directly from there.' I pulled down the 
curtain at the window, so that the light could not be seen from 
the street, and began to inquire how it was done. Osinsky told 
me that they had overtaken Kotlyarevsky near his own house, and 
that they had fired upon him. After the first shot he fell, with an 
awful cry. They had fired one or two more shots, and had then 
run away. Ivichevich (one of the comrades of Osinsky) had pro- 
posed to make sure by stabbing Kotlyarevsky, but the others dis- 
suaded him, because it was dangerous to remain. * All the same, 
the affair is completed,' Osinsky said. I sat up in bed in silence, 
trying to digest the fact, and I confess that I could not digest it. 
A shiver ran down my spine, and a burdensome and awfully un- 
pleasant feeling gradually took possession of me. * Are you going 
to spend the night here ? ' I inquired. ' Necessarily ; where else 
could we go ? A terrible hunt is going on all over the streets.' 

* Then let us go to bed. The light must be put out.' Beds were 
made on the floor, and the three lay down. I put out the lamp, 
and the room became dark. For a certain time I lay in silence, 
then I asked Osinsky by what streets they had escaped. When 
he had replied, I said, * Very well, let us sleep.' ' But we cannot 
sleep.' My nerves were agitated ; my hands and feet became 
cold. I listened intently in the calmness of the night, but every- 
thing was still. After a time there came suddenly from a distance 
a continuous noise. * They are beating the alarm.' Whenever 
the idea entered into my mind, I felt a new wave of impleasant 
feeling, never before experienced by me, and involuntarily I rose 
slightly in order to bear it. It is difficult to define of what sort 
was this feeling. There was fear — fear not merely of responsi- 
bility and of punishment, but, so to say, of the very fact, as well 
as a feeling of satisfaction with this fact. I realized that for 
Osinsky this was his own immediate affair, but for me it was strange. 

* Valerian ! do you hear ? ' I whispered. ' Yes ! ' as if the drum- 
beats had revived him. We fell into silence. ' Which of you is 
snoring so noisily ? ' I asked. * It is Ivan ' (Ivichevich), answered 


Osinsky. ' They are both sleeping.' I also began to slumber, 
but I heard Osinsky turning on the floor and coughing quietly. 
Next day it came out that Kotlyarevsky was not only not 
killed, but was not even wounded. His thick fur coat had 
saved him." ^ 

Although this passage from real life ends in the spirit of comedy, 
it is most stimulating to the imagination and pregnant with sug- 
gestion of the psychology of the NarodovoHsi. 

The change of attitude which had been in progress among the 
Narodneke in South Russia during 1878 had its counterpart among 
the Narodneke of St. Petersburg. On 4th August in that year 
General Mezentsev, chief of the Third Section, was killed by Sergey 

1 Debogoriy-Mokrievich, op. cit., pp. 329-31. Valerian Osinsky (1853- 
1879) was the son of a landowner near Taganrog. His father, who had been 
an engineer in the service of the Government, was a man of liberal tendencies, 
who, becoming dejected and embittered, partly through defects in his own 
character, and partly through the unfavourable social conditions in which 
he felt himself involved, gave way to drink, and ill-treated his family. Young 
Osinsky, otherwise unhappy in his home life, enjoyed the advantage of a 
good library, although his education was miscellaneous rather than 
systematic. At an early age he was influenced by the writings of Dobrolubov, 
Pisarev, and Turgueniev, and of other writers of the sixties. After studying 
at the Institute of Ways of Communication in St. Petersburg, he entered 
into the service of the Landvarovo-Romensky Railway, which was then under 
construction. The period was a bad one. Corruption on the part of officials 
and contractors was rampant, and the exploitation of the labourers, usual in 
such cases, was none the less that traditions of bondage relations still re- 
mained, and that there was a great surplus of labour (c/. p. 362). The conditions 
of the labourers affected Osinsky profoundly. At that moment the hopes of 
social reform were concentrated upon the Zemstvos, and Osinsky returned to 
St. Petersburg determined to study social science in order that he might 
be able to take some share in Zemstvo administration. After three years of 
such studies he became a clerk in the Rostov Zemstvo bureau. Here also he 
was disappointed. He found the Zemstvo controlled by people who did not 
desire any change in the existing system. Reflecting that this inertia was 
reproduced in the higher spheres of State administration, his mind was pre- 
pared for the admission of extreme views. While he was under the influence 
of disappointed enthusiasm he became acquainted with the ideas of Lavrov (c/. 
p. 10 1 ff.), and joined a " circle " devoted to his views. But even here he was 
disappointed. The propaganda of Lavrov was too mild and too slow. In 
1875, at the age of twenty-two, he joined the V Narod party, and in 1877, 
and 1878 gradually drifted to the extreme wing of that party, becoming 
eventually one of the NarodovoHsi. He exercised a considerable influence 
over his contemporaries in that group, and came to be known as " the 
empirical creator of terrorism." He was arrested in May 1879, and accused 
of forming a secret society, having for its object the overthrowal of the 
State. When asked to what class and profession he belonged, Osinsky 
boldly announced himself as a social revolutionary. He was found guilty 
by the military court before which he was brought, and was hanged on 
iSth May 1879. See Narodnaya Volya, No. 2 ; Literature, Sec, p. 101-16. 



Kravchinsky,^ who immediately drove off in a carriage and escaped. 
One of the consequences of this act was the promulgation of an 
ukase which transferred cases of political murder and attempts at 
murder from the ordinary criminal courts to courts martial . Further 
assassinations and attempted assassinations of high personages 
followed at intervals throughout 1879. On 9th February 1879 
Prince Dmitri N. Kropotkin, Governor-General of Kharkov, was 
assassinated by Goldenberg. On 12th March the successor of 
General Mezentsev, General Drenteln, was killed by Mirsky. On 
2nd April Soloviev fired five shots at the Tsar Alexander II without 
wounding him. The Government now took fresh measures. The 
whole country was divided into six general governorships, and 
systematic attempts were made everywhere to hunt down the 
revolutionaries ; but these strenuous measures seemed to serve only 
to increase their numbers and their boldness. From 17th June to 
2ist June 1879 what was called a congress was held at Lipetsk.^ To 
this meeting there came leading members of the Zemlyae Volya 
party, as well as Narodneke of many shades of opinion. It was de- 
cided to meet shortly at Voronej with a worked-out plan of action.' 
The outcome of the Lipetsk- Voronej meeting was the election 
of a terrorist committee composed of Tikhomirov,* Frolenko, and 
Alexander Mikhaelov.^ But the chief advocate of terrorism at 

^ Better known as Sergius Stepniak. Cf. supra, p. 1 10. ' See supra, p. 1 1 1. 

' A. Tun, History of the Revolutionary Movement in Russia (Paris, 1904), 
p. 198. 

* Tikhomirov, who took at this time so leading a part in the terrorist 
camp, afterwards recanted, became an official, and afterwards became editor 
of the Moscow Gazette. 

^ Alexander Mikhaelov was bom in 1855 or 1856 at Putivl, in Kurskaya 
guh. His father was a land surveyor. Like many others who became 
conspicuous in the revolutionary movement, he began his career as an 
agitator while he was a schoolboy. He organized a " self -education " circle 
and a secret library in the Gymnasium of Putivl. and there also led a revolt 
against his teachers, and engaged actively in spreading popular pamphlets 
among the people. These activities interfered so much with his studies 
that he was obliged to leave the classical course at the Gymnasium and to 
enter a Real Schule in another town. In 1875 he entered the Technological 
Institute at St. Petersburg, and immediately began to organize " self- 
education " groups in that institution. In a short time he had succeeded 
in forming a students' society, with branches in various universities. Again 
his activities resulted in neglect of his studies, and in a few months he was 
rusticated. He spent the winter of 1 875-1 876 in an "Odyssey" over all 
Russia. In the first instance he went to Kiev, where he made the acquaint- 
ance of the revolutionary groups then concentrated there. Among them he 
found propagandists, rioters (buntari), and Jacobins, the groups in which the 


the Voronej meeting was Andrey Jelyabov/ who startled the older 
and more moderate Narodneke by his advocacy of what appeared 
to them to be purely political terrorism. Jelyabov's appearance, 
indeed, almost resulted in the fruitless dissolution of the meeting. 
In the end a compromise was effected. The programme remained 

revolutionary party was at that time divided. But the division of the 
oppositional forces disappointed him. He saw in it the impossibility of 
creating a great All-Russian movement. In Kiev there were only generals 
and officers ; there were no rank and file wherewith to form an effective 
force. In tlie summer of 1876 he returned to St. Petersburg and frequented 
the " communes " (obtschina) or meetings of students. He also became 
acquainted with the then newly founded society of the " Troglodites," which 
afterwards became the Zemlya e Volya (Land and Liberty). In the 
spring of 1877 he joined the stream of Narodneke, and went "into the 
people." Mikhaelov, with Olga Natanson and other members of the central 
group, went to Saratov. Mikhaelov established himself at the house of a 
dissenting sectarian {raskolnik), and undertook the study of the Scriptures 
and of the dogmas of the sect for the purpose of becoming a sectarian 
teacher. At that time and for long after many revolutionaries entertained 
the idea that sectarianism offered a favourable field for revolutionary pro- 
paganda, because the sectarians were traditionally opposed to Orthodoxy, and 
therefore to the Government. (Stepniak went so far as to think, as he told 
the writer, that the revolution might be brought about through the growth 
of religious dissent.) This anticipation was, however, not realised. Saratov 
became the scene of a police battue, and Mikhaelov went to St. Petersburg, 
where he became the leading spirit in the Zemlya e Volya (Tun, op. cit., 
pp. 145-7). In April and May 1878, in discussions upon party organisation, 
Mikhaelov urged a complete change involving high centralisation and sub- 
mission of the local groups to the central committee. On 15th September 
1878 nearly all the members of the Zemlya e Volya were arrested. Of 
fifty or sixty members, only five or six remained at liberty. But among 
these was Mikhaelov. With characteristic energy he set himself to re- 
habilitate the party. " He collected money, fabricated passports, and 
established connections," so that the Zemlya e Volya not only did not 
fall to pieces but continued (its underground printing office having been 
saved) to issue its organ regularly. Mikhaelov himself was everywhere. 
He lived like " a Red Indian on the war-path " (Tun, op. cit., p. 254). He 
thought of everything and for everybody. He knew every one of the spies, 
and spied upon them. " Russians are not, as a rule, good conspirators ; 
Sophie Perovskaya and Mikhaelov were rare exceptions " (Stepniak, Under- 
ground Russia (London Russian edition, 1893), p. 166). Eventually 
Mikhaelov was captured by the police. He was one of the twenty-two who 
were prosecuted on 9th February 1882, and with nine others he was sentenced 
to death. His sentence was, however, commuted. In his speech before the 
court he admitted that he was a member of a revolutionary organization. 
" The struggle," he said, " has made us personal enemies of His Majesty the 
Emperor " {Literature of Soc.-Rev. Party, N.-V., p. 589). 

^ Andrey Jelyibov (i 850-1 881) was bom in the Crimea. His parents 
were dvorovie lyude (domestic serfs). Among his first impressions were the 
flogging of his uncle and the dishonouring of his aunt. His grandfather, a 
raskolnik (dissenting sectarian) taught him the Old Slavonic or ecclesiastical 
alphabet and obliged him to commit the Psalter to memory. The pomyet- 
schek (landowner) to whom his family belonged was attracted by the boy. 


unchanged; but it was agreed that the activity of the struggle 
against the Government should be increased, and that in the event 
of the infliction of capital punishment for propaganda, " the tyrant 
should be punished also." ^ 

The Executive Committee, which was composed of terrorists 

and taught him the modem Russian or civil alphabet, and afterwards sent 
him to school, where he distinguished himself alike for his industry and for 
his bad conduct. He entered the University in 1868, and soon became a 
leader in a demonstration against a professor. For this he was expelled. 
He was permitted to return ; but again, for a similar offence, he had to 
submit to expulsion. After he left the University, he became an adherent 
of Nechdiev (cf. supra, p. 75). In 1 872-1 873 he came to be associated 
with the less aggressive " circle " of Tchaikovsky (cf. pp. 75-76). Under 
the influence of the V Narod movement, he went "into the people" 
and sold cucumbers in the market. But work of this kind was un- 
suited to his passionate and eager disposition. Rapid and even dangerous 
movement was necessary for him. He was always ready for an exploit which 
involved unusual risk. Between 1873 and 1877, however, he lived for the 
most part in his native village, married, and worked as a peasant, but 
nevertheless engaged in propaganda. He was a man of powerful physique ; 
and notwithstanding his education, fragmentary as it was, he exhibited in 
his character many peasant traits. When the prosecution of the 193 took 
place in 1877 {cf. p. 106) he was among the accused. After undergoing 
imprisonment for seven months in St. Petersburg, he was released. This 
experience made him more bitterly hostile towards the Government than 
he had been formerly. Up till this period, save for his brief connection with 
the conspiracy of Nechdiev, he had allied himself with the more moderate 
groups of the revolutionary party. Now he threw himself into the active 
wing. He had made himself conspicuous at the meetings at Lipetsk and at 
Voronej. In the autumn of 1879 he laid the mine at Aleksandrovsk, which 
on 19th November 1879 was intended to destroy the train by which 
Alexander II was travelling. The attempt was a failure, and Jely^bov went 
immediately to St. Petersburg, where he was placed by the committee, 
in charge of the preparation of dynamite. He organized the plan for the 
assassination of Alexander II ; but was arrested on 27th February 1881. 
two days before the assassination took place. He is reported to have heard 
in the cell in which he was confined the explosions on the Katherine Canal, 
wliich told of the carrying out of his design. Jelyibov was executed, along 
with those who had actually accomplished the deed. Jelydbov seems in 
some fashion to have modelled himself upon Taras Bulba, the Cossack leader 
immortahzed by Gogol. He hated the principle of despotism — the uncon- 
trolled power of one person — and he entertained the belief that in liberating 
the peasants the Tsar had merely the intention to increase the power of the 
Government, and to increase its income by means of the exploitation of the 
peasants, while at the same time the rising power of the nobles was curtailed. 
Muraviev the public prosecutor at Jelyabov's trial characterized him as " a 
typical conspirator in his gesticulations, mimicry, movements, speeches, and 
theatrical effects. That he has cleverness, talents, and acuteness cannot be 
denied." Stepniak makes Jelyibov, under the name of Andrey Kojukhov, 
the hero of his remarkable novel. The Career of a Nihilist (London, 1889). 
For Jelyabov's career, see A. Tun, History of the Revolutionary Movement in 
Russia [Paris ?], 1904 ; and Debogoriy-Mokrievich, op. cit. 
* A. Tun. op. cit., p. 199. 


drawn from various groups, was organized in three sections, accord- 
ing to the degree of confidence.^ Jely^bov, for example, was of 
the inner circle. The members of this circle selected their agents 
and devised the methods of attack.^ The committee entered upon 
its terroristic programme at once. During the summer elaborate 
preparations for the destruction of the imperial train which was to 
convey the Tsar from the Crimea to St. Petersburg were made. 
Three mines were laid — one at Aleksandrovsk, a second at Moscow, 
and a third at Odessa, in case the Tsar made a detour by that city. 
The chief mine was at Aleksandrovsk, where it was intended to 
throw the imperial train into a ravine. In October 1879 Jelyabov 
purchased a piece of land adjoining the railway at Aleksandrovsk, 
ostensibly for a leather factory. From this land two mines were 
driven beneath the railway line.^ The train passed on the 19th 
November, but owing to some defect in the mechanism the antici- 
pated explosion did not take place. 

At the same time two revolutionists, Hartmann^^ and Sophie 
Perovskaya,^ took a house in the neighbourhood of Moscow and 
pretended to carry on trade. The house was otherwise occupied 

^ This was the account given by Goldenberg, who assassinated Prince 
D. N. Kropotkin ; his statement was objected to by Mikhaelov. Cf. Tun, 
op. cit., p. 208. 

* Their secrets were well guarded. None of the attempts upon Alexander 
II were betrayed to the police. Cf. Tun, op. cit., p. 208. 

^ Tun, op. cit., p. 210. 

* Hartmann was the son of a German colonist at Archangel. He became 
a village clerk near Saratov. Because of his knowledge of chemistry he was 
enlisted in the Moscow affair. He escaped to the United States, and after- 
wards went to England, where he was employed as an electrical engineer. 

^ Sophie Perovskaya (i 854-1 881) belonged to the higher aristocracy. Her 
grandfather, Leo Perovsky, was Minister of Interior ^cf. supra, vol. i. p. 369.) ; 
her father was the Governor of Pskov ; her uncle won some of the Central Asiatic 
provinces for the Tsar. The family of Perovsky was the younger branch of 
that of Razumovsky, which owed its origin to a morganatic union of the Em- 
press Elizabeth. Sophie Perovskaya, like many other Russian revolutionaries, 
suffered in her early years from parental neglect and tyranny. She was not 
taught to read until she was eight years of age, and her education was assumed 
to be finished when she was fourteen. She began, however, to read serious 
books on her own account, and when the family removed to St. Petersburg 
from the Crimea, where they had been residing, she went to the Gymnasium, 
where she became acquainted with several girls who afterwards entered the 
ranks of the revolution. Her father objected to such friendships, and at the 
age of sixteen she left her home, and soon afterwards joined the Tchaikovsky 
circle, going "to the people" in the V Narod movement. She prepared 
herself to become a village teacher, and went from village to village in 
Tverskaya gub., and elsewhere, sometimes suffering great privations. In 
November 1873 she was arrested, but was liberated on a bail of 5000 rubles. 


by a number of men who made the excavation. On the 19th 
November the mine was exploded at a signal from Sophie Perov- 
skaya ; but the train that was blown up was not the imperial train, 
which passed safely to St. Petersburg. The perpetrators of both 
of the attempts escaped. 

Undismayed by these failures, the terrorists organized more 
definitely than formerly the Narodnaya Volya party, and proceeded 
to the execution of a still more elaborate and bold design, the 
preliminary stages of which had previously been in progress in 
case the attempts on the railway line should fail. This design 
consisted in the blowing up of the imperial family in their own 
palace. Its accomplishment was entrusted to Stepan Khalturin.^ 
Khalturin had organized the North Russian Labour Union,* and 
had published a newspaper as its organ. His printing-office was 
visited by the police, and his work appeared to be destroyed. He 
seems then to have conceived the idea of putting an end to the 
life of the Tsar. Khalturin's trade was that of a vamisher, and 
he was a workman of unusual skill. He therefore readily obtained 
employment in the Winter Palace. In October 1879, during the 
absence of the imperial family at their palace of Livadia in the 

She then decided to be a nurse. After having taken a course in nursing at 
Simferopol she associated herself once more with the V Narod groups. 
She was one of the 193, but was released, and was sent into " administrative 
exile " in Olonetskaya guh. She escaped from her station, and returned to 
St. Petersburg in 1878. There she joined Zemlya e Volya. At Voronej 
she agreed with both parties, urged the continuance of agitation among the 
people, and at the same time urged the assassination of the Tsar, arguing 
that the latter occurrence would pass unnoticed unless the agitation among 
the people were continued. Yet she did not join either the Chorno Pered- 
yeltsi or the terrorists, although she helped both. Her share in the explosion 
near Moscow (19th November 1879) is described in the text. After this event 
she returned to St. Petersburg and offered to join the Chorno Peredyeltsi 
if they would consent to organize a large movement among the people. 
They declined, and she said, " Then I have only to join the Narodnaya 
Volya!" On ist March 1881, she gave the signal for the assassination of 
Alexander II. She was not arrested at the time, and up till the moment of 
her arrest on loth March she probably might have escaped abroad. But 
she did not seek to do so, either from fatalism or from love of Jelydbov, who 
had already been arrested before the attempt took place. Sophie Perovskaya 
was hanged on 3rd April 1881. 

^ Stepdn Khaltunn, one of the organizers of the North Russian Working 
Men's Union, was himself a working man. Patient, obedient, and resourceful, 
he seems to have carried out the plan of Jelydbov. An unknown revolu- 
tionist was hanged in Odessa on 22nd March 1882. He was afterwards 
discovered to be Khalturin (Literature of the Soc.-Rev. Party, N.-V., p. 610). 

» Cf. supra, p. 113. 


Crimea, Khaltiirin had opportunities of examining the imperial 
apartments. He discovered that the private dining-room was 
above the carpenters' workshop, although separated from it by 
one floor, the intervening room being occupied by the guard. 
Kvyatkovsky, one of the members of the Executive Committee, 
who maintained communications with Khalturin, was arrested. 
A plan of the Winter Palace, with the dining-room marked with a 
cross, was found in his possession. This circumstance led to searches 
in the basement of the palace. A gendarme was posted in the 
carpenters' workshop, and the guards were warned to be careful. 
These precautions delayed, but did not prevent Khalturin's pro- 
ceedings. The dynamite had to be brought into the palace in 
very small quantities. Khalturin stored it under his pillow.^ 
Meanwhile he continued with his varnishing work, with so great 
satisfaction to the authorities of the palace that he received a 
present of a hundred rubles. Otherwise he was not idle. He came 
to be on very friendly terms with the guard, and the gendarme on 
duty in the carpenters* workshop even wanted him to marry his 
daughter. Khalturin is said to have felt that in any case many 
lives would have to be sacrificed, and therefore he wanted to have 
at his disposal as much dynamite as possible, in order to make sure 
of the death of the chief victim. Jelyabov is said to have insisted 
upon haste, and, moreover, the risk of discovery became greater 
every day. The guard was stronger and more careful. The 
dynamite cartridges were put in the corner of the main wall of the 
palace beneath the dining-room on 5th February 1880, and shortly 
after the hour of dinner the fuse was fired. The explosion com- 
mitted tremendous havoc — ten people were killed and fifty- 
three were injured ; but the Tsar escaped. He had been late 
for dinner, having waited for the arrival of a high personage. 
Khalturin also escaped into the palace yard before the explosion 
took place.2 

Meanwhile, the Government had been endeavouring to cope 
with the forces of the revolution by the employment of spies, and 
by frequent wholesale arrests of persons who were betrayed or who 
were suspected of having revolutionary literature in their posses- 

^ Khalturin is reported to have suffered from headaches in consequence 
of evaporation from the nitro -glycerine cartridges. 
2 Tun, op. cit., pp. 212-4. 


sion. On the other hand, they were endeavouring to counteract 
the influence of the V Narod movement amongst the peasantry 
by contradicting the rumours of a redistribution of the land, which 
had obtained currency among the peasants. The circular^ of 
Makov, the Minister of the Interior, was issued with this intention. 
Referring to the rumours, the Minister says that, on the instruc- 
tions of his Imperial Majesty, he has to announce that " neither 
now, nor at any future time, will any additional amount of land 
be added to peasant lots. Under our laws upon the right of owner- 
ship, such an injustice as the taking of land from its lawful owner 
and transferring it to another cannot be permitted. The peasants 
themselves own the land given to them under the Act of 19th 
February 1861. Such being the case, according to law, they are 
peacefully profiting by their lots, and they have the right to obtain 
more land from other owners on terms voluntarily agreed upon 
with them. By this means the laws leave everyone his own, and 
do not permit the appropriation of the things of others. Thus the 
peace of the State is secured. The false rumours about the re- 
partition of the land, and about the distribution of supplementary 
lots for the benefit of the peasants, are disseminated in the villages 
by evil-intentioned persons whose interest lies in the agitation of 
the people and in the disturbance of the social peace. Unfor- 
tunately these rumours are frequently believed by simple-minded 
people who propagate them, not suspecting their falsity and not 
thinking of the misfortunes into which they might themselves 
fall, dragging others with them. In accordance with the will of 
the Emperor, I therefore warn the inhabitants of villages against 
these insidiously inspired rumours, and I impose upon all village, 
volost, and police officials the duty to observe vigilantly the ap- 
pearance of evil-minded newsmongers, and to explain and prevent 
from spreading these injiuious devices." 

The wisdom of the issue of such a circular is, from any point 
of view, extremely doubtful. It increased rather than allayed the 
unrest among the peasants, whose demands for more land were 
becoming urgent, and it gave into the hands of the Narodneke fresh 
material for agitation. 

The explosion at the Winter Palace led immediately to a change 
in general policy on the part of the Government. In the weeks 

1 Dated i6th July 1879. 


immediately following the gth February 1880, Count L6ris M^lik6v ^ 
was appointed to a practical dictatorship, and Count Pahlen and 
Count Dmitri Tolstoy were dismissed. It seemed to be necessary 
to provide a lightning conductor to draw from the Tsar the revolu- 
tionary electrical discharge. In spite of their repeated failures to 
accomplish what they aimed at, the revolutionists had contributed 
to bring about a decided change in the political situation. In the 
'* higher spheres " people began to talk about a National Assembly. 
In spite of the formal maintenance of the self-existent autocracy, 
efforts were made to raUy important elements of society to the sup- 
port of the throne. Counsel was sought of the leading people in 
St. Petersburg, interviews were given to journalists, and above all, 
rumours were set afloat of the approaching dissolution of the cele- 
brated Third Section — the political police.^ L6ris Melikov had the 
general reputation of being a Liberal, and those who believed in the 
desirability of a National Assembly began to build their hopes upon 
him. During the period of revolutionary quiescence after the Winter 
Palace explosion, there were no attempts upon the life of the Tsar. 
M^likov's dictatorship in effect ceased, and he became simply Min- 
ister of the Interior. Melikov had prepared a constitutional scheme, 
but the Tsar vacillated and hesitated. He proposed to leave it to his 
successor, in order that a constitution might be his gift to the Rus- 
sian people. In February 1881 an attempt was made upon the life 
of Melikov,^ and at the same time Melikov intimated to the Tsar 
that preparations were being made by the Executive Committee 
for another attempt upon his life. Alexander then decided that an 
Assembly should be convoked, which should comprise delegates from 
the provinces. He is said to have called it Assemblee des Notables, 
under the influence of the idea which seems to have possessed him, 
that his fate would be the same as that of Louis XVI.* The scheme 
was prepared, and after some hesitation and " a final warning " 
from Loris Melikov, the Tsar on the morning of Sunday, ist March 
1881, ordered it to be placed before the Council of State. M61ik6v 
endeavoured to persuade the Tsar not to go into the streets of St. 

^ L6ris Melik6v was of Armenian extraction. He had been chief of 
Tyerskaya Oblast and Governor of Kharkovskaya gub. Although his adminis- 
tration in these posts had not been without severity, he was generally sup- 
posed to be of liberal tendencies. 

2 Cf. infra, p. 573- 

3 By Molodetsky, who was hanged for the attempt on 22nd February 1881. 
* Kropotkin, Memoirs, p. 431. 


Petersburg on that day, his agents having warned him of the prob- 
ability of an attempt upon his life ; ^ but the Tsar desired to visit 
his cousin, the Grand Duchess Catherine (daughter of Elena Pav- 
lovna, the advocate of emancipation) .2 He went, and on his way 
back to the palace he met his fate. A bomb thrown under his iron- 
clad carriage injured it, and killed several of his Circassian escort. 
The Tsar, who possessed the traditional courage of the Romanovs, 
alighted from the carriage, in spite of the protests of the coachman, 
and approached the wounded Circassians. He even spoke to Rysa- 
kov, the youth who had thrown the bomb. He passed another of 
the conspirators, Grenevetsky, who threw another bomb. So close 
was the Tsar to his assassin that the bomb killed both. According 
to Prince Kropotkin, the guards whose duty it was to attend the 
Tsar, and who had survived the first explosion, had disappeared 
before the second bomb was thrown. The Tsar was raised from the 
snow by cadets from the School of Pages, was placed by them in a 
sleigh, covered with the cloak and cap of one of them, and conveyed 
to the Palace.^ He died in the afternoon. Had the Tsar escaped 
the bombs which killed him and his escort, it is known that there were 
others in the hands of several revolutionaries who were near the 
spot where he fell. Moreover, Little Sadovaya and the bridge over 
the canal were both mined. JelysLbov had laid his plans with skill 
and the Executive Committee had accomplished its design. 

After the assassination of Alexander II the numerically insig- 
nificant forces of the Narodnaya Volya were depleted by arrests, 
followed by imprisonments and executions. Those who were 
immediately executed on account of their participation in the con- 
spiracy for the assassination of the Tsar were : Jely^bov,^ Sophie 
Perovskaya,^ Kebalchech,* Timothy Mikhaelov, and Nikolai Rysa- 

^ JelyAbov, the organizer of the attempt, had been arrested on the previous 
Friday (cf. supra, p. 125 w.)- 

* Kropotkin, loc. cit. See also supra, vol. i. Z77 w. &c. 

3 Prince Kropotkin relates that one of the terrorists (Emeliinov). who 
even had a bomb under his arm, went to the assistance of the wounded Tsar 
and aided the cadets in placing him in the sleigh (loc. cit., p. 432). 

* See supra, p. 124. * See supra, p. 126. 

* Nikolai KSbalchSch (c. 18 50-1 881) was a Little Russian. In the early 
seventies he was a student in a military medical high school. He organized 
there " circles " of self -education among the students, as well as lectures on 
pohtical economy, &c. In 1875 ^ girl friend, hearing of a domiciliary visit of 
the police, asked KSbalchech to take charge of some books which had been 
sent to her from abroad. Kebalchech took them ; a few days afterwards he 


kov.i Grenevetsky, who threw the bomb which killed the Tsar, was 
also killed by the explosion. Nikolai Sablen committed suicide upon 
being arrested. The two most active survivors of the Executive 
Committee, and of its immediate outer circle, seem to have been 
Bogdanovich ^ and Khaltiirin, who began at once to organize plans 
for the escape of members of the party who were in prison, and in 
administrative exile in Siberia. The partial success of these plans 
enabled them to recruit their ranks to some extent. But these 
ranks were again thinned through the activities of Sudeikin, the 
astute chief of the Third Section. Sudeikin adopted the plan of 
visiting the accused members of the Narodnaya Volya in prison, and 
of endeavouring to convert them into spies upon their former com- 
rades. He succeeded in this design in the case of a revolutionary 
called Degaiev, by whose means a large number of members of 
the Narodnaya Volya and their sympathizers were arrested.^ Yet 
simultaneously with these occurrences there was proceeding a con- 
siderable increase of revolutionary organization in the army. De- 
gaiev and another spy, Zlatopolsky, turned their attention to this, 
Degaiev having been himself formerly an officer. The result of his 
operations at Kronstadt and elsewhere was the arrest of about two 
hundred officers.* The members of the Executive Committee who 

received himself a domiciliary visit, and he was put in prison. After having 
been in prison for three years, he was tried and sentenced to two months' 
imprisonment. The prison affected his health seriously; but it also trans- 
formed him into a revolutionary. When he emerged in 1878, he began 
to study explosives. The use of dynamite as a revolutionary agent seems 
to have been suggested by him. He studied the literature of the subject in 
French, German, and English, and although he was not regarded as a good 
conspirator so far as practice was concerned, his theoretical knowledge and 
his facility in rapid calculation, e.g. of the quantities of explosive necessary 
for a given operation, and of the least expensive and most convenient method 
of arriving at a given result, were of the greatest service to the Executive 
Committee. His time was wholly spent in the laboratory making experi- 
ments and fabricating the cartridges for terroristic attempts. For some 
time before his arrest he had been devising a flying-machine, which was to be 
operated with a powerful motor actuated by a high explosive. He was 
arrested on 17th March 1881, and on 3rd April was executed. (See Russian 
Revolutionaries (issued by the Sociahst-Revolutionary Party), ii., Nikolaif 
Ivanovich Kebalchech (Paris ?), 1903. 

* Rysakov was a boy of nineteen years. 

2 Bogdanovich had controlled the mine under Little Sadovaya Street 
in St. Petersburg on ist March 1881. 

3 As a result of the actiAdty of Sudeikin upwards of seventy were arrested 
in the summer and autunm of 1881. In 1882 further arrests followed 
(Tun, op. cit., p. 310). 

* Tun, op. cit., p. 317. 


had escaped arrest up till the end of 1882 were now all abroad, 
excepting Vera Figner, who remained at her post. She was arrested 
at Kharkov on loth February 1883. These wholesale arrests put 
an end to the activities of the Executive Committee in Russia ; but 
they also suggested to those who were abroad the presence of a 
traitor in their ranks. Spies had occasionally made their way into 
revolutionary circles ; but the traitorous defection of a trusted 
member of the party was previously probably altogether unknown. 
Eventually the principal traitor was found to be Degaiev, who 
thought it expedient to leave Russia. He went to Geneva, where he 
was discovered.^ Fearful that his life would be endangered he 
offered to return to St. Petersburg and to assassinate Sudeikin. 
The assassination was committed by him, or with his connivance, 
in his house in St. Petersburg, on i6th December 1883.^ The arrests 
resulting from the operations of Degaiev are understood not to have 
affected exclusively those who were engaged in conspiracy, or even 
in propaganda. He is alleged to have organized ** self-education *' 
circles of youths, and then to have betrayed them to the police.' 
These events, together with the effect of the assassination of the 
Tsar upon the minds of the groups from which the revolutionary 
elements were recruited, the general influence of governmental 
activity and of the political reaction, and the beginnings of active 
industrial development combined to put an end altogether to the 
operations of the Executive Committee. Yet in January 1884 the 
emigrants of the Narodnaya Volya group assembled in Paris to 
devise means of reorganization. The result of this meeting was the 
election of a new committee, of which the principal member was 
Lopatin, " an old revolutionary, well known and very popular." * 
Lopatin returned to Russia and organized a number of groups, 
principally of students in Moscow, Kiev, and more importantly ixk 
Rostov-on-Don. Slenderly as the Narodnaya Volya had been sup-' 
ported either by the working men of the towns or by the peasants,! 
the support given to the new organization was still more slender. 1 

* Tan says by Tikhomirov, who was then in the ranks of the Narodnaya 
Volya (cf. supra, p. 123). 

* The Socialist-Revoiutionary party afterwards considered that the accept- 
ance of DegaiSv's offer was unwise from a revolutionary point of view. 

* For later instances of this so-called " provocation," see infra, 188 and 572. 

* Tun, op. cit., p. 334, Lopatin was tried in 1887 for complicity in the 
murder of Sudeikin. He was sent to Schlusselburg, and was released in 1906. 


Lopatin was, moreover, arrested in the Nevsky Prospekt, St. Peters- 
burg, on 7th October 1884. Upon him was found a list of sym- 
pathizers. He attempted, unsuccessfully, to destroy this list by 
swallowing it. About five hundred persons were afterwards ar- 
rested. The revolutionary forces were thus once more defeated 
and disorganized. Yet the revolutionary movement of this period 
was not yet over. Ivanov, Orgich, Bogoraz, and others attempted 
to organize a fresh group. They held a meeting at Ekaterinoslav 
in September 1885. Throughout the autumn preparations went on 
for another onslaught upon the Government. D5mamite bombs 
were manufactured, and new relations were established with sym- 
pathizers in the army. In 1886 Orgich was arrested at Taganrog, 
and his printing-office was seized ; the organization was conducted 
for a short time by Bogoraz, but nothing was accomplished. With 
these futile efforts the Narodnaya Volya came finally to an end. A 
small group of independent terrorists, representing themselves as a 
fraction of the Narodnaya Volya, were arrested in St. Petersburg on . 
ist March 1887, with bombs in their possession. They were exe- | 
cuted on 8th May 1887, and with them died the last expiring embers j 
of the revolutionary movement which began in 1879. 



The dictatorship of Count Loris M^likov failed of its apparent 
lobject. The struggle against the Tsar in person had continued, 
[and after repeated attempts he had eventually fallen. Alexander III 
Ls at first apparently inclined to adopt the project of a constitu- 
tion prepared by Loris M^hkov, but he speedily came under the in- 
fluence of his former tutor, Pobyedonostsev,^ then Ober-Procurator 
of the Holy Synod. Pobyedon6stsev was an able man and a jurist 
of high reputation, but his belief in autocracy was as profound as 
his scepticism of all forms of democracy. To him the movement 
of Western Europe was towards decay and not towards progress. 
His ideal of government was Asiatic rather than European. Under 
such influence the way was open for the victory of reaction, and 
this victory came speedily. A certsdn exhaustion of spirit which 
supervened among the Liberal elements after the assassination of 
the Tsar, and a widespread fear lest organized government should 
be rendered impossible by continued assassination, must be re- 
garded as accounting for the weakness of the resistance to a re- 
actionary poUcy.2 Moreover, there appeared a general disposition 
to give the new Tsar his opportunity, a phenomenon which, imder 
similar circumstances, is almost invariable in Russian history. 
Yet the ceremonial of the coronation was postponed until two years 

^ Constantine Petrovich Pobyedon6stsev (1827- ), author of Course 
of Civil Law, 3 vols. (St. Petersburg, 1 868-1 875), and Reflections of a Russian 
Statesman {translated, London, 1898). 

" Yet those who had been looking forward to some form of constitution 
were reluctant to resign the struggle. According to a pamphlet published in 
London (mentioned by Prince Kropotkin in his Memoirs, p. 435) and 
purporting to contain the posthumously available papers of Loris M6Uk6v, 
General Skobelov (famous for his assault on the redoubts at Plevna on 
nth September 1877) proposed to Melik6v and to Ignati§v to arrest Alex- 
ander III, and to compel him to sign a constitutional manifesto. IgnatiSv is 
said to have denounced the scheme, and thus to have secured his appointment 
as minister. (Kropotkin, op. cit., p. 436.) 



after the accession of Alexander III, for the administration was 
nervous and apprehensive of hostility. In course of time the 
revolutionary party, formidable in the intelligent and self-regard- 
less utilization of its numerically insignificant forces, was destroyed 
or dispersed, and the wave of reaction gradually overwhelmed the 
national life. 

The revolutionary movement had been recruited largely from 
the universities and professional institutions, medical and technical 
colleges, and the like. The government of these institutions had 
been retained in the hands of the Minister of Education, but prior 
to the period of reaction the teaching bodies enjoyed a considerable 
amount of autonomy. In 1884 the universities were completely 
subordinated,^ even in academic affairs, to the Minister. The 
control of examinations was removed from the professors and 
transferred to commissions appointed by the Government. Students 
were forbidden to pass from one academic course to another with- 
out permission from the Government nominees. These also were 
required to advise the students not to be carried away by crude 
doctrines, and not to permit themselves to be distracted by studies 
other than those to which they were assigned. The wearing of 
uniform was insisted upon strictly. For the purpose of excluding 
Jews, the State stipendium, or scholarship stipend, was to be paid 
only to Christians. Professors of liberal or independent tendencies 
were either dismissed, like Stasyulevich, or their positions were ren- 
dered so uncomfortable that they resigned, like Maxime Kova- 
levsky. In the gymnasia the pupils were forbidden to read any 
" civil books " (i.e, non-theological books) without the consent of 
the authorities. In the theological seminaries the pupils were 
forbidden to leave their houses after five o'clock in the evening. 
The possession of an unauthorized book or the suspicion of politi- 
cally unorthodox opinions, if discovered, resulted in imprisonment, 
and sometimes in bodily punishment. Many gymnasium pupils 
committed suicide. The public elementary schools were not sup- 
pressed, but efforts were made to replace them by schools under 

^ By the statute of Delydnov, Minister of Education, 13th August 1884. 
The project of the statute had been prepared by Count Dmitri Tolstoy. 
The majority of the Council of State was opposed to the measure, but it was 
nevertheless passed into law. Brockhaus and Ephron, Russia (St. Petersburg, 
1900). p. 390. 

2 Editor of Vestnik Evropy. 


the control of the clergy, in which education was practically con- 
fined to theology and vocal music. Wherever there was a clerical 
school, a " civil " school could not be established without the 
consent of the bishop. 

In the law courts the principle of the irremovability of judges 
was abrogated. Judges who did not meet the wishes of the ad- 
ministration were moved from one place to another or dismissed. 
The jury system was modified, and the practice of changing the 
venue, when it was unlikely that a conviction could be secured, 
was extended. Local officials, eager to propitiate the Govern- 
ment and to secure promotion, utilized these measinres to their 
own advantage. 

It is true that even democratic countries are not without ex- 
perience of many of these measures, that most governments have 
interfered with the course of justice, that the venue has been 
changed in political causes, that criticism of governmental action 
has frequently resulted in condign punishment ; but in the case of 
Russia a self-existent autocracy lay behind the measures, and 
they were adopted avowedly rather for the maintenance of that 
autocracy than for the benefit of the people. Moreover, proceed- 
ings which are in democratic countries after all only occasional, 
and which, when they occur, are openly criticized and generally 
condemned, became in Russia normal incidents. Behind the acts 
of repression there lay the desire to determine the direction of the 
development of the national life and to exclude influences which 
might come from the progress of Western Europe. " In Russia 
the Government fears the current of fresh air which comes east- 
wards, and would like to close all the windows." ^ 

The destructive effect of the reaction upon the incipient organiza- 
tion of the artisans in towns into groups analogous to trade imions 
has already been noticed.^ The policy of the Government im- 
doubtedly rendered the exploitation of the working class easier, 
and therefore more frequent. Between 1880 and 1885 the depres- 
sion of trade which had been affecting industrial Europe since 1876 
had not been without influence in Russia, now being gradually 
drawn into the industrial and commercial network. Prices fell 

^ Narodnaya Volya, Nos. 11-12, October 1885; Literature, &c.. p. 756. 
' See supra, pp. 106 and 127, and Svyatlovsky, The Trade Union Movement 
in Russia (St. Petersburg, 1908). pp. 11 -12. 


sharply, and, high protection notwithstanding, profits disappeared 
and wages remained low or diminished. Large numbers of work- 
men were thrown out of employment. The conditions of labour 
revealed the survival of pre-Emancipation oppression — they were, 
indeed, frequently destructive of human dignity — ^while the con- 
ditions of life were often debasing. Prohibited from combination 
by the Government,^ the workmen were at the mercy of their 
employers. Inevitably the workmen were disposed to throw the 
blame of every evil upon the Government. The employers on their 
side were disposed to censure the Government whenever it failed, 
as it frequently did, to make immediate military dispositions to 
protect their property. The centralization of authority had its 
counterpart in local weakness. 

The peasants urgently demanded more land, but the circular 
of Makov^ brusquely refused any governmental assistance in 
procuring it. The congestion of the population in Central and 
Southern Russia, and the scantiness of the population in the vast 
cultivable area of Siberia, suggested a generous system of coloniza- 
tion ; but there were at that time inadequate means of communi- 
cation, and the different departments of the Government could 
not agree upon a colonizing policy. At the same moment free 
grants of land were offered in Siberia, and emigration from certain 
guberni was prohibited.^ Peasants were even refused permission 
to leave their villages.* Notwithstanding these conditions, flights 
of peasants became frequent. Many wandered they knew not 
whither. Great masses of peasants, with their wives and children, 
and suffering from lack of food and clothing, wandered over the 
regions of Rostov, Saratov, Samara, and Ekaterinburg. Some 
foimd their way to America. In the Caucasus some peasants 
squatted upon free lands and built houses upon them. Their 
houses were destroyed and the peasants were ruined. 

On the non-Russian elements in the Russian Empire the Govern- 
ment re-enforced its disciplinary measures. In the Baltic Pro- 

^ The situation was similar to that which existed in England in the first 
twenty years of the nineteenth century. 

' See supra, p. 129. 

' In Voronej the Governor forbade emigration altogether. Peasants were 
forbidden, without special permission, to go to the Caucasus, where there 
were free lands. 

* Two circulars were issued, on 22nd April and 7th May 1882, forbidding 
emigration without special permission. 


vinces the Russian language replaced German in the law courts 
and in the schools. In Poland restrictions were imposed upon the 
acquisition of land by Poles. The Bank of Poland was closed, and 
branches of the State Bank of Russia were estabUshed in place of 
them. The Russification of Finland began.^ 

In brief, the Government was doing its utmost " to turn the 
nation into human dust." ^ Had the nation submitted tamely 
to this process, it would, as Professor Kluchevsky said of the Russia 
of an earlier period, have been lacking in the elements of human 
dignity .3 The demoralization of the Government had its coimter- 
part in the demoralization of the people. 

Freedom is not invariably wisely used, for the mere absence 
of restriction permits growth in all directions. On the other hand, 
restriction in one direction induces, and sometimes forces, growth 
in other directions. The insistent thwarting of movement in 
Russia reproduced for many the conditions of a prison, involving 
abnormal mental phenomena. Mania of all kinds resulted from 
the widespread psychological disturbance. Suicide became epi- 
demic. There were many outbursts of reUgious fanaticism.* New 
sects made their appearance.^ A false Tsar, a characteristic of 
many movements of political unrest in Russia, was not wanting. 
This man appeared in Bogoduchovsky, attired in uniform and 
accompanied by an " aide-de-camp." Under his influence the 
peasants stopped pa5nTient of their taxes. Disorders in the villages 
were frequent, and in the towns riots occurred through conflicts of 
people of different races. There were outbreaks of brigandage in 
the Caucasus, and pillage was committed in many places. Murders 
became more numerous. Industrial strikes in factories produced 
many disturbances and much loss of hfe. In the industrial cities 
of Poland there was much unemployment and much unrest. In 
Russia proper there were strikes of weavers at Ivanovo- Voznesensk, 
of railwajmtien at Sevastopol, and of dock labourers at Ribinsk. 
Jewish pogroms occurred in Rovno (Volynskaya gub.), where the 

* On the Finnish question, see infra, p. 246. 

* Svyatlovsky, op. cit., p. 11. ' Cf. supra, vol. i. p. 79- 

* There was a revival among the Stundists in Bogoduchovsky district, 
and an " Old Mohammedan " movement led by a preacher called Vaisov, in 

■* A new sect calling itself " GolubchSke " (good fellows), of a character 
similar to that of the Molokani appeared in Atkarsk (Saratovskaya gub.). 


houses of Jews were destroyed ; one Jew was killed and two were 
wounded. In Kovno (Kovenskaya gub.) a fight took place be- 
tween Germans and Russians over some village quarrel ; ten were 
killed and twenty wounded. In the district of Bogorodsky the 
peasants of two villages quarrelled and fought. The peasants 
fought with the authorities at Kuban, and also at Novo-Slavkin 
(Saratovskaya gub.), where they fought the police who came with a 
veterinary surgeon to kill plague-infested cattle. There were many 
such distmrbances in different villages. In Belebeyevsky district 
(Ufimskaya gub.) the Tartar peasants disapproved of the insurance 
of their cattle by the village clerk and starosta (alderman), and beat 
them both. Property was damaged everywhere. In 1885, 192,000 
complaints were made of damage to forests, a number about one- 
fourth more than that of the previous year. Such was the situa- 
tion in 1885,1 about one year after the reaction had begim in earnest. 

In the same year the Government sought for support in the 
most powerful class of the population, in a manifesto to the nobihty 
on 2ist April 1885. While the peasants had been making demands 
upon the Government, the nobUity had been having dreams of 
their own. They were willing to support the central authority of 
the Government, but they desired to have for themselves the lead- 
ing part in local affairs. They desired also exclusive right to 
occupy the higher offices in the service of the State, and the right 
of acceptance or rejection of new-comers into their ranks. The 
Government yielded to a certain extent. Plebeian officials were 
in some cases discharged from public offices and replaced by noble- 
men. To propitiate the mercantile class, the Government gave 
subsidies to industrial enterprises and increased the already pro- 
tective tariff. Not for the first time in Russian history did the 
higher classes secure advantage for themselves from poUtical dis- 
turbance by seUing their support at a high price to an enfeebled 
and unstable Government. 

While these measures placated the superior orders, the working 
men in the towns and the peasants in the villages were becoming 
quiescent from other causes. The fever of pohtical and social un- 
rest has, Uke other fevers, its periods of high and its periods of low 

^ Several of these details are drawn from Narodnaya Volya, Nos. 1 1 and 12 
(October 1885). The "legal" newspapers of the time were prevented by 
the pencil of tiie censor from full disclosure of the state of the coimtry. 


temperature, as well as an exhausting influence upon the frame. 
Moreover, the revival of trade which occurred in Western Europe 
from about 1886 reacted upon Russia. Industrial employment 
increased and wages advanced, while fairly good harvests improved 
the condition of the peasants. 

In the decade of the nineties conditions were otherwise. The 
crop deficiency of 1891 produced famine throughout a great part of 
Russia ; and there were again serious deficiencies in the crops of 
1897, 1898, and 1899.1 But starving peasants do not revolt, and 
these economically critical periods passed over, the Government \ 
having taken exceptional means to meet the emergencies. 

Such incidents, trade malaise, and trade prosperity, famine, and 
relief did not affect the idealists, who saw in them only temporary 
material advantages or disadvantages unaccompanied by any of 
those radical changes which they regarded as indispensable for 
permanent well-being. But among the general mass of the Russian 
intelligent pubHc there was a real reaction, not merely against re- 
volutionary violence, but also against serious political thought. The 
problems which presented themselves were too intricate and too 
exhausting. The nation needed a mental rest. The general mass \ 
of the peasantry and the working men in the towns became supine | 
sometimes through increased prosperity, sometimes through in- / 
creased misery. Under these conditions the task of the Govern- 
ment was easy. The revolutionary forces were destroyed or \ 
dispersed, and what was even more to the purpose, widespread I 
sympathy with them had disappeared. Only in a new epoch could 
new forces arise. 

* See Collection of Answers to Questions issued by the Imperial Free Econo- 
mical Society on the Crop Deficiency of the Year 1891, edited by Ya. O. 
Kalinsky (St. Petersburg, 1893) ; Issue of Provision (Issue of Governmental 
Assistance from Grain Reserves) in 1 897-1 898 ; Discussion in the Free Eco- 
nomical Society (St. Petersburg, 1898), and infra, p. 289. 



The Government had scattered its enemies ; but danger lay in this 
fact. Following upon the destruction of the Narodnaya Volya, the 
Chorno Peredyeltsi had gone abroad, principally to Switzerland, 
where Zurich, Geneva, and some of the smaller towns had been 
" cities of refuge " for Russian propagandists during intervals of 
reaction. Among the refugees, in 1883, there were Plekhanov, 
Aksekod, Deitch, Ignatov, and Vera Zasulich, all of whom had been 
Chorno Peredyeltsi, including the last-mentioned, who had passed 
over from Narodnaya Volya. This group seems at first to have 
devoted itself to the examination of the question why their 
movement had failed of its purpose. They appeared to have ar- 
rived at the conclusion that their methods had been too naive, and 
that it was necessary for them to call in the aid of science. They 
seemed to feel that while the social gulf between the revolutionary 
intelligentsia and the peasantry might be crossed, the intellectual 
gulf remained, and it appeared to the disappointed Narodneke that the 
will of the people — ^that is, of the peasantry — ^was an inadequate guide; 
that, indeed, the peasants were seeking guidance from the Narodneke 
themselves. Relatively educated as the propagandists were, they 
felt a need for more knowledge of the laws of human progress to 
enable them to deal with the situation, if not to the advantage of the 
peasants, at least to their own satisfaction. They were thus thrown 
back upon the studies with which many of them had begun. They 
now became acquainted with the socialist movement as it had been 
developing in Western Europe, and they began to be sceptical of the 
soundness of the " Utopist " views of " the old Russian revolu- 
tionaries," when " poUtical tendencies began to develop amongst 
them." ^ " Being convinced that our ideas were wrong or out of 
date, we shall see what place in the political struggle is reserved for 

^ Plekhanov, Socialism and the Political Struggle (Geneva, 1905), p. 7. 



the science to which even bourgeois opponents do not refuse the 
name of * scientific sociaUsm.' Afterwards we have to make what 
modifications in our conclusions may be necessary, because of the 
pecuharity of our contemporary conditions in Russia ; and the 
pohtical struggle of the working class in Russia will be more clearly 
understood when it is considered in relation to general problems." ^ 
That a few revolutionaries, even if they could obtain possession of 
the Government, would be quite powerless to liberate the people in 
any real sense, and that the people alone could Hberate itself, and 
that by consciously discarding the old order, became clear to the 

In 1883 this group of refugees in Switzerland formed the first 
definite social democratic organization in the Russian movement. 
It was called Osvobojdenie Truda, the Emancipation of Labour. 
The programme of the new party was issued in 1885. The views 
expressed in this document are the famihar Marxist views of that 
period. " The Russian social democrats " (the small group in ques- 
tion) " Uke the social democrats of other countries are seeking 
complete Hberation from the yoke of capital." ..." The present 
development of international commerce has made it inevitable 
that the revolution can be forced only by the participation in it of the 
society of the whole civihzed world. The sohdarity of the interests 
of the producers of all countries is recognized and declared by the 
International Brotherhood of Working Men. Since the Hberation 
of the working men must be the act of the working men themselves, 
and since the interests of labour are in general diametrically opposed 
to the interests of the exploiters, and since, therefore, the upper 
classes must always try to prevent the reorganization of the social 
relations, the inevitable condition precedent to this reorganization 
must be the taking possession by the working classes of the political 
power in any given country. Only the rule for a time of the working 
clasi can paralyze the forces of the counter-revolution, and put an 
end to the existence of classes and to the struggle between them." 
The programme goes on to point out that the practical problems 
which are encountered by the democracies must vary with the vary- 
ing phases of economical development. A country, for example, 

^ Plekhanov, Socialism and the Political Struggle (Geneva, 1905), p. 7. 
* Lyadov, The History of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party 
(St. Petersburg, 1906), vol. i. p. 35. 


which possesses fully developed capitalistic production and distribu- 
tion presents problems different from those presented by a country 
" where the labouring masses find themselves under the double yoke 
of capitaHsm and of an expiring patriarchal economy." Russia is 
in the latter position. Since the aboUtion of bondage right there 
has been a great growth of capitalistic enterprise. " The old system 
of natural economy is giving place to commercial production, and a 
large interior market has thus been opened up for the products of 
industry conducted upon a large scale." The chief support of the 
autocracy lies in the political indifference and mental backwardness 
of the peasantry. As a consequence of that condition there is weak- 
ness and timidity among the educated classes who find the present 
poUtical system inimical to their own material and moral interests. 
When they raise their voices in favour of the people, they find the 
people indifferent. Thus there arises instability of political opinions 
and complete disillusionment among the Russian intelligentsia. The 
situation would be quite hopeless were it not that the economical 
development of Russia creates at the present time *' fresh oppor- 
tunities for the defenders of the interests of the labouring classes." 
The means of political struggle are the spreading of socialistic ideas 
among the working men, and the aim of it is a democratic constitu- 

This project of a programme was written chiefly by Plekhanov, 
and, as he afterwards observed, it was rather a leading article than 
a programme. The " project " is not free from a strain of Utopism. 
It is optimistic in respect to the " conscious " action of the working 
class in a socialist direction, and in respect to their eventually 
adopting, of their own volition, methods of governmental adminis- 
tration founded upon socialist doctrines, which methods must result 
in an ideal commonwealth. Yet the " project " brings sharply 
into the field of Russian discussion the questions of the inevitabiUty 
of the process and the inevitability of the share in it of the working 
class. From this point of view there was an important deduction — 
viz. that the process, being an organic one, was most effectually 
facilitated by organic means, and that, while revolutionary violence 
might hasten, such violence might retard the process. This deduction 
was fully accepted, and Plekhanov and his group ceased to have any 

* " The Project of a Programme of the Russian Social Democrats, 1885," 
Soc. Dem. Calendar (Geneva, 1902) ; quoted by Lyadov, op. cit., vol. i. pp. 35-8. 



direct connection with the revolutionary movement in Russia. 
The principal converts to the doctrines of the new group were among 
the Russian students who were attending the universities in 
Switzerland.^ Through them it exercised a considerable influence 
upon the direction of the Russian movement afterwards. One of 
its members, Deitch, who probably alone among the group possessed 
organizing abiUty, was arrested. 

Subsequently Plekhanov gave a more definite indication of the 
programme which he considered his party should adopt. " We 
think," he says, in his first pamphlet on social democracy, " thatj 
the sole non-fantastic aim of the Russian Socialists must now be; 
the conquest of free political institutions on the one hand, and, | 
on the other, the working out of the elements for the formation of' 
a future Russian social democratic party. . . . The working men \ 
. . . will join our revolutionary intelligentsia in its struggle with 
absolutism, and then, gaining political freedom, they will organize 
themselves into a labour socialist party." ^ Akselrod supported 
this view, but considered that there was a possibiUty of organizing 
a socialist labour party even before the fall of absolutism, and 
during the process of struggle.^ 

Arising out of the interest in social democratic ideas popularized 
among the Russian intelligentsia by the Plekhanov group in Switzer- 
land, and derived from direct study of Marxist hterature, there 
appeared in St. Petersburg, in 1885, a social democratic group 
formed by Blagoev (a Bulgarian), Charitonov, and others.* This 
group issued two numbers of a newspaper, Rabochaya Gazeta 
(Workmen's Gazette). They were then arrested. Their ideas 
seem to be a mixture of Marxist sociaUsm and Lavrism.^ The aim 
of the group was to separate the working class and to form it into 
an independent political party, the final object of which was to 
be the reorganization of society upon a socialist basis — viz. the 

* Lyadov. op. cit., vol. i. p. 45. 

* Plekhanov, Socialism and the Political Struggle, in collection. On Two 
Fronts (Geneva, 1905), p. 75; cited by Lyadov, op. cit., vol. ii. p. 39. The 
pamphlet was originally issued in 1894. 

' Lyadov, loc. cit. 

* Egorov, A., " The Germination of Political Parties and their Activity," 
in Social Movements in Russia in the Beginning of the Twentieth Century 
(St. Petersburg, 1909), vol. i. p. 375. Lyadov {op. cit., pp. 46-49) says that 
this group was formed quite independently of the Plekhanov group, and that 
it did not have any connection with it until some time after its formation. 

' Lyadov, op. cit., p. 46. 



collective use of the means of production. In order to achieve that 
object the working man's party must struggle for a constitution ; 
but a constitution would be a dream unless there was a working 
man's party with aims independent of those of the bourgeoisie. 
Plekhanov contributed an article to the second number, in which 
he called the social democratic party an " exclusively working men's 
party." . . . "Our revolutionary intelligentsia must go with the 
working men, and the peasantry must follow them.'' This blunt 
statement of the determinism of undiluted Marxist doctrine pro- 
bably represents fairly the view of the few Russian Marxists of 
that time. From such a point of view there are two courses — 
either to await inactively the operation of the impUed social law, 
or to study intimately the actual working of the social forces in 
order to be in a position to estimate their direction and rate of 
movement, and to utilize this knowledge in practical action. In 
the middle of the eighties the first part of this latter course was 
adopted, not exclusively by people of tendencies in opposition to 
the Government, but also by many who found a new field of scien- 
tific research in which they might work without ulterior social or 
poUtical aims. The result of this state of mind was a greatly 
renewed interest in problems of local government, and in economic 
questions leading, e.g., to the collection of exact data upon 
the movements of commodities in the interior market, upon 
wages, cost of hving, and the like.^ A great mass of official and 
non-official studies were undertaken, and reports of great value 
were issued upon the economical state of the nation. In such 
studies the Imperial Free Economical Society of St. Petersburg 
was especially active.^ With renewed interest in life, Russian 
students returned from foreign universities and plunged into 
economical inquiries. They also plunged headlong into recondite 
studies for which in many cases no doubt their preliminary pre- 
paration was inadequate — into history, sociology, ethnography, 
and philosophy .3 Some of them developed a varied if not very 

* For activities in the latter direction, see, e.g., Lyatschenko, Outlines of 
Agrarian Evolution in Russia, vol. i. p. 285-6. 

* Cf. Beketov, A. N., Historical Sketch of Twenty-Five Years' Activity 
of the Imperial Free Economical Society, 1865-1890 (St. Petersburg, 1890); 
and Zemstvo Year Book, 1 885-1 886, edited by L. V. Khodsky (St. Peters- 
burg, 1890). 

' Lyadov, op. cit., vol. i. p. 56, 


deep erudition. The older intelligentsia, and even many of the 
revolutionary youth, looked askance at this rapid absorption and 
application of knowledge. To the former, educational methods 
seemed to have been turned upside down ; to the latter, the doc- 
trines of Marx and his social democratic followers seemed abruptly 
contradictory to all that they had learned from Lavrov, Mikhail- 
ovsky, and the moderate collectivists. 

The strength of the Marxist movement was thus devoted up 
till 1890 to self-education and inquiry. Foreign writings upon 
socialist questions were devoured with avidity — Marx, Engels, 
Kautsky, Liebknecht, Bebel, Lafargue, and Guesde.^ There was 
an insatiable appetite for all knowledge that might bear upon the 
social question .2 Meanwhile there was an almost entire absence 
of political agitation. PoUticians and " economists " ahke were 
peacefully engaged in the equipment of their intellectual arsenal. 

With the famine of 1891 there came a psychological moment. 
Not merely did this occurrence provide material for agitation, but it 
brought the ideahsts, and even a large number of moderate Hberals, 
to a new point of view. Famines were ascribed to a number of 
causes. Incompetence and impoverishment of landowners, incom- 
petence and impoverishment of peasants, absence of agricultural 
organization, absence of insurance against the consequences of 
fluctuation of seasons, absence of communications by which the 
deficiency of one region might be instantly compensated from else- 
where, and the hke. That all these deficiencies could be prevented 
by competence and capital seemed obvious ; that such competence 
and capital were more likely to be appHed, and applied continuously, 
by a democratic State, which should have full ownership and con- 
trol of all production and all of means of communication and dis- 
tribution, was suggested in effect by the famine itself. The social 
democratic gospel from that moment became " a fashionable doc- 
trine," and Marxist collectivism became so popular that recruits 
appeared for it from all social ranks. 

The small group of emigrants, led by Plekhanov, attempted to 
take advantage of the situation produced by the famine and of the 
general state of mind, by formulating a policy based upon the 

* Lyadov, op. cit., p. 56. 

* There was a similar outbreak of enthusiasm for such studies among the 
working men of St. Petersburg in 1905. Cf. infra, p. 457. 


famine. They sought to unite with the hberal and the democratic 
oppositional elements in carrying on a propaganda against the 
Government. Although this movement had no definite pohtical 
aim it had a certain efiect among the radical youth.^ Simultane- 
ously in those Zemstvo Assemblies in which there were active 
liberal elements, there was developed a considerable amount of 
opposition to the Government. This opposition was maintained 
for about four years, when it subsided. 

The social democratic agrarian programme, indefinite as it was, 
^as swept into the background in the years immediately succeeding 
1891 by the revival of industry and by the diversion of the energies 
of the social democratic groups into the industrial field, which 
indeed was more appropriate to their activities. The incipient 
attempts to form trade unions which the working men were making 
at that time were aided by the social democrats, who then found at 
once a platform for their propaganda and an opportunity for prac- 
tical action. These proceedings had, however, a certain disin- 
tegrating effect, for, in order that they might not excite the atten- 
tion of the Government, the social democrats were most careful to 
avoid not merely centralization, but even association of the various 
groups and various unions.^ They also studiously kept themselves 
apart alike from the " active " groups of social revolutionary ten- 
dencies and from the social democratic groups abroad. By these 
means they concentrated their activities upon the local organization 
of social democratic groups among working men, and they fre- 
quently promoted strikes.^ This policy was very effective in form- 
ing organizations analogous to the " trade clubs " or " trade 
societies," of the pre- " trade union " days in England ; * but it led to 
the absence of common ideas and of common action, and it neutral- 
ized the force of the social democratic movement when it was 
summoned by the course of events at a later period. It is true that 
in 1896 there was formed in St. Petersburg the Union for the Libera- 
tion of the Working Classes, to which the Government appeared at 
the time to attach importance, and in Moscow the Working Men's 

1 Egorov, A., op. cit., p. 375. 2 /^^^ 

3 e.g. at Vilna, in 1 893-1 894, among Jewish tradesmen ; in 1 894 in 

Moscow, in 1895 and 1896 in St. Petersburg, and in 1897 at Ekaterinoslav. 

Cf. Egorov, op. cit., p. 376. 

* That is. before 1830. Cf. Webb, S. and B., History of Trade Unionism 

(London, 1894), pp. 99-103. 


Union, afterwards the Union for Struggle. Similar unions were 
formed at Nijni-Novgorod, Vilna, Minsk, and Kharkov. But these 
unions were composed almost exclusively of social democrats from 
the intelligentsia. They were rarely entered by even the most ad- 
vanced working men.^ These unions, however, distributed both 
legal and illegal literature,^ and kept their members informed of 
the state of affairs. They also maintained, principally through 
students, and thus only periodically, connections with the local 
organizations. But they had no power over the working men's 
societies and no very intimate association with them. The need for 
union among the latter soon made itself felt. The local unions 
began to develop an incipient federation by appointing influential 
working men " who played the r61e of connectors," and who con- 
tributed to common action. The local unions also began to form 
interior " circles " of young working men, who occupied themselves 
with the study of socialism under the leadership of propagandists.* 
At the same time there were organized " treasuries," which were 
supported by contributions from the organized working men. The 
funds of these " treasuries " were used for assistance during strikes, 
for forming libraries (of legal and illegal hterature), and for helping 
" victims of poHce repression." * 

The important fact about the working-class movement fromj 
1892-1896 was that for the first time it was really spontaneous. It i 
was aided, no doubt, by the social democratic elements of the intel- ' 
ligentsia, but it was not originated by them. They found in the 
working men's organizations a favourable field for their propaganda, 
but they did not initiate and could not direct the movement. While, 
however, the working-class movement of this period was a genuine 
working-class movement, it was by no means either originated in, 
nor did it materially affect, the general mass of working men. It 
was initiated by a comparatively small number of " advanced " 
working men, some of whom had been previously more or less con- 
nected with revolutionary circles, and some of whom had in the 

1 Egorov. he. cit. 

' " Legal " literature comprised those publications which had passed 
the censor. Illegal literature was published abroad and smuggled into 
Russia or was printed in " underground " printing offices. 

* Egorov, loc. cit. 

* These "treasuries" were formed, e.^. at Vilna, Minsk (in 1895), and 
Moscow (1 895-1 896). 


capitals acquired a knowledge of the Marxist ideas. Many of the 
smaller trade societies were formed, however, originally on purely 
economical grounds, and only after their existence had become known 
were they entered by propagandist elements, either from the work- 
ing class or from the intelligentsia. 

The activities of the social democrats among the working men 
in helping them to organize into trade societies, and in aiding them 
to form " treasuries," gave a practical direction to social democratic 
energies, and drew into their ranks enthusiasts who were wiUing 
to undertake practical functions. Experience in organic contact 
with working men gave them also a certain knowledge of actual 
conditions, and also, no doubt, a better knowledge of the limitations 
of the working man's mind and character. But all this impUed 
neglect of development on the side of theory. The Marxian dog- 
matics were accepted as final truth, and although some of the social 
democrats realized that Russia presented many problems with 
which Marx had not dealt at all, they were unable at that moment 
to formulate the modifications upon the Credo of Marxism which 
Russian conditions rendered necessary. They were thus driven to 
accept the Marxian position pure and simple, and so far as their 
practical tactics were concerned, rather to follow the working men 
than to lead them. To a certain extent they tended to imitate the 
German social democrats, and when the Erfurt programme was 
promulgated in 1892, the Russian groups generally accepted it. At 
the same time they appear to have considered, and to have deliber- 
ately rejected, the English trade-union policy on the ground that it 
was destitute of ulterior socio-political aims.^ 

It is difficult to estimate the numerical importance of the various 
societies among working men that were at this time more or less 
directly influenced by social democratic tactics and ideas. There 
were, however, probably a few thousand working-men members of 
\ these societies, and there were besides a few hundred social demo- 
crats of the intelligentsia who assisted in forming or in directing 
the local working-class groups. There were, in addition to these, 
the societies formed on purely economical grounds, and not as 
yet affected by propagandist ideas. 

About 1894 the Government turned its attention to the move- 
ment. They began to arrest those of the intelligentsia who had 
1 Lyadov, op. cit., p. 70. 


taken part in the organization of working-men's societies. Large 
numbers of students were arrested ; but so great was the enthusiasm 
that theirjfplaces were quickly filled, so that the ranks of the social 
democrats, far from being depleted, became more numerous. The 
Government also " banished " to their villages the working-men 
members of the organizations ; but in so doing it contributed to 
the dissemination of the opinions which it desired to suppress, for 
the banished working men carried the social democratic propa- 
ganda into every part of the country, especially into the villages, 
and at the same time carried in their hearts a bitter feeUng against 
the Government. Under the influence of these events, the social 
democratic intelligentsia began to see in the working-class move- 
ment a " lever " which might be employed by them to force the 
Government into political reforms.^ Disappointed with the results 
of previous attempts to agitate among the peasants, they now 
looked forward with hope to the organization of the working men 
as a means of forcing concessions from the Government. 

In the end of April 1895 the Moscow social democratic organiza- 
tion determined to make a census of the working men who had 
definitively enhsted under their banner, by holding on ist May 
a meeting which would have the character of a demonstration, 
invisible, however, to the authorities. Secret Labour Day meetings 
had been held in 1891 at St. Petersbiurg and in 1892 at Vilna ; 
but no other demonstrations, secret or otherwise, had been made. 
The Moscow meeting, which was held in the coimtry near Moscow, 
was attended by about 250 working men and 5 intelligentsia. At 
this meeting it was decided to create immediately " a widespread 
organization," to be called " The Moscow Working Men's Union," 
and to be not merely a working-man's union, but to be also inclusive 
of sympathetic intelligentsia.^ 

The social democratic intelligentsia, small in number as they 
were, gained experience in these movements, and they contributed 
to regularize strikes when they occurred, and to replace the elemental 
forms of struggle — indiscriminate riot and the like — by more 
peaceful and dignified demonstrations. 

Meanwhile Russian industry was developing with immense 
rapidity. The peasants were leaving the villages and streaming 
into the industrial centres ; the small towns even were deserted for 

* Egorov, op. cit., p. 378. * Lyadov, op. ciL, pp. 115-16. 


these. Among the economic results of this movement of popula- 
tion were the disturbance of the interior markets, the fall of prices 
in the villages which were in the neighbourhood of the depopulated 
small towns,^ and the increase of the industrial cities. The char- 
acteristic of the time was the growth of huge industrial enter- 
prises. It seemed as if Russia were going to leap at once from 
an agricultural economy to an economy of great industry. More- 
over, these industrial enterprises were of a magnitude to which 
there is no parallel save in the recent great combinations in the 
United States. The exploitation of the natural resources of Russia 
attracted capital from Western Europe, and the high protective 
tariff enabled promoters to offer highly remunerative returns.^ 

Some influential persons in the *' higher spheres " ^ began to 
see in these movements a serious danger to the autocracy. Others 
saw in them a period of prosperity in which revolutionary impulses 
might subside.* The general drift of orthodox Marxism, on its 
purely economical side and apart from its democratic elements, 
was not out of consonance with the industrial policy of the Govern- 
ment. The Government was not only by far the greatest land- 
owner in Russia, it was by far the greatest capitalist and the greatest 
employer of labour. Its railways, its mines, its factories of many 
different kinds, were in every part of the country. An economical 
policy which urged the extension of governmental enterprise over 
all fields was thus of itself not obnoxious to the Government. The 
obnoxious feature of the social democratic propaganda was its 
democratic character, the insistence that the existing Government 
should be dismounted and a democratic Government put in its 
place. There thus arose in the minds of the authorities a sharp 
distinction between Marxism as an economical theory and social 
democracy as a political propaganda. Moreover, the labour move- 
ment, which had been in progress from 1892, could not escape the 
notice of the " legal " press. The character of the movement was 
discussed in the leading newspapers, and the influence of Marxist 

^ This process was very manifest in the Upper Dnieper region, where 
numbers of people from the small towns migrated into the industrial towns 
of Poland. 

2 Cf. infra, p. 372. 

3 M. von Plehve, for example, who is reported to have said that M. Witte, 
through his policy of high protection, was creating revolutionists. 

* Like M. Witt6, e.g. 


economics could not fail to be noticed. The antagonism of the 
Marxist doctrines to those of the Narodovoltsi was brought out 
sharply. Thus, when Peter Struve published in 1894 his Critical 
Essays} the book passed the censor, and " legal " Marxism was 
a fact. The writings of Marx were also admitted to circulation, so 
that from that date onwards they were exposed for sale in the 
windows of the ordinary booksellers.* There also arose a group 
of " legal " Marxists, comprising persons who adhered to the 
Marxist economic theories without taking part in social demo- 
cratic organizations.^ " Legal Marxism " did not, however, be- 
come of importance immediately. Its evolution was conditioned 
by the gradual acceptance of the doctrines of Marx as consonant 
with the negative aspects of philosophical materialism, which 
represented then, as it does now, the predominant point of view 
in philosophy of Russian men of science.* The growth of " legal " 
Marxism and the open discussion of the Marxist dialectics to which 
it gave rise led to an attitude towards collectivism not as a doctrine 
concerning merely a struggle of classes ending inevitably with the 
victory of the proletariat, but towards it as belonging to the theory 
of social evolution in general. Not all of those who were fairly 
entitled to be called " legal Marxists " remained within the fold 
of orthodox Marxism ; many of them either joined the social 
democratic groups, or became advocates of constitutional and 
social reform.^ 

The defence of the Marxist position was not, however, left to 
the " legal Marxists " properly so called. Plekhanov made a direct 
appeal to the intelligentsia in his book. Towards the Development 
of the Monistic View of History, published in 1895.® According to 
this lively polemic, the Narodneke were Utopists similar to the 

» Struv§, P., Critical Essays (St. Petersburg, 1894). 

* Although when Maxx's writings were found on domiciliary visits, they 
continued to be regarded as confirmatory evidence of undue interest in 
political questions. 

' Among these there was, e.g. the well-known Professor of Political 
Economy, M. Tugan-Baranovsky. There were also many of the junior 
members of the teaching staffs of nearly all the universities. 

* Cf. Egorov, op. cit., p. 379. 

^ Some of them identified themselves at a later period with the consti- 
tutional democrats, and some of them became merely observant critics of 
all parties. 

* Published under the pseudonym of " N. Beltov," republished St. Peters- 
burg, 1905. 


Utopists of Western Europe. They had nothmg in common with 
revolution. They were not Hberals, or conservatives, or mon- 
archists, or repubHcans, but, consecrated to their own idees fixes, 
they were ready to follow any of them in so far as by doing so 
they might hope to reaUze their own " practical " plans. Plek- 
hanov similarly attacked the Russian " subjectivists." He ac- 
cused them of faiUng to understand Marx's materialistic theory of 
history, when they reproach the Marxists for the passive observance 
of the social forces to which they consider the theory logically leads 
them. " The degree of development of the productive forces," 
says Plekhanov, " defines the measure of power over nature. The 
dialectical method " (the method of Marx) " not only strives, as 
its enemies recognize, to convince people that it is absurd to make 
an uprising against economical necessity, but for the first time it 
shows how to deal with it. Once we understand the iron law, it 
devolves upon us to throw off its yoke and to make necessity an 
obedient slave to reason. ' I am a worm,' says the idealist. * I 
am a worm,' says the materialist dialectician, * so long as I am 
ignorant. I am a god when I know. Tantum possumus, quantum 
scimus.' " ^ 

One of the consequences of " legal Marxism " was the pubHca- 
tion of several newspapers ^ in which " legal Marxism " was pro- 
pagated, although the contributors to these were frequently 
members of the revolutionary social democratic ranks. The 
association of these discordant elements in the production of party 
newspapers contributed in the first instance to an absence of definite 
theoretical basis, as the result of compromise on questions of 
principle, and led afterwards to divisions in the ranks of the social 
democrats. From the Marxist point of view, the association of 
these groups led also to the transformation of the labour move- 
ment into a liberal " tail." ^ 

Up till the year 1895, partly because of the comparatively 
slender growth of great industries in Russia, and more largely 
because of the hostiUty of the Government to labour combinations, 

1 " Beltov " (Plekhanov), op. cit., p. 232 ; quoted by Lyadov, op. cit., 
vol. i. p. 151. 

* The first of these was Deenas Lapa, published at Riga in Lettish. Then 
followed the Samara Gazette, Novae Slovo (New Word), Nachalo, and Jizn 
(Life). Cf. Lyadov, op. cit., vol. i. p. 154. 

* Cf. e.g. Lenin, What to do, p. 10 ; cited by Lyadov, op. cit., vol. i. p. 155. 



there had been few strikes. In that year they began to increase, 
in 1896 there were many more, and in 1897 the number of strikes 
and the numbers of men involved were the highest during that 
period.^ The causes of these strikes were exclusively economical. 
The era of the poUtical strike had not yet begun. In 1895 about 
75 per cent, of the men who were on strike struck for higher wages, 
3 per cent, for reduction in the number of hours of labour, and 22 
per cent, for improvement in the conditions of labour. In 1896 
the proportions were quite different ; only about 36 per cent, struck 
for advance in wages, while about 60 per cent, struck for reduction 
in the number of hours of labour. In 1897 the numbers striking 
for each of the two principal causes was almost equal, the number 
striking for improved conditions being 5 per cent.^ 

The growth of great industries now brought a new factor into 
the situation. Large fortimes were made by merchants and by 
financiers who had embarked in various enterprises. The factories, 
emplojdng many thousands of hands, had sometimes in their im- 
mediate vicinity the new and costly houses of their owners. For 
the first time in Russian history since the absorption of the free 
towns into the Moscow State there arose definitely a bourgeoisie, 
exercising, autocracy notwithstanding, a certain political influence. 
This bourgeoisie was small in number, but it was important because 
the conditions of Russian finance had brought it into relations 
with the network of the international money market. If, for 
example, the Russian Government was unwilling to serve certain 
ends of the great manufacturers, pressure which was difficult to 
resist might be brought to bear from Belgium, France, Germany, 

^ The official statistics are : 




Number of establishments involved 

„ workmen involved .... 

„ days lost 

,, „ where workmen gained 
„ „ where employers gained 

„ where there was a com- 
promise .... 
„ „ where result is unknown 















Ministry of Trade and Industry: Statistical Reports of Labour Strikes in 
Factories and Foundries. 1 895-1904, V. E. Varzar (St. Petersburg, 1905), 
p. 72, and App., p. 3. 

' Cf. Varzar, op. cit., p. 55. 


or England. Moreover, many of the very large industries had 
been established by foreigners, who remained subjects of their 
respective countries,^ and who on occasion called upon, as they 
were entitled to do, for the diplomatic services of their respective 
ambassadors. From the point of view of the social democrats, the 
landowning nobihty were effete and powerless. Their political 
influence had been quite unable to prevent the development of the 
protective tariff, and was now a " negligible quantity," and their 
liberal elements, which had shown themselves in the Zemstvos, 
had easily been rendered useless. The new bourgeoisie, rising into 
power through the great industry, though small in number, was 
the really formidable supporter of the Government and the for- 
midable enemy of the working class. This was, of course, in com- 
plete accordance with the Marxist hypothesis, and to the social 
democrats the rise of the bourgeoisie in the nick of time to justify 
the prescience of Marx was no accident, but was an inevitable 
necessity .2 The only real antagonist of the allied forces of the 
bureaucratic autocracy and the great factory-owning bourgeoisie 
was the proletariat. The peasantry, in spite of the years of hard 
toil among them of the Narodnik groups, were poHtically value- 
less. The intelligentsia, in view of the current reaction in the 
opinion of the working class against the previous idealization of 
their political virtues by the Narodovoltsi and the subjectivists, were 
described by Struve as ** in sociological relations * une quantite 
negligeable.' " ^ 

From this point of view it became evident that the working 
class, in its struggle against the employing class, must endeavour 
•to secure its victories by means of changes in the legislation and 
administration of the State. It must thus be brought soon into 
collision with ** the whole State mechanism." ^ Thus the working 

1 Conspicuous instances of this are the woollen mills of the Thorntons 
on the Neva and the engineering works of the Maxwells at St. Petersburg, 
belonging to and managed by Englishmen, and of the silk factory of Girot 
at Moscow, belonging to and managed by Frenchmen. The Nobels (English 
and French capital) have large interests in Southern Russia. 

2 Struve, P. B., Critical Essays (St. Petersburg, 1894), quoted by Egorov, 
op. cit„ p. 380. 

3 It is to be observed that historical conditions in Russia have made 
for the sharper division of the classes than in any other country. Moreover, 
there is there no such diffusion of industrial and commercial capital as there 
is in Western Europe. Russian enterprises are indeed, as pointed out above, 
largely financed from abroad. * Egorov, op. cit., p. 380. 


class, even if it conquered an eight-hour day by means of an econo- 
mical strike, must insist further upon a legal eight-hour day ; or, 
if it conquered a recognition by the employers of the right of com- 
bination, it must further have that right secured by law, and so 
forth. Such appears to have been the psychology of the social 
democratic movement in and among the working class in the period 
succeeding 1894. This came to be known as the period of " econo- 
mism." * 

These views necessarily isolated the working-class social demo- 
crats from all other social groups. The movement came to be re- 
garded as a " pure working-class movement " by its advocates, and 
as merely " opportunist " by its critics. The latter, indeed, regarded 
it as opposed in principle to the ultimate aims of the older social 
democratic groups, as, for instance, that of Plekhanov, and as 
struggling for no aims other than those which might with pressure 
be realized without displacing the existing form of government, and 
without altering the fundamental character of the administration 
of law.2 The development of " economism " had indeed led the 
social democratic working men's movement unconsciously, but sub- 
stantially, to the point of view of Enghsh trade unionism, as inter- 
preted by Brentano. Indeed the critics of " economism " appUed 
also to it the name " Brentanism." ^ Their views, however, corre- 
sponded more closely and directly with those of Bernstein, whose 
polemics against Kautsky are well known.* 

It seems advisable now to glance at the fluctuations of opinion 

* Egorov, op. cit., p. 380. 

■ Cf. Egorov, op. cit., p. 381. Some social democrats afterwards recog- 
nized in the " economist movement of this period a direct playing into 
the hand of the great bourgeoisie through concentration of attention upon 
merely trade-union methods. Cf. Lyadov, op. cit., p. 158. 

' Professor Lujo Brentano published in 1872 the second volume of his 
Die Arbeitergilden der Gegenwart, in which he endeavoured "to demonstrate 
the possibility of a solution of the labour question under the social and 
political order of the present." (Preface to his Das Arbeitsverhdltniss Gemdss 
dem heutigen Recht (Leipzig, 1877),) He had further developed the same 
theme in " Meine Polemik mit Karl Marx : Zugleich ein Betrag zur Frage des 
Fortschrittes der Arbeiterclasse und seiner Ursachen " (in Deuischen Wochen- 
blatt, 6th November 1890). See also Bernstein, Edouard, Brentano Abet 
die Socialdemokratie und das Lohngesetz (i 890-1 891). republished in his 
Zur Geschichte und Theorie des Socialismus (Berlin, 1901), pp. 32-6. 

* Book \^ chap. xi. Bernstein indeed was very popular at this time. 
Three editions of a collection of his writings were published in Russia. He was 
one of the writers recommended by Zubdtov to be read by those whom he 
wished to convert from social democracy. (Cf. infra, p. 189 n.) 


within the groups whose principle was characterized as " econo- 
mism." The "Unions for Struggle" were composed for the most 
part of working men, whose principal objects were to improve 
the conditions of their own labour and incidentally of the labour of 
other working men, aUke as regards the physical conditions, the 
number of working hours, and the remuneration. Only a relatively 
small number of them could be described as being consciously 
engaged in a struggle between the working class and the owners of 
capital allied with the Government. On the '* peripheries " ^ of 
these circles there were such working men, and in the centre there 
were groups of intelligenti who guided the organization. These 
latter groups maintained, to begin with, their association with the 
immediately preceding socio-political elements from whom they 
had, indeed, inherited or acquired their starting-point. Such groups 
appear to have regarded " economism " as a temporary phase — as, 
indeed, an evil which should have to be abandoned. But in the 
periphery of the circle, occupied by working men of the character 
described, and by intelligenti of similar character, there was a ten- 
dency towards the increase of the influence of " economism." In 
those unions where the intelligent guides at the centre were new- 
comers, the working men at all stages of " sociaHst education " 
were inclined to insist upon managing the unions themselves.^ As 
the imions grew in dimensions, the working men in them greatly 
outnumbered the intelligenti, and thus the control of the unions by 
the latter came to have more and more an undemocratic aspect, 
and " democratism " became a new watchword in this interior 
struggle. In St. Petersburg and in Kiev, e.g. there emerged a party 
within the unions which proposed a unification of the unions, and the 
formation of a political party, on the basis, however, of a programme 
which was confined within the limits of " economism." This pro- 
posal was not received with favour either by the working men on 
the " periphery " or by those who were " socially educated," and 
were therefore well within the circle. They saw in the project a 
means of strengthening the central control and of diminishing the 
democratic character of the structure of the unions. They saw in 
it also the increase of the influence of the " ideologists " over that 
of the ** practitioners." They urged that a working men's party 
can grow only organically from the inside, and that the formation 

^ A phrase of Egorov's, op. cit., p. 381. 2 According to Lyadov. 


of a social democratic political party would be a mistake. They 
also anticipated the moment when the local organizations, losing 
their " hierarchical character and intelligentsia influence shall be- 
come (really) working men's organizations, which would embrace 
all of the strugghng portion of the proletariat." They denounced 
any other way of forming a party as being " conspirative," and as 
savouring of Narodnaya Volya} 

In spite of the adverse interior conditions of the social demo- 
cratic groups, they appeared to be making progress in so far as 
concerned the arousal of the working men from political ignorance 
and apathy. It is difficult to assess the proportions of the purely 
spontaneous labour movement apart from the social democratic 
and " active " revolutionary propaganda. It is possible that it 
was very considerable. The dispersal of working men, occasioned 
by the Government's poHcy of banishing by administrative order,* 
was undoubtedly influential in spreading discontent as well as 
in spreading the social democratic ideas with which at least some 
of them had become inoculated. 

Towards the end of the year 1896 it became quite apparent that 
an incipient mass movement was in progress. Where it would end, 
no one could tell. The liberal elements in Russian society were 
conscious of an altered state of affairs, but they seemed to be imable 
to grasp the situation. The feeUng that the working men and the 
peasants were too ignorant to be trusted with political power com- 
pletely possessed them, and their prevaihng mood throughout the 
nineties was one of pessimism. This attitude on the part of the 
liberals was undoubtedly favourable to the reactionaries, and the 
poUcy of arrest, imprisonment, banishment, and exile went on. So 
long as social democratic intelligenti only were imprisoned, the ten- 
dency was for them to be idealized by the working men ; now that 
social democratic working men were arrested, they came to be 
idealized by the intelligenti. It was only a step farther for them to 
idealize the whole working class. The Russian youth following in 
this direction found so great a spontaneous revival among the work- 
ing men, that they refused to give the social democratic inUUigenH 
the whole credit of the movement .^ They thus discounted the 

^ Egorov, loc. cit. 

' The prisons could not have held the workmen banished by the local 
governmental authorities. 

• Lyadov, op. cit., vol. ii. p. 21. 


effect of propaganda, and came to attach great importance to organi- 
zation. This attitude was to a certain extent confirmed by the 
demands of the strike period, when practical organizing abiUty was 
called for on all hands. The result of this " state of mind " was the 
formation of groups of the younger men rivalling the groups of the 
older propagandists of various shades of opinion. The Molodykh 
(youths) group, and other groups of the same kind, were formed 
in St. Petersburg, and in one case a number of " Technologists " left 
their union and formed a group of their own. The Molodykh group 
developed interior differences and divided into two factions. 

These divisions and subdivisions gave rise to a situation in 
which it was said that wherever two Russian social democrats meet 
together, there will be three social democratic parties ; ^ and that 
in the mouths of self-styled social democrats " nonsense was elevated 
into a principle." ^ In Russia socialism was still a " chaos." ^ 

One way out of this chaos seemed to be to convene a congress. 
The Moscow group had proposed in 1894 to convene a congress in 
order to fix the " political physiognomy " of the party ; but the 
arrest of nearly all of its members prevented this project from being 
carried out. 

Projects of unification of the unions were repeatedly made, but 
they were always met by the same objections, advanced by the 
same groups, who came to be known as the " Men of the Nineties." 
The reaction against the formation of what they considered *' im- 
mature parties out of innumerous and unstable circles," culminated 
in 1897. 

Two different currents combined to bring about a partial change 
of view among the social democrats : the growth of industry, ac- 
companied as it was by strikes in the winter of 1 896-1 897 ; and the 
popularization of " orthodox " Marxism through the legal press. 
The strike situation brought the need of union into the first place, 
and the percolation of Marxist opinions prepared the way for a 
poUtical programme. Notwithstanding the traditional opposition 
to such a project, and in consequence of these currents, the central 
groups of the " Unions for Struggle " in St. Petersburg and in Kiev, 
and the central committee of the Jewish " Bund," convened a con- 

1 Akimov, Outline oj the Development of Social Democracy in Russia 
(St, Petersburg, 1906), p. 46 ; cited by Lyadov, op. cit., vol. ii. p. 24. 

2 Lyadov, op. cit., vol. ii. p. 25. » Cf. the phrase of V. Considerant. 


gress at Minsk for February 1898. The congress was held in 
March ; there met, besides the groups mentioned, the representa- 
tives of the " Unions for Struggle " of Moscow and Ekaterinoslav. 
The meeting was held in strict secrecy; even the working men 
of the "periphery" knew nothing about it. The occasion was, 
however, important, for there was then formed a " Russian ' 
Social Democratic Working Men's Party." The congress 
appeared to be divided into three groups, representing three 
streams of tendency, which had manifested themselves in the 
isolated and disparate organizations.^ There were some ad- 
herents of the " Group for the Emancipation of Labour," who 
adopted the platform of Plekhanov, which has already been 
described. The second group represented local organization and 
" economism," the idea of the " immediate improvement of the 
condition of every working man." The third group represented 
the idea of limited centralization, involving the preservation of the 
secret or conspirative character of the "general staff" or central 
organization, but by gradually enlarging its structure to bring it 
into more direct contact with the locally organized groups, other- 
wise the " army." According to this group, the organized mass 
should not have any control of the " party." The mass should be 
" disciplined by continuous agitation," strikes should be steadily 
" developed," and it should take part in " propaganda circles " and 
in managing the strike funds. The principal exponent of the ideas , 
of the last-mentioned group was Lenin, who had issued a pamphlet / 
advocating them immediately before the congress was held.* The 
congress practically adopted the position of Lenin. The drift of 
the manifesto is interesting because it exhibits the mental content 
of the groups that were at that time endeavouring to change the 
current of Russian life. The manifesto begins by drawing a com- 
parison between the French revolution of 1848 and the future 
Russian revolution. From the customary Marxist point of view, 
this revolution marked the beginning of the proletarian struggle in 
Western Europe. The reference to the revolution of 1848 in pre- 

1 According to Lyadov, no account of the proceedings at this congress 
has been preserved. All that remains are the programme of the initiators 
and the manifesto of the conp-ess. The manifesto was printed in The Work- 
man's Gazette (Lestka Rahotneka), No. 8, June 1898, pp. 3-8. It is quoted 
in extenso by Lyadov, op, cit., ii. pp. 67-72. 

" Lyadov, op. cit., ii. p. 64. 



ference to the revolution of 1789 is significant, because the authors 
of the manifesto seemed to think that in Russia a social revolution 
would be either contemporaneous with, or precedent to, a political 
revolution. But either social democrats of the congress did not 
agree with the Marxist position, or were careless in their historical 
allusion, for they went on to say, that it is necessary for the Russian 
proletariat to struggle first for " poUtical freedom," because this 
is as needful for them " as pure air is for healthy respiration." 
Profiting by the lessons derived from Western European experience, 
the Russian proletariat will achieve this conquest alone without 
waiting for help from the bourgeoisie. While the accomplishment 
of the socialist revolution must be " the great historical mission of 
the proletariat, the first step must be the poUtical revolution." So 
far as the congress was concerned, here was the end of " economism." 
There could be no question of Umiting the aims of the social demo- 
cratic labour movement to the immediate economic needs. The 
congress also pronounced in favour of centralization. " All the 
organizations must act according to one plan, and must obey the 
directors." At the same time, the Jewish " Bund," which was 
already a centraUzed organization within the social democratic 
movement, was given full separate autonomy.^ The congress also 
decided that the Working Men's Gazette should be the organ of the 
central committee. It is significant that the manifesto contains no 
reference to the agrarian question. The document appears to have 
been drawn up by P. B. Struve, who, however, seems to have ex- 
pressed, not his personal opinions, but those eventually agreed upon 
by the congress. 

The document was not well received. The unions refused to 
circulate it, and the " periphery " elements resented the action of 
the intelligent centres in summoning a meeting without their know- 
ledge and without representation from them. The unions on the 
frontier held a congress in the autumn of 1898, and rejected a 
motion of sympathizers with the "Group for the Emancipation 

^ The reasons for this are stated in an article in the organ of the Bund, 
pubUshed immediately after the congress. These reasons were : the pecuUar 
situation of the Jews in Russia, the policy of the Government towards them, 
the fact that the Jews have a separate language, and the like. (Quoted by 
Lyadov, vol. ii. p. 74.) The Jewish " Bund," or " The Pan- Jewish Working 
men's Union of Russia and Poland," was composed of Jewish Lithuanian 
and PoUsh social democrats. 


of Labour" to the effect that the principle of the manifesto 
should be accepted.^ 

It appeared that the hostiUty to the policy of centralization 
was not merely justifiable from a democratic point of view, but 
that, in the condition of Russian affairs at that time, to centralize 
organization was to make the task of suppression by the Govern- 
ment easier. No sooner were the details of the organization of 
the central committee and of its relations to the local committees 
settled, than the members of all of these, together with the editors \ 
of their newspaper, were arrested, and the newspaper office was \ ^ 
seized by the poUce. There had been a spy at the centre, and 1 
all were arrested who were in any way engaged in the organization. 
" Economism " was justified after all, in spite of its neglect of 
the distant aims of the " poUticians." Yet in some of the groups 
there remained the conviction that the new organization, which 
must arise upon the ruins of the old, must be centralized. The 
destruction of the centres by the measures of the Government, 
together with the interior disputes between " economism " and 
" poHticalism," resulted in the pulverization of the imions into 
small detached groups of varying tendencies. There remained a 
so-called " committee " of the party, but this committee was 
composed chiefly of representatives of the " periphery " elements ; 
it was destitute of political aims, and it did not engage in political 
action. In the autumn of 1898 there was not a single strong socials "i 
democratic organization of " political " tendencies.* The labour 
movement as a social democratic movement existed, but only as 
independent and dissociated fragments. Trusting, as the local 
groups did, in the " experience and erudition " of the emigrants 
in the " Group for the Emancipation of Labour " headed by Ple- 
khanov, they naturally looked for guidance and for a supply of 
pamphlet hterature suitable for propaganda purposes, but neither 
of these were forthcoming. There was a lack of comprehension of 
the real needs of the hour on the part of the emigrants, and Ple- 

* Egorov quotes a document of this time called the Credo, which denounced 
the idea of the formation of a social democratic pohtical party on the ground 
that such a party would be an imitation of Western European examples, 
and urges the social democrats to unite with the liberal opposition in its 
struggle against the Government. He says that this document was " very 
influential " among the unions of the frontier. Egorov, <»/). cit., p. 383, and 
cf. infra, p. 166. 

* Egorov, op. cit., p. 384. 


khanov's learned polemics were not suited either to the understand- 
ings or to the stage of " social education " of the working men, 
and still less of the peasants.^ The emigrants spoke constantly of 
** the future labour movement," but the labour movement was 
already in being, and they did not realize the fact. But among 
the emigrants movements were in progress corresponding to those 
in the interior of the social democratic circles in Russia. A crisis 
was precipitated by some of them, who separated themselves from 
the " Group for the Emancipation of Labour " and formed a new 
group, which they called the " Union of Russian Social Democrats 
Abroad. " The members of this group were, for the most part, young 
emigrant students who had had connections with the social demo- 
cratic organizations in Russia. In one of the publications of this 
group 2 Akselrod ^ wrote ** a mild criticism " of the course of Russian 
social democracy, and suggested that the scope of its immediate 
aims might well be enlarged. During the winter of 1897-1898 the 
relations between the '* Union " and the ** Group for the Eman- 
cipation of Labour " became very strained over the question of " eco- 
nomism," and the ** Group " abandoned its publications, while soon 
afterwards the ** Union " was split into two fractions. The larger 
fraction was led by the editors of the newspaper Working Men's 
Activities, who adopted an eclectic attitude towards " economism " 
and '* political activity " alike. The smaller fraction united 
with the members of the "Group for the Emancipation of 
Labour,'* and formed the " Revolutionists* Organization of Social 
Democrats." * 

The critical paper of Akselrod, referred to above,^ spoke of the 
fundamental solidarity of interests of all classes of society in so 
far as these were progressive, and of the identity of interest of 
the democratic intelligentsia and the democratic working men. 

^ Cf. Lyadov, op. cit., vol. i. p. 161. 

2 The series of publications comprised, About Agitation; Towards the 
Question of the Fundamental Problems and Tactics of the Russian Social Demo- 
crats ; Historical Conditions and the Relations of the Liberal and Social Demo- 
cracy ; A Letter to the Editors of " Workmen's Activities." Cf. Egorov, op. 
cit., p. 381. 

^ Formeriy one of the Chorno Peredyeltsi, then one of Plekhanov's group. 
Cf. supra, p. III. 

* Egorov, op. cit., p. 382. 

• "On the Question of the Contemporary Problems and Tactics of the 
Russian Socialists." Rabotnik, No. 56 (1899). 


Akselrod's critics pointed out that in this view Akselrod looked 
upon the labour party not as a class party, but as a democratic 
bourgeois party, acting upon and among working men, and that 
his view did not differ materially from " the pale Hberalism " of 
the bourgeoisie. They insisted that the " general national prob- 
lem " did not coincide with, and that it was indeed hostile to, the 
problem of the class interests of the proletariat.^ It is clear that 
these critics decidedly undervalued the * ' social point of view. ' ' They 
appear to have thought that disinterested movement was quite 
impossible, and that, since the point of the social democratic agita- 
tion among the proletariat was to provoke what they called class 
consciousness, that therefore any movement among the bour- 
geoisie or any fraction of it must be a class-conscious movement 
also. As one of them puts it : " Akselrod did not believe in the 
class character of the demands of the landowners and the lawyers, 
because he thought they were able to stand upon the revolutionary 
point of view of the proletariat owing to their common hatred of 
capitalism." ^ 

Aksehod was, however, probably more Marxian than his critics, 
for Marx always insisted that the class war was a temporary though 
necessary phase, and that the end of it would be the aboHtion of 
classes and the merging of society into one social group. Akselrod 
was, therefore, not antagonistic to Marxist principles when he 
advocated the utilization of the democratic intelligentsia, so far 
as this intelligentsia would go.® 

According to Lyadov,* one of these critics, the great misfortune 
of the social democratic party in the late nineties was the fact that 
it absorbed " too great a dose of the bourgeois intelligentsia — so much 
of it that the latter did not even desire to organize into separate 
bourgeois revolutionary circles or fractions." He considered that 
the social democracy of the bourgeois intelligentsia, including among 
them the " legal Marxists," had not left one stone upon another 
of the fabric of scientific socialism, to the great joy of the survivors 

* As stated by Lyadov, op. cit., vol. ii. pp. 96-8. 

* Lyadov. ii. p. 98. 

* The question had been fought out in the International. Had it been 
decided in accordance with the views of the social democrats, who were 
opposed to Akselrod. Marx himself would have been excluded from the 
Association he was instrumental in bringing into existence. 

* See Lyadov» op. cit., ii. p. 115. 


among the old Narodnik elements, and to the neutralization of 
the efforts of the other revolutionary oppositional organizations. 
The intelligentsia had cultivated an innocuous socialism, and had 
been at pains to direct the movement into the channels of trade 
unionism. The two documents in which the views of the intelli- 
gentsia and the supposititious views ^ of the proletariat are most 
sharply contrasted are the Credo and the Protest.^ The former, 
which bears the marks of the views of Akselrod, although its 
authorship appears to be unknown, states its general point of view 
in these terms : " The Marxism which is negative, the primitive, 
intolerant Marxism (which employs in a too schematical way its 
division of societies into classes) must give way to democratic 
Marxism, and the position of the party in contemporary society 
will thereby be greatly changed. The party will find its narrow 
corporative and mostly sectarian aims changed into a tendency to 
reform contemporary society in the democratic direction adapted 
to the contemporary state of affairs, with the aim of more suc- 
cessfully and completely defending the rights (which vary) of the 
labouring classes." ^ xhe Credo originated in St. Petersburg. 
The Protest, which was compiled by seventeen social democratic 
exiles in Switzerland, warned the party of what it considered 
the danger which menaced it, in the attempt to divert it 
from the path it had chosen — viz. the formation of an in- 
dependent political labour party, inseparable from the class 
struggle of the proletariat, with the primary object of conquering 
pohtical freedom.* 

In his criticism of the Credo and of the policy of ** economism," 
Lyadov argues that " economism " was really a political move- 
ment, and that the effect of inducing the working men to adhere 
closely to economical demands must be to leave politics in the 
hands either of the bureaucratic autocracy or of the bourgeois 
intelligentsia,^ He also pointed out that the latter groups had 

^ By supposititious is meant that the views in question were expressed 
rather for than by the proletariat. The controversy was really between 

* Both were published in Vade mecum for the Editors oj Workmen's 
Affairs (Geneva, 1900). 

* Quoted by Lyadov, op. cit., ii. p. 116. 

* Ihid., p. 121. 

" Cf. the idea of Zubdtov, infra, p. 188. 


drifted away from their revolutionary sympathies of the seventies 
and the eighties, and, together with the " agrarians," or advo- 
cates of agrarian reform, had organized a merely Uberal opposition, 
attaching significance to the possibiUty of the success of the Zemstvos 
in a struggle against the autocracy. 

There were thus two main currents tending towards the 
cessation of revolutionary activity — one in the bom-geois 
intelligentsia and the other in the working class. The former 
had arrived at its position by means of a destructive 
criticism of the doctrines of Marx, and through the sense of 
the absence of preparation on the part of the town artisans 
for the assumption of a r61e so important as the "dictator- 
ship of the proletariat." The latter had found in combination 
and in strikes a cure for their immediate ills, and although 
they identified the interests of their employers with the 
interests of the Government, they found continuous organization 
and continuous pressure towards gaining material advantage more 
advantageous than spasmodic outbreaks of violence which ap- 
peared to result only in suppression by the Government.^ The 
percentage of strikes after which the workmen gained was high 
in 1895 ; it was low in 1896 ; it rose again in 1897.2 The strike 
movement on any considerable scale was quite new in 1895, and 
these were looked upon as satisfactory results. But these gains, 
and the attitude of the working men in so far as it was dependent 
upon continuous gains, came to an abrupt ending when, in conse- 
quence of the inferior harvests of 1897 and 1898, and in consequence 
of depression of trade abroad, employment on any terms became 
more difl&cult to procure. The stream of people from the villages 
to the industrial centres continued, and the supply of labom: being 
in excess of the demand for it, and that demand being steadily 
subsiding, strikes became in 1899 at once more nimierous and 
more imsuccessful so far as the working men were concerned. 
Judged by its practical results, "economism" had been pro- 
nounced a wise and materially profitable poUcy ; now, judged 

^ The appointment of factory inspectors, and the enforcement of factory 
legislation, tnough not regarded entirely with favour by the working class, 
had a certain influence in producing the state of mind described in the text. 
For factory legislation, see supra, p. 407 et seq. 

* See table following. 


by its results, it appeared to be doomed to be a thing of 
the past.^ 

Up till the year 1895 arrests among the social democratic ranks 
had been chiefly of intelligentsia ; from that time onwards larger 
numbers of working men were arrested, although the practice of 

* Table I, showing the numbers of strikes in Russia and of workmen 
involved in respect to the causes of the strikes. 

895. 1896. 1897. 1898. 1899. Z900. X901 

z9oa. Z903 


I. For advance 


II. For reduction of 

III, For improvement 
of labour conditions 

IV. Other causes . . 









































Table II, showing numbers of strikes in, Russia and of workmen involved 
in which the workmen and the employers gained respectively and in which 
compromises were effected during the years 1 895-1904. 





1 1 1 1 1 1 1 t 1 1 


























. 56,594 


















Totals. . . .{ 





From Varzar, V. E., op. cit., pp. 55 and 72. 


banishment still continued. In many of the industrial and com- 
mercial centres — in Warsaw, Lodz, Moscow, St. Petersburg, Nijni- 
Novgorod, &c. — the most active working men belonging to the 
social democratic groups were arrested.^ Partly spontaneously, and 
partly through the propaganda of the social democratic intelli- 
gentsia, the mass movement had really begun. The arrests of so 
large numbers of working men were convincing proofs that this 
was the case, or, at all events, that the Government believed, or 
affected to believe, that it was. 

" The appearance " in the prisons and " in the streets of the 
political mujik soon destroyed the ice which separated the few 
revolutionaries from the mass of the people, and created a series of 
cords which bound the revolutionaries to the mass." * The strikes 
not only brought together the working men and the revolutionary 
elements, but they inflicted a severe blow upon the traditions of 
factory employment which had come down from pre-Emancipation 
days. The obvious success of " economism " in producing this 
effect had an important influence upon the " state of mind " of 
the working men. They began to see in the strike a cure for 
everything, and to feel that, after all, a complete pohtical change 
was not so necessary as appeared at first sight. But the con- 
tinuance of this attitude was dependent upon the continuance of 
successful strikes, and external influences contributed to render 
such continuance impossible. 

Up till 1898 Western European capital, increasing rapidly in 
volume, sought employment in all countries where the rate of 
interest was relatively higher than in England and in France. The 
United States, Canada, Germany, and Russia all benefited by this 
condition. Immense sums flowed from the Western European 
money market to all of these countries. The South African War 
broke out in 1899, the supply of gold from the Transvaal suddenly 
ceased, the money market in Western Europe became stringent, 
and the supply of capital for Russian enterprises was checked at 
its source. Inferior crops in Russia in 1897, 1898, and 1899 intensi- 

* Between 1894 and 1896, according to Lyadov, there were 726 political 
cases, and 3531 persons were brought to trial. This number does not include 
those who were dealt with by " police-administrative order," and who Mrere 
banished to the northern provinces or to Siberia. See Lyadov, op. cit., 
i. p. 125. 

* Ibid., ii. p. 5. 


fied the situation, and industry became stagnant. Wages fell, 
especially in the south of Russia. In the great ports of Odessa 
and Nikolayev starving labourers wrecked the shops. Disorder 
spread all over the south. There were few strikes, but there was 
much unemployment. The labourers who had left their villages 
for the relatively high wages current during the preceding period 
could readily return to them. They began to feel the instabiUty 
of employment which depends on foreign commerce and upon the 
large industry. In the north, too, there were hordes of unemployed. 
In Riga there were strikes against reduction of wages, and the 
city was given over to riot. PoHce and troops were used to quell 
the disturbances ; the crowds were beaten with the naga'ika} The 
mob was desperate. Always on the edge of subsistence, depriva- 
tion for a day meant starvation. There was no organization of 
any effective kind for deaUng with a situation which had not been 
provided for. The working men and the advocates of " econo- 
mism " blamed the employers. The critics in general of the 
Government found in the autocracy the explanation of the impasse. 
The social democrats denounced the autocracy and the employers 
aUke, and urged that the only exit was by means of a social revolu- 
tion and a socialist State, under which industry would be organized 
in such a way as to obviate commercial and industrial crises, or at 
least to mitigate their effects. On the other hand, the employers 
complained that the Government gave them inadequate protection, 
in spite of a promise that their property would be protected. The 
Government was indeed between two fires. If it refrained from 
protecting the factories, it practically abdicated its functions ; if 
it protected them, it excited the forces of the revolution, already 
sufl&ciently perturbed. The Government was thus inevitably 
brought into the position of an enemy of the working class. " The 
struggle of the labouring class with the capitalists," says one of 
the social democratic newspapers of that time, " has brought into 
the field a new enemy, the Government of the Tsar, and we must 
fight with it for our political rights." ^ 

The commercial and industrial crisis which began in 1899 afforded 
" rich material for agitation," and in spite of the watchfulness of the 

Xl ^ " The Labour Riots in Riga," in Working Men's Affairs (Geneva, August 
r899), p. 65 ; quoted by Lyadov, ii. p. 158. 

2 Forwards (Kiev), No. 4, January 1899 ; quoted by Lyadov, ii. p. 164. 


police and the hostility of the Government, fresh social democratic 
organizations sprang up everywhere, and the previously existing 
fragments of older organizations, frequently harried by the poUce, 
were revivified. The political propaganda became active ; " illegal 
Uteratiu"e " from the Russian presses abroad once more came into 
Russia in great quantities. The " Group for the Liberation of 
Labour," under the leadership of Plekhanov and Akselrod, was 
again active, after having been relegated to the backgroimd during 
the period of " economism." New journals made their appearance.^ 

These events gave a fresh impetus to controversy. The forces of 
the opposition were once more distracted by disputes upon the fami- 
Uar topics. Bemsteinism and all that it impUed were again sub- 
jected to attack. 

Meanwhile, the spontaneous movement of labour, regardless of 
the contestations sterile of the social democratic scholastics, was 
spreading widely — its branches ran along the Siberian Railway so 
far as Krasnoyarsk and penetrated the Caucasus to Tiflis. 

Among the students there were also spontaneous movements, 
leading to strikes, in which the students demanded " guarantee of 
personaUty." The Government replied by issuing " temporary 
regulations" about the enhstment of students in the army.* Re- 
volutionary impulses began to make their appearance, and the 
students denounced in resolutions the action of the " Asiatic Gov- 
ernment," demanding " freer forms of Ufe." At Kharkov the 
medical students joined the social democrats, and attempted to 
make a demonstration. The demonstration was a failure, many of 
the students who took part in it being arrested. In the evening of 
the same day (19th February 1900) the working men of Kharkov 
made a demonstration in favom* of the students, singing the " Mar- 
seillaise " and other revolutionary songs.' llie crowd was charged 
by Cossacks, and at midnight was dispersed with difficulty, the 
demonstration having lasted for five hours. At St. Petersburg a 
similar demonstration of students on the same day — the anniver- 
sary of peasant emancipation — failed, but in Moscow a meeting of 
students was held, only to be surrounded and captured by the police. 

* e.g. Iskra. 

* One hundred and eighty-three students were enlisted as a consequence of 
these disturbances. 

* Lyadov. op. cit., ii. p. 223. 


Crowds of working men came, however, to the rescue, and succeeded 
in hberating about half of the students who had been arrested. 
Disturbances continued to take place in the neighbourhood of the 
University for several days. Arrests of working men and of students 
continued. On Sunday, 25th February, the day upon which Count 
Leo N. Tolstoy was excommunicated, crowds surged along the prin- 
cipal streets of Moscow in spite of the efforts of the Cossacks and the 
poUce. In Lubianka the crowd recognized Tolstoy, who was walk- 
ing in the street. He received an ovation, and with difficulty escaped 
from the pressure of his admirers. The crowds were not dispersed 
until three o'clock the following morning. 

On 4th March a demonstration, accompanied by charges of troops 
and bloodshed, took place at the Kazan Cathedral, St. Petersburg. 

Demonstrations now became frequent in the capitals and else- 
where. The working men seem to have thrown timidity, and even 
prudence, aside. On nth March there was a demonstration on a 
small scale at Kazan ; on 19th September about 400 persons made 
a demonstration in St. Petersburg, nearly all being arrested ; on 
7th November a demonstration to protest against the exile of Maxim 
Gorki took place at Nijni Novgorod. On the following day a 
similar demonstration for a like reason was made at Moscow to 
greet Gorki who was passing through the city. On i8th November 
a meeting to be held in memory of Dobrolubov^ was prohibited, 
and a demonstration in protest was held. On 2nd December there 
was a demonstration at Kharkov, in which students and working 
men took part. On 15th and i6th December students and working 
men made a demonstration, revolutionary songs were sung, and 
shouts were heard, " Away with the autocracy I " " Vive political 
freedom ! " ** Vive social democracy ! " The crowds were at- 
tacked by soldiers and police. 

In 1902 another series of demonstrations began at Kiev on 2nd 
February, and continued at Ekaterinoslav, Rostov-on-Don, and 
Odessa. On 9th February, at the University of Moscow, a number 
of students made a demonstration within the walls of the University, 
and barricaded themselves in one of the buildings. In the night 
the barricades were carried by the poHce, the students who were 
behind them were arrested and sent to Eastern Siberia. 

In March, April, and May numerous arrests were made, yet the 

1 1 836-1 86 1. One oj the allies oj Chernishevesky in " The Contemporary." 


enthusiasm for demonstration continued, to die down somewhat in 
the summer, and then later, in the beginning of 1903, to come up 
with renewed force. 

The value of the poUcy of demonstration could not be denied. 
The practice of meeting in great numbers thrust the conspirative 
groups into the background. Yet the social democrats lost heavily, 
partly by wholesale arrests during these large open meetings, and 
partly through the eclectic phase in which the social democratic 
groups had come to be involved. The idealists among the social 
democrats saw in demonstration a further means of " unifying " 
the interests of the numerous groups of intelligentsia, and later they 
began to see in demonstration an entirely new means of propaganda. 
As the meetings grew larger it became more difficult for the police 
to disperse them. While people on the outskirts of the crowds 
might be arrested, it was practically impossible to arrest social 
democratic orators surrounded by thousands of people in a dense 
mass. The result of these conditions was that in 1902 and 1903 the 
social democratic movement in the towns became, in a propagandist 
sense, a formidable force, especially in the south of Russia.^ 

So great was the success of the social democrats among the work- 
ing men in the towns, so eager did the audiences appear in listening 
to social democratic speakers, that the latter came to the conclusion 
that they were the centre of a mass movement which was destined 
soon to sweep over the whole of Russia. At the same time they pro- 
ceeded to denounce the rival revolutionary elements. They ac- 
cused the social revolutionaries of serving the interests of the UberalJ^ 

^ For the share of the social democrats in the strike movement in South 
Russia in 1903, see infra, p. 442 et seq. 



We have seen how, during the reaction which succeeded the assas- 
sination of Alexander II on ist March 1881, the revolutionary 
groups were hunted down, and how the Narodnaya Volya was 
finally suppressed in 1887. The depression of trade of the early 
nineties produced much discontent among the city proletariat, 
and the famine of 1891 reduced large numbers of the peasantry to 
starvation. People who are really starving do not revolt, though 
there may be sympathetic revolts by those who are not starving. 
It was not until the revival of trade had been in progress for some 
years — not, indeed, until 1897 and 1899 — that, under the influence 
of the strike movement of these years, there came about a new 
revolutionary agitation. This movement may be regarded as 
having two not very intimately associated sides. On the one hand 
there was the spontaneous labour movement, expressing itself in 
strikes, and becoming of revolutionary tendencies at intervals, 
but even then only in a vague way ; and, on the other hand, there 
was the propagandist revolutionary movement, those who took 
part in it being for the most part intelligentsia drawn from different 
classes, who sought to take advantage of the state of mind of the 
working men and to utilize the strikes for revolutionary purposes. 
On both sides the new movement, if such it may be called, 
sprang up spontaneously and therefore lacked organization. The 
alertness of the police, indeed, made organization almost impossible. 
Yet there was in the movement a fresh feature. This was the 
extent to which it was an agitation among the masses of the working 
men spontaneously arising among themselves, similar in this 
respect to the mass movements among the peasantry in the 
eighteenth century. Like these movements, the agitation of the late 
nineties was, to begin with, of a purely economical character. In 

so far as the strikes were successful the movement remained purely 



economical ; only in the unsuccessful strikes did it exhibit a ten- 
dency towards political aims. This tendency was reinforced by 
the propagandist elements ; but the hands of the more purely 
revolutionary fractions of these were tied, partly by the watchful- 
ness of the poHce, and partly by their own want of sympathy for 
the " economism " of other fractions and for the " strikism " of the 
working men. On the one hand the workmen demanded leader- 
ship, and " not merely empty scholasticism " ; ^ on the other hand, 
the revolutionists despised the narrow aims of the workmen, and 
felt aggrieved because the latter capitulated when their economical 
demands were met. The social democrats of the nineties were I 
undoubtedly nearer to the working men and to their point of view 
than were the social revolutionaries. The latter were more purely 
ideaHstic, and were therefore impatient with social democrat and 
workman alike. This attitude of mind produced during the 
nineties a pessimistic mood so profound that there was among / 
the revolutionaries an epidemic of suicides.^ From the point of j 
view of the social democrats, the strike movement of the nineties i 
was the sign of the existence of class consciousness in the city 
proletariat ; from the point of view of the social revolutionists, it 
was merely the first awakening of the working men to the fact 
of the immaturity of the development of this class consciousness. 
The social revolutionists laboured to explain to the working men 
that striking could not be an end in itself — that the serious problem 
with which they had to grapple was, what next ? This propa- 
ganda led many of the working men to the behef that the revolu- 
tionists were opposed to the labour movement, and such an attitude 
inevitably increased the difficulties of the revolutionary propa- 
ganda among the city proletariat. 

Towards the close of 1899 the industrial crisis caused reduction 
in the demand for labour, while contemporaneously the agricultural 
crisis drove peasants into the towns to seek for employment in a 
market already overstocked. Wages fell sharply, and the working 
men were powerless to prevent this consequence of the economic 
conditions through strikes or any other means. Confidence in the 

^ Towards the Question of Programme and Tactics. Collection of articles 
from Revolutionary Russia (Paris ? 1903), p. 5. 

" Among the better-known revolutionaries who died in this way at this 
time, were A. L. Safonov, A. T. Oryekhov, and N. V. EfSmov. Ibid., p. 4. 


utility of strikes speedily declined, and the working men, having 
no other weapon in their arsenal, turned helplessly to the intelli- 
gentsia for leadership. At this moment, the beginning of the year 
1900, the students' movement for a " guarantee of personality," 
which has been alluded to in the previous chapter, broke out in 
open demonstrations. The workmen took their cue from the 
students, joined the demonstrations of the students, and organized 
demonstrations of their own. This gave them a new form of 
struggle.^ Demonstration, in spite of the risk involved through 
conflict with the poHce, became a habit. Both sexes and all ages 
took part in it .2 ** The furore for strikes was readily changed into 
a furore for demonstration." ^ For what were they demonstrating ? 
It cannot be said that the crowds of workmen and workwomen, 
most of them youths, had any clear or uniform idea of what they 

These chaotic demonstrations forced the revolutionists into a 
dilemma. They knew the futility of them perfectly well. They 
knew that unarmed demonstrationists would never frighten the 
Government into any positive action. They knew also that the 
demonstrations played into the hands of the reactionaries by 
frightening those who regard public order as a primary neces- 
sity. Yet if they refrained from throwing in their lot with the 
demonstrationists they sacrificed their revolutionary reputation. 
They were not ready for a serious struggle with the Government, 
and yet they had to engage in one. " Taking into consideration 
the fact that the Government of the Tsar always tries to show 
that revolutionists are agitators who thrust the people forward 
before the bullet and the rod, and then take themselves to flight, 
we have to remember that, in case of bloodshed at demonstrations 
which we have brought about, we must be in the foremost ranks, 
and we must show the example of self-sacrifice." * The sociaHst 
revolutionary groups were thus compelled by the force of circum- 
stances to do what they could to assist the working class in its 
economical struggle, while at the same time they recognized that 

1 Towards the Question of Programme and Tactics, &c., p. 14. 

^ Young Russian workpeople who became addicted to the habit of demon- 
stration and who afterwards emigrated to America, found conditions there 
intolerably dull and uninteresting because there were no demonstrations. 

3 Towards the Question of Programme and Tactics, &c., p. 15. 

* Ihid., p. 19. 


the economical struggle was only an incident in the poUtical con- 
flict which they were themselves attempting to wage. 

In 1899 the authorities discovered the existence of a revolu- 
tionary propaganda among the peasants of Saratov, Tambov, and 
other places. This propaganda was conducted by means of the 
circulation of " illegal Hterature " by small isolated revolutionary 
groups. In order to carry on the propaganda more effectively, 
larger groups were formed — e.g. the " Brotherhood for the Defence 
of the Rights of the People," and in 1900 the " Agrarian SociaHst 

" In the end of the 'nineties " groups of this kind united them- 
selves under the general name of socialist revolutionaries, and out 
of this union there grew the Socialist Revolutionary Party,^ which 
issued its first manifesto in 1900. It was not, however, until the 
end of 1 90 1 that all the socialist revolutionary organizations asso- 
ciated themselves with the party .2 From the date of the Congress 
of Socialist Revolutionaries in 1898 the propaganda among the 
peasants was looked upon as of great importance, and one of the 
first publications of the party in 1900, before the final union, was 
a pamphlet, specially designed for the use of peasants, entitled 
** 19th February," the date of Emancipation in 1861. In 1902 
the Peasants' Union issued an appeal to all socialist revolutionaries 
which was pubUshed in Revolutionary Russia, the organ of the 
united party .^ This document is important because it shows how 
in 1902, before the outbreak of the Russo-Japanese War, the 
revolutionary state of mind was already a factor with which the 
Government had to reckon. After reciting a portion of the history 
of previous revolutionary movements, and especially that of 
Zemlya e Volya, and narrating some of the incidents of the reaction, 
the manifesto goes on to say : " The terrible time has passed when; 
after a great struggle, the expenditure of our forces exceeded the 
income. Now when the powerful resources of the working masses 
are opened to us, no pohce terror can frighten us ; we can only 

1 There had been previously in existence the " Union of SociaHst Revolu- 
tionaries " which sent representatives to the SociaUst Congress held in London 
in 1896 ; but they were excluded, leaving the Social Democratic Party group 
as the sole representatives of Russia, the old Narodovoltsi group which had 
been accepted, having withdrawn by way of protest against the exclusion 
of the sociaUst revolutionaries. Revolutionary Rtcssia, No. 8 (1902), p. 25. 

2 Ibid., p. 26. 

* The first number of RevoltUionary Russia appeared in 1900. 


become stronger every year. We, the founders of the * Peasant 
Union of the Party of Socialist Revolutionaries/ as a result of a 
critical examination of our programme in consequence of the 
emergence of new conditions, have arrived at the conclusion that 
these conditions permit and demand the enlargement of our activities 
and the guidance by us of the labouring masses, and hence of the 
peasantry, and the introduction into our programme of all the 
means of struggle, beginning with peaceful propaganda, until 
armed terroristical attacks upon the autocracy are included. . . . 
The labouring masses are swallowing tens of thousands of pro- 
clamations, revolutionary pamphlets, papers, &c. . . . The dogma 
of Russian social democracy of the end of the 'eighties and the 
middle of the 'nineties, to the effect that no revolutionary force 
can exist outside of the city proletariat, was wholly based upon 
belief in the remoteness of open political struggle and in the in- 
evitabiUty, as a preparation for this, of some decades of prole- 
tarianization of the peasantry. But is it wise to set ablaze a 
revolutionary fire among hundreds of thousands, or even milUons, 
of proletarians, when tens of millions of peasantry may come Uke 
ice-cold water and extinguish the fire ? In order to do so it is not 
€ven necessary for the peasantry to act against the proletariat, 
it is sufficient if they only remain neutral." From this condition 
the manifesto draws the conclusion that propaganda among the 
peasants is desirable. It also considers it possible, because not 
only are the peasants dissatisfied with their economical position, 
but they are advancing steadily in cultural development. Formerly 
the peasant wandered httle ; now " ten million peasants " are 
tramping all over Russia and are coming in contact with " wealth 
and poverty, education and ignorance." For these reasons the 
manifesto rejects the " superstition which depicts the peasantry 
as a dark, hopeless, inert, and reactionary force. . . 'JThat the 
patience of the peasant masses is almost exhausted, that the mass 
may rise up at the first acute moment in its chronic suffering — this, 
after the movement of the peasants in Little Russia, is unnecessary 
to show . . . and we shall ourselves set fire to this combustible 
material with the torch of the struggle for Hberty, and this flame 
shall join the other. In the streets of the towns and in the fire of 
the terror the rotten structure of the autocracy shall be destroyed. 
. . . Our final aim is the accomplishment of the socialist ideal in 


its fullness ; ■ but we do not think that, woven out of brotherhood 
and freedom, the socialist order can be born immediately from the 
soil of our contemporary enslaved Russia. We are convinced that 
the different elements of our ideal shall be accomplished partially 
and in various forms, because some of them are logically and his- \ 
torically necessary phases. Therefore the problem of our work is 
not in preparing for a fantastic giant jump at once to the final 
aim, but in a deliberate and measured advance through the phases 
of changes and revolutions as they occur in history. . . . For the 
peasantry in the first place we put the sociaUzation of the land — 
that is, the passing of the land into social property, and the raising 
up of those who cultivate it ; second, the development among the 
peasantry of different forms of social union, economical co-opera- 
tion, for the dual aim of the liberation of the peasants from the 
power of money capital and for the preparation of the forthcoming 
collective agricultural production. ... In printed and verbal 
addresses to the peasants we must emphasize especially the poU- 
tical element, and must employ the economical mainly as an argu- 
ment in agitation. . . . We have to show the impossibiUty of 
serious improvement in the economical conditions of the peasants 
until free universal suffrage shall place their fate in their own hands. 
We have to repeat to the peasant that, when everything shall 
depend upon his will, he shall be given land. We have to call the 
peasant by Land to Freedom, and lead him through Freedom to 
Land." 1 

The forces by means of which the " revolutionization of the \ 
peasant " was to be carried out were to be drawn largely from • 
prison and from the exiles in Siberia. " Escapes are becoming more . 
and more frequent." ^ Efforts were to be made by the revolu- i 
tionary propagandists to influence the peasants in all mir affairs, \ 
to try to secure the election of their own men to elective offices, 
to endeavour to induce the peasants to unite in mutual cultural- 
educational and other useful associations. Finally, the authors 
of the manifesto fully acknowledge that, besides these peaceful 
although illegal measures, they recognize from the beginning the 
possibihty of the secret revolutionary peasants' organization 
passing at some time into an armed struggle.^ 

1 Revolutionary Russia, No. 8, April 1902. 
« Ibid. » Ibid. 


In February 1903 the socialist revolutionary party addressed 
a manifesto to the Russian youth in the universities and in other 
higher educational institutions, calling upon the students not to 
neglect their studies, but to consecrate these to social ends ; and 
concluding " When the youth went to demonstrations in 1901, there 
was no thought of resistance. Now the possibility and necessity of 
armed demonstration is in the air. Peaceful demonstrations have 
revealed the necessity of open struggle and have uplifted the fight- 
ing mood of the masses." ^ 

The activities of isolated socialist revolutionaries did not disturb 
the social democratic organizations, but when they united them- 
selves and formed a party, the social democrats found that their 
own propaganda was imperilled. In 1903 in the second issue of the 
Red Banner, the then new organ of the " Union of Russian Social 
Democrats," there appeared what the social revolutionists inter- 
preted as a declaration of war. " The chief political sin " of the 
latter, from the social democratic point of view, " was that they de- 
sired to unite the mass of labouring intelligentsia into one party with 
the proletariat, and that they desired to unite into one party all 
the labouring peasantry with the proletariat. Such a party would 
be wider than a social democratic party, but would be so unstable 
that its building up would be an impossibility. Thus, instead of a 
socialist programme, the socialist revolutionaries present only a 
' socialist mist,' which merely obscures the class-consciousness of 
the proletariat." 

The socialist revolutionists answered by accusing the social 
democrats of lack of political perspicacity. The social democrats^ 
they said, certainly sought the aid of the intelligentsia in their 
struggle with the autocracy ; and they realized that so soon as 
political oppression should disappear, there might suddenly be dis- 
closed a situation in which only a small part of the intelligentsia 
would unite their fortune with the tempestuous fate of the working 
man's life, while the remainder " would go over into the service of 
the bourgeoisie." What they did not realize was that some portion 
of the proletariat would pursue the same course. The socialist 
revolutionaries pointed out that such had been the case in England, 
where the working men were satisfied with the purely economical 

1 Revolutionary Russia, February 1903. 


movement. Even in Germany, social democracy had not yet suc- 
ceeded in uniting all the proletariat. 

It is not surprising, they say, that when political freedom is 
gained and when an economical struggle becomes legal, the working 
men should abandon socialism. It is thus necessary to develop 
among working men the socialistic conscience. ** To us," the socia- 
list revolutionists say, " all labouring interests summed up and co- 
ordinated in the highest ideals of sociaUsm are equally precious. 
We have ideals ; but we have no idols. The proletariat is not an 
idol to us ; and we shall not worship it by erecting an altar for sacri- 
fices, in which we would offer up the interests of other labouring 
and exploited classes. If union with social democracy can only be 
purchased at the price of our convictions, we do not want it and 
must struggle against it." The socialist revolutionary author con- 
tinues. The social democrats find in Russia two revolutionary 
classes — the proletariat and the peasantry ; but they do not recog- 
nize an identity of interest. According to them only the proletarians 
are the grave-diggers of bourgeois society, the peasants are impos- 
tors. Both can obtain satisfaction, from the sociahst revolutionary 
point of view, only by the abolition of private property. The aims 
of the sociahst revolutionary party then are — free popular rule, 
nationalization of the land, and nationalization of all great industries. 
This programme, they think, " will unite working men and peasants 
under one fighting banner." ^ 

The sociahst revolutionary party found itself almost at the outset 
of its existence confronted with a problem. Propaganda among the 
peasants and among the working men was necessary to bring them 
out of the narrow economic views and interests in which they were 
involved ; but propaganda not only took time, it involved con- 
tinual conflict with the authorities. The propagandists were beaten, 
imprisoned, sent into the army, sometimes into the penal battahons, 
or exiled to the extreme north of European Russia or the far eastern 
regions of Siberia. How were they to be protected ? Measures 
might be organised for their escape, and such measures were taken ; 
but when they returned to active revolutionary service as " illegal 
men " they were again liable to arrest and imprisonment. Revolu- 
tionary movements of the past had been slowly and surely pounded 

* Revolutionary Russia, January 1903, and Towards the Question, &c., 
pp. 56-71. 


to pieces in this way. The sociaUst revolutionists believed strongly 
in their ideals, and these ideals appeared to them to be saturated 
with a moral force and a disinterestedness which distinguished them 
not only from those of governmental and bourgeois society, but 
even from those of the social democrats. They were fully 
aware that the mass of Russian society was excited almost to the 
pitch necessary for a vigorous open movement against the autocracy, 
and, in point of fact, subsequent events showed that in this they 
made a correct diagnosis. The continuance of their propaganda 
was essential, the means of protecting it remained to be considered. 
The propaganda was a fundamental condition precedent to open 
revolt, therefore it could be protected only by conspirative actions. 
By this mental process the socialist revolutionists seem to have been 
led into terrorism. While the preparation of individual acts was 
carefully guarded no attempt was made to conceal the fact of the 
terror. Notwithstanding the collapse of previous terroristic move- 
ments, like that of the Narodnaya Volya, for example, they found 
consolation in the fact that these movements were conducted by 
very small numbers of persons against a strong Government and in 
the teeth of a public opinion acquiescent to, if not even sympa- 
thetic with, governmental authority. Yet, to a certain extent, even 
these insignificant forces had succeeded in altering the course of 
events. Now, the case was different. The growth of the pro- 
letariat in numbers, its concentration in the cities, the famines and 
the discontent among the peasantry, the industrial and agricultural 
crises, together with the apparent inabiUty of the Government to 
grapple with these questions, and the consequent diminution of its 
prestige,combined to prepare the soil for propaganda as it had never 
been prepared before. Therefore it appeared that terroristic blows 
deUvered with skill might at the right moment change the current 
of things and re-enforce the propaganda. So much for diagnosis of 
the state of mind of the revolutionaries, we shall see how far their 
utterances at this period (1902-1904) support this view. 

An article in Revolutionary Russia for June 1902 puts the case 
for terrorism on the formation of the new party. 

" We should be the first," says this article, " to protest against 
one-sided isolated terrorism. We do not by any means want to 
exchange the mass struggle for the courageous blows of our advance- 
guard, but rather to aid and reinforce the mass struggle. Terror- 


istic acts must be organized. They have to be supported by the 
party, which must regulate their direction and must undertake the 
moral responsibility for them. But although in a tactical sense 
there is a necessary co-ordination between the terrorist struggle 
and other forms of revolutionary activity, in a technical sense the 
separation of the terrorist struggle from the other functions of the 
party is not less necessary. There must be a severe unity of prin- 
ciple and a not less severe division of organization. In accordance 
with the decision of the party there exists apart from it a special 
* fighting organization,' which has taken upon itself the functions 
of an isolated disorganizational terroristic activity on the founda- 
tion of hard conspiracy and division of labour. The revolutioniza- 
tion of the masses, that is our fundamental affair as a socialist 
revolutionary party. Terror is one of the temporary and transitory 
technical means which we adopt, not for itself, but as a very 
heavy duty which we have to perform, and which we have 
derived from conditions of Russian hfe thrice as heavy as the 
duty itself." ^ 

From the point of view of the socialist revolutionists the conflict 
with the Government had become a civil war, in which the campaign 
on one side was conducted by the Government, possessing all the 
instruments with which a modem Government can be equipped 
for the maintenance of order, and supported by the active assist- 
ance of great numbers of people and by the inertia of the masses, 
and, on the other side, a small but active irregular force of self- 
regardless men who were prepared to take their Uves in their 
hands and to attack the enemy. In such a campaign every hope 
is a forlorn hope. The combatants are sustained alone by the idea 
that their end must be gained eventually, and that the sacrifices, 
though inevitable, are not futile. The socialist revolutionaries 
pointed out, not without justice, that peaceful demonstrations 
involved sacrifices. The demonstrators were arrested, imprisoned 
or exiled, in many cases prematurely aged or killed by their 
experiences. Terror has its sacrifices, but so also have peace 
and acquiescence. Moreover, they said, an armed struggle is 
necessary, but an armed demonstration cannot be created of a 
sudden ; it must be prepared. Terror can be created by 
individual action. 

^ Towards the Question, &c., pp. 71-84. 


These extracts and summaries from the Hterature of the socialist 
revolutionists during the course of the propaganda before the 
outbreak of the Russo-Japanese War show that there was in exist- 
I ence a more or less widespread revolutionary spirit, and that those 
I who were imbued with it were of similar temperament to the ad- 
I herents of Zemlya e Volya and of the Narodnaya Volya, and that, 
therefore, a similar result might be anticipated. Soon after the 
formation of the Fighting Organization of the Socialist Revolu- 
tionary Party, they seem to have pronounced sentence of death 
upon Sipiaghin, the Minister of the Interior, and upon the aged 
Pobyedonostsev, the Ober-Procurator of the Holy S5mod.^ A youth 
of twenty-one years, named Balmashev, was selected as the slayer of 
Sipiaghin. This young man was the son of a revolutionist of the 
'seventies, and he had during his childhood been with his father in 
banishment in a remote part of Arkhangelskaya gub. In 1891 he 
was sent to the gymnasium at Saratov, where he at once organized 
reading circles for the purpose of reading the revolutionary journals 
and the works of Dobrolubov, Pesarev, Chemyshevsky, Lavrov, 
and others. In 1899 he entered the University of Kazan, and 
subsequently went to Kiev. Here he also engaged in organization 
and connected himself with the Obrazovanie group. In January 
1901 Balmashev was arrested within the buildings of the univer- 
sity, the total number of arrests of students at that time being 
183. Along with many others he was sent into the army. In 
September 1901, however, we find him again in Kiev University 
busily engaged in organization, and shortly afterwards in Saratov, 
and a member of the Fighting Organization of the Socialist Re- 
volutionaries. In February 1902 he disappeared from Saratov. 
On 2nd April in St. Petersburg he shot and killed Sipiaghin. On 
3rd May he was hanged. The Minister of Interior, with a view to 
extracting from him information about the organization to which 
he belonged, had encouraged him to make an appeal for mercy, but 
Balmashev is reported to have said to him : '* You seem to find it 
harder to kill me, than it is for me to die. All I ask of you is that 
the rope should be strong enough, for you are not very competent 

* Some light upon these proceedings was afterwards shed by the publi- 
cation of details in the Azef and Lopukhin cases. It is highly probable that 
from the very beginning of the sociaUst revolutionary party there were 
spies in their camp. Cf. infra, p. 577. 


even as hangmen." ^ There were many such — human bullets 
fired at the heads of the Government. 

From the tone of the articles in the socialist revolutionary 
press of this period it is evident that, although there was a certain 
animus against the social democrats, and although between them 
and the social revolutionists there was much difference in methods 
of action, especially in the pre-revolutionary days, there was little 
difference in point of ultimate aim. Both desired the overthrowal 
of the autocracy, and both desired a social revolution. Both also 
desired the nationalization of the land and the nationaUzation of 
all the means of production. The social democrats were in general 
Marxists pur sang, and the socialist revolutionists took from Marx 
what suited their purpose. In 1903, for example, they drew atten- 
tion to Marx's suggestion, advanced rather casually, that the 
revolutionary movement in Russia should have as its aim one or 
other of the following — either (i) to compel the Tsar to convene a 
Constituent Assembly, or (2) to frighten the Tsar and his entourage 
by creating deep disturbances which would compel the convoca- 
tion of a Constituent Assembly.^ The socialist revolutionists 
thought that Marx looked upon Russia as developing rapidly into 
a capitalist industrial State, and that the Constituent Assembly 
must inevitably lead not to a mere liberal constitution, but to a 
radical social change. Whether the original suggestion came from 
this source or not does not appear, but, as we shall see later, in 
1905 the phrase " Constituent Assembly " was in every one's mouth. 
The phrase was being shouted in the streets by people whose pro- 
nunciation of the words showed that they had not the slightest idea 
of their meaning. So diversified a group as the socialist revolu- 
tionaries cannot be regarded as representing any formal dogma. 
Many of them threw themselves into the movement from motives of 
revenge for imprisonment or exile on the ground that they were found 
guilty of possessing some book of which a poHceman did not ap- 
prove, or for standing on the outskirts of some unlicensed meeting. 
Others threw themselves into it because they were convinced that 
at all hazards one revolutionary dogma or another ought to be 

1 Zasvobodu ("For Liberty") [album of revolutionary portraits with 
biographies]. Nagasaki, Japan [n.d.], fo. 16. 

* Letter of Hermann Lopatin on ids conversations with Marx and Engels, 
published in 1893 ; cited by Revoltitionary Russia, No. 20, 15th March 1903, 
p. 4. 


propagated, others because of their deep sympathy with people 
whom they looked upon as oppressed by employers or by Govern- 
ment, or by both. There were many men and many minds. In 
general, however, while the social democrats were anxious that, 
when the new order came, it should bear their stamp, the socialist 
revolutionists seemed to be more anxious to destroy the old order 
than prematurely to determine the direction of the new. 

In the light of later disclosures of political and police intrigues, 
and of the alleged manipulation of the social revolutionary forces 
by unscrupulous officials to gain private ends, it is as yet quite 
impossible to discriminate between those terroristic acts which 
were the outcome of spontaneous action on the part of the militant 
division of the socialist revolutionary party and those which were 
suggested to them by provocators. The only persons who are in 
a position to tell the truth about these mysterious transactions are 
persons whose actions have rendered their evidence valueless. It 
is, however, certain that during the terroristic periods which im- 
mediately preceded and immediately succeeded the war with 
Japan there were many acts for which the militant social revolu- 
tionists were exclusively responsible. Notices of the following 
kind are not infrequent in the pages of Revolutionary Russia : 

'* On 13th March 1903 the Governor of Ufa, N. M. Bogdano- 
vich, ordered the troops at Zlatoust to fire upon a group of 
striking workmen. The crowd ran away, but the troops continued 
to fire. Twenty-eight people were killed, and about 200 were 
wounded. Among the killed and wounded were many women and 
children. ... On 6th May, by the order of the Fighting Organiza- 
tion of the Party of Socialist Revolutionaries, two of its members 
shot and killed N. M. Bogdanovich, Governor of Ufa." ^ 

" On Thursday, 15th July 1904, about 9.50 a.m., at the Ismai- 
lovsky Prospect in St. Petersburg, there was killed by means of a 
bomb the Minister of Interior, Plehve." ^ 

*' On 28th June 1905 the Chief of the city of Moscow, Count P. 
Shuvalov, was killed by a member of the Fighting Drujina of the 
Moscow Committee of the Party of Socialist Revolutionaries." ^ 

When the general strike occurred in South Russia in 1903* 

^ Revolutionary Russia, isth May 1903, No. 24, p. i. 

* Ibid., supplement to No. 56. 

' Ibid., ist July 1905, No. 70, p. i. * See infra, p. 443. 


the socialist revolutionaries hastened to give it their approval. 
" The * general strike/ " they said, " is one of the best forms of 
struggle, and therefore we include it in our programme, not instead 
of other methods, but together with them." ^ 

Many of the local branches of the socialist revolutionaries had 
their fighting contingent, sometimes well armed, who attended 
demonstrations and carried out conspirative acts. In the capitals 
these contingents played an important r61e in the open outbreaks 
which occurred throughout 1905. In that year the terror became 
submerged in the general movement. 

The r61e of the social revolutionaries in the acute stage of the 
revolutionary period is described in the following book. 

1 Revolutionary Russia, 5th August 1903, No. 29, p. i. 



The course of the political as well as of the labour movement was 
seriously influenced, from 1900 till 1905, by attempts on the part of 
the political poUce to control the labour movement in detail. The 
design was elaborated by a police officer in Moscow called Zubatov,^ 

^ Sergey Vasilyevich Zubdtov was bom in Moscow (?) about 1864. In 
1880 he entered the Fifth Moscow Gymnasium. The young Zubdtov is 
described as an " ugly and old-fashioned " boy {Osvobojdenie, vol. i., 1902- 
1903 (No. 26), p. 393). Within a year he had so far conquered the first 
unfavourable impression that he succeeded in forming a group of fellow- 
pupils and in organizing a debating society. Zubdtov seems to have been 
especially attractive to the youths in the school because he was the only 
member of his group who had relations with the representatives of the revolu- 
tionary party, then the Narodnaya Volya. Zub^tov appears to have been 
already a traitor {Osvobojdenie, loc. cit.). The meetings of the society of 
schoolboys organized by Zubdtov were held at a circulating Ubrary where, 
among others, prohibited books were to be obtained. In 1 882-1 883 Zubatov 
left the Gymnasium and formed " a more active " revolutionary circle. 
About the same time he married the proprietress of the circulating library, 
which was thenceforward carried on under his name. In 1883 the circle 
was entered by another spy, who actively " revolutionized " all the young 
company, so that after a few months the members of it were arrested {Osvo- 
bojdenie, loc. cit.), and one of them shortly afterwards died in banishment. 
Although Zubdtov was owner of the premises in which the meetings were 
held, and although he was the organizer of the group, he was not arrested. 
It was known that he was called to the Department of Political Police, and from 
that time he was regarded with suspicion. For about three years he appears to 
have been quiescent ; but in 1886 he proposed to some former fellow-pupils 
of the Gymnasium to form a " self -education circle " among the students 
of the Petrovsky Academy (a Forest-Agricultural High School). After the 
organization of this circle Zubdtov proposed to form a united library for 
all such circles in Moscow and for working men. The object of Zub5,tov in 
interesting himself in the Petrovsky students soon became apparent. That 
Academy had always been noted for its revolutionary tendencies, and when 
the Moscow branch of the Narodnaya Volya party was arrested, during the 
general debacle of the party which followed the assassination of Alexander II, 
some of the students of the Academy had attempted to keep together the 
wreck of the Moscow branch. They took over the printing office of the 
organization and its cash and entered into relations with the provincial 
members. They had thus lists of sympathizers with the Narodnaya Volya ; 
and these Usts might be made of value in skilful hands. At first the revolu- 
tionary group at the Academy would have nothing to do with Zubdtov; 


and for that reason the episode has come to be known as the 
" Zubatovshina." The idea, though probably original, was not 

but he managed ultimately to obtain admittance to it. Shortly afterwards, 
when one of the provincial members of the former Narodnaya Volya came to 
Moscow, he was arrested on his return, and Zub^tov once more fell under 
suspicion. Meanwhile Zubdtov was busily occupied in forming " self -educa- 
tion circles " among young men and girls attending pedagogical courses and 
among gymnasium girls and boys, and especially among the pupils of the 
Moscow Technical School. In 1887 Zubdtov's circulating library was a 
regular storing place for revolutionary literature, which was distributed from 
it in bundles. On 17th May 1887, Zubdtov's blow fell upon the Petrovsky 
Academy, and numerous arrests were made. The first certainty of the role 
of Zubdtov as " provocative agent " and spy was obtained by his former 
comrades in prison, when, previously unknown to one another, they compared 
notes. All were found to be united by the personality of Zubdtov. (Osvo- 
bojdenie, loc. cit.) Most of those who were arrested were raw youths, who 
learned to their astonishment that they were accused of complicity in a 
gigantic conspiracy {ibid.). Many were banished to Siberia. Zubitov was 
rewarded for this exploit by his appointment as Deputy Chief of the Moscow 
PoUtical PoHce. It is alleged that by means of an intrigue he shortly after 
procured the dismissal of his chief and his own appointment as his successor. 
{Osvohojdenie, loc. cit.) In this position he continued to carry out his policy 
of keeping in touch, now through others, with the revolutionary groups, and 
to recruit his army of spies by corrupting members of these groups. Under 
his influence many political prisoners in the Moscow gaols were given quite 
imprecedented privileges. " They were allowed to go out of the prisons, 
and to go to the theatres " and other places of amusement (F. Dan, History 
of the Labour Movement and Social Democracy in Russia, 2nd ed. (St. Peters- 
burg, 1905), p. 41). Zub^tov had long conversations with these selected 
prisoners (Dan), " mostly after midnight " (according to a correspondent), 
arguing with them upon the subjects of the revolutionary propaganda, pro- 
fessing his ardent devotion to the cause of labour, and assuring them that 
" the struggle for poUtical freedom in the existing state of affairs is only an 
idea of the bourgeois intelligentsia, and that it could only injure the interests 
of the working men." (Dan, loc. cit.) He told them that the Government 
was now " willing to give to the working men freedom to form themselves 
into unions and to strike, and was also willing to assist them in their struggle 
against their employers. What stops the Government " (in this benevolent 
design) " ' is the political agitation on the part of the social democrats.' 
Further, Zubdtov pointed out that in Western Europ)e, Marxism had reached 
a ' crisis,' and that this had confirmed him in his views. At the same 
time he recommended them to read the works of Bernstein and Sombart. 
as well as those of the Russian ' Revisionists.' " (Dan, op. cit., p. 42.) I am 
informed by a correspondent that for some time prior to this period, Zubdtov 
had been accumulating a library of forbidden books upon the social question. 
At all events he had informed himself upon the controversies in which the 
leading Marxists had become involved. The movement described in the 
text began in 1900 and ended in 1904. In the course of it Zabdtov was 

After the Odessa disorders (described below), which were the direct out- 
come of his proceedings, and were regarded by M. von Plehve as proving fully 
the dangers of his manoeuvres, Zubdtov was dismissed, and was banished 
to Arkhangelskaya gub., while his subordinate agents were arrested and some 
of them were sent to Siberia. 


novel. In one form or another attempts have been made to 
control the labour movement by administrative means even in 
democratic comitries. Those who were responsible for the poUcy 
in Russia seemed to realize that the labour movement could not 
be suppressed by administrative severity, and to imagine that 
it was possible to control and direct it into channels chosen by 

The object of controlling the labour movement was to separate 
the economical from the political aspect, by concentrating the 
attention of the working men upon the improvement of the con- 
ditions of their labour, and thus to withdraw them from the influ- 
ences of political agitation and revolutionary propaganda.^ By 
this means the attack by the working men upon the Government 
might be foiled by converting it into an attack upon employers. 

It thus appears to have occurred to Zubatov, then chief of the 
Political Department of the Moscow poUce, that it might be pos- 
sible to draw off the working men from the revolutionary propa- 
ganda by inducing and encouraging them to engage in a purely 
economical struggle with their employers. 

It cannot be denied that the idea was a bold and ingenious one, 
nor that the time was ripe for such a suggestion. The immediate 
and considerable success of the movement of Zubatov cannot be 
otherwise accounted for. The revolutionary propagandists had all 
along insisted that the autocracy was the chief obstacle to any 
improvement of their condition, and that nothing could be hoped 
for until the autocracy was overwhelmed. But the process was 
evidently a long one, and meanwhile the workers were suffering. 
The offer of immediate relief was too seductive to reject. 

So far as it is possible, from the available evidence, to fathom 
the personal motives of Zubatov, it appears that his design was to 
make a career by a grand coup which should earn for himseK the 
gratitude of " the highest authority." The course of events in- 
duces the inevitable suspicion that he intended to produce a pre- 
mature rising which might easily be crushed, and the futility of a 
labour revolutionary movement be thus fully demonstrated ; but 
there is no certain evidence of this. The views of Zubatov were 
not without a certain breadth, and his manner of carrying them 

^ See Svyatlovsky. V. V.. Professional (Trade Union) Movement in Russia 
(St. Petersburg, 1907), p. 53, and F. Dan, op. cii., p. 6. 


into effect did not lack boldness. Realizing that the organization 
of workmen into societies, secret or open, was an inevitable con- 
comitant of factory industry on a large scale,^ he determined to 
recommend, not only that such organizations should not, as hitherto, 
be impeded or prevented, but, on the contrary, that they should 
be permitted and encouraged. He intended, however, that the 
organizations should be completely under the control of the poHce. 
The organizations were to have exclusively economical aims, and 
by diverting into this channel the enthusiasm of the working men, 
he hoped to keep them out of the revolutionary movement, which 
would be dealt with otherwise. If the revolutionary parties could 
be isolated from the working men, and if they coidd thus be de- 
prived of their chief numerical support, they might be more easily 

The state of mind of the working men at this time is described 
as having been " very ominous.*' ^ The most intelligent groups 
were showing an extraordinary interest in poUtical questions ; even 
those working men who were opposed to interference in pohtics 
were discussing poHtical affairs. They began to discuss such 
questions as "Is an income tax necessary ? " " How should uni- 
versal education be instituted ? '* &c. 

Zubatov's idea was, on the one hand, to keep the revolutionary 
ranks and the ranks of the working men distinct, and, on the other 
hand, to prevent spontaneous poUtical discussion among the 
working men by inducing them to discuss economical questions 

In order to earn the confidence of the working men, Zubatov 
proposed that imder certain circumstances, strikes for higher wages 
should not merely be permitted by the poKce, but should be facili- 
tated, and even suggested, by them. Of course, the fact of the 
direction of the whole movement by the police, as well as the real 
springs and final purposes of the movement, were to be kept a pro- 
found secret. The organization of labour was to be effected by 

^ He was not alone in this view. M. von PlehvS had consistently opposed 
M. Witte's policy of industrial and commercial expansion, on the ground 
that it must lead to the growth of an urban proletariat, and therefore to 

2 The social democratic organ Iskra, No. 89, 24th February 1905, p. 3. 
(Reprinted St. Petersburg, 1906, in Iskra za dva goda {Iskra for two years), 
vol. i. p. 293.) 


means of carefully selected agents, who were not to be known to 
have any connection with the political police department. Although 
many persons were in the secret, it was well kept, and sympathy 
with the movement was enhsted in quarters both honest and in- 

Zubatov appears at an early stage to have secured for the 
execution of his plan the sanction of the Grand Duke Sergey ,2 then 
General Governor of the Moskovskaya gub., and General Trepov,^ 
then chief of the Moscow police. 

Both Zubatov and his Moscow superiors appear to have under- 
taken the experiment of " playing with fire " with a light heart.* 

Zubatov's first step was to effect, in 1901, the organization in 
Moscow of "The Society of Mutual Assistance of Workers in the 
Mechanical Industries," and also of " The Council of Workers in 
the Mechanical Industries.*' ^ The organization of these societies 
was accomplished with great ingenuity. 

In the spring of 1901 some working men, directly or indirectly 
inspired by Zubatov, called upon Professor Ozerov,* of the Univer- 
sity of Moscow, and invited him to assist in the formation of work- 
ing men's societies. Professor Ozerov consented, and together with 

^ As in the case of Professor Ozerov, cf. infra. 

2 During the " reign " of the Grand Duke Sergey, Moscow was practi- 
cally a " State within the State." The Grand Duke, who was the fourth 
son of Alexander II and uncle of Nicholas II, was assassinated in Moscow 
on 4th February 1905. 

^ General Trepov, then Chief of Police in Moscow, was the son of the 
General Trepov who was shot by Vera Zassiilich. General Trepov fils was 
a thoroughly honest but not very able officer, who evidently did not see to 
the end of Zubatov's designs. 

* Subsequent events showed that M. von Plehve disapproved of Zubdtov's 
plan from the beginning. Probably the influence of the Grand Duke Sergey 
sufficed to prevent his interference with it until a late stage ; but when 
M. von Plehve did interfere, he used the failure of the plan in Moscow and 
its still more disastrous outcome at Odessa to discredit M. WittS. Zubdtov 
was thus a mere pawn in the pohtical game. 

* Svyatlovsky, op. cit., p. 53. 

^ Professor I. Kh. Ozerov was at that time incumbent of the chair of 
Finance Law in the University of Moscow. Since then he has been appointed 
to the chair in the same subject in the University of St. Petersburg. He 
is a productive writer, his principal works being upon financial poUcy and 
taxation. One of these is Podohodnie Nalog v Anglie (Income Tax in Eng- 
land) [chiefly in relation to the struggle of classes], Moscow, 1898. He has 
also written upon co-operation. His " Politika po rabochemu voprosu v Rossie " 
(Policy on the Labour Question in Russia), Moscow, 1906, is the principal 
available authority for the early phases of the Zubdtov movement, in which 
Professor Ozerov played a conspicuous though unconscious part. 


Mr. V. J. Den, Privat-docent in the University of Moscow, drew up 
a form of constitution. This constitution was modelled upon that 
of the Society of Craftsmen of Kharkov. After some formal ob- 
jections by General Trepov, to whom the constitution had inevitably 
to be submitted, the document was forwarded with his endorsation 
to the Minister of the InterioD (M. von Plehve). 

Meanwhile Professor Ozerov and Mr. Den were occupied in dis- 
cussions with the working men upon the whole question of labour 
organization, explaining to them the methods of friendly societies 
in England, about co-operative societies, labour exchanges, work- 
men's dweUings, duration of the working day, factory legislation, 
collective contracts, arbitration courts, workmen's clubs, hygiene, 
&c. &c.^ These meetings were held in the auditorium of the His- 
torical Museum. They were attended by large numbers, although 
a fee of 20 kopeks {$d.) per month was charged, and none were 
admitted who had not paid their fees. By the autumn of 1901 the 
meetings were multipUed in different working men's districts, and 
the determination of the programmes of these meetings, together 
with the arrangements for the discussions, led to the formation of a 
so-called " Board of Working Men in the Mechanical Trades of 
Moscow." The first indefinite indications of the agency of Zubatov 
appear in the " Instructions " of this board to the branches or 
" regional meetings." These instructions were understood to be 
prepared by the working men themselves, but Professor Ozerov 
'remarks, that "in them was seen the hand of someone else."^ 
Who that " someone else " was does not appear to have been sus- 
pected at the time by the academic allies of the working men. When, 
after some delay, the " constitution " prepared by Professor Ozerov 
came back from St. Petersburg,^ there was no doubt about the in- 
timacy of the control of the society intended to be carried on by the 

Professor's Ozerov's draft had provided for the submission of a 
yearly report to the chief of pohce ; but this was not regarded as 
sufficient. Clause after clause required submission to the chief of 
poUce on practically every point. 

" The new constitution bound the organization hand and foot. 

1 Ozerov, I. Kh., Policy on the Labour Question in Russia (Moscow, 1906), 
pp. 195-254. 

2 Ibid., p. 206. » It was granted on 14th February 1902. 


It was not permitted to make a step without the approval 
of the local authorities. ' The seal of the police spirit was 
stamped upon this constitution in dense colours/ " writes 
Professor Ozerov.^ 

It is evident that M. von Plehve had little confidence in the ad- 
ministrative supervision of Zubatov and his agents in the unions, 
and that he determined to secure so far as possible a definite admis- 
sion of the supervision of the police in the constitution of the society. 
It is improbable that this overt control was any part of the plan of 
Zubdtov. Indeed, it may be held to have led to the disclosure 
which ere long deprived him of the unconscious participation in his 
designs of those who made his organization possible. 

While the " constitution " was still under the consideration of 
the St. Petersburg authorities, the " Board of Workers engaged in 
the Mechanical Industries " was extending its influence. It was the 
first open and legal organization of the working class in Russia. Its 
meetings were permitted by the police. The close supervision was 
effected by means of spies, and was invisible. The possibility which 
this organization afforded of discussing the conditions of labour, 
imder legalized circumstances, drew into its ranks the working men 
of Moscow in the trades which it concerned, practically en masse. 
Zubatov's organization had succeeded in attracting numbers beyond 
his most sanguine hopes. So far there was neither revolution nor 
politics in the discussions. They were concerned, to all appearance, 
exclusively with the conditions of employment. Soon the meetings 
resulted in demands being made upon the Factories and Mill Ad- 
ministration for the Moscow district. These demands are sum- 
marized by Mr. Grigoryevsky from the tmpublished reports of the 
Moscow factory inspectors.^ The demands were made by mechanics 
and weavers. 

1. Demands for improved conditions of labour generally, by 
means of changes in the terms of contracts, considerable increase in 
wages, and at the same time reduction in working hours. 

2. Demands for payment for several previous years (some- 
times for the whole of the period of the working men's emplo5mnient 
in the factory), for imemployment through no fault of the 

^ Svyatlovsky, op, cit., p. 60, and Ozerov, op. cit., p. 226. 
* Quoted by Svyatlovsky, op. cit., p. 60, from Grigoryevsky, Police 
Socialism in Rtcssia, pp. 14 and 15. 


working men, for loss of time while waiting for materials, 
paLyment for giving out finished goods, and for canying them 
to warehouses, &c. 

3. Demands for payment (a) for idleness through no fault of the 
workers, to the amoimt of average piecework wages (payment was 
usually made for idleness from this cause by day wages, which are 
considerably lower than the usual piecework rate in the same em- 
ployment) ; (b) for remuneration for repairing or putting in working 
order mills or looms, for joining threads in weaving, for spooUng, 
for cleaning materials, for sweeping passages between spinning 
mules, for loss of time owing to defects in the warp. [These details 
were understood to be provided for in the wages scales, yet in the 
general review of the position, they became the subject of special 
demands] ; (c) for overtime work for all past years, for payment 
for carrying ' mules ' from one place to another, for washing floors 
in the workmen's rooms (in the barracks of the factory), and for 
cleaning oil lamps. 

4. Demands for changes in the following conditions of work ; 
(a) The institution of a more exact manner of receiving goods 
(recording and crediting piecework payments due to workers), the 
workers being very distrustful (of the methods customarily em- 
ployed) ; (b) the institution of a rule whereby the spool boys 
should be provided by the employers, and not by the weavers 
themselves; (c) the aboUtion of charges made to the working 
men for lodging, use of dining-rooms, and for water, firewood, &c., 
in the common kitchens. 

There were in addition numerous other complaints and de- 
mands, some of them of a trivial, and some of even an obviously 
unfair, character from any point of view.^ The demand for pay- 
ment on account of retrospective claims is characteristic. These 
demands were made through the factory inspectors for the Moscow 
district in the first four months of 1902. How far Zubatov was 
actually responsible for the demands does not appear ; but these 
afford suf&cient evidence, confirmed by the nature of others not 
detailed, that the workmen who were at the head of the movement 
(many of whom, hke Afanasyev, the chairman of the board, were 
undoubtedly agents of Zubdtov) were a thoroughly inferior class of 

1 The working men " were anxious ' to scalp ' " the employer ; to take 
from him " as much money as possible." See Grigoryevsky, op. cit., p. 15. 


men, whose presence in the labour movement could under any 
circumstances only compromise and discredit it. 

In the spring of 1902 the first steps in presenting and enforcing 
these demands took effect. The most important attack was made 
upon a factory established by French capital and under French 
management — the factory of Goujon — one of the best-managed 
factories in Moscow. Two men, one representing himself as presi- 
dent and the other as secretary of the ** Moscow Union of Workers," 
presented themselves to the factory manager and asked to be 
allowed to meet the workers in the factory. Their request was 
refused on the ground that the right of visiting workers tete-d-tete 
belonged exclusively to the factory inspector. The visitors dis- 
appeared, to return almost immediately with a requisition from 
the president of the Moscow Council on Factory Affairs, to the 
effect that the men be admitted for a tete-d-tete conference with the 
workers. The meeting took place, and on the evening of the same 
day the workers intimated to the manager that they were ordered 
not to return to work on the following day, on the ground that the 
firm owed them 40,000 rubles for retrospective claims.^ The 
factory stopped work next morning. The Political Police Depart- 
ment, for some strange reason, showed its hand for the first time 
in these proceedings. The police intimated to M. Goujon that 
he must either grant the demands of his workers or submit to be 
banished from Moscow.^ 

It appears that at the same moment the working men at the 
head of the movement threatened those who were reluctant ta 
join in it that if they did not concur in presenting the demands 
they would be '* transplanted from Moscow " ^ — an evident 
indication that they had, or thought they had, the power of the 
poUce behind them. The upshot of the affair was very natural. 
M. Goujon appealed to the French Ambassador, who at once inters 
viewed M. von Plehve, and the result was an imperative order to 
the Moscow authorities to put an end to the strike.* 

1 See RusskoeDyelo (Russian Affairs) (1905), No. 3, p. 9, and Svyatlovsky, 
op. cit., p. 62. 

* Svyatlovsky, loc. cit. 

* Report of the manager of Smimovoy's factory, published in Torgovo- 
Promishlennaya Gazeta (1906), No. 36 ; quoted by Svyatlovsky, op. cit., p. 63. 

* Svyatlovsky, op. cit., p. 62. This appears to have been done in spite 
of the support of the strike by General Trepov. 


The circumstance that Zubatov or his agents selected a well- 
managed factory established by foreign capital for their operations 
is significant. It exhibits the hollowness of the movement, if even 
it does not suggest sinister aims. There were undoubtedly in the 
Moscow district factories in which abuses were rampant, and in 
reference to which even a Zubatov strike might have done some 
good, but in this particular case the answer was easy and effective. 
The attack, notwithstanding its ostentatious support by the poUce, 
failed, and in its failure suggested to the working people the im- 
possibiUty of labour organization. The motives are obscure, and 
the evidence, copious though it is, is lacking in some Hnks, so that 
conclusions upon the affair must be taken as provisional. 

While the Goujon strike was in progress the movement de- 
veloped rapidly. The spirit, so long repressed, of the ventilation of 
grievances, real and imaginary, was in the air, and infected the 
working masses in Moscow practically as a whole. " Enormous 
and imprecedented quantities of collective announcements of 
grievances " ^ came into the offices of the factory inspectors. These 
inspectors report that complaints came, in January and February 
1902, almost " exclusively " from the factories in the city of Moscow, 
while in March about one-third of the complaints come from out* 
lying districts, thus showing the rapid spreading of the movement 
initiated in Moscow. The Digest of Factory Inspectors* Reports,^ 
issued by the Ministry of Finance, contains the following details : 
In the district of Kharkov the total number of complaints diminished 
in 1902 to about one-half of the number of 1901. They also dimi- 
nished in Kiev and in Warsaw. In St. Petersburg the number 
increased by approximately one-third, while in Moscow district 
the complaints increased three times, and in 1902 composed more 
than half of the total number of complaints from workers against 
the managers of industrial factories in all districts.^ Still more 
striking is the circumstance that, while in other districts the per- 
centage of well-grounded complaints to the total number either 
increased or remained without change, the percentage of well- 

^ Unpublished reports of the factory inspectors, quoted by Professor 
Ozerov from papers in the Ministry of Finance ; cited by Svyatlovsky, op, 
cit., p. 63. 

2 Quoted by Svyatlovsky at length, op. cit., pp. 64 et seq. 

3 The figures were for Moscow in 1901, 16,815 complaints ; in 1902, 52.051. 
Total number from all districts, 97,843. Svyatlovsky, op. cit., p. 64. 


grounded complaints in Moscow greatly diminished. The number 
of well-grounded complaints varied in 1902 between 68 per cent, in 
Kharkov and 78.4 per cent, in Kiev, while in Moscow district the 
percentage in 1902 was 40.2. In 1901, before the manoeuvres of 
Zubatov, the percentage of well-founded complaints was 71.5. 
In Moscow government (the city of Moscow) the number shrank 
from 72 per cent, in 1901 to 37.5 per cent, in 1902.^ While thus 
there was a very considerable increase in complaints for which on 
inquiry insufficient foundation was found, it is very significant 
that the number of serious, well-founded complaints increased 
very materially. The number of complaints in the Moscow district 
of bad treatment and of beating of workers in factories in 1901 
was 161. In 1902 " this number increased more than ten times, 
and reached 2146." In the government of Moscow alone there 
were 2098 complaints. The district factory inspector also points 
out that, whereas the well-founded complaints of bad treatment 
and of beating did not exceed 56 per cent, in 1901, the percentage 
of weU-founded cases of such treatment in 1902 was 95. The 
conclusions of the factory inspector are as follows : 

1. All these unfavourable appearances (referring to the increase 
in the number of all complaints, together with the increase in the 
percentage of ill-founded complaints) coincide with some move- 
ment among the workers during the year. That movement ap- 
peared most considerably in Moscow, and it* evidently accounts for 
the advancing of many demands which had not previously been 
made, and which were not always well founded. 

2. The workers, influenced by the above-mentioned movement, 
began to consider more closely the behaviour of managers and 
owners of factories, &c., and began to make complaints of actions 
which they had formerly disregarded.^ 

In June 1902 Zubatov convened a meeting of Moscow manu- 
facturers in order to give to them some explanations of his poUcy. 
This meeting was held in Testov's Hotel on 26th June. To them 
Zubatov formally announced his " programme " in sixteen clauses. 

^ Of the total number of 52,051 complaints in the Moscow district, there 
were found well grounded only 20,914 ; for Moskovskaya gub. there were 
48,074 complaints, of which 18,029 were well grounded. Digest for 1902, 
pp. 58-61. 

^ Condensed from Digest of Factory Inspectors' Reports (1902), p. xviii. ; 
cited by Svyatlovsky, op. cit., pp. 64-6. 


These clauses were committed to writing by some of the manu- 
facturers and confidentially communicated to St. Petersburg 
" spheres." ^ By way of introduction, Zubatov is alleged to have 
addressed the manufacturers in some abrupt and uncomplimentary 
phrases. According to the report, he told them that their ex- 
ploitation of their workpeople had made them universally detested 
in Moscow, not merely among the workers, but among the whole 
population. He told them that the people generally regarded them 
as moshenneke, which can only be translated as " fakirs." He 
reminded them of the outbreaks, with attacks upon private pro- 
perty, which had taken place during the spring of that year in two 
districts of Poltavskaya gub., and in certain districts in the govern- 
ment of Kharkov.2 In order to prevent the spread of this spirit 
of disorder, Zubatov said that it was imperative that " the rights 
of workers should be widened," and that " not by legislation, but 
by means of administrative action." 

The principal points in Zubatov's " programme " were as 
foUows : 

" I. At present the law confides the safeguarding of the legal 
rights of employers and employees to the factory inspectorship ; 
but this institution, in the opinion of the Political Police Department, 
has proved to be powerless to discharge this function, having forfeited 
the confidence of the workers owing to its partiality to the em- 
ployers. Therefore the Political Police Department, from considera- 
tions of State importance, has not only decided to take upon itself 
that part of factory inspectorship duties which comprises the mutual 
relations of employers and employed, but even is almost inclined 
to put an end to the institution as an anachronism. . . . 

"2. The widening of the rights of factory workers (in spite of 
the statute law) shall consist in uniting the workers of each factory 
into separate groups, each having its committee, voluntarily elected 
by workers of both sexes from among themselves. These com- 
mittees must point out changes desirable for workers, in the scale 
of wages, distribution of working time, and general changes in the 
rules of internal order. The employer must communicate in future 

* Syyatlovsky, op. cit., p. 54. This " programme " was published in 
Russkoe Dyelo (Russian Affairs) in 1905, Nos. 3-5. 

* These disturbances occurred in the last months of the " reign " of 
Sipiaghin and the first months of that of von Plehvfi. Chateaux had been 
robbed and granaries looted by the peasants. 


not immediately with his workers, but through the committee. 
The committees of separate factories of a given district are in com- 
munication with each other with a view to uniformity of action, 
the general supervision of the committees being centraUzed in the 
PoUtical Police Department. For the purposes of this supervision 
the department appoints special agents from among the experienced 
and promising workers who are wise by long experience in the art 
of nding the masses of the people. 

"3. In order to form this institution, mutually useful as it must 
be for employees and employers ahke, the Political Police Depart- 
ment, in order that the coming occurrences should not take it 
unaware, took care not only to seek workers promising and ex- 
perienced in strikes, even from among those who had been in ad- 
ministrative banishment, but also of establishing a school ^ for 
training the future actors, under the management of people experi- 
enced in this branch. All these teachers receive decent remunera- 

" 4. The sums required for the support of this institution are 
afforded by the * Society of Mutual Assistance of the Workers in 
Mechanical Industries,* the constitution of which was granted on 
14th February 1902. In this society there are taking part as 
members thousands of workers of both sexes, and even those under 
age. Besides contributions from these, there are the subscriptions 
from high exalted personages, educated classes, clergy, and dif- 
ferent persons, but as yet no merchants or manufacturers. 

" 5. By the means described the Political Police Department 
succeeded in a short time in inspiring the most sincere confidence 
of the working men, because they became convinced that every 
humbled and insulted person finds in the Political Police Depart- 
ment paternal attention, advice, support, and assistance by word 
and deed ; so that even the Museum of Labour, established by the 
Imperial Technical Society, began to lose ground." ^ 

After he had succeeded in establishing the society of workers 
in the mechanical trades, Zubatov set himself to organize the 
weavers, especially in the cotton factories, of which there are a 
very large number in the Moscow district. On 21st December 
1902 there began the enrolment of members in a " Union of 

* Zubdtov actually used the word " stud." 

* These points are slightly condensed from Svyatlovsky, op. cit., pp. 54-6. 


Weavers." On 19th January 1903 there were 800 members. The 
president of the miion was an agent of the Political Police 
called Krasivsky. This union numbered among its honorary 
members the MetropoHtan, Vladimir ; the Right Rev. Parfeni, 
the chief of poHce, Trepov ; the editor of the Moscow Viedomosti : 
and N. J. Prokhorov (the largest manufacturer in Moscow) and others. 
The workers in towns other than Moscow began to become aware 
of the growth of trade unionism in that city, and imitative unions 
sprang up in many places. For example, the factory inspectors 
reported that in 1902, in the government of Vladimir, " the success 
achieved by the Moscow working men is known to the locksmiths 
of Kovrov, is hotly discussed by them, and is evidently agitating 
them." In Perm, Ryazanskaya gub., and other places the working 
men were becoming greatly excited. Meanwhile in Moscow fresh 
organizations were brought rapidly into existence ; button-makers, 
candy-makers, perfume-makers, cigar-makers, &c., were organized. 
The activity of the pupils of Zubatov manifested itself, however, 
most conspicuously, apart from Moscow, in St. Petersburg, Odessa, 
and Minsk. 

In the autumn of 1902, the first steps towards open organization 
of working men took place in St. Petersburg. The appUcation to 
form a society similar to the Moscow societies was presented to the 
Chief of PoHce of St. Petersburg (V. J. Fresh). This functionary not 
only gave the applicants an attentive hearing, but the appUcation 
to hold a meeting of working men was granted by the Director of 
the Imperial PoUce Department (Lopukhin).^ This meeting, the 
first meeting of working men officially permitted in St. Petersburg, 
was held on Sunday, 17th November 1902. On 21st November the 
representatives of the working men were received by M. von Plehve.^ 
These representatives (agents of Zubatov) thanked M. von Plehve 
for giving them permission to hold the meeting. Yet this attempt 
bore no fruit. The St. Petersburg working men seem to have been 
more wary than their comrades in Moscow, for they looked upon 
the movement with undisguised hostihty.^ The attempt also 
created some alarm among the pubUcists, who were more or less in 

1 Svyet (St. Petersburg). Quoted by Svyatlovsky, op. ctt., pp. 68 and 69. 
For Lopukhin, see infra, pp. 572 et seq. 

* Svyatlovsky, op. cit., p. 69. 

' Dan, F., History of the Labour Movement and Social Democracy in Russia, 
pp. 42 and 43. 


the confidence of the Tsar, although it is doubtful if at this time they 
fully understood its real origin. For example, Prince Metschersky 
wrote in his newspaper, Grajdanin} " It must be remembered 
that in this labour question, there is fire, and with fire one 
must not joke, because of the risk of burning. If they (the 
organizers) are not sincere, and speak for effect only, nothing 
except harm can come of these public honours to factory workers. 
Why is there such honour to Moscow working men ? may be asked 
by other workers." 

More important in the history of the Zubatov movement are the 
proceedings at Minsk and at Odessa. Zubatov's special agents at 
Minsk appear to have been two women ; but the movement there 
was carried on under the open patronage of an ofi&cer of gensdarmes, 
Vasilyev. Under his auspices there was formed " The Jewish 
Independent Labour Party." The policy of the party was set forth 
as a purely economical one, strictly legal modes of action were ad- 
vocated, and profession was made of loyalty towards the Govern- 
ment. Here also Zubatov's agents met with opposition, especially 
from the ** Universal Jewish Labour Union in Russia and Poland," 
a spontaneous organization of Jewish working men. This society 
devoted itself to exposure of the alleged independent party. The 
want of success in St. Petersburg and in Minsk led Zubatov to con- 
centrate his attention upon the cities of Southern Russia. In the 
beginning of 1903 an agent of Zubatov, known as " Dr." Shaevich, 
engaged in the organization of labour unions. 

^ Prince Metschersky, grandson of Karamsin the historian, is a charac- 
teristic figure in Russian society. Oriental not merely in his habits, but 
also in his ideas, which " are those of the Dahomey of fifty years ago or the 
Bokhara of to-day, modified in two important points." According to him, 
every governor of a province, every village starosta, should share the irre- 
sponsible power of the autocrat, and when dealing with the peasantry need 
observe no law. " Questions of the Zemstvo have no more to do with law 
courts," he writes, " than questions of family life. If a father may chastise 
his son severely without invoking the help of the courts, the authorities — 
local, provincial, and central — should be invested with a similar power to 
imprison, flog, and otherwise overawe and punish the people." (Art. " The 
Tsar" in the Quarterly Review, No. 399, July 1904.) Prince Metschersky 
edited and published Grajdanin, a newspaper which he maintained for the 
dissemination of his ideas. The title was recently changed to Diary of a 
Conservative. Not infrequently he spoke out against the Government in a 
manner for which only his birth and high position enabled him to secure 
immunity. Together with the late M. Pobyedonostsev, he was of the inner 
circle of the confidants of the Tsar. Both represented the autocracy in its 
most extreme and uncompromising form. (Cf. Quarterly Review, art. cited.) 


The factory-owners were ordered by the police to employ only 
workers belonging to the union, the conditions of emplojnnent were 
dictated^ and wages were fixed also by the poUce. Workmen who 
refused to belong to the imion were expelled from the factories, and 
were even beaten in the streets, under the eyes and with the ac- 
quiescence of the poUce. " The acting chief of poHce at Odessa 
received delegates from unions and strikers, entered into negotia- 
tions with them, and sympathized with the unions." ^ 

The movement at Odessa seems at an early stage to have passed 
wholly beyond the control of Zubatov as well as of the local 
police.* The general strike of July 1903 was put down with 
much bloodshed, for which it is impossible to hold Zubatov 
as otherwise than guilty. 

The Odessa affair was the undoing of Zubatov. Events there 
led to inquiry into the whole system of police organization of labour 
on the part of the St. Petersburg authorities. Shaevich and Zubatov 
were banished to the North of Russia, and this phase of poUce 
patronage of the labour movement was brought to an abrupt con- 
clusion. Meanwhile among the working men strong suspicion of 
Zubatov and his agents had been developing into active hostihty. 
The official fall of Zubatov had been in a large measure discounted 
so far as the working men of St. Petersburg, Moscow, and Minsk 
were concerned. 

These details of the manoeuvres of Zubatov are not without 
serious significance. They show that, notwithstanding the doubtful 
origin of the poHce " imions," and notwithstanding the doubtful 
character of many of their chief promoters, they did have an 
important influence upon the beginnings of Russian labour 
organization. Universal long hours, low wages, and imfavour- 
able conditions of labour, rendered the whole industrial fabric 

Socialist revolutionary propaganda, or any propaganda which 
offered a prospect of relief, found a favourable soil for the dissemina- 
tion of its ideas. Zubatov was indisputably right on that point ; 
and, honest or otherwise, he saw farther than his superiors, ffis 
*' imions " came at a psychological moment. His mistake lay in 

1 Report cited by Professor Ozerov, op. cit., pp. 238-9. 
' The history of the Zubitov movement in Odessa is told at length in Iskra. 
See also infra. 


supposing that it was possible to control the forces which his 
" unions " concentrated. Zubatov thus ** builded better than he 
knew " ; for his " unions," the first " open " trade unions in Russia, 
taught the working men how to organize, and gave them a taste for 

Profiting by the example of the Zubatov unions, other organiza- 
tions made their appearance, to the great perplexity of the author- 
ities. M. von Plehve in particular felt that the furore for labour 
organization had already gone so far that it was impossible to stop 
it. He got rid of Zubatov ; but it was not easy to get rid of the 
Frankenstein's monster which Zubatov appeared to have been 
instrumental in creating.^ 

The policy of controlling the labour movement, and of separating 
it from the revolutionary movement, with the design of turning it 
to account in the interests of the autocracy, came, in all the three 
cases of which account has been given, to a disastrous end. There 
is nothing novel in an attempt on the part of the Crown, of 
adherents acting in the assumed interest of the Crown, or of 
an oligarchy, to enlist the sympathies of one class against another, 
and thus, by producing internecine dissension, to divide the forces 
of the nation.^ 

Nor was there any novelty in the idea that the poUce system 
might be utilised for the purpose of carrying out the design in 
detail.^ The gravamen of the charge against Zubatov is that he 
deliberately incited the working men to make unprecedented de- 
mands upon their employers, to strike when these demands were 
not granted, and to create by this means a condition of social unrest 

^ M. von PlehvS did not give evidence in this affair of insight into the 
conditions with which he had to deal. The event proved that Zubdtov's 
dangerous activity should have been arrested at its beginning. Even if it 
be admitted that the relations between MM. von Plehve and Witte demanded 
a complete exposure of the results of M. Witte's industrial policy, the national 
risk of exposmg them in this way was clearly too great from any point 
of view. 

* Historical examples abound ; instances are to be found in the sales of 
grain at nominal prices in Rome (see Mommsen, iii. chap. xii. ; iv. chap. iii. ) ; 
in the legislation of Basil I (Finlay, Hist, of the Byzantine Empire, bk. ii. 
chap. i. ) ; and in Russian history in the reigns of Ivan IV and Paul I. 

* It is alleged by social democrats that the pohce had been similarly 
employed in " assisting " in the organization of the labour movement by 
Napoleon III and Bismarck. The view of the intelligentsia is expressed 
sharply by Moskvitch in art. " Die Pohzei " in Russen iiber Russland 
(J. Melnik ed., Frankfurt-am-Main, 1905), p. 439. 


which would divert attention from the shortcomings of the Govern- 
ment to the shortcomings of private employers. At the same time, 
by preoccupying the working men with the wages question to the 
exclusion of interest in political propaganda, Zubatov contributed 
to the antagonism between the working men and the intelligentsia, 
and deprived the latter of numerical support to their propaganda. 
Moreover, Zubatov proposed to deal with the whole matter " ad- 
ministratively " — ^that is, that there was to be no question of legisla- 
tion, but that orders were to be given (as they were given in the 
Goujon case), which proceeded from the authorities, and the full 
credit for which was to go to them. The employers were indeed 
to be despoiled, and the spoils handed over to the workmen. 
Thus the socialist revolutionaries were outbid by promises of 
immediate realization of excessive largesse extorted from the 

When it was eventually exposed, the method of Zubatov in- 
curred the disapprobation not only of the employing class, but 
also of the reactionary party, which felt itself discredited by the 
dishonesty of the proceedings, as well as compromised by the 
danger of international compUcations, and of the working men, 
who felt themselves deceived by Zubatov and his agents. 
Everywhere the working people hastened to dissociate themselves 
from the wreck of the societies founded by Zubatov or under his 

While Zubatovshina was submerged under a wave of general dis- 
approbation, it must be held to be significant in so far as it taught 
the working men how to combine, and gave them experience of 
what open combination without continual fear of police suppression 
meant for them. The discussions of social questions, especially at 
Moscow and St. Petersburg, were unquestionably of educational 
value, although the social democratic writers^ are incUned to 
depreciate them. Altogether, with other incidents of the time, the 
Zubatov series of movements must be held to have rendered an 
important though unintentional service in the initial stages of the 
revolution. The panic into which the authorities in Odessa, in 
Moscow, and in St. Petersburg were thrown showed that they had 
arrived at complete mistrust of police methods, and the chapter 
of police sociedism, so far as it relates to labour combination, was, 

* F. Dan, e.g. op. cit. 


at all events for the time, wholly closed.^ Police socialism, however, 
assumed a new and much more dangerous aspect in the hands of 
others than Zubdtov — viz. in those of Rajkovsky, Lopukhin, and 
most of all of Azef, the account of whose proceedings will be given 
in a subsequent chapter.* 

^ The movement of Father Gapon is described infra. Some writers 
ascribe this movement to the influence of Zubdtov. The validity of this 
ascription is discussed also infra. 

» See infra, pp. 572-584. 



Jews are permitted to reside only in the so-called Cherta Osedlosti, 
or line of settlement — ^that is, in the following guberni : Bessarab- 
skaya, Vilenskaya, Vitebskaya, Volinskaya, Grodnenskaya, Eka- 
terinoslavskaya, Kievskaya (excepting the city of Kiev), Koven- 
skaya, Minskaya, Mohilevskaya, Podolskaya, Poltavskaya, Tav- 
richeskaya (the cities of Sevastopol and Yalta excepted), Kherson- 
skaya (the city of Nikolayev excepted), Chemigovskaya, and in the 
tsardom of Poland. In Poland Jews may Uve anywhere, but in 
the other localities mentioned their " right of residence " is Umited 
to urban places, and it is also Umited to an area within a zone of 
50 versts roimd the boundaries. According to an ukase of 1882, 
certificates of sale of estates and mortgages upon estates may not 
be drawn in favour of Jews, nor may they enter into rent contracts 
for estates outside the hmits of cities and towns, nor may they act 
as proxies for the management or sale of property. These restric- 
tions, however, do not apply to certain classes of Jews. They do 
not apply to Karaim or non-Talmudical Jews, nor do they apply 
to Jews who have received a university or equivalent education, 
nor to dentists, pharmacists, merchants of the first and second 
gilds, or to direct descendants of persons who rendered miUtary 
service in the time of Nicholas I.^ 

Jew-baiting is not new in Russia. The following is an account 
of a characteristic scene. A group of idlers who have lounged out 
of bars, tea-rooms, dens of various kinds, stand at a street comer. 
A Jew passes. The group of idlers jeer at him. If he answers the 
jeers, the idlers attack him. Other Jews come to his assistance. 
These are attacked. Then stones are thrown into the neighbouring 
houses. The rioters enter the houses and drag out the people. 
Gradually the disorder spreads from one district to another. Shouts 

^ Cf. Osvobojdenie (Stuttgart), i. No. 22, 8th May 1903, p. 378. 



of " Bey jedov / " (Beat the Jews !) are heard in the streets. Some- 
times the Jews form into groups and defend themselves ; then the 
police, and even the troops, come into action, and the Jews find 
themselves attacked by those whose duty it is to protect them. 
Frequently the Jews offer money to escape worse consequences at 
the hands of the rioters. Jewish women offer themselves to escape 

In the early seventies of the nineteenth century, and again in 
the early eighties, such pogroms or riots occurred. The principal 
scene of these riots was Kishenev, the capital of Bessarabia. The 
fundamental cause of the pogroms was described by the Russian 
review Vestnik Evropy in 1883 ^ as the legislation of Russia, in 
which the Jew is regarded as " a stranger, a pariah," and therefore 
beyond the protection of the law. Yet there is probably some 
foundation for the assertion of Osvohojdenie^ that the anti-Semitic 
feeling had died down in Russia after the pogrom at Odessa in 
1873. It was aroused once more in 1881, when M. von Plehve became 
Director of the Department of Police during the reaction which 
followed the assassination of Alexander II. " All this year there 
were continual anti- Jewish pogroms, in which even the official 
communications could not always conceal the fact of the actual 
participation of the local authorities." ^ In 1882 and later years 
pogroms were sporadic ; but they had practically disappeared for 
some years when, in 1903, once more the control of the police passed 
into the hands of M. von Plehve, when immediately pogroms began 
again to occur. They began at Kishenev. Since 1897 the press of 
Kishenev had been suppressed, with the exception of two news- 
papers, Bessarahits and Znamya (Banner), both edited by a certain 
Krushevan. The close relation between these newspapers and the 
local administration is undoubted. In March 1903 Bessarahits 
pubUshed an account of an alleged ritual murder by Jews at Dubos- 
sari, a small town in the province of which Kishenev is the capital. 
This account was false, and on its exposure M. von Plehve issued a 
circular on 22nd March prohibiting further newspaper reference to 
the subject. Whether under the auspices of M. von Plehve or of Kru- 
shevan does not appear, but soon after the Jewish Passover, some 

1 Vestnik Evropy (1883), part ix. p. 354. 

* Edited by P. Struvg, vol. i. No. 22, 8th May 1903. 

3 Osvobojdenie (Stuttgart), vol. i No. 22, 8th May 1903, p. 379. 


persons made their appearance in Kishenev as agitators in favour 
of a Jewish pogrom. The Jews became alarmed, and sent a depu- 
tation to the governor to request protection. The governor pro- 
mised to take measures for their safety. This he failed to do, and 
the destruction of Jewish houses began, while the police stood by 
indifferently, or even attacked those Jews who attempted to defend 
themselves. According to Osvobojdenie the people who took part 
in the pogroms were, in the first instance, peasants from the neigh- 
bouring country districts, who had had no previous relation with the 
Jews of Kishenev. Later the local inhabitants, who found the 
Jews keen competitors in their business, joined the anti-Semitic 
movement, and engaged in pogroms. The Kishenev pogrom took 
place on 6th and 7th April. About a fortnight previously (on 
25th March) von Plehve, then Minister of Interior, had sent a 
despatch to General von Raben, Governor of Kishenev. This 
despatch, which was published at the time by The Times, was as 
follows : 

" I have been informed that in the locality entrusted to you 
there are in preparation vast disorders against Jews who are ex- 
ploiting the local population. Because of the generally unquiet 
state of mind of the people of the city, a state of mind which is 
seeking for an outlet, and also because of the undesirability of 
exciting anti-governmental feelings among the population not yet 
touched by the propaganda, and of applying too severe measures, 
your Excellency will not fail to stop immediately by persuasion, 
not using armed force, the disorders which are about to begin." ^ 

This despatch was naturally interpreted at the time as a callous 
instruction to leave the Jews to the mercy of the rioters in the inter- 
ests of the Government, which von Plehve seemed to think would 
be served by the diversion of popular fury from an anti-govern- 
mental to an anti-Semitic direction. Znamya and Bessar obits, 
Krushevan's newspapers, offer another explanation. The Jews of 
Kishenev were, he said, " the redeeming sacrifice for the revolu- 
tionary propaganda of their fellow- Jews." ^ Xhat the Jewish pog- 
roms were intended as a counter-revolutionary stroke appears also 
from the circumstance that the dates fixed for revolutionary demon- 
strations were also the dates fixed beforehand for the Jewish pog- 

* Osvobojdenie, ibid. 

* Quoted by Osvobojdenie, No. 22, p. 380. 



roms} The policy, if such it may be called, was to some extent 
successful. The revolutionary groups, reaUzing the connection be- 
tween their proceedings and the pogroms against the Jews, cancelled 
many of these demonstrations,^ and thus it may be said that through- 
out the south of Russia, the revolutionary movement was thrown 
back for about two years. In May 1903 a deputation of three 
influential Jews went from Odessa to St. Petersburg to remonstrate 
with von Plehve and to endeavour to see the Tsar. The case for the 
Jews was skilfully put by Konigshatz, a Jewish lawyer. Von 
Plehve answered that he was considering measures for the improve- 
ment of the condition of the Jews ; " but," he said (according to 
the report of the deputation, drawing himself up to his full height 
and assuming a menacing tone), " tell this to the Jewish youth, your 
sons and daughters — ^tell all your intelligentsia. Let them not think 
that Russia is an old and rotting organism ; the new developing 
Russia will win, and will put down the revolutionary movement. 
Much is said about the cowardice of Jews. This is not true. The 
Jews are the boldest of people. In Western Russia about 90 per 
cent, of the revolutionists are Jews, and in Russia as a whole, about 
40 per cent.3 I will not conceal from you that the revolutionary 
movement in Russia is disturbing us. From time to time when, 
here and there, demonstrations are arranged, we come even to con- 
fusion ; but we shall control this. I wish to let you understand that 
unless you detain your youth from the revolutionary movement, we 
will make your situation so intolerable that you will have to go 
away from Russia to the last man." * 

This was undoubtedly the true explanation of the pogroms ; and 
M. von Plehve must have known that in putting it in set terms, he 
was pronouncing his own sentence of death. 

^ Osvobojdenie, ibid. * Ibid. 

3 This was probably correct at the time when von PlehvS spoke. It 
would not, of course, have been true in 1905 and 1906. 

* From Latest Information (the organ of the Jewish Bund), No. 132 ; 
quoted in Osvobojdenie, No. i (25), July 1903. 



The eastward expansion of Russia and her conflict with Japan have 
been important incidents in her economic, as well as in her poUtical 
history ; but the progress of the one and the causes of the other have 
extended over so long a period of time, and in the earlier stages these 
were so far removed from the main currents of Russian economic 
life, that it has appeared to be necessary to treat them separately 
in this place. 

The Russians reached the Ural Mountains early in the fifteenth 
century ,1 and settlements were estabhshed upon the western slopes 
by enterprising adventurers, who engaged in the fur trade and in 
salt-boiling. Amongst these early adventurers was the founder of 
the celebrated family of Strogonov.^ 

Towards the end of the sixteenth century the hostile tribes 
beyond the low range of hills which constitute the Ural Mountains, 
on the frontiers of which are now the guberni of Perm and Ufa, dis- 
tressed the fur traders by frequent attacks upon their settlements. 
These attacks led the Strogonovs to petition the voyevoda of the 
district to authorize them to raise a force for the purpose of repel- 
hng the tribesmen. Permission was given, and a force under the 
command of a Cossack ataman was sent across the mountains. 

* The relations of Russia with the Far East began, however, much earlier. 
Russia had been repeatedly overrun, and in the thirteenth century had been 
subjugated by Asiatic hordes. (For ethnical affinities between some of the 
races of Russia and the Northern Mongols, see Vol. I. Appendix No. II.) The 
great Asiatic empire of Genghis Khan and of Oktai extended from the Pacific 
Ocean to the western shores of the Black Sea. The Mongolo-Tartar con- 
querors were masters of the plains of Asia and of Russia. They were stayed 
only by the mountaineers of Moravia and Bohemia. There are Chinese tradi- 
tions of Russian guards being taken to Peking in the thirteenth century. (C/. 
Parker, E. H., China, Her History, Diplomacy, and Commerce (London, 1901), 
p. 96.) 

* The Industries of Russia, vol. v. Siberia and the Great Siberian Railway, 
edited by J. M. Crawford (St. Petersburg (in English), 1893), p. 3. 


The Cossack ataman was Yermak Timofeyevich, whose energetic 
conduct of the expedition won Siberia for the Tsar. 

Ivan IV (the Terrible), whose policy was one of consolidation 
of conquests rather than of extension of territory, disapproved of 
the aggressive character which the ostensibly merely punitive ex- 
pedition had assumed in the hands of Yermak, and ordered its 
recall. It was too late. The Siberian tribes were unacquainted 
with gunpowder, and they fell before the bullets of Yermak's insigni- 
ficant army. Yermak was drowned in 1584, but the conquest and 
settlement of the vast Siberian region went on rapidly. In 1587 
Tobolsk was founded, in 1604 Tomsk, in 1619 Yeniseisk, and in 1632 
Yakutsk. A party of Cossacks was sent in 1636 from Tomsk to the 
Aldan River, in order to reduce a band of Tunguses to subjection. 
The Aldan has its rise on the northern slopes of the Stanovoi Moun- 
tains, on the southern slopes of which rise many of the tributaries 
of the Amur. Rumours of the existence of a mighty stream to the 
south reached the Cossacks, who, however, at that time made no 
attempt to visit it, but pushed eastwards to the Sea of Okhotsk, 
on whose shores they arrived in 1639. ^^ "this year the rumours 
about the Amur region were confirmed, and in 1643 an expedition 
was despatched from Yakutsk for the purpose of exploring it. The 
party was injudiciously led, and its leaders succeeded in converting 
friendly peoples with whom they came in contact into formidable 
enemies. The Russians were driven back famished and decimated- 
Nevertheless, they had reached the jimction of the Sungari with the 
Amur, and had acquired much knowledge of the resources and de- 
fences of the region. In 1649 another expedition was fitted out at 
the expense of Khabarov, a wealthy Cossack. With seventy Cos- 
sacks, Khabarov reached the Amur, and found at the mouth of the 
Urka, a Daurian prince, Lavkai, who interrogated him about his 
object in visiting the country. Khabarov professed trade, but 
Lavkai suggested conquest. 

The expedition was mainly for reconnaissance, and Khabarov 
returned to Yakutsk. In the following year, 1650, he commanded 
a second and stronger expeditionary force for the region of the Amur. 
Khabarov's company was, after all, of no great strength, considering 
the magnitude of the task he was about to undertake ; but men 
were scarce in Eastern Siberia, and his total force consisted of 
twenty-one Cossacks and one hundred and seventeen volunteers. 


On the advance of the Russians into the Amur region, most of the 
inhabitants fled ; those who resisted were cut to pieces without 
quarter. Arrows^ were useless against bullets. The Daurian 
princes and their people retired everywhere before the Russians ; 
occasionally some of them were surprised and killed or captured. 
The Manchu Emperor at Peking, Shun-chi, claimed suzerainty over 
the Daurians and collected tribute from them, but the few Manchu 
horsemen who were in the region, and whose duty it was to protect 
the tributaries of their master, fled before the Russians and left the 
Daurians to their fate. The poUcy of the Russians and the tactics 
of the Daurians, who deserted their villages, carrying off their food 
supplies, together rendered the continued occupation of the region 
by Khabarov's company impossible. Khabarov built a fort, and 
sent out foraging expeditions ; but he was repeatedly attacked by 
the Ducheri and the Achani, Khabarov having moved his quarters 
into the country of the latter. He was also attacked by Manchus, 
who were then armed with matchlocks and artillery. Khabarov 
repulsed these attacks at the expense of a considerable number of 
his force ; but he was obUged to reascend the Amur. As Khabarov 
was returning to Yakutsk, he met in the pass of the Bureya Moun- 
tains a party nearly as large as his own original company, which 
had been sent to reinforce him. Khabarov therefore retraced 
his steps ; but he was speedily embarrassed by a mutiny among his 
men and the desertion of more than a third of them. 

These expeditions were unquestionably conducted with cruelty 
unusual even in such adventures. Khabarov admitted that he 
tortured and burnt his hostages.^ The memory of his atrocities 
remained among the natives of the Amur until our own day, and 
doubtless still remains.^ The number of the natives slaughtered by 
him does not appear, but the loss of natives and Manchus together, 
killed in frequent attacks, is put at 1600 men. Khabarov's own 
losses are stated at 233 by death or desertion.* 

The irregular and non-productive exploits of Khabarov led the 
Moscow Government to decide to send out an army of 3000 men for 
the occupation of the Amur region . Khabarov himself had suggested 

1 There is a very interesting collection of bows and arrows in the Ro5ral 
Palace of the Manchus at Mukden. The bows are of great size ; their use 
must have involved the exercise of a high degree of muscular strength. 

* Ravenstein, E. G., The Russians on the Amur (London, 1861), p. 19, 

» Ihid. * Ibid., p. 25. 


double that number, on the ground that the number of Manchus 
which would have to be reckoned with was about 40,000. The 
most exaggerated reports of the riches of the Amur were circulated 
by Khabarov's returning Cossacks. The result of these reports 
was a stream of adventurers. " Lawless bands " of such people 
passed through Eastern Siberia, plundering the villages as they 
went. The expeditionary force which was to have been sent from 
Moscow to the Amur was sent only^to Siberia, where its presence 
was more necessary. The Chinese were aroused, numerous Manchu 
troops were sent into the region, the small Russian forces, now 
under Stepanov, who had succeeded Khabarov, were inadequately 
supplied with ammunition, and thus, in spite of considerable gal- 
lantry exhibited in the face of overwhelming numbers of Manchus, 
the main force of the Russians was killed or captured. The Lower 
Amur was completely evacuated by 1660. Although the Russians 
had consoHdated themselves upon the Shilka, an important tributary 
of the Upper Amur, had occupied Trans-Baikaha and had founded 
Nerchinsk, they allowed several years to pass before any renewed 
attempts were made to occupy the Lower Amur. 

The adventurous spirit of the Russians in Eastern Siberia led to 
the occupation, in 1665, of Albazin, on the Amur, by a bandit of 
Siberia, named Nikita Chemigovsky.^ Chemigovsky was, as his 
name imphed, of Little Russian extraction. He had been exiled to 
Siberia, where he became the leader of a predatory band. The 
voyevoda of Ilimsk having fallen at his hands, Chemigovsky, with 
about eighty of his followers, fled to Albazin, where they found one 
of the old forts of Lavkai, the Daurian prince. Here the bandits 
established themselves. Recruits came to them in groups, con- 
tributed by the lawless bands of Eastern Siberia. In 1671 the com- 
mand of this Httle settlement was placed in the hands of an official 
sent from Nerchinsk. In 1672 the group of settlers assumed a new 
character. Formerly they had hved chiefly upon the exploitation, 
by forced tribute and otherwise, of the native population. This 
they had been able to carry on in spite of protests to Moscow from 
Peking. Now peasants began to go into the country, to cultivate 
the soil, and to deal with the natural resources. Many villages 
began to be built in a wide region, the centre of which naturally was 
Albazin, which thenceforward came to be a position of importance. 

' 1 Crawford, op. cit., p. 7. 


The Russians were now after a manner established on the Amur, 
within territory over which the Chinese had exercised a somewhat 
ineffective sovereignty, collecting tribute from tribal groups whom 
they did not attack so long as the tribute was paid, but whom they 
did little to protect except from one another. As the event proved, 
the Chinese were unable to protect them against the Russians. To- 
wards the east the river Bureya flows into the Amur at Skobeltsin, 
about 700 miles above the mouth, and the river Amgun, which, 
although its sources are on the slopes of the Bureya Mountains at 
no great distance from those of the Bureya, flows into the Amur 
near the mouth. 

The valleys of these rivers were occupied by tribal groups which 
admitted no allegiance and paid no tribute either to the Chinese or 
to the Russians. In spite of interior difficulties at Albazin, by 1682 
several posts had been established by the Russians in widely sepa- 
rated parts of the region embraced by the great bend of the Amur 
and watered by its northern tributaries. 

It is necessary now to turn to the region upon which the Russians 
had encroached. The valley of the Amur had formed the heart of 
successive Tungusian empires,^ whose boundaries from the beginning 
of the tenth until the beginning of the twelfth century had extended 
from the Great Wall of China northwards to the Altai Mountains, 
and westwards so far as Kashgar, in what is now Chinese Turkestan. 
Even China fell under the control of the Tungusian Emperors, for a 
Tungusic dynasty ruled North China from Peking (960-1260), 
during approximately the same period as the Sung dynasties ruled 
South China from Nanking, Hangchow, and other capitals (915- 
1232) ,2 the latter power paying tribute to the former during a great 
part of the period. Among the Tungusic peoples, the group which 
has made more impression than any other upon history has been 
the Manchu. These people, whose cradle was probably either the 
plains through which the Sungari River flows, or the Shan Alin 
range to the south of these, appear to have invited Koreans and 
Chinese into their country, and to have cultivated the arts and 
sciences at an early period. In the tenth century they were con- 
quered by the Kitans, another Tungusic people, who were masters 

I The origin of the name Tungus is obscure. See discussion upon it by 
A. H. Keane, Man, Past and Present (Cambridge, 1900), p. 287. 

* The reign of the Sung dynasties embraces the great literary and artistic 
period of China. 


of the region between the Liao-tung peninsula ^ and the Amur, as 
well as all that is now MongoHa. These were the people who gave 
China her Tungusic Emperors, and who through Marco Polo gave 
the name by which China is known in Russia (Kitai), and also gave 
the name Cathay. During the period of Mongol domination in 
China from 1260 till 1368, Manchuria seems to have been the battle- 
ground of constant wars between the Mongol Emperors and the 
Tunguses, now represented chiefly by the Chin or Golden dynasty. 
The population was decimated and the towns destroyed. The 
Mongol power was overthrown by a revolution in 1368, and the 
Ming dynasty came to the throne. Manchuria was divided into 
three provinces in the fourteenth century ; and in the early part 
of the fifteenth these provinces were made tributary to China. 

In one of these, the province of Tsyan-chzu, there lived about 
the middle of the fourteenth century a certain Aishin-goro, who was 
recognized as a descendant of the Golden dynasty, several villages 
acknowledging his sovereignty. A reputed descendant of this man, 
three hundred years later — ^in the end of the sixteenth century — 
succeeded in enlarging the boundaries of Manchu influence. This 
heir to the Golden Throne was Nurkhatzi.^ The gradual growth of 
his power enabled him to establish himself at Mukden, which became 
his capital. He threw off the yoke of the Chinese and declared 
himself Emperor. The Chinese troops sent against him were de- 
feated. Nurkhatzi died in 1626 ; but his successor, on being invited 
to Peking as recognized vassal of the Chinese Emperor, in order to 
aid in the suppression of a rebellion, not only put down that rebeUion, 
but himself seized the throne of China (1644) as the first Emperor of 
the d5masty which fell in 191 1. Nurkhatzi died in the year of his 
triumph, and the throne fell to a child of six years. During the 
minority of the young Emperor, and for many years afterwards, 
the stability of the dynasty was by no means secure. 

Although the Manchus from the beginning had disputed the 
Russian advance, and had prevented the invaders from estabHshing 

1 The Liao-tung peninsula was from early ages an independent kingdom, 
until about the beginning of the Christian era. Under the Han dynasty, the 
region was annexed to China. Then followed successively the suzerainty of 
China, independence, conquest by Korea, Chinese rule, Tungusian control. 
With the seizure of power in China by the Manchus, it passed once more into 
the hands of China. 
* Or Nurhachu. 


themselves on the Sungari, the ancient cradle of the Manchus, they 
had not been able altogether to expel the Russians from the Amur 

In 1683 the Manchu Emperor K'anghi determined to adopt 
vigorous measures to recover the rich alluvial soils of the Amur 
basin, some portion of which had fallen into the hands of Russia. 
A considerable force was sent to Aigun in the summer of 1683, and 
many of the smaller Russian settlements were captured or dispersed. 
In the following year Albazin was besieged and was forced to sur- 
render. The Russians were permitted to withdraw. They retreated 
to Nerchinsk, meeting on their way too tardy reinforcements. 
The Chinese forces, having driven out the Russians, withdrew up 
the Simgari River. Within a few days after the withdrawal of the 
Chinese, Albazin was reoccupied by the Russians. They immedi- 
ately proceeded to improve the defences. In the following year the 
Chinese returned in force, and invested Albazin. They tried to 
carry the place by assault, but failed. Although they had reduced 
the garrison to small numbers and to great extremities, they volun- 
tarily raised the siege after an investment of five months ; and left 
the region altogether in the following year (1687). 

The reason for this action, inexplicable to the besieged, was a 
diplomatic one. An emissary had been despatched from Moscow 
to Peking, where he had arrived in 1686. The negotiations thus 
initiated by Russia led, in the first instance, to the raising of the 
siege of Albazin, and, secondly, to an agreement that representa- 
tives of Russia and China should meet at Selenginsk to arrange 
about the delimitation of the frontier between the two countries. 

Plenipotentiaries were desp)atched by each power, one from 
Peking and one from Moscow, suitably escorted. Strangely enough, 
both embassies were attacked by Mongols as they approached their 
meeting place ; the Russians beat off their assailants, but the 
Chinese were compelled to retire. A fresh arrangement was neces- 
sary, and after some delay the plenipotentiaries met at Nerchinsk, 
the Chinese appearing in considerable force, greatly outnumbering 
the Russians. After many difficulties and at least one moment 
when hostilities seemed likely to break out inmiediately, the Russians 
being surrounded by hostile Chinese, the draft of a treaty, after- 
wards known as the Treaty of Nerchinsk, was signed, 29th August 
1689. The Stanovoi Mountains and the Argun River were accepted 


as the boundaries, the Russians having the north and the Chinese 
the south banks of the latter river. The Russian fortress of Albazin 
was to be demolished, and hunting was not to be permitted on either 
side to the " nationals " of the other ; conmierce and intercourse 
were, however, to be permitted. The terms of the treaty were to 
be graven upon stones in Tataric (Manchu) Chinese, Russian, and 
Latin, and these stones were to be erected on the frontier. The 
treaty was a complete victory for the Chinese ; not only were they 
left with the rich basin of the Amur, but they retained also the 
valuable hunting grounds on the southern slopes of the Stanovoi 
Mountains, as well as the basins of the numerous tributaries of the 
Amur which had their sources in them. 

During the eighteenth century the colonization of Siberia pro- 
ceeded after a fashion, the aboriginal tribes were driven away from 
the settlements, stockaded posts and fortresses being built at inter- 
vals for purposes of protection. Meanwhile, exploration of Siberia 
was carried out by several scientific expeditions. Under Peter the 
Great, and on his initiative, an expedition was despatched in 1725 
to find whether there existed a passage into the Arctic Ocean from 
the Pacific between America and Asia.^ This expedition was com- 
manded by Vitus Berend, a Danish sailor in the Russian service. 
The successful issue of this voyage led to a series of expeditions, 
which resulted in the gradual discovery and occupation by the 
Russians of the region which came to be known as Alaska. During 
the same period the Aleutian Islands were discovered and occupied. 
These expeditions were performed between 1739 and 1769.2 

During the eighteenth century the Chinese seat of government 
of the Amur was Tsitsikar, at which town and at Aigun there was a 
mihtary governor. Both of these, together with the Governor of 
Kirin, were under the authority of the Governor-General of Man- 
churia at Mukden. The males of the Manchu population were 
practically all under arms. In addition to the Manchus there were 
nomadic tribes, who were for the most part hunters. The former 
paid taxes and the latter tribute. The tribute exacted (in sables 
and in grain) was heavy, and the tribesmen were thus not reluctant 
to pass under the rule of Russia. Up till 1820 a policy of rigid 

* The existence of such a passage had akeady been demonstrated by Simeon 
Dejnyev in 1 648 ; but Peter seems to have been unaware of the fact. Cf . 
Siberia and the Great Siberian Railway, edited Crawford, pp. 526-810. 

2 Ibid., p. II. 


exclusion was carried out by China, and immigration into Manchuria 
was prevented even in the case of Chinese. In that year, however, 
the policy was changed and the Chinese flocked into the coimtry. 

Throughout the eighteenth century the Chinese were frequently 
requested by Russia to permit the free navigation of the Amur, but 
they persistently refused. Meanwhile Russian settlements had been 
formed on the Pacific coast, and the supplies for these had to be 
transported by land at considerable cost.^ The Russian Govern- 
ment was, however, reluctant to employ coercive measures at so 
great distance from any mihtary base. The region was compara- 
tively little known and little valued. The event which ultimately 
changed altogether the attitude of Russia towards the Pacific and 
towards the Amur was the appointment of Count Nikolas N. Mura- 
viev as Governor of Eastern Siberia in 1847. This officer became 
an enthusiastic advocate of Russian advance in Eastern Asia, and 
although his ardent appeals fell into dull ears at St. Petersburg, he 
persevered until the force of circumstances came to his aid. His 
first step was to send in 1848 a small party of four Cossacks with an 
officer down the Amur.^ The party was never heard of again. The 
next step was the despatch, through Muraviev's initiative, of a sur- 
veying vessel from the Baltic to the Pacific with instructions to 
explore the coasts of the Sea of Okhotsk and the mouth of the Amur. 
In 1850 this vessel entered the mouth of the river, and in 1851 two 
towns were estabUshed upon the banks. Although the Russians 
had been shut off by China from the Upper Amur, they had now 
succeeded in establishing themselves some distance above its mouth. ^ 

The decisive event which precipitated action on the part of 
Muraviev was the outbreak of the Crimean War. In 1854 there 
were three Russian frigates on the Pacific coast. Whether or not 
there was real risk of these vessels running short of supphes owing 

* In 1 816 the price of flour in Kamchatka was 8^d. per lb. Ravenstein, 
op. cit., p. 114. The cost of transport by pack-horses at that time was, how- 
ever, only about id. per cwt. per mile. 

' This was not, however, the first attempt to navigate the river. The first 
vessel to appear upon the waters of the Amur was the Constantine, which, 
under the command of Gavrilov, entered the estuary of the river on 5th May 
1846 (Crawford, p. 230). 

' On the history of the Amur, see Temonov, Sketch of the Principal 
Watercourses of the Amur Region (St. Petersburg, 1897), and Reports of the 
Imperial Russian Geographical Society, and those of The Imperial A cademy 
of Science. See also Bussye, Literature of the A mur Region (St. Petersburg, 
1882), and bibUography by Ravenstein, op. cit. 


to the difficulty of getting them by sea or by land by the usual pack- 
horse route in time, the possibiUty of this contingency was sufficient, 
in Muraviev's mind, to justify him in adopting an unusual course. 
He determined to send the supphes down the Amur from Shilkinsk 
on the Shilka, and to take command of the ejcpedition himself. He 
appHed to the Chinese Governor of Kiakhta and to the Viceroy at 
Urga for permission to navigate the Amur, but these functionaries 
declined to grant permission without consulting their Government 
at Peking. Muraviev left Shilkinsk on 27th May 1854, without 
permission. He had one small steamer and about fifty barges, 
besides numerous rafts. He took with him about a thousand troops 
and several guns. He reached Mariinsk, on the Lower Amur, without 
mishap on 27th June. Muraviev found that the Chinese garrisons 
of the posts on the Amur were miserably armed, and were quite 
unable to do more than make a formal protest against his passage. 

Meanwhile war had been declared, and a small allied squaton 
was making its way from Callao to the Sea of Okhotsk. The only 
armed vessels belonging to Russia in these seas at that time were 
one frigate and a hulk, a store ship, and two transports. Their total 
armament was 130 guns. The alUed squadron consisted of two 
English frigates, a steamer, and a brig, and of one French frigate 
and a corvette, with altogether 190 guns and about 2000 men. 

The Russian ships concentrated at Petropavlovsk. While the 
allied squadron was about to attack, the EngHsh Admiral committed 
suicide. The French Admiral succeeded to the command, but being 
unable to exercise sufficient authority over the officers of the 
squadron, he was obliged to permit a premature and ill-managed 
assault, which was repulsed. Five days after the arrival of the 
squadron, it sailed away without having accomplished the object 
of the expedition. In the spring of 1855 the Russians abandoned 
Petropavlovsk, the Russian vessels slipping unobserved in a fog, 
past the allied fleet, which had returned reinforced with instructions 
to take the port. The Allies landed, found the town deserted, 
destroyed the batteries, and then departed. Some engagements of 
no moment took place later ; but the Pacific naval operations had 
no more influence upon the course of the campaign than had the 
similarly fruitless expedition to the White Sea.^ Quite otherwise 

1 When a few shots were fired at the Solovietsky Monastery by the fleet 
under Admiral Erasmus Ommaney. 


was the influence of the attack upon the Amur with regard to the 
development of the region and the extension of Russian authority 
over it. 

The experiment of unHcensed navigation carried out successfully 
by Muraviev led to the diversion of the traffic between Eastern 
Siberia and the Pacific from the land route to the Amur. The 
Russo- American Company ^ also used the river for the transporta- 
tion of colonists and goods destined for Alaska. Muraviev's policy 
of expansion now received a definite impulse. In order to protect 
the trade which had grown up on the Amur, in 1857, i^ ^^^ necessary 
to occupy certain posts on the river in force. Muraviev went to 
St. Petersburg and obtained the means and the men to carry out 
this design. When, however, he arrived with his forces at Ner- 
chinsk, the situation on the Amur had changed. 

The Chinese had observed, no doubt with misgiving, the use 
made of the Amur by the Russians, but they were evidently un- 
willing to provoke hostilities. An attempt had been made in 
Southern China in 1840 to put an end to foreign trade .^ This 
attempt had brought on the war of 1840-1842, and had resulted not 
only in the compulsory opening of Canton, Shanghai, Ningpo, 
Foochow, and Amoy to foreign commerce, but also in the loss to 
China of the island of Hong-Kong. In 1856 the anti-foreign feeling 
in China again became acute and resulted in the war of 1858-1859, 
in which Great Britain and France took part. The Allies at first 
were repulsed by the Taku Forts, but later they marched upon 
Peking, destroying the Summer Palace ^ to the north of the city, 
and demanded the opening of Tientsin, Chefoo, Swatow, Hankow, 
Kiu-Kiang, and Chinkiang. These incidents revealed to the Chinese 
more demonstratively than before the material force which might 
be brought into play by European powers. 

Thus when Muraviev arrived on the Amur in May 1858, he found 
the local Chinese authorities much more complaisant than he had 
expected. He was indeed able to achieve without any display of 
force the Treaty of Aigun (28th May 1858), by which the north bank 

^ Founded in 1799 and liquidated in 1867 in consequence of the sale of 
Alaska to the United States. Siberia and the Great Siberian Railway, p. 12. 

2 Not only to the trade in opium. Cf. Parker, E. H., China, Her History, 
Diplomacy, and Commerce (London, 1901), p. 92. 

^ The ruins of this palace still lie north of the outer walls of Peking. At a 
distance of a few miles farther north is situated the modem Summer Palace 
with its lake and beautiful park. 


of the Amur was ceded so far as the Ussuri River, as well as both 
banks of the Ussuri. The Sungari, the Ussuri, and the Amur were 
to be open to Russian trade. Count Putiatin, who had been sent 
by the Russian Government to Peking, concluded almost at the 
same date (13th June) the Treaty of Tientsin, by which certain 
ports were opened to Russian trade and Russia was permitted to 
maintain an embassy at Peking.^ During the negotiations the 
Chinese Government is alleged to have invited the Russians to assist 
it in repelling the attacks of England and France, but the Russian 
envoy turned a deaf ear to the soHcitation. 

During the summer of 1858 Muraviev was not idle. He founded 
Blagovesh'chensk, near the Chinese fortress of Aigun, Khabarovsk 
at the mouth of the Ussuri, and Sofyevsk on the Lower Amur. 

The Russian Government had, in an ukase of 31st October 1857, 
assumed possession of the Amur region, and for administrative 
purposes had constituted it, together with the coast of the Sea of 
Okhotsk and Kamchatka, the " Maritime Province of Eastern 
Siberia." On 31st December 1858 another ukase was issued refer- 
ring to the ** reacquisition " of the Amur region, and recognizing 
it as the " Province of the Amur," separating it from the Maritime 
Province. Settlement upon the Amur was carried out too speedily 
to be effectual. Cossacks and their famiUes, to the number of 
20,000, were established there prior to 1859 '» ^^^ ^^^ Cossacks are 
not good farmers, and their agricultural settlements cannot be held 
to have been successful. The Amur Company, incorporated 23rd 
January 1858, was founded for the purpose of the commercial 
exploitation of the region. This company also projected a telegraph 
line from Moscow to the Amur. 

The Government gave faciUties in money and otherwise to 
poUtical exiles, sailors, and others who were willing to establish 
themselves in colonies. In the beginning of 1859, 10,000 colonists 
passed through Irkutsk from European Russia and Western Siberia 
on their way to the Amur. 

In the summer of 1859 China, having for the moment relieved 
herself of the pressure of the Allies, repented of the generosity of 

1 A so-called " clerical mission " at Peking had been established in 1692. 
This mission had served the purpose to a certain extent of a diplomatic mis- 
sion, although it had been at least partly maintained by the Chinese Govern- 
ment. [Art. 10, Treaty of Tientsin (Russian Chinese).] 


the terms of the Treaty of Aigun, forbade the ascent of the Sungari 
by a group of Russians, and even interfered with Russian navigation 
on the Amur. At an opportune moment, however, the Allies 
marched upon Peking ; and this diversion enabled the Russians to 
avoid the use of force in insisting upon the observation of the terms 
of their treaty. 

Meanwhile the Russian Government engaged to a small extent 
in colonizing experiments. Forty-seven German families were 
taken from California, and a hundred Mennonites from South Russia. 

In November i860 Russia concluded a new treaty with China. 
This treaty gave Russia the whole coast of Manchuria to the Korean 
frontier, and provided for trade free of all duties and restrictions 
between Russia and China on the land frontiers. The new territory 
thus acquired enabled Russia to found her great eastern seaport — 
Vladivostok — (" Dominion of the East "). Writing immediately 
afterwards, Ravenstein predicted that when the Chinese Empire 
fell to pieces, Russia would possess herself of the whole of Manchuria, 
including the Liao-tung peninsula.^ 

The efforts of Russia to colonize the basin of the Amur were not 
very successful ; while, meantime, immigrants from China poured 
not only into Manchuria south of the Amur, but even into the region 
ceded to Russia on the north bank. Koreans also crossed the 
frontier into Maritime Manchuria and formed colonies there. The 
reason for the non-success of Russia in the colonization of the region 
she had acquired, undoubtedly lay in the circumstance that until 
after emancipation had been fully carried into effect, and until the 
system of " mutual guarantee " for the payment of taxes was 
abohshed, it was quite impossible to promote any considerable 
voluntary emigration movement from European Russia, either to 
Siberia or to Manchuria. Further reason may be found in the facts 
that owing to serfdom the peasants were destitute of the funds 
which were necessary to undertake so great a land journey as was 
involved in traversing Siberia, then without railways, and that 
Siberia itself was most scantily populated, although great areas 
were nearly as fertile as the soils of the Amur basin. Those peasants 
who did make their way in the predatory bands, whose existence 
has already been mentioned, did not form sufficiently stable com- 
munities to occupy outposts of the Empire. Even in Siberia the 

* Ravenstein, The Russians on the Amur, p. 154. 


pioneers were ** vagabonds and nomad adventurers, so that the 
Government had to make great efforts to bind them to the land.'* * 
It was also apparent that the climate of the north bank of the Amur 
was severe in winter, and that settlers were inclined to go south- 
wards,2 impelled by a desire for a milder cHmate. This southerly 
tendency meant, however, ultimate conflict with the Chinese 

The Amur was too distant from European Russia to benefit by 
the presence of those peasants who, fleeing from their proprietors 
in Russia, populated the gub. of Tobolsk,^ and even made their way 
farther east. It must also be reahzed that, simultaneously with the 
attempt to settle the Amur region, Russia was engaged in the 
colonization of the ZaUiish slopes on the frontier of Central Asia, as 
well as in the occupation of Turkestan. In this region also Russia 
and China came into contact. 

After the suppression of the Tai-ping rebelHon a Mohammedan 
revolt took place in China ; and Russia occupied the province of 
Ili, in the extreme west of the Chinese Empire, to the south of Lake 
Balkash. This occupation continued up till 1881, when China 
negotiated a treaty with Russia, providing for the evacuation of Ih, 
and for the security of Russian merchants on the land routes. One 
of the most important of these passes from Hankow by the river 
Han, through Ih to Kashgar and Russia.* 

The effective colonization of Siberia really began only after 
Emancipation in 1861 ; and then began also a serious effort to 
attract colonists to the Amur. The obhgatory settlement of 
Cossacks promising at best a restricted colonization, it was necessary 
to offer inducements to peasants to migrate thither from the con- 
gested regions in European Russia. The Government did not grant 
free land, but it offered 100 dessyatin per family in free use for 
twenty years, with right of purchase or of renting at the end of that 
period. If immediate purchase was desired, the land was sold at 
three rubles per dessyatin. The settlers were also exempted from 

1 Siberia and the Great Siberian Railway, cit., p. 3. 

* Kropotkin, Prince, Memoirs (Boston, 1899), p. 269. 
3 Siberia and the Great Siberian Railway, p. 9. 

* This route was discovered about the beginning of the Christian era by 
Han Wu Ti. It is the shortest existing route between China and the Western 
world . ' ' Sooner or later it must be the line of China's chief trunk railway to the 
west." Parker, E. H., China, Her History, Diplomacy, and Commerce, p. 149. 



imperial taxation for twenty years, from military service for ten 
years, and from rural taxes for three years. 

Even when Emancipation had been effected, however, there 
remained the great obstacles of distance and of the inadequacy of 
the means of communication across the immense Siberian r^on, 
which intervened between European Russia and the Amur. 

It thus became indispensably necessary, if the acquisition of 
the territory was to bear any fruit for Russia, that cheap and rapid 
means of commimication should be estabhshed between European 
Russia and the head waters of the Amur. In other words, the con- 
struction of the Siberian Railway became from i860 an imperious 

This necessity was clearly foreseen by Muraviev. Several pro- 
jects were advanced for partial or complete railway communication. 
The earliest of these projects was brought forward in 1850, when the 
Russians had only just estabhshed themselves upon the Lower Amur. 
From time to time projects were brought before the authorities at 
St. Petersburg, but they met with small encouragement, partly be- 
cause the railway system of European Russia was as yet very imper- 
fectly developed ; while the Crimean War, the advances of Russia 
in Central Asia, and the Russo-Turkish War, successively pre- 
occupied the Government. The finances were not in a flourishing 
condition, and the administration of pubHc works was costly and 
corrupt. Even after the financial feasibihty of the construction of a 
line came to be admitted, the question of the route to be followed 
occasioned prolonged controversy. In the seventies of the nine- 
teenth century three routes were proposed, and each of them had 
many adherents — the northern route, the middle, and the southern.^ 

The discussion of these routes concerned itself not so much with 
the hne through Siberia, as with the point in the Ural Mountains 
which should be connected with the Russian European hues, and 
divergent interests at once manifested themselves. The Eastern 
Siberian interests began to clamour for local lines ; e.g. a petition was 
sent in 1875 from Vladivostok to provide a line from that port to 
Lake Khanko.* Meanwhile the construction of the European net- 
work brought the Russian railways to the Ural Mountains in 1880,* 
when the great bridge across the Volga was completed. The ques- 

* Siberia and the Great Siberian Railway, p. 240. 
» Ibid., p. 241. 3 ji^id. 



tion of a Siberian line now assumed a new phase. The construction 
of the Obi-Yenesei canal, together with a project for the removal of 
the rapids in the river Angara, had offered an alternative combined 
rail and water route from the Urals to the Amur. A special com- 
mission was appointed in the end of 1890 for the purpose of deter- 
mining what was to be done. The principal consideration of the 
Commission seems to have been the economical development of 
Siberia, rather than the political and strategic consequences of the 
construction of a trans- Asiatic hne. Although the increasing 
military importance of Japan had been very manifest from about 
1886, yet this does not seem to have had any material inJBiuence 
upon the Russian plans prior to 1890 or 1891. In the former year 
Russian attention was drawn to the surveys which were being made 
by an English railway engineer, Mr. Kinder, in the emplo5nTient of 
the Chinese Government. These surveys were performed at the 
instance of Li Hung Chang, who was then in a powerful position at 
Peking. His instructions to Mr. Kinder were to the following effect : 
to survey a line from Shanhaikwan, a Chinese military camp at the 
point where the Great Wall reaches the Gulf of Chihh, in a north- 
easterly direction by Mukden and Kirin towards the Russo-Chinese 
frontier.^ A survey was also to be made of a branch line to New- 
chwang, then the principal port from which Manchurian produce 
was shipped. 

The visit to Japan and to Maritime Manchuria of the present 
Tsar Nicholas II, then Tsarevich, accompanied as he was by Prince 
Ukhtomsky, one of the most enthusiastic of Imperialists, further 
excited activity in the " higher spheres " at St. Petersburg, and the 
construction of the Trans-Siberian Railway was decided upon on 
2ist February 1891. Construction was commenced immediately 
at both ends, surveys being pushed forward from Chelyabinsk and 
from Vladivostok simultaneously .^ 

1 These survejrs were intended to be performed secretly ; but before the 
surveying party started upon its mission, its object, as is usually the case in 
China, leaked out. " The Chinese move certainly had the effect of forcing 
Russia's hand to the extent of compelling her to hasten the execution of her 
plans." Kent, P. H., Railway Enterprise in China : An Account of its Origin 
and Development (London, 1908), p. 41. 

2 Actual construction was begun at Vladivostok on 19/31 May 1891, and 
at Cheliabinsk on 17/29 July 1892. See Administration de la Construction 
des Chemins de Fer de V Empire (Russe) (Paris, 1900), p. 15. The construction 
was begun under M. Hubbenet, Minister of Ways of Communication, and was 
continued under MM. Witte, Krivosh6ine, and Prince Khilkov. 


The line as projected in 1891 extended from Cheliabinsk, on the 
eastern slope of the Urals, by Omsk, Krasnoyarsk, Irkutsk, Chita, 
Stretinsk, and Albazin, on the north bank of the Amur, to Khaba- 
rovsk and Vladivostok. It was, so far as the Amur and Ussuri 
sections were concerned, entirely within the territory ceded by 
China to Russia in the Treaty of Aigun in 1858. The project of a 
railway from Irkutsk through Northern MongoUa and Northern 
Manchuria south of the Amur, to Vladivostok, had been proposed 
and rejected.^ The Vladivostok- Khabarovsk section, commenced 
in 1891, was finished in 1902. The sections between Chelyabinsk, 
and Irkutsk, commenced in 1892, were finished in 1900 ; the section 
between the eastern shore of Lake Baikal and Khabarovsk, com- 
menced in 1895, was finished in 1904. The short section round the 
southern shore of Lake Baikal was finished during the war in 1905. 
The length of the Siberian line proper from Chelyabinsk to Vladi- 
vostok was 6484 kilometres.2 The total distance from St Petersburg 
to Vladivostok was 9431 kilometres. The cost of the Siberian line 
proper was about 400,000,000 rubles. 

The desire on the part of Russia to extend her markets arose 
naturally, for Russia has comparatively little sea-going commerce ; ^ 
and her exports to European countries consist chiefly of grain and 
raw materials. But from the remotest time her caravan trade with 
China had been very considerable, and thus traffic from the opening 
of the line was assured in silks, tea, and furs, by way of imports, 
while the development of Manchuria as a grain-producing country 
might be calculated upon to produce a demand for manufactured 
cotton and other commodities.* 

It is well now to pause and to reflect upon the evidence which 
the above historical recital affords of " land hunger," and of deep 
and far-reaching designs on the part of Russia. How far is it true 
that the Government up to the moment of embarkation upon 

^ See map in Siberia and the Great Siberian Railway. 

2 It is now considerably reduced by improvements, chiefly in Central 

* From 1872, however, Russia had developed a sea-going trade with China, 
At the present time large steamers run from Hankow, on the Yiangtse Kiang, 
to Odessa and to Kronstadt. Parker, E. H., China, Her History, Diplomacy, 
and Commerce (London, 1901), p. 155. 

* Of late years the principal exports from Manchuria have been beans and 
wild silk cocoons. The seaports of Newchwang, Dalny, and Vladivostok are 
practically built upon the bean trade. 


Siberian railway enterprise in 1891 was consciously striving to 
possess itself of the whole of Manchuria and of Korea, of checking 
the growth of Japan, and of exercising a dominant influence over 
China ? It must be recognized that while Muraviev saw in the 
fifties the value of the region of the Amur, and while he realized 
that it formed an important route between Trans-Baikalia and the 
Pacific, he was able with great difficulty to induce the " higher 
spheres " in St. Petersburg to share his views> They were naively 
ignorant of the region which had inspired in him so much enthusi- 
asm. The opening of Japan to foreign intercourse had not taken 
place until eleven years after Muraviev arrived in Trans-Baikalia. 
He could not see the protentous potential strength of Japan, nor 
could he foresee the intricate political relations that would result 
from her emergence as a great power in the Pacific. It must be 
allowed that up till 1891, there is no proof of aggressiveness on the 
part of the Russian Government in the Far East.^ The evidence 
goes to show that the Government was reluctantly forced into 
acquiescence in the earlier projects for a Siberian line, partly through 
the advocacy of enthusiasts and interested merchants, and partly 
by circumstances chiefly connected with the economical develop- 
ment of Siberia. Indeed, so far as the motives which inspired the 
scheme of a Siberian railway were concerned, these may be regarded 
as primarily economical and as only secondarily strategical. ^ But 
when the construction of the line through to the Pacific coast was 
actually undertaken in 1891, there can be no doubt that the strate- 
gical advantage began to loom up in large proportions. 

We have now to consider the effect of the construction of the 
line upon the political relations of Russia, Japan, and China. 

1 See the very interesting account of the attitude of St. Petersburg officials 
towards Manchuria at this period, in Prince Kropotkin's Memoirs, p. 196. 
Prince Kropotkin was aide-de-camp to Korsakov, the Governor-General of 
Eastern Siberia, successor of Muraviev. 

" Earlier than this period there was undoubtedly in Russia a party, more 
or less influential, which had designs upon India. In the time of the Tsar 
Paul I, this party induced that eccentnc monarch to make preparations for 
an invasion of India through her northern frontier, and inheritors of this policy 
have not been lacking. Their influence contributed to the advance of Russia 
in Central Asia, and this advance, so long as it continued, preoccupied Russia 
and prevented it from similar adventures in the Far East. 

* This is shown by the circumstance that the early projects did not involve 
a through railway line, but merely separate lines linking up the waterways. 
Even in 1901 the lines were discontinuous and the steamer service on the 
Amur was defective. 


Up till 1891 the preoccupation of Russia in the Balkans and in 
Central Asia, together with the jealousies of the Powers and the 
uncertainty of the defensive strength of China, combined to prevent 
the advance of Russia south of the Amur and west of the Ussuri. 
The colonization of Maritime Manchuria had proceeded slowly. 
Few Russian settlers had migrated there ; the chief immigrants 
had been Koreans, for whom the Russians had estabUshed schools. 
In the Amur province, on the north bank of the river, the Chinese 
had settled in considerable and the Russians in lesser numbers; 
Affairs were in this posture when the construction of the Siberian 
Railway was begun in 1891. For some years prior to that date the 
Japanese Government had undoubtedly viewed with apprehension 
the inevitabihty of the Russian advance southward so soon as con- 
venient opportunity should arise. 

The geographical situation involved the masking of the Russian 
advance by China and her quasi-dependency Korea, and at the 
same time involved the practical immunity of Russia from effective 
attack at the mouth of the Amur or on the coast of Maritime Man- 
churia. A naval defeat might have been inflicted upon Russia by 
Japan, and might readily have been inflicted at any period subse- 
quent to 1886 ; but a naval victory would have been fruitless 
without a land campaign. For a land campaign of the necessary 
magnitude, Japan was not ready in 1891 nor for several years after 
that date. Wisdom, therefore, dictated to Japan, Fabian tactics. 
It was wise to wait until Russia by her own acts should extend her 
operations, as she must do, ever farther and farther from her military 
base and ever nearer the mihtary base of Japan. If Japan were 
able to prepare herself to strike hard when the moment to strike 
should arrive, Russia would be compelled to retire probably for a 

The preparation was a long and formidable task. If it failed, 
not only would the whole of Manchuria and Korea fall into the hands 
of Russia, but Japan might become a mere province of the Empire.^ 

An essential part of the preparation for the driving back of 
Russia was the control by Japan of Korea and the neutralization 
of China. No power imderstood China better than Japan. It was 

1 The opinion is prevalent in well-informed circles in Russia that prior 
to the war of 1904-1905, this idea was actually in the minds of the " higher 


perfectly evident to the latter power that China could not resist the 
advance of Russia, and that, so far as she was concerned, the existence 
of Manchuria and Korea as buffer States between Russia and Japan 
was a negligible quantity. 

It was also evident that so soon as the opportune moment arrived, 
Japan must bring about a quarrel with China, and, if possible, occupy 
^^^^^^^ a portion of Southern Manchuria as well as Korea, in order to enable 
her to offer effective resistance to Russia when that power made her 
southward advance. The Korean question was sufficiently apposite 
to afford an excuse for the adoption of the military measures neces- 
sary to eliminate China from the field, and to prevent a futile attempt 
on her part to avoid the occupation of South Manchuria by 
Russia. The Sino- Japanese War of 1895 resulted in the complete 
victory of Japan. China was compelled to surrender, and the 
weakness of her miUtary position was laid bare to all the 
world. Japanese ambition was satisfied with the outcome of 
the war, for she was now entitled to interfere in Manchurian 
and Korean affairs ; but she had disclosed her hand, and in 
doing so had stimulated Russian diplomacy to the exercise of the 
greatest ingenuity in order to deprive her of the substantial fruits 
iof her victory. It was inevitable that Russia should rely upon 
diplomatic action, for military measures were not at that time 
(Practicable. The Siberian Railway was not completed, and it 
would have been impossible for her to throw into Manchuria a force 
sufficient to effect the seizure of the Liao-tung peninsula from Japan. 
She therefore used the Yellow Peril argument with such effect that 
Germany and France joined her in insisting upon the withdrawal of 
Japan from Port Arthur and from Korea. Japan had to accept the 
inevitable, and to withdraw, for she could not have withstood a 
naval attack upon her shores by three allied powers.^ She had, 
however, gained something ; she had exhibited the helplessness of 
China, and although in doing so she had encouraged Russia to 
encroach upon Manchuria, she had justified her title to interfere 

^ The Russian fleet, together with two German cruisers, lay off Chef 00, 
opposite Port Arthur, on 8th May 1895, when the ratifications of the treaty 
were being exchanged. The French Admiral de la Bonniniere de Beaumont 
did not join in this demonstration although France was acting with the other 
two powers, and in the event of. the refusal of Japan to agree to the com- 
promise urged by the three powers, the French ships might have been brought 
into action. C/., however, Pierre Leroy-Beaulieu, The Awakening of the East 
(New York, 1900), pp. 250-252. 


whenever that encroachment had proceeded to what she might 
consider a dangerous extent. 

To suppose that Japan foresaw precisely the events which 
followed the restoration of the Liao-tung peninsula to China would 
be to imply an incredible prescience ; yet there can be no doubt that 
the astute Japanese statesmen saw somewhat of the future, and there 
can equally be no doubt that the surrender appeared to them to be 
temporary. The principles of jiu-jitsu have penetrated so deeply 
into the Japanese mind that it is permissible to believe that, con- 
sciously or unconsciously, these principles were applied to the titanic 
struggle between the two powers.^ It thus appeared that while 
Russia was able to effect an agreement with China which gave her 
not only permission to build a railway across the north-eastern 
comer of Mongolia and the northern part of Manchuria, but also a 
lease of the Liao-tung peninsula, she had gained without a campaign 
an important strategic advantage. Yet, to the Japanese mind, the 
very advance which this advantage implied brought Russia within 
striking distance when the appropriate moment arrived. 

The history of the series of agreements by means of which Russia 
obtained a footing in Southern Manchuria has not yet been fully 
disclosed. Russian diplomacy was exceedingly active at Peking 
in 1890 and 1891, and it was directed towards delaying the con- 
struction by China of the Manchurian railways projected by Li 
Hung Chang, in order that concessions for railways in this region 
should be granted to Russia. What the relations between Li Hung 
Chang and Russia were at this time may perhaps never be known .^ 
He may or may not have intended from the beginning to concede 
these lines to Russia for a consideration. 

The war between Japan and China came to an end on 17th April 
1895, when the Treaty of Shimonoseki was concluded. Li Hung 
Chang was the plenipotentiary of China in the negotiations which 
preceded the conclusion of the treaty. His conduct during the 

^ The first maxim of the Japanese Jiu-jitsu is, " Do not resist an oppo- 
nent, but gain the victory by pliancy." In other words, yield precisely at the 
right moment, so that the opponent exhausts himself. The weight and the 
impetus of an opponent will, under given circumstances, even cause him to 
break his own arm. For an interesting technical account of Jiu-jitsu, see 
"The Legacy of the Samurai," by R. Tait -Mackenzie, M.D., in American 
Physical Education Review, December 1906. 

2 Li Hung Chang's papers and those of his English secretary are supposed 
to have disappeared. They may have been destroyed. 


negotiations, when viewed in the Hght of subsequent events, requires 
explanation, which has not yet been fully forthcoming. He seemed 
to be indifferent about the cession of the Liao-tung peninsula and 
Korea, and devoted his energies to an attempt to save Formosa from 
falling into the hands of Japan> Had he succeeded in this attempt, 
Japan would have had to be content with a pecuniary indemnity 
alone, and would not have gained any territory as the result of the 

Upon the supposition that Li Hung Chang knew of the project 
by which Russia hoped to thwart Japan, his conduct is intelligible * 
The proceedings of Russia after the conclusion of the Treaty of 
Shimonoseki have already been alluded to. After the war was over, 
the continuation of the railway beyond Shanhaikwan was not pro- 
ceeded with by the Chinese. Again it is alleged the hand of Russia 
is discoverable, although the delay may have been due to the fluctua- 
tion of exclusively Chinese poUtical influences in Peking. 

One year after these events Li Hung Chang was sent as Pleni- 
potentiary Extraordinary to be present at the coronation of the 
Tsar in Moscow.^ During his visit to Russia there were rumours of 
the confirmation by him of a secret convention which had been 
entered into between China and Russia in 1895,* the so-called Cassini 
Convention. Official denials were at once pubHshed ; but subse- 
quent occurrences justified the belief that an agreement of some kind 
had been arrived at, which enabled Russia to take her next important 
step. This step was the establishment of the Russo-Chinese Bank, 
which was destined to play a great r61e in the immediately succeed- 
ing events. The bank was founded by imperial ukase on loth 
December 1895, after the Cassini Convention, and a few months 
before the aUeged confirmation of that convention by Li Hung 
Chang. The capital stock of the Russo-Chinese Bank was opened 

1 Cf. Kent, op. cit., p. 43. 

» It has been hinted (by Mr. Michie) that Russia had intimated to Li Hung 
Chang before the treaty negotiations began that, should he be obliged to 
cede territory on the mainland, Russia would bring pressure to bear upon 
Japan to have such a provision annulled. Cf. Kent, op. cit., p. 43. and Weale, 
Manchu and Muscovite, p. 129. It may also be mentioned here that diplo- 
matic gossip of the time attributed the speedy fall of Port Arthur to a pecuni- 
ary arrangement between Li and certain Japanese. If any credence can be 
given to this story, the conduct of Li appears m a still more unfavourable light. 

* The coronation took place on 14th May (O.S.) 1896. 

* The terms of this alleged document were published by Mr. R. W. Little 
in the North China Daily News, and were copied in the newspapers of the time. 
Cf, Kent, op. cit., p. 47. 


to public subscription, and was largely subscribed for in Paris, 
Brussels, and in Amsterdam^ Li Hung Chang arrived in China, 
via Vancouver, in August 1896, and on the 29th of that month an 
" agreement " was concluded " between the Chinese Government 
and the Russo-Chinese Bank for the construction and management 
of the Chinese Eastern Railway." ^ This agreement, together with 
a supplementary document, entitled " Statutes of the Chinese 
Eastern Railway Company," provided for the formation of the 
company by the Russo-Chinese Bank, and for the construction by 
it of a railway of the Russian gauge (5 feet) from the western border 
of the province of Hei-Lun-Tsian to the eastern border of the pro- 
vince of Kirin, and for the connection of this railway with the im- 
perial Russian railways by the Trans-BaikaUan and the Southern 
Ussuri lines. The Chinese Eastern Railway was to be under Chinese 
direction ; but in the event of disagreement between the Chinese 
railway authorities and those of the Russian railways, the Russian 
Minister of Finance was to decide the points in dispute. Imports 
and exports by this railway were to be subject to preferential customs 
duties to the extent of a diminution of one-third. The railway 
company was to have its own police ; but the Chinese Government 
undertook to protect the Une against extraneous attacks. The 
ordinary shares of the company were not to be guaranteed, but the 
bonds were to be guaranteed by the Russian Government.^ 

This agreement enabled Russia to dispense with the originally 
projected line along the north bank of the Amur to connect Ner- 
chinsk with Khabarovsk, and also prepared the way for further 
extensions southwards. The construction of the Hne through 
Northern Manchuria was quite indispensable for Russia if any 
material advantage was to be gained by the possession of Maritime 
Manchuria, apart altogether from any adventures in Southern 
Manchuria or in China or Korea. The building of the extension of 
the Trans-Siberian line as originally planned, along the northern 
bank of the Amur, was recognized at an early stage as very difficult 
from an engineering point of view.* The river Amur presented 

1 Weale, op. cit., p. 126. 

* This agreement was signed on 8th September 1 896. A translation from 
the Chinese text is given by Kent, op. cit., p. 21 1. 

3 In addition, the line was redeemable by purchase in thirty-six years, and 
was to revert to China without payment in eighty years. 

* It is now (1 91 3), however, in course of construction. 


grave difficulties in bridging. The variation in its waters between 
the wet and the dry seasons was so great that bridges of unheard-of 
length would have had to be constructed, with piers of unusual depth, 
in order to reach secure foundation in the river bed. The cost of 
such a line was at the time in effect prohibitive. 

The construction of the Chinese Eastern Railway was begun in 
1897. Meanwhile diplomacy appears to have been active in pre- 
paring for the southern extension of the hne towards the Gulf of 
Chihli in order to secure a port which should be free from the dis- 
advantage which attached to Vladivostok of being annually icebound 
for several months. Events again facilitated and hastened Russian 
movements. Germany had compelled the Chinese Government to 
give a lease of the region round Kiaochau Bay for ninety-nine years, 
by way of compensation for the murder of two German missionaries 
in the province of Shantung. It has been suggested that China was 
under promise to grant Russia a concession in the Kiaochau region, 
and that Russia embraced the opportunity of the grant to Germany 
to insist upon a lease of the Liao-tung peninsula, including the har- 
bour and fortress of Port Arthur, for twenty-five years, and upon the 
right to construct a railway to connect Port Arthur with the Chinese 
Eastern Railway. The lease of the Liao-tung peninsula was granted 
on 27th March 1898, including the right to build a railway connecting 
Port Arthur with Kharbin, and another connecting Talien-wan 
i(later Dalny ^) with Newchwang. There was, however, the proviso 
that the railway concession was ** never to be used as a pretext for 
encroachment on Chinese territory, nor to be allowed to interfere 
with Chinese authority or interests." 2 xhe gauge of this railway 
was to conform to the Russian standard, viz. 5 feet. 

The extension of the Chinese railways beyond the Great Wall at 
Shanhaikwan now began to engage the attention both of Russia 
and of Great Britain. During the discussions which ensued, Russia 
openly declared her intention of preventing " the provinces of 
China bordering upon the Russian frontier from coming under the 
influence of any nation except Russia." ^ The discussions arose 
out of the proposed loan to the Chinese Government for the con- 

^ Now called Dairen by the Japanese. 

2 Clause 8 of the agreement quoted by Kent, op. cit., p. 49. The branch 
to Newchwang was completed in 1 899. 

8 M. Pavlov, quoted by Sir Claude Macdonald in despatch to Lord Salisbury, 
19th October 1897. Parliamentary Paper, China, No. i (1898). p. 5. 


struction of the line by the Hong-Kong and Shanghai Bank. A 
compromise was eventually arrived at, Great Britain receiving, so 
far as Russia was concerned, a free hand in the Yangtse Valley, the 
Hong-Kong and Shanghai Bank agreeing to advance the capital 
required on the security of the Peking-Shanhaikwan section with a 
charge upon the revenues of the extension. There thus remained 
no mortgage to a foreign Power of the hne, which extended from 
Shanhaikwan to Newchwang and Mukden.^ This arrangement 
between Great Britain and Russia gave the former the right to 
construct railways in the Yangtse Valley, so far as Russia was 
concerned, and gave Russia the right to construct railways beyond 
the Great Wall at Shanhaikwan so far as Great Britain was con- 

In 1900 the Boxer disturbances threw the whole of North China 
into chaos ; and Russia immediately occupied Manchuria, ostensibly 
to secure the maintenance of order. After the Legations had been 
reheved by the international expeditionary force, the Powers pro- 
ceeded to negotiate wdth China upon the terms under which they 
they would evacuate Peking. These terms included, of course, the 
settlement of the amount and periods of payment of the indemnity 
exacted for the cost of the expedition. Until a general treaty was 
concluded between China and the co-operating Powers, it was 
obvious that it would be at least inappropriate for any individual 
Power to seek to negotiate a separate treaty with China. The 
obUgations of China to the Powers jointly might be prevented from 
being implemented if China were beforehand to transfer any material 
portion of her liquifiable resources to an individual Power. 

On 3rd January 1901 The Times published the draft of an agree- 
ment into which China was alleged to have entered with Russia, 
respecting Manchuria. The existence of such an agreement was 
denied by Count Lamsdorf, the Russian Foreign Minister, to both 
the British and the Japanese Ambassadors at St. Petersburg,^ and 

1 See Kent, op. cit., pp. 51-5 ; and Identic Note, 28th April 1899, quoted 
by Kent, op. cit., p. 220. 

* The arrangement was not a favourable one for Great Britain, for the 
Yangtse Valley had already been tapped at Hankow by the concession granted 
in August 1 898 to a Franco-Belgian Syndicate for the construction of a rail- 
way from that port to Peking and no quid pro quo was really obtained. On 
the other hand, Russia was permitted to expand her influence in Manchuria. 
Cf. Kent, op. cit., p. 56. 

3 See Despatches Nos. 30, 31, &c., China, No. 6 (1901). Further Corre- 
spondence respecting the Disturbances in China (Cd. 675) (London, 1901). 


China was warned by both Great Britain and Japan that no separate 
agreements should be made with any individual Power> In spite 
of Count Lamsdorf's disclaimer, it appeared that an agreement 
respecting Manchuria was being urged upon China by Russia.^ 

The Chinese Ministers furnished a copy of this proposed agree- 
ment to the Powers, and requested their advice. This meant, of 
course, that should the Powers advise China to refuse to accept the 
agreement, they should be prepared to guarantee China against the 
consequences of such refusal. The explanation of Count Lamsdorf 
was to the effect that the proposed agreement was of a limited and 
temporary character, and that it did not affect the permanent in- 
terests of China. The Powers did not in effect accept this disclaimer. 
China delayed the conclusion of the agreement until after the time 
stipulated for its conclusion had elapsed, and the project came to 
nothing.^ The negotiations were clearly intended by Russia to be 
regarded as " most secret," * but, as might have been readily foreseen, 
the Chinese Government attempted to make the most out of inter- 
national rivalries and to break up the concert of the Powers by 
promptly revealing the terms of the draft. 

The clumsy diplomacy of Russia at this time contributed materi- 
ally to her isolation. The ardour of the Franco-Russian entente 
had cooled steadily since 1898 ; ^ and all the Powers, including 
Germany, who had supported Russia in protesting against the 
Japanese occupation of the Liao-tung peninsula and Korea, were 
unanimous in opposing the transparent attempt on the part of 
Russia to secure exclusive advantages for herself out of the con- 
fusion of Chinese affairs. In 1858 Russia had successfully played 
a diplomatic game of this kind ; but then her diplomacy was in 
more skilful hands, and Great Britain and France, who had made the 

1 A similax view was taken later by the United States and the German 
Governments. (C/. Despatches Nos. 153 and 156, China, Sec.) 

2 The text of this agreement is given in No. 158, ibid. 

3 Its withdrawal was announced by Russia in a despatch on 5th April 1901 
(No. 237, ibid.). 

* Even after the existence of the draft treaty was demonstrated by the 
disclosure of its terms by the Chinese Government, Count Lamsdorf continued 
to express himself ambiguously and to refuse to supply the Powers with an 
authentic copy of the proposed treaty, while at the same time he affected to 
throw doubts upon the genuineness of the Chinese copy. (Cf. ibid.) 

5 The Dreyfus affair destroyed the confidence of Russia in France, and the 
Fashoda affair (i8q8), during which France appealed to Russia for assistance 
in case of need, and received a refusal, destroyed the confidence of France in 


gratuitous success of Russia possible, had just defeated Russia in a 
long and costly campaign, and did not desire a renewal of hostilities. 
Moreover, the region in which Russia gained her advantage was at 
that time very remote from the spheres of interest of either Power. 
In 1901, however, the case was different. The Powers were engaged 
in the humanitarian task of reheving their embassies from invest- 
ment during a period of barbaric anarchy, and none of them had 
been more profuse than Russia had been in announcements of the 
purity of motive which had dictated the operations.^ Each Power 
was on the qui vive in case an advantage should be gained by any 
other, and alUances might easily be made against any Power which 
attempted to act selfishly. 

The incidents connected with the projected treaty and those 
connected with the seizure by Russia of railway lands and material 
at Tientsin and Newchwang,^ convinced the Powers that Russia 
was determined to gain important advantages for herself. In these 
proceedings and in the ambidexterous conduct of them Russia was 
preparing the way for an inevitable combination against her. This 
combination came in the Anglo- Japanese Treaty, negotiated in 1902 
by Lord Lansdowne, and in the simultaneous isolation of Russia 
from France and Germany. 

The fatuous diplomacy of Russia was accompanied by hurried 
exploitation on the part of Russian speculators of the valuable 
timber region of the Yalu River ,2 by encroachments upon Korea, 
by enormous expenditures at Dalny, which the Russians destined 
for a great commercial port,* and by extraordinary neglect of the 
mihtary measures necessary to maintain the security of the hostages 
she had given to fortune in so extended and advanced outposts. 

In these adventures and in the neglect of mihtary precautions, 
Russia was simply playing the game of Japan and hastening the 
moment when, with greatly diminished prestige, she should have 

^ See, e.g.. Despatches Nos. 149, 238, and 239, in China, No. 3 (1900) (Cd. 
257) (London, 1900). 

* For correspondence in connection with the Tientsin and Newchwang 
disputes, see Chtna, No. 7 (1901), Correspondence respecting the Imperial Rail- 
way of North China (Cd. 770) (London, 1901). 

^ An account of the relation of the Russian Timber GDmpany with the 
political situation in 1903 is given in Osvobofdenie, No. 75 (Stuttgart, 19th 
August 1905). 

* To Count Witte is attributed the expenditure, unauthorized probably, 
upon Dalny and the determination to make it instead of Port Arthur the ter- 
minus of the Siberian line. Cf. Kuropatkin. Military and Political Memoirs. 


to submit to be driven back towards the Amur. Whatever the 
unrevealed ambitions of Russia may have been, and however she 
may have been convinced of the legitimacy of her efforts to force 
Russian civihzation upon the Far East, perhaps even to the extent 
of playing the same rdle in North China and Japan which England 
had played in India, the mode of approach was hopelessly ineffectual. 
The morale of the Russian civil official class was not equal, save in 
rare cases, to any such task, nor was the morale of the superior 
officers of the army by any means equal to the momentous demands 
which such an enterprise would have made upon them.^ 

Incompetent guidance in St. Petersburg, incompetent and even 
dishonest conduct by her agents in the Far East, led Russia along 
the road to ruin. The occupation of Manchuria, which had been 
effected in order to re-establish order during the Boxer outbreak in 
1900, was still maintained in 1904, notwithstanding repeated pro- 
mises to evacuate the region. There is abundant evidence of divided 
counsels at St. Petersburg. Now one party and now another secured 
ascendency, and sometimes the Tsar appears to have acted upon 
his own initiative.^ 

The incidents of the war need not be recounted here. It is 
necessary, however, to consider the position in which Russia stood 
in the Far East at the conclusion of the war with Japan. The 
Chinese Eastern Railway, which extends from Manchuria, a station 
on the Russo-Chinese frontier between Trans-Baikalia and Man- 
churia and the border of Primorskaya ohlast and Vladivostok, is 
now wholly in her hands, together with the region through which 
it runs. The Chinese Government possesses, under the agreement 
of 1896, the right of purchase of the Hue thirty-six years after the 
commencement of traffic. This period expires about the year 1937. 
It is impossible to determine whether or not China will be in a posi- 
tion at that distant period of time to exercise the option of purchase. 

1 A view of the Russian occupation of Manchuria, somewhat distorted by 
prejudice, is to be found in Manchu and Muscovite, by B. L. Putnam Weale 
(London, 1907), passim. 

2 The division of parties was not constant. At one moment M. von Plehve, 
who was in general opposed to commercial and industrial development, had 
the ear of the Tsar, and had as an ally Bezobrazov, the promoter and specu- 
lator, who manipulated the Russian Trading Company, the exploiters of the 
timber limits on the Yalu River ; at another moment the influence of M. 
Witte was dominant, and this influence was exerted towards the commercial 
enterprises of Russia in the Liao-tung peninsula and the foundation of the 
port of Dalny. 


It is, however, more than likely that Russia will plead conquest, 
and will retain the line.^ Russia may be held therefore to have 
gained permanently a large portion of North Manchuria to which 
previously she had no real claim. The post-bellum agreement 
between Russia and Japan suggests that Japan and Russia have 
made up their minds to divide Manchuria between them, and to 
get rid at the first convenient opportunity of the presence of Chinese 
Government officials in the country. Meanwhile, of course, as 
regards Southern Manchuria, Japan has possession of the railway 
Une and the stations alone, together with the Liao-tung peninsula, 
the remainder of the lease of which to Russia has been taken by her 
as war spoil. This lease, which was originally drawn for twenty-five 
years from 27th March 1898, expires on 26th March 1923, although 
in terms of the original agreement it may be renewed. The unknown 
quantity in both cases is China. If China develops during the next 
few years a formidable military strength, which is quite within the 
bounds of possibility, the lease may not be renewed by her, and thus 
Russia and Japan ahke may be driven out of South Manchuria. 

It should be observed that grave difficulties present them- 
selves in cases where Powers attempt to hold permanently regions 
which are occupied entirely by alien peoples belonging to powerful 
neighbouring nations ; and that if Russia is unable to populate 
Northern Manchuria with a population predominantly or largely 
Russian, and if Japan is unable to populate the Liao-tung peninsula 
with a population predominantly or largely Japanese, neither of 
these Powers can expect to hold the respective regions permanently. 
The Russian migration into Northern Manchuria is at present in- 
considerable, while as regards Japan, she has been up till the present 
time unable to induce her people to settle in the Liao-tung peninsula 
in any considerable numbers. Manchurian winters seem to be too 
severe for Japanese, and Manchurian wages are too low to induce 
migration. 2 Under these circumstances, the principal determining 
point in the future of Manchuria is the result of the mihtary and 
political development of China. 

* The original agreement provided that the shareholders should be ex- 
clusively Russian or Chinese. As no Chinese are understood to have invested 
in the stock, it may be presumed to be wholly in Russian hands. 

* C/. "The Emigration Question in Japan," in The Round ^Table, 
London, vol. i. (19 n), p. 263. 


It is now necessary to consider the effect of these events in the 
Far East upon the miHtary and diplomatic position of Russia in 
Europe. During the war and during the revolutionary period 
which followed, Russia was reduced to impotency. She found 
herself isolated. The Franco- Russian entente had melted away; 
and two events occurred almost immediately which could not have 
occurred had not Russian prestige been seriously weakened. These 
were the separation of Norway and Sweden and the annexation of 
Bosnia and Herzegovina by Austria. The desire of Russia to secure 
a port in the North Sea by the continuation of the Finnish railway 
line from Uleiborg via Tornea across Sweden to Hammerfest, or 
some other port on the North Sea, had scarcely been concealed. 
Alone Sweden could not dare to hope to resist the pressure of Russia, 
the continuation of the union with Norway was therefore indispens- 
able for her. The preoccupation of Russia in Manchuria and the 
diminished prestige of an unsuccessful campaign, offered the oppor- 
tunity of which Norway availed herself. Almost at the same 
moment Austria seized the opportunity for which she had long lain 
in wait, to appropriate the two Balkan provinces, without fear of 
the strenuous protest which would otherwise have come from 

Up till the present time there has been no obvious recrudescence 
of Russian activity in Western Europe ; although such recrudes- 
cence may at any time occur in the troubled waters of Balkan 
poUtics. That Russia has preferred to permit the Balkan peoples 
to exhaust one another instead of interfering prematurely in their 
disputes, is a tenable hypothesis ; but there may have been another 
reason. The Far East still contains immense possibilities for Russia, 
and it was indispensable to prepare for eventualities there. That 
ever since the close of the Russo-Japanese war the position of 
China has been precarious, has obviously been the view of Russia. 
In accordance with this view, she has been concentrating troops 
upon her new Manchurian frontier.^ Russia has, moreover, estab- 
lished a new military base at Krasnoyarsk, in Siberia, at which place 
she is understood to have been concentrating immense military 

1 During the winter of 19 lo, on the outbreak of plague at Kharbin, Russia 
is reported to have taken advantage of the situation to mass troops upon 
the Chinese frontier ostensibly for the purpose of preventing Chinese from 
crossing it. Under these circumstances encroachments upon the indefinite 
boundaries between Russian and Chinese territories are more than probable. 


stores. China is at present in no position to resist encroachments 
should they be made, and Japan cannot yet be said to have re- 
covered so fully from the exhaustion of the war as to be able to 
resist a Russian advance far from the Japanese base. 

Thus, so far from having been thrown back upon Europe, as it 
were, Russia seems eager to recover some of her lost ground in the 
East, if a suitable opportunity should arise for its recovery. In 
addition to the comer of MongoHa which is traversed by the Chinese 
Eastern Railway, now an integral portion of the Siberian line, the 
vast region of Mongolia lies along the southern frontier of the Russian 
Empire from Transcaspia to the Khingan Mountains, upon the crest 
of which the Great Wall still constitutes a formidable barrier. In 
February 1910 the treaty of 1881 between China and Russia 
expired, and Russia embraced the opportunity to reopen the Far 
Eastern question. This treaty was concluded for the purpose of 
putting an end to the Russian occupation of the province of Hi, 
and of facihtating the trade in brick tea, which was conveyed from 
Hankow, on the Yangtse-kiang, to Hi and Kashgar for Russia. 
The importance of this great land route has already been noticed. 
It is not without reason that Russia laid her hand upon lU.^ 
Secluded as it is in the heart of Asia, no Power could dispute the 
possession of it with Russia ; and lying across, as it does, the route 
for caravan tea from China, as well as offering facilities for tapping 
the trade of the Upper Yangtse Valley by means of the river Han, 
it possesses enormous economic importance. Extension of the 
Transcaspian railways of Russia to Hi would bring Russia by 
another route to the back door of China — a route from which she 
could with difficulty be driven by any conceivable combination of 
Powers. In the event of a second Trans-Asiatic line being con- 
structed by this route, as it might be, the guarantees respect- 
ing the Yangtse Valley, which Great Britain secured from 
Russia, would be worthless, and a most serious situation might 
readily arise between the two countries. Moreover, checked as she 
has been in Manchuria by Japan, the seizure of the whole of 
Mongolia looms up as an immediate possibility. Indeed MongoUa 
has already become in effect a protectorate of Russia, under 

1 On the events in the province of Hi in 191 2, see Major Pereira's Report 
of Journey from Kashgar to Lanchou Fu in China, No. 3 (191 3), Parlia- 
mentary Paper, August 191 3, London [Cd. 7054] pp. 47-52. 



the Russo-Mongolian Agreement and Protocol, 2ist October-3rd 
November 1912.^ 

The relations between Russia and China cannot be understood 
without taking into account the fact that in spite of encroachments 
upon China by Russia, the two countries, excepting for the affair 
in lU during the Mohammedan disturbances, have not actually been 
in a state of conflict since the siege of Albazin in 1687. No Euro- 
pean Power has quite the same sympathetic relations with China 
as has Russia. While European powers in general were not per- 
mitted to send diplomatic representatives to Peking until 1858, 
Russia had maintained a semi-official embassy there from 1692,^ and 
the expenses of the embassy even were partially sustained by China. 
The Russian representative has always been persona grata at the 
Court of China, and has thus been able to enjoy a confidence denied 
to others. 3 

The attitude of Russia towards Asiatic peoples and the rule by 
her of subject races in Asia, are less humane, conscientious, and 
educative than the attitude of England and the rule by her of Asiatic 
subject races ; but the Russians who exercise the administrative 
functions in the East are naturally more affable than the EngUsh. 
Both, no doubt, have the faults of their qualities ; but the Russians 
are habitually more indifferent than the English, and when hostile, 
much more hostile to moral and religious propagandas which dis- 
turb the settled course of Asiatic life and affect profoundly the 
social structure.* In brief, from origin, temperament, and personal 

1 See China, No. i {1913) : Despatches . . . transmitting the Russo-Mongolian 
Agreement . . . ParliamentaryPaper, February 191 3, London [Cd. 6604]. For 
a rather passionate account of the economical interests of Russia in MongoUa, 
see Ular, Alexandre, Un Empire Russo-Chinois. EngUsh version, London, 
1904. See also for an account of the more recent phases of the Mongolian 
question, With the Russians in Mongolia, by H. G. C. Perry-Ayscough and 
Captain R. B. Otter-Barry (London, 1914). 

2 Ravenstein, The Russians on the Amur, p. 71. 

* It should be observed, however, that the abuses of Russian officials 
in Manchuria and the cruelties perpetrated by them during the occupation 
[cf. e.g. Veretschagen, V. V., Memoirs), sometimes under the influence of 
panic, as at Blagoveschensk by the late General Grodekhov, for example, 
seriously compromised the relations between Russians and Chinese. During 
the Russo-Japanese War the Chinese assisted the Japanese actively. They 
were by no means strictly neutral. 

* For example, notwithstanding its domestic policy of anti-clericalism, 
France encourages missionary enterprise, as also do Great Britain and Germany. 
Russia, on the other hand, is spared the friction which is due to an intricate 


habits, and through intimate contact with Asiatics from the dawn 
of history, the Russian is nearer to the Asiatic point of view than 
is the Enghshman, whose origin, if Asiatic, is so only in a sense 
inconceivably remote, whose temperament is more active and less 
reflective, whose habits are more fastidious, and whose desire for 
personal comfort is more insistent than those of the Russian or the 
Asiatic. The EngUsh have, moreover, come into contact with the 
Asiatic, in any serious sense, only in very modern times.^ 

series of reactions arising out of missionary attempts to change the current of 
Asiatic life. This is due to the fact that the Greek Orthodox Church does not 

1 C/. the suggestive treatment of this subject by Mr. Townsend Meredith 
in Asia and Europe (London, 1901), passim. 



The ethnical and linguistic distribution of the population, which 
has been described,^ indicates to some extent the Unes of national 
cleavage, but it does not do so fully. 

The principal nationalities which have become incorporated in 
the Russian Empire are the following : 

The " Russians," or people of Moscow, whose Grand Princes 
(Velikye Kniazia) graduaUy encroached upon the surroimding 
nations and absorbed them. While the " Russian " national feeling 
cannot be regarded as particularist, there is a very definite dis- 
tinction, in the mind of the Russian, between the " Russian " and 
the " non-Russian " elements. Recent political events have con- 
tributed to emphasize this distinction. The reactionary Russian 
party advocates the complete absorption and assimilation of the 
non- Russian peoples ; the Liberal parties in general object to the 
Russification even of the smaller nationaUties. The latter parties 
advocate the " self -definition " of the constituent nationalities of 
the Empire. They think, for example, that each nationaUty should 
have the right to decide what language should be taught in the 
local schools and should be used in the churches and in the courts 
of law. This implies a certain exclusive Russian national feeling,* 
and a willingness on the part of the Liberals to permit a similar 
feeling to other than the Russian constituents of the Empire. 

Between no two of the main races in the above catalogue are 
the relations very cordial.^ 

The Little Russians. — The most numerous of the non-Great 

^ See supra, voL i., App. II. 

* The disfranchisement of several non-Russian elements under the new 
Electoral Law is one of the evidences of this exclusive nationalism. 

' Strategic use of racial antagonism is made in the military administration. 


Russian groups is the Little Russian. The antagonism between 
the two races expresses itself in popular nicknames 1 The aim of 
the patriotic Little Russian movement is an independent Ukraine. 
It has its chief adherents among the intelligentsia; yet the 
intelligenti are for the most part members of the Constitutional 
Democratic Party, and are thus brought into friendly relations 
with Russian LiberaUsm. 

The Poles. — The historical struggle between Russia and Poland 
was undoubtedly promoted and sustained by deep racial antagon- 
isms. The Russians have alleged that the Poles were cruel and 
vindictive, and that in early times their captives taken in war were 
tortured. The Poles in more recent times have had experience 
of the remorseless severity of the Russian Government. The 
difference in reUgion, the Poles being Roman CathoUcs, counts 
for much, and the different personal habits of the two peoples count 
for even more in their mutual attitude. The Polish artisan dresses 
smartly, and he is conspicuous for his polite manners. He is 
frequently well educated and even cultivated. The Russian 
workman dresses himself as a rule in a slovenly fashion. His 
peasant traits exhibit themselves in his manners, and he is rarely 

Notwithstanding the partition of Poland among Russia, Austria, 
and Prussia, a strong Polish national f eeUng still remains ; and this 
feeling has lent much force to the revolutionary movement within 
the Tsardom of Poland. The Polish Socialist Party, e.g., advocates 
autonomy, although it does not advocate separation from Russia. 
It desires the admission of Poland as an equal partner in a federa- 
tion of Russian States. On the other hand, the Polish Patriotic 
Party undoubtedly desires separation, and the re-establishment 
of a Polish kingdom, dreaming even of the acquisition of at least a 
portion of Prussian Poland.^ The adherents of the autocracy in 

1 The Great Russian wears habitually a full beard, a habit which has 
earned him the Little Russian nickname of " The Goat." Little Russians 
wear only a moustache. 

* The Polish population in the United States in 1900 was 668,536, includ- 
ing only persons born in Poland or bom in the United States, both parents 
being Polish. [See Reports of Twelfth Census (Washington, 1901), i. p. 810.] 
This large group, of which about one-third is concentrated in Chicago, New 
York, and Milwaukee, is not without its patriotic dream. They entertain 
the fantastic idea of a kingdom of Poland in America {Krulevstvo Polskov 
Ameritze). Extensive agricultural colonies of Poles have settled in a region 


Russia, and even some Russian Liberals, point out with much force 
that complete autonomy would be simply a step towards separa- 
tion, and that separation must lead to an attack on an independent 
Poland by Germany, in order to crush similar ambitions on the part 
of her own PoHsh population. Austria, whose interests are similar, 
would also have to be reckoned with. 

The Finlanders. — The most successful of all the groups in pre- 
serving their national institutions and privileges, have been the 
Finlanders. In spite of attempts at Russianization, they have 
retained a large measure of constitutional liberty. 

While Finland adheres strongly to the principle of autonomy, 
there is no manifestation of any desire for separation, nor even for 
the abolition of autocracy excepting so far as concerns Finland.^ 

The dislike of Russian and Finn is mutual. The general level 
of culture in Finland is unquestionably higher than it is in Russia ; 
but the Russians look upon the Finns as narrow-minded and selfish. 
The Finlanders, on the other hand, look upon all Russians as merely 
stupid peasants. They have thus never sympathized either with 
the liberal movements in Russia or with the imperiahsm of the 
autocracy. From the Russian point of view, all that they desired 
was to be let alone and enjoy selfishly the benefits, such as they 
were, of belonging to a great empire, without paying for them in 
men or money, and without being subjected to any imperial control. 
This has been the Russian view of the case, and thus at most 
moments when either people was struggling against the autocracy, 
no effective moral or material support came from the other. ^ 

The general doubt and suspicion entertained in respect to the 
" non-Russian elements " in the population appears in the mani- 
festos of the Tsar, especially after the dissolution of the Second 
Duma, when their influence was diminished seriously by depriving 
some of them of the franchise. 

Even if the autocracy were swept absolutely aside, there would 

officially called " New Poland," in the State of Parana in Brazil. [See B. J. 
de Siemiradzki, " La Nouvelle Pologne," £iat de Parana {BrisiJ) (Brussels, 

^ The Finnish constitutional question has given rise to a considerable 
amount of special literature. 

2 For example, during the Finnish constitutional struggle of 1899, the 
Finns obtained practically no assistance from Russians, even from those 
beyond the reach of autocratic reprisals. 


still remain racial difficulties and racial prejudices to be con- 

The Letts. — Since about 1895 a literary revival of the Lettish 
language has led to the development of a strong nationalist move- 
ment in Livland. Where formerly German alone was spoken, 
the people now speak Lettish. 

The Georgians. — ^The Georgian kingdom became Russian in 
the time of Paul I. Among the masses of the Georgian population 
in the Caucasus there is a very strong national feeling. During 
the last ten years there has been a considerable intellectual move- 
ment, having its centre in Tiffis, but extending to the small towns. 
This movement appears in scientific and literary periodicals in the 
Georgian language.^ The Georgian nobiUty enters the Russian 
service and makes itself conspicuous by its loyalty. 

Remnants of other small nationalities which have been absorbed 
and Russianized are not of sufficient magnitude to produce national 
feeUng properly so called. Some of them (the Crimean Tartars, 
e.g.) have, however, a feehng of nationaUty as against other peoples, 
but they have exhibited no positive nationalist feehng as against 
the Russian Empire. 

The immense variety of languages in Russia gives rise to grave 
practical difficulties. Desire for uniformity and for complete 
Russification of the minor nationaUties led to the compulsory 
teaching of Russian in the schools and to the prevention of the 
teaching of the native languages. The result was that in those 
regions where the national feeUng was strong, " not to learn " became 
a patriotic duty. Thus in Livland the people lapsed into indiffer- 
ence to all education. Only since the relaxation of the regulations 
on the language question has there been any revival of intellectual 
hfe.2 The inconvenience of the state of mind induced by the 
Russif5dng regulations made itself very manifest in the army. 
Large numbers of conscripts do not speak Russian, and they have 
to be taught in the regimental schools. The teaching in these 
schools is not efficient, and as a rule the young conscript learns 

^ The monthly journal, Moambe, (Newsletter), (in Georgian), published 
in Tiflis, is an outcome of this intellectual movement. 

* This renaissance of intellectual energy has expressed itself, in the Baltic 
provinces especially, in many unexpected directions. For example, the 
chess players of these provinces have become famous for the originaUty of 
their end-game compositions. 


little more than the words of command and other purely miUtary 
terms, even when he is drafted into a regiment where there are few 
of his special compatriots. 

In spite of the attempts on the part of the Russian Government 
ever since the conquest or annexation of the regions occupied by 
the nationalities which have been mentioned, to Russianize the 
respective peoples, and perhaps because of these attempts, the 
national spirit remains more or less intense. In each important 
case — ^Poland, Finland, Georgia — there is at the root of the national 
spirit, and constantly stimulating it, a romantic tradition and 
history, and a flexible and living language. These national pos- 
sessions have contributed greatly to the intellectual life of the differ- 
ent peoples, and have conduced, especially in recent years, to 
extraordinary outbursts of literary activity. The romantic episodes 
of Polish history have, for example, been rewritten by popular 
novelists, and Finnish and Georgian writers are even enriching 
their respective languages with new forms of expression conceived 
in the traditional spirit. While these incidents have vitalized the 
intellectual life of the people, they have also undoubtedly tended 
to separatism, and have contributed greatly to the complexities 
of the present political situation. It will be recognized that among 
the incidental effects of the various nationalist movements, there 
has been the practical disappearance of Pan-Slavism. If Pan- 
Slavism united the Slavonic elements, it would set in still greater 
reUef than is now the case the non-Slavonic elements, and thus, 
so far from uniting the various factions in Russia, would tend to 
emphasize their differences. Excepting among the masses, and 
there only to an insignificant extent, and among the extreme 
obscurantists, the Pan-Slavic movement has ceased to have any 





The special feature of the revolutionary movement of 1905-1907, 
which distinguished it from all other Russian movements of the 
same order, was the association of the peasant masses, for at least 
a short time, with the urban artisan. During the epoch of agrarian 
disturbances in the eighteenth century there was no urban artisan 
class, or none sufficiently numerous to aid in any material way the 
revolting peasants. The seats of the central government thus 
remained secure, although not without anxiety, while the peasants 
and the Cossacks attacked the outskirts and the frontier fortresses 
and small towns. At the time of the Dekabristi there was again a 
want of cohesion in the oppositional forces. The Dekahrist move- 
ment was conducted by intellectuals, who, while advocating hbera- 
tion of the serfs, were not in contact in any real sense with the 
peasantry, and who, therefore, were not in a position to obtain their 
aid, even if they had desired to do so. The growth of an urban 
proletariat altered the relation of the constituent elements of 
society. It came as a class between the peasantry and the intelli- 
gentsia, and, touching both, brought them in a sense together. That 
which the V Narod movement failed to accompHsh was in a large 
measure reaHzed by the working men who oscillated between the 
village and the industrial town. When they became inoculated 
with social democratic or social revolutionary ideas they dissemi- 
nated these either by means of their customary migrations or 
through banishment to their native places. 

The interior changes in the structure of society, the decomposi- 
tion of the family, and the increasing individuaHsm of the members 
of the disintegrated family groups, accompanied as these were by 
distiurbance of the incidence of taxation, must also be regarded as 
important revolutionary agents. 

The pomyetschek of the twentieth century was not so harsh as 

his forefathers of the eighteenth century, but was perhaps even 

more anxious to obtain, through high rents and low wages, as large 



a return from his estate as possible. Emancipation notwithstand- 
ing, the interests of the peasant were with difficulty reconcilable 
with those of the landowner, and, allotment notwithstanding, the 
peasant found it hard to obtain sufficient land for his needs under 
the existing conditions of agriculture. The social classes remained 
sharply differentiated, and the proprietors of land retained by far 
the larger share of loccJ authority. The slendemess of agricul- 
tural capital and of agricultural credit placed the peasant landowner 
at a great disadvantage, and the large landowner often found it 
difficult to obtain sufficiently competent working hands. The 
skilful peasants were in some regions reluctant to become mere 
wage-earners, excepting where it was impossible to obtain land for 
cultivation on their own account. 

It is clear that the peasants were impatient with the slowly 
moving processes of law, and that they did not have the West 
European conception of constitutional government and regularized 
administration. Having made up their minds that there must be 
popular government, and regarding themselves as " the people," 
they saw no use in waiting for debates and discussions, but proceeded 
immediately to act upon their belief. The land must belong to the 
peasants, therefore . the land should at once be taken from the 
proprietors and given to the peasants. Although the manners 
of the age were not quite so violent as they were in the age of Puga- 
chev, the process of V action directe was not dissimilar from the pro- 
cess adopted by the peasants in 1773-1775. 



The dweller in cities and the " habitant," or rural person, appear to 
one another more or less mutually shrouded in mystery. The con- 
tents of their minds are different, and they look at life from different 
angles. When a man leaves the country and goes to the town, he 
never completely shakes off his rusticity ; but he never completely 
retains it. When a man leaves the city and goes to the coimtry, 
he never completely shakes off, nor does he ever completely retain, his 
urbanity. Thus fullmutual understanding between the townsman and 
the countrjnnan is exceedingly rare. To the peasant the townsman 
is a person of dissolute habits and dishonest character ; while the idea 
is prevalent among townsmen that the peasantry of all countries is 
stationary and stupid. Inarticulate as the peasant appears to the 
civilian, it is not surprising that this opinion should be common ; 
but it cannot be accepted without qualification. The peasant's 
vocabulary is limited so far as poUte, or urban, language is concerned, 
but he has an ample vocabulary of his own, appropriate to his own 
purposes. So also with the contents of his mind. These are limited 
enough from the point of view of the urban person, but they are 
ample in directions wholly unknown to dwellers in towns. Life is 
made easy for people who live in large groups ; they organize ex- 
istence for each other, and they combine to employ people to or- 
ganize Ufe for them. The peasant organizes life for himself or as a 
member of a relatively small group. He is, therefore, brought more 
immediately into the presence of the facts of raw nature, and the 
energy of his mind is occupied with those to an extent from which 
the townsman is relieved by the organized life to which he is accus- 
tomed. In the absence of this organized life the townsman is help- 
less ; but the peasant is Jack of all trades, and incipient professor 


of all the arts and sciences.^ In his crude, primitive, and empirical 
way he knows some things thoroughly well, and he is full of confi- 
dence and resource when the town dweller is confused, helpless, and 
ignorant. His methods, often based upon centuries of tradition, 
are shorter and more direct than the complicated and longer methods 
of organized production, and these methods are not necessarily 
employed without intelligent understanding. When he is credited 
with the possession of mysterious powers by his neighbours, as in 
finding water, for instance, inquiry will generally show — although the 
water-finder will not always admit the fact — ^that he simply applies 
his intelligence to the problem. The peasant is sometimes even 
skilled in rude but effective surgery, and some of their women make 
unrivalled nurses. Far from being stationary, peasant hfe, to an 
intimate view, is extremely fluctuating. Peasants frequently dis- 
cuss matters concerning the most fundamental conditions of their 
economic life, and sometimes arrive at decisions which have the 
effect of tearing this life up, as it were, by the roots. They oscillate 
between the extremes of individualism and communaHsm, and often 
carry suddenly into effect the most drastic changes. The limits of 
these fluctuations and the substance of them vary in different races, 
and at different times in the same race ; but it is probable that 
everywhere, and at all times, within the hard shell of the economic 
system in which they find themselves encased by external pressure, 
this animated life goes on like the movement of microscopic creatures 
in a drop of water. Occasionally the shell itself is ruptured by the 

1 The writer lived for a short time with a group of Russian peasants who 
had just migrated to a new neighbourhood. They took with them practi- 
cally nothing but some flour, some leather, some iron bars, and their tools 
for carpentry and blacksmithing. Immediately upon their arrival on the 
site they had chosen, they searched for clay, found it, made bricks, sun-dried 
them, and built two sets of ovens. In one set the women made the bread 
for the group, in the other the men burned wood for charcoal. Within two 
days after their arrival they had six blacksmiths' forges going by means of 
the charcoal, and bellows which they made out of the leather. Within other 
two days they had made several dozen spades and a wagon, whose wheels 
were rimmed with iron forged by them on the spot. During the same time 
they had made shoes for their horses. During the four days some of them 
had been engaged in building houses, and within a few more days these were 
completed. Yet not one of these peasants could either read or write. They 
could nevertheless discuss with great gravity and intelligence their reasons 
for adopting an immovable instead of a movable whiffle tree on their wagon 
and for making their spades with long instead of short handles, and for their 
preference for the light Russian plough in stony ground to the heavy plough 
of the manufacturer. 


interior changes, and these changes become more obvious to the 
observer. Inert or slow in its movements as the peasant mind 
appears to be when confronted with problems to which it is unaccus- 
tomed, its instant and decisive grasp of other problems disproves 
the common charge of mental inactivity. In this real activity, 
limited as its range may be, Hes the immense reserve power which 
enables the peasant blood to reinforce the blood of the classes 
deteriorated and rendered infertile through inbreeding and relatively 
high Hving. The reinvigoration of the governing class by draughts 
of peasant blood has not only prevented the former from dying out, 
but it has enabled it to lead a vigorous Ufe in all countries where 
this reinvigoration has taken place. The normal peasantry, physi- 
cally strong, with good teeth, good digestion, appetite un jaded by 
excess, and good heredity, constitutes, as it were, the well of Ufe from 
which Ufe intellectuaUy superior is ultimately drawn.^ 

In the historical sketch given in a preceding book it has been 
shown that the course of Russian history has resulted in the sepa- 
ration of the governing classes from the peasantry — that is to say, 
that the supply of invigorating influences for the upper classes was 
stopped at its source. The classes suffered from lack of reinforce- 
ment, and the peasant mass suffered not merely from the Jack of 
sympathy which such a condition involved, but suffered also from 
the accumulation of untrained and unused powers. The major 
part of peasant energy thus ran to mere fecundity. Nature has 
revenged herself upon the whole system by producing enormous 
numbers separated from, yet indissolubly united in their fate with, 
an exclusive and for many generations increasingly inept governing 
class. The dislocation of national Ufe caused by serfdom, and 
perpetuated by the class prejudice which has outUved serfdom, 
has apparently been chiefly responsible for bringing the national 
life to the present pass. 

The Russian peasant is not customarily suspicious about the 
ordinary affairs of Ufe. He is, however, extremely suspicious 
about all " papers " or documents to which he is asked to put 

* It may be observed, however, that the psychological and moral conse- 
quences of migration of peasants are sometimes very unfavourable to the 
development of improved types. The peasant who migrates not infrequently 
loses his primitive culture without acquiring any other, or without acquiring 
it for some generations. The history of all colonization affords ample evidence 
of this fact. 


his signature/ and he is similarly suspicious about all contracts 
or arrangements concerning land. It is probable that the origin 
of the first suspicion is to be found in the " Kabala " days, and in 
the tradition of documentary binding of the peasant in land or 
personal bondage ; and of the second to the tradition of the frauds 
which were perpetrated in the carrying out of emancipation under 
the ukase of 1803, and later under that of 19th February 1861. 

It is impossible, however, to refer accurately to Russian peasants 
as a whole. Their characteristics and habits of life vary widely 
in different parts of the country, nor can the migratory habits of 
large numbers of the peasants be left out of account. For example, 
the peasants of Northern Russia, since the aboUtion of the mutual 
guarantee and since the removal of restrictions upon their mobility, 
have been migrating southwards. Moreover, of late years they 
have been exhibiting a preference for employing themselves as 
labourers upon large estates rather than cultivating land of their 
own. The responsibilities are less, and the return to their labour 
is more certain, and sometimes much more considerable. Their 
labour is better organized and more productive. Some of the 
northern peasants — e.g. those of Yaroslavskaya gub., are very 
enterprising. The men leave their villages, and even the district 
towns, to go to St. Petersburg, where they become street vendors 
or artisans, or they go in the season of grain shipment to the Volga, 
and work as labourers in operations connected with the grain trade. 
Thus in many of the towns and villages in this gubernie the men 
have all gone ; only the women, children, and old men remain. ^ 

Some regions have acquired special celebrity for the supply of 
labourers in certain occupations. For example, the Zubtsovsky 
district, in Tverskaya gub., supplies shepherds, and the Pokrovsky 
district of Vladimirskaya gub. supplies carpenters, bricklayers, and 
painters for all Russia. 

The manufacturing centres draw their permanent recruits 

^ The rationale of this is, with high probability, the primitive idea that in 
placing his name or his mark upon a paper which is given into the hands of 
another, a part of the writer himself is transferred, and that through the 
possession of this part, the owner of the paper may exercise power over the 
personality of the writer. So also in the case of signatures with blood marks 
which were affixed by the Daimios of Japan to the oath of fealty to the 

2 Examples of deserted towns in this gub. are Mishkin (2238 inhabitants) 
and Uglich (9500 inhabitants). 


chiefly from Middle Russia. The harvest season, extending from 
the beginning of June, when the hay harvest may be said to begin, / 
until August, when other crops are reaped, draws an immense t-- 
migratory population southwards from Northern and Middle \ 
Russia. The annual migration involves about a million and a half \ 
of peasants. To some regions they go only for the hay harvest, / 
returning to their villages to reap their own crops. In the less 
fertile and less skilfully cultivated regions in the north the yield 
of crops, usually about two and a half to three times the quantity 
of seed sown,^ does not afford sufficient subsistence for the culti- 
vators, and it is therefore necessary for the peasants to supplement 
their income by going for a period to the more fertile regions, 
where labour during harvest is relatively highly paid. The migra- 
tion is not well organized. Owing to the absence of employment 
bureaux or similar agencies,^ the farmers in one region in the south 
during harvest-time may find it impossible to procure a sufficient 
number of labourers, although they offer as much as ten rubles 
a day, while a few miles away thousands of labourers are starving 
because they can find no employment.^ 

The habits of the peasantry vary very much in different parts 
of Russia and among different races. In the north, drunkenness 
is perhaps more common than in the central and southern regions. 
A statement is current among officials in the north that the State 
peasants in five of the northern guberni have " drunk up " the 
forests since Emancipation.* But, indeed, drunkenness ever5rwhere 
is spasmodic rather than continuous. On festival days, of which 
there are a great number, it is not unusual for peasants to drink 
to excess, but only well-to-do peasants can afford to do so fre- 
quently. In the regions where beer is made, and where it is cheap, 
as in the gubernie of Kharkov, the consumption is very great. 
During the harvest-time peasants are expected to work on Sun- 
days, but even now they do not usually receive wages for this 
work. They are customarily satisfied with a collation of bread 

1 In very good years the yield reaches 4^ times only. 

* Up till 1901 the Zemstvos organized employment bureaux ; but they 
were discontinued because they were supposed to be utilized for purposes 
of propaganda. 

* The principal centres to which these annual migrants go are Rostov-on- 
Don, No VI Cherkask, and Simferopol. 

* In the far north, among the Ziranes, for example, drunken orgies seem 
to be not infrequent. Cf. Russko'e Bogatstvo, No. 8, August 1905, p. 29. 



and cucumbers, washed down with a few glasses of vodka. Drunken- 
ness on such occasions is very unusual. 

The wants of a Russian peasant are, as a rule, very simple. 
The prison allowance for the food of prisoners of inferior rank is 
six kopeks per day, the ration being bread, bouillon, small pieces 
of meat, small quantities of barley, and vegetables. Peasant 
prisoners are reported to find this ration quite satisfactory ; it is 
probably more than they customarily enjoy. If even they have 
bread enough they consider themselves fortunate. In the villages 
the peasants subsist largely on murtsofka — water in which bread 
and salt are put. This fare is supplemented with berries, vege- 
tables, and mushrooms in the summer. The indispensable 
" luxuries " of the peasant are a watch, a pair of long boots, a 
red shirt, music from a German accordion— his own or someone 
else's — and a dance on Sundays. If, in addition to these, he has 
a drink now and again on Sunday or on a hoUday, he is usually 
happy and contented.^ 

Different regions in Russia present different economic con- 
ditions, and therefore various social habits, and thus a general 
picture is not likely to be universally faithful. Moreover, each 
village includes in its population various classes of peasants. 

These classes may be summarized as follows : 

1. The well-to-do peasants, who form the backbone of the com- 
munity. These have usually a sufficient amount of land, and some 
of the members of the family have earnings other than agricultural 
earnings. They are what is known as " firm " peasants. They go 
to church regularly, and they can be relied upon by the Zemskiy 
Nachalnik to support him in the volost. They are not usually 
addicted to revolutionary tendencies. They are popularly known 
as kulaki or " fists." 

2. There are the " middle " peasants, not so well off as the first, 
possessing little land and cultivating, for the most part, land for 
which they pay rent in labour upon the estate of the landlord, but 
whose agricultural labour and whose extra-agricultural earnings 
together yield a fair Uving. This class feels the need of land, and 
some of the members of it could find the necessary resources to cul- 
tivate more than they can, under present conditions, obtain at 

^ The temperamental contentment of the Russian peasant has, of course, 
permitted the exploitation to which for ages he has been subjected. 


reasonable rents. They have cattle, and could obtain implements 
to work the land. 

3. Beneath these two classes there is the village proletariat. 
Landless, or almost landless, almost destitute of agricultural capital 
of any kind, feeling at once the ** need of land " and the impossi- 
bihty of purchasing or of renting it. This is the class for whom 
schemes of purchase through the Peasant Bank have practically no 
interest, and for whom any scheme, revolutionary or otherwise, } 
which will give land without the necessity of burdensome redemption | 
payments, offers invincible attractions. The agricultural skill of I 
this class is small, and they are in chronic need. When a badj 
season occurs they suffer more than others, because their land is not! 
in good condition, and their produce is proportionately much smaller \ 
than that of their neighbours. These peasants, working for them- \ 
selves on minute holdings, or working for low agricultural wages, I 
comprise a very large fraction of the 97,000,000 of Russian peasants, I 
and their difficulties constitute the crux of the agrarian problem. 

Primitive Customs. — Primitive customs abound in all parts of 
Russia. The following examples may suffice. Land is usually 
measured by the peasants with a pole. Although this pole is not 
divided into fractions by any marks, the peasants are accustomed to 
estimate the fractions very exactly. The strips of land are so long 
that even an inch in width means a large number of square yards. 

Tally sticks are still kept by shepherds and herdsmen. On these 
sticks they cut the number of sheep, calves, horses, &c., under their 
charge. This stick is handed to the starosta, who places it before 
the mir once a year. On the record provided by these tallies, the 
Zemstvo statistician bases his calculations, and upon them also the 
payments to the landowners for pasturage and the payments to 
the herdsmen are based. These tallies receive different names 
in different regions. For example, in Vladimirskaya guh., the 
tally is called a doMment ; while in Kharkovskaya guh. it is 
called a gramota. 

Modes of observance of great holidays vary in different regions. 
The following account of the observance of Christmas was obtained 
from a peasant of Vitebskaya gub.^ Early in the morning of the 
day before Christmas the head of the family goes into the town and 

* He was a peasant of the village Barshuksky, Stninskaya volost, near 
the town of Polovtsi. The conversation took place in 1909. 



buys fish and vodka. The supper of Christmas Eve is called kolada?- 
At this supper all of the fish which has been purchased in the morn- 
ing must be consumed, no matter what the quantity may be. At 
midnight, between Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, the women 
begin to prepare the Christmas dinner, one of the great events of 
the year in the peasant household. This feast is called razgovenye." ^ 
The traditional menu is composed of sausages, made from liver and 
from beef, and boiled pork.^ Before dinner a candle is lighted be- 
neath the ikon, which finds a place in every Russian dwelling, and 
even in every place of business. The whole family kneel, pray, and 
prostrate themselves several times. The head of the family occupies 
a conspicuous place at the table, and the other members sit around 
him. The dinner begins with a service of peppered vodka. Usually 
all, beginning with the head of the family and ending with the 
youngest member, drink in succession from the same glass or silver 
cup. Then they eat without ceremony, and to such an extent that the 
youths often drop off to sleep towards the afternoon. After dinner 
the head of the family goes to church.* Sometimes during the 
service non-canonical incidents occur. The mujiki prostrate them- 
selves, and their long locks rest on the pavement. Drunken com- 
rades, with their boots well tarred for the holiday, accidentally or by 
intention step upon the hair of the prostrate mujiki, who reproach 
them with remarks little appropriate to the occasion and the edifice. 
In the evening the youths go to the egreshya,^ or play-house, usually 
the house of the starosta or village elder, or of some other important 
villager. This play-house is the primitive village club. In those 
families where the peasants are too poor to buy vodka, they some- 
times buy cabinetmaker's varnish. Out of this, by a method of 
his own, the peasant makes an evil-smelUng Uquid which he con- 
sumes instead of vodka.^ 

^ In the district in question. In general, the word kolada is apphed to the 
carols sung on Christmas Eve. The ordinary Great Russian word for supper 
is ujen. 

2 The same word is used in Byelozerskoe district, and no doubt elsewhere. 

3 About I piid (36.11 lbs. avoir.) per ten persons. 

* In Byelozerskoe, the head of the family goes to church before dinner. 

* From egrat, to play. In Byelozerskoe district the pla,y-house is called 
beseda in the Korelhan villages, and posedka in the villages inhabited by Great 

« Well-to-do peasants drink vodka made from com, less well-to-do drink 
that made from potatoes. 


Disregard of Private Property among the Peasantry. — Everyone 
who has spent any time in rural Russia must have noticed the 
enormous iron bars and the huge padlocks which fasten even inner 
rooms in country houses, and perhaps may have experienced petty 
thefts. One condition is necessary to prevent the other. The 
explanation of the prevalence of petty thieving seems to lie in the 
survival of ideas originating in bondage. Under bondage the peas- 
ant had no legal right to any property. It was therefore difficult 
for him to conceive of any such right on the part of anyone 
else. The pomyetschek assumed himself to have the right of 
possession, but the peasant never fully admitted this right. More- 
over, the community of occupancy of land and the community 
of use of agricultural instruments — although not invariable or 
imiversal — bred in the peasant a certain indifference to property 
considered as an individual possession. Appropriation by a 
neighbour of the goods of another peasant was looked upon as 
a venial offence, if, indeed, it were an offence ; but appropria- 
tion by a stranger of the cattle or goods of a village or of a villager 
was in a different category. Horse-stealing is, for example, a com- 
mon crime in Russia, and it is punished by the villagers with fright- 
ful severity.^ 

It is not always easy to know how much importance to attach 
to general statements made by peasants about the prevalence 
or otherwise of theft in their districts. Yet peasant evidence is 
of value on such a point, because the authorities as a rule know 
only those cases which have been brought to their notice or which 
have been made the subject of public inquiry. The peasants, 
on the other hand, know probably all the cases, although their 
accounts of the circumstances may not always be impartial. For 
example, " orthodox " peasants will narrate lurid stories of the 
crimes of their neighbours who are raskolneke, or dissenters, while 
Jews will be equally vociferous about the offences of adherents of 
all faiths except their own. The following details upon the con- 
ditions in this respect in Vitebskaya gub. were obtained for the 

^ The writer has before him a statement contained in a letter from a 
peasant to his brother, of revolting details of torture applied to a horse thief 
in a village of Strunskaya volost in the spring of the year 1909. The parti- 
cipants in this fiendish outrage were prosecuted, and the headman of the 
village was punished. The case came up in the court at Vitebsk. 


writer by a very astute observer, himself a peasant, in whose good 
faith he has every reason to have the fullest confidence. It appears 
that theft is highly prevalent in the gubernie. Orthodox {i.e. Greek 
Orthodox) peasants steal timber only, but raskolneke steal any- 
thing. This latter remark applies especially to the sect of " Old 
Behevers." The Jews steal by cheating in money and in weight. 
The sectarians, " Old Behevers," are in this particular gubernie 
traditionally thieves until they reach the age of thirty years. They 
steal anything, from home-woven cloth to horses. The peasants 
hobble their horses with heavy iron chains, but these are cut, and 
the horses are driven away. This practice prevails to such an 
extent that the peasants are unable to keep good horses, even when 
they are sufficiently well off to do so. Up till the age of thirty 
the " Old Behever " (starovyer) is known as mirskoy, or "of the 
world" — a worldly man; afterwards he becomes a rabskoy, or 
*' of service " — i.e. a servant of God. The peasants say that he 
devotes himself to the service of God when he has been beaten 
so soundly by those whom he has robbed that he can serve Mammon 
no more. The rabskoy will not eat with a mirskoy, any more than 
he would do so with an " Orthodox." The peasant view is that an 
" Old Believer," while forbidden to smoke or drink, is nevertheless 
allowed to steal. If a mirskoy steals the last horse of a peasant, 
his priest orders him to fast and to prostrate himself ; but if he 
steals from abundance, he is not obliged to undergo penance. The 
" Old Believers," according to the peasants, steal wives, and if 
they become tired of them they turn them away. On predatory 
expeditions the " Old Believers " go armed with a crowbar for 
breaking open lockfast places, and with knives for defence. They 
usually go in pairs, one watching while the other abstracts the 
horse they have determined to steal. When they make a raid 
upon the granary of a pomyetschek they go in a large group, with 
carts and horses to carry off the plunder. The " Old Believers " 
are conspicuous for their loyalty to one another. If one of them 
falls into the hands of the police, the utmost torture will not suffice 
to draw from him the names of his accomplices. While he is in 
durance his fellows support his family. When an " Orthodox " 
peasant takes an oath in a court of justice, he usually regards the 
oath as a matter of great importance, and in general tells the truth ; 
but an ** Old Believer " is indifferent about an oath when testimony 


is to be borne against a member of his own sect. Orthodox peasants, 
when they are robbed by " Old BeUevers," are very severe upon 
them when they succeed in capturing the offenders. The thieves 
are beaten immercifully, and are sometimes killed by the peasants. 

The reasons advanced by the " Orthodox " peasants for the 
inclination to steal exhibited by the " Old Believers " are these. 
The sectarians were, during bondage times, generally free peasants. 
They had therefore no allotments ; and since their reUgion forbids 
them to work for or to eat with pagans, among whom they regard 
all who are not of their commimion, they were obUged to steal in 
order to support themselves. As a rule, in Vitebskaya gub. at 
the present time the " Old BeUevers " are wealthier than the 
Orthodox peasants in whose neighbourhood they Uve. 

These notes upon the customs of the sectarians in Vitebskaya 
gub. are of value chiefly because of the Ught they throw upon the 
opinions about the sectarians entertained by the Orthodox peasants. 
Whether the evil reputation of the sectarians is well deserved or 
not, the fact that the peasants in general think that it is accounts 
for the difficulty of uniting the peasants in any common action 
for the benefit of the peasantry as a whole. 



The Undivided or Joint Family 

The survival of the undivided family in Russia long after this 
institution had ceased to have any living force in Western Europe/ 
has been a potent factor in determining the character of social and 
economic life. The German observer, von Haxthausen,^ described 
very fully the undivided family as he found it in Russia seventy 
years ago. Although the number of such families has greatly 
diminished since that time, his description is still true so far as 
regards the main features of the institution, the minor features 
varjdng with the character of the head of the household. The 
characteristic family of this kind appears to have consisted of 
from ten to twenty, and occasionally even of fifty or more persons,^ 
engaging in common labour. Among the members of the family 
are " the grandfather * and grandmother, the father and mother, 

1 The undivided or joint family is prevalent througliout Asia, and is 
still to be found in Eastern Europe, elsewhere than in Russia. See, for 
example, notes on the joint family among the Croats in Hungary, by Pro- 
fessor A. Herrmann in The Millennium, of Hungary and its People, ed. by 
J. de Jekelfalussy (Buda Pest, 1897), p. 407. It has been highly prevalent 
m Turkey, where separations, which had been discouraged by the Govern- 
ment, have been taking place since the revolution in 1908 ; and in Japan 
where^separations have also been taking place since the revolution in 1 869. 

2 Etudes sur la Situation inthieure, la Vie nationale, et les Institutions rurales 
de la Russie (Hanovre, 1 847-1 848), vol. i. pp. 115 et seq. A more recent 
description is given by M. Kovalevsky in Modern Customs and Ancient Laws 
of Russia (London, 1890), pp. 15 and 47 et seq. See also Maine, Ancient Law 
(London, 1874) (5th ed.), pp. 133, 260, and 266, and Heam, The Aryan House- 
hold, Its Structure and Development (London, 1891), pp. 188 and 230. 

^ I have been informed by a trustworthy correspondent that in the village 
of Stepankova (Moskovskaya gub.) there was an undivided family which con- 
sisted in 1 886-1 887 of seventy-five persons. The family possessions included 
thirty-seven horses and sixty cows. The family was considered to be very well 
off. Large undivided families are now rare. 

* Even also sometimes a great-grandfather. 



sons and daughters, grandsons and granddaughters, brothers and 
sisters, nephews and nieces, with such other persons as may be 
united to them by ties of marriage, as daughters-in-law in right 
of their husbands, and sons-in-law in right of their wives." ^ Close 
relationship is, however, not invariable.^ " The house elder is 
primus inter pares." He is chief of the family council, and repre- 
sentative of his household before the authorities. He appears in 
court to answer complaints against the members of his own house- 
hold, and to make complaints against those of others. He is 
regarded as responsible for the payment of taxes due by the mem- 
bers of the family, collectively or individually. Yet he has no 
right to dispose of the family property without the consent of all 
its adult members. The house elder arranges the daily labour 
of the members of the family. If there is a surplus of labour for 
the agricultural purposes of the group, which often occurs when 
the family is large and when for any reason there is difficulty in 
obtaining land, members of the family may be sent, or may be 
permitted to go, abroad to earn money, their surplus earnings 
being required to be remitted to the house elder for the benefit 
of the household, while the dependents of the absentees are mean- 
while nourished at the common charge. This, at all events, is 
the law of the household. The law is not improbably frequently 
evaded by conceadment of individual resources. 

The system of land occupation and cultivation under the un- 
divided family may be regarded as semi-communal. Although the 
family group is strictly communal, there is a certain recognition of 
individual interests. Thus, although the land remains imdivided 
so long as the family holds together, each member of the household 
has his recognized share. Nor are the shares equal. Brothers have 
equal shares, but others have lesser fractions of the common heritage. 
Any partner in the property of the family group may sell his land to 
a relative or to a stranger, but the purchaser is expected to conform 

^ Kovalevsky, op. cit., pp. 53 and 54. 

* Haxthausen, op. cit., i. p. 90. Although Haxthausen quotes a specific 
case, there is no reason to beUeve that " adoption " of strangers into 
the family was customary. Orphans were, however, confided to peasant 
famihes by the great orphanages at St. Petersburg and Moscow, and payment 
was made for them by the orphanages, usually two rubles per month, until 
the age of sixteen years. These orphans might marry into the peasant 
families ; but they do not appear to have been legally adopted by them, 
the process of adoption being expensive and troublesome. 


to the family regulations. The meadows are undivided, but they 
are annually apportioned for mowing, and for the purposes of each 
individual family in the larger family group. Pasture and forest 
are also common property, although they may not belong to one 
imdivided family. They may belong in common to a larger group of 
several undivided families, or even to undivided families together with 
families which had been " separated " from their own family kin. 

The prevalence and the persistence of the undivided family has 
affected profoundly the character of the peasant. To the regulations 
of the undivided family may be attributed to a large extent the cus- 
tomary submissiveness of the Russian peasant to authority. Even 
adult men are under the system obHged to be submissive to their 
elders. The prevalence during recent years of separations has un- 
doubtedly contributed to the new spirit of resistance to authority 
which animated the peasant youth especially in the revolutionary 
year of 1905, and, in general, separations have effected a considerable 
change in the attitude of the peasant towards regulative authority 
of any kind. 

" That the character of the Russian mujik has been modified by 
the system of the great family is proved by the fact that wherever 
a division of the common property has taken place, wherever the 
peasant has been reduced by his own will to depend entirely upon 
his personal industry for his success in life, he has become the push- 
ing, unscrupulous man whom the American novelist has rendered 
familiar to us." ^ 

The causes of the survival of the undivided family in spite of 
individualistic tendencies which naturally emerge within the family 
itself, and the causes of the breaking up of the family, have been 
partly spontaneous and partly administrative. 

Spontaneous Disintegration of the Undivided Family. — The un- 
divided family implied the exercise of authority by the elders, and 
conduced to a considerable degree of ease on their part. The pater- 
familias oppressed his sons, acting, indeed, as a driving foreman of 
the working force of the family, while the materfamilias equally 
oppressed her daughters-in-law. ^ The reasons given by the peas- 
antry for separation are these : 

^ Kovalevsky, op. cit., p. 61. 

' Peasant lads generally marry at about eighteen or nineteen years of 
age. At twenty-one they go to military service. Their wives remain members 


" Non-division causes the able and laborious to work for the idle 
and incapable. It is unjust to force an unmarried person to divide 
his savings with a relative enjoying the pleasures of married Ufe 
and a numerous progeny, who, on account of their youth, are not 
yet able to earn anything by the work of their hands. They also 
affirm that as the dwelling-place is too small to accommodate a large 
family, they are forced to divide in order to Uve with decency." ^ 
The strongest motive, however, making for " separations " has been 
the excessive labour of the subordinate members of the undivided 
family. Family quarrels arising out of this excessive labour fre- 
quently rendered separation inevitable, and when separation oc- 
curred from this cause, the filial relations were altered, and this 
circumstance contributed importantly to the revolutionary state of 
mind of the younger and more vigorous peasants. Thus the younger 
inhabitants of the villages, suffering at once from exactions by their 
family elders, by the community, and by the Government, suffering 
from interferences with their personal freedom and mobility prac- 
tised by all of these external forces, and suffering also from want of 
land and of agricultural capital, took the lead in the revolutionary 
movements, feehng that some extraordinary demonstration was 
necessary to improve their condition. In many cases they dragged 
their elders after them into these movements. In the acts of revolt 
against administrative authority there thus often lay concealed acts 
of revolt against the authority of their parents and elders. The 
breaking up of the undivided family thus plays an important role in 
the revolutionary movement by preparing the minds of the younger 
people in the peasant communities. 

But the tendency towards separations has been at intervals 
checked by the spontaneous action of the commimities themselves. 
The elders found that separation was being used by the younger people 
to enable them to escape the payment of their share of the redemption 

of the paternal households during the four years of the military service 
rendered by their husbands. This practice leads to undesirable results. 
The young husbands are corrupted in the army, and the young wives (con- 
temptuously called by the peasants soldatki) are too frequently corrupted 
at home. On the return of the young soldiers, family quarrels take place, 
and for this reason, and because of the hard toil of the peasant life, to which 
during his military service he has been unaccustomed, the reservist often 
leaves his family and goes into the city, where he becomes a policeman or a 
janitor. His wife is frequently left permanently behind. 
\ Kovalevsky, op. cit., p. 66. 


tax. They thus attempted to check the tendency by refusing to 
permit separations even of a temporary character. This attitude 
of the communities led those who desired separation to undertake 
to continue to pay their share of the tax after separation. On this 
understanding conditional separations took place.^ 

Administrative Discouragements of Separations. — It is obvious 
that the administration was under the necessity either of discourag- 
ing separations, because they compromised the collection of taxes, 
or of altering the system of taxation, and of abolishing the system 
of mutual responsibility for the punctual payment of taxes. Prior 
to the emancipation of the serfs in 1861, separations were discour- 
aged by the landowners, because the management of the serfs by 
their owners was greatly facilitated by the circumstance that the 
number of heads of households was small, while their authority over 
the members of their households was great. After Emancipation, 
when the redemption tax came to be imposed, the head of the 
family became responsible for the whole of the tax due by his house- 
hold. The collection of the tax was simpler than it would have 
been had the tax-collector been obliged to deal with each member 
individually. Thus when the question of tjjc responsibility was 
fixed upon the head of the household the difficulty of breaking up 
the family by separations was greatly increased. 

Yet separations continued, permitted and unpermitted, the 
latter sometimes greatly predominating over the former. Where 
the head of an undivided family was a man of strong character, 
separations were unusual. When, however, the contrary was 
the case, there was a tendency to disputes which led ultimately to 
separations. These were frequently postponed, however, until the 
death of the head of the household, or until the return of some mem- 
ber of the family from military service. The effects of the separa- 
tions upon the prosperity of the peasants involved in them were 
very serious. The separated groups took with them their shares of 
the farm implements and the cattle, and the family land was fre- 
quently subject also to division ; but the separated groups had 
rarely sufficient means to establish themselves independently with 
any likelihood of success. The need for land, which had manifested 
itself even in the undivided family, became more insistent as separa- 

^ It is said that sometimes permission to separate was obtained from the 
volost courts by treating the people of the village to vodka. 



tions took place, and the prosperity of the peasants affected was 
diminished. Many were for this reason, as well as on account of 
the attractions in the form of opportunities of labour and for amuse- 
ments, driven or drawn into the industrial towns. The economic 
consequences of separations having become very obvious, a com- 
mittee was appointed by Alexander III to make inquiry into the 
matter. The local functionaries reported that in spite of the pro- 
hibition of separations by the authorities, and in spite of reluctance 
on the part of the communities to permit them, separations were 
going on in great numbers. Peasants who separated from joint 
famihes were put in gaol. They served their terms, returned to 
their villages, and separated again. Only five per cent, of all separa- 
tions in villages are said to have been permitted separations. 

Divisions were, indeed, going on, in spite of administrative and 
communal discouragement, to such an extent that the Government 
became increasingly embarrassed in the collection of the redemption 
tax, the mutual guarantee notwithstanding. The redemption tax 
fell heavily into arrear. The embarrassment of the Government led 
to the law of April 1889, and later to that of loth April 1894, both 
having for their object the hmitation of the number of permitted 
family separations. As a result of these laws, about 5 per cent, 
only of the applications for separation were granted by the local 

Vacillation of the Government on the Separation Question. — 
While M. Yermolov was Minister of State Domains and Agricul- 
ture, he proposed in 1889 to check separations by abolishing the 
duties on artificial manure and agricultural implements, in order 
that the larger peasant family groups might cultivate their land 
to more advantage by devoting their family capital to improve- 
ments. M. Witte, however, opposed this measure on the ground 
that it was inconsistent with the protective policy which he was 
then advocating, and which was brought to a high point in 1891. 
In this attitude M. Witte was quite consistent with his general 
policy of promoting Russian industrial development. From his 
point of view separations were to be desired rather than prevented. 
The organic family group, occupying itself as it did in ineffective 
agriculture, were better broken up, in order that its constituent 
elements might enter into fresh artificial combinations under the 
auspices of capitalistic industry. 


From the commercial and industrial point of view the breaking 
up of the undivided family was to be desired ; from the com- 
munal, agricultural, and Slavophil points of view it was to be 
deprecated. To the communaUsts the new order meant new 
slavery, to the industriahsts it meant escape from the practical 
slavery of the younger generations which the communal system 

Impetus to Separations given by the Abolition of the Redemption 
Tax. — The attitude of the Government, of the local authorities, 
and of the community changed only when the redemption tax 
was abolished. The aboUtion gave a great impetus to separations 
through the removal of the obligation of mutual guarantee. The 
increase of individualism, or, at all events, the increase in the 
manifestation of it, the altered parental relations consequent upon 
separation, and the increased self-assertiveness of the young re- 
sulted, at least temporarily, in the diminution of social soUdarity, 
as well as in increased migration from the village to the town. 
The disintegration of the undivided family has thus been a struc- 
tural change, involving an alteration in the character of the peasant, 
in which some of the finer peasant qualities may not improbably be 
lost during the transition from an old to a new family order. 

Peasant Views about the Tenure of Land. — Associated with the 
conceptions naturally arising out of the conditions of the undivided 
household are the views about the land common to the peasantry 
in different parts of Russia. These views are illustrated in the 
writings of several of the Russian novelists — e.g. in Turgueniev's 
sketch Moumou, in Tolstoy's Russian Proprietor, in Uspensky's 
Ivan Afanasiev, and in Zlatovratsky's Oustoy (The Solid Base).^ 
A vivid description of the attitude of the mujtk towards the land 
is given by Stepniak in his Russian Peasantry. Stepniak quotes 
the translation in John Stuart Mill's Political Economy ^ of a passage 
from Michelet's People^ in which he describes with warmth the 
passion of a French peasant for his land, for the purpose of con- 
trasting it with Uspensky's sketch in his Ivan Afanasiev of a Russian 
peasant, " a genuine husbandman, indissolubly bound to the soil 
both in mind and heart. The land was in his conception his real 

^ Quoted by Kovalevsky, op. cit., p. 62. 
2 Mill, J. S., Political Economy, p. 172 n. 
' Michelet's People, pt. i. chap. i. 


foster-mother and benefactress, the source of all his joys and 
sorrows, and the object of his daily prayers and thanksgivings to 
God. ... He and his land are almost living parts of the same 
whole. Nevertheless Ivan Afanasiev does not feel in the least 
Hke a bondsman chained to the soil ; on the contrary, the union 
between the man and the object of his cares has nothing com- 
pulsory in it. It is free and pure because it springs spontaneously 
from the unmixed and evident good the land is bestowing on the 
man. Quite independently of any selfish incentive, the man 
begins to feel convinced that for this good received he must repay 
his land, his benefactress, with care and " labour. ' ^ Stepniak 
points out that, unlike the French peasant, the Russian mujik 
has in his " longing after land more of the love of a labourer for a 
certain kind of work which is congenial to him, than of a concrete 
attachment of an owner to a thing possessed." ^ 

The attitude of the Russian peasant to the land is quaintly put 
in a petition to the Canadian Government by Peter Veregin, the 
leader of the Dukhobortsi in Canada. 

" The earth is God's creation, created for the benefit of the 
human race, and for all that Uve on it. The earth is our common 
mother, who feeds us, protects us, rejoices us, and warms us with 
love from the moment of our birth until we go to take our eternal 
rest in her maternal bosom." ^ 

From this point of view land is a gift of God to the cultivator, 
to use, but not to appropriate. This was undoubtedly the ancient 
Russian view. " The word property, as appUed to land, hardly 
existed in ancient Russia. No equivalent to this neologism is to 
be found in old archives, charters, or patents. On the other hand, 
we meet at every step with rights acquired by use and occupation. 
The land is recognized as being the natural possession of the hus- 
bandman, the fisher, or the hunter — of him * who sits upon it.* " * 
*' In the Uving language of peasants of modem times there is no 

* Uspensky. Ivan Afanasiev, quoted in Stepniak, Russian Peasantry (ed. 
New York, 1888) pp. 148 et seq. 

2 Stepniak, op. cit., p. 148. 

» Petition to the Minister of the Interior and all People of Canada from the 
Christian Community of the Universal Brotherhood of the Doukhobors in 
Canada, 7th March 1907. 

* Prince Vasilchikov, Land Tenure and Rural Economy (St. Petersburg, 
1881), quoted by Stepniak, op. cit., p. 6. 


term which expresses the idea of property over the land in the 
usual sense of the word." ^ 

This conception, not by any means entertained by the peasants 
in Russia exclusively, of the use of land as the function of the 
peasant, while the appropriation of it in any form of ownership is 
regarded as inadmissible, is probably a survival of the idea of land 
occupancy which naturally arises in the minds of pastoral people. 
Among such people land belongs to no one ; it is, so to say, free 
as air, but its use is enjoyed by those who traverse it. From this 
point of view rent is an anomaly. Yet the quarrels of pastoral 
tribes about their routes upon the steppes show that even they 
had definite ideas of a tribal interest in the land traversed by them 
periodically. Although this conception frequently reappears in 
peasants' discussions about land,^ the practical difficulties of dis- 
tinguishing between rights of permanent occupancy and rights of 
ownership become very great, especially when population is in- 
creasing and the available area of land is naturally or artificially 
limited. These difficulties appear even in the " undivided family, **^ 
whose definite regulations about ownership of land within the 
family have been noticed above. 

Peasant Conceptions of Equality and Unanimity 

A firm sense of equality within the class pervades Russian peasant 
opinion. This sense of equality tends to prevent the rise of aggressive 
individuals, although it is not always effectual in doing so. With \ 
it is very definitely associated the practice, universal in peasant 
assemblies, of requiring unanimity in decisions. In the beginning vl 
of discussions there is always a majority and a minority, but as 
the discussion proceeds one party convinces the other or induces or 
compels the other into acquiescence. This practice involves often 
very noisy proceedings. The orators try to shout one another down, 
although the most influential are not always the most vociferous. 
The practice of securing unanimity also involves sometimes very 
long meetings, one party relying upon its physical endurance to 
wear the other out. Eventually the opposition melts away or 

* Stepniak, loc. cit. 

' An account of some of the discussions is given in the next chapter. 
The peasant views about land are further discussed in chapter x., infra. 


abandons its position, and the measure, whatever it is, is passed^ 
Frequently, however, hard feeUngs remain, to accumulate in course 
of time into more or less formidable hostility. Thus beneath ap- 
parent harmony in a village community there often lurks real dis- 
cord, and then unanimity being regarded as essential, there is 
nothing to be done but for the malcontents to leave the community 
or to be expelled from it. Unanimity is inconsistent with agree- 
ment to differ. The rule of the majority, with the proviso that 
the rights of minorities will be respected, seems less likely to result 
in tyranny than a system of compulsory unanimity. The extent 
to which the mir has availed itself of its powers to flog and to exile 
its members shows that " unanimity " is not unaccompanied by 
t)^anny. Yet in certain phases of social development the univer- 
sality of the practice of unanimity seems to suggest advantages in 
securing the safety and the continuity of the political and social 
structure. The nonconformist and the heretic are enemies to the 
family hearth, and they must be got rid of. The practice of the 
autocracy in stamping out what it considers as subversive ten- 
dencies, and in exiUng or destroying all who presume to criticize 
the administration, may be related, along with the peasant con- 
ception of compulsory unanimity, to primitive social conceptions, 
naturally arising under conditions when social soUdarity is the 
first essential.^ 

It may be regarded as doubtful that the tradition of unanimity 
would have prevented the disintegration of the family had it not 
been reinforced by the powerful agency of the mutual guarantee. 
The friction produced by the mutual guarantee was, nevertheless, 
an important factor in producing family disintegration, the tendency 
to unanimity notwithstanding. 

Redistribution of Peasant Lands in Practice 

The practice of redistribution of peasant lands varies widely in 
different parts of Russia. In the following sketch two typical dis- 
tricts are taken by way of example : (i) A district in the forest 
region in the north, where the soil is poor ; and (2) a district in the 
rich Black Soil region. 

* For a very lively account of such an assembly among the Ziranes in the 
Arkhangelskaya gi*b., see Shukin, P., " With the Ziranes." in Russkoe BogcUstvo, 
No. 8, August 1905, pp. 17 et seq. 

' See also supra, pp. lo et seq. 



I. The District of By dozer sk. — ^This district is in Novgorodskaya 
guh. The land is too poor for wheat cultivation ; the chief crops 
are rye and oats. The three-field system of rotation is generally 
adopted — rye, oats, and fallow. The redistribution of the land 
takes place at no fixed period ; but whenever a number of people 
become dissatisfied with the quality of the land allotted to them, or 
with the quantity of it in relation to the number of revision souls 
in their families, such people complain to the skhod, or village as- 
sembly, and if they succeed in convincing the skhod that the time 
for redistribution has arrived, a sentence of the skhod is passed, and 
redistribution takes place. The skhod is not bound to divide the 
land in accordance with the number of revision souls ; but it usually 
does so, because this is the traditional basis of division. The system 
of redistribution does not, however, apply to all the land in the 
possession of the community. Meadow land which has been cleared 
by a peasant is allowed to remain in his possession, and is not 
subject to redi vision ; nor is the peasant who has brought it into 
cultivation liable for taxes in respect to it. Meadow land, however, 
on the banks of the rivers, which overflow and which deposit mud 
upon the meadows, and thus enrich them, is subject to distribution 
like the field lands. 

Until about 1904 garden land was also exempt, but now garden 
as well as " field " land, or land under oats and rye, is subject to 
division on complaint to the skhod. If a widow, whose husband 
had cultivated land and paid taxes for one revision soul, is able to 
work the land, either by her own labour or by that of her family, 
and if she can pay the taxes to the amount due by one revision soul, 
she is not disturbed in possession ; but if she is unable to pay the 
taxes, the land will be taken from her by the skhod, and will be 
handed over by it to someone who undertakes to pay taxes in respect 
to one revision soul more than the number to which he had been 
himself entitled. If a peasant who is entitled to land in respect to 
two revision souls finds the corresponding taxes burdensome, he 
may transfer, if the skhod permit, one-half of his privileges and 
obligations, retaining the right to the amount of land due to one 
revision soul and undertaking to pay the taxes in respect to one 
soul. In this way the equihbrium of the distribution is preserved 
among the able-bodied members of the village community. 

As the village grows and the number of ezbas increases, a peasant 


often builds his ezba on the land allotted to another. Complaint is 
made to the skhod, and the peasant upon whose land the ezba of 
another has been built receives compensation in land elsewhere. It 
is, however, now usual for a peasant to get permission from the 
skhod before he builds his dweUing. Formerly the land upon which 
the ezba was built was not taken into account in allotting the lands, 
but now it is taken into account. 

2. Saratovskaya Gub. — In the Black Soil region, where the land 
is relatively valuable, the land is, as a rule, redistributed every four, 
or at farthest every six, years. The distribution is effected in terms 
not of revision souls, but of male souls in the family. There are no 
forests, and thus the whole of the land tends to become field land 
and subject to redi vision. The allotments are relatively small — 
4-5 dessiatines per revision soul. As the land deteriorates in quaUty 
from continuous cropping it becomes more sensitive to climatic 
changes, and thus two important influences make for diminished 
crops. Although, in consequence of the scarcity of land other than 
the field land, there is httle pasture, the peasants have some cattle ; 
but the manure from these is not put upon the land to fertiHze it, 
but is made into fuel, because there is no timber. The manure is 
put into piles, dried by its own combustion, and then trampled into 
powder by the treading of horses. The powdered material is mixed 
with water, pressed into briquettes, and so used as fuel. Some oi 
the peasants who have knowledge of what is done elsewhere object 
to the system of distribution, on the ground that it does not conduce 
to high cultivation ; but this effect may be due to other causes, and 
perhaps chiefly to the absence of agricultural knowledge as well as 
to the absence of agricultural capital.^ 

1 These details have been obtained from peasants in the districts in 



The pomyetschek, or estate proprietor, of to-day falls into one or 
other of several classes. The peculiarities of each class will neces- 
sarily be described in various ways by people who have had different 
opportunities for observation and who have varied prepossessions. 
On the great estates, the administration of which is in the hands of 
German managers, skilled in the technique of agriculture and in the 
management of labourers, the great proprietors seldom live. In 
the winter they are to be found in St. Petersburg, as members of the 
Council of State or of the Duma, or merely as members of the fashion- 
able society of the capital, in Moscow in society there, at their villas 
at Yalta, Alupka, or Gurzuf, in the Crimea — on the Riviera or in 
Italy — cultivated, intelligent, and benevolent, or ignorant, dull, and 
cynical, according to their temperament. In rare cases proprietors 
of large estates reside almost altogether upon them, taking an active 
share in their management, and, on the whole, working them not 
only to their own advantage but to the advantage of the peasantry 
upon them. Another class of large proprietors rent their lands to 
Jews, who pay a stipulated amount to the proprietors, and then 
sub-let the land to peasants, exacting from these in most cases as 
much as is possible. Such proprietors come little in contact with 
the peasants even when they live in their country houses. They 
frequently travel abroad for sport or pleasure, and if they are mem- 
bers of one or other of the important bodies by means of which the 
central government is carried on, they spend a portion of each year 
at St. Petersburg. Members of the first or second classes above 
mentioned are usually members of the local administration of the 
district or gubernie in which their estates are situated — the govern- 
ment of the gubernie or the Zemstvo Assembly. The third class 
may be regarded as much more numerous than either the first or the 

second. This class embraces the proprietors of estates of from three 



thousand to five thousand dessiatines — considerable, but not large, 
estates. Many such proprietors are also public officials — spending 
the larger part of the year either in one or other of the capitals, or in 
the capital of the gubernie. Some of them are judges, some are 
members of the central or local governments, some are military 
men. The estates of members of this class are sometimes managed 
very efficiently, even although the proprietors may not spend more 
than a few months in each year upon them. The proprietors are in 
many cases not merely well-educated men, but they are also skilled 
in estate management. They have attended forestry or agricul- 
tural schools, and have kept in touch with improved methods of 
agriculture in their own or in other countries. Other members of 
the same class, who are not officials, have similarly acquired a 
knowledge of the business of estate management, hve con- 
tinuously upon their estates, and maintain production upon 
them at a high level. 

In all the above groups, with the exception of some of those 
whose estates have been let to Jews, the estates are as a rule well 
managed, the roads are in good order, the buildings properly main- 
tained, the forests not depleted,^ and the industry of the peasants 
is well organized in such a way as to provide continuous employ- 

A fourth group may be regarded as comprising those proprietors 
of estates of the same magnitude as the last who from ignorance, 
indolence, or otherwise, allow their estates to be incompetently 
managed, the roads and buildings to fall into disrepair, and the fields, 
forests, and orchards, to be neglected. On such estates the peasants 
are sometimes subjected to severe exactions, while no efforts, or 
merely spasmodic efforts, are made to enable them to live prosper- 
ously. The consequences of this state of matters are easily dis- 
cernible in the aspect of the villages. The peasants' houses fall 
into cureless ruin.^ The negUgence of the pomyetschek is reflected 
in the negligence of the peasants. Even where the fields of the 
pomyetschek are well cultivated, the contiguous fields of the peasants 

* There axe stringent forest regulations ; but in some parts of Russia 
these are habitually neglected. 

« The writer has seen on such estates in 1 899 peasants' houses fairly well 
built of brick, erected under the influence of spasmodic energy. In 1910 
these same houses were found by him to be rapidly tumbling to pieces under 
the influence of a careless proprietor and hopeless and indifferent peasants. 


are not always so ; but where the fields of the pomyetschek are 
neglected, the peasants* fields are invariably neglected also. 

A fifth group might be discerned, in which there might be included 
the proprietors of estates of less than 3000 dessiatines, in which 
there would also appear a similar subdivision into inteUigent and 
conscientious proprietors who conceived their duty in a high sense, 
and those who were indolent, dissolute, and careless — both dissemi- 
nating their qualities round about them among the peasantry.^ 

In his very interesting Notes of a Governor — Kisheniev, Prince S. D. 
Urusov gives an estimate of the changes which have been occurring in 
the inner life of the pomyetschek class during the past thirty years. 

" I have known well," he says, " the customs, character, tradi- 
tions, and peculiarities of the gentry of the Great Russian provinces, 
particularly the provinces of the Moscow region. . . . In the eighties 
and nineties of the nineteenth century there might be found not 
seldom large estates with traces of former greatness, with parks, 
centuries old, with artificial lakes and peach orchards, with valuable 
furniture, rare bronzes, family portraits, and libraries in large rooms 
in old but still quite habitable houses. It was, however, even then 
to be noticed that the former Ufe of the nobility on such estates was 
dechning, that old houses and old luxuries could not in the majority 
of cases be maintained on the former plane ; yet the spirit of the old 
nobility still survived, and the sight of all this antiquity might 
inspire a certain amount of aesthetic satisfaction. ..." Besides 
these, there were at that time, " households more closely adapted to 
the contemporary conditions — households without agricultural 
experts or managers, but being managed by the owner himself, 
who Hved upon his estate, and who had as assistants a starosta (or 
peasant foreman) or a clerk. In the majority of such estates there 
was no luxury. 2 A few days of hunting in the autumn, three home- 
bred horses, and some pet colt, upon whom there were placed 
exaggerated and in most cases false hopes — these comprised the lux- 
uries of the pomyetschek, who received from his estate modest but 

^ Many of the smaller gentry are scarcely, if at all, superior in respect to 
education to the peasantry. The writer has met with cases in which educated 
peasants were applied to by indifferently-educated pomyetscheke to conduct 
for them official correspondence which they were unable to conduct for 

2 There was, however, a certain rude comfort and general evidence of 


genuine profits in those rubles which, according to the Russian pro- 
verb, ' are thin but long.' Quick enrichment from the management 
of such estates could not be expected. Yet notwithstanding com- 
plaints of bad yields, of deamess of labour, of dishonesty of neigh- 
bouring peasants, the possessors of small estates were Hving modestly, 
but with satisfaction, and although sometimes they adorned the 
pages of bank publications, they nevertheless were becoming rich 
owing to the slow but continuous advance in the price of land. Of 
such steady landowning gentry I knew many, especially in the non- 
Black Soil region, and I should say that they constituted a pheno- 
menon — in general favourable. Their relations with peasants, in 
spite of occasional disagreements, were in most cases not uncordial. 
Exploitation of peasants on their part was rare ; on the contrary, 
there was in their relations with working peasants a certain kind of 
union, which was developed by continuous mutual activity. . . . 
Simphcity of hfe, absence of class exclusiveness and class pride in 
the sense of ostentation, a laborious nural hfe, understanding of 
popular wants, and considerate relations with the neighbouring 
peasantry characterized the average fomyetschek with whom I was 
acquainted in Kalujskaya gub. 

" Quite another picture was presented in Bessarabia. There on 
the estates of rich pomyetscheke great luxury might be met with ; 
but in them there was none of that old magnificence which in Great 
Russia had come from the time of Katherine II and Alexander I. 
The houses of the Bessarabian gentry are sometimes Hghted with 
electricity, but there are not to be found the oil lamps of the style of 
the First Empire, or the bronze candelabra and lustres by which in 
Central Russia the houses of the old gentry are distinguished.^ The 
book-presses of the Bessarabian gentry are full of the latest romances ; 
but there are no French encyclopaedists of the eighteenth century, 
bound in leather with gold letters. Nor could there be seen in their 
houses the old furniture made by home-bred carpenters. In them 
everything is made according to the prevailing fashion — everything 
is new and everything is often changed. Perhaps there is much 
more of convenience in these houses than there is with us, but they 
are, after all, only splendidly furnished rooms — they are not old Rus- 
sian gentry nests. Moreover, among the Bessarabian gentry there 
was not noticeable that love for the estate which with us is indepen- 
* These are also to be found in such houses in St. Petersburg. 


dent of the beauty and profitableness of it. We look upon our 
estates as upon inanimate persons, and love them for themselves, 
and not for what they bring to us." ^ 

In Bessarabia, owing to the advance in the price of wheat and 
rye during recent years, the accessibility of two important seaports — 
Odessa and Nikolaiev — greatly increased faciUties in these ports, 
differential railway rates, which favoured exportation, the income 
from the possession of land greatly increased, and the prices of land 
advanced rapidly. *' Estates which were obtained in the seventies 
for 25 to 35 rubles per dessiatine were transferred in my time into 
fifth hands for 250 to 350 rubles per dessiatine." ^ At the first- 
mentioned period enrichment of the soil by manure was unusual. 
The increasing value of land, coupled with the fact that the land- 
owning gentry were frequently very indifferent farmers, led to the 
sale of the land to others who were better able to exploit them. Thus 
the estates of the landholding famiUes speedily melted away. 

Even when the estates fell into the hands of competent owners, 
these were not always succeeded by competent heirs, and thus the 
process of enrichment and impoverishment contributed to frequent 
changes of ownership and to the disappearance of successive land- 
owning famiUes.3 

1 Prince S. D. Urusov, Notes of a Governor : Kisheniev (Berlin, 1907), 
pp. 128-32. 

* Urusov, op. cit., p. 133. 

^ Fondness for the pleasures of the table is a usual trait among landed 
proprietors almost throughout Russia. The following is the daily routine 
even in households which pride themselves upon their simplicity : 8 o'clock 
light breakfast — tea, bread, and honey, e.g. ; 1 1 o'clock, breakfast h la four- 
chette — a formidable meal ; i o'clock, lunch of similar character ; 4-5 o'clock, 
tea and bread, &c. ; 7 o'clock, dinner of numerous courses ; 9 o'clock, supper ; 
II o'clock, a snack before retiral. Prince Urusov gives an amusing picture 
of the manage of a Bessarabian pomyetschek whose hospitality he had accepted 
upon the distinct understanding that simple fare must alone be provided. 
" At three o'clock in the afternoon we sat down to dinner. The table was 
filled with bottles and zakuska {hors d'cBuvres) of various kinds. Having 
moderated our hunger, we continued our dinner at leisure. We were served 
with four courses of nutritious food without soup. Having sat at the table 
for an hour and a half, I waited impatiently for an opportunity to take a 
walk ; but I found that what we had despatched had been merely the Bess- 
arabian zakuska, and that the Bessarabian dinner had not yet "begun. Two 
soups were then served, followed by seven different enormous heavy dishes. 
By way of tacit protest I refrained from touching the dishes served in this 
unexpected continuation of the dinner. I regarded the conduct of my host 
as an attempt upon my health. We rose from the table about seven o'clock, 
having sat for four hours." Urusov, op. cit., p. 136. 


Apart from his function of landowner, the typical pomyetschek is 
expected to bear his share in local administration. If he is a great 
landowner he will probably be marshal of the nobility of his guberniya, 
or he may serve as a district marshal, or as an honorary judge for 
a district, or he may be a member or the president of the Zemstvo 
Assembly. Sometimes these offices are filled conscientiously and 
efficiently. During the period prior to 1905 the Zemstvo Assem- 
bUes were composed very largely of men of liberal tendencies. They 
promoted on the one hand educational enterprises, and on the other 
sought to improve agriculture by employing the services of agronoms, 
whose function it was to advise about the improvement of agricul- 
ture. Frequently their relations with the central Government were 
those of not unfriendly critics. They enjoyed and availed them- 
selves of a considerable freedom of speech. But the agrarian move- 
ments of 1905 excited much anxiety among them. They began to 
see in the agrarian movement a force that might make for their 
impoverishment or even their ruin. Thus there came about the 
so-called " Righting of the Zemstvos," or their turning from an 
attitude of benevolent, though sometimes, perhaps, superciUous, 
interest in the peasantry, to one of extreme devotion to the Throne. 

In Bessarabia up till this moment the Zemstvos, led by enthusiasts 
among the nobility, had embarked in many enterprises which were 
designed to educate or in some way to serve the peasantry. These 
enterprises sometimes consisted in the erection in the casual Bessara- 
bian way of handsome buildings for various purposes — houses for pen- 
sioners, museums, asylums, and the like. Sometimes the funds for 
the erection of these came from the central Government, and some- 
times they came from the Zemstvo taxes. In spite of the good in- 
tentions with which these enterprises were conceived, they were 
constructed on a scale of magnificence which heavily taxed the 
Zemstvos to maintain. Thus, although some of them were works of 
utiUty, the Zemstvos were unable sometimes even to utiUze them, 
because of the continuous expense involved in their use.^ 

^ An instance of this is given by Prince Unisov, op. cit., p. 141. 



n Between the period of Emancipation and 1887, the arable land of 
I Russia increased 25 per cent. This increase was not, however, ex- 

! tended all over Russia ; in the Black Soil regions the arable land 
increased 50 per cent., while in the non-Black Soil it decreased 
10 per cent. The area of arable land in forty-six guberni of Euro- 
pean Russia (excluding from the fifty guberni Penzinskaya, Astra- 
khanskaya, Liflandskaya, and Donskoye oblast) was estimated in 
) 1887 at 107.3 miUions of dessiatines, or 28.2 per cent, of the total 
'area. In the Black Soil zone the proportion of arable land was 
55.2 per cent., and in the non-Black Soil regions 12.7 per cent. The 
proportion is highest in Khersonskaya gub., where it is 77.6 per cent. , 
and lowest in Arkhangelskaya gub., where it is o.i per cent. Of the 
total of arable land 62.5 milUons of dessiatines, or 58.3 per cent., was 
imder crop ; 23.5 millions of dessiatines, or 21.9 per cent., under 
annual fallow ; 6.6 millions of dessiatines, or 6.1 per cent., under 
grass, and 14.7 miUions of dessiatines under fallow for several years. 
This last is known as zalesh, or resting land.^ Peasant lands at that 
time (in 1887) were being ploughed more than lands in the hands of 
landowners. In peasant lands 61 per cent, was under seed, while 
in landowners' lands only 53 per cent. 

Between 1861 and 1887 the proportion of land imder winter and 
spring grains respectively altered considerably, the land under spring 
grains increasing. Spring wheat, e.g. increased by 39.5 per cent, in 
area, while winter wheat increased by only 7.5 per cent. 

1 Such land is common in intermediate "economies," not in large 
economies or in peasant holdings. 



In 1900, in the fifty guberni of European Russia, the area under 
crop was 71,276,925 dessiatines, distributed as follows : 


Rye 24,350,271 

Spring wheat 11,360,819 

Winter wheat 2,730,564 

Oats 13,853,117 

Barley 6,513,848 

Other crops 


Rye is the chief crop everywhere in Russia, except in the New 
Russian and Middle Volga (steppe) regions, where wheat predomi- 
nates. Maize is cultivated to the extent of 32.4 per cent, of the total 
arable area in Bessarabskaya gub. ; oats to the extent of 20 per cent, 
in the Middle Volga region and in the Black Soil zone, and barley 
55 per cent, in Arkhangelskaya gub} " Everywhere and for all plants 
the crops on landowners' lands yield more than on peasant lands." * 
The yields are highest in the Ad-Baltic region ; they are lowest in 
the New Russian district and in Minskaya, Astrakhanskaya, Samar- 
skaya, and Orenburgskaya gub. 

The yields from Russian agriculture fluctuate very greatly, yet 
over any long period of time there does not appear any tendency 
either to the increase or the diminution of the yields. Landowners' 
crops and peasants' crops fluctuate alike. 

The average of fifty guberni shows that the lands in peasants* 
hands produce 68.1 per cent, of the total yield, or more than two- 
thirds. The statistics of 5deld show that the increase is due, not to 
increase of crops, but to the increase of arable area. 

The cultivation of the sugar beet has spread over almost one-half 
of the guberni of European Russia. In the twenty-three guberni in 
which sugar beet is cultivated, there were in 1902-1903, 278 factories. 
In ten years, 1892-1902, the number of factories increased 19 per cent, 
and the area of plantations 73 per cent. The fields in cultivation 
increased 97 per cent. Poland gives the highest yield and the best 
beet ; the eastern region gives the lowest yield. Tobacco is culti- 

^ Chennak, L., in Brockhaus, Supplementary Volume, p. xliii. 
2 Ibid. 


vated in thirty guberni of European Russia. The principal seat of 
the cultivation is in Chernigovskaya and Poltavskaya gub. ; but it 
is also cultivated in the Caucasus, Trans-Caucasus, and in Poland.^ 
Tea is grown in Batumskoe district ; cotton is grown in Middle 
i Fertilizers are being increasingly used throughout European 
' Russia, natural manure being chiefly employed. Peasants are as a 
rule applying less manure than private owners, a natural conse- 
quence of the deficiency of cattle among the peasants. In the Black 
Soil zone the quantities of manure used by peasants and by land- 
owners respectively are 2000 and 2800 pMs per dessiatine. The use 
of artificial fertilizers is increasing yearly ; the imports of slag from 
Thomas furnaces and superphosphates have increased largely, while 
the production in Russia has also increased, some of the product 
being utilized in Russia, and a large quantity being exported. The 
total quantity of artificial fertiUzers consumed in 1901 is stated as 
6,800,000 puds. 

I Agricultural implements of modem character are being increas- 
ingly used. In 1900 there were 162 factories for manufacturing 
such implements, producing yearly 12,000,000 rubles worth. In 
addition there were imported in 1904 agricultural implements of the 
value of 18,903,000 rubles. Between 1896 and 1905 the weight of 
agricultural implements imported increased by 360 per cent. 

Cattle Raising. — In fifty guberni of European Russia there were 
in 1900, 113,775,000 head of all cattle, of which 18.4 per cent, be- 
longed to landowners and 81.6 per cent, to peasants. The propor- 
tions of different animals were as follow : In each 1000 head of all 
cattle in peasants' herds there were 173 horses, 289 head of homed 
cattle, 436 sheep, 100 swine, and 2 head of others. Landowners had 
proportionately fewer horses, more sheep, and more swine. In the 
Black Soil zone there are more sheep and fewer homed cattle, and 
in the non-Black Soil vice versa. 

The increase of ploughing has driven the sheep to the cheaper 
lands of Northern Caucasus and the south-east, so that in Euro- 
pean Russia the number of sheep has contracted from 14 to 9 million 
head. The deficiency in cattle experienced by the peasantry is 
shown in a general way in the following table : 

^ The total quantity of tobacco produced in 1903 was 6,169,000 ptids,^-) 
38 per cent, being of the finer qualities. Chermak, loc. cit. 



Head of Cattle 

PER 1000. 


Souls of 
both Sexes. 



Land suitable 
for Cattle. 








1880 . 


1 130 

















This table illustrates vividly the progressive decline of peasant - 
well-being, the number of all cattle per peasant houseyard having 
decUned within thirty years about 30 per cent. During the same 
period the number of working horses per 1000 dessiatines decUned 
from 163 to 126 per head, or 23 per cent. ; per 1000 working males 
from 904 to 629, or 30.5 per cent. ; and per 1000 houseyards from 
1329 to 920, or 30.5 per cent. Thus, in 1870, on the average every 
houseyard had at least one horse, now not nearly all houseyards have 
even one horse. In forty-three guberni of European Russia, accord- 
ing to the military horse census of 1899-1901, there were of each 
100 peasant houseyards 29.6 without horses, 32.2 with one horse, 
21.4 with two horses, and 17.8 with three horses or more. 

While European Russia has been impoverished in cattle, there 
has been a great development of cattle raising in Western Siberia. 
The immense prairie regions in the region of Omsk sustain enormous 
herds. Statistics of these are wanting ; but the exportation of 
butter from Siberia has already reached great dimensions, and the 
Siberian railway enables beef to be sent into the markets of European 
Russia in considerable quantities. Much remains to be done, how- 
ever, in improving the" breed of the cattle. 

Systems of Agriculture. — Great changes have been effected during 
recent years in the systems of agriculture in vogue in Russia. Up 
till ten or fifteen years ago exhaustion of the soil by continuous 
cropping may be said to have been the rule. Where the soil was 
enriched, this was effected by burning timber upon it, a wasteful 


method,^ which has come to be impracticable in all but the 
extreme northern parts of Russia, because timber has become 
scarce and dear. 

During the past fifteen years Russia has come to be divided into 
three regions : the timber region of the north, the central region, 
where the " resting land " system is adopted — a system involving 
leaving land in fallow for several years in succession, and the regions 
of the east and south, where the three field system is adopted. The 
latter system is, of course, the most advanced in an agricultural 
sense, whether the land left in fallow is treated with fertiUzers or not. 
The second system is the inevitable outcome of continuous cropping ; 
the land requires years to recover its productive powers.^ In the 
Moscow district there appears to be a tendency to pass from the 
three field system to a many field system. An extensive rotation of 
crops is of course possible only within a reasonable distance of an 
extensive market in which there is a varied demand. The organiza- 
tion of the market in products, even other than the great staples, 
has facilitated this change. On the peasant lands there is inevit- 
ably a tendency to produce exclusively those crops which are 
required for peasant consumption, viz. principally rye, wheat, oats, 
potatoes, and vegetables. The area of peasant land per household 
is too small for the production of any considerable surplus for sale. 
The peasant agricultural economy, is thus in general more varied, 
because it is more self-contained than the agricultural economy of 
the landowner, who cultivates his land by the aid of peasant 
labour, and who sells almost all the product. In Central and 
Southern Russia and in the Ad-Baltic, Polish, and north-eastern 
regions, the proprietors engage chiefly in the production of grain 
and potatoes for the manufacture of alcohol in their own distilleries, 
for sale to the Government, which possesses a monopoly for the sale 
of vodka. ^ Very few of the landowners devote themselves to cattle 
raising. The scarcity of peasant cattle is noticed elsewhere. 

1 The writer saw this method in practice in the north of Finland in 1 899. 
It is probably still employed there, but it is understood to be now unusual in 
European Russia. 

2 In the Black Soil regions continuous cropping has in the course of eighty 
years in some cases reduced the yield to an insignificant amount. This 
" mining " of the land is the usual practice in the United States and Canada. 
Unless it ceases impoverishment of the farmers there must ensue. 

^ In 1903 the number of such estates to which distilleries were attached 
throughout Russia was 1952. 


The Zemstvos have played an important part in the spreading of 
agricultural knowledge among the peasants, and also among the 
smaller landowners, who stood as much in need of instruction as did 
the peasants. Among the most active of the Zemstvos in this con- 
nection those of Moscow and Kharkov take a high place. Alto- 
gether the Zemstvos of European Russia, between 1895 and 1904, 
increased their expenditure on this account from about 1,000,000 
rubles to nearly 4,000,000 rubles. The Zemstvos found that in 
Russia, as elsewhere, the agricultural schools led their scholars away 
from peasant life. In order to counteract this tendency some of 
the Zemstvos devoted themselves to the organization of special 
courses of instruction in dairying and of lectures at country fairs 
upon agricultural questions. They have also estabUshed more 
numerous experimental stations and agricultural museums, and 
have organized more frequently agricultural exhibitions. They 
have also employed in large numbers agronoms, or agricultural ex- 
perts, whose services are placed at the disposal of peasants, and by 
these numerous local agricultural associations^ have been estabhshed. 
The Zemstvos have also assisted the peasants in certain localities in 
the struggle against quicksands, in drying up swamps, in irrigation,' 
and in the estabUshment of shops for the sale of agricultural imple- 
ments, artificial manure, and pure seeds, as well as workshops for the 
repair of agricultural implements. In addition to these activities 
the Zemstvos have done much to improve cattle breeding by estab- 
hshing breeding points and studs. They have also contributed to 
the encouragement and improvement of flax culture, grape growing, 
the cultivation of hops, &c. The Zemstvos have also organized the 
granting of small loans to peasants to enable them to adopt improved 
means of production, and to enable them to buy land.* 

Most of the Zemstvo statisticians have embraced their calling 
from ideaUstic motives. Many of them are intelligentsia who have 
left the universities voluntarily or compulsorily on account of their 
hberal views. Occasionally university professors work as Zemstvo 
statisticians, because the exercise of their functions brings them into 
direct contact with the conditions of the peasantry. Among them 
also are to be found many privat-docenten of the universities. 

^ There were 956 of these associations in Russia in 1906. 
' The Government has also engaged in extensive irrigation works in 
Turkestan, e.g. and has expended large sums in combating insect pests. 
* Chermak, loc. cit. 


The Zemstvo statisticians and the Zemstvo agronoms are not 
usually regarded with favour by the officials of the Central Govern- 
ment, nevertheless their statistics are universally regarded as 
reliable, and they are accepted for administrative purposes. The 
taxation of land is based upon the valuations made in the Zemstvo 
offices, and these valuations are founded upon the statistics fur- 
nished by the Zemstvo statisticians. 

In addition to private mortgages upon land, which in Russia are 
not registered in any public office, the following enormous indebted- 
ness had accumulated upon land up till ist July 1905 : ^ 

[ Mortgages upon land in the hands of the — Million Rubles. 

1. Nobility Bank 716.0 

2. Nobility Bank Special Department . . . 47.6 

3. Peasants' Bank 405.1 

4. Other Banks . 9594 

Total . . . 2128.1 

1 • 


' Groman, Agrarian Question and Agrarian Projects (Moscow, 1906), p. 39. 



The peasant produces primarily for his own needs. His land allot- 
ment, unless it is supplemented by land purchased or rented by him, 
excepting in the case of rich peasants, is insufficient to produce 
grain beyond these needs. Yet after harvest each year the peasant 
sells grain, even although he may reserve an inadequate quantity to 
maintain his family until the next harvest, and even although he 
may reserve no seed. Why does he do this ? The answer is that in 
the autmnn he requires money to pay his quit-rent and his taxes 
and to meet the principal or the interest of his other obligations. 
Ere long he has to go into the market to buy back his own or other 
grain, sometimes from the very persons to whom he has sold it. But 
the price of grain in August and September, when the granaries are 
full, is at its minimum ; in January or February, when exports have 
drawn off a large part of the crop and when consumption has dimin- 
ished the supplies, the price is usually higher, in the spring the price 
approaches its maximum. Thus the peasant sells in a cheap 
market and buys in a dear one. All this is so common that the 
practice is the subject of quaintly humorous jests among the 
peasants. After his manner, when the mujik loads his grain to 
take it to market, he addresses it : 

" Don't thou be sorry. Mother Rye ! that thy path is city- wards. 
In spring I will overpay ; but I will take thee back." 

" Don't be sorry, Oats ! that I brought you into Moscow. 
Afterwards I will pay three times more ; but I will take you home 
again." ^ 

This practice involves a very expensive form of credit. The 
peasant really pawns his grain in the autumn and redeems it in the 
spring or earher at a considerable cost for the loan. 

According to investigations conducted in 1895, the quantity of 

* " Towards the Theory of the Class Struggle," in Revolutsionnaya Rossiya, 
No. 34, 15th October 1903, p. 7. 

VOL. II 289 T 


breadstuffs, which barely sufficed to meet the needs of peasants, 
was found to be 19 fMs per soul, while the quantity required to 
meet these needs fully was 26.5 pMs per soul> Only in cases where 
the production in any group amounted to 26.5 pMs per soul could 
there be, properly speaking, any excess of grain for sale. 

In forty-six guberni of European Russia the following is the 
result of investigations conducted upon the basis of the normal 
quantities as indicated above : 




of Total. 

Peasants experiencing inadequate production for 

necessary consumption 



Peasants just secured — that is with an exact 

balance of production and consumption . 



Peasants having an excess of production over quan- 

tities required for consumption .... 



All of these figures are open to criticism, and the net conclusion 
dt subsequent inquiries of the same character is that they are too 
favourable, that in brief the numbers of peasants who do not pro- 
duce grain enough for their subsistence is considerably more than 
52 per cent. They must make up the deficiency by working upon 
land other than their own — an indication either that they have too 
4 little land, or that their methods of production do not utilize fully 
j what they have, or that the deficiency must remain with its inevit- 
'i able concomitants — reduced standard of hving and accumulating 
\l debt. The reduced standard of Hving expresses itself partly in the 
if purchase of foodstuffs of inferior nutrition — potatoes, oats, and 
/I barley, e.g. in the domestic manufacture of inferior kvass or turia, 
jlan indigestible mechanical mixture of water, flaxseed, and flour,^ 
I and partly in mere abstinence. 

1 The Zemstvo statistics disclose these conditions very clearly. 
The Central Black Soil region possesses the richest agricultural land 
in Russia, and yet these statistics show that even there the defici- 

^ Mares: "The Production and Consumption of Breadstuff s in Peasant 
Economy," in The Influence of Yield and Breadstuff Prices on some sides of 
Russian Economic Life, edited by Chuprov and Posnikov (St. Petersburg, 

i89S)» i. P- 35. 

* Cf. Statistical Description of Kalujskaya Gub. (Kaluga, 1898), i. pp. 
666 et seq. 



ency of grain is considerable in very many districts. In Orlovsky 
district, for example, the deficiency of grain, or the difference be- 
tween the quantity normally requisite for peasant consumption and 
the quantity available, is stated at 326,000 puds of rye. " Of the 
total number of peasant households, 84.6 per cent, have a deficit, 
and only 15.4 per cent, have a real excess." ^ Local investigations 
show that sales of foodstuffs by the peasants are " nearly always " 
followed by subsequent purchases. The difference between the 
autumn and the spring prices amounts to 24.6 kopeks per pud of 
rye, and 39.4 kopeks per pM of oats. Moreover, the prices in the 
villages and small towns are usually higher than they are in the 
cities. In other districts of the same gubernie, the same conditions 
obtain. In Bolkhovsky district, for example, in some villages all 
peasants have to buy breadstuffs every year. Some are reduced to 
the purchase of food by the middle of November, 20 per cent, are 
able to refrain from buying until Christmas, only a few are able to 
postpone buying until the middle of February. In the neighbouring 
/ gubernie of Tula, in the district of Tula, there is a deficiency of grain 
/I feven in the most fertile part of the district. In seven volosts of this 
/u district only 38.7 per cent, of all households have enough bread- 
/ I stuff for their annual consumption, 24.3 per cent, have enough for 
/ f from two to six months only, while 7.9 households rent their aUot- 
f ments to others and thus require to supply themselves by purchase 
exclusively. In Ryazanskaya gub., from which large quantities of 
ain are exported, the shortage of grain was 950,000 chetverti each 
year. In poor years some peasants begin to buy immediately after 
harvest, and by February three-fourths of the peasants are buying. 
In Mikhaelovsky district of this gubernie, the peasants in years of 
deficient crops, e.g. in 1897, began to buy in August, 16.1 per cent, 
of their households being under the necessity of doing so. By De- 
cember more than one half were buying. Cattle were sold by 
23 per cent, in order to secure money wherewith to buy food. These 
peasants were obhged during that year to sell 35.3 per cent, of their 
cattle. In that year also, after the cattle, the buildings began to be 
used up.* It became necessary to deroof the houses in order to 


* Book of Statistical Information about Orlovskaya Gub., viii. (Orel. 1895). 
Quoted by Lyatschenko, P. J., Outlines 0/ Agrarian Evolution in Russia (St. 
Petersburg, 1908), i. p. 389. 

* Lyatschenko, op, cit., p. 391. 


give the straw to the remaining cattle, while some were wholly 
utilized either for food for cattle or for fuel. The cattle were, of 
course, purchased by well-to-do peasants ; but there remained the 
impoverished famiUes, who were in effect ruined. 

In Samarskaya gub., a rich region, in 1899, although the crops 

[ were above the average and much above the crops of the im- 

(u mediately preceding years, the Zemstvo office reported a shortage 

f| of foodstuffs before the beginning of field work in 62.3 per cent, of all 

||| peasant statements. In some districts this percentage was very 

1 1 much higher, in Nikolayevsk for instance it was 86 per cent., and 

in Boozuluk 94 per cent. Immediately after the harvest, 25 per 

cent, of the peasant statements of the whole gubernie showed that 

the peasants concerned had recourse to loans for consumption, 

32 per cent, had to buy grain, and about 28 per cent, had to " work 

out." In years of average crop in this gubernie 38.6 per cent, of all 

houseyards have an excess of breadstuff s, and the remaining 61.4 

per cent, are compelled to sell and to buy again, or to buy inferior 


In Ostrogorjsky district of Voronejskaya gub., according to the 
"Zemstvo statistics of 1886, 58.1 per cent, of peasant households 
could not subsist upon their own grain production. The incidence 
of this shortage was as follows : ^ 

Per Cent, of 


Landless peasants 63.00 

Households having 1-5 dessiatines 
Households having 5-15 dessiatines . 
Households having 15-25 dessiatines . 
Households having over 25 dessiatines 


The statistics of Ufimskaya gub. show the same results in another 
way. If the whole of the yield of grain on landowners* estates is 
sent to market, and if the peasants have an excess of grain, calcula- 
ting the net excess of all peasants, the result for the whole gubernie 
would be as follows : 

Million pflds. 

Landowners' grain 4 

Surplus of peasant grain above normal requirements 
for consumption 2.5 


* Statistical Information for Voronejskaya Gub., iii. (Voronej, 1886). 



But the balance of grain exported from the gubernie is 14.2 
million puds, so that there is left a deficiency which presses wholly 
upon the peasants of 7.7 milUon puds} 

In many guberni the grain is purchased from the peasants by 
small dealers, who do not export it out of the district in which it 
is bought ; they simply store it, well knowing that the peasants 
will return and will require to pay an enhanced price for it. In 
Slobodskoy district of Viatskaya gub., for example, the difference 
between the price in autumn and the price in spring represents 
interest at the rate of 38 per cent, for rye, and of 62 per cent, for 
oats.2 Similar rates of interest might be calculated for other 

Even in Khersonskaya gub., which is one of the richest grain- 
producing regions in Russia, peasants having less than 11 dessiatines 
of land per household experience a deficiency of rye for consumption, 
while those who have less than 6 dessiatines have a deficit of wheat 
and millet as well. 

/ In Moskovskaya gub. the total requirement, at the very small 
jfigure of 16 pMs per soul, is 20,324,000 pMs. The ordinary yield 
i is about 7,555,000 puds, so that there is a normal deficit of bread- 
/ stuffs in the gubernie of 12,769,000 puds, or 10 puds per soul. That 
i is to say, that the population can be fed by means of breadstuff s of ft 
■' local production for only four months and a half in the year. Not- j / 
withstanding this general deficiency, rye is sold in autumn in order !; 
to provide cash for quit-rent payments at from 50-60 kopeks per || 
pM, and is bought in spring at 90 kopeks.^ 

These are the conditions in the best agricultural regions of Euro- *^ 
pean Russia. Into the forest regions of the north, where grain is ^ 
produced in small quantity, imports of grain must take place. / 

Statistical material regarding the internal trade of all countries is 
obtainable with difficulty, and in no case can it be held to be com- 
plete. The means of communication are varied and of some of 
them no records are kept. Moreover there is much urban and 
village interchange which is too elusive to record, yet which is, 
nevertheless, in the aggregate probably in general greater in magni- 
tude in respect to quantity and value than the export and import 
trade of the country. 

^ Lyatschenko, op. cit., p. 392-4. 

2 Ibid., p. 395. ' Ibid., p. 397. 


The change from a self-contained to a money economy, in spite 
of the increase in individual Hberty which such a change usually 
implies, may result in the increasing dependence of those whose 
productive powers and whose capacity for bargaining are aUke 
inferior. On the other hand, such a change may redound greatly 
to the advantage of those who possess either high productive or 
high bargaining powers, and still more of those who possess both. 
Thus in the village there speedily arise the two classes whose char- 
acteristic features have already been described — the poor peasants, 
who gravitate into a landless class, and the rich peasants, ktdaM or 
fists, who gradually accumulate botkiand and capital. 

Under a self-contained system, such as obtained prior to the 
emancipation of the serfs, production in the villages was varied, and 
for this reason relatively inefficient when compared with high 
speciaHzation in each of the varied activities. The weaver and the 
fruit-grower, who speciaHzes in his particular business, must in 
general produce more than the non-specialist can produce in either 
of the occupations in question. The life of the specialist may be 
more monotonous than the fife of the general producer, but it is 
within its limits more productive in a physical sense. Where there 
is a sufficiency of free and suitable land, and where the generally 
producing peasant is industrious, given good atmospheric conditions, 
the peasant will in general be able to subsist himself and even per- 
haps to accumulate a reserve in various products. Money economy 
introduces numerous factors of which the following are the most 
important : 

1. Exchange of products on terms determined partly by relative 
powers of bargain making and partly by conditions beyond the 
control of the parties to the bargain. 

2. Competition of buyers and sellers respectively within the 
local market, and competition of external buyers and sellers. 

3. The necessity of selUng in order to buy. 

4. The specialization of production, which is induced by the 
need of producing, not what is required to be consumed by the pro- 
ducer, but what can be sold. 

5. The acquisition by land of value which it did not formerly 
possess, because it was neither bought nor sold. This value is ac- 
quired by land because of the relative suitabihty of it for productive 


The reactions of those factors upon the character and the habits 
of the peasants who fall under the influence of money economy- 
result in the changes in the structure of peasant society which bring 
into reUef the agrarian problem. The social outcome of the process 
is the gradual dissolution of the self-sufficing rural community, its 
dispersal among towns and concentration in them, and the growth 
there of industries. These industries afford the means of producing 
a mass of industrial goods available for exchange for the means of 
Ufe which are produced by the remaining rural population. This 
process as a whole involves the creation of reserves, which are above 
all necessary in towns where, notwithstanding increasing faci- 
lities of commimication, suppHes of certain commodities are not 
immediately available, the scenes of their production being more or 
less distant. Only in highly developed urban societies are the 
supplies which are daily and hourly required for consumption de- 
hvered so constantly that large reserves become no longer necessary. 
But this continuous supply requires organization and means of 
commimication. These can only be created by means of capital, 
and thus urban and rural communities aUke come to be more and 
more dependent upon capital and upon those who control its move- 
ments. The urban communities require urgently goods for con- 
sumption, and the rural communities which devote themselves to 
the speciaHzed production of products for town consumption be- 
come themselves dependent upon the towns for those commodities 
which they need, but cannot produce because their productive 
powers are otherwise employed. \ 

The principal fact, then, which demands study in connection with \ 
peasant economy is the movement of the staples of urban consump- 
tion from the village to the town. 

The fundamentsd material for the study of the economical condi- 
tion of an agricultural country hes in the statistics of the reserves, 
if any, carried over from one year to another, and of the 5delds of 
successive years. Unfortunately, the first element is not readily 
ascertainable with exactitude for Russia.^ Comparison of yields of 

1 For the United States and for Canada reserves are customarily esti- 
mated by adding together the quantities of grain in the elevators and " in 
farmers' hands " on 31st August. The former is susceptible of exact state- 
ment ; the latter can be merely an estimate. Such statistics, however, leave 
out of account grain in the hands of millers and in transport, as well as all 



early dates is difficult owing to the questionable reliability of the 
earlier data ; but since 1883 statistics of yields are available.^ 

Two principal causes induce the movement of grain from the 
hands of the producer. These are the price which is to be obtained 
for it, and the need for selling it at any price which may be obtained. 
The scale of prices in different centres determines the direction of 
the movement. It is obvious that this direction is determined, not 
by the peasant when he sells the grain, because he cannot be sup- 
posed to be familiar with the markets external to his locaUty, but 
by the middleman who buys his grain, and who, keeping himself 
acquainted with the conditions of the grain trade, disposes of it in 
the market which yields him the greatest net advantage. Even 
the large landowners sell their grain through such middlemen. 

During the past ten or twelve years great facilities have been 
afforded by the Government and otherwise for the movement of 
grain. Stores and ** elevators " have been provided, and differ- 
ential railway rates have been instituted between interior producing 
centres and the great shipping ports of Odessa and Nikolayev. 

These differential rates are lower from the producing centres to 
the ports than they are from these centres to the interior consuming 
centres, so that it is more profitable to export grain than to send it 
to the cities for domestic consumption. The object of this poUcy on 
the part of the Government railways when it was initiated was to 
excite the exportation of grain in order to induce imports. Imports 
were, however, checked by a highly protective tariff. This conition 
was expected to result in the influx of gold, the special object of 
this desired influx being the rehabihtation of the paper ruble, which 
had become depreciated through over-issue. The policy has been 
successfully carried out ; an enormous hoard of gold has been accum- 
ulated ; the paper ruble has been completely rehabilitated ; indus- 
trial enterprise has been fostered ; the cities have grown rapidly ; 
and the reactions of all of these conditions have involved the growth 
of a discontented city proletariat on the one hand, and of an im- 
poverished peasantry on the other. 

^ An excellent account of the development of agricultural statistical 
methods is given by P. J. Lyatschenko in his Outlines of Agrarian Evolu- 
tion in Russia (St. Petersburg, 1908), vol. i. pp. 278 et seq. 



Side by side with the propaganda carried on in the villages by the 
social democrats and by the social revolutionary parties, there grew 
up in the villages a special peasant movement in the early summer 
of 1905. This movement appears to have arisen out of antagonism 
to an attempt on the part of ardent adherents of the bureaucracy to 
secure from the peasants' assemblies formal approval of the war, and 
of the projects of agrarian legislation known as the Plehve-Stishin- 
sky reforms. 

The leader in this attempt was Samarin, marshal of the Moscow 
nobility, who had distinguished himself also as leader of " The Union 
of the Russian People." ^ Samarin endeavoured, by careful mani- 
pulation, through the Zemskiye Nachalneke and the police, to obtain 
the passing of " sentences " of a patriotic character by the Zemstvos 
in the Bogorodsky district of Moscow Government. These ** sen- 
tences ** contained a declaration of the acceptance by the peasants 
of the principle of " unUmited supremacy of the landowners and 
authorities over the Russian peasantry." ^ By careful selection of 
obedient peasants it was possible in many cases to ^et such resolu- 
tions passed, but the attempt aroused antagonism among those who 
were already more or less infected with revolutionary ideas. Some 
of those who Uved in villages in the Bogorodsky district, associated 
with peasants living in the cities and with intelligentsia Uving in 
villages and in the cities alike, seem to have made up their minds 
to convoke a " congress " of peasants and their immediate sym- 
pathizers, for the purpose of counteracting the influence of Samarin 
and his concocted " sentences." This ** congress," which took place 

* " Krestyanski Soyooz." 

* Or " Black Hundred," cf. p. 499, infra. 

' V. Groman, ed. Materials on the Peasant Question. Report of Sessions 
of the Assembly of Delegates of the All-Russian Peasant Union, 6-ioth 
November 1901; (Moscx>w, 1905), p. 3. 



in Moscow in May 1905, contented itself with passing resolutions in 
effect simply negativing Samarin's " sentences." At the same time 
it was decided to form an " All- Russian Peasant Union." ^ The 
I formation of a bureau of organization was assisted by the " Agro- 
noms' and Statisticians' Union," which had in March pronounced 
itself in favour of the " transference of the land to the hands of the 
people." The result of this co-operation between the peasants and 
intelligentsia was the convocation of a " congress " or assembly, 
which was held in Moscow on 31st July and ist August 1905. The 
membership of this assembly consisted of one hundred peasant 
representatives from twenty-two guberni,^ and of twenty-five in- 

From the report of the proceedings at the first assembly it may 
be gathered that in the villages the universal topic was * * Land. ' ' This 
ancient topic had, however, through force of circumstances, acquired 
for the peasant a new meaning. Although there was no unanimity 
in the speeches or resolutions, the majority of the peasant repre- 
sentatives seem to have given their adhesion to the " sentence " 
of the peasants of the village of Ekaterinovka (in the Donyetsky 
district,^ in the Black Soil zone in South Russia). In addition to 
the poUtical demands, this " sentence " formulates the following 
agrarian programme. " To aboUsh all private property in land, 
and to transfer all private, fiscal, udelnya, monastery, and Church 
lands to the disposal of all the people. The use of the land is to be 
enjoyed only by those who by their families or by partnership, but 
without hired labour, cultivate the land, and to the extent only of 
such powers of cultivation." * 

Some thought that the abolition of private property in land 
should be accompHshed by means of redemption, others thought 
that redemption would be unjust, as already the landowners had 
received enough. Some argued that the redemption money should 

1 Groman, op. cit., p. 4. It will be recognized that this Union had nothing 
to do with the " Peasants' Alliance " mentioned, e.g. by Professor Milyukov 
in Russia and its Crisis (Chicago, 1905), p. 510. 

2 Vladimir, Vologda, Voronej, Vyatka, Kazan, Kostroma, Kursk, Moscow, 
Nijni Novgorod, Orel, Poltava, Ryazan, Saratov, Smolensk, Tula, Kharkov, 
Kherson, Chernigov, Ifaroslave, Black Sea, and Don ohlast. See Groman, 
op. cit., p. 4. 

3 District of the Don troops (mostly Cossacks). 

* Unsigned article summarizing the agrarian question in 1905 in Russkiya 
Viedomosti, ist January 1906. 


be paid by the State, not by peasants. Very rarely did anyone pro- 
pose to postpone the question until a constitutional and representa- 
tive assembly should be estabUshed. One representative said that 
it was " quite clear that land would not be given without redemption. 
It will be necessary to pay for it in blood. If this is the case, would 
it not be better to agree to redemption in order to avoid the shedding 
of peasants* blood ? " One pointed out the indirect social effects of 
confiscation in the annihilation of the credit of the landowners and 
loss to their creditors. This, he said, would create much hostiUty 
to the imion. A social democratic representative, who was present 
at this assembly, insisted that redemption should not be discussed. 
Eventually the assembly passed a resolution to the following effect : 

" That the land must be considered the common property of all '^ 
the people, that private property must be aboUshed, that the mon- 
astery. Church, udelnya, cabinet, and Tsar's lands must be taken 
without compensation, and that the lands of private owners must 
be taken partly with and partly without compensation ; that the 
detailed conditions of the mobihzation of private lands must be 
defined by the coming Constitutional Convention or Constituent 
Assembly." ^ 

By November 1905 the new peasants' movement had spread 
practically over all the guberni of European Russia ; and from the 
6th to the loth of that month another meeting of the peasants' 
representatives took place in Moscow. The reports of the proceed- 
ings at the meeting in August ^ and those of the meeting in Novem- 
ber ^ are of the greatest importance, because a comparison of them 
confirms the conclusion already stated, viz. that the peasants were 
really more extreme than the revolutionary parties, and that the latter . 
had been obliged to amend their programmes in accordance with 5 j 
the views of the peasants. As an integral element in the peasants' 
progranmie, there was the contribution of " banished " peasant 
working men already f amiUar, through their residence in the towns, 

1 Unsigned article summarizing the agrarian question in 1905 in Russkiya 
Viedomosti, ist January 1906. 

2 The " ProtokoUs " of the first assembly were published under the title. 
The Constituent Assembly oj the All-Russian Peasants' Union, issued by the 
Chief Committee of the Union (Moscow, 1905). The ProtokoU of the "As- 
sembly " of 6-ioth November 1905, together with the party progranmie, 
are given in full in Groman's Maieriali, cited above. He gives also a good 
analysis of both ProtokoUs. 

' Groman, op. cit., p. 33. 


with the revolutionary propaganda which had been going on there. 
Yet the net influence of the propaganda upon the peasant was 
inconsiderable. His fundamental views about land were the same 
as before. If he used new words, caught from the propaganda, 
he said always the same thing. ** The land is ours — give it to us, 
and let us cultivate it." 

The peasant probably did not see through the tactical manoeuvre 
I of the social democrats. Their evident purpose was to utilize the 
j peasant for the revolution, which to their mind was chiefly for the 
benefit of the urban artisan. The peasant must benefit, too, in the 
long run ; but, meanwhile, as a revolution in Russia was impossible 
without the aid of the peasant, it was necessary to utiHze him, and 
to utilize him it was necessary to compromise on points of economic 
doctrine. The social revolutionary party was not quite in the 
I same position, but they also undoubtedly felt that there was a 
i danger in the possible separation of the interests of the city pro- 
letariat and those of the peasantry. 
N The second note, dominant at least in the addresses of the repre- 
sentative peasants who attended the assembly, was volya or " will " 
— the will of the people. This word represented for them the whole 
question of their local autonomy and of what they conceived to be 
their rights, including as an important element the " right " to land. 
In the first assembly there were complaints of the Zemiskiye 
Nachalneke. " Those gentlemen stop all endeavours of the peas- 
ants towards education for instance." They ** stack " the " sen- 
tences." ^ Some complained also of the village priests. A peasant 
from Orel said that the landowners' lands came up close to the 
houses in the villages, so that it was impossible to prevent cattle 
from trespassing, and that fines for trespass were imposed daily .^ 

The first assembly decided, with only one dissentient voice, that 
the land should he considered as the common property of the whole 
nation.^ The first assembly also declared itself as in favour of the 
popular election of judges.* 

In the first assembly there is no definite tendency towards ad- 
vocacy of a change in the form of government, although there is 

^ A peasant delegate from Vologda. " Stack the sentences " is a vulgarism 
for arranging the resolutions as if cheating at cards. 

^ Groman, op. cit., p. 8. One ruble for a horse, 50 kopeks for a cow, and 
35 kopeks for a sheep. 

* Groman, loc. cit. * Ibid., p. 9. 



observable a vague idea of a possible " supremacy of the nation " ^ [ 
to replace the supremacy of the Tsar. This idea makes its appear- | 
ance vaguely and doubtfully in the speeches alone, not in the resolu- 
tions.* The peasant attitude upon the question of the autocracy 
may be gathered from the few quaint words of a peasant from 
Kursk in the first assembly : 

** The Tsar ought not to be touched. He is still breathing as 
something great to the peasants. This in its turn will be over." ^ 

This literally translated cryptic utterance almost needs inter- 
pretation. The Tsar, it means, must not be attacked in the pro- 
clamations and party manifestoes. He still exists as the ** Dear 
Father " of his people ; but, after all, in this benevolent rdle, he only 
just exists — breathes, and no more. In a short while all will be over. 
This may be taken as significant of the peasant mind at the date of 
the first assembly in July and August 1905. 

The peasants may thus be described, as they were at this date, as , 
being hopeful, calm, and moderate. They were anxious to get^^ 
more land and to obtain rehef from abuses of various kinds ; but 
they did not obviously connect the land scarcity and the abuses 
with the autocracy. They seemed to think that the autocracy was 
in any event, at the point of death from natural causes, and that 
therefore it was a matter which would be waste of energy to trouble 
about. The Zemski Nachalnek was a much more closely pressing 
autocrat than the Tsar.* It was necessary to protest against him. 
The village priest was troublesome, and his services were expensive. 
He also must be put in his place. The land scarcity question must 
be dealt with, and private property in land somehow abohshed.^ 

When the second assembly met on 6th November 1905 there was 
immediately observable a somewhat different tone. At the Novem- 
ber meeting the effect of the revolutionary propaganda in the villages 

^ Groman, op. cit., p. g. ^ Ibid. ^ Ibid. 

* The peasants were not alone in their belief that the Zemski Nachalnek 
was a petty autocrat. This was the view of the position taken, for example, 
by so renowned an exponent of autocracy as Prince Meshtchersky. See 
Quarterly Review^ article, " The Tsar," July 1904. 

^ This phase of opinion makes its appearance in all countries contempo- 
raneously with the emergence of definite schemes of expropriation. See, for 
instance, the scheme of " a progressive agrarian law " developed by W. Ogilvie 
in The Right of Property in Land (London, 1782) (republished London, 1891). 
in which he completely ignores the difficulties of the transition. Schemes of 
expropriation appeared about the same time, e.g. Thomas Spence's Lecture at 
Newcastle-on-Tyne (1775), reprinted London, 1882. 



becomes evident in the resolution calling upon the Peasants' Union 
not merely to lead in the agrarian question, but to agree with the 
urban proletariat, " with factory and mill workers, with railway and 
other unions and organizations formed to defend the interests of the 
toiling classes." The meeting also resolved to adopt as principles 
of immediate action, " Not to buy lands from owners at all. Not to 
rent lands. Not to enter upon land contracts of any kind with 
owners. In case the demands of the people are not compUed with, 
the Peasants' Union will have recourse to a general strike." ^ 

The peasants seemed to consider that the solution of the agrarian 
question was to be imposed upon the new State Duma, but they re- 
garded the Duma as bound to solve it in accordance with the mandate 
of the Peasants' Union. It was, therefore, necessary that they 
should formulate their demands unmistakably in order that the 
Duma might know what was necessary to be done. 

In the event of the prosecution of the Peasants' Union, the meet- 
ing resolved to refuse to pay taxes, to refuse to supply recruits and 
reservists for the army, to demand the pa5mient of all deposits from 
the State Savings Banks (the only Savings Banks), and to close all 
the State liquor shops — by destroying them.^ 

Thus, in spite of the possibility of agrarian reform of a more or 
less important character being proposed by the Duma, the agitation 
went on even more vigorously than formerly, the seizures of land by 
peasants and peasant riots continued, and at the close of the year 
fears came to be felt that a new Pugachevshina,^ or peasant revolt, 
was imminent. 

The Government threw a sop to Cerberus by remitting the in- 
stalment payment on account of the redemption, first by reduction 
to one-half for 1906, and then by aboUtion from 1907.* Had the 
Government made this concession earlier rather than incur great 
risk by delay until it was vociferously demanded by the revolu- 
tionary parties, a much better impression would have been created, 
and much bloodshed might have been saved. 

It is now necessary to turn to detailed reports from the villages 
in order to ascertain the actual course of events as well as the 
motives and phases of opinion which affected the masses of the 
peasantry during the autumn of 1905 and the spring of 1906. 

^ Russkiya Viedomosti, ist January 1906. 2 ii,id. 

* Pugachev. See supra. * By the ukase of 3rd November 1905. 



In the year 1906 the Imperial Free Economical Society of St. Peters- 
burg instituted an extensive inquiry into the condition of the peas- 
antry and into the facts of the discontent and disturbances among 
them which manifested themselves in 1905. These inquiries were 
conducted by means of a series of questions submitted to persons 
in different districts in forty-eight guberni of European Russia. 
Altogether 1400 answers were received. These answers inevit- 
ably vary very much in value ; but sometimes they amount to an 
exhaustive account of the subject so far as the districts in question 
are concerned. Before attempting to draw any general conclusions 
from the voluminous evidence which is presented in the Transactions 
of the Society, it seems well to give examples of some of the details 
which this evidence contains.^ 

The group of reports from the guberni of Novgorod and Pskov 
has been analyzed and reported upon by M. Rikachov. He remarks 
that the best of all the reports is the detailed description of the 
agrarian movement in Byelozyersky district, Novgorodskaya gub., 
by S. S. Kholopov, until recently chief of the Zemsivo Board of 

The report was written in October 1907 ; it refers especially to 
the agrarian movement in 1905-1906. The movement began in 
November 1905. It affected almost the whole district ; but it was 
especially strong in the Markovskaya, Megrinskaya, and Churinov- 
skaya volosts. The people of Markovskaya volost had an old standing 
grievance against a timber firm in respect to a piece of land which 
they held had been a " gifted allotment," and which had not been cut 
off from the e^ate of the pomyetschek from whom the timber firm had 

^ Transactions of the Imperial Free Economical Society, Nos. 3-5, May- 
June 1908 (St. Petersburg, 1908). 

2 Independent inquiries about Mr. Kholopov show that although he is 
a man of liberal tendencies, his report is singularly free from bias. 



bought their property. It does not appear that this dispute was 
brought into court ; but between 1890 and 1900 ^ the peasants re- 
taliated upon the firm by cutting timber upon the disputed land, 
regarding it as common property. The firm appealed to the Govern- 
ment, and several peasants were arrested by ** administrative order '* 
and sent to Siberia for settlement. The cutting of timber was 
stopped ; but the peasants continued to regard themselves as 
imjustly treated.2 

In the same way, prior to the recent disturbances, a dispute arose 
between the peasants of the villages of Sorky and Malakhova and 
the owners of the estate upon which these villages were situated, the 
Messrs. B. *' From old time " the peasants had " possessed," in 
addition to their allotments, a ** waste," extending to about 1200 
dessiatines, although they had no documents to show that they 
were entitled to possession. In the nineties the manager of Messrs. 
B. claimed possession of this land and began to prevent the peasants 
from using it. He acted resolutely, ordering the hay which had 
been cut upon the land by the peasants to be destroyed.^ This 
action seemed likely to lead to violence when the District Circuit 
Court decided, on the ground of long possession, that the " waste '* 
belonged to the peasants. An appeal was taken to a higher court, 
and it was there decided in favour of Messrs. B. While the affair 
was in dispute, the peasants cut timber upon the land. The police 
seized the timber and took it back. Then the peasants were ac- 
cused of offering armed resistance to the police, and some were 
sentenced to imprisonment. Ultimately Messrs. B. sold the dis- 
puted land to the peasants through the Peasants' Bank. In other 
places in the same district there were similar disputes about land, 
fisheries, and the like. They usually ended, as in one of the cases 
above mentioned, in some compromise, the subjects in dispute being 
sold to the peasants through the Peasants' Bank. In one of the 
above cases and in many others, painful memories remained of 
imprisoned and expatriated peasants. The peasants had often no 
doctmientary evidence to present in support of their claims. They 

1 The writer is informed by a resident of this volost at the time that the 
dispute came to a head in 1895. 

2 A new survey was ordered in 1907, and the firm offered to surrender 
part of the land in its possession. Kholopov, Transactions, No. 3, p. 266. 

3 The writer is informed by a peasant that this manager was a German- 
Russian, " very strict and unsociable with his peasant neighbours." 


founded these upon tradition, long possession, or established usage ; 
and " they were firmly satisfied that they were claiming justly." ^ 
The general movement of 1905 began in the Byelozyersky district 
quite independently, no similar movement being observable in the 
surrounding districts. But Mr. Kholopov says that it is possible 
that the newspaper accounts of the agrarian movement in South 
Russia " gave a push to it." ^ 

The movement began in November 1905 by the cutting of timber 
upon the lands of private owners and upon those of the State. 
Secret stealing of timber had been previously practised, but now 
the illegal cutting was open, whole villages participating in it. In 
Markovo the greater part of the land of the volost belongs to two 
proprietors — one the timber firm above mentioned, and the other a 
timber dealer ; and the cutting was performed chiefly on their lands. 
" The previously existing acute relations with the firm and the beUef 
of the people in their right to the use of the estate, made the peas- 
ants very resolute." The peasants cut openly and to a great ex- 
tent. The local administration tried ineffectually to put a stop by 
persuasion to this wholesale cutting, and the Governor of the 
gubernie went down to the place, but the peasants treated him 
discourteously, and told him that they intended to go on with their 

The Zemstvo Board attempted to influence the peasants by a 
proclamation in which the poverty of the peasants was admitted, 
together with the need for additional allotments of land. It was 
pointed out that representative government was approaching, and 
that no long time could elapse before the position of the peasants 
must be improved. Therefore violence and its inevitable result, 
punishment, were ahke unnecessary. The proclamation pointed 
cut that appHcation had been made for military force, that that 
application had been granted, and that violence would be punished, 
while at the same time it would be represented that the people were 
not ripe for freedom. The proclamation also said that all poUtical 
parties, with the exception of the " Black Hundred," ^ united in 
deprecating violence. But the peasants were not moved by these 
pacific representations, and the proclamation was torn up in the 
villages. The outcome of the timber-cutting of Markovo was 

^ Kholopov, report cited, p. 266. 

* Ibid., p. 267. * Cf. p. 499, infra. 



the death of the local chief of poUce after a severe beating,^ the 
arrival of troops, arrests, banishments, and the seizure of the illegally 
cut timber. 

In Megrinskaya volost the movement had other features. 
The whole of the land of this volost was formerly State or 
Treasury land. There were no pomyetscheke in the volost, and 
the peasants were all formerly State peasants. At the Emanci- 
pation the peasants received allotments, otherwise all the land 
belongs to the State. Under the Emancipation arrangements 
the peasants of this volost, Hke nearly all the peasant population 
elsewhere, received in allotment less land than they had used 
under the bondage system. A considerable part of their former 
possessions was " cut off " and remained in the hands of the 
Treasury. Seven of the nineteen villages of which the volost is 
composed are situated on the shores of Byeloye Lake, and the 
peasants of these villages are fishermen as well as farmers. The 
remaining twelve villages are inland, and for the peasants of 
these, agriculture is the principal means of livelihood. The 
movement arose in the farming villages. The land formerly 
cultivated by the peasants prior to Emancipation, which had 
been " cut off," had been allowed to go out of cultivation, and 
had been afforested. Upon it during the forty years since Emanci- 
pation there had grown up a quantity of building timber (large 
pine), and the State began to sell this timber to dealers. ** The 
peasants of Goroditschsky Parish could not accustom themselves 
to the idea that the land upon which this timber was growing 
was not their own possession " ; ^ and therefore, when the 
dealers who had bought the standing timber from the Treasury 
began to cut it, the peasants protested. The work was 
stopped, but the Treasury did not abandon the land. In 
November 1905 the peasants resolved to enforce what they 
considered their rights upon these forest sections, and by 
^'general consent of the villages" began openly to cut down the 
trees. The Treasury manager tried to persuade them to stop 
cutting, but without success. A high police functionary (Stan- 
ovoy prestav, chief over several volosts) was arrested by the peasants 
and kept in durance for two days. The peasants proposed to sell 

1 He was really an employ^ of the timber firm. 
* Kholopov, report cited, p. 268. 


the timber to dealers.^ The results were the same as in Markovskaya 
volost. Troops were brought, and numerous arrests were made. In 
this case, however, " administrative order " was not employed. 
The accused were brought before the ordinary court nearly two 
years after the offences were committed. Of sixty-six accused, 
eleven were found not guilty, and the remaining fifty-five were sent 
to prison or to " penal battalions " in the army. Among those who 
were found not guilty was a local teacher who had been regarded by 
the authorities as the leader of the movement. He had been in 
prison for more than a year and a half. 

In Churinovskaya volost, however, affairs took a happier turn. 
The chief of the Zemstvo Board persuaded the peasants to agree to 
stop arbitrary cutting, provided he obtained permission for them 
to cut what they required for repairing their houses. He did so, 
and the arbitrary cutting was stopped. 

But elsewhere arbitrary cutting of timber took place all over 
the district. No assessment of the damage can be accurately 
made. Landowners even can estimate the damage to their estates 
only approximately. Mr. Kholopov says that it is equally im- 
possible to state precisely what was the dominant motive in the 
minds of the peasants at the time. The movement appears to him 
to have been " spontaneous and original." It was not regulated by 
any plan worked out beforehand or by any external influences, 
but there appeared to be an underlying current of knowledge about 
the approach of freedom and about the reorganization of the State. 
With this knowledge in their minds the peasants rushed instinc- 
tively to get what they wanted. Moreover, the bulk of the timber 
lands in the Byelozyersky district was the property of wealthy 
companies, which were being further enriched by the exploitation 
of these estates. It is significant to notice that, excepting in the 
single instance of the Churinovskaya volost, where, after all, the 
proceedings were easily stopped, the smaller estates belonging to 
individual owners were not touched. The peasants recognized 

* This may have been actually carried out in this case, but in the Mar- 
kovskaya case, I am informed that the peasants immediately proceeded to 
build ezhas with the cut timber, showing that they probably really needed 
it. Only kulakiy or " fists," are said to have been able, by means of hired 
assistance, to cut more timber than they really needed. An ordinary peasant 
family of four persons with two horses could not cut and drive, under the 
conditions at the time, more than the family could use. 


that the pomyetscheke on these small estates lived in a modest way, 
and even had dif&culty in making their income meet their neces- 
sary expenditure. The peasants refrained from touching the 
estates of such owners as they knew to be poor, but they attacked 
the estates of the rich owners, and even those of owners not very 
rich, and they attacked also the estates of some of those owners 
with whom they had been on good terms. Some of those whose 
property was attacked had been looked upon by the peasants as 
their defenders, and some of them had been elected by means 
of peasant votes to represent the peasant interests in the State 

Mr. Kholopov says also that the " cutters " of timber saw in 
the movement not merely a means of satisfying the immediate 
needs of their households, but a means of enriching themselves as 
well. This was apparent from the circumstances that " cuttings " 
on State and other lands were performed by villages which had 
their own uncut forests, and that timber in excess of the peasant 
requirements was exposed for sale. Finally, the movement died out 
last in the district round a town where timber might readily be sold. 

The attitude of the proprietors towards these occurrences varied. 
Pomyetscheke generally tried to persuade the peasants to desist 
from " arbitrary cutting," while the large timber firms applied to 
the Government for protection against depredations upon their 

In addition to the arbitrary cutting of trees in this district, 
the movement also expressed itself in the discontinuance of pay- 
ment of taxes by the peasants. This tax-boycott was applied 
not merely to State taxes, but also to the Zemstvo and Mir or local 
taxes. Subsequent fiscal arrangements had determined that the 
local ofiices receive all taxes, and that, after its full quota had been 
retained by the local administration, the balance only was payable 
to the State Treasury. In the district in question, out of each 
100 rubles payable in taxes, the local administration should receive 
about i6J rubles, and the State about 83J. Since the total collec- 
tions in the district in 1905 amounted to only 37 per cent., the 
amount left for the State was about 25 per cent, of the assessed 
total of the State taxes.^ The tax-boycott was an entirely new 

1 In 1905 in the Byelozyersky district the total assessed taxes amounted 
to 35,000 rubles. Of this only -^7 per cent, was paid. In 1906 50 per cent. 


feature in the agrarian movement. The peasant communities in 
the district had been, prior to 1905, most punctual taxpayers. 
Mr. Kholopov says that the boycott could not be ascribed wholly 
to the desire to embarrass the Government. It was due, he says, 
partly to the low yield of grain in the district and to the high prices 
of grain,^ and partly to the inactivity of the administration. At the 
beginning of the movement the Government *' lost its head and 
avoided all occasion of activity against the peasants." The fact 
seems to be that they were afraid of a general peasant uprising, 
and were naturally anxious to avoid any friction that might provoke 
such a movement. Its attention was, moreover, concentrated 
upon the rooting out of kramola (sedition). In 1907, however, 
the Government began to set to itself the task of collecting taxes. 
This it accomphshed by expeditionary forces which marched upon 
the villages. 

It has already been noticed that the timber trade is the im- 
portant industry of the Byelozyersky district. Large numbers of 
the peasants are employed in feUing the timber and in " driving " 
the logs on the rivers. The logs are committed to the streams 
in the forests and allowed to float to the sawmills in the lower 
reaches. " Driving " consists in disengaging the logs when they 
become jammed or when they become lodged on the banks. In the 
spring of 1906, when the " drives " were in progress, the peasants 
whose villages were situated upon the driving rivers made artificial 
obstacles and stopped the " drives,*' at the same time demanding 
that they should all be employed by the timber merchants at 
increased rates of wages. Sometimes they demanded, also, compen- 
sation for the passing of timber on the rivers flowing through their 
land, on the ground that their meadows were damaged by logs 
lodging upon them during floods. These demands, according to the 

was paid. (Kholopov, report cited, p. 269.) I am informed that in this 
distnct in 1909 many peasants were still refraining from paying their taxes, 
even although the State redemption tax had been abolished. The reason 
alleged for this boycott is that the taxes are not considered by the peasants 
to fall equably upon themselves and the landowners. When the peasant 
defaults in payment of his taxes, his movable goods are distrained ; when 
the landowner defaults, he is allowed to remain in debt to the Zemstvo. 
The fiscal reasons for this are obvious, but the practice constitutes a 

^ Although some grain is produced in the district, there is not at any time 
sufi&cient for the normal consumption of the population. Grain is therefore 
imported into the district from other producing areas. 


timber merchants, were excessive. The stoppage of the " drives " 
occasioned loss, and where, as sometimes occurred, the " booms " 
which impomided the timber were damaged and the workmen 
who were attending to the drive driven away, the situation became 
even dangerous. In addition, " arbitrary driving '* of timber by 
the peasants themselves was resorted to. The timber was " driven " 
to the next village, which in turn presented similar demands, and so 
on. These proceedings took place upon almost all the " driving " 
rivers of the district. Sometimes the timber merchants and the 
peasants arrived at an agreement, but more frequently the miUtary 
were called into the district. 

Besides these unusual interferences with the ordinary routine, 
there were numerous strikes for higher wages, the strikers some- 
times demanding that peasants of villages other than their own 
be not permitted to work. Such strikes were, however, usually 
brought to an end by mutual concessions. 

All these occurrences were regarded so seriously by the timber 
merchants that they seem to have contemplated discontinuing 
their operations until the state of the peasant mind changed. This 
would have been a serious matter for the district, as timber 
" driving " and the labour connected with it form the sole occupa- 
tion of the peasants in winter. 

Another detail from Mr. Kholopov's report has certain sig- 
nificant features. This is the case of the so-called fyaglo promish- 
lennek movement. The Byelozyersky Circle Canal, which passes 
roimd Byeloye Lake, gives emplojmient to about 1500 men and 
3000 horses in drawing barges. These people are known as tyaglo 
promishlenneke. Each spring, before the opening of navigation, 
at a definite date there begins registration of all who are wiUing 
to engage in this industry. The persons so registered form a society 
or corporation. There is no limit to the number of persons who 
may register, but the number of horses which each registered 
person may employ is Hmited. Formerly the number of horses 
was five, now it is three. The corporation thus organized elects 
an alderman or starosta. This starosta manages all the affairs 
of the corporation. He receives payment from the shipowners 
for services rendered by its members, hands over to the serving 
members the stipulated amount, arranges the rotation of work of 
the members, notifies them when their turn of work comes, and 


manages the capital of the corporation. The price for the work 
is fixed by the Department of Ways and Communications at St. 
Petersburg together with the Ribinsk Exchange Committee. 
The estabHshed rate is 7J rubles for each horse for the course of 
63 versts or return. In normal years more than 3000 ships pass 
through the canal. Each ship requires an average of four horses, 
so that the total summer earnings of the corporation amount to 
upwards of 100,000 rubles.^ 

In 1905 the Department of Ways and Communications, acting 
in concert with the Ribinsk Exchange Committee, decided to 
replace the horse-driven barges gradually by barges propelled or 
towed by steam. The tyaglo promishlenneke were disturbed at 
the prospect of losing their profitable employment, and at the 
passing of the business into the hands of " rich steamship owners." 
They held numerous meetings, and uttered threats against the 
shipowners and against the Department of Ways and Communica- 
tions. It seemed Ukely that attacks would be made upon any 
steamships that might make their appearance on the canal. The 
President of the Zemstvo intervened in order to prevent this ; but, 
notwithstanding, steam tugs which entered the canal were bom- 
barded from the banks by stones and by rifle-shots. This led to 
their withdrawal and to a modification of the scheme of the Govern- 
ment Department, which, however, did not abandon the idea of 
introducing steam power. In 1906 the experiment was repeated, 
the steam tugs being placed under guard of gens d'armes. But 
the attacks continued, some of the gens d'armes being beaten. In 
1907 a peasant who had thrown a stone at a steamboat was killed 
and several men were arrested. The struggle died out from natural 
causes. Owing to the falling off of trade by the canal, the use of 
steamboats was abandoned and the customary method of hauling 
by horse-power continued. 

The above incidents seem to be characterized by spontaneity. \ 
There is no evidence that they were in any way connected with 
movements elsewhere, or that the disputes were fomented by I 
outside influence or by propaganda. Had they not been con- 
temporaneous with similar and different movements elsewhere, , 
they would have been regarded as isolated phenomena. Yet they I 
reveal, if not a change, at all events a development which had been i 

^ About 66 rubles per man per year. 


I going on among the peasantry. There is evident in all of the 

I cases a certain spirited resistance to those in authority, and a 

1 widespread determination on the part of the peasants to take 

; their own measures for the purpose of securing their own interests. 

We now pass to some cases in which the general movement 

which was going on all over Russia seems to have influenced the 

peasants of the Byelozyersky district. 

Churinovskaya volost, occupied entirely by former State peasants, 
surrounds the town of Byelozyersk. The peasants of this volost, 
being habitually in contact with the townspeople, are reported 
to be more developed intellectually than those in the more rural 
districts. The peasant youths frequently continue their educa- 
tion beyond that afforded by the elementary schools, and pass 
into the towns as clerks, &c., "entering into intellectual employ- 
ments." By this means they came to take a lively interest in the 
poHtical struggle, and found their S5nTipathies engaged by the 
" programmes " of one or other of the parties of the " Left." The 
domiciliary searches, arrests, banishment of peasants for attending 
political meetings, the " underground " literature which was being 
widely disseminated, all had an effect upon their minds. Their 
connection with their peasant famiUes, maintained through close 
proximity to them, in spite of their urban employment, enabled 
them to influence the immediately surrounding peasantry. Mr. 
Kholopov conjectures, without being certain upon the point, 
that these conditions led to the germination among the peasants 
of Churinovskaya volost of the idea that they should organize them- 
selves, and should join the Peasants' Union. At all events they 
did organize themselves, and a committee was formed of members 
of the union, which " determined to adopt the tactics of one of 
the parties of the ' Left.' " Although Mr. Kholopov does not 
say so, the party whose tactics they adopted was clearly the social 
revolutionary party. 

Thus in the hay-harvest time of 1906 the peasant renters of 
meadows belonging to " merchantress " B and to peasant C,^ 
offered a lower price for hay than had previously been customary, 
with the threat that, if this lower price were not accepted, the 
meadows would be mown, and nothing would be paid. The owners 
refused the price offered, and the meadows were mown ; but the 

* This peasant was a kulak, or " fist." 


hay was taken away from the peasants by troops. This *' experiment 
in expropriation " was not repeated in this district. Some cases of 
arson were reported, but they were not traced to the members 
of the Peasant Union ; they were attributed to " separate disquiet 

In other volosts there were numerous cases of arson and attempted 
arson, and buildings of private owners and reserves of grain and 
hay were damaged or destroyed. Mr. Kholopov dechnes to accept 
the responsibiUty of an estimate of the losses occasioned by these 
occurrences, or to decide whether in particular cases the fires were 
due to intention or to carelessness ; but there were certain quite 
indisputable cases of firing with a purpose. 

Opinions vary very widely upon the most prevalent motives 
for these acts. Some peasants explain that they were acts of per- 
sonal resentment ; others that they were intended to terrorize 
the owners in order that they might surrender their possessions ; 
others that the disorderly acts were intended to proclaim to the 
Government the dissatisfaction of the peasants with their existing 
organization, this method of protest being employed because they 
conceived that they had no other ; still others that the acts were 
a form of revenge for the " Black Hundred " ^ pogroms and for the 
tendency of that group to assist the Government in a reactionary 
policy involving administrative repressions. The first alleged 
motive, viz. personal resentment, has been illustrated ; the second, 
the desire to terrorize the landowners, appears, according to Mr. 
Kholopov, a real motive only in the arson cases in Churinovskaya 
volost, although there does not appear to have existed any real 
object in such acts. He thinks that they were inspired by " ideals " 
— that is to say, by the state of mind into which the people were 
brought by the propaganda which was going on in the provinces. 
The estates upon which the arsons were committed are, with one 
exception, too small, and have upon them too small a number 
of peasant households for any important oppressive exploitation to 
have taken place. As regards the other forms of the movement in the 
district, rumours of a rent-boycott, or no-rent movement, were not 
confirmed. There was no " outside element " in the district, so that 
whatever was done seems to have been due either to original ideas 
arising in the minds of the peasants themselves, or to ideas derived 

* Cf. p. 499. infra. 


from the propaganda communicated to them through Uterature or 
through members of peasant families who had in some way come 
in contact with the general movement. From the details it is 
apparent that in some cases there was a preUminary agreement 
among the peasants to carry out the disorderly acts. The only case, 
however, in which such a preUminary agreement was the subject of 
a formal sentence was the case of Goroditschsky Parish, in 
Megrinskaya volost}- 

The administrative authorities seemed to entertain the idea 
that the movement was originated by local teachers and Zemstvo 
ofl&cials, and a number of these were arrested and banished by 
" administrative process." As they were not brought before a 
court, they had no opportunity of defending themselves, save in 
the Megrinsk case, which has already been referred to. In that 
case the accused teacher was found not guilty. Mr. Kholopov, 
however, says that it cannot be denied that the teachers and Zemstvo 
officials, who form the class of village intelligentsia, did make the 
people aware of the general movement for political reform, and 
also of the principal points in the party struggle which was in pro- 
gress. Immediately after the issue of the manifesto of the Tsar 
of 17th October 1905,^ meetings were organized in the district by 
the intelligentsia. At these meetings newspapers and party pro- 
grammes were read and discussed. The meetings were held openly 
in the schools, and were attended by alj classes of the village com- 
munities. Mr. Kholopov says that he attended several of these 
meetings, and that he formed the impression that the character 
of the people who attended them formed the best guarantee against 
any call to violence being made, that they served to draw the 
different classes more closely together, that the controversies 
showed how much preliminary discussion was necessary upon the 
extremely intricate social and economic questions which were in- 
volved, and that for this reason these meetings formed an important 
means of political education. 

But soon after the issue of the Manifesto of Liberties the meetings 
were forbidden, and the organizers of them were arrested and placed 
in prison. This did not put an end to discussion ; it was merely 
driven underground. Secret meetings were held in the forests, 

* This case was investigated in court, where the fact in question came out. 
2 Cf . infra, p. 493. 


and secret plots were hatched. The action of the administration 
had deprived the movement of the moderating influence of the 
intelligentsia, whose members did not take part in these proceedings. 

Arrests by " administrative order '* were followed by reprisals on 
the part of the peasantry. PoUcemen were attacked, and some 
were killed. 

These details from Mr. Kholopov's report may be supplemented 
by some additional information derived by the writer from village 
intelligentsia in the district in question. 

The influence of teachers was probably greater in Markovskaya] 
volost than anywhere else within the Novgorodskaya gub. This/ 
circumstance arose from the Uberal character of the Zemstvo admini- 
stration, during the preceding twelve years, under Mr. Kholopov 
himself. He had appointed '* quick " young teachers, drawn 
from the ranks of the local peasaliUy, and lllJiiiy new sdiuols had 
been opened. These young teachers, belonging to local peasant 
famiUes, were very close to the peasants in their interests, and 
their education gave them considerable influence in their communi- 
ties. This influence was exercised in many ways, but among 
them was the part which the teachers took in the skhod, or assembly 
of the mir. The clerk of the mir, although capable of drawing 
up the " sentences " or decrees of the skhod when they related 
to simple routine business, was frequently unable to draw up the 
more extended and formal " sentences " which now began to be 
passed by the skhod in relation to the interests of the community. 
The teacher was thus often called in to perform the functions of 
legal draughtsman for the " sentences " of the skhod. This gave 
the teacher a peculiar influence, and there is no doubt that the new 
spirit, which might be called self-assertiveness or class conscious- 
ness, exhibiting itself among the peasantry during recent years 
was due largely to the influence of the teachers.^ 

Up till 1905 the pomyetscheke of the district, with few excep- 
tions, were Hberal in their tendencies. They were responsible 
for the election of Mr. Kholopov as President of the Zemstvo Board, 
and they supported him in his educational activities. In that 
year, however, they reaUzed that the education of the peasants 

^ On the occasion of the visit of the Governor of Novgorodskaya gub.. 
Count Medem, above referred to, he was met by a band of village youths 
carrying red flags and singing revolutionary songs, led by the teacher. 


was leading them to assertions of equality, and that the privileges 
of the upper classes were becoming serious matters of discussion 
in peasant " spheres." They realized, also, that their material 
interests were likely to suffer if the peasants continued to agitate 
about a redivision of the land and a readjustment of their relations 
to the landowners. Private interest clearly conflicted with their 
political principles, and the latter gave way. The landowners of 
the district thus reversed their policy, and, being masters of the 
Zemstvo, owing to the small share of influence which the peasants 
exercised, they were able to sweep away the liberal members of 
the local administration, and to elect others whose opinions were 
in conformity with those which they had just formed. Among 
the landowners, also, there were some whose social and poUtical 
ambitions were served by supporting the central authority at a 
critical juncture. Private economical interests and their ambi- 
tions thus together induced them to throw the weight of their 
influence on the side of the reaction. They ** killed two hares with 
one shot," pleasing the Government and acquiring influence in the 

Another reason for the collapse of the peasant movement in 
the Byelozyersky district is to be found in the growth among the 
peasants of a class which has frequently made its appearance in 
such movements. This is the class of peasant ** informers," or^ 
in Russian terms, " provocators." These peasants, desiring to 
ingratiate themselves with the authorities, denounce their peasant 
acquaintances, or even invent conspiracies for the purpose of 
entrapping unwary enthusiasts.^ 

The general outcome of this situation was a complete change 
in local administration, and especially in educational policy. The 
" quick " young teachers,^ themselves trained in the Zemstvo 
schools, were dismissed, and their places were taken by young 
men and women educated in the schools and seminaries of the 

^ The Russian axialogue of the proverb, " killing two birds with one 

* A highly intelligent peasant of revolutionary tendencies, speaking of 
this matter, went so far as to suggest to me that treachery and despotism 
are both deeply engrained in the Russian people. He thought that they were 
inherited from Tartar times. Disagreements among the peasants about the 
division of the loot of the estates appeared in some districts. 

3 From the revolutionary point of view, there were two types of teachers, 
the " quick " and the dead. 



Holy Sjmod, and therefore well indoctrinated in the Greek Catholic 
faith and in extreme loyalty. The whole current of Ufe in the 
district had thus undergone a series of changes. Up till 1905 the 
landowners were liberal and generally philanthropic, encouraging 
the education of the peasants and sharing in plans for their wel- 
fare. From 1905 they threw themselves into the arms of the 
reaction, and turned the whole of the Zemstvo activities into other 
channels than formerly. 

The description of the movement in Byelozyersky district given 
above may be held to apply generally to all the northern guberni 
of European Russia, saving those in the extreme north, where 
"^sQonditions are exceptional. 

We now turn to similar inquiries into the causes and course 
of the movement in the central agricultural region. As a type of 
these we may take the analysis of the answers by correspondents 
of the Imperial Free Economical Society as composed by Mr. S. N. 
Prokopovich.^ His report deals especially with Tambovskaya gub. 
From this gubernie there were twenty-two answers, seventeen of 
which dealt with the agrarian movement. 

The movement seems to have begun by arbitrary pasturing of 
cattle by peasants in the fields of landowners in Ivanovskaya volost. 
In the last days of October more serious manifestations occurred in 
Uvarovskaya and afterwards in Potgorinskaya volosts. These mani- / 
festations are reported to have occurred under the influence of the f 
movement in Balashovsky district of Saratovskaya gub. They 
consisted in pillage of estates owned by pomyetscheke and by j 
merchants, in driving away grain and cattle, and in setting fire to ■ 
the buildings with piles of hay and straw. Prior to these attacks 
upon the courtyards of the estate-owners, there had been numerous 
cases of burning of fodder and of arbitrary mowings and pastur- 
ings. In November the pillaging developed itself in Kirsanov ■ 
Bogoroditsk, and in Tambov. In the last-mentioned district,* 
in the end of October, the peasants began by cutting the timber at 
night. These acts had the character of ordinary theft, but in a few 
days the peasants began to cut in the daytime en masse. Within a 
week they had cut several dessiatines of timber. In the end of the 
month they burned the house of the constable in the village Arjenka, 

* Transactions, No. 3, 1908, pp. 47-89 et seq. Mr. Prokopovich is a well- 
known writer, of Narodnik tendencies, upon social and agrarian subjects. 


and in the night of the 31st October to ist November the pillage of 
owners' " economies " became general in many volosts. On the eve 
of this night of pillage some of the peasants went to one of the 
pomyetscheke, and " in the name of the students/* ^ advised him to go 
away. About eleven o'clock they arrived with horses and carts, 
and, after firing several shots by way of demonstration, they took 
with them whatever they found — rye, oats, peas, &c. For light 
to aid them in their depredations they burned piles of straw. At 
first they took only grain, but when their passions were roused 
they took things for which they had no possible use — e.g. house- 
hold fumiture.2 

In November, throughout the gubernie, arbitrary cutting of 
grain and hay, arbitrary pasturing, and driving away of cut grain 
and hay, &c., continued. 

In January 1906 timber-cutting and arbitrary pasturing began 
in Shavskaya volost, and spread into other volosts in the same dis- 

These depredations were committed upon the estates of private 
owners. In the State forests arbitrary cutting began on the 17th 
November, and lasted until the 30th November, in the same dis- 
tricts. Peasants who were suffering from the bad yield really 
needed timber for heating purposes, but they did not confine them- 
selves to such cutting. They arbitrarily cut building timber. 

In the end of May and the beginning of June 1906 a move- 
ment began in Kozlovsky district, towards the north, and gradu- 
ally spread southwards. The peasants demanded advance of 
wages and reduced rents. In the autumn of 1906 there were 
further arbitrary pasturings and mowings. In the spring of 1907, 
on the plea of lack of pasture, these arbitrary proceedings were 

Some details of the proceedings in Kozlovsky district, derived 
chiefly from the Kozlovskaya Jezn,^ will give a more exact idea of 
the course of events than any general description. 

On 30th May 1906 there was a representative meeting of peasants 

^ Peasants of revolutionary tendencies were at this time fond of regard- 
ing themselves as allied with the " students " or village intelligentsia. They 
simply used the expression as offering some authority for their acts. 

2 There is not, as a rule, any furniture in a peasant's ezba. Fixed benches 
and a table constitute the sole fittings. 

^ Quoted from Kozlovskaya Jezn in Transactions, No. 3, p. j^. 


from all parts of the Kozlovsky districts There were seventy 
representatives of the volosts. This meeting decided that in future 
the peasants themselves must regulate the rate of wages. In order 
to do this, it was first necessary to arrive at a new wage scale , and, 
having done so, to enforce this scale by means of peaceful com- 
bination and strikes.2 The scales of wages were to be settled by 
the villages. Immediately after this decision of the representative 
meeting, the villages began to draw up the new scales. For example, 
in the large village of Krugloe, in Epanchinskaya volost, the peasants 
estabUshed the following scale : 


For harvesting rye, per dessiatine 15 

For harvesting oats, per dessiatine 10 • 

For ploughing fallow land, per dessiatine ... 8 

Daily wage for a man 2 

Daily wage for a woman ij 

Monthly payment for a man 15 

Monthly payment for a woman 8 * 

A delegate was elected by the village to arrange about bringing 
this new scale into force. Followed by peasants, he made a round 
of visits to the estate-owners. He inquired about the number of 
persons employed, and about the wages they were receiving. He 
then announced the new scale. If the estate-owner agreed to it, 
he was required to sign a document to that effect ; if he did not 
agree, the peasants employed by him were carried off by the party. 
The demands of different villages varied very much, both in amount 
and in character. Thus, e.g., in the large village Ekaterinino, 
in Ekaterininskaya volost, the village assembly decided that 
wages should be 3 rubles for a man and ij rubles for a woman 
per day ; monthly wages were not to be less than 30 rubles ; for 
harvesting rye, 20 rubles, and for oats, 15 rubles ; while the rent 
of land must not exceed 10 rubles per dessiatine. These demands 
were formally entered in a village " sentence " or decree, and 
stamped with the stamp of the starosta or village alderman. In 

^ This representative meeting is significant ; in none of the northern 
guberni of European Russia did the peasants have district meetings. 

* Their expression was mirna stachka e zabastovka. In the peasants lan- 
guage strikes are always referred to as stachka e zabastovka, Uterally stachka — 
agreement, and zabastovka=stx\\ie. Mirna means peaceful. 

^ This means about two rubles per day per man. 

* These latter payments are " with board." 


order to prevent secret agreements between the estate-owner and 
individual peasants, the village assembly elected a delegate, whose 
duty was to receive all payments from the estate-owner and hand 
them over to the persons entitled to them. In the large village 
Novo Aleksandrovka, in Bogolubskaya volost, the peasants in a 
village assembly decided that the hours of labour should be from 
six o'clock in the morning till six o'clock at night, with three hours 
and a half for meals, leaving a working day of eight and a half hours. 
The labour of children was to be regulated by the peasants. If work 
beyond their strength was given to children to perform, this work 
was to be given to adults, and appropriate wages paid for it. 
Monthly wages were to be 25 rubles per month, excepting in winter, 
when the wages were to be 15 rubles. Food was to consist of fresh 
products ; meat was to be given, i lb. per man per day, with porridge 
and potatoes as much as was necessary. Payment for work was to 
be made weekly, on Sundays.^ Any peasant who accepted wages 
at less than the fixed scale was to be brought before the court — 
that is, before the village assembly sitting as a court. 

The regulations passed by the peasants of the village of Alek- 
sandrovka, Izosimovskaya volost, are interesting, because they 
illustrate the methods of agriculture presently practised in South 
Russia. The daily wages for a mujik, or peasant man, were fixed 
at I to 2 rubles, according to the season ; and for a baba, or woman, 
at 50 kopeks to i ruble. A horse was to be paid for at the same 
rate as a man. Ploughing one dessiatine by small plough (plujok) 
was fixed at 10 rubles ; and by sokha, or Russian plough, 6 rubles, 
for ploughing once. A team of horses with harrow was to be paid 
for at the rate of 5 rubles per dessiatine, and seeding 5 rubles per 
dessiatine. Gathering grain, mowing and binding rye, and putting 
into stooks, 12 rubles ; oats, 10 rubles. Driving sheaves, 40 kopeks 
per kopina (10 sheaves). Ploughing of rye-field, 8 rubles per 
dessiatine ; and by sokha, 4J rubles. 

All land, whether previously in fallow or not, is ploughed at 
least twice. 2 Fallow is ploughed in June, and is then ploughed 
again before seeding. The second ploughing does not cost so much 
as the first. This village also passed the following regulation : 

* Peasants in this region work habitually on Sundays as on week-days. 

* In another village the rate given is, for ploughing fallow land, three 


Renting of fallow land, and land for winter rye or spring oats or 
barley, was to be for one seeding. After harvesting once, the renter 
has no right upon this land unless he rents it for the following 
year, the rent to be 10 rubles per dessiatine. Those who are em- 
ployed by landowners at 20 rubles per month are obUged to pay 
3 rubles per year for the needs of the community as a local tax. 
No work must be performed on holidays, under a penalty of 2 rubles.^ 

In Arkhangelskoe village, Ilovi-Dmetrievskaya volost, the village 
assembly demanded that the manager, clerks, and other servants 
of the landowner, should treat the working peasants with civility ; 
and, on the other hand, the peasants bound themselves to refrain 
from aggressive acts against the landowner. " We peasants 
accept an obligation to look after peace and order. No one of us 
must take anything from the economy of the pomyetschek, or spoil 
it. Those who break this decree of the skhod will be held respon- 
sible by the community." In one case, that of Vachovskoe, 10 
kopeks were deducted from the daily pay of each man for the 
payment of the delegates who were to see that the decree of the 
skhod was enforced. In the decree of the peasants of Tuchevskaya 
volost it is provided that peasants from other villages may be em- 
ployed by a landowner, but the wages due to them must be handed 
to the home village delegates, and by them paid to the incomers. 
A clause is also added to the effect that the peasants ** mutually 
guarantee " the canying out of the decree. The delegates must 
provide that all peasants work in turn. 

In the large village of Volchok it had been customary for 
peasants to be paid in grain part of their wages for harvesting. 
The new scale provided that for harvesting one-third of the grain 
should be retained by the owner, and two-thirds should be given 
to the peasants.^ 

Numerous strikes followed upon the adoption by the peasants 
of these new scales. Sometimes the working peasants were simply 
taken from work by the delegates of the village, elected for the 
purpose. Sometimes the whole of the village population — in one 
reported case to the number of 700 — ^took part in " taking off " 
the working peasants.^ In some estates, where the general body 

^ In another village the fine for breach of rules is 5 rubles. 

* This was probably a simple reversal of the previous arrangement. 

* In Moshkova Suren. Transactions, No. 3, p. 76. 



of peasants were " taken off," some were left to look after the 

We have now to consider what were the aims of the peasants 
in this district in advancing these demands. Opinions of different 
reporters vary. The most penetrative analysis of the motives 
is given by the correspondent of the Kozlovskaya Jezn? According 
to him, it would be incorrect to explain the demands by the mere 
desire to earn more wages from the landowner for work, and to 
pay less rent to him. The correspondent thinks that the demands 
form an entirely new phase of the agrarian movement. This was, 
jin brief, an attempt to drive the landowner from the land. The 
peasants were well aware that the landowners could not pay the 
wages demanded by them, and that the cultivation of the land 
in the hands of landowners, under the new scales, must be un- 
profitable. But to leave the land uncultivated or the grain un- 
harvested " cannot be allowed." The peasants are said to have 
beheved that the Government would " punish " the landowners 
by taking the land from them unless they cultivate it.^ They 
thought that only " a little firmness would be necessary and the 
end would be reached " ; the landowners were in a position from 
which they could not escape. Another report, from Khmeliovskaya 
volost, confirms this explanation of the aims of the peasants. 
" Peasants consider that it is obhgatory for the landowner to harvest 
the crops," and that cultivation is a condition upon which they 
hold their land. They demand, therefore, that the new scale of 
wages and rents should be accepted, or that the whole of the yield 
of grain should be given up to the peasants.* 

The correspondent of the Kozlovskaya Jezn thinks that the 
peasants realized that nothing was to be gained by mere pillage 
and violence. Such acts could only draw upon themselves " the 
horrors of pacification " — that is, similar violence on the part 
of the authorities. They therefore resolved upon peaceful means 
to obtain what they wanted — ^viz. complete possession of the land. 
To this end they organized watching of the fields and orchards 
of the landowners, and even prosecuted children for stealing apples. 

^ In the large village of Pokrovsk. Ibid. * No. 37. 

' This seems to be a quaint survival in the peasant mind of the old form 
of tenure by service and of the right of resumption by the Government. 
Cf. supra. 

* Transactions, No. 3, p. y6. 


During the whole period of the strike movement in Kozlovo 
there is said to have been only one case of violence. In discussing 
the strikes with the chief of the district poUce, the peasants of 
Aleksandrovskaya volost told him : 

" We have a right to work for that price which we ourselves 
consider convenient and profitable. The landowners were within 
their right in demanding 26 rubles per dessiatine for their land. 
This was a high rent, but they were not arrested on that accoimt." 

In the large village of Pokrovskoe the peasants reasoned in this 
way : 

" We paid 20 rubles for a sajen of rotten straw, and 25 to 30 
rubles of rent per dessiatine. It was dear. We wept, but paid. 
Now let them pay." 

A correspondent from Spassky district attributes the rise of 
the movement to the influence of revolutionary newspapers and 
booklets. Another, from Tambovsky district, ascribes the rise 
of the movement to " anarchist agitators " ; another to the influ- 
ence of the Tsar's manifesto of 17th October 1905 ; another to the 
pogroms against the Jews. The property of the Jews having been 
pillaged without the punishment of the pillagers, the peasants 
are alleged to have thought that they also might be permitted 
without punishment to pillage the property of the landowners. 
Peasants who had actually taken part in the pogroms against the 
Jews, returning from the towns to the villages, told their neigh- 
bours how the soldiers and the pohce looked on at the pillaging 
and did nothing. 

Almost everywhere in the Tambovskaya gub. all classes of the 
village population participated. There were, however, some 
anomalous incidents. In Klunefskaya volost, Kozlovsky district, 
the poor peasants were at the head of the strike movement .^ In 
Kaminskaya volost of Tambovsky district the landless peasants 
took httle part in the movement, because they had no horses to 
enable them to carry off plunder from the pillage. In Usmansky 
district the movement was headed by rich peasants. In Kimiev- 
skaya volost, in Tambovsky district, the rich peasants were " un- 
friendly" to the strike. Generally in Tambovsky and Borislog- 

* The pacific character of the strike movement in the Kozlovsky district 
has akeady been noticed. 


lebsky districts the rich peasants took an active share in the 
pillage. In Kozlovsky and Lebedyansky districts peasants who 
had bought land through the Peasants' Bank or otherwise were 
uns5mipathetic to the movement. The activity of peasants who 
had been working in towns, and who had returned to their villages, 
is mentioned only in two communications out of seventeen. The 
activity of soldiers who had returned from Manchuria is mentioned 
in three communications out of the same number. The youthful- 
ness of the leaders is remarked by three correspondents. Women 
generally took an active part, especially old women who them- 
selves had experienced the burden of bondage.^ 

In Tambovsky district the larger landowners among the 
peasantry, peasants owning loo dessiatines or thereabouts, took 
measures to protect themselves against the mobs. The smaller 
landowners divided their households into two ; the older people 
defended the family property, and the younger participated in 
the pillage. 

After the acute stage of the movement had passed, disagree- 
ments began to break out among the peasantry of Tambovsky 
district. The distribution of the spoil was the first occasion of 
difficulty. Some had employed one horse, and some six. The 
result was inequality of distribution. A second occasion was 
afforded when the authorities made their appearance with poUce 
and military force to inquire into and to suppress the disorder. 
Some of the peasants began to seek favour with the authorities 
by denouncing others. These disagreements led to arsons, per- 
formed by peasants upon peasants' properties. In the large village 
of Ivanovka the manager of the estate promised to give the peasants 
400 dessiatines of land. Under the influence of this liberality, 
and after entertainment with vodka, the peasants of this village 
raided other villages, beating the peasants in them. The district 
of Kozlovo in general again offers distinct phenomena. After 
the strike movement there no disagreements are reported. If there 
were any, they are alleged to have been due to fear of the authori- 
ties after the suppression of the movement. In Melevskaya volost 
of this district, however, there were disagreements. Those who 
had compelled working peasants to go on strike were driven away 

1 The Khlisti or Lyudi Bojii (People of God), sectarian flagellants, took qq 
part in the disturbances, their tenets being very severe upon theft. 



by those whom they had formerly obliged to leave work.^ The 
landowners in this volost met the demands of the strikers to some 
extent. The wages in the volost had formerly been 50 kopeks 
and 30 kopeks a day for men and women respectively. They were 
now raised to i ruble 25 kopeks and 65 kopeks respectively, with 

A general review of the evidence of all the districts in this | / 
gubernie shows that ten correspondents attribute the movement I 
to the insufficiency of arable land and meadows as fundamental \ 
cause. Five correspondents regard the bad yield of the immedi- 
ately preceding years as an important cause. In regard to the 
first-mentioned cause, the correspondent from Kozlovsky dis- 
trict points out that the former State peasants of Lipetsk dis- 
trict, which adjoins that of Kozlovo, having comparatively large 
land allotments, took no part in the movement, although they 
endeavoured to make use of the disorders in the neighbouring 
region to their own advantage. 

Two correspondents only deny, in respect to their regions, that 
the peasants do not suffer from insufficiency of land. In Mor- 
shansky district, e.g., the peasants are reported as not wanting 
land because they do not rent it at the comparatively low rent 
of 7 to 14 rubles per dessiatine.^ In Tambovsky district a land- 
owner reports that the former State peasants, with large allot- 
ments — " 7 dessiatines per revision soul of first-class Black Soil 
land " — ^were most prominent in the violent attacks upon estates. 
Ten of the correspondents allude to personal and class hostiUty 
against the landowners. In Kirsanov, e.g., the landowner in- 
curred hostihty because he refused to rent some land to peasants 
of the district, and rented it to " rich peasants of a far-distant 
village." He was also alleged to be in the habit of prosecuting 
the peasants about trifling matters, and of driving cattle off his 
pastures, even when the fields were covered with snow. In Tam- 
bovsky district the arbitrary cutting of timber is ascribed to re- 
venge against an owner who " exploited the village mercilessly." 
This owner laid claim to the best part of the village, including the 
market-place, from which he derived 30,000 rubles annually. The 

' Such disagreements were very common throughout European Russia. 
2 This may have been due to the circumstance that the peasants refused 
on grounds of policy to rent at any price. 


peasants thought that he had no right to this land, and they had 
carried on protracted Utigation about it without result. 

In Spassky district the movement was directed against shop- 
keepers, who were alleged to be dealing dishonestly with the 
peasants, " and who were competing with them in renting land." 

In Volchkovskaya and Tuchevskaya volosts the movement 
was general against all landowners ; but in Spassk, Morshansk, 
and in Kozlovo the movement was not general. In Morshansk, 
according to one correspondent, the peasants believe that the 
possessions of their former pomyetscheke — that is, their former 
owners in bondage times — could not legally be sold to any but 
the peasants who had been in bondage or their descendants. They 
thought, also, that the land could not legally be rented to other 
than peasants. Two of the correspondents of Tambovsky and 
Borisoglebsky districts say that the movement was directed 
against large estates of more than 500 dessiatines to begin with, 
and later against estates of smaller dimensions. 

In Kozlovsky district the starosta, or village alderman, was 
dismissed because he refused to sign the decree about the new 
scale of wages. The peasants elected a new starosta, and required 
him to affix the starosta' s stamp upon the decree. 

In Uvarovskaya volost, Borisoglebsky district, grain in the 
railway station was pillaged. In the same district the telephone 
station was pillaged, the reasons being a quarrel with the officials 
and a superstitious f eeUng about the instruments, which were looked 
upon as the invention of the devil. In Lebedyansky district the 
movement was partly agrarian and partly industrial. The peasants 
demanded that the wages of workers on the railway should be 
increased. At one of the railway stations there was a strike of 
" loaders," and at another one of workers who were repairing the 
permanent way. So also in Izosimovskaya volost, the village 
" decree " regulated not only agricultural labourers' wages, but 
also wages in *' various kinds of industrial enterprises." In Kozlov 
the peasants tried to get domestic servants to join the strike. 

Nor were the formal demands confined to wages and rents. 
The peasants of the large village of Mashkova Suren drew up a new 
scale for the performance of ceremonies by the priest. They 
proposed to pay 3 rubles instead of 8 rubles for a marriage ; for 
a funeral, i ruble instead of 3 rubles ; for baptizing or burying 


an infant, 12 kopeks instead of 50 kopeks ; for thanksgiving and 
for taking ikons out of church, 20 kopeks instead of i rubied 

The action of the authorities in the districts above mentioned 
consisted in sending Cossacks and pohce, who were ordered to 
whip the offending peasants with nagaiki. Sometimes, upon enter- 
ing a village, the Cossacks " beat the first people they met " ; some- 
times the people were obhged to prostrate themselves and to 
apologize. In Poltavskaya volost the Zemski Nachalnek arrived 
with an escort of dragoons, and ordered the peasants to take back 
hay which they had removed from an estate. A pubhc meeting 
of the peasants was called, and those who refused to obey the order 
were beaten. In Pavlodar nineteen peasants were killed. In 
Kirsanovsky district the peasants were brought before the district 
court, and twenty-six men were sentenced to eight months in a 
penal battaUon. In Lebedyansky district the landowners organized 
themselves for the defence of their property. In Kozlovsky 
district the landowners demanded that martial law should be 

In relation to this demand the Agricultural Society of Kozlovo 
issued, on the i8th June 1906, a " sentence " to the following 
effect. The peasant movement in the Kozlovsky district is con- 
cerned chiefly with demands that wages should be advanced to 
a point which " does not correspond to the standard of cultivation 
of our agriculture at present." The movement had as a basis 
" chronic want of land and poUtical lawlessness." According to 
the opinion of the peasants themselves, the intention of the move- 
ment is to force, by means of the difficulties created by the strike, 
the landowners to use all their efforts for the solution of the land 
question. Only general State reform on the basis of the reply of 
the State Duma to the Tsar will change fundamentally the con- 
ditions of the life of the people, and will really pacify the peasant 
masses. No private means are of any use, excepting tact, reason, 
and quietness in each separate case. To answer the movement 
partly by repressive measures or by martial law would be " ex- 
cessively dangerous, and might result in transforming the move- 
ment, peaceful until the present time, into ** a cruel play of pas- 
sion and bloodshed." Only the State Duma and the Ministry 
can pacify the country and *' create a ground for transition to new 

* Transactions, No. 3, p. 80. 



forms of life."^ There were thus among the landowners in this 
district two currents — one in the direction of repression, and the 
other in that of profoimd agrarian reform." 

The official view of the authorities in the same district may 
be gathered from the report of the Governor of Tambovskaya gub. 
to the Minister of the Interior, dated 5th June 1906. 

This report narrates that the movement in Kozlovsky district 
spread from the neighbouring volosts of Ryazanskaya guh. The 
movement was characterized by demands for fabulous increases 
of wages, and by strikes. In order to re-estabUsh order, 250 
Cossacks were drawn into the district. In the towns all is quiet. 
The police guard is almost useless, and reinforcements of Cossacks, 
at least to the extent of an additional force of 200 to 300, are 
urgently required. Agitators are being " mercilessly prosecuted " 
under the law about strikes of 15th April 1906. 

Among the " agitators " arrested and prosecuted during these 
proceedings were elected village aldermen (starostas), delegates 
elected to look after the payment of wages, and village teachers. 
Altogether 600 persons were arrested. These were kept in prison 
for periods ranging from two weeks to three months. In some 
cases the arrests were resisted. For example, all the peasants in 
Sergievskaya volost, and some of those in Pavlovskaya volost, left 
their ploughing, and, to the number of 2000, demanded the 
release of the arrested peasants. This body was attacked by 
150 soldiers and dispersed. Some of the peasants carried ikons. 
Some threw these away, but others used them to protect them- 
selves against the blows administered by the troops. In other 
villages the nabaf, or alarm bell, was sounded, the peasants 
collected together, and sometimes the prisoners were forcibly 
released by them. In some villages where a skhod or public 
meeting had been called, it was dispersed by dragoons or by 
Cossacks.2 In the village of Lebedyanka four peasants were 
killed by a volley fired by dragoons. The village was saved 
from " extermination " by the priest, who prayed for them on 
his knees. 

As an immediate consequence of these proceedings, landowners 

1 Transactions, No. 3, p. 82. 
* For examples, see ibid., p. 84. 


began to sell their lands, and there was at once a fall m the value 
of land and in rents ^ 

The answers to questions about the changes in the disposition 
of peasants and about their attitude towards the landowners and 
towards the Government are somewhat indefinite. In one district 
alone, viz. Morshansky district, a correspondent gives some indi- 
cations. He says that in the occasional meetings of the peasants 
they began to discuss questions more broadly than they did before ; 
but that they found the difficult question of their rdation to the 
land still imsolvable. Still they seemed to think that in some 
way or other their demands might be satisfied and that they 
might get the land for nothing. In Tambovsky district the 
peasants seemed to think that they might buy the land through 
the Peasants' Bank, on the instalment principle, and that they 
then need not pay the instalments. Others spoke of taking as 
much as they could out of the land for a few years, and of then 
letting the Peasants' Bank have it. Still others were opposed to 
the purchase of land through the Peasants' Bank, and were hostile 
to any project initiated by the Government. 

As regards the relation of the peasants to one another, the dis- 
agreements before mentioned were very prevalent, and out of these 
or otherwise there grew up in Kozlovsky district an aversion to 
" separations." The peasant communities refused " separation," 
and when the Zemski Nachalnek intervened and forced them, 
under the Separation Act of M. Stolypin, to agree to it, they gave 

^ The following table shows the depreciation : 

Prices of Land per Dessiatine. 

Before the Movement. After the Movement. 

Spassk 200 rubles. 150-170 rubles. 

Tambov 180-210 ,, 175 >. 

Borisoglyebsk .... 240-300 ,, 160-220 ,, 

Lebedyan 200 „ 150 ,, 

Rents per Dessiatine. 

Kozlovo : Winter seeding . . 25-30 rubles. 15 rubles. 

Spring seeding . . 20-25 ,, 

Usman : Winter seeding . . 25 „ 23 rubles. 

Spring seeding . . 20 „ 18 ,, 

Spassk: Labourers . . . 50 rubles 70-90 rubles, 

per year with board. 
Domestics (women) . 24 rubles 36-60 „ 

Morshansk: Ploughing a dessiatine ii-2 ,, 2i-4 

Harvesting a dessiatine 3J-4 ,, " '' 

(See Transactions^ &c., No. 3, p. 84.) 


the separated peasants the poorest land and land farthest from the 
villages. In Usmansky district " separation " was looked upon as 

We now pass to a typical portion of the Black Soil Region 
— Saratovskaya gub. The agrarian movement of recent times 
makes its first appearance in this gubernie. Every year, from 
1901 onwards, in one district or in another, there have been signs 
of the movement. In 1901-1902, Kamushynsky district was 
chiefly affected ; in 1902-1903, Balashovsky district ; in 1903- 
1904, Serdobsky district. In the spring of 1905 the movement 
began " to brew " throughout the gubernie, and in the second 
half of October, after the manifesto of the 17th October, the first 
serious wave swept over the villages ; the second wave passed in 
the summer of 1906. The chief features of the first wave were 
the pillage and burning of the estates of landowners, and of the 
second, these and the driving away of hay and grain, non-pajmient 
of rent, strikes, expropriations of land and arbitrary division of it 
among the peasants, fixation of arbitrary rents, cutting of timber, 
and arbitrary pasturing. The proceedings were similar in all the 
districts of the gubernie. Before the actual movement began, there 
was much talk among the peasants about "the equaUzation of 
land," " revolution,-' and " struggle for the right." 

When the pillage began and there appeared " the redness in 
the sky," the sign of the burning of landowners' property, " un- 
known persons," made their appearance in the villages and took 
the leadership of the movement upon themselves. Before an 
attack began the peasants sometimes went to the landowner and 
demanded " keys, money, and arms " ; sometimes they demanded 
the books of the estate, in order that the records of their indebted- 
ness might be destroyed. In other cases no warning was given. 

One purpose alone animated the peasants — " to smoke out " 

the landowners, to force them to leave their estates, so that the 

peasants might obtain the land for nothing or for a low price. 

"If we pillage the landowners they will the sooner give up their 

land. Land is the gift of God. It must belong to the labouring 

people." ^ 

* In one case, viz. the estate of Prince G. in Kamushensky district, the 
peasants demanded that rents should be reduced from 18 rubles to 3 rubles 
per dessiatine, and that wages for mowing should be raised from 1.75 rubles 
to 4 rubles per dessiatine. 



All classes of the peasantry joined in the pillage — poor, middle- 
class, rich, and even very rich peasants. Each took his turn and 
carried off as much as he could. In all villages, however, the poor 
peasants gave direction to the movement. In some they forced 
the rich peasants to join in the pillage under threats of turning 
upon them ; in others they prevented the rich from engaging in 
the pillage on the ground that they would be inclined to take too 
much for themselves. " There were cases in which the rich peasants 
who were on a pillaging expedition found, on their return, that 
their own property had been pillaged by poorer peasants." Some 
rich peasants neither joined in the movement nor allowed them- 
selves to be pillaged; they collected their families and friends 
and defended their property against the pillagers. In general, 
the rich peasants, whether they took part in the movement 
by compulsion or not, were opposed to it. They spoke con- 
temptuously of the agrarneke, in whose ranks were the idle and 
the poverty-stricken. 

The village youth was everywhere in the front of the move- j 
ment. The older men at the beginning tried to impede the move-f 
ment — " to keep their sons from sin " ; but later they were drawn/ 
into the current. They saw enviously their neighbours enriching 
themselves, and they could not withstand the temptation. In 
some cases the old men succeeded in stopping the movement. 
The women in general were S5mnpathetic, and occasionally were 
even more active in pillage than their husbands. 

Soldiers returning from Manchuria found, in frequent cases, 
that their households had been impoverished by external economic 
causes or by bad management during their absence. They had 
nothing to eat, and no fuel to heat their houses with ; they found 
that their families were getting no regular assistance or no assist- 
ance at all. Such men threw themselves into the pillaging move- 
ment and increased the general excitement. " For what," they 
said, " did we shed our blood, when we have no land ? " 

There were two types of strikes in Saratovskaya gub. — one had 
the same object as pillage, viz. the starving out of the landowners ; 
the other type was directed merely towards an improvement of 
the condition of the peasant and of his relations to the landowner, 
without seeking for the extermination of the latter. In strikes of 
the first type, the demands upon the landowners were clearly 


confiscatory. Such strikes were sometimes followed by demands 
that rent should be reduced. 

In Serdobsky district, a strike of the second type occurred. 
The object of this strike was the improvement of the system of 
izpolnya renting. Under this system the peasant was allowed to 
cultivate for his own support and advantage one dessiatine of 
land on condition of his cultivating one and one-third dessiatine 
and driving three loads to the railway station for the landowner. 
The peasants demanded that they should receive one dessiatine 
of land for the cultivation of another dessiatine — that is, that they 
should in effect receive one-half of the produce. In addition to 
this, they demanded that money rents should be diminished and 
wages increased. 

The movement assumed a third form in Kamushensky district, 
where the owners rented their land on varying conditions, deter- 
mined by the method of payment of rents. Thus some tenants 
paid rent in advance, the rent of the land for the succeeding crop 
being paid in the autumn, some paid only after the harvest was 
reaped. The best land was thus taken by the peasants who had 
sufficient capital to pay the rent in advance, and the poor land was 
left for the poor people. Rents in the district were, moreover, 
advancing. The peasants, under the influence of the move- 
ment, divided the land arbitrarily and fixed a general arbitrary 
rent in order " to equaUze the rented sections in respect to 

A special character was given to the struggle on the Treasury 
estates in the same district. The peasants organized periodical 
illegal pasturings and ploughing ; and they threatened the large 
renters to set fire to their buildings unless they gave up the payment 
of rent to the Treasury. 

The agrarian movement in Saratovsky and Petrovsky dis- 
tricts, for example, was followed by the dismissal of former village 
authorities and the substitution of others favourable to the move- 
ment ; by reduction of the salaries of village functionaries, these 
salaries being settled by the village assembly ; and by expropriation 
of the glebe lands and reduction of the payments for the services 
of the clergy. The last-mentioned incidents took place especially 
where the local clergy were known to have sympathetic relations 
with the landowners. The shops kept by the Government for the 


sale of liquor under the vodka monopoly were pillaged and closed, 
and the stores of merchants who were accused of engrossing grain 
in the Balashovsky district were pillaged. These merchants who 
sometimes rented lands belonging to them for cultivation by 
peasants were accused of " squeezing the peasants, on the one 
hand, by high rents, and, on the other, by cheating them " in 
measuring the grain in which these rents were paid. 

In the latter district the property of the employees of the 
landowners was not touched by the pillagers. " Take it away," 
the peasants said, " so that it may not be pillaged along with the 
property of the landowners." ^ 

Throughout the Saratovskaya gubernie, the correspondents state 
that the poor peasants and those with the smallest allotments 
were the most active in the movement. Throughout the gubernie 
also the correspondents unanimously regard the insufficiency of 
land and the poverty of the peasants as the chief causes of the 
movement. They think that if the disturbances had not broken 
out at that time they were inevitable sooner or later. " The 
peasants became wearied of Uving in poverty and of experiencing 
unsatisfied " need of land." " Not the agitators caused the 
movement, but the poverty of the peasants." " Even the so-called 
full allotment of the landowners was not adequate." " The 
peasants who had only the gifted allotments were subject to ever- 
lasting hunger." " There is no forest, not a single twig ; there 
are no meadows and no cultivated land, not a sajen." " The 
peasants have for a long time nourished hatred against the land- 
owners who were indifferent (to their sufferings) and always well 
fed " (while they went hungry). " The peasants are sitting upon 
small pieces of land while the lands and forests of the estate-owners 
surround them." 

These are some of the statements of the correspondents from 
various districts in the gubernie. This normal state of poverty 
experienced by the peasants became more acute than usual during 
the two years immediately preceding 1905 owing to the inferior 
yields of grain. 

The average area of land occupied by a peasant non-renter 
who had a gifted allotment in this gubernie is stated at ij dessia- 
tines, the average of a peasant renter upon the estates of private 

^ Transactions ^ &c., No. 3, p. 148. 


owners, 4 dessiatines, and the average holding of a peasant on 
the State lands was 7 dessiatines. 

Even 8 dessiatines per holding, which was the average of 
Kamushensky district, did not prevent the peasants from joining 
in the movement. 

Throughout the gubernie the movement was directed against 
all landowners — the gentry, the merchants, rich peasants and large 
renters of pomyetschek and Treasury lands. The pomyetschek or 
private landowner's peasants began to look upon the land as their 
own, while the peasants upon the Treasury lands desired that the 
lands should simply be transferred to them. Peasants who had 
formerly been subject to personal bondage were eager to get, and 
to divide amongst themselves, the lands of the barin^ to whom 
they had formerly been bondaged. 

While all forms of landownership were attacked, even State 
ownership, the movement assumed specially acute forms wherever 
there had been unusually high rents or where the conditions of 
labour had been exploitative. 

In Petrovsky and Kamushensky districts, the rents had been 
rising during recent years on private and State lands aUke. The 
system of izpolya or metayer tenancy had been gradually changed 
for money-renting. The employment of day labourers had been 
taking the place both of izpolnya and of otrabotok or rented land, 
the rent of which was paid in work. The meadows ceased to be 
given for otrabotok — ^the landowners demanded cash for them. 
Wood for fuel had formerly been given as payment for clearing the 
forests, now it was charged for in money .^ 

As a rule the mihtary force sent by the Government to " pacify " 
the peasants was not sent until after the movement had spent 
itself. The effect of this proceeding upon the peasantry was not 
salutary. They became frightened, and began to betray one 
another to the authorities. Sometimes, however, they offered 
resistance en masse. In Kamushensky district, e.g., forty-five 
peasants were wounded in a bayonet charge by the troops, six 
were wounded by bullets, and one old man and three women 
were kiUed. 

* Barin is a corruption of Boyarin, the nom. sing, of the Russian word 
corresponding to the English " Boyard," nobleman. 

* This was especially the case in Petrovsky and Kamushensky districts. 




Immediately after the movement rents fell sharply, m some 
districts to the extent of 25 per cent., in others to the extent of 
50 per cent. So far as the details in the answers permit of definite 
statement, the following illustrates the fact of the fall of rent : ^ 


Rent before Movement. 
Per dessiatine. 

Rent after Movement. 
Per dessiatine. 

Balashov .... 
Petrovsk .... 
Saratov .... 
Kamushen .... 

Rubles Kopeks 
14 40 



Rubles Kopeks 

12 80 

10 70 

9 50 

1 50 

It should be noticed, however, that the correspondents do not 
refer the fall of rents to the movement, but to the inferior yields 
of the two years immediately preceding 1905. In some places 
the fall was only temporary, and rents began again to rise in 1907. 
Thus in Verhozimskaya volost of Petrovsky district, rents fell from 
15 rubles in 1905 to 6 rubles in 1906, and rose to 12 rubles in 
1907.* So also the conditions of izpolnya renting which had been 
improved in 1906 became less favourable to the peasant in 1907.^ 

* Transactions, &c.. No. 3, p. 149. 
« Ibid. 

' This is stated especially with regard to such tenancies in Serdobsky 



IN 1905 

The three regions selected for detailed examination have been the 
region of Novgorod and Pskov, that of Tambov, and that of Saratov. 
The first is a forest region, in which grain cultivation has a sub- 
ordinate place ; the other two are in the Black Soil Region, the 
most fertile part of Russia, and that in which the cultivation of 
grain is carried on to an immense extent. The prevalence in the 

rtwo latter regions of grain cultivation on a large scale by means 
S. I of wage-earning peasantry upon estates belonging to landowners 

Lhas already been noticed. The movement seems to have been, in 
point of time, earlier in Saratov than elsewhere, but in all the 
districts of all the guberni it is very evident that the " state of 
mind " of the peasants which resulted in the disturbances was 
practically universal ; the impulse to overt action, however it came, 
found its appropriate soil ready everywhere. The characteristic 
;Of the movement seems to have been the new spirit of resistance 

■ to authority which emerged almost suddenly, the grounds of dis- 

■ satisfaction being of old standing. A general review of the evi-* 
dence suggests that everywhere the peasants were animated by 

[the same general idea — viz. that the land must be obtained some- 
how. They seemed to think that they must secure possession 
! of the land, and that they were being unjustly deprived of this 
possession by the existing owners, whether these were private 
owners, or whether, as State lands, the lands were in the hands of 
' the Treasury. In either case, they thought that the lands should 
be transferred to them, in order that they might cultivate them. 
They were told — as, for example, by the proclamation of the Zemstvo 
of Byelozyersky district — that the Duma would speedily settle 
the land question in a way satisfactory to them ; but they were 



impatient. They knew nothing of constitutional procedure. It was 
enough that they knew what they wanted. The only solution 
of the land question which they could recognize as effectual was to 
give the land to them, or to give at least as much of it as they could 
cultivate. Endless time might be consumed in debating about 
the terms of transference. These terms could be discussed after- 
wards. The important thing was to get the land at once into their 
hands. U action directe^ was the simplest and speediest method. 
If they had force enough to take the land, the transference might 
be accomplished in that way ; if they had not force enough to 
take the land, they had enough at least to make occupation of the\ 
land by anyone but themselves exceedingly uncomfortable and even | 
dangerous. Landowner and State ahke might be compelled to 
surrender the land of the peasants by making ownership of it by 
anyone else impracticable. So far as the peasants were concerned,! ~\ 
there is no evidence of wider political ideas. The supreme ques4 ^ 
tion for them was the question of th e land. Their demands were 
concentrated upon possession ot land, without payment, if pos- 
sible, but in any case, possession. The demand that rents be re- 
duced must be construed in the sense that the reduction insisted 
upon was in many cases so great as to amount to complete con- 
fiscation of the land. The peasants knew very well that the rents 
offered by them were not economical rents in the strict sense. 

While it is no doubt true, as alleged by the correspondents of the 
Imperial Free Economical Society, that the peasants in many cases 
deUberately made demands which could not be met by the landowners 
out of the resources which their lands afforded, it is also true that 
the peasants were quite familiar with ineconomical agriculture 
and landholding. In many districts the peasants, in order to en- 
able themselves to Uve and pay their rents and taxes, were obUged 
to engage in industry — hunting, fishing, lumbering — and to obtain 
subventions from the absent members of their families. They 
thus saw no inconsistency in making demands upon the landowners 
which necessitated similar expedients on their part. If the land- 
owner had or could obtain sources of income external to landowning 
pure and simple, good and well ; if not, he might be forced to sur- 
render the land to those who had. The peasants' own holdings! 
were inadequate for their support, and they saw no reason why 1 
the landowners' holdings should support them through the labour) 



of the peasants. The landowner might have a salary as a public 
functionary, or profit as a man of business. In any case, the 
peasant considered that it was no affair of his how the landowner 
might live, deprived of rent or ruined by high wages of labour. 
The peasant even had other sources of income, so, no doubt, had the 

The peasantry in general seem to have thought that for ages 
they had been exploited by the landowners, and that now the turn 

I of the wheel of fortune had brought them uppermost. Their hour 
had come. Th& new Duma was to be a peasants* Duma, therefore 
it must give the peasants what they wanted. What they wanted 
'was land, therefore land must be given to them. 

f While in some cases the influence of the propaganda of the socialist 

j revolutionary party is apparent, it must be realized that almost 
everywhere the movement in its essential features was spontaneous. 
Indeed, the peasants were " more advanced " than the revolution- 
ists. Although they did not work out the implications of their 
movement, it meant in effect that the land was to be given to them, 
and that they were to be allowed to cultivate it without State 
taxes. They might collect taxes from themselves, but the funds 
produced by these taxes were to be expended locally. Under 
these conditions, of course, the State as such must disappear, and 
the nation must dissolve into loosely-connected groups of inde- 
>pendent and autonomous communities. Without realizing the 

i^course of the development of their ideas, the peasants had arrived 

J Substantially at the position of Baktmin. 

It is very clear that the drift of opinion in the towns among the 
artisans, and in the capitals, even among the professional classes, 
was not at all in this direction. These were at least not un- 
favourable to nationalization of the land, but for that very reason 
they were not prepared for the disappearance of the State. They 
were inclined towards State organization of industry, and for that 
reason they desired the State to be powerful. The divergence of 
opinion and of interest between the peasants and the artisans, 
and the simultaneous forcing of the social and the political revolu- 
tions, together with the absence of constructive ideas at the 
critical juncture, seem to account for the abortive character of the 

Behind this fundamental antagonism of the peasant and the 


artisan there lay also the increasing antagonism between the rich I 
and the poor peasant, between the peasant who had both land i 
and agricultural capital and the peasant who had neither. In 
presence of these irreconcilable antagonisms, and in the absence 
of social soUdarity which was their inevitable outcome, the auto- 
cracy, enfeebled as it was from inherent defects, was able after 
a struggle to control the situation, and for the time at least to stem 
the revolution. This cannot, however, be made fully evident 
until the contemporary industrial situation has been studied. 



The law upon which all subsequent projects of land reform in 
Russia must be based is contained in the ukase of 9th November 
1906. This law effected a fundamental change in the relation^ 
between the peasant and the land. Old Russian habits of thought 1 
about landownership had attached to the idea of land possession J 
a collective character. The rights of the community in the land 
were more or less definitively recognized, both before and after the 
emancipation of the serfs. The proprietor of the land could not 
do with it precisely what he liked. It was, in early times, when 
held as a votchina, his own heritable property, and in later times 
the distinction between votchinal ownership and other forms being 
obscured or obliterated, it became also heritable whether it was 
in votchinal ownership, properly speaking, or not. But the later 
history of landownership is especially characterized by restric- 
tions upon the mobility or free transference of land. Land could 
not be sold to persons not authorized to possess land, and in this 
category were large classes of the community ; land might not 
be sold without the peasants who cultivated and Hved upon it, &c. 
The community, as represented by the State, imposed these regula- 
tions, and thus confirmed its claim to an interest in the land. 
Moreover, the taxes upon land being assessed in accordance with 
the number of peasants Hving upon it, it was the interest of the 
community to see that none of its members evaded his just obUga- 
tions by leaving the community, which was responsible for the 
pajTment of his quota of the taxes. In order to make the " mutual 
guarantee " effective, it was necessary for the community, as 
represented in the volost, to regulate the distribution of the land, 
and to see that each peasant took enough land to enable him to 
^ support his family and to contribute his quota of the taxes. In 
r short, the community appeared everywhere ; legislation was 
directed either towards securing the interest of the State or com- 

l mimity as central authority, or of the volost or mir or community 



as local authority. The interest of the individual peasant family*] 
was secured by the presence of its head in the volost assemblies, | 
and by his right to appear in the volost court. But the right of 
the individual peasant was not explicitly recognized, excepting 
that, with the permission of his family and of the volost, he could 
" separate," and in " separation " could receive a specific share 
of the land of the family. But, as has been shown above, the 
practice of " separation " was very fluctuating.^ The cancellation 
of the balance of the redemption tax which remained put an end to 
the " mutual guarantee," and the peasant family was face to face 
with the tax-collector, and was so far free from the interference 
in its affairs by the volost which the " mutual guarantee " impUed. 
But the commimity land and the community interest in it re- 
mained. There was practically no land in individual family heri- 
table tenure. 

The ukase of 9th November 1906 changed all that. Under it 
every householder, independently altogether of the will of the 
community, was endowed with the right to fix in property, 
personal to himself and heritable, that portion of land which be- 
longed to his family at the last distribution. This right involved 
the further rights to sell the land, and to distribute it among his 
descendants at his own discretion, although his powers in this i 
connection were much modified by local customs as well as by | 
general civil law. In order to prevent the accumulation of large 
blocks of land in few hands, the ukase provided that no single ] 4^ 
purchaser might purchase more than 25 dessiatines from any ! 
individual seller. The ukase of 9th November 1906 may thus be 
held to have in reaUty introduced into Russian law the conception 1 
of individual ownership of property, and thus to have brought in 1 
tliis respect Russian law into conformity with the law of Western | 
Europe upon the subject.* 

* Cf. supra, pp. 266 et seq. " Separations " of late years have been 
very numerous wnere the peasants have forsaken the country for the town ; 
and " separations " from the family, but not from the village, have been 
frequent, so also have " separations " on account of distant migration ; 
but cases of " separation " where the peasant has carved out of the land of 
the community a lot for himself, has built a house upon it, and has elected 
to Uve an independent life, have been rare. 

■ Cf. A. Berezovsky (Member of Third Duma, President of the Executive 
Board of his Zemstvo and of the Land Reform Committee of his district), 
in RusSt 31st January and 13th February 1908 (O.S.), art. on "Land, 
Peasants, and New Laws." 


While this ukase introduced ia reality into Russian law the 
conception of individual private property in land, this conception 
Thad been previously introduced in form into the Emancipation 

The community was permitted, under these Acts, to allot to 
individual peasant members in private property their share of 
the lands purchased by the community ; it was also permitted 
to compound for such allotment by a money payment. The agree- 
ment was to be mutual ; but it is clear that, since the land belonged 
to the community, that body had the right to dispose of it or not, 
as it might think fit, under the terms of the Act. The legal defini- 
tion of communal property as distinguished from other property 
held by members of the community has been put thus by the 
Senate in one of the decisions of the Civil Department : 

" The substantial distinction between the property of the 
community and general property is that the proprietor of the 
former is the community as juridical person, apart from the mem- 
bers of the community ; and the proprietors of the latter are the 
separate persons, and not the community." ^ 

The new ukase enables the individual householder to take the 
and allotted to him at the last distribution, and to hold it as his 
\own or to sell it. He receives, in short, without compensation 
to the community, a | i1;l^ to that which formerly belonged to the 
community. Thus, whereas previous legislation had been on the 
whole favourable to the maintenance of landholding in community 
as a characteristic Russian institution, the new ukase was ap- 
parently designed, along with the encouragement of " separation," 
L to break up not only the community, but the family. The full 
effect of this ukase remains to be seen. It is, however, clear that 
it endows the heads of peasant families with considerable powers, 
which they did not enjoy under previous laws, while, at the 
same time, it not only removes the control of the community and 
abrogates whatever rights it may be presumed to have had in 
the land, but it cancels a previously existing right of the children 
of the head of the family to a share in the family land.^ The land 

^ The series of Acts by means of which Emancipation was effected were 
called " General Peasants' Acts " or " General Acts upon Peasant Affairs." 
The section in question is the 12th. Quoted by Berezovsky, loc. cit. 

2 Ihid. ' Cf. ibid. 


ceases to be the possession of the family as a part of, and under 
the control of, the community, and becomes the possession of the 
head of the family alone. He may aUenate it practically at will, 
the rights of others in the property being simply cancelled by the 
imperial ukase. 

There is thus created with one hand a peasant proprietary, and " ! 
with the other a peasant proletariat. It must be realized that the ^ 
land had been allotted to the peasant household at the last dis- 
tribution, as a rule, in proportion to the number of revision souls in the 
household. Thus those souls who were counted as belonging to the 
household at the last revision, were in exactly the same position 
as those who were bom after the revision, and were, therefore, not 
counted. It is true that extreme subdivision of peasant holdings 
may, by these means, be avoided ; but it is also true that peasant 
heads of households who wish to do so may sell their lands to 
speculators. Unaccustomed to the possession of ready money 
and unacquainted with the means of turning it to advantage 
the peasant is unlikely to benefit by this arrangement. He and his 
family come to be separated from their customary means of Uveh- 
hood, and they necessarily swell the ranks of the proletariat either 
in the villages or in the cities. The following case illustrates thje 
working of the law : 

In Simbirskaya gtd)., Ardatovsky district, between nth Sep- 
tember and 25th December 1907, ten sales of peasant land, trans- 
ferred into private property under the Act, were effected ; the 
land being sold very cheaply. This region is in the Black Soil Zone, 
and may, therefore, be regarded as a favourable case. In the 
district mentioned, and at that time the price paid for land- 
owners* land by the Peasant Bank was 120-130 rubles. The price 
paid in the ten cases quoted was less than half as much, being from 
35-60 rubles per dessiatine.^ 

But the ukase of 9th November 1906 does not stamd alone.: 
It must be taken in connection with other land reforming schemes j 
of the Government. These schemes involve partly the utilization 
of previously existing agencies, for example, the Peasant Bank, / 
and partly the formation of new administrative mechanism. The 
administrations of the State (Kazna) and that of Imperial Family 
(Udelni) lands are required to sell to land-seeking peasants, and 

^ Berezovsky, he. cit. 


these may also purchase lands of private owners through the 
Peasant Bank. In addition, the Government has brought before 
the Third Duma a plan for the regulation of the relations of 
peasant proprietors with the landowners of adjoining estates. 
The disposition of the landowners to inflict petty fines and other 
annoyances upon peasants owning land in their neighbourhood 
has been a fruitful source of friction, and accumulated grievances 
of this kind have often produced grave peasant riots. Measures 
are also to be taken to transfer peasants from congested districts 
'■ to less populated places. For the purpose of elaborating these 
practical plans and applying them in detail appropriately to 
different districts the Government announced, on 4th May 1906, 
on the eve of the caUing of the First Duma, the formation of local 
"I^Land Reform Committees to assist the operations of the Peasant 

[Bank, and otherwise to faciUtate the carrying out of the projects 
of the Government. 

These measures promised well, but, unfortunately, from the 
beginning the composition of these committees was such as to 
invite distrust. The personnels of the committees varied in different 
districts, but the principle upon which the ex officio membership 
of the committees was fixed threw the weight of the influence of 
the committees upon the side of the landowners and of the bureau- 
cracy. This proceeding was in accordance with all precedents in 
Governmental action in agrarian reform. It was indeed another 
added to the long list of attempts, which have been recorded 
above, to benefit the peasants without diminishing the influence 
or the property of the landowners — ^in other words, to make the 
peasants pay out of their empty pockets for that which had in 
the nature of things either to be withheld from them or to be given 
to them at the expense of the State or the landowners, or both. 
The " indispensable members " of the Land Reform Committees 

' were to be the inspector of taxes, the district member of *the local 
government court, the Zemski Nachalnek, together with the district 
marshal of nobility, the president of the Zemstvo Executive Board, 
three representatives of the Zemstvo Assembly,^ and three peasant 

^ When the ukase establishing the Land Reform Committees was pro- 
mulgated, the Zemstvo Assemblies were generally of liberal tendency ; but 
after the dissolution of the First Duma, when agrarian disorders occurred, 
the so-called " righting " of the Zemstvos took place, and their influence was 
then directed rather towards the neutralization of reforms than the pro- 
motion of them. 


representatives. The large landowning and the ofl&cial influence 
thus predominated in the committees, and from the beginning they 
did not inspire confidence. Moreover, the committees were not 
left free to exercise their own judgment. They were constantly 
being instructed by ministerial circulars. 

The Land Reform Committees began their operations by 
arranging for the purchase of the land of private owners by the 
Peasant Bank. They added largely to the land fund of the bank, 
sometimes at relatively high prices. Valuation of land is a special 
business with which the members of the committees were rarely 
acquainted. They employed no expert advice, they were them- 
selves owners of land, and their inevitable inclinations were to 
maintain rather than to reduce prices ; the cost, moreover, did 
not come out of their own pockets. The consequences may be 
imagined. Estates which had long been in the market for sale, 
and which, owing to non-fertihty of soil, neglect, or otherwise, 
were practically imsaleable under ordinary condition, now suddenly 
acquired a value, and found a facile purchaser .^ 

When the phase of purchase had lasted for some time, there 
came the desirabiUty of distributing the land among the peasants — 
the end, indeed, of the whole scheme. But after the exertions of ] 
purchase the Land Reform Committees fell asleep, and, in spite J 
of the efforts on the part of the central Government to stimulate 
their activity through the local officials who were members of 
them, and in spite of the fact that the Government sent out special 
fimctionaries to insist upon the committees proceeding with their 
work, they could not be galvanized into further activity. In so 
far as they did exercise any influence upon the peasant situation, 
they seem to have rather intensified existing evils than to have 
removed them. One of the difficulties of the system of frequent 
redistribution of land had been the cutting up of arable fields into 
long strips — a form of field which is not convenient for intensive 
cultivation. In any new distribution it was important to avoid 
this so far as possible, yet the committees sometimes distributed 

^ A. Berezovsky, who was himself President of a Land Committee under 
Kutler's scheme (Kutler was Minister of Finance for a few months), and also 
of one of the new Land Reform Committees, narrates a case in which an 
estate which was offered for sale to the first-mentioned committee, and rejected 
on the ground that it was unsuitable for conversion from timber-bearing into 
arable land, and was therefore not suitable for peasant occupation, was sold 
at a high price to the Land Reform Committee. Russ, ist February 1908. 


the land in such a way as to intensify this inconvenience, not only 
by selling the land in long and very narrow strips,^ but by making, 
as had to be done in the nature of the case, this division of the land! 
permanent. Inconvenient as the practice was under the former 
S5^tem of community ownership, it might be altered ; but under 
the new system of private ownership alteration was practically 

The failure of the Land Reform Committees to accomplish 
what was expected and required of them was extremely embarrass- 
ing to the Government, but censure for the failure cannot be 
withheld from the Government itself, which determined the com- 
position of the committees in such a way that in the absence of 
an unusual amount of self-abnegation and of an unusual obUvious- 
ness of the narrower interests of their class, it would have been 
difl&cult for the members of the committees to perform their 
functions in such a way as to inspire confidence. 

j.|^ The net results of the activity of the Land Reform Committees 
appear to have been the accumulation in the hands of the Peasant 
Bank of an unreaUsable fund in land at high prices, and the increase 
of prices of land generally owing to considerable areas being taken 

V off the land market. All this was done in teeth of the clamour on 
the part of the peasants for more land and of the miserable con- 
dition of vast numbers of them because of land insufficiency. When 
■ the Land Reform Committees did sell land, they seem to have 
! sold it to well-to-do peasants, while those who really were in need 
of land, chiefly the peasants whose only holdings were the " gifted 
allotments," were obliged to go without. In those cases where 
such peasants did purchase relatively highly-priced lands through 
the Peasant Bank, they became debtors to the State to an amount 
which, under the most favourable circumstances conceivable, they 
would never be able to extinguish. Under these conditions the 
State must suffer pecuniary loss and the peasant must suffer from 
hopeless insolvency. 

< ^ Berezovsky mentions a case in which a Land Reform Committee in 
•■ Simbirskaya gub. sold strips to peasants 3500 ft. long by from 105-140 ft. 
wide. Rtiss, ist February 1908. 



The minds of the peasants during the years 1905 and 1906 came, 
through many channels, to be filled with high hopes. The agrarian 
question was to be settled at last. Some practical steps had indeed 
been made in this direction. State lands had been thrown open 
to the peasants. The " State land reservation " amounted already 
to 40-50 miUions of dessiatines.^ It appeared that everyone was 
to have his " need of land " satisfied. The enthusiasts began to 
see glowing agricultural prospects. Destitution among the 
peasantry was to give way to plenty. The peasants were even 
to devote themselves to improvement in farming. ** The work of 
raising the standard of agricultural technique began to boil," writes 
one, for example.^ Anticipation of a drastic land pohcy which was 
to be adopted by the new State Duma in obedience to the demands 
of the peasants led to the development of agricultural co-opera- 
tion. Even the farm labourer looked forward to the possibihty 
of becoming a small holder, or at least a partner in a holding ; while 
the small holders hoped to increase their holdings. For a time 
these anticipations gave a great stimulus to village life, and the 
" stagnation " of the village which the chronic " need of land " 
had engendered began to disappear. 

But the dissolution of the Second Dimia and the new electoral 
law which followed changed all that. The peasants awoke to find 
that they had been dreaming, and to reaUze that the Government 
had no intention, and perhaps no power, to give them what they 

Prior to the election of the First State Duma, the Government 
seemed to think that the most e:ffective method of limiting the 
extent of poUtical change was to give a proportionately large reprc- 

^ That is between 1 10 and 138 millions of acres. 

* A. A. Chuprov, art. " The Reforms from Above and the Movement 
from Below in Agrarian Questions," in Russkiya Viedomosti, ist January 1908. 



sentation to the peasantry. It was supposed that the danger of 
too rapid change lay in the influence of the urban proletariat, and 
that the balance of poUtical power ought to be so adjusted that 
the conservative instincts of the peasantry should be utilized in 
such a way as to counteract the radical and socialist tendencies of 
the city working men. To the apparent amazement of the Govern- 
ment and of the staunch supporters of the autocracy, the First 
Duma turned out to be strongly desirous of deaUng with the land 
question in a way which meant the practical extinction of the 
large landowners as a class. The ulterior economical and social 
effects of this were set forth in lurid colours by the Oktabristi, who 
saw in the destruction of that class a danger to the national 

From their point of view, the absorption of the large estates 
by the peasants had been going on quite fast enough, although 
from the peasant point of view it had been going on so slowly as 
to be an ineffectual solution of the problem of land scarcity. The 
influence of the large proprietors was sufficient to determine the 
character of the measures prepared by the Government in the 
interval between the dissolution of the Second Duma and the 
convocation of the Third. 

These measures were formulated by the Premier, M. Stol5^in, 
aided by M. Gourko, Deputy Minister of the Interior ,2 and Prince 
Vassilchikov.3 The measures in question are characterized by 
two fundamental negative principles — (i) that " compulsory ex- 
propriation of land is not permissible," which is explicitly set forth, 
and (2) that the community system is to be steadily discouraged, 
which is implied in the detailed proposals. With these principles 
in view, the measures provide for the purchase by the State through 
the Peasants' Bank of those estates only which are voluntarily 
offered for sale and for the purchase of land by peasants for indi- 
vidual occupancy. Critics of the measures point out the following 
objections : 

I. Land is most urgently needed in those locaUties where land 

^ The point of view of the large landowners is stated, for example, by 
Sir Donald Mackenzie Wallace, Russia (London, 1905), ii. p. 227. 

* Afterwards dismissed from his office on account of the occurrence of 
irregularities in his department. 

' Regarded by the peasants as an active organizer of the ' ' Black Hundred ' ' 
in Moscow in 1905. 


is dear and rents are high. The lands which the proprietors are 
willing to transfer to the State are not necessarily situated in the 
locaUties where the " need of land " is the greatest. If the land 
voluntarily offered is situated in scantily populated locaUties, the 
Government will find itself under the necessity of engaging in 
migration and colonization schemes, more or less expensive and 

2. Where lands voluntarily offered for sale to the Government 
are situated in locaUties in which there is a local demand for land, 
relatively high prices wiU have to be paid for it. Thus the tendency 
will be for the land to be purchased either by weU-to-do peasants 
only or by speculators who will hold the land for further advances. 
The real " need of land " on the part of smaU-holding peasants 
will, for this reason, go unsatisfied.* 

3. The smaU holder and the viUage proletariat would thus run 
the risk of being exploited by the class of " farmers " which would, 
under these circumstances, be created. The results of this ex- 
ploitation, coupled with their disappointment at the failure of the 
" reforms " to affect their situation favourably, would be further 
discontent. This discontent would manifest itself chiefly against 
the " farmers " or well-to-do peasants, rather than, as now, against 
the great landed proprietors. From the point of view of adminis- 
trative strategy, this might be [counted as the outcome of an 
ingenious device, but the social and economic advantage of it is 
not apparent.^ 

4. The measures are objected to in general on the ground 
of their inadequacy. " The land reformers (in the Government) 
forget that they have before them, not an unpopulated desert, 
but a densely-populated country, with peasantry in convulsions 
and in the noose of land scarcity.* 

** The present practice of land-reforming measures is creating 
with one hand the prosperity of a selected few, while, on the other 
hand, it bereaves the majority of the peasants needing land of 

^ C/. A. A. Chuprov in Russkiya Viedomosti, ist January 1908. 

* Ibid. 

* This point of view has been put by a correspondent, who even 
considers that this result is intended by the framers of the legislation. The 
device is said to be due to the inventive genius of MM. Shisinski and Stunner. 
" They put in this way a wall between the landowners and the peasants, 
upon which the peasants expend themselves." 

* A. A. Chuprov. Art. cited. 



any hope, and devotes them to previously unknown privations. 
. . . The present agrarian pohcy is not constructive, but de- 
structive." 1 

It should be noticed, however, that, from the administrative 
point of view, the agricultural districts, or many of them, may be 
( regarded as over-populated under the present conditions of agri- 
cultural technique, and that it is necessary, on the one hand, to 
promote the improvement of this technique by encouraging the 
cultivation of relatively large farms, occupied by farmers with a 
sufficiency of farming capital, and, on the other hand, to promote 
the growth of industry by driving into the towns labourers who, 
if left to themselves, would remain in the rural districts;* The 
conception of the inevitable transformation of Russia from an 
almost purely agricultural to an extensively industrial country 
naturally affects the view of the administration. From this stand- 
point the Government may be held to be engaged in promoting 
an industrial revolution, while at the same time it is energetically 
resisting a political one. 

The reactions of a disturbed system are not, however, to be 
neglected. If the extension of the farms and the discouragement 
of small holdings by restricting them to an inadequate area of 
land are fully carried out, the inevitable result must be that the 
village proletariat will to a certain extent be driven into the towns, 
to increase the numbers of the urban proletariat. The very means 
that are alleged to have been employed largely for the purpose of 
strengthening the conservative forces, by increasing the number and 
improving the condition of the well-to-do farmers, may thus react 
in such a way as greatly to increase the urban proletariat, and thus 
make for the net increase, rather than the diminution, of the forces 
of revolution. It is not a little remarkable that, under the assumed 
necessity of modem economic development, the Russian Govern- 
ment should be taking measures to diminish the rural population 
by driving a certain proportion of it into the towns, at the very 
moment when, in Great Britain, for example, efforts are being made, 
by means of legislative encouragement of small holdings, to retain 
the rural population upon the land. Russia has been a country 

^ A. J. Chuprov (Professor of Political Economy in the University of 
Moscow), in art., " Struggle over the Need of Land, and Colonization," in 
Russkiya Viedomosti, ist January 1908. 

* C/. Sir Donald Mackenzie Wallace, Russia, ii. p. 221. 


of small holdings, although not of the petite culture in the sense 
of intensive cultivation, and the working of the system has resulted 
in an increase of the population, so great and so rapid that either 
agriculture must be greatly and quickly improved, the population 
must be spread out over a greater area, or it must be forced into 
the industrial centres in sufficient numbers to reheve the pressure 
upon the rural districts. 

The following details of wages, &c., in certain districts in 1907- 
1908 may be compared with similar statistics applicable to the 
period prior to 1905. It must be reaUzed that by 1907 the agrarian 
disturbances had spent themselves. In VoHnskaya guh. a daily 
worker (mower) received 35 to 40 kopeks per day without board. 
A yearly worker received 25 rubles with board, and with pasture 
for one cow. He was also allowed to keep a pig and some hens. 
Rent was from 5 to 7 rubles a year per dessiatine for sandy land, 
•for *' Black Soil " 10 to 15 rubles. The izpolnya system (metayer 
tenancy) is common in the district.^ 

In Grodnenskaya gub. mowers' wages were 50 kopeks without 
board in 1907-1908 ; work from sunrise to simset, one hour for 
dinner, and half an hour for lunch. The wages mentioned are those 
paid by a landowner. If the mujik is mowing for a peasant, he gets 
45 kopeks and board. At the harvest-time a woman earns from 25 
to 30 kopeks without board ; digging potatoes, 15 kopeks. Able- 
bodied youths from fifteen to twenty years of age get 20 to 30 rubles 
per year with board, lodging, dress, and boots.^ A man engaged by 
the year received 50 to 60 rubles, with board and lodging. The 
board is the same as that chronicled for Mohilevskaya gub. in 1901. 
A woman engaged by the year received, in 1907-1908, 18 to 25 
rubles, with board and lodging. The landowners do not employ 
daily workers in the winter, but the rich peasants sometimes employ 
daily workers in the winter for threshing, paying them 20 to 25 kop. 
per day, with board. They work from sunrise to sunset. Single 
workers employed by the year sleep in bunks in an ezba belonging 

^ The author is indebted to correspondents in the various districts men- 
tioned for the details. 

' The boots in this district are made of the inner bark of the lime. (In the 
northern gubernie birch bark boots are used. ) Such boots are called lapii. The 
feet are covered with linen wrapping, coiled about the foot and leg very neatly 
(puttee fashion). This wrappmg is vulgarly known as onuchi or portyanki, 
or little trousers. The use of bark for boots is one of the results of the scarcity 
of cattle, there thus being few hides. 


to the landowner, and are supplied with 2 to 3 lb. of usually badly- 
baked rye bread per day, barley groats, buckwheat, and pork fat 
for making soup, the quantities being approximately the same 
as those given above for Mohilevskaya gub. They are also suppUed 
with soup made from beets and sour cabbage. Labourers with 
families hve separately from the single workers, and have their 
own kitchen, to which the food is supplied by the landowner ; 
they are allowed pasture for one cow, and may keep a pig and a 
couple of hens. Boys of twelve to fifteen years of age generally 
look after the pigs and sheep of the landowner, and receive as wages 
7 rubles per year. The wife of a labourer, who feeds the pigs, 
geese, hens, &c., of the landowner receives 10 rubles per year. The 
treatment of workers is rough, but they are not beaten.^ In 
Grodnenskaya gub. the landowners in most cases prefer to rent 
their estates to Jews, and these subrent the land to the peasants.* 
The usual conditions are that one-third of the produce is given 
by the peasant to the Jew as rent. When the land is good, the 
peasants pay one-half of the produce. The landowners in the 
gubernie are nearly all Poles. Good board and lodging in the vil- 
lages costs 5 rubles per month. The board consists of cabbage, 
rye bread, potatoes, fat, and a little milk. Beef is given occa- 
sionally. Boots are of bark, and all dress is of home manufacture. 
In the towns of the same gubernie the board and lodging of working 
men costs 10 to 12 rubles per month.^ 

The normal allotment in this district is 3 to 4 dessiatines.* The 
land is good as a rule. It is cultivated by the peasant on the 
three-field system. The landowners who farm their own land 
employ the six or eight-field system. 

In the northern guberni, where the peasants engage in forest 
labour, hunting, &c., the land is poor, but they have usually at 
least one steer besides some sheep to kill each year in a peasant 
household, and hides are thus available for making boots. 

These details show quite vividly that up till the present time, 
commercial econony cannot be said to have displaced natural 
economy in the rural districts so far as the peasants are concerned. 

1 Information from a peasant of this district. 

2 This is true also of some parts of Chemigovskaya gub. 
' Information from a working man. 

* These details are from a correspondent in the sub-town of Kartusherioze, 
in the volost of that name in Prujansky district, Grodnenskaya gMft. 


The peasant weaves his own cloth and, as we have seen, makes 
his own boots from the bark of the trees grown on or near his own 
land. The soil gives him every article of his consumption, except- 
ing, perhaps, salt. In the towns, to some extent in the larger 
villages, and in the landowners' famihes, commercial economy has 
made great inroads since Emancipation set free the dvorovie or 
household serfs. Yet natural economy is still predominant among 
the great mass of the Russian population. 

The following are the results of an investigation into peasants* 
budgets in Ordatovsky district, Simbirskaya gub., made by Mr. A. 
Berezovsky, President of the Land Reform Committee of that 
district.^ The figures apply to an average peasant family consisting 
of three adult souls.^ It is assumed that this family purchases 
three-quarters of a dessiatine per male soul.^ This is the quantity 
of land which such a family would absolutely require for its sub- 
sistence in that district. 

Value of Peasants' Buildings — Rubles. 
Ezba, with doorway, roofed with straw . . .150 

Shed (for cattle, implements, &c.) .... 50 

Barn (for grain, &c.) 30 

Stable (for horses) 20 

Well 15 

Hay loft and dairy (hay above ; below, milk and 

vegetables, &c.) lo 


Value of Live Stock — 

2 horses loo 

1 cow 35 

5 sheep 20 

2 pigs 15 


Value of Implements — 

2 carts with wheels 15 

2 ploughs, wood 5 

2 yokes 12 

2 sleighs 5 

Sundries 8 

— 45 


1 See 1?M5S, 6th February 1908. 

* That is to say, three men with three wives and children. 
' About 7 acres per family. 


The average annual outlay in money of such a group is : 

Heating, 98 cub. ft. firewood 

Lighting, 4 puds kerosene oil @ $2 ^tx pM 

Clothing, including shoes ^ (three men) . 




Vodka on Church holidays 

Church rites 














The allowance for clothing is for the three men only, the women 
are expected to provide their own clothing, earning the means to 
purchase the materials by spinning flax in the house or by day 
work elsewhere. The children's clothes are made from the cast-off 
clothing of their elders. 

The average annual consumption of such a group is : 

Rye flour, 10 pilds per adult (children being fed 

also out of the total) 120 

Millet meal, \ Russian Tb per day . . . . 18 

Cattle food : Flour 100 

Oats 50 


1 Annual outlay for clothing for one man : 

Two shirts 

Three pairs trousers 

Thirty-six pairs bast shoes 

One leg wrapper (thick) 

Two pair wrappers (thin) 

Cap and fur cap (lasting 2 years) per year 


Short overcoat (lasting 3 years) per year 
Summer overcoat (lasting 4 years) per year 
Warm overcoat (lasting 3 years) per year 
Warm boots (lasting 2 years) per year . 
Leather boots (lasting 2 years) per year 






















The income of the family group is on the average : 

One man may be spared to work externally. His 

earnings will be 60 

The whole family may be employed during harvest- 
time externally. They will harvest 2 dessiatines 

of rye for 5 rubles per dessiatine . . . . 10 
And 3 dessiatines oats for 3 rubles per dessiatine 9 

The horses will earn 20 

One calf sold 10 

Three lambs sold 10 

Fifteen sucking pigs 15 


Out of the nine and three-quarters dessiatines of land, three- 
quarter dessiatines are used for buildings, &c. ; of the remaining, 
six dessiatines are, under the three-field system, annually available 
for cropping ; three are cropped with oats, and three with rye. 
The average yield of rye in the district in question is 50 puds per 
dessiatine, and of oats 33.5 puds per dessiatine. If the family 
obtains 50 puds per dessiatine of seeded land, the total is 300 puds 
of grain. 

The grain is thus httle more than sufficient to provide for the 
subsistence of the family and its animals ; there is practically no 
surplus for sale. The money expenses of the family are 159.70 
rubles ; while the money income is only 134 rubles. There is thus 
an average annual deficit of 25.70 rubles. This deficit may be 
met by economies in some of the items of expenditure. There 
remains, however, to be considered the means of meeting the interest 
upon the cost of the land, apart from the amortization of the amount. 
Land in the district in question costs on the average 125 rubles 
per dessiatine. The Peasant Bank requires the purchaser to pay 
4 J per cent, per annum upon the purchase price, which in the given 
case would be 1218 rubles. The interest upon this sum is 48.78 
rubles per year. In addition, the Zemstvo taxes (of 6 rubles 
60 kopeks per dessiatine) with inevitable fines for delay, would 
bring the average annual payments under the head of interest 
and taxes to 60 rubles per year. This is an additional deficit, and 
this deficit must be met somehow, otherwise the peasant family 
sinks into hopeless insolvency, and eventually loses the land by 
means of which they live. In order to raise the additional 60 rubles 


per year, the peasant family would require to add 50 per cent, to 
the yield of their crops — that is, they would require to increase 
the yield from 50 puds per dessiatine to 75 pMs. Since the 
maximum yield in the best and most intensively cultivated lands 
in the district is only 59 puds per dessiatine, this increase is un- 

It is, therefore, plain that even if the peasant has sufficient 
agricultural capital to erect his house, to provide himself with the 
necessary implements and the necessary stock, he cannot make 
his budget balance saving by severe economy, even without taking 
into account interest upon his own capital which he has invested 
in his house, or interest upon the cost of the land or taxes. In 
the worse case of a peasant who has no agricultural capital to 
start with, there does not appear to be any prospect of his ever ac- 
quiring any, because instead of a surplus he has always to encounter a 
deficit. In both cases the problem is an insoluble one on any terms 
as yet offered through the Peasant Bank or the Land Reform 
Committees. The quantity of land is too small, the price is too 
high, and the interest is too high also. It is small wonder that 
the peasants should refuse to purchase on these terms, and that 
they should demand that land — plenty of land — should be given 
to them. 

From the foregoing the following provisional conclusion may be 
arrived at. The revolutionary "state of mind" among the 
; peasantry seems to have arisen not merely because of the political 
disabihties to which they were subject, nor merely from the eco- 
nomical pressure caused by high rents and low wages, nor merely 
from famine and its results, nor merely from the propaganda of 
enthusiasts, but from all of these together. It must be allowed 
that, especially during the years immediately preceding the Russo- 
Japanese War, the position of the peasantry, though bad, had dis- 
tinctly improved. People who are in the depths of despair through 
sheer want may be very discontented, but they rarely revolt. The 
prosperity of the kulaki, or well-to-do peasants, is one of the signi- 
ficant features of the period. The growth of this class was facili- 
tated by the Peasants' Bank and its presence as an important 
fraction of the village population is noticed in all the reports from 
the districts of which details have been given. It would appear 
that while the village proletariat had not been similarly prosperous. 



while they had been undergoing exploitation at the hands of 
landowners and rich peasants alike, they had nevertheless succeeded 
owing to the economical conditions of the years from about 1900 
till 1905,^ in forcing their wages somewhat upwards. The spectacle 
of greater relative prosperity of the exploiting classes, contrasted 
with their own relatively deficient prosperity, seems to have in- 
spired them with the desire to diminish the hardships of their own 
lot by a vigorous stroke. The occasion for this vigorous stroke 
came with the confusion of the war and the preoccupation of the 
Government, together with the relaxation of local authority which 
these incidents involved. 

The poUcy of strikes which the peasants adopted in 1905 was 
successful up to a certain point. They lost some of the advan- 
tages which they gained during the disturbances, but they did 
not lose all of them. Their wages remained somewhat higher 
than they were before the agrarian movement began, and their 
rents were somewhat lower. The principal gain which they have^ 
secured Ues, however, in the fact that authorities and landowners? 
alike were thoroughly frightened. Punitive expeditions and mili- 
tary and police suppression of the movement notwithstanding, 
the peasants have exhibited an astonishing latent power, and the 
Government at least must have reaUzed that the days of peasant 
revolts are by no means over. The landowners, too, must have 
reaUzed that they had no longer to deal with a spiritless peasantry, 
who might suffer themselves to be exploited without protest. 
Whatever view may be held regarding the nature of the demands 
made by the peasants, and of the motives which lay behind these 
demands, it must be allowed that their character showed that the 
peasants were thoroughly aroused, and that they might at any 
moment, at some conjunction of events similar to that which oc- 
curred in 1905 and 1906, spring again at the landowners with arms 
in their hands. It is obvious that under these conditions contracts 
for land and for wages must be at least slightly more favourable to 
the peasants than they were formerly, and that thus the sacrifices 
made in the agrarian movement were not wholly fruitless. 

^ The harvests of these five years were all good. 




We have seen that there were large industrial establishments in 
Russia prior to Emancipation in 1861. These establishments 
belonged in some cases to the State, in other cases to great nobles 
and smaller gentry, and in others to merchants or even to pros- 
perous peasants. Under pre-emancipation conditions peasants 
not infrequently left their villages by permission of their owners, 
and worked in the towns, paying ohrok to their owners. In addition 
to such workers, who offered themselves for hire, there were freed 
peasants and proletarian or impecunious gentry, and other free or 
quasi-free people. There was thus the nucleus of a free hirable 
class of artisans, although the existence of such a class was not yet 

But development in any serious sense of industrial enterprise 
was not compatible with bondage. Capitalistic enterprise could I 
not grow, at least until the concurrent growth of a free and mobile I 
class of artisans. This class begins to appear in considerable num- 
bers only ^f tf^^^ nripa tioyi Even then, however, there were 
limitations of the supply. T he mobi litx..Q£-tb£L4)easant was still 
imperfect, ier the system of mutual guarantee prevented the peas- 1\ 
ants from leaving their villages without permission of the volo^t ' « 
court, and this permission was not always granted. When it was 
granted , tjie^ condition was attached that the payments of taxes 
and other customary pa5niients by the absentees were to be main- 
tainec^ One class of peasant was, however, gitj2nce set free for 
ixid ttStti , al e mployment. This was the class of dmrovie lyude, or 
^omestic^seBs, who were.not allotted. aa^JaJld and for whom there 
was no provision, restrictive or otherwise, under the Emancipation 
Act. Unless they desired to remain as domestic servants, and 
unless their former owners desired them to remain, they were 

J)r^ rtiVqIly nhligf^^ Jv^ j^c;nrfjv^ They 

were noi„accu&tonied, to l6^3^5aliojjj:, and employment otherwise 

in the country was not to be obtained. They had as a rule no 

361 ^^ 



Qap|tjljOTjlie..culti\:a1;iQ^ of rented J,^, nor had they any allot- 
ment even had they desired to become cultivators. Many of 
them were skilled artisans, and these thus provided immediately 
upon their emancipation a large landless class ready for industrial 
employment. jA^ddltipn t^Jth^se,^*^^^^ 

)land:Mding_fami]ies who were.O^ea iP-^emplsj^ 
ifiajdequacy of the allotments and owing to the diminution of the 
^rea of land available for cultivation by the peasants without the 
payment of rent, when compared with the area formerly cultivated 
by them as serfs. Such peasants were, however, obliged by the 
system of mutual guarantee to send to their families the balance of 
their earnings in the same manner as in such cases the balance had 
formerly to be sent to the serf-owner. The result of this practice 
was that the rent of agricultural land was frequently paid out of 
these industrial earnings, so that non-economical agriculture cam§ fixtea^iyely practised from the moment of Emancipation, y 
High rents were exacted, and paid not out of the earnings of cul-_i ' 
tivation proper, but largely out of industrial earnings by absentee 
members of peasant families. At the same time the mutual guar- 
S^^Fmspired the communities with a certain reluctance to allow 
their mei3ibers..:to l eave.. Permission was not always grantedTahd 
even when it was granted for a limited period, it was not always 
renewed. From time to time migration from the rural districts 
to the towns was further impeded by the action of the Government, 
which attempted to prevent the breaking up of joint-families and 
to prevent the too liberal granting of passports to peasants. The 
maintenance of connection with his village by the urban artisan 
lias thus been a very definite factor in his life. He was jialf a 
fcownsmaiiand half^axoimtryinai^ Until very recently it has been 
the practice for the peasant artisan to work for a few months in an 
industrial centre and then to return to his village, where he assisted 
the other members of his family in cultivation — ^in ploughing or in 
harvesting — returning to his emplo5mient in the town when these 
operations were over. As a rule, he left his wife and family in 
the village, and lived in the town in a factory barracks or in a 
workmen's lodging-house. 

These practices have within the past four or five years been 
greatly modified for reasons which have been alluded to above, in 
connection with the agrarian question. So long as they endured 


they practically prevented the growth of an urban proletariat, and! 
this circumstance has had a very important effect upon the indus- 
trial and political situation. 

The close connection between the country villages and the 
industrial centres has, moreover, had an influence upon the dis- 
semination of revolutionary ideas. These ideas have in particular 
been disseminated by " banished " workmen, who have carried 
from the towns to their villages, though indefinitely and crudely, 
the propaganda of the Social Democratic and Social Revolutionary 
Parties, with which they had become acquainted in their workshops. 

Apart from the question of the supply of labour, the general 
economical conditions in Russia prior to the Emancipation were 
not favourable to the growth of industry on any extensive scale. 
The economic Ufe of the country was highly self-contained. Each 
estate, and sometimes each village, was a little world practically 
complete within itself. Even the noble landowners, who spent 
a portion of the year in the capitals, transported to their town 
houses from their estates almost the whole of the produce neces- 
sary for their support and for the support of their numerous retinue 
of servants.^ With the exception of iron, tea, cotton, and a few 
other staple commodities not at that time produced in Russia in 
sufiicient quantities to satisfy the existing demand, only articles of 
luxury were imported, or even transferred from place to place. 
The great commerce which had been characteristic of early Russia, 
and which had been the basis of its economical and political strength, . 
had disappeared. The " immobilization " of labour had as inevi- 1 
table concomitant the " immobilization " of goods. There were, ! 
moreover, almost no railways. There was no banking system, 
and as yet there was but a trifling circulation of money in the 
country. Yet there are those who look back upon the age of 

* C/. the lively sketch in Prince Kropotkin's Memoirs of a Revolutionist 
(Boston, 1899), p. 28. While undoubtedly the conditions stated in the text 
applied fully (and to a large extent still apply) to the peasantry, the wealthier 
nobility did not always realize the ambition of having everything made by 
their own servants. The serf-domestic-artisan was often ill-trained and 
inefficient. " I must own," says Prince Kropotkin {op. cit., p. 29), " that 
few of them became masters in their respective arts. The tailors and shoe- 
makers were found only skilful enough to make clothes or shoes for the 
servants, and when a really good pastry was required for a dinner party, it 
was ordered at Tremble's (the fashionable pastry-cook), while our own 
confectioner was beating his drum in the band. ' 


serfdom as an age of relative abundance — an age in which 
there was no freedom, but in which there was in general plenty to 
eat. All the conditions which have been described had to be 
greatly modified before extensive industry was possible. The 
changes began immediately after Emancipation. The creation 
of Land Redemption Banks and the negotiation of foreign loans 
provided a financial basis ; railways were built rapidly in European 
Russia, and numbers of foreign capitalists — principally English, 
German, Belgian, and French — established factories for the manu- 
facture of cottons, woollens, &c., in the late sixties and in the 
seventies. Some of the ancient towns developed into industrial 
centres. The regions specially affected by the industrial movement 
at this time were the Moskovskaya gub., St. Petersburg and its 
neighbourhood, the Baltic Provinces, and parts of Poland. 

The growth of the railway system in the seventies and 
the protective tariff, which reached its fullest development 
in 1891, stimulated industry enormously. From this time on- 
ward the urban proletariat, which, owing to the various causes 
indicated above, had previously no considerable existence in 
Russia, began to become nunierous and influential. Movement 
from the villages ceased to be impeded by the Government, 
and artisans began to crowd into the towns. The excess of 
labour at once rendered labour cheap, and rendered the employers 
indifferent to the comfort of the labourers. The beginning of the 
iprocess of industrial development on an extensive scale was not 
accompanied by the ameliorative legislation which, initiated in 
England, had been carried far in Germany and France — ^in all 
countries, in fact, in which the concentration of workmen in in- 
dustrial towns had been taking place. Ere long the rigorous 
exploitation of labour brought the grievances of the workmen under 
the notice of the Government. Long hours, inadequate wages, 
and still more importantly, the knowledge that workmen in other 
countries were reputed to be better off than those in Russia, led to 
demands upon the Government to intervene. In countries where 
a measure of laisser faire existed, the natural and obvious method 
of labour association was productive, to a certain extent, of improved 
conditions. Even in such countries the power of the State was 
invoked in restricting the hours of labour, in regulating the system 
of " truck," and in providing for the protection of the working men 


against exposed machinery and in inevitably dangerous occupa- 
tions. But in Russia such steps were taken slowly, and they were 
regarded by the workmen as inadequate, while labour association ' 
was practically prohibited. 

Side by side with private enterprises, there were estabhshed 
Government factories for the manufacture of cloth, paper, tinned 
provisions, &c., together with metal refineries, foundries, porcelain 
works, &c. &c. These activities of the Government were supple- 
mented by the factories belonging to the Udeh,^ in which large 
numbers of men are employed. 

The circumstances that many of the private enterprises were 
brought into existence by the high protective duties, and that these 
enterprises were encouraged by the Government, as well as the 
circumstance that the Government in its own factories, and in 
those of the Udeli, pursued methods similar to those of the private 
firms, made it inevitable that the responsibiUty for the situation 
should rest upon the shoulders of the Government. The labour'/ 
question thus from the middle of the seventies assumed a definite 
poHtical aspect. 

In Russia, labour combination, in the West European sense, 
was prohibited. " Protection " appeared to exist solely for the 
manufacturer, whose enterprises received governmental assistance 
and encoiiragement. The Government not only facilitated the u 
development of industries by high tariffs, but through the State \ 
Bank it financed industrial enterprises, and through the State 
domain it gave land, mining, and timber concessions to persons 
who were wilUng to undertake the task of industrial organization. 
Many of these persons were foreigners, or the agents of foreigners, 
who were specially protected by the Russian Government.* In 
brief, the hand of the Government was everywhere. 

The effect of this situation was to direct against the Government 
a large part of the irritation engendered in the minds of the work- 
ing men against their employers. If, for example, a foreman in a 
factory lost his temper and beat a workman, the latter might com- 

^ The imperial appanage. 

2 In case of strikes in factories owned by foreign firms or organized by 
means of foreign capital, representations through the ambassadors at St. 
Petersburg of the countries concerned were usually met by prompt action 
on the part of the authorities, in the interests of Russian credit abroad. C/. 
the case of Goujon of Moscow, supra, p. 196. 


plain to the Government factory inspector, but if the latter did not 
take the workman's view of the case, he came to be looked upon as 
a partner in the oifence committed by the foreman. The chinvo- 
nike, or official class, came to bear the burden of the faults of its 
members, and the whole governmental system came to be called 
in question. Meanwhile the Government neglected to apply the 
ameliorating legislation which had been applied under similar 
conditions of protection and encouragement of industry by Ger- 
many, and the factory system, inspection notwithstanding, con- 
tinued to be conducted in what the workmen now recognized fully 
to be an archaic manner. 

The comparatively small numbers of working men in the cities, 
which prior to the Emancipation were rather poUtical and trading 
than manufacturing centres, sufficiently accounts for the compara- 
tively late appearance of labour organizations, excepting some of 
a rudimentary character. An account is given in the following 
pages of the gradual growth of the trade imion idea and of its rapid 
development during the recent revolutionary period. An account 
is also given of the attempts on the part of the Government to 
control the movement, and of the influence upon labour organiza- 
tion of the revolutionary propagandas. 

While the development of industry on the large scale in Russia 
has lagged behind that of Western Europe in point of time, the late 
development, in the technical and commercial senses, has been 
accompanied by a late development in a social sense. The ex- 
ploitation of the working men and women has been more severe 
than for many years it has been in any Western European country. 
The practice of ** search," ^ universal in Russia, the practice of 
beating workmen, and other similar practices, are incidents in a 
system of oppression which survived the Emancipation, but which 
recent events have done much to mitigate. Low wages and un- 
favourable conditions of work have, as will be seen, played a con- 
spicuous part in producing the " state of mind " which made the 

While the factory system has been developing in Russia with 
great rapidity, partly under the influence of a high protective tariff, 
there has been a spontaneous and very widespread development 

^ Searching the workers on leaving the factory for concealed tools or 
other small articles which they might have purloined. 


of the so-called kustarny or household industry in villages. In 
some guberni, notably in Moskovskaya gub., the Zemstvos have 
encouraged the kustari or household artisans by organizing for 
them the direct supply of raw materials and by facilitating the for- 
mation of artels, or co-operative groups. It seems that in some 
industries, small iron ware, cardboard, leather, woodwork, &c., 
not only do the kustari compete with the large manufacturers, but 
they have in some cases succeeded in directing the trade wholly 
into their own hands.^ 

The foregoing and the following analysis of the situation bring 
these points into reUef : 

1. The changes in social structure due to increase in population, 
the pressure of the " need for land," and the aboHtion of the mutual 

2. The forced development of industry through the protective y 
tariff. / 

3. The rapid growth of a proletariat class in the towns, with 
consequent inferior wages and conditions of labour. 

4. The fixation by peasant and artisan alike of responsibility 
upon the Government for the evils they experience. 

5. The passing of the labour movement from a purely economical 
movement into a political rebellion, the nature of the demands 
being largely of an economical character. 

1 The centre of kustarny activity in the Moscow region is at Sergei Passad, 
about forty miles from Moscow, where is situated the great monastic fortress 
of Troitsky, 



The fall of bondage right on the Emancipation of the peasants 
in February 1861 immediately and profoundly affected factory 
industry. It is true that the system of forced labour in the fac- 
tories had fallen into decay, and that tree^worlcm^n^ere em 
to the extent probably of more than two-thirds of the working 
force of the days immediately before Emancipation, but neverthe- 
less industry received a great shock through the sudden desertion 
of the factories by great numbers of labourers who had been forced 
to work in them. 

The votchinal and possessional factory managements had been 
fully responsible for the peasants ascribed to the factories. They 
were obliged to maintain them whether there was work to do or 
not ; but if there was work to do, the peasants were obUged to do 
it. If they objected they might be — and, as we have seen, often 
were — compelled^by force to fulfil their obligations. The system, 
apart from its moral and social aspects, was ineconomical, and was 
gradually undergoing liquidation from interior causes. Probably 
there still remained in the ranks of the bonded factory workmen, 
the less vigorous and intelligent, those who were otherwise having 
largely succeeded, by one means or another, in joining the ranks 
of hired labour, even although they still remained nominally 
subject to bondage right. Yet, especially on the outskirts, there 
were large establishments in which forced labour was chiefly or 
altogether employed. There thus remained, for example, in the 
Ural Mountains large numbers of peasants by whose bonded labour 
mining, iron-smelting, and other mechanical industries were carried 
on in large establishments. In the Bogoslovsky district of Perm- 
skaya guh. about three thousand previously bonded adult male 
peasants, or three-fourths of the total male working force of the 

district, left the works to which they had been ascribed. These 



men, representing a population of from 12,000 to 15,000, sold or 
even gave away their houses and left the region. From the Bere- 
zovsky works there went away 800 of the best workmen, and from 
the Meassky gold mines there went 2000 famiHes.^ Thus from the 
outlying to the central regions of Russia there began a considerable 
migration. Isolated works in the mountains and in Eastern Euro- 
pean Russia were suddenly deprived of a part or of the whole 
of their working force. Thew ages of j jibour r ose rapidly— i ndeed, 

Qould^ not be obtained, in scantily papulate^.. regions and in the 
^eart of dense forests. Industries, had. been built up in these 
remote places by means of forced labour, and when force was with- 
drawn lab our stopped. The general result of this state of matters 
was a diminution of production. 

The industry wiiick..suffered most_f rom^gheJEmancipation was 
the iron_i ndustry . Above all it had retained forcedTaBourT^and 
it had not been adapting itself to the employment of free hired 
labour to the same extent as had most of the other industries. 
Textile industries suffered much less, because the power factory 
was not yet fully developed, and compulsory labour in factories, 
for the reasons explained in previous chapters, had fallen into decay. 
** The transformed technique of production required a free working 
man, and the factories which retained compulsory labour could 
not compete with the new capitahstic factories." ^ The new 
capitalist factories were concentrated chiefly in the Moscow dis- 
trict and in the Baltic provinces — at Narva, largely, for example — 
while the old votchinal and possessional factories had been distri- 
buted in many guberni of Central Russia. The former had been 
increasing both in size and in numbers, although the great increase 
of them occurred in the subsequent two decades, while the latter 
had been diminishing. Thus, in Kalujskaya gtib. there had been 
fifteen factories, eleven of which were on the estates of nobles and 
belonged to them. In 1861 there were no nobles' factories, and 
there were only a few belonging to merchants. In Simbirskaya 
gub. there were, up till i860, thirty cloth factories, only two of 
which belonged to merchants, the remainder being votchinal, with 
a few possessional factories. Ten years after Emancipation, only 
eight of the twenty-eight factories remained in the hands of nobles, 

^ Tugan-Baranovsky, p. 308. ' Ibid., p. 310. 

VOL. II 2 A 


ten factories were closed, ten were rented to and two were acquired 
by merchants.^ In the end of the eighteenth century and the 
beginning of the nineteenth century the seat of the woollen manu- 
facture in factories was Voronej. Voronej was a factory city 
and all its suburbs were dotted with factories ; ^ in 1856 only three 
were left, and in 1865 not one. Since the time of Peter the Great 
there had been at Kazan a great possessional woollen factory. In 
1830 this factory employed 1000 men ; in the forties it began to 
decline, in the fifties it employed only 450, and in the sixties 
only 260 men. This decline was not due to the introduction of 
machinery, for the production declined proportionately.^ So also 
the woollen factories of pomyetscheke in Orel and in Smolensk dis- 
appeared, and those in Penza, Tambov, Ryazan, Samara, Poltava, 
Kharkov, and Podolsk diminished considerably.* Instead of them 
there appeared new factories belonging to the merchants. 

The cotton industry had established itself chiefly at Moscow ; 
but in the sixties, immediately after Emancipation, it had to en- 
counter the crisis produced in the cotton trade by the American 
Civil War.^ The manufacture of cotton was not, however, carried 
on at this time to any material extent in possessional factories. 
It had been, as we have seen, from a comparatively early period 
a capitalistic industry, whether it was carried on within the factory 
or outside of it. In the manufacture of silk, hired labour had been 
almost exclusively employed since the disastrous experiment at 

It is always hard to differentiate the effects of different economic 
causes acting simultaneously and giving rise to complicated reac- 
tions. For this reason it is not safe to assume too readily that 
the most obvious is the most important cause. In addition tor 
the causes of disturbance interior to Russian industry, some of 
which have been suggested in preceding chapters, there were two 
important causes external to Russia, one of which occurred before 
and the other after the Emancipation. These were the general 
commercial crisis of 1857 and the cotton famine due to the Civil 
War in America. The latter has already been alluded to. Begin- 

1 Tugan-Baranovsky, p. 310. 2 75^^^ 

^ Ibid., p. 311. * Ibid. 

^ Garelin, J., Ivanovo-Voznesensk, ii. pp. 25, 27, contains interesting data 
iox the cotton crisis of the sixties ; cited by Tugan-Baranovsky, p. 31:2. 
• See supra, vol. i. pp. 484-88. 


ning in the United States in August 1857,^ the commercial crisis 
affected England in November of the same year.^ Russia was not 
affected so immediately as England was, but within a year Russia 
was in the throes of a commercial crisis not to be dissociated from 
the restriction of credit due to the crisis of the preceding year. 
Russian banks and joint-stock companies, industrial and commercial 
houses, suspended payment in large numbers. The immediate 
result of this financial crash was the diminution of production 
with consequent stagnation in industry .^ The effects upon Russian 
factory industry of the cotton famine, and of the subsequent crisis 
of 1866, originating in England, had hardly disappeared when 
Russian commerce was again struck by an external blow. This 
blow came from the Austro-German crisis of 1873. This crisis 
began with a panic on the Vienna Bourse early in May of that 
year.* The effects of the crisis did not make their appearance 
imtil August, when there is held the great annual fair of Nijni- 
Novgorod. Three large merchants and a great number of small 
merchants became bankrupt there in the end of August. Im- 
mediately afterwards a crisis manifested itself at Odessa. Many 
merchants failed, and " money disappeared completely." ^ 

There were, however, influences interior to Russia making also 
in the direction of financial and industrial disturbance. One of 
many concurrent causes of the European crisis of 1873 was the \ 
heavy drafts upon European credit caused by the building of rail- 
ways in the United States ; and this cause produced reactions in 
the United States from the financial disturbances on the European 
bourses. Simultaneously with the railway movement in the United 
States there went on, especially between 1868 and 1871, a vigorous 
construction of railways in Russia. Upwards of a milliard of rubles 
was spent in about four years. The transformation of so large 
a capital into so highly permanent and inconvertible a form could \ 
not be so rapidly accompUshed without disturbance, especially J 

^ It may be held to liave arisen out "of inflation of credit due to the rapid 
opening up of the middle west and the hopes to which that gave rise, hopes 
which were too extravagant for immediate fulfilment. 

* The Bank Act was suspended on 12th November 1857. 

* Tugan-Baranovsky, p. 327. 

* The panic began in the last days of April and reached its height on 
loth May. 

' Wirth, Max. History of Commercial Crises, 1877, p. 475 ; cited by 
Tugan-Baranovsky, p. 328. 


in a country like Russia, where there is Httle fluid financial capital, 
and where the commercial and industrial capital is so widely dif- 
fused, and is therefore not readily susceptible of concentration for 
purposes of credit. During the four years of railway construction 
there was a temporary inflation due to the pouring into the country 
of masses of Belgian and French capital. In 1870-1871 it was 
inevitable that the French source of supply should dry up during 
the war, and for some time afterwards. Railway construction 
was resumed in 1873 and 1874, but the sudden stoppage in 
I 1870 aflected seriously in the following year the demand for 

L- The recovery of the Russian factory industry and of Russian 
commerce from the effects of these interior and exterior cataclysms 
was extraordinarily rapid. After the Russo-Turkish War was 
concluded, an epoch of prosperity began. Profits became enor- 
mous. Joint-stock companies, according to their annual reports 
published from 1878 onwards until 1880, were earning up to 70 
I per cent, upon their capital.^ These enormous profits led to great 
I increase in production. Cotton manufacture was especially 
I stimulated. In 1879 upwards of 1,000,000 spindles were installed, 
thus raising the previously- existing 3,500,000 spindles to 4,500,000.* 
This sudden expansion was due, Bezobrazov * thinks, to the 
issues of Government bank-notes for the purpose of financing the 
expenditure upon the Turkish War. Speculative activity was 
directed at this period almost whoUy to the promotion of new 
joint-stock enterprises. The speculation had thus " a bourse 
character " to a greater extent than had any pre\dous speculative 
period. By the beginning of the eighties of the nineteenth century 
Russia had been well drawn into the network of international trade 
and finance, so that the depression of trade which began in Eng- 
land in 1877-1878, and continued until 1886 — the " long depres- 
sion," as it came to be called — affected Russia seriously, as also 
did the various crises of that period, wherever they originated. 
Paris and New York both experienced financial crises in 1882 ; 
and in Russia in 1884 there came the railway debacle. The stimulus 

^ Tugan-Baranovsky, p. 329. 

* Bezobrazov, V., The Economy of the People of Russia, i. p. 277 ; cited 
by Tugan-Baranovsky, p. 330. 

' Ihid., p. 330. * Bezobrazov, ihid. ; cited, ibid. 


of war funds having come to an end, the period from 1882-1886! 
was marked everywhere by the shortening of production and by 
commercial stagnation.^ The meagre fairs at Nijni-Novgorod be- 
tween 1882 and 1887 afforded visible evidence of general depression 
in Russia.2 

The effect of these movements upon Russian industry was also 
visible in St. Petersburg, which had already, in the winter of 1880- 
1881, a heavy unemployment roll. The great factory of Bird 
'scharged about 3000 workmen, retaining only 1000 ; at the Alex- 
idrovo works 350 only were left out of 800 ; at the St. Samson 
orks 450 out of from 1200 to 1500. 
Industrial depression affected Moscow so early as the spring i 
1880. There the kustarni industry suffered even more than 
e factory. Throughout the winter of 1880-1881 there was much 
lemployment in Ivanovo. At the same time two thousand work- 
en were thrown out of employment by discharge from the 
.forks of Khludov, in the district of Dukhovtschina. In Klentsi 
Pos^d (faubourg), in Chemigovskaya gub., the number of workmen 
was diminished by 40 per cent., and the wages were reduced by 
from 30 to 40 per cent, for those who remained. In Poland, during 
the summer of 1882, there were 20,000 unemployed in Warsaw 

The long industrial depression thus began in Russia about a 
year and a half later than it began in England, and the revival 
took place about one year later than the revival of trade in England, f 
There was a slight check in Russia in 1890, but in 1895-1896 
Russia shared to the full in the vigorous trade movement which 
began at that time to be felt throughout the civilised world. The | 
most significant part of this movement is to be found in the rapid 
growth of the iron industry in the basin of the river Don. Pre- 
paration had been made for this by the opening, in 1884, of a net- 
work of railways in the region, and especially by the construction of 
the Ekaterenensky Railway, which connected the iron mines at 
Krivoy Rog with the coal mines of the Don. Up till 1887, the iron 
mines of the Urals had been the principal sources of supply ; but 
from that year they lost ground steadily. In 1887 there were 

^ Tugan-Baranovsky, p. 332. 

2 The agricultural incidents of these periods are considered elsewhere. 

' Preklonsky, S., in Delo, 1883 ; cited by Tugan-Baranovsky, p. 332. 


only two ironworks in the Don region— those of Hughes and 
Pastukhov. Other ironworks followed, until in 1889 there were 
seventeen large smelting works and twenty-nine active blast 
furnaces. Each of these works employed about 10,000 men. The 
price of coal lands doubled in a very few years.^ " The industrial 
mood has infected all classes of the inhabitants of South Russia. . . . 
In two years the south of Russia has changed its physiognomy." * 
The principal products of South Russia at this time were rails 
and other materials for railway construction and maintenance. 
Between 1866 and 1899 the production of pig iron in Russia multi- 
plied five times ; at the former date Russia produced less than 
3 per cent, of the world's production ; at the latter date nearly 
7 per cent. In 1899 Russia came third in the list of producers of 
pig iron, England and Germany leading.^ 

Between 1887 and 1893 the number of workmen in the Russian 
factories increased by 264,856, and the value of the production 
by 400 milUon rubles ; between the years 1893 and 1897 the 
number of workmen increased by 515,358, and the value of the 
production by 1104 million rubles.* This tremendous growth was 
too rapid. The arrest came in 1899-1900.^ The movement was 
a complicated one. The rush of working men from the small 
towns to the great industrial centres, which began from positive 
causes in the early part of the period of inflation, proceeded in the 
later part of it from negative causes. The small towns in the 
Dnieper valley, for example, were drawn upon heavily by Warsaw, 
Lodz, Minsk, and other large industrial towns. The small river 
towns had slender manufacture for export. They were dependent 
mainly upon the local trade. Thus the drawing-off of large numbers 
of their working population disturbed the local conditions, reduced 
demand, and induced flight to the industrial centres. Meanwhile 
the villages which relied upon the towns in their locaUty for the 
marketing of their produce found their market diminishing, except- 
ing for wheat, which was, in any case, sold chiefly for export. The 
diminished purchasing power of the villages reacted upon the 

1 Tugan-Baranovsky, p. 339. 

2 Vyestnik Fenansov, No. 33, 1897, p. 474 ; cited by Tugan-Baranovsky, 

p. 339. 

3 Tugan-Baranovsky, p. 340. * Ibid., p. 340. 

* Professor Tugan-Baranovsky in March 1898 foretold the approaching 
crisis. See op. cit., ist ed. (St. Petersburg, 1898), p. 325. 



towns and intensified the depression there.^ Diminution of pur- 
chasing power throughout the country was also caused by the 
inferior harvests of 1898 and 1899. The two causes acting together 
produced the depression in so far as it was due to domestic causes. 
In so far as the large manufacturing cities were dependent upon 
the domestic market, they were thus encountered by collapse of 
the previously increasing demand, and those industries which were 
created to meet this demand were inevitably the first to feel the 

Stagnation in the cotton industry began to manifest itself in 
Ivanovo in the autumn of 1899 ; in the spring of 1900, the same 
condition affected Moscow, and also Tula, which is a centre for the 
manufacture of samovars and other household articles in universal 
use. So also at Belostok, the cotton industry suffered heavily, 
and at Lodz, the iron industry. These economic disturbances 
affected credit all over Russia, and at Baku there was a financial 
crisis in November 1899. ^^ ^^^ region of the Don, eighteen 
Belgian enterprises stopped payment, with liabilities of 4 J miUion 
rubles. In Kiev in December 1899, there was a crisis in the sugar 
industry. 2 At the same time an advance in the price of coal in- 
creased the cost of metallurgical processes ^ and contributed to the 
diminution of the production of metallurgical works. The crisis 
in credit occurred in the spring of 1900, when there were many 
failures of industrial, commercial, and financial houses with large 
liabiUties. Following upon these there came a sharp fall of prices. 

While the influence of deficient harvests upon the general ^ 
situation must not be ignored, the details which have been given I 
seem to prove decisively that Russia is no longer a purely agri- I 
cultural country, and that she has entered upon the capitalistic \ 
field to a very large extent and with very great rapidity. This 
rapidity has been indeed so great that she has not only been drawn 
into the network of international commercial relations, and has 
thus become subject to the fluctuations of these, but her own 

* These conclusions are from observations made by the writer in Poland 
in the late summer of 1 899. 

* Arising probably from over-production. 

* This advance in the price of coal in the teeth of the fall of other prices, 
seems to have been due to the increase in the customs duties on foreign coal, 
and to the fact that the Russian mines could not immediately replace with 
their own production the quantity which would have been imported. 




industry and commerce have their own important domestic fluctua- 
tions. While, no doubt, like America, Russia is still predominantly 
agricultural, her industries now constitute a formidable factor ; 
and in the present phase of her development, the economic equili- 
brium, which was formerly dependent almost exclusively upon 
agriculture, is now largely dependent as well upon industry. 

What have been the causes of this transformation, so rapid and 

on so vast a scale ? There can be no single answer to this com- 

Q plicated question. Many causes have co-operated to produce the 

result. f^Vsp there may be put the Emancipation of the peasant^ 

in 1861. Pnor to Emancipation, peasant labour may be regarded 

' as having been relatively inef&cient, and as having become rather 
/more than less so as the period of emancipation approached. It is 

; possible that in the eighteenth century, under the pressure of the 
whip, the produce of a bonded peasant was not less than that of a 
free man ; but it is scarcely possible that it was as great in the 
nineteenth century, when, 'after all is said that may be said on the 
subject, the lot of the peasant was, on the whole, better, and his 
treatment by his pomyelschek milder, than it had been in the 
eighteenth century. For this reason the number of peasants upon 
a given area of land was greater than was necessary to cultivate, 
the land under skilful administration. When Emancipation took 
place, and when, as they did, the landowners proceeded to cultivate 
large areas by means of hired labourers under the control of skilled 
persons, the number of peasants necessary for the operations was 
necessarily smaller than formerly. So also when the peasants were 
hberated from compulsory labour in the votchinal and possessional 
factories, a smaller number of hired labourers sufficed to take their 
places and to do the work which they formerly did. Emancipation 
thussgt^free for employment a vast surplus of labourers accustomed 
to a low standard of comfort. The majority of these, as we knoW, 
had land, but they had nd~agricultural capital, and although the 
large majority of the peasants who had formerly been engaged in 
agriculture remained in that occupation, considerable nunijirs^f 
them offered themselves for employment in the towns, ^ec 
interior changes in peasant hfe have contributed to increase 
supply of labour since Emancipation. Among these may be 
observed the abolition of the method of taxation by " mutual 
guarantee " which had contributed to hold the village population 


in the villages, and to prevent them from going into the industrial 
centres. The aboUtion of the " mutual guarantee *' rendered 
" separations " more easy by increasing the mobiUty of the peasant, 
and enabled him readily to become a workman. The same change 
tended to obviate the previous necessity for the working man to 
go back to his village from the factory where he was employed, in 
order to take his share in field labour in his village. As this 
practice diminished, which it was doing in the nineties, the factories 
found that it was not necessary to employ quite so many hands in 
order to obtain the same amount of work. Counting upon a month 
as a minimum period of absence from the factory of each workman, 
the factory, in order to maintain a full working force would require 
to employ on the average about 8 per cent, more men than they 
would have had to employ had all their workmen worked all of the 
time. As the practice diminished, so would this percentage, and 
thus a certain surplus of labour would be gi-adually created, directly 
andindirectly through the abohtion of the ** mutual guarantee." 
4>kS^D the promotion of education by the Zemstvo authorities, 
especially prior to the so-called " righting of the Zemstvos/' had 
an important influence in diverting peasant lads from agriculture 
to industry. The same cause also probably rendered them less 
obedient to parental discipline, especially when it was exercised 
tactlessly by uneducated parents, and thus the,,4iQu^s became 
less inclined to adopt the parental occupation. (Fourt j^heve were s^j^ 
the attractions which Russia offered to foreign capital through her 
vast resources, coupled with a supply of labour, ample and low in 
price for the reasons which have been explained. This capital was 
largely suppUed by French and Belgian investors. Some of these 
had been previously investing heavily in the United States, but 
they had suffered in the crisis in that country in 1873, and they 
suffered again heavily in the crisis of 1893, and they were, there- 
fore, disposed to look for other fields for investment. On the 
whole, Russia offered the most favourable field at that time. 

These causes, the first two relating to the supply of labour, 
the third to the education of the labourer, and the fourth to the 
equally necessary supply of capital, seem to account for the possi- 
bihty of an industrial movement of magnitude in Russia, although 
they do not account for the oscillations of that movement. TJ 
causes might not, however, have been operative but for ^Cfi/th, 


which gave all of them opportunity for action. This cause was the 
development of the Russian railway system.^ 

The conditions out of which the first three causes mentioned 
arose are considered elsewhere ; the fourth cause of the expansion 
of Russian industry may be illustrated briefly. Foreign capital 
and foreign management had played a considerable r61e in Russian 
industry since the time of Peter the Great, but they became highly 
important in the forties of the nineteenth century .^ 

The estabUshment of the cotton-spinning and weaving factory 
industry in Russia owes its beginning to a German immigrant, 
Ludwig Knoop, who was a clerk in a Manchester house. He 
persuaded his employers to give him an agency for the sale of 
cotton-manufacturing machinery in Russia. By dexterous financial 
and diplomatic management, he succeeded in establishing a large 
number of cotton-spinning and weaving mills and factories ; in 
fact, nearly all of the cotton mills in Central Russia were founded 
by Knoop.3 The great mill of Krengolmsk (Kranholm), near Narva, 
which he estabUshed, has more than 400,000 spindles, and it was 
regarded as the largest cotton-spinning mill in the world.* Knoop 
took many English managers from Lancashire, who reproduced " a 
comer of England on Russian soil." ^ The firm of Knoop became 
enormously influential, not only with the Government, but also 

■ > with the banking and financial houses. For a time it practically 

'controlled the cotton-factory industry of Russia. 

" No church without a pop 
No mill without a Knop."* 

Knoop's method of procedure was as follows : When a manufac- 

* Professor Tugan-Baranovsky {op. cit, p. 365) regards this as the main 
cause. Unless, however, the other causes mentioned above, or causes making 
in a similar direction, had been previously in action, the building of railways 
could not of itself have created any but temporary expansion. 

* There are at present living in Russia, several English and Scotch families 
whose ancestors went to Russia to engage in industrial enterprises in the 
middle of the eighteenth century, and many whose grandfathers or fathers 
went at subsequent periods. For early English settlers in Russia, see 
Gamela, I., English in Russia in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries, 
(St. Petersburg, 1865). 

' For accounts of Knoop, see The Firm of Knoop and its Meaning (St. Peters- 
burg, 1895), and Schulze-Gavemitz, G. von, Volkswirtschaftliche Studien aus 
Russland (Leipzig, 1899), pp. 91 et seq. Knoop died in 1894. 

* Ibid., p. 97. 5 Ibid. 

« A popular couplet of the " forties." Ibid., p. 92. 


turer desired to build a factory, he was obliged to call reverentially 
at Knoop's office and inquire whether the officials would receive 
his name and would consider the expediency of permitting him 
to engage in his proposed enterprise. The officials thereupon made 
independent inquiries as to the standing of the applicant, whether 
he or his wife had any capital, and in what form it existed. If he 
were already in business, it was necessary to know if he had been 
successful, whether or not he was indebted to the firm, or other- 
wise, and the Uke. Should these inquiries result in a satisfactory 
report, the manufacturer was required to repeat his visit. He 
then met, probably after several preUminary calls, the mighty 
Baron Romanovich, the superintendent of the office, by whom he 
was informed loftily, " Well ! We shall build a factory for thee.' 
Sometimes a manufacturer ventured to remark that he had heard 
of some improvement which he would Uke to have adopted in the 
factory which was to be built for him, and for which, of course, he 
was to be responsible ; but he was always told severely, " That 
is not your affair ; in England they know better than you.'* 

The manufacturer was entered by a number on the office Hsts, 
and the firm (of Jersey) in Manchester was ordered to supply a 
factory for this number. Detailed drawings for the factory build- 
ings were then sent out from England, and these were sent down 
to the factory site, provided EngHsh managers were in charge ; if 
such were not the case, the office of Knoop appointed an Enghsh 
manager to look after the erection of the factory. When the 
buildings were completed, a full installation of machinery came 
out from England, together with EngUsh workmen to erect it. The 
workmen so sent out were independent both of the office of Knoop, 
and of the owner of the factory. They were in correspondence 
with the firm in England by whom they had been sent out (the 
firm of Jersey acting only as agents).^ 

In addition to the factories which it financed and in which it 
retained shares, sometimes to a large extent, the firm of Knoop 
had also mills and weaving factories in its own exclusive possession, 
the largest of which, near Narva on the Baltic, has already been 

During recent years a very large number of French, Belgian, 

* The Firm of Knoop and its Meaning (St. Petersburg, 1895), pp. 35, 36, 
and 39 ; cited by Tugan-Baranovsky, p. 371. 


and some American enterprises have been established. Probably 
the largest individual establishments in Russia are in the hands of 
English and French capitahsts. Examples of the former are the 
woollen mills of the Thorntons on the Neva, and of the latter are 
the Nobel works at Baku, now largely financed by English and 
French capital. The Krivoy Rog iron ores on the Dnieper, and 
the coal of the Don basin, have both been exploited by foreign 
capital and by foreign (the latter by EngHsh) ^ management. 

Schulze-Gavernitz concludes his very interesting account of 
Knoop by what Tugan-Baranovsky calls facetiously " a dithyramb," 
in which he says that the emergence in these days of men like "Rocke- 
feller and Knoop, Stumm and John Burns," proves conclusively 
the fallacy of the pessimistic philosophy of Nietzsche and of the 
doctrine that the human race is degenerating.^ Even from the 
less enthusiastic point of view of Tugan-Baranovsky, the role of 
Knoop in " Europeanizing " the crude capitalism of the Russia of 
his time was extremely important. He thinks, moreover, that the 

; same process may with advantage be carried yet farther. " The 
more energetically international capital flows to Russia, the sooner 

I will cease the present condition of excess of demand over supply 
of the products of capitalistic industry. The Russian market is 
not yet suf&ciently used by capitahsm, and therefore there is no 
reason to fear that chronic over-production which at one time 
appeared as a threatening monster upon the Western European 
horizon." ^ 

The growth of Russian capital sufficient to check the flow of 
foreign investments can only begin when Russia recovers from the 
disease which Rosa Luxembourg called " hypertrophy of profit." * 

It might also be held that in Russia the market is more compact 
than it is in the West. The small area and the isolation of England 
compels her to seek for her markets in Asia, in Africa, in America, 
and elsewhere at a great distance from her shores. In Russia there 
is an immense population within a strictly continuous land area ; 
and, given means of communication, there ought to be an immense 
interior market. In England the opening of a new line of railway 

1 The pioneer in the iron industry in Southern Russia was Mr. J. Hughes, 
an EngHshman. See Tugan-Baranovsky, p. 372, and Schulze-Gavernitz, 
op. cit., p. 298. 

2 Schulze-Gavernitz, op. cit., pp. 1 00-101. 

3 Tugan-Baranovsky, op. cit., p. 373. * Quoted by ihid. 


brings into the mercantile circle a comparatively small number of 
additional persons. In Russia the opening of a new Une of com- 
munication brings into relation an enormous number of persons, 
and opens up at once new markets. In America the railway is 
usually in advance of population ; in Russia the railway drags 
behind population, and when it comes, it at once gives a fresh 
direction to previously latent productive powers. 

It is to be remarked that Professor Tugan-Baranovsky rejects 
the suggestion that the protective tariff was an important general 

. cause of the growth of Russian industry. For this reason the dis- 
C^jcussion of it as a doubtful sixth cause of the sudden expansion of 

^Russian trade has been relegated to this place. In the first in- 
stance, those cases in which its influence is admitted by Professor 
Tugan-Baranovsky may be considered. Chief among these he 
places the rapid growth of the iron trade following upon the in- 
crease of the customs duties upon iron in 1887. Up till that date 
the development of iron manufacture was weak. Under the tariff 
of 1868 iron was charged a small duty of 5 kopeks per pud, but a 
large quantity of imported iron entered Russia without duty, since 
the railways were permitted to import duty free all iron required 
for railway, and even for some other purposes. From 1881 these 
exemptions were abolished, and the duties upon iron gradually 
increased. In 1887 these duties were 25 kopeks, and in 1891 
30 kopeks in gold per pud at the sea board ; and 35 kopeks per 
pM on the western land frontier.^ The sharp increase in iron- 
smelting in the Russian furnaces which began in 1887 was un- 
doubtedly connected with the increase in customs duties. So also 
in respect to coal.^ The duties upon foreign coal were advanced 
in 1886 and in 1887, and the production of Russian coal was increased 
considerably, although the price was advanced^ and the state of 
trade was depressed. 

In reference to the development of the iron trade in Russia, 
Professor Tugan-Baranovsky remarks that in such a complicated 
question as the connection between the tariff system and the con- 
dition of industry, it must first of all be recognized that post hoc 
is not propter hoc. He points out that iron-smelting was practised 
in Russia on a large scale in early times,* and that from the begin- 

^ Cf. Tugan-Baranovsky, pp. 363-4. ^ Jbid., p. 364. 

3 Cf. supra, p. 375- * Cf. supra, vol. i. p. 434 et seq. 


ning it was above all other industries supported and encouraged by 
the Government. Prior to Emancipation, the importation of iron 
was prohibited, and the Government expended enormous sums in 
maintaining ironworks in private hands. Nevertheless this in- 
dustry was in a state of complete stagnation until the Emancipa- 
tion of the peasants. The protective poHcy, he argues, not only 
did not develop, but rather killed, the Russian iron industry. It 
led to the increase of the price of iron and to the complete stagna- 
tion of technical effort .^ During the period between the liberation 
of the peasants and the imposition of a protective tariff, while 
there was no material impediment to importation, the production 
of iron developed, although very slowly. In this slow development 
the Russian protectionists thought they recognized the influence 
of the absence of protection through the customs. They thought 
that if Russia had not yielded to the representations of liberal 
free-traders, she should have become a second America. Professor 
Tugan-Baranovsky argues, however, that the free importation of 
iron for railways had enabled the network of hues to be constructed 
which was, he thinks, by far the most important cause of the 
development of Russian industry .2 Moreover, he beUeves that 
further growth in Russian manufactures in general must depend 
upon the relatively low price of iron. Only by cheap iron and by 
cheap coal can capitalistic industry be stimulated. The price of 
iron fell somewhat in the nineties, and the southern iron manu- 
facturers began to speak of over-production and the necessity of 
some action by the Government in the direction of standardizing 
iron after the manner of the sugar industry, and of giving premiums 
upon exports. He considers that either of these measures must 
be injurious to industry in general, and that an essential condition 
of prosperous manufacturing is competition in raw materials, so 
that they may be obtained at a price so low that demand is stimu- 
lated. Moreover, the Government is the largest user of iron, and 
the general interests of the State thus demand that it should be 
suppUed without adventitious additions to the price.^ 

1 It may be observed in this connection that, in spite of the magnitude 
of the steel trade in the United States, the important improvements in the 
manufacture have not been American, but have been English, German, or 
French. Witness, e.g., the Thomzis, Siemens-Martin, and Bessemer processes. 
This is due, no doubt, to a series of comphcated causes other than protection. 

^ Tugan-Baranovsky, p. 365. 

» Cf. ibid., p. 373. 



In regard to cotton manufacture, Professor Tugan-Baranovsky 
points out that while the increase of the customs duty upon raw 
cotton increased the cultivation of cotton in Russian Middle Asia 
it could only impede the development of cotton-spinning and 
weaving. Similarly the increase of the duty upon cotton yam 
constricted the weaving industry. 

The special interest in the study of the effect of customs duties 
in Russia lies in the fact that the reactions of these may be 
observed in relation to a lower scale of general prices than in any 
other country with so high a customs tariff. It may be observed 
also that, owing to historical causes, an account of which has been 
attempted in preceding chapters, the effective demand of the 
Russian people is so slender, notwithstanding the enormous popula- 
tion, that the productive powers of a comparatively small pro- 
portion of that population, when efficiently directed, easily outruns 
this demand. Thus on the principle of domestic commercial ex- 
change of product for product, there must be inevitably great 
over-production on one hand, and great want on the other, at 
frequent intervals. That the idea of communism as a final solution 
of the impasse should so frequently arise in Russian speculation is, 
therefore, not surprising. On the other hand, Marxism and all 
that it implies has taken so formidable a hold of so many Russian 
economists that it seems necessary at this stage to notice the view 
of the capitaUstic process which was held by Professor Tugan- 
Baranovsky while he was still a convinced Marxist. This view is 
expressed in his interesting book on industrial crises. Here he 
develops fully his theory of markets, and it seems necessary to 
allude to it in this place because of the influence of his and of 
analogous ideas upon Russian poHcy and upon Russian opinion. 
According to the theory promulgated in Industrial Crises, capi- 
taUstic production creates for itself a market. The sole condition 
which is necessary for the creation of a new market is the justly 
proportional division of products. It is true, he says, that this 
condition constitutes an important obstacle to the growth of capi- 
talistic production, because complete equihbrium of production is 
impossible within the Umits of capitaUstic production ; and the 
attainment of that approximate equilibrium which is required in 
order to avoid the complete arrest of capitaUstic production in- 
volves many hardships. In one case, however, these hardships 


are much diminished. This case occurs when the capitaHstic 
growth takes place in an atmosphere of natural economy. Let us 
imagine, for example, he says, that the whole social production 
consists of two branches only — the production of cloth, and the 
production of bread. If the products of each are designed ex- 
clusively for exchange, in that case the equality of demand and 
supply — that is to say, the stability of their prices — is possible only 
if the quantities of the products are strictly proportional. In other 
words, the prices do not vary, if the exact quantity of cloth is pro- 
duced which is wanted by the persons who produce a specific and 
unvarying quantity of bread. If the amount of cloth which is 
produced is doubled, in order to maintain the equilibrium of prices, 
the quantity of bread must be doubled also. If, however, there is 
no correspondent increase in the quantity of bread, the phenomenon 
of over-production of cloth would at once make its appearance, 
and the price of cloth in terms of bread would be diminished. 
Since under existing conditions there is no necessary accordance 
between those who produce cloth and those who produce bread, 
and since neither can control the production of their respective 
goods, there is no foundation for the belief that the increase of 
the production of cloth would lead to the increase in the production 
of bread. It is true that price regulates capitaUstic production, 
and establishes eventually a certain rough proportion in capitalistic 
economics ; but price is an imperfect regulator, and equilibrium 
is often reached only through the limitation of production. The 
disorganization of production which thus results is a direct drag 
upon its growth. If we suppose that cloth is subject to capitaUstic 
production and bread to production under " natural economy," in 
such a case the growth of the production of cloth does not require 
a corresponding growth in the preparation of agricultural products. 
In order that, under these circumstances, the sale or exchange of 
cloth should be increased, it is necessary that agriculture should 
exchange a greater proportion than formerly of its bread for cloth. 
This necessity, continues Professor Tugan-Baranovsky, may arise 
from various reasons. For example, the industry of the home, 
which usually furnishes dress or the materials for dress, may decline. 
Yet the quantity of cloth may increase even although the total 
sum of agricultural production may diminish. The two forces, the 
possibility of the increase of the exchange of goods, notwithstanding 


there being on one side a stationary or even declining production, 
and the facility of the enlargement of production by the force of 
purely natural conditions, constitute the fundamental factors of 
capitaUstic industry in young countries, where natural economy 
predominates. In old countries, on the other hand, capitalistic 
industry already predominates, and for that reason the conditions 
of the market are incomparably more favourable for the growth of 
capitaUstic industry in Russia than in the old capitalistic countries 
of the West.i 

In brief. Professor Tugan-Baranovsky's argument seems to be 
susceptible of expression in the following terms : Interior trade is 
subject to the law of comparative costs in approximately the same 
degree as international trade is subject to this law. ~An impedi- 
ment introduced into the system will, therefore, produce effects 
similar to those produced by similar impediments introduced into 
international exchange. The equilibrium of prices will be dis- 
turbed by an alteration in the tariff, and the proportions between 
the supply of domestic and the supply of foreign products may be 
altered ; but the eventual equilibrium will be the result of reactions 
supervening upon the original cause of disturbance. The process 
of readjustment of the equiUbrium of prices is too complicated to 
justify the statement that the tariff by itself determines prices. 
If the tariff does not exercise an exclusive influence over prices, 
it cannot do so over either demand or supply, therefore it cannot 
do so over trade. In proportion, however, as its influence pre- 
dominates, and it may, sometimes, over prices, it exercises an 
influence over trade in general, acting through those forces which 
determine prices and trade at all times.^ 

From the details which have been given above, it is evident 
that the great growth of Russian industry is very recent and that 
it is very fluctuating. It is also observable that it is to a 
large extent exotic. The explanations of these important facts 
imply previous examination of the Russian character as it has 
emerged from the past history of the Russian people. Attachment 
to the land and reluctance to engage in mechanical occupations 
seem to be still deeply rooted, although the aboUtion of bondage 
right has modified both to a great extent. 

* Tugan-Baranovsky, p. 368. 

* Cf. ibid,, pp. 366 and 367. 
VOL. II 2 B 


In the early nineties, critics of factory enterprise who leaned to 
what they regarded as the characteristic form of Russian industry — 
e.g. "V.V." (VasiH Vorontsev) ; iNikdlai-On (Nicholas Danielson), 
Nicholas Karisheff, and N. Khablukov ^ developed the thesis that, 
as industrial development in Russia increased, the numbers of 
persons engaged in it, in proportion to the total number of the 
population, must diminish. Khablukov even asserted that this 
number must diminish absolutely as well as relatively .2 The theory 
upon which this thesis was based was simply that machinery re- 
placed human labour and that the universal adoption of machinery 
would enable labour to be wholly dispensed with. " If shuttles 
could throw themselves, there would be no use for slaves." 

The polemics of these writers were, however, supported by 
statistics which did not bear the test of examination. In his 
counter-blast. Professor Tugan-Baranovsky was easily able to show 
that both relatively and absolutely there was a great increase. 
The following are his statistics, supplemented by the corresponding 
figures for 1900, and by the numbers of factories, &c. 

No. of 

Total Number 
of Miners . 
and Factory 

Total Number 

of Persons 
Employed on 
the Railways. 





2,098,262 * 

450,000 « 




These figures represent an increase of 64 per cent, between 1887 
and 1897, while the increase of population was not greater during 
the decennial period than 15 per cent. But these few categories, 
although the numbers are large, do not exhaust the numbers of 
workmen engaged in or connected with mechanical industry. Pro- 

^ All of the Narodnek group. ^ Cf. Tugan-Baranovsky, p. 374. 

3 Ibid., p. 375. 

* Statistical Return of Factories and Works, &'C., Ministry of Finance, 
Dept. of Industry, for 1900. Compiled by V. E. Varzar (St. Petersburg, 1903), 
p. ix. 

^ Ihid., p. xi. * Estimated. 


fessor Tugan-Baranovsky considers that it would be legitimate to 
add one million to the totals for 1897 on this account, and a some- 
what smaller figure to the total for 1887. Not less significant is 
the concentration of factories which has been going on in Russia. 
What are known in America as " mergers " were formed vigorously 
immediately after Emancipation in 1861 ; and the same process has 
gone on with varying vigour ever since. 

The relative statistics of 1897 and 1900 would seem to indicate 
a considerable amount of concentration, since the number of work- 
men employed increased while the number of factories diminished ; 
but whether or not there was any concentration during this period 
cannot be ascertained from the figures in the table, because they 
are not strictly comparable. In the collection of the statistics for 
1897, all factories which had an annual output of the value of 
lOoo rubles were included. There were in this number many very 
small shops, even kustarni workshops, while in the figures for 1900, 
these were all excluded, and only those factories which were under 
the jurisdiction of the factory inspectors were taken into account. 
Such factories are not segregated upon any definite principle, but 
in general have ten as a minimum number of employees, and 
5000 rubles as a minimum value of their annual production.^ 

It is thus necessary to examine the categories of which the 
gross figures are composed, in order to ascertain the extent to which 
concentration has been going on. This need not be attempted for 
recent years, in this place, but a few particulars regarding certain 
trades and for certain periods may usefully be given. In the 
cotton factories, the number of workmen employed in the large 
establishments increased by 300 per cent, between 1866 and 1894, 
while the number of such factories increased by only 50 per cent. 
At the same time the number of working men in small factories 
increased by about 16 per cent., and the number of factories 
diminished about 6 per cent., while the number of working men in 
factories of intermediate size increased more than 250 per cent., 
and the mmiber of factories by 200 per cent. The tendency to- 
wards intermediate and large factories is immistakable. 

The concentration of commercial capital had, as we have seen, 
antedated in Russia the concentration of industrial capital. This 

* Cf. Statistical Return, &c., p. ix. 

* Cf. Tugan-Baranovsky, p. ^77- 


process of concentration in commerce has been proceeding rapidly. 
The circulation of great commercial firms formed, in 1886, 47 per 
cent, of the total circulation of the firms enrolled in the merchants' 
guilds ; in 1888, this figure was 55 per cent. The firms which did 
more than one-half of the business carried on by the members of 
the guilds as a whole did not form more than one-half per cent, 
of the membership. 




During the first year after Emancipation, 1861-1862, in spite of 
the great increase in the supply of labour which that event pro- 
duced, wages rose. The reason for this appears to have been that 
there was a tendency for the workmen who had been bonded to a 
factory to leave it in order to return to their villages. Some of 
these workmen had saved money during their employment in the 
factories, and returned to their villages to engage in light agri- 
cultural labour ; others returned to the villages with a knowledge 
of a craft and with the intention of exercising it in kustarni 
industry.^ The peasants of the industrial regions had smaller land 
allotments than those of the regions where there was no industry, 
consequently, returning peasant workmen had to take into account 
the necessity of making their living otherwise than by cultivation 
exclusively. The cities and industrial towns were thus temporarily 
partially denuded of their industrial population. Within a few 
years the stream turned back towards the factories, and wages 
fell.2 Meanwhile, however, the urban prices of food and clothing 
had advanced, so that when the stream of workmen set in for the 
factory again, real wages had fallen, and, moreover, the machine had, 
to a large extent, taken their places. The situation is well de- 
scribed by Garden, who was a large manufacturer in the village of 

" The beautiful times of high wages for the Ivanovo working 
men were concluded by the introduction of machinery. So long as 
there was no machinery, or only a few rare and new machines, it 
can be said that the working men ruled the factory. It depended 
upon himself — if he worked well he could receive large wages and he 
could, at the same time, yield the owner large profits. If he were 

* Golubev, A., Histofico-Statistical Review of Industry in Russia : The 
Weaving and Spinning of Cotton, p. 98 ; cited by Tugan-Baranovsky, p. 143. 
» Ibid, 



offended at the owner he might spoil his goods, and, without any 
disadvantage to himself, he could go over to a competitor and 
perhaps contribute to give an advantage to the latter over his 
previous employer. ... In a word, the owner was dependent upon 
the workman. But the machine made its appearance, and gradually 
took possession of the whole affair. The workman could rule no 

.more, but became dependent upon the soulless machine. A new 

J epoch in the Ufe of the workman then began." ^ 

According to Garden, wages in all branches of labour were 
higher in the beginning of the eighties than in the fifties by from 
15 to 50 per cent. On the other hand, the price of rye flour in 
Ivanovo advanced during the same period 100 per cent., butter 
83 per cent., and beef 220 per cent. In 1858 the weavers made 
from 10 to 16 rubles per month ; in 1882-1883 the same weaver 
made from 12 to 18 rubles per month. That is to say, while wages 
increased about 20 per cent., bread doubled in price. ^ The period 
of the early eighties was, as we have seen, a period of industrial 
stagnation. In the Moscow district the industrial crisis resulted 
in a return of many peasant workmen to the land. In the later 
half of the eighties the stream poured back to the factory. 

The existence of a great labour reservoir in the land undoubtedly 
gave the workman a great advantage, but the extent to which he 
could make real use of it depended upon the extent to which he 
kept in touch with agricultural labour, and at the same time kept 
in touch with his craft, whatever it was. It was possible for him to 
do this when he could go annually in the summer to his village 
and return annually to the factory in the winter. So long as the 
operations of the factory were conducted exclusively by hand 
labour, and so long as there was an insignificant amount of capital 
employed in the enterprise, it was not inconvenient for the factory 
to arrange its management in accordance with these conditions. 
It was possible, and even advantageous, to work in winter, when 
wages were relatively low, and to close down in summer, when, 
owing to the demand for outdoor labour, wages were relatively 
high. But when expensive machinery was installed, the case was 
altogether different. In order to justify its installation, the machine 

/"-' ^ Golubev, A., Historico-Statistical Review of Industry in Russia : The 
Weaving and Spinning of Cotton, p. 432. 
2 Ibid., p. 433- 

WAGES 391 

had to be kept at work continuously, and in order to obtain the 
best results, the workman had to work continuously. The machine 
thus acted as a separator between the workman and his land. 
The change came about gradually, but in the cotton- weaving trade 
especially it came about effectively.^ 

From inquiries made in 1884-1885 by Dementiev, at the 
instance of the Zemstvo of Moskovskaya gub., it appears that in 
the three districts of Serpukhov, Kolomna, and Bronnits, only 
14. 1 per cent, of all workmen at that time left the factory periodi- 
cally for field work. The proportion varied in different forms and 
kinds of factory industry. For example, among the hand-loom 
cotton-weavers, only 18 per cent, worked in the factory all the year 
round, the smaller factories ceasing work altogether in the summer ; 
while in the steam-power spinning and weaving factories from 
93 to 96 per cent, of the workers worked all the year round, and so 
did the factories. The silk-weavers who worked altogether by 
hand customarily went to their villages in the summer. The 
leather and sheep-skin furriers left the factories for the villages to 
the extent of 53.7 per cent, of the workers ; and in the crockery 
factories about one-half. In the woollen cloth factories, the hand- 
loom weavers left the factory for the field to the extent of 37 per 
cent., while of the weavers who work self-acting looms, " no one 
went away " for field work. In dyeing and chintz-printing factories, 
the hand workers went away- to the extent of 36 per cent., while 
the machine workers went away to the extent of only 8 per cent. 
Among factory artisans, moulders, painters, roofers, plumbers, &c., 
only 3.3 per cent, went away for field work in the summer. The 
conclusions which Dementiev draws from these data and others of 
a similar character are that in those factories where mechanical 
power is employed, there is found the alienation of the workman 
from the land, and that this alienation varies with the speciahzation 
of industry.2 

While there were natural economic causes for this phenomenon 
of aUenation from the land, these were sometimes reinforced by 

^ Yet up till 1899 the workmen of even the largest cotton mills went 
to the villages in the summer, and sometimes even at other times when they 
had fits of nostalgia. (From information from mill managers received by 
the writer in Russia in 1899.) 

* Dementiev, The Factory, What it gives the Inhabitants and what it takes 
away from them (Moscow, 1897), pp. i-ii and p. 26. 


interior factory regulations. It was clearly in the interests of 
factory management to have workmen who could be relied upon 
for constant labour or, at all events, for labour when the exigencies 
of the factory, and not the exigencies of the field, were in question. 
It was also to the interests of the factory industry that there should 
be created a group of factory operatives who would be economically 
dependent upon the factory alone for their employment, and who 
would not be able to withdraw themselves from it whenever they 
chose to do so. Thus at many factories the working man who 
left the factory during summer-time was subjected to a heavy 
fine, sometimes reaching a month's wages or more. 

Prior to the issue of the law respecting the hiring of working 
men of 3rd June 1886, the customary contract between the work- 
men and their employers divided the year into two periods — usually 
1st October till Easter, and Easter till ist October. During the 
former period, the workman might, on giving proper notice, leave 
the factory at any time before Easter ; but during the latter period 
the right of the workman to leave the factory is not recognized 
anywhere. If he leaves he is liable to reduction in his wages. For 
example, in the cotton factory of Konshin at Serpukhov, a workman 
who desired to leave in the winter-time was obliged to give ten 
days' notice, otherwise he was fined twelve days' pay. Those who 
went away after Easter were fined twelve days' pay whether they 
gave notice or not. In the print works of the same company the 
fine for leaving in the summer was one month's wages.^ 

As for those peasant workmen who oscillated between the 
factory and the field, it is not surprising to learn that they were 
looked upon by their fellow-workmen in the factory as peasants, 
and by their fellow-peasants in the village as factory workers. 
They thus occupied an anomalous social position. It is true that 
they had the legal right to possess land, but frequently they had 
allowed the right to possess particular pieces of land to pass from 
them ; they had often no economical relations with the village, for 
in those cases in which they had transferred their famihes to the 
town, they had sold their houses, and in those cases in which they 
were imencumbered they had had no houses to sell. In either 
case they were looked upon as strangers by the village_.population. 

* Dementiev, p. 38. 

WAGES 393 

Such peasant workmen had, therefore, a tendency to abandon the 
village altogether, even although they might continue to be re- 
sponsible for, and even to pay, their taxes as nominal village inhabi- 
tants, and even although they held passports from the village 
authorities and changed that passport periodically. But, as we 
have seen, the great majority of the factory hands had in the last 
two decades of the nineteenth century formed a class quite separate 
from the peasantry in all essential relations — a real proletariat 
already even beginning to appear in its third generation.^ 

Out of 18,576 working men catechized by Dementiev, 55 per 
cent, were the sons of factory workers — that is to say, of workers 
who habitually worked in the factory, and who did not supplement 
their factory wages by kustarni industry or by any other occupation. 
The greater proportion of these, or 70 per cent., were employed 
in the textile trades, and the smaller proportion, 15 per cent., were 1 
general labourers — that is to say, JJiP m^ffh anim al emp loyments U 
exhibited a twidencjLJLii, recruit from a hereditarjTclas^JaLiactory [I 

^'^rkPfgg^^jjfi^^ hpTifj f^(^rnpafmfjp1rpw^^gg2]g^|^]j^g^ j 

So also from an examination of the factory workers of "Moskov- 
skaya guh., Professor Erisman found that only 9 per cent, of the 
workers entered the factory after they reached twenty-five years I 
of age, while 63 per cent., or nearly two-thirds, entered under the ^ 
age of sixteen years. 

The investigations of Dementiev were made in 1884-1885, and ; 
it is clear that even at that peripd Russia had already gone far ; 
in adopting the capitaUstic factory system, in detaching her people 
from the land, and in creating a proletariat class similar in its 
constitution, if dissimilar in respect to education to the proletariat 
of Western Europe. Since then Russia has gone farther in the 
same direction. If twenty-six years ago only about one-fifth of 
the factory workers retained even a nominal connection with the 
land, it is certain that now those who do so form an insignificant 
fraction of the total of factory workers. 

It has been remarked, however, that even after the factory 
workers ceased to go to their villages for the purpose of engaging , 
in periodical field labour, they continued to pay their taxes as 
village inhabitants, and thus it may now be observed they retained 
a certain relation to the economy of the village. This relation 

^ Cf. Dementiev, p. 46. * Ibid, 


was, no doubt, amplified by the subsidies of money which they 
sent to their relatives, and sometimes also by retiral to the village 
in declining years with their small savings. Living in the village 
was cheaper, and for them also, no doubt, more pleasant than 
Uving in the town. In this connection, an investigator remarks that 
" the return for field work is not a suiB&cient criterion of the degree 
of the solidity of the connection between the factory workman and 
the land. This connection might be expressed, and is really ex- 
pressed, in different ways, by sending money to the village, by 
maintaining families there, and finally by returning to the village 
during temporary unemployment, or during sickness or old age." ^ 
Thus although owing to the development of machinery and the 
effect of this development upon factory conditions, the connection 
of the workman with the land has become feeble, it is nevertheless 

!even now greater in Russia than it is in any other country .^ The 
reason why this connection has survived lies in the low wages of. 
the Russian workman. If the agriculture of the peasant was in-j 
J;^conomical because he was obliged to supplement it with industry,! 
yT the industry of the factory worker was ineconomical because hef 
was able to supplement it with agriculture. Yet the very facts 
that the peasant was able to do the one and the workman the other, 
contributed to the depression of the earnings of each from his 
appropriate occupation, and probably contributed also to the 
^ diminution of his total efficiency. Thus the connection with the! 
I I land is at once the cause and the consequence of inferior wages,! 
\ f and is also one of the causes of the inferior productivity of Russian 
\ * labour. The maintenance of two economies, one in the village for 
his family, and one, however meagre, in the town for himself, in- 
volves inevitably some waste. Moreover, the moral effects of this 
separation are not to be ignored. Apart from its injurious influence 
upon sexual morals, the weakening of the family tie, and its reduc- 
tion to a merely economical bond contribute to retard the develop- 
ment of the working man and to depress his moral dignity. From 
the side of the factory and from the side of the village, he finds 

^ Collection of Statistical Reports (Moscow), Sanitary Partiv., part i. p. 289 ; 
cited by Tugan-Baranovsky, p. 447. 

2 It is, however, very great in Japan, and for the same reason, viz. that 
it is not practicable withm any short period to convert farmers into skilled 

WAGES 395 

himself looked upon as a working animal from whom, on 
the one hand, as much work and, on the other hand, as 
much money as may be, must be procured.^ Professor Tugan- 
Baranovsky goes so far as to say, "Complete rupture between 
the factory and the village is inevitable, and the sooner it occiurs 
the better." 2 

Schulze-Gavemitz has thrown the process of the separation of 
the proletarian factory worker from the land into the following 
schematic form. In the first phase of the process, the connection 
between the factory and the land is intimate. The factory work- 
men, especially those belonging to small factories, have no separate 
sleeping-places ; they sleep anywhere in or near the places where 
they work, and food is brought to them from home. This contin- 
gent of workmen is composed of the peasants of factories near the 
village. Such are in the fullest sense of the word mujiki, cultivators 
who go to the factory because to go is an economical necessity, 
although the factory is repugnant to them, and who leave it when- 
ever they can. In the ^^ond phase, the connection with the 
factory is more intimate, and that with the land weaker. The 
working men Uve in factory barracks, they eat in messes, and it 
often happens that they go away for field work. Their famiUes 
remain in the village. In the third phase, family Ufe makes its 
appearance at the factory, the working men become segregated 
from the peasants, they organize messes at which they may feed 
together along with their wives and families, bedrooms make their 
appearance. Yet the connection with the land is not dropped 
completely — the workmen send money to the village, and they 
have there their economical interests; sometimes they go to the 
village, or sometimes they send their children. Finally, in the fourth 
phase, the working man is a full proletarian who Hves continuously 
at the factory, in a hired house, or in a factory chamber with his 
family. All these fom: phases exist simultaneously in various 
factories and branches of industry, and the larger the factory and 

1 On the above points, compare the instructive observations of Tugan- 
Baranovsky, p. 449. 

2 Ibid. It is to be remarked, however, that when Professor Tugan- 
Baranovsky wrote the first edition of his book on the Russian factory system, 
he was an ardent Marxist. His views on general questions have altered 
since 1 897 ; but his view of the factory- village question, so far as the writer is 
aware, has not altered. 



the greater the r61e of the machine, the nearer it comes to the 
fourth phase.^ 

According to Professor Tugan-Baranovsky, until very recent 
times Russia has been passing through the third phase ; and 
although the past decade has seen great changes in industrial hfe, 
it is possible that Russian industry is not yet wholly in the fourth 
phase. The affair, he remarks, is in a vicious circle. The connec- 
tion of the factory with the land cannot be broken, and the work- 
man and his family cannot be brought together without an advance 
of wages, and an advance of wages cannot be brought about with- 
out the rupture of connection with the land. The contradiction 
can alone be solved by further industrial development.^ 

^ Schulze-Gavemitz, G. von, Volkswirtschaftliche Studien aus Russland 
(Leipzig, 1899) pp. 146-164 ; cited by Tugan-Baranovsky, p. 447. 
2 Tugan-Baranovsky, p. 449. 



The first general census of the Russian Empire, which was taken 
on 28th January 1897, showed that the city population, especially 
in the capitals, had increased greatly during the preceding thirty- 
three years. The population of St. Petersburg in 1864 was about 
540,000 ; in 1897 it was 1,330,000. In the suburbs there were, in 
addition, in 1889, 80,000, and in 1897, 134,000. The greater part of 
this increase appeared to have been in the later years. In 1890, 
out of 142,523 lodgings (that is, apartements) in St. Petersburg, 
7374 were underground. This condition is still more unfavour- 
ably revealed in Moscow, where, in 1882, there were 7253 under- 
ground lodgings out of 89,765 lodgings altogether, or about 5 
per cent, and 8 per cent, respectively. In these vaults or under- 
ground lodgings in St. Petersburg there lived in 1890, 49,669 
persons ; while in Moscow there Uved in 1882, under the same 
conditions, 58,850 persons, or nearly seven and more than eight 
per lodging respectively. The predominant type of house in St. 
Petersburg is a two-storey dwelling. Such dwellings form 42 per 
cent, of the total ; one storey 19 per cent. ; three store5rs 21 per 
cent. ; four storeys 14 per cent., and five storeys or more 4 per cent.* 
The buildings are frequently arranged in courts. In each court 
there are, on the average, sixteen lodgings, with 107 inhabitants. 
Where the dwellings are isolated, in each dwelUng or tenement 
there are on the average eight lodgings, and in each lodging five 

* Jaxotsky, V., " The Housing Question." in Brockhaus and Ephron's 
Encyclopedia, ed. completed 1904, vol. xiv. p. 853. 



The inferior lodgings in St. Petersburg may be enumerated 
follows, according to the St. Petersburg census of 1890 : 


1. Underground lodgings .... 7>374 
Number of rooms in these . . . . 12,217 
Number of inhabitants 49j569 

2. Lodgings in garrets 3>499 

Number of rooms in these . . . 5,813 

Number of inhabitants . . ... . 21,804 

3. Percentage of total number of lodgings in St. 

Petersburg with windows in the courtyard . . 55.3 per cent. 
Percentage of houses of 1 room having windows in 

the courtyard 70.8 

Percentage of houses of 2 rooms having windows in 

the courtyard 68.7 

Percentage of houses of 3-5 rooms having windows 

in the courtyard . . . . . . . 50 

Percentage of houses of 7-10 rooms having windows 

in the courtyard .14.8 

Percentage of houses of 1 1 rooms and over having 

windows in the courtyard 6.3 

Only 48 per cent, of the lodgings in St. Petersburg have 
separate kitchens, and 14 per cent, are kitchens only. The average 
lodging in St. Petersburg accommodated in 1890 seven persons ; 
but in the vaults the people were crowded together in the proportion 
of four to one room. Sanitary conveniences exist in less than one- 
half of the St. Petersburg lodgings, and baths in only 10 per cent. 
The average rents in 1890 were, for underground lodgings, 125 rubles 
per year ; for first floor, 263 rubles ; second floor, 375 rubles ; 
third floor, 463 rubles ; fourth, 450 rubles ; fifth and sixth floors, 
380 rubles ; garrets, 112 rubles. 

The poorest people at this time paid, on the average, 112 rubles 
a year.^ The official sanitary reports of 1897 reveal a seriously 
insanitary condition. Dr. Pokrovsky, who described the housing 
conditions of St. Petersburg at this time, says that in many work- 
ing men's lodgings there are less than 86 cubic feet of air space per 
person. The police reports are to a similar effect. The under- 
ground rooms are sometimes divided by small cages for the inhabi- 
tants of the comers, there being a stove in the middle of the room. 
It must be reahzed that St. Petersburg is built upon a swamp — it 
is impossible to conceive of a city where underground dwelUngs are 

^ That is to say, about 4s. ^d. per week per lodging. 


less desirable. The building regulations of the city forbid the 
erection of such buildings in places hable to inundation ; but these 
regulations are habitually disregarded. The overflowing of the 
waters of the Neva in 1895, resulted in the flooding of great 
numbers of St. Petersburg workmen's cellars. In the construction 
of houses Uttle care is taken to avoid sewers and cesspools whose 
contents during inundations flow into Uving cellars, and as well 
into those in which food products are stored. These, when dried 
out, are sold. Thus on all sides there are more or less ample 
facihties for the spreading of epidemics. The overcrowding of 
these cellars, which is at once a cause and a consequence of high 
rents, and the scarcity of house accommodation, produced between 
1899 and 1901 a lodging crisis in St. Petersburg. 

In Moscow the situation was, in some respects, worse. There 
the practice of migration from village to town, and from town to 
village, Ungered much longer than in St. Petersburg. The peasant 
is accustomed to overcrowding in his ezba. Round the single 
apartment of the ezba there is usually a wide bench, and on this 
the peasant reclines.^ In Russia, as everywhere else, when peasants 
migrate to the town, they continue their practice of huddling 
together, partly from absence of means to do anything else, and 
partly from habit, faiUng to reahze that in their native villages 
there were compensations for the interior unhygienic conditions of 
the ezba in the fresh and wholesome air which surrounded it, and 
in which they customarily spent, at all events in the summer, the 
greater part of the day. The poorer lodgings of Moscow are 
more overcrowded than those of St. Petersburg. When the revival 
of trade of 1894 had been in progress for about a year, the demand 
for labour in Moscow had brought an influx from the villages, amd 
housing conditions became rapidly worse. An inquiry was insti- 
tuted in 1895 by the Moscow City Council, and was conducted 
by Professor M. Duchovskoy. A very detailed investigation was 
undertaken into the conditions of life in Prechestensky, one of the 
quarters of Moscow. The general conclusion of the report is that 
*' the condition of the poorest class of inhabitants in vaults and in 
comers of rooms in Moscow is most unsatisfactory. These people 
live in more or less unsupportable hygienic conditions, and often 
in outrageous moral surroundings." The details are almost in- 

* Sometimes these axe expanded into what are really box beds. 


credible. The stairs which lead down to the dens which the people 
inhabit are covered with all kinds of filth ; the dens themselves 
are almost filled with dirty boards, upon which there is equally 
foul bedding, and in the corners there is only dirt. The smell is 
close and heavy. There is hardly any Ught, because the dens are 
half underground and little Ught obtains entrance through the 
dirty windows. Beneath the windows it is absolutely dark ; the 
walls are damp and cover