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Midiigan 

ARTE5 SCIENTIA VIRITAt: 



RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 




TOLSTOI — PROPHET OF THE LAST GENERATION 
Token especially for the author in 1906 



Russia's Message 

The True World 
Import of the Revolution 



By 

WILLIAM ENGLISH WALLING 

tfr-.- ■■■-■■— 
ILLUSTRATED 




New York 

Doubleday, Page & Company 

1908 






COPYRIGHT, 1908, BT 

DOUBLEDAY, PAGX & COMPANY 

PUBLISHED, JUNE, 1908 



ALL RIGHTS RESERVED INCLUDING THAT OF TRANSLATION 
INTO FOREIGN LANGUAGES, INCLUDING THE SCANDINAVIAN 



A 

2676 



TO THE MEN AND WOMEN WHO IN ALL WALKS OP 
LIPE ARE CONTENDING AGAINST THE FORCES THAT 
ARE TRYING TO INTRODUCE INTO AMERICA THE 
DESPOTISM AND CLASS-RULE OP EASTERN EUROPE) 
TO ALL THOSE WHO, IN THE TRADITIONAL REV- 
OLUTIONARY AMERICAN SPIRIT, ARE LEADING 
OUR COUNTRY AGAINST ALL THE REACTIONARY TEN- 
DENCIES PREVAILING IN POLITICS, MORALITY, 
EDUCATION, LITERATURE, AND SCIENCE, TO ITS 
GREAT DEMOCRATIC AND SOCIAL WORLD- DESTINY 






PREFATORY NOTE 

It is impossible to harmonise the Russian spelling, with its 
twenty-six letters of a different alphabet, with the spelling of 
any other modern language. As a consequence there are often 
half a dozen ways of putting into English, French or German 
letters the name of some well-known Russian, consequently 
the reader must not be surprised to see a Russian name which 
he has been accustomed to see spelled in one way, here spelled 
in another; for example, I have spelled the name of the present 
prime minister Stolypine, whereas the reader may possibly 
know the name better as Stolypin, or Stolipin. 



PREFACE 

No one who has seen and understood the social upheaval 
now going on in Russia can doubt that the Russian people 
have a message. It does not need to be written down ; it is 
carried abroad by every telegram. But to understand the 
whole message the situation must be seen and understood as 
a whole. 

I have undertaken to make a plain statement of this situa- 
tion, omitting no feature of the first importance and relating 
all together as a single whole. I have not written suggesting 
what we can do for Russia, but rather what Russia has to offer 
us; I have concerned myself with the universal qualities of the 
Russian people rather than with any aspect of their character 
and situation that is peculiar to themselves. I have not 
written historically for the benefit of the academic student, nor 
sought to dwell on the picturesqueness of those sections of 
Russia and aspects of Russian life that are most strange; I 
have not dwelt on personal experience, as the situation is too 
large to be presented in all its aspects in any personal narrative. 
I have sought rather, through the personal acquaintance with 
a majority of the most important leaders of all parties and * 
elements of the Russian nation, to put myself in the most / 
immediate contact with the inner ideas and spirit of the great 
struggle and to present this struggle to the reader as seen through 
the eyes of its leaders themselves. 

Finally, I have written not for the casual reader or for him 
who draws from this tragic and inspiring situation a mere 
interest in the chances of the fight or in its melodramatic aspects. 
I appeal rather to those seriously interested in the Russian! 
revolutionary movement for the light it sheds on that all- J 
inclusive problem, the future of human society. 

The greater part of two years I have spent in Russia in order 
to gain a rounded view. My attention was first drawn to the 
absorbing interest of this great struggle by Polish and Jewish 

ix 



ii 



x RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

Russian exiles met while I was living among them in the 
University Settlement in New York. Leaving the United States 
r shortly after the massacre of January 22, 1905, I spent several 
months in London, Paris, Geneva, Cracow, and Vienna among 
leaders of the revolutionary parties of all factions and races. 

(Within a week after the Czar issued his October Manifesto 
I was in Warsaw, and a few days later in St. Petersburg, where 
I at once met Witte and the chief members of his ministry, and 
at the same time put myself in touch with the most conspirative 
of the revolutionary organisations. I spent the larger part of 
my time in that country from this date until the opening of 
the third Duma. Near the close of my last visit the press of the 
United States, and the leading European countries, announced 
the arrest of myself and wife and her sister and our detention 
for twenty-four hours in prison through the acknowledged 
mistake, or perhaps inconsideration, of the Russian Govern- 
ment. It is not true, as was suggested then in a few papers, 
that the Russian Government made either a direct or indirect 
request through the American ambassador that we should 
leave the country. We had wished to follow Russian events 
closely only until the meeting of the third Duma, and we left 
St. Petersburg on the day on which we had previously arranged 
to go. It was explained by the Russian political police that our 
arrest was due to our friendly relations with certain revolu- 
tionists. I have certainly had such relations with hundreds 
of leading persons of this movement, as with an almost equal 
number of their opponents. 

I have to some extent made use of articles that I have written 
for various magazines — particularly the Independent, in 
which perhaps a score of my articles appeared in the course 
of 1906 and 1907. I have also made some use of articles 
published in Collier's Weekly, the Outlook, the World To-day, 
Charities, the American Federationist, and Moody* s Financial 
Magazine. However, nine-tenths of the present book is 
entirely new. 

Realising the immensity of the task that lay before me, I 
have confined my attention in the present work largely to the 
Russian part of Russia, leaving aside entirely all 
Asiatic Russia, the Caucasus and the Baltic Provinces, 



PREFACE 3d 

Poland, and Finland. The Polish and Finnish situations are 
of such exceptional importance in relation to the Russian that 
I spent several weeks in visiting both countries, but I have 
not made them a part of my work. 

One feature of the book needs perhaps a special explanation. 
The crimes of the Russian Government are so monstrous and 
so manifold that I have quite despaired of giving any satis- 
factory picture of them as a whole. In my first chapters I 
have dwelt at some length with this subject, but I have devised 
the economical measure of taking the Jews as my central theme r 
not because I consider that their persecutions are any worse than 
other peoples' in Russia, nor because they are more important 
than other nationalities, as for instance the Tartars or the Poles, 
but because they have themselves been selected by the Govern- 
ment as the centre of the whole persecution system. In other 
parts of the book I have tried to portray not merely the central 
feature but the whole situation. 

If I had cared to burden my work with footnotes showing 
the source of all my information I could readily have done so; 
but this would have increased very largely the bulk of the 
volume, besides interrupting the attention of the average 
reader, interested rather in the facts themselves than in the 
source from which they come. I am prepared, however, to 
give my authority for every detail, just as much as if I had been 
writing a history or a scientific sociological work. 

I owe little to writers of books and much to active leaders in 
the movement. Of these I have met hundreds. It would be 
impossible in a few pages to mention even their names. To a 
few persons, however, I am especially indebted ; among the fore- 
most are: Prince M who introduced me to the Czar's 

ministers, Witte and the rest, as well as to several of his most 
important generals and who kept me for the whole period of my 
visit in close touch with the situation in court circles and the 
ministry; to Mr. David Sosskis, the able correspondent of the 
London Tribune; Mr. Harold Williams, correspondent of the 
Manchester Guardian, a valued friend of the Constitutional 
Democratic Party ; to Madame Turkova, one of the most active 
and important leaders of that party ; to the Countess Bobrinsky 
of Moscow, one of the organisers both of the Constitutional 



xii RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

Democratic Party and of the Peasants' Union; to Professor 
Milyoukov, whose high personal qualities are appreciated even 
by his severest critics; to the poet Tan (Borgoraz), a founder 
of the Peasants' Union and of the National Socialist Party and 
an active leader in all the most revolutionary but non-partisan 
movements; to Aladdin, the most active and valuable, if not the 
most influential, of the Labour Group; to Volkovsky, Tchai- 
kovsky, Gershuni, Chisko, Shidlovsky, and Madame Breshkov- 
skaya, founders of the Socialist Revolutionary Party ; to Isaac 
Hourwich, Nahum Stone, and James M. James, leaders among 
the Russian Social Democratic Party in New York; to Vladimir 
Simkhovitch, of Columbia University ; to Prince Dimitri Hilkov, 
one of the most gifted and popular leaders of the whole revolu- 
tionary movement, and most of all to Bielevsky, Staal, and 
Mazurenko, founders of the great Peasants' Union. 

I have selected these names somewhat at hazard and do 
not wish to imply that the list of those to whom I am most 
indebted is exhausted. I cannot leave the question of my 
indebtedness without expressing my gratitude to other 
prominent Russians with whom I have had only single long 
interviews or brief meetings. Among them are Tolstoi, 
Gorky, and Korolenko; the conservative leaders, Gutchkov, 
Maklakov, and Michael Stachovitch; the Social Democratic 
[leaders, Parvus, Dan, Lenin, and Alexinsky ; the brilliant leaders 
(of the Polish Socialistic Party who make their headquarters at 
ICracow — not to speak of innumerable others, especially Duma 
members, editors, elected members of local government boards, 
and active organisers of all the popular parties, labour organisa- 
tions, and of the Union of Unions. 

I have written of course according to the possibilities of the 
moment. The time is ripe for a general review of the first 
act of the great revolutionary drama. The second act has not 
yet begun and it will be years before the whole drama has been 
finished. A few months ago it would have been impossible to 
gauge accurately the real intentions and policy of the Czar, the 
court and the Government after the great events through which 
Russia has just passed ; a few years hence it will be possible to 
write a full and satisfactory history at least of a large part of 
the revolutionary movement. In the meanwhile, if I have been 



PREFACE xiii 

able to give a general understanding of the first act, to spread 
the conviction that Russia has a message for humanity and to 
suggest what this message contains, the reader will be enabled 
to appreciate coming events at their true value and to feel that 
the Russian struggle is not far away, as we sometimes imagine, 
but nearer to us in the end than any of the smaller spectacles 
that are taking place in front of our own doorways. 

Lincoln's Birthday, 1908. 



CONTENTS 



Preface 



IX 



I. 
II. 



PART I 

THE BIRTHPLACE OP SOCIAL FREEDOM 

Why Russia is the Field of the Great Experiment 
The Beginning — 1904, 1905, 1906, 1907 



3 
10 



PART II 

OPPRESSION 

I. Nicholas, Czar .... 

II. How Czars Govern 

HI. The Czarism Struggling for Existence 

IV. The Slow Massacre System 

V. Creating the "Internal Enemy" . 

VI. The Danger of Progress 

VII. " My Chief Support . 

VIII. What Happened to " The Constitution " 

IX. "Prussian "Reform . 

X. Autocracy's Last Hope 

XI . The People's Enemies are the Czar's Allies 



*9 
3* 
40 

Si 

59 

70 

80 

88 

100 

112 

126 



PART III 

REVOLT 

I. The Russian People — A Mystery 

1 1 . The Rt ssian People — Their True Character . 

III. How th 1 Peasants Live . 

IV. How the Peasants Till the Soil 

xv 



MS 
*53 
166 
180 



RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

PART \ll-C$ntinutd 

V. From Slaves of the Landlord to Slaves of the State . 192 

VI. The Peasant Gives His Orders .... 208 

VII. How the Peasant Became a Revolutionist .216 

VIII. The Village Against the Czar — A State of Mind 227 

IX. The Czar's Armies of Revenge . . . .235 

X. The Village Against the Czar — A State of War . 250 

XI. Waiting for Civil War 261 

PART IV 

EVOLUTION OP A NEW NATION 

I. The Nation United . . .271 

II. The Nation Chooses the Revolutionary Way . 279 

III. The Unity Destroyed 287 

IV. The Moderates CoSperate with the Reactionaries . 295 
V. Begging for Crumbs . -304 

VI. The Peasants Become Socialists . . .312 

VII. The Peasant Parties Abandon Hope in the Duma . 327 

VIII. The Leaders of the People 338 

PART V 

REVOLUTION AND THE MESSAGE 

I. The Workingmen ...... 349 

II. The Position of the Workingmen . . . 358 

III. Organising ....... 371 

IV. Planning the War 382 

V. How the Priests are Becoming Revolutionists . 392 

VI. The Religious Revolution ..... 402 

VII. The Russian Revolution ..... 413 

VIII. Russia's Message 428 

Appendix . .468 

Bibliographical Note 469 

Index 473 

xvi 



ILLUSTRATIONS 



Count Tolstoi 








Frontispiece 


NicholasIL, "Most High" 22 


Two high officials. ..... 






23 


How the peasants are ' ' pacified " . 






48 


Executing political prisoners . 






49 


The slayer of von Plehve . 






64 


Marie Spiridonova . 






■ *5 


Krushevan, massacre organiser 








80 


Reactionary Duma members 










81 


Herzenstein and Kovalevski . 










96 


Map showing political divisions in 


Russia 


& 






• 97 


Teaching the peasants . 










162 


A southern peasant 










163 


The landlord's palace . 










. 174 


The peasant's cottage . 










175 


The earthen cottage 










178 


The cottage's single room 










179 


A peasant's waggon 










190 


Agricultural implements 










191 


Peasants in winter costume . 










192 


Famine-stricken peasants 










193 


Methods of threshing . 










208 


Haying done by women 










209 


Bogoraz (Tan), the poet 










240 


Korolenko, the novelist 










240 


The village chief . 










241 


A wise peasant 










241 


The village street 










256 


Social farming of the peasantry 










256 


Little Russian peasants . 










257 


Professor Milyoukov 










276 


Constitutional Democratic leaders 










277 


Labour Group of first Duma . 










284 



xvn 



RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 



Social Democratic deputies . 










^8S 


Executive Committee of Peasants' Union 






294 


Cossack liberals ..... 






295 


A young village leader . 










298 


Peasants' Union delegates . 










299 


Peasant members of the Duma 










326 


An educated peasant leader . 










3*7 


Anikine ..... 










33° 


Aladdin ..... 










33o 


Bielevsky , under " house arrest " 










33i 


Father Gapon .... 










35<* 


Type of working man . 










357 


A corner of old Moscow . 










■ 364 


Prince Kropotkin 










3*5 


Socialist Revolutionary leaders 










. 384 


Two types of village priests . 










■ 38S 


Fathers Petrov and Kolokolnikov 










400 


Two types of the higher clergy 










401 



xviu 



PART ONE 

The Birthplace of Social Freedom 



CHAPTER I 

WHY RUSSIA IS THE PIBLD OF THE GREAT EXPERIMENT 

ON THE banks of the Neva, the Volga, and the Vistula," 
writes Anatole France, "the fate of new Europe and 
the future of humanity are being decided." 

The future of humanity is being decided in Russia because 
it is Russia alone among the great nations that has not already 
definitely chosen the path of her development. The foundations 
of modern industry were laid in Great Britain more than a cen- 
tury ago, the political institutions of America have undergone 
no revolution for more than a hundred years. The other 
modern nations also are held fast in the framework of material 
and political conditions fixed by some long-dead generation. 
In this sense Russia is comparatively free. Without being out 
of touch with modern life she is not bound by any of the peculiar 
limitations of the other nations. 

She is almost entirely free from those great business interests 
that dominate the life of other modern nations. Witte has 
tried the great experiment of turning Russia into a modern 
business nation by means of ukases of the Czar and the division 
of his plunder and the country's wealth with foreign capital. 
The result was the collapse in 1900 of the whole artificial indus- 
trial structure based on the taxation of the starving peasantry. 
'The recent parliamentary experiment is also ended and the 
shadow of a constitution has disappeared. The Government 
is once more a despotism that leaves neither power nor freedom 
to the people. 

Neither by political education, then, nor by economic neces- 
sity are the Russians tied to any one of the industrial and 
political institutions that characterise other peoples of our 
time, nor are they in any way wedded to an effete and outworn 
civilisation. The Czarism is a half-Asiatic, half-German insti- 
tution imposed on the country from without, just as the Church 

3 



4 RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

was bodily transported from Constantinople and set up without 
the slightest reference to religious ideas then in existence. 
We have the judgment indeed of one of Russia's greatest histo- 
rians and sociologists, of the man who led the party that con- 
trolled both of the first two Dumas, to the effect that Russia is 
indeed without any national religious or political tradition 
in the truest sense of the word. 
f Scratch a Russian and you find not a Tartar but a new 
European. Old institutions are hated rather than venerated. 
There is no question among any important element of the 
population outside of the relative handful that supports the 
Czar, of not leaving the landmarks of Russia with all speed. 
Russia's unparalleled tragedy is not due to any innate conser- 
vatism in the national character, not to the grip on the people's 
soul of old customs and an old faith, but to an incredible incubus 
that has been imposed upon her from without and like a mon- 
strous parasite has grown strong at the expense of all her 
best vital forces. 

"The Russian," said Turgeniev, "is so convinced of his 
own strength and powers that he is not afraid of putting himself 
to severe strain. He takes little interest in his past and looks 
boldly forward. What is good (in his own past or that of other 
nations) he likes, what is sensible he will have, and where it 
comes from he does not care." 

" The old is dead, the new is not yet born/* says an old Russian 
proverb. It portrays the present condition of the country. 
The old Russian system of slavery and despotism is already dead 
in the minds and hearts of the people because enslavement 
either to private individuals or to the State wholly contradicts 
every thought and feeling of the Russian, as of every thinking 
and feeling man who knows of any other mode of existence. 
The new is not yet born because of the greatness of the changes 
that are coming into being. It is not merely a revolutionary 
change in land ownership or a new government that is demanded. 
It is, to employ an expression now widely in use among all classes, 
"new forms of life," new forms of national and individual 
existence. The peasants want the land and the nation wants 
to rule itself, not because conditions are growing worse, not so 
much because they are inspired with the horror of what now 



RUSSIA THE FIELD OF EXPERIMENT 5 

prevails, as because they are filled with a sense of the greatness 
that is possible to a regenerated Russia. 

Here is a great people in possession of half the continents 
of Europe and Asia, a people unhampered by inherent traditions, 
that has yet never experienced a great national awakening like 
other countries. Every thoughtful or enterprising Russian 
feels that in a well ordered society there would be room for 
his development. Every peasant knows of the better conditions 
and opportunities of America and Western Europe. Every 
educated person has read and thought over what is desirable 
and undesirable for Russia in this "Western life." Every* 
trained person, publicist, artisan, professional or business man, 
has studied, planned and dreamed over the technical revolution 
already accomplished in other countries that is called for also 
in his occupation in Russia. But all feel that the absence of any 
real tradition in Russia, the long pent-up energies and revolution- 
ary spirit in all things, should ultimately give her an advantage 
over the other countries, and sweep away many of the obstacles 
to individual and national development that exist in other 
lands either because their advanced economic condition has set 
them in the hard and fast lines of a fixed material and institu- 
tional framework, or because some popular, but none the less 
blind, political tradition has been allowed to sink its roots in the 
minds of the people. 

The evil Russia is fighting does not exist, then, in the charac- 
ter of the nation itself, as a thing of the spirit, but as an arbitrary 
physical power. Nevertheless, the struggle of the new against 
the "bid Riissia is not merely a physical conflict. The people's 
cause has long ago attained a strength sufficiently great to force 
the Government to break its silence and to cover its selfish, 
irresponsible, and anti-social action, often consciously hostile 
to the general welfare, by a whole universe of lies. To ever^l 
appeal from glaring wrongs to reason, to justice, to the nation's! 
welfare, or even to the most elementary rights of the individuals 
the Government's answer is — some falsehood. 

Official Russia is in a land of lies. The Czar lies as to facts"} 
in signed documents, breaks his most solemn promises to the! 
nation, and, finally, diabolically proclaims his God-given right \ 
to break his word. The ministers lie to the Duma and the Duma 



6 RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

fully exposes their lies. To retrieve its own national reputation 
lost in the war with Japan, the Government tries to throw the 
blame on the Manchurian generals and finally convicts them, 
apparently with justice, of every manner of fraud and degrada- 
tion, even to telegraphing in official despatches of battles that 
were never fought. Every financial statement the Government 
has issued has been proved by the experts of Europe to be only 
a cleverly managed collection of misstatements. All the tele- 
grams allowed to be printed in Russia are those of the Govern- 
ment agency, and every day proves some of them to be either 
lying half-truths or falsehoods. 

Each of these lies covers a wrong. With the growth of the 
revolutionary movement all wrong-doers and parasites enjoying 
a wrongful or unearned income are herding together for defence. 
Whether the incompetent person is professor, administrator, 
engineer, or priest, whether the dishonest wrong-doer is official, 
banker, or landlord, makes little difference. They are all 
connected with the Government. The ramifications of the 
governmental power are numberless and few are the unscrupu- 
lous that have not secured some kind of protection or benefit. 
It would seem that there is nothing too old, too outworn, too 
repugnant to all humanity and reason, whether in government, 
religion, education, or science, for the Czar to cover with the 
Imperial sanction. 

The struggle is not being carried out on a physical plane, largely 
because all the best life of the nation is absorbed in exposing 
this great system of falsehood. And as the hard-pressed Govern- 
ment takes shelter at one time or another behind nearly every 
one of the most used and dangerous lies that are oppressing 
humanity and have oppressed it for centuries, the leaders of the 
nation on their side have been forced to draw into the discussion 
all the greatest and most illuminating truths of history and of 
our time. The more hopeless the outlook for the immediate 
(success of the revolution, the more enthusiastic, impassioned, 
lany-sided and profound has been the public discussion of 
every far-reaching social problem, until it can now be said 
though she is without a vestige of political liberty that Russia 
Is more vitally alive to every great political and social issue 
than the freest countries. In the brief periods of relative free- 



RUSSIA THE FIELD OP EXPERIMENT 7 

dom of the press that have occurred several times during these 
revolutionary years no great problem of human destiny was 
left unstirred. All arguments, all philosophies, all history, 
the experience of all countries were dragged into the arena. 
Because nothing is settled in the nation's life, because the people 
are clamouring for everything that for generations may have 
been denied, and because all great questions are under discussion, 
nothing can be taken for granted in the argument. So there 
are marshaled in opposing camps in Russia all the forces of 
progress and reaction as in no other country during all the 
century that has elapsed since the revolution in France. 

The issues of this revolution are greater than they were in 
Prance, the struggle is on a more extended scale, and the whole 
world is lending its forces to aid the Russian Government. 
The foreign influence that threatened the French Revolution 
through the English fleet and the Prussian and Austrian armies 
on the frontier, which finally forced the Revolution to choose 
between Napoleon's military dictatorship and extinction, is 
represented in the very heart of Russian life by the apparently 
inexhaustible supply of gold by means of which foreign money- 
lenders enabled the Government to provide itself with all the 
formidable machinery of modern warfare and to hire an army of 
nearly a million Cossacks and police to hold down the revolu^ 
tionary movement. The Russian revolution is in no sense 
only a Russian question. It is against the financial powersi/ 
of all the world that the revolutionists are fighting. This is 
why Russia's most profound thinkers cannot see an early end 
to the upheaval — though the whole world will benefit from 
their victory. 

I saw Count Tolstoi just after the meeting of the first Duma, 
and told him I had come to spend several years to observe the 
revolution. " You had better stay here fifty years," he answered. 
"The revolution is a drama of several acts. This Duma is not 
even the first act, but only the first scene of the first act, and as 
is usual with first scenes it is a trifle comic. M 

If the revolution is long drawn out, if the losses are great, 
if the Czarism seems to be holding its power, this is only because 
new forces have been thrown into the balance, and means that 
a still greater battle will have to be fought, a battle that may 



S RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

become what Cariyle called die French Revolution, "the 
account day of a thousand years." 

But in order to realise what is going on it is not necessary to 
wait for the anal fruition of the great movement. The soul 
of the future civilisation is foreshadowed in the conflict. The 
rising generation, the youth, and even most men under middle 
age, those who will constitute the chief force of Russia in another 
decade, are nothing less than inspired by the revolution. Their 
devotion goes further than that of mere patriots engaged in 
foreign wars; they undergo denials, sufferings and actual tortures 
that make them more akin to religious martyrs. Patriots die 
freely in battle for their country — these e nthusia sts submit 
to a whole life of unrewarded sacrifice. The vast majority of 
the young men of every social class except the most privileged, 
and a large part of the educated young women as well, are daily 
offering their lives, their liberty, their property and their future 
careers for the cause. Their leading motive is not hatred of 
enemy, nor perhaps even love of their own friends and 

idred, so much as the political principles and social ideals 

which they have given all their most serious thoughts. The 
more thoughtful, active, and capable the young people, the more 
immersed we find them in the revolutionary movement. Nor 
do they leave it with growing years. The revolutionists of the 
former generation have for the most part remained steadfastly 
attached to their faith, and each of the great parties is still led 
by the last even more than by the present generation. Neither 
must it be inferred that it is altogether different with the fathers 
of the rank and file. As usual in wars or revolutions their 
positions and family cares do not permit them to bear the brunt 
of the movement, the active parts are necessarily taken by the 
young, but the parents often encourage, and rarely interfere 
with, their children's activities. 

It is perhaps the first time in history that a whole nation 
has been infected to the point of religious enthusiasm by this 
purely social faith. Something like this occurred in France. 
But as the revolution there did not meet a tithe of the obstacles 
that this one has already met, it did not develop a tithe of the 
intensity, profundity, or universal scope of the present move- 
ment. This is why so many great thinkers feel that the 



RUSSIA THE FIELD OF EXPERIMENT 9 

Russian revolution means more to humanity than any great^ 
popular movement, political, economic, or religious, that allj 
history records. 

As regenerated Russia, inspired by her victory and with 
the spiritual strength and character gained through the struggle, 
steps finally into the arena of the modern nations and faces 
the same situation as the rest, she is likely to lead in her solutions 
rather than to follow, to inspire rather than to act as a drag 
upon the others. Her poverty, her inexperience, her miserableX 
past, will give to her young men the same stimulation as they I 
have to our own, who in struggling against precisely such/ 
obstacles have created the greatness of the United States. ' 



CHAPTER II 

THE BEGINNING — 1904, 1905, 1906, 1907 

IN THE brief space of four years Russia has gone through 
the experience of a generation: the war with Japan; the 
broken promises of the Czar and the false constitutional hopes 
of a part of the people ; the indefinite postponement of the once 
impending bankruptcy; the failure of passive resistance called 
for by the national assembly, of the second great general strike, 
of the insurrections in the cities, of the agrarian uprisings 
in the country, and of the imposing mutinies on sea and land to 
shake off the hated Czar. The guerilla war and the killing 
of the most murderous officials by mortally injured and mad- 
dened citizens continue to cost the Government dear, but the very 
persons engaged in this kind of warfare know that by it alone 
the Czarism can never be overthrown. The people's parties are 
powerless and insignificant in the third Duma, but they have 
succeeded in planting their doctrines everywhere and even in 
partly organising the masses of the population. The three 
Dumas and the revolutionary movement have brought no great 
improvements in the political freedom or the economic condition 
of the people. But they have already brought the Russian 
problem before the whole world, and revolutionised Russian 
life, thought, and opinion. 

It was at the beginning of war with Japan that the foreign 
press first directed its attention to Russia's internal affairs. 
The spectacular failure of the Russian arms in Manchuria, 
however, shed little light on the internal conditions of European 
Russia nearly ten thousand miles away. One particular fact, 
though, was made evident. Prom the events in Russia at this 
time it was clear to all the world that a large part of the people 
of all classes was opposed to the war. The leading newspapers, 
gagged as they were, managed to attack the war and the Govern- 
ment; and the troops began almost immediately to revolt. 

10 



THE BEGINNING n 

The world learned that the Russian people had not brought 
on this war. 

The real cause of the war soon developed. It became clear 
that the terrible conflict was brought on chiefly to further the 
private interests of the Grand Dukes, Admiral Alexis, and other 
favourites of the court. A quarter of a million lives had been 
destroyed and a sum calculated by a leading economist at four 
or five billion rubles, a tenth of the total wealth of this impov- 
erished people, had been destroyed. The whole world then for 
the first time realised that the Russian Government is indeed a 
barbarous despotism, that it is sustained by violence, that the 
welfare of the people is subordinated to the interests of those 
who happen to be pleasing to the Czar. The true nature of the 
Czarism was probably as plain at that moment as it will ever be. 
All the other horrors, the massacre of the St. Petersburg workmen 
on January 22, 1905, the innumerable massacres of the Jews 
instigated by the police, the butcheries of Tartars, Armenians, 
and Poles in peaceful assemblies, the deliberate burning of a 
theatre full of educated people at Tomsk, however terrible to 
the foreign reader, were, taken all together, hardly so costly to 
the Russian people, hardly so significant of their enslaved 
condition, as the spectacle of a nation of a hundred and forty 
million people being driven by their despot to war against 
another people ten thousand miles away of whom they knew 
little and against whom they had conceived no grievance. 

The events of the last three years (1905, 1906, 1907) are^ 
surely enough to show that there is no hope of this incredible I 
and monstrous despotism reforming itself. Russia has listenea 
to the Czar's broken promises for more than a generation. But 
the promises of the last three years have been heard one after 
another by the whole world. In October, 1905, the Czar prom-' 
ised a Duma and freedom and equality before the law. At 
present all continues as before : newspapers are confiscated and 
suppressed; every kind of meeting forbidden; Jews and Poles 
persecuted for their religion and nationality; workingmen and 
peasants arrested by the wholesale for striking; hundreds of 
speakers, writers, students and working people sent every day, 
without trial, to prison, hard labour, and Siberia; the starving 
peasantry crushed by the same overwhelming burden of taxes, 



i» RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

and the Duma abolished in all bat name. The third Duma is 
entirely in the hands of the landlords, the sole i mp o rta nt ele- 
ment of the nation outside of Government employees on which 
the Czar can now rely for loyal s upport — about one per cent. 
\>i the population. 

It is not a question of reform in Russia but of revolution. 
The reader does not need to be reminded how large a part of 
the Russian people are of this opinion- Tens of thousands 
have died for it. hundreds of thousands gone to prison or exile, 
millions suffered persecution, ones and arrest. Tens of millions 
of Russians who do not happen to have been individually 
persecuted share their view. In the election an overwhelming 
majority of the people voted for representatives of the revolu- 
tionary factions. It was only a most unequal suffrage and 
unheard of arbitrariness of the officials that gave the moderately 
oppositional parties a bare majority. It will be remembered 
that this election law. though by no means distorted enough 
to give a Government majority and now replaced by one infi- 
nitely less democratic, nevertheless gave the noble landlord the 
same number of votes as a hundred peasants. And it will 
be recalled that voters and electors were publicly disqualified 
by the hundred thousand at all stages of the election for nothing 
more subversive than unfriendliness to the Government. But 

(it is not generally realised that nevertheless an overwhelming 
majority of the votes cast were votes for revolution. 

The intelligent newspaper reader is well aware that every 
attempt at revolution has failed to gain any concrete results, 
whether general strike, insurrection, mutiny, refusal of taxes 
and recruits, assassination of despots, guerilla war, or even the 
most peaceful parliamentary method of refusing to countenance 
the foreign loans on which the Government is absolutely depen- 
dent for every year of its continued existence. The general 
strike, which won the Czar's idle promise of reform, the well 
known Manifesto* of October, 1905, was carried to success by 
two causes that can hardly recur again — the unpreparedness 
of the Government, and the unity of the people. The strike 
was begun on the railroads and its effect was almost wholly 
due to the tying up of all the communication of the country. 

♦ For the full text of this Manifesto Bee Appendix, Note A. 



THE BEGINNING 13 

The Government has now organized the railroads on the Prus- 
sian military system and made it an offence punishable by 
immediate execution to have anything to do with a railway 
strike. After the passing of this law a second effort to strike, 
in December, 1905, proved an almost complete failure. This 
was partly due to the preparedness of the Government, partly 
to the hostility or indifference of a part of the population. The 
Railway Union in Siberia felt itself forced to leave the lines open 
to send the troops home from Manchuria. The troops in Man- 
churia, though sympathetic with the revolt, were more anxious 
to get home a few weeks earlier than to further the cause. In 
another section the union felt compelled to forward grain to the 
famine-stricken peasants. The peasants were sympathetic but 
not enough so to withstand a few more weeks of a state of siege 
for the sake of permanent freedom. The railway men knew 
then, and have since finally decided, that a strike can succeed 
against the courts-martial only if the communications are 
completely interrupted and the bridges as far as possible de- 
stroyed. They propose to wait until some large section of the 
peasants rises in revolt. The general strike depends then on the^ 
general insurrection. 

But the general insurrection has also been tried and found 
wanting. The Moscow barricades certainly proved an unex- 
pected and brilliant success at the outset, and this success was 
repeated at a number of other places. But no unity of action 
developed between the various points. The railroads remained 
almost intact and the Government was able to send reinforce- 
ments wherever it was hard pressed. In the meanwhile th^ 
revolutionists failed to get on their side a sufficiently large part] 
of the army at any one point to be able to march to the rescue/ 
of their comrades. 

The agrarian insurrections were even more isolated and 
fruitless. Numbering on the whole several thousand, they were 
yet so disconnected that never were more than a handful of 
villages able to act in concert. A hundred million rubles worth 
of landlords' property was destroyed, here and there an official 
was killed. Yet there was no call for, nor support of, a general 
railroad strike, the only measure that could have confined the 
loyal part of the troops to the cities and allowed time for the 



i 4 RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

organisation of the agrarian revolt. Again, in the summer of 
1907, after the dissolution of the second and last real Duma, the 
whole of the southern part of the country was covered with 
agrarian revolts, but again these revolts were never so general 
as to be too much for the relatively few loyal troops, the Cossacks 
and mounted rural police. If the day should ever arrive when 
these revolts become general in any section, the Railroad Union, 
sure then of the support and aid of the people, promises a strike 
accompanied by the destruction of the lines. This would cer- 
tainly leave the country districts in the people's hands. The 
half a million mounted soldiers who happen for the most part 
to be loyal would be as nothing spread over a large section of 
the country. 

Events have shown conclusively that most of the peasant 
infantry in the towns are infected and that some are ready for 
mutiny or desertion. But there remains the semi-professional 

farmy of Cossacks and guards, and this has been the one great 
safeguard of the throne. The relatively few revolts among the 
loyal professional, and one might almost say standing, army 
have of course been made the most of by the revolutionists. 
But such mutinies have been directed often merely against the 
miserable food, and unnecessary regulations or discipline. The 
Czar has quickly realised the necessity of giving these soldiers 
no such causes of discontent. Their food has been entirely 
/altered, their pay increased, their service eased and especially 
[compensated in times of "campaigns against the internal 
\pnemy." The regiments of the guard were favoured in every 
way, stationed at the most important and interesting places, 
clothed, fed, paid, and treated better than the rest. The mem- 
bers of these regiments had been chosen from all the recruits, 
not only on account of their physical development, but also 
because of loyalty and zeal. . 

The Cossacks are even more favoured among the subjects 
of the Czar. They are truly professional soldiers and the chil- 
dren of paid fighters. Living in outlying parts of the country 
the Czar has devoted to their use for several generations, they 
are given every privilege the Government can afford — plenty 
of land, low taxes, and even local freedom to govern themselves. 
They are not forced conscripts like the rest of the Czar's forces 



THE BEGINNING 15 

and all the great armies of to-day. They are well paid to follow 
the profession their fathers freely chose before them. Their 
privileged position puts them socially apart somewhere between 
the nobility and the common people. Without having the inde- 
pendent military power of the Janissaries or Pretorian guards, 
they are as much the indispensable prop of a detested govern- 
ment as were the mercenaries of the old Empires of Constanti- 
nople or Rome. 

The reader has often noticed the undoubted zest with which 
these Cossacks have filled their murderous office, and he has 
doubtless felt the hopelessness of inspiring such born servants 
of despotism with devotion to the people. If he remembers 
that the Cossacks' privileges would also vanish with the institu- 
tion of a people's army and a more democratic government, 
he will understand from the Cossack problem alone that the revo- 
lution has before it a task greater than that ever faced by any 
people fighting for freedom. An impoverished and unarmed 
people spread out in little isolated villages and towns over half 
Europe^and half Asia has to face a modern army of half a million 
men, mostly hereditary fighters, perhaps the best horsemen in 
the world, well paid and rewarded, splendidly armed and disci- 
plined, hated by the mass of the people and naturally returning 
with contempt this hatred, prepared by special schooling and 
the careful tutelage of their officers to despise democracy and 
peace, to love Czarism and war, already experienced in, and now 
thoroughly reorganised for the express purpose of, putting down 
revolt. It is this army paid by the money advanced by thel 
financiers of Germany and France, that has checked the revolu-J 
tion. It is the activity of this army that explains why the 
peasant uprisings limited to a few thousand villages scattered 
over the land did not take hold of the others and result, as in 
France in 1789, in the driving of the last landlord out of the 
country. It was this army that suppressed the growing mutiny 
among the troops in every corner of the land. It was this army 
that recaptured the few towns and strongholds that fell into 
the people's hands and prevented the peasants and small towns 
from unifying their movements as was done by the federations 
in France, which organised a government that was able to defend 
itself for twenty years against the allied forces of all Europe. 



16 RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

The peaceful measures of revolt, as I have said, were no more 
successful. The failure to get a foreign loan would have forced 
the Government to yield — but the people's opposition to the 
loan availed nothing. In December, 1906, the Government 
reports showed that the country's finances were only a few 
million rubles, or a few days from paper money and ruin. The 
financial situation may indeed overwhelm the Government 
in another generation, but if allowed to reach that point it 
might first overwhelm the nation in utter impoverishment and 
economic ruin. 

The only other "peaceful" means of forcing the Government 
to terms were those appealed to by the first Duma when it was 
dissolved. The celebrated Viborg manifesto,* signed by a 
majority of the people's representatives, called for every possible 
means of passive resistance, denounced the foreign loans, and 
proposed to the people to refuse taxes and recruits. These 
latter measures, certainly passive, could not long have remained 
peaceful. If the Duma's advice had been followed by any 
considerable proportion of the people, the savage and universal 
reprisals of the Government would inevitably have led to open 
outbreaks. The villagers that refused recruits were at once 
taken before the courts-martial, which were the supreme power 
in the country from that time, and punished by military "law." 
Both the people and the majority of the Duma members who 
had signed the manifesto, were thoroughly aware of the impos- 
sibility of a general insurrection. The people refused to take 
the first step where a second was out of the question, the moder- 
ate party within a few weeks repudiated the proposal they 
themselves had put forward, and passive resistance is no longer 
talked of as a means of liberating the land. 

So far all the means of revolution have failed. But more 
remarkable than their failure is the way the people have taken 
their defeat. The reader must have noticed that the revolu- 
tionary spirit has lived on even after the hope of any kind of 
immediate and general movement had failed. All the more 
determined revolutionists have decided that the spark of revolt 
shall be kept alive until a way is found to inflame the nation to 
a final heroic and successful stand. Assassination, expropria- 

* For te*t of the Viborg Hjuiif est u tee Appendix, Note C 




THE BEGINNING 17 

tkm and guerilla war are on the decrease because they are not 
I^HiTig to the general movement their partisans had hoped — 
tad the current has set against them as means of leading up to a 
general revolt. But confidence in Russia's future and undying 
hatred to the Government have driven the people to ever new 
and more successful forms of action, slower, more costly perhaps, 
bat irresistible in the end. Some of the measures of repression 
still in effect are proving fruitless, and when the Government 
does successfully maintain its might it does so at the cost of mak- 
ing new enemies it can ill afford, or of a financial expenditure 
that must lead to a steady decay of its power. 

The reader must have realised that the new election law by 
which the voice of the people in the third Duma is reduced 
almost to zero, while the nobility and landlords, scarcely one per 
cent, of the voters, are given a majority of the representatives, 
amounts practically to an abolition of the national parliament. 
He may, therefore, have concluded not only that the revolution- 
ary movement is quelled but that the revolutionary parties, 
many of them formed or crystallised in the Duma, have been 
robbed of their importance. None of the popular parties had 
any hope that the Czar would allow the Duma to accomplish 
anything, and they finally succeeded in their great common 
object, which was to teach the people that nothing would be 
gained from the Government that was not taken by superior 
power. 

Three years of revolution and three national assemblies have 
brought the Russian people neither freedom nor the control of 
their Government, nor any great improvement. If the revolu- 
tion should now draw to a conclusion all the colossal struggle 
and waste of hundreds of thousands of lives would have been 
for nothing; but if it should continue, even though it takes a 
generation to overthrow the Czarism and establish the sover- 
eignty of the people, all the sacrifice will be justified. Russia is 
willing to pay high for freedom because of the infamy of the 
Czarism, because of the qualities of her peasant population and 
the splendidly progressive character of the people of her towns. 
But above all she is making these unheard of sacrifices because 
of the greatness that lies before her. A people that will have 
overcome an enemy like the Czarism backed by the world's 



18 RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

money power, will not shrink before the greatest social regen- 
eration the world has ever known. 

The recent partial successes and complete defeats, the mon- 
strosity of the evils she is fighting, the difficulties to be overcome, 
are only measures of the power the nation is developing in the 
struggle and the profundity of the social revolution that only 
such a struggle can call into being. The recent dramatic 
struggle, the incredible degradation of the present Government, 
the tragic spirit of rebellion among the peasants, the exceptional 
intelligence and public spirit of the educated classes, the daring 
and devotion of the revolutionists, has led the Russian nation 
to the most heroic, the most inspired, and the most revolutionary 
social movement of centuries. 

Because of this revolutionary social movement the Russian 
people lead the world at the present moment in the unselfish 
devotion of individual to the general welfare, in the systematic 
study of social problems, in the intensity of their interest in 
other countries and other periods, in the subtlety and profundity 
of their analysis of the political, social, and moral movements of 
our time, and in the elevation of the individual type which is a 
necessary result of such a vigorous social movement. 

When the coming regeneration of life, which is believed in 
as a religious faith by all sincere and disinterested Russians 
from the peasants to Tolstoi and the most moderate of liberals, 
is finally accomplished, the world may have to look to Russia 
not only as it does now for individuals with the most developed 
social character but for the community that will have evolved 
for the first time social equality and a truly social government. 
The germs of this future society are already visible, the truly 
social individuals are already here. That complete and glad 
devotion to social causes that must constitute the life principle 
of the men of the future is already embodied in innumerable 
individual Russians of the present generation. 




PART TWO 

Oppression 



CHAPTER I 

NICHOLAS, CZAR 

Russian People, who journey sad and trembling, 
Serfs at St. Petersburg, or at hard labour in the mines, 
The North Pole is for your Master, a dungeon vast and sombre ; 
Russia and Siberia, O Czar! Tyrant! Vampire! 
These are the two halves of your dismal Empire; 
One is Oppression, the other Despair! 

— Victor Hugo (Les Chbtiments) 

NICHOLAS II., though born heir to the vast Empire of the 
Romanoffs and absolute master of a hundred and forty 
million people, was a most ordinary child. But he was not 
long allowed to remain normal or ordinary. All the unlimited 
resources and powers of a Czar's educators from infancy to man- 
hood, were used to convince him that he is the God-born superior 
to every man in his Empire, and that he has been given the 
right by God to regulate to the last particular the lives of each 
one of his one hundred and forty million subjects. Such an 
education can lead to only one result — with ordinary children. 

"I knew a promising young princess,' ' a well-known old 
courtier told me, "who had inborn progressive ideas. She was 
given to asking most interesting questions. Her teacher was of 
course changed, and when I saw her again, a few years later, 
I did not know her, she was so much like the rest. It is impos- 
sible that anything good should come out of that poisonous and 
misanthropic atmosphere of the Court. I have abandoned 
hope." So with the Czar. He is a product of his environment. 
Or, better, he is part and parcel of the whole of the old system. 
For now that he is on the throne, he is daily creating his environ- 
ment and his environment is daily creating him. 

That Nicholas II., by nature an ordinary, normal man, should 
have developed into a perfect and willing tool of reaction and 
an enemy of progress, is a sign that the day for expecting liberty 
from Czars or benevolent despots has passed. The sustainers 

21 



22 RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

of autocracy have read history and studied revolutions aright. 
They are now taking no chances with their despots. To prevent 
his becoming better than those around him, Nicholas, like his 
uncles and cousins, the notoriously dissolute grand dukes, was 
scientifically corrupted in his youth. He was allowed several 
mistresses. A Jewish girl whom he is said to have really loved 
was torn away from him by the Court. True love is dangerous 
to despotism, above all love for a member of a persecuted race. 
His notorious affair with the ballet-dancer, Kshesinkaya, which 
lasted to the very day of his marriage, was more after his uncle's 
heart. He was allowed to endow this woman with a palace 
and a fortune in jewels and gold. 

And while his body was being corrupted by fast living and 
drink, his soul was under the sinister and misanthropic influence 
of fanatic old Pobiedonostzev, or the half-crazy mysticism of 
Father John of Cronstadt, who, while still preaching massacre, 
has now set himself up for a Russian Christ. It is natural that 
a mind so beclouded should shower honours on the necromancer 
Phillipe, and, as God-appointed head of the Russian Church, 
canonise the monk Seraphin, dead now for fifty years, for having 
interceded with God to send him a male heir. 

Nicholas is by education an ordinary absolute monarch, as he 
is by nature an ordinary man. If he has lightly glorified war, 
so has William II. If he has publicly announced his hatred of 
millions of his subjects, has not the German Emperor called 
a party of three million of his subjects "dogs"? He differs 
from other autocrats not in his ideas or in his nature, but in 
his actual crimes. Unfortunately for Nicholas, history offered 
him the choice either to rise above the monarch to the true man, 
or else to sink from the level of inhuman feeling and opinion to 
the definite degradation of criminal acts. Nicholas chose as a 
Czar, and not as a man. As a consequence the Czarism 
has been preserved, but at this price, that the Czar has 
become an accessory before the fact to a policy as black as 
anything ever dreamed by Machiavelli, and to crimes more 
horrible than any that have been perpetrated in Europe 
since the religious wars. 

^aJcT that Nicholas II. is not to be known or judged like 
mortals, that he is helpless against the grand dukes, 



NICHOLAS, CZAR 23 

his family, and the court. But, as was pointed out to me by 
one of the most honoured and best-informed men in Russia, the 
Czar has long selected his own court and chosen his own family 
favourites. "An autocrat can be formed by his environment for 
a few years," said this man, " but since the age of thirteen Nich- 
olas has himself created his own environment." Nicholas loved 
the old reactionary advisers left him by his father — his Uncle 
Sergius, Minister Sipiaguine, and Count Ignatiev. The revolu- 
tionists have taken these terrible persons away. He feared 
Von Plehve, who, before the Czar had yet obtained a secure con- 
trol of the reins of government, had got a firm hold on the secret 
police, a position impregnable in a despotism. The revolution- 
ists also solved this problem for him. But he has replaced 
the reactionaries he loved by new reactionaries. 

He became jealous within a few weeks of the popularity of a 
successful liberal minister like Sviatopolk-Mirski. Witte he 
always hated, but held to him long because he better than all 
others could procure gold in billions from Germany and France. 
His present favourites are all either discreet reactionaries, men 
of blood and iron like Stolypine, or shameless reactionaries 
like Kaulbars. Noble leaders of the black league formed for 
massacres, Bobrinsky, Sherebatov, Apraxin, Konovnitzin, 
General Bogdanovitch, have constant access to the court. 
Men of relentless violence, like Prime Minister Stolypine, 
Deduline, and Durnovo, are given the ministries that hold the 
real power. Kaulbars, Skalon, Herschelman, and Meller- 
Zakomelski are entrusted with the fate respectively of Odessa, 
Poland, Moscow, and the Baltic provinces. They are all cynical, 
violent, and open reactionaries. It was Herschelman who upset 
even the military law of the realm by reversing the sentence 
of a military court, which had let off with a light punishment 
four drunken peasants who had insulted a policeman. Herschel- 
man had them hanged. When new laws are being prepared it is 
the reactionary jurists, old Goremykin, Stichinsky , and Durnovo, 
not real experts, who are taken into the Czar's personal confi- 
dence. But above all, to swing the destiny of the tortured and 
suffering peoples and nations called Russia, one must win the 
favour of the Czar's boon companions, the extreme reactionaries 
Prince Orlov and the Queen's Secretary, Prince Putiatin. 



24 RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

Prince Orlov is the Czar's drinking companion, Prince Putiatin 
is endeared to him as a heritage from his late beloved Uncle 
Sergius. 

Talents for despotism, flattery, and intrigue, these are all 
of value in securing a commanding position and power in the 
land of the Czar. " But the only way to succeed permanently," 
said one of the most trusted and best-known of my informants, 
14 the only certain road is reactionism — open, active, and bitter 
hatred of progress. Nicholas sometimes tolerates a progressive 
person for a short time. But he is never really pleased with 
anything but reaction, movement backward toward his father's 
regime. All his sympathies are for reactionary things, all his 
feelings are for reactionary men. This is why we are governed 
by reactionaries, why Russia may have to go through far worse 
trials and horrors in the next few years than in those just passed. 
The Czar is oppressed and weighed down by superior intelligence, 
because it dwarfs his own ordinary powers. He can't bear it 
around him. His real favourites have always been, and doubt- 
less always will be, dull and stupid men." Other opinions 
equally to be respected are in entire accord with this. 

"The keynote to the Czar's character," said another authori- 
ty, "is an inflated hypertrophied self-love, as is natural and 
almost inevitable with an irresponsible and absolute monarch. 
This self-love was consciously created in his youth and is pur- 
posely developed by all who approach the throne. It is the 
explanation of every important act of the reign. For instance, 
it was nothing but the Czar's self-love that brought us the Duma 
and a few months later took this Duma away." 

At enmity with the people, surrounded by dull and brutal 
persons of his own choosing, endowed himself with a clearly 
expressed love for violence and the "good old times" of his 
father Alexander III., what is the use of seeking further Nicho- 
las's political ideas? They are, of course, most rudimentary. 
His leading idea, expressed in every public utterance, is that 
his personal desires and the welfare of his immense empire 
are one and the same thing — that the preservation of his own 
unlimited, irresponsible, and absolute personal rule, and the 
maintenance of the riches and irresponsible power of his 
family and his friends, of the grand dukes, the high officials, 



NICHOLAS, CZAR 25 

the high clergy, the high nobility ^nd the court, are all entirely 
consistent with the welfare of the vast and varied peoples of 
the realm. 

It was to the supposed interest of the grand dukes, the Czar's 
mother, the Russian police, the heads of the army and the court, 
to declare war against Japan. The nation, almost wholly 
opposed to the calamitous and terrible enterprise, was not 
consulted. But the Czar, justly certain that he was acting in 
accordance with the wishes of his family, his friends, and every- 
body he respected, entered into the bloody and unprincipled 
business with a light heart. He said, writes Prince Urussov, 
that he considered the Japanese attack "like the bite of a flea" 
and that he was "fully satisfied with the progress of the war" 
because it would call out an increase of the patriotic spirit, 
because the agitation against the Government would cease and it 
would be easier to maintain order in the State. This unjust, 
bloody, unpopular war was brought on, then, by the common 
human frailties of a single individual — the desire to please his 
friends and relatives and the determination to maintain his 
control of his inherited property, Russia, at any cost. 

Nicholas happens to be absolute master of the lives and 
property of one hundred and forty million people, and that they 
are "the submissive servants " of his will is agreed by all defen- 
ders of the autocratic system. Imagine the wrath of such a 
master when the slaves are in revolt. Rebellious slaves have 
never been treated as human beings, and their revolts have 
usually been put down without stint of the utmost cruelties. 
In Russia, where not even the highest of the nobility have any 
rights against the Czar, a revolution is quite incomprehensible 
to the supreme power. 

A certain Russian prince, internationally famed for honesty, 
moderation and public spirit, complained in person to the Czar 
about the frightful Bielostock massacre. After having shown 
that the massacre was carried out almost entirely by the soldiers 
and police, the prince said, "This thing simply cannot continue. 
It is wrong." 

The Czar hesitated long, but finally answered: "Yes, it is 
wrong. It is wrong. But what can you do? These people 
are republicans and revolutionists." 



26 RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

The loyal prince excused himself in hopeless despair. "The 
people of Bielostock are republicans and revolutionists; that 
justifies any crime against them," thinks the Czar. But nine- 
tenths of the Russian people are, broadly speaking, revolution- 
ists. The Czar is then simply at war with his own people — 
unhampered by any usage or principle of civilised humanity 
or of civilised war. 

"What is the exact relation of the Czar to the crimes and 
horrors that are perpetrated in his name? Is the Czar himself 
primarily responsible, or are others more to blame?" I asked 
these questions of the men in Russia best able to answer, and 

[had for my literal replies: "The court is the centre of the 
'pogromists' and 'Black Hundreds.' The Czar himself is the 
chief of the 'hooligans.'" And I found such to be the almost 
unanimous opinion of Russia's most reliable men. 

Prince Urussov, recently governor of Bessarabia, places a 
full share of the responsibility for the wholesale massacres of 
1905 directly on the Czar. "A word from the authoritative 
mouth of the Emperor or any action would have extraordinarily 
facilitated the maintenance of order," he writes significantly. 
But every effort failed to obtain from Nicholas either any 
kind of declaration condemning the pogroms, or even the 
suggested manifestation of unspoken sympathy with the 
victims through some slight monetary present for their relief. 
" From 1 903 " writes the prince, " it became plain to all the world 
that the Czar himself, if not in action, at least in thought and 
feeling, was an enemy to the Jews." 

A recognised enemy to the Jews, yes, but none the less an 
enemy to the Poles, Armenians, Finns, Letts, and Lithuanians, 
as the most credited representatives of all these races have 
testified, and to all the fifty million non-Russian peoples that 
constitute a full third of his subjects. For the actions and 
policies that have shown the Czar's attitude to the Jews, the 
most powerful of the "subject" peoples, have been repeated, 
almost rxactly, toward the rest. A recognised enemy also of 
the overwhelming majority of the common people of Russian 
Htork, the hundred million peasants and workingmen, as their 
rcpriwntiitivciN in the Duma testified. Friend only of the 
olllciulu, Urn landlord*, tho very rich, the few hundred thousand 



NICHOLAS, CZAR 27 

pampered Cossacks, spies, and police, who altogether constitute 
the only real foundation of the throne. Friend, also, of the 
murderers who have carried out the massacres that have drenched 
the land in blood. Nicholas is no mere onlooker. To be 
sure he has not taken part in the shooting, as did Charles IX. 
in the massacre of St. Bartholomew, but he is literally throwing 
open the prison doors for all who have murdered "in his name." 
The pogromists at Kertch, at Volsk, at Nijni Novgorod, in 
Volhynia, in Bessarabia, at Tula, and a dozen other places, 
though sentenced by the local courts, have all been fully par- 
doned by the Czar. The Czar's pardon for three Kharkov 
assassins who murdered a lawyer in his home, carried with it an 
even more open excitation to a repetition of the act in the words, 
"A pardon is extended to X, Y, and Z, the men who killed the 
miscreant revolutionary Jew.'* 

One of the chief organisers of the great Odessa massacre of v 
October, 1905, when nearly a thousand were killed and wounded, 
was at last got behind the bars. The circuit court could not 
declare him innocent. It sentenced him, however, to only 
eight months' imprisonment. He soon received the full pardon 
of the Czar. Numerous other pardons followed, until the daily 
massacres in that city increased to the point that brought a , 
diplomatic disgrace to the Russian Government. The combined 
foreign consuls felt impelled to raise a protest; it, however, 
accomplished nothing. Nearly every day shows one or more 
open and cold-blooded murders to be attributed directly to 
the unmistakable approval of the Czar. The chief of police, 
Novitzki, was finally forced to telegraph Stolypine: "It is not 
possible for the police to fight successfully against secret leagues 
which are led by persons who guarantee the members impunity for^ 
crime." 

In Odessa the Government and the murderous League of 
Russian Men have become practically one. The local president 
of the league, Count Konovnitzin, is the aid-de-camp of the 
governor-general, Kaulbars; the latter is a member of the 
executive council and its meetings are often held in his palace. 
Nicholas himself is an honorary member of the League. A 
delegation, headed by the mayor, recently sent by desperate 
Odessa to the court to complain against the league's atrocities 



28 RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

was received by the Czar wearing on his breast the emblem of 
the League of Russian Men. That emblem was significant of 
his answer: he has delivered the great port of Odessa, with its 
half million of inhabitants, to the tender mercies of the League. 

To the delegation which presented him his badge (and one 
for his little heir), together with an address setting forth the 
* l loyal" and anti-semitic purposes of the organisation, Nicholas 
answered: "Thank in my name all the Russian people who 
have joined the league.' ' Stolypine reported recently to the 
Czar that 60 per cent, of this notorious league was recruited 
from the criminal classes and scarcely 1 J per cent, were edu- 
cated persons. On Stolypine 's report Nicholas wrote: "The 
league is the most loyal of all the parties and the most useful 
to the Government. It would be well to be patient and to give 
it time to improve and correct itself." 

Dr. Dubrowin, president of the league and editor of its St. 
Petersburg organ, the Russian Flag, was asked recently 
the practical way out of Russia's difficulties. The justly 
notorious doctor replied: "It is necessary to hang eleven fore- 
most leaders whom I could name, two hundred secondary 
leaders and three thousand party workers." To the question 
as to who could be found to execute such a cruel sentence, he 
answered: "The League of Russian Men would have the courage 
to do it." Dubrowin has made it clear that he reckons among 
those to be killed not only beloved popular leaders like Anikine 
and Aladdin, but also moderates like the economist Herzenstein, 
already assassinated by the league, if not by Dubrowin *s own 
personal order. No Russian revolutionist has ever made a 
proposal of wholesale butchery — their victims are the victims 

G" a guerilla war. It is not the revolution for freedom that has 
-oduced the Russian Marat. It is the criminal counter- 
volution personally patronised by the Czar. 
At first it was proposed to make Nicholas himself one of the 
three members of the league's executive board. Later the 
position was given to the Czar's new favourite and spiritual 
adviser, the priest Vostoigov, This "orthodox Christian" fire- 
stirred up race- wars in the Caucasus until he was forced 
\ from the enraged people. Though only a common priest, 
now taken the place of sinister old Pobiedonostzev as the 



NICHOLAS, CZAR 29 

theorist of arbitrary autocracy and reaction and the spiritual 
consoler of the court — while at the same time he guides the 
league for massacre. The Czar in appreciation has heaped 
exceptional ecclesiastical honours on his head and has given him 
a place in the Holy Synod. With the coming of Vostorgov it 
can at last be said that the League's end, the fusion of the 
"true Russian people" with the "Most High/' has at last been 
accomplished. 

The title "Most High" sounds almost blasphemous. But 
in the eyes of the advocates of absolutism the Czar can be 
guilty of no blasphemy, just as he can be guilty of no crime. 
What he does is not only right, but sacred. The heads of the 
Church are his servants, as much subject to his orders as any 
peasants. The Czar has been given by God the care also of his 
subjects' souls. Every important ukase,* even if on a purely 
political subject, is read from every village pulpit along with 
the rest of "God's word," likewise emanating from the whims 
and dictation of Nicholas and other Czars. Every expression 
and activity of life, every book, every newspaper, every school, 
every church or private society, must be forced and distorted 
to express absolute obedience, submission, subjection, and 
servility to the Czar. 

If a man in whom such a megalomania is cultivated from 
early childhood is not engaged personally in hunting down his 
subjects like Charles IX., it must be attributed to court custom 
rather than to anything in the conscience of the Czar. Young 
German barons around him who have led man-hunts against 
peasants they have harried into rebellion, receive his full sympa- 
thy, approval, and even promotion for their actions; while those 
who do not take a lively interest in such work are quickly marked 
with imperial disfavour and disgrace. This bloody business 
has gone so far that many who in the past have been reactionary 
or circumspect enough to rise to the highest rank, are now 
drawing back in horror and disgust. Not so the Czar, and no 
titles such a renegrade may bear, no services rendered, can 
save him from the imperial wrath. 

To an officer reporting a rather bloodless "pacification" in 
the west, the Czar replied after a long meditative silence: 
"Just the same, you have killed too few, you have killed too 



3 o RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

few." To General Kazbek, reporting a similarly bloodless 
success against the revolutionists, the Czar listened without a 
word. After having given his report, the general was leaving 
and was already near the door when he heard a low, harsh 
voice behind him. He turned immediately round; the Czar 
was following him with a wolfish stride, and hissing through 
his closed teeth : " You ought to have fired just the same, general! 
You ought to have fired just the same! " 

The famous General Subbotich, a member of the general staff 
and recent governor-general of Turkestan, not only did not 
shed any blood in his province but scandalised the court by 
making several speeches in which he promised that the Czar 
would carry out his promises expressed in the October Manifesto 
and soon begin the work of reform. He was removed from his 
office and robbed of his dignities and pension without any 
statement of the cause. He demanded a trial by courts-martial, 
and was refused. He was told only that he had not taken 
measures to suppress the revolution, and that the Emperor 
"had deigned to refuse to let him know the tenor of the accusa- 
tions against him." He announced himself as a candidate to 
the Duma from the most conservative class of St. Petersburg, 
consisting of 2,000 members carefully selected by the Govern- 
ment, and received more than eight hundred of their votes. 
This vote is an evidence of the fact that the bitterness of all 
classes has reached such a point that only a bare half even of 
the most favoured and privileged can be persuaded to stand for 
the bloodthirstiness of the Czar. 

The Czar has also his minor heroes of violence. A certain 
cadet heard disrespectful words about his sacred Majesty on the 
street. He struck the speaker two blows on his head with his 
bayonet and the latter sank to the ground. The Czar wrote 
with his own hand on the war minister's report to express his 
thanks for this " praiseworthy action " as he called it. A certain 
cavalry officer, a passenger on a local steamer, called the members 
of the Duma "rascals," entered into a quarrel with his fellow- 
passengers and finally opened fire with his revolver, seriously 
wounding a waiter before he was disarmed. His term was 
shortened by his Majesty's favour to three months' police arrest. 
A soldier shot a girl prisoner dead through the head for looking 



NICHOLAS, CZAR 31 

out of the prison window against the rules. He was sent a 
present of five dollars by the Czar. Since then this act has been 
repeated by the wholesale in all parts of the country. 

Nicholas II. is a criminal in the eyes of his people. In all 
sections, among all classes, among rich and poor, townspeople 
and countrypeople, the educated, the business men, and priests, 
there is one dominating opinion about the Czar — that he bears 
to the full his share of the responsibility for the monstrous system 
of crime and plunder called the Russian Government, that he 
is neither better nor worse than the average of his predecessors, 
and that nothing better is to be expected from his successors 
since even the Czars themselves are products of the Czarism 
it is sought to destroy. The people have no desire to wait until 
the Czarism produces a ruler who is not a Czar. 



CHAPTER II 

HOW CZARS GOVERN 

IT IS not permissible to dip far into Russian history in the 
course of this review of present-day conditions. But 
we can thoroughly grasp the deep-seated and almost unconscious 
feeling of Russia about her rulers, only when we recall what 
kind of Czars the Czarism has actually produced. The first 
great Czar was Ivan the Terrible. He was a successful Czar 
and did Russia the inestimable service of driving out the Tar- 
tars and more than doubling the extent of the realm. But 
when he was not crushing the Tartars he was literally crushing 
the souls and bodies of his own people. He was trained purposely 
in his childhood to make what was then considered the strongest 
type of Czar, a man whose very name was to cause fear and 
submission among his subjects — and this principle of govern- 
ment not alone by the strong arm, but by fear of it, by " terror, " 
remains a leading principle of the Czar's Government to-day. 
We have seen that Nicholas still demands bloodshed instead of 
unconditional surrender, and we shall see that this principle 
is not merely one of the chief policies of State but the very 
basis of the whole governmental system. 

Ivan set an example of Czarism that has never since been 
equalled — though, to be sure, most of his actions have been 
repeated frequently since his time. When as late as the middle 
of the sixteenth century Ivan wiped the half-free and the half- 
democratic towns of Pskov and Novgorod off the map, he did 
not ask for surrender, but practised deliberate and continuous 
tortures for the space of five weeks, in which time, one chronicle 
says, he put to death in one of the towns, men, women and 
children to the number of sixty thousand. Moscow, in 1 5 70, was 
treated to similar tortures, at which Ivan as usual assisted 
in person, piercing many to death with his hunting spear. 
The scene was on the great sacred place in Moscow, afterward 



<*W, 



HOW CZARS GOVERN 33 

christened the Red Square, in front of the famous sacred 
church erected after Ivan's own plans and clearly announc- 
ing his insanity, but which has served ever since as a cherished 
model for the Czars, like so many of the traditions of this 
age. 

Ivan's practice was to make a public spectacle of his " execu- 
tions, M but on this great occasion the instruments of torture 
and pots for boiling people alive frightened the public away, 
and they had to be brought back by main force to witness the 
performance. Men were tortured by the wholesale in all ways 
known to human ingenuity, and, what is rarer in modern history, 
a show was made of the disgrace and tortures of women and girls, 
a feature entirely in accord with the wild and cruel private 
orgies of this Czar. After torture and disgrace the women and 
girls were killed either by having red-hot spears thrust into 
their bodies, or by Ivan's own instrument. Philip, metro- 
politan of Moscow and head of the Church, he had burned 
to death for refusing to bless him after his debauchery and 
crimes, the court chancellor was cut to pieces, the treasurer 
boiled alive, and a certain prince lingered impaled on stakes 
for fifteen hours while his mother was shamed by the soldiers 
before his eyes. 

Ivan's cruelties doubtless somewhat exceeded what might 
be calculated even by the most cold-blooded despot as useful 
to the maintenance of his power, but the fact remains that he 
was successful in increasing the might of the Czarism both at 
home and abroad, and his example has not been without its influ- 
ence on later Czars. To Peter the Great also, who ruled more 
than a hundred years later, human life was nothing. He repeated 
almost exactly several of the tortures devised by Ivan, as well 
as the executions "in person." He also caused the death of 
his own son Alexis. Fortunately, however, Peter the Great 
was a man of ideas. If the building of St. Petersburg cost as 
many unnecessary lives as the destruction of Novgorod, there 
was at least a more positive result. Peter also had less time for 
cruelty than Ivan, since he was busied with what he considered, 
often rightly, to be real affairs of State. But like Ivan he 
governed by execution, torture and terror, enjoyed the cruelty 
in person, and indulged in as bestial and wholesale debauchery 



34 RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

as the world has known. In one respect he went farther than 
Ivan, insisting on forcing on all the nation every detail of his 
arbitrary and sometimes even whimsical "will." By regulating 
every detail of his subjects' lives, even to the cut of their beards, 
he reduced every individual of the nation to the position of his 
personal servant or serf. 

Catharine II. was scarcely less debauched than Peter, and 
scarcely less cruel to the great mass of her subjects. But, 
though she undoubtedly caused the death of her husband and 
many others for whom she felt enmity, she showed as a rule a 
woman's gentleness to those immediately about her. However, 
as these last were her companions in luxury and debauch, the 
nation had little benefit from the descent of the great Empress 
to this ordinary virtue of the human race. Her successor, Paul, 
reverted to the arbitrariness of Peter. It would be more inter- 
esting to show the disastrous effects of this reversion on the 
people, which finally led to his assassination, than the ridiculous 
forms it took in his personal behaviour. But it is personal 
character than concerns us for the moment, and nothing reveals 
his character better than his compelling his subjects to kneel, 
in dust, rain, mud, or snow, to his holy person when his carriage 
passed ; and he even snatched a cap from an infant's head when 
a nurse did not know how to honour his presence. 

There can be little doubt that Alexander I. was privy to the 
murder of his father, and his reign, thus begun so thoroughly 
in the tradition of the Czars, was in perfect accord with his 
predecessors'. Europe, always densely ignorant of all things 
Russian and most hopelessly in the dark about the true character 
of the Czars, for some time took Alexander I. for a liberal, as 
it had taken Peter and Catharine, and has since taken Alex- 
ander II. and the present Czar. The original basis for this 
conception was slim; later the conception became absurd, for 
Alexander formed the Holy Alliance to battle against every great 
idea the French Revolution had introduced, and Russia became 
the mainstay of the reaction in Europe until her defeat, fifty 
years later, in the Crimean War and her replacement at this post 
of honour by PniKsia and the German Empire of to-day. It 
was Alexander who added the Prussian military discipline and 
servitude to the other burdens of the nation. In his military 



HOW CZARS GOVERN 3S 

colonies the new militarism was combined with serfdom, till it 
became a full penal system of forced labour. 

Nicholas I. brought the new military serfdom to its perfection, 
to the envy of Prussia and other "military" powers; and he 
went even further and applied this system to the post-office 
and other public service, to several industries and to the 
mines. When Nicholas's army crushed the liberties of 
Hungary in 1849, ^ s generals, Haynau and others, were so 
cruel that even Turkey refused to give up the refugees, and 
America finally felt impelled to carry Kossuth away on a 
frigate of the Government. 

Alexander II. again, who was forced to emancipate the serfs 
by the failure of the Crimean War and the impossibility of 
creating a modern army or raising the taxes under the old 
regime, was known as a liberal in Europe until his barbarous 
suppression of the Polish insurrection. It was only because 
he had taken away the very slight liberties he had granted that 
a group of revolutionists robbed him of his life. This revolu- 
tionary act in turn stirred the reactionary forces in the Empire 
to make a "martyr" of him, and gullible Europe, which for 
years had turned away from him in disgust, again took up 
his cause and still does honour to his memory as a "liberal" 
Czar. Alexander III., the present Czar's father, was a typical 
Czar, without any special talents, blindly devoted to reaction, 
absolutism, and the narrowest conception of the Church, sur- 
rounded by dull and servile flatterers and leading the narrowest 
personal life, absorbed in trivialities and drink. It was this 
stagnant, suffocating atmosphere that produced the "heroes'** 
of the present reign — its half-crazy or sinister fanatic priests; 
its demoniacal and all-powerful police heads, von Plehve and 
Trepov; the organisers of the statesmanship of persecution 
of subject races, Ignatiev and the Grand Duke Sergius; the 
first theoretical defenders of absolutism, Absakov and Leontieff, 
who sought to keep out of the policy of the Russian State the 
new and " obnoxious principle of seeking the material and moral 
welfare of the human race." 

Russia has learned something from her Czars. She has 
learned that it is one-man power itself that is wrong. Nearly 
all thoughtful Russians feel that the concentration of govern- 



36 RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

mental power in the hands of a single man is the worst curse 
that can befall a people. They know that the only possible 
defence of such a system is based on a lie, a radical miscon- 
ception of the nature of the human individual and the race. 
And they know that the first result of this lie is to distort, 
corrupt, or pervert the mind and character of the ruler himself, 
so that there can be no benevolent despot unless by chance, and 
that such a despot, if intelligent, would have to deny despotism 
itself, and, if honest, put it to an end. In Russia there is no 
Napoleonic worship, no "great man" theory, no demand for, 
and no blind faith in, all-powerful leaders. There is too much 
similarity, as far as the masses of the people are concerned, 
between the reigns of the Czar-genius Peter and the lunatic 
Ivan the Terrible, between the reactionary "liberal" Nicholas 
II. and the conqueror of Napoleon and the French Revolution, 
Alexander I. 

The present revolutionary movement of the Russian nation 
must have arisen under any Emperor. It is directed against 
Czarism rather than against any particular Czar. But in so 
far as the Russian ruler is really Autocrat and Czar, that is, 
in proportion as he rules by his own will and not that of the 
people, he is the living embodiment of the despotism. The 
present Czar, all future Czars, must stand or fall with the 
system of which they are a part. Since Nicholas II. remains 
head, or at least centre, of the old system, since he refuses 
to abdicate or share his power, and since he is neither a 
degenerate nor a weakling under duress, he must bear his share 
of the great crimes of the system of which he is a part. 

This is the judgment of the Russian people. It is the judg- 
ment of their leaders and noted men: of writers like Tolstoi, 
Gorki, Korolenko, and Andreief ; of public men of international 
fame like Kovalevski, Roditchev, Prince Dolgorukov and 
Milyoukov; of conservative leaders like Shipov, Stachovitch, 
Count Heyden, Prince Trubetzkoi, and Prince Lvov; of the 
liberal parish priesthood and its leaders, Father Petrov and the 
Archimandrite Michael; of recent governors and ministers and 
Kttncrals like Urussov, Kutler, and Subbotich — in fact, of prac- 
tically every public man of the first rank outside of the Govern- 
ment Norvice. Not only the masses of the Russian people, then, 



HOW CZARS GOVERN 37 

but its best brain and soul are in revolt against both Czarism 
and against Nicholas II., because he is Czar. 

This slow-witted, self-centred reactionary and blood-loving 
tyrant is recognised by the Russian nation as its most deadly 
enemy, not because he is stronger or more vicious than many 
others in high places in the State, but because he is on account 
of his position and his power the centre of the system that it 
is costing the country's best life-blood to destroy; not because 
he is any worse than his predecessors, or because his successors 
can be expected to turn out any better than he, but just because 
there lives in him and breathes in all his actions the very spirit 
of "the Czar." 

But if Nicholas is no better than the machine by which he 
"governs," certainly the machine is no better than the Czar. 
In every-day life the Czarism exists only in the form of millions 
of irresponsible officials directing every detail of life even to 
the commonest business affairs — officials who get their direc- 
tions either from the senseless, confused, and lifeless orders of 
irresponsible and neglected bureaus, or from the prot£g£s of 
the court, who without the slightest thought given to their 
capacity or achievement have caught the eye of a favourite, 
or of the favourite of a favourite, of the Czar. 

The court is the first and most indispensable support to the 
throne. Here is the mother, here are the uncles, the father's 
advisers and all the sure and tried supporters of the former 
Czars — the only channel in a Czarism or purely personal govern- 
ment through which the ruler can get even a slight idea of his 
nation. Nearly all the members of the court are of course also 
members of the bureaucracy. Some to be sure are merely rich 
idlers, such as ornamented the court in France before the revolu- 
tion. Others hold sinecures, are called assistant ministers and 
appear at the bureaus a few times in a week, or attend the occa- 
sional meetings of some very honourable commission without any 
real function or power. Whether they are suited for it or not, 
those persons nearest the Emperor are usually given positions of 
exalted power. One grand duke is head of the army, another 
of the navy. The Russian Supreme Court, called the Senate, is 
filled with such men alone as happen to have been in the most 
intimate relations with the Czar, his father, or some grand duke. 



38 RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

The Czar must have some system or machine by which he 
expresses his power, and carries out the details of "govern- 
ment." This system, before the days of Peter the Great, was 
a sort of despotic feudalism ; since that time it has been a bureau- 
cracy of the Prussian type. This bureaucracy had to be 
made an integral part of Czarism, and this was accomplished 
not alone by sending the court into the bureaucracy, but by 
bureaucratising the court. Now the court and bureaucracy 
are inseparable. The court represents the unlimited and 
arbitrary power of the Czars over the lives and property of the 
people, the bureaucracy the only method by which it is possible 
for the Czar and the court to profit from this power. The army, 
the police, all governors and vice-czars, all those who have the 
right to exercise to the full the Czar's arbitrary power — that 
is to say, all the human tools necessary for defending by force 
the hated bureaucracy — all these are under the direct control 
of the Czar, subject neither to Dumas nor to bureaucratic 
ministries. On the other hand, all the tax-gathering, borrowing 
from abroad, all the banking, railway, and other business for 
supporting the arbitrary power of the court and the Czar, 
are necessarily systematised under the Government bureaus. 

Peter's new bureaucratic machine of course immensely in- 
creased the work of the Government. New departments arose 
one after another, until finally the biggest businesses like rail* 
roads and banking fell into the hands of the State. Some of 
the most costly departments, the political courts, prisons, and 
police, the army of rural guards, the censorship, could not 
prove of any possible service in an intelligently organised 
and democratic society. With industrial development new 
sources of taxation were discovered ; sugar, tobacco and petro- 
leum were made to produce immense sums, and the entire profit 
of the liquor industry was taken over in the form of a monopoly 
by the State. Such of these profits and taxes as finally reached 
the central treasury wen? again the source of innumerable easily 
earned incomes in the "administration." Modern equipment, 
for instance, must he supplied and applied in the army and a 
modern fleet created, "Self-made" bureaucrats began to 
accumulate fortune* in plunder* with the aid of which they 
l»ecnme trrwii*tihlo in the mo*t aristocratic society. Soon there 



HOW CZARS GOVERN 39 

were more rich and successful bureaucrats in the court than 
there were pampered courtiers in the bureaucracy. Now, 
indeed, most of the ministers and chiefs of departments come 
from the former class. But the distinction is only superficial 
In the long run the successful courtier must know how to make 
his way by means of the bureaus, must understand how to 
"govern" as it is understood by the loyal supporters of the 
Czars ; while a successful bureaucrat can only meet a miserable 
end if he is not at the same time a true courtier, a believer 
in the reactionary principles of Czarism and a proved expert in 
the practice of irresponsible despotism. 

The corruption of the court from the grand dukes down, 
the inefficiency of the bureaucracy, are proverbial. But 
this corruption of individuals is a commonplace, hardly worse 
than what exists in many other countries. If the Czar should 
ever succeed, as he no doubt desires, since it is the Czarism 
itself which is being despoiled, in developing a rigid system 
of inspection and control of Government bureaus irresponsible 
to the people, there would still remain the wholesale legal 
robbery and oppression that arises from the Czarism's mere 
existence. 

The present Russian Government is a product of historical 
evolution. The main determining factor in its development 
from the beginning has been not the welfare of Russia, but that of 
each privileged class in exact proportion to its nearness to the 
throne. Every bureau of the Government is based on this 
principle; all are more or less anti-social in the very founda- 
tion of their methods and organisation, and in the training of 
their personnel. A high position is attained only through the 
sacrifice of many elementary principles of personal honesty 
and of reasonable, not to say legal, administration. It is held 
only by a complete abandonment of every principle for that of 
the mere preservation of the power of the Czar, the bureaucracy 
and the court, the maintenance of the Czarism. 



CHAPTER III 

THE CZARISM STRUGGLING FOR EXISTENCE 

FULLY to picture the Czarism as a single whole and realise 
its life-principle, one must see it at the moment of a 
death-struggle to preserve its existence. Such a struggle 
began with the present revolutionary movement just before the 
war with Japan, reached its culmination with the Czar's Mani- 
festo, and has by no means entirely subsided at the present time. 

The negation of autocracy is constitutional government. 
If a constitution places any essential part of the Czar's power 
finally in the hands of the people or of a given social class 
the unlimited " autocratic* ' rule of the Czar has disappeared, 
since he may always be forced to terms with the new power. 
The promises of the Manifesto were so broad that it seemed to 
many that the beginning of a constitution had been granted 
and that the autocracy was a thing of the past. The 1 7th of 
October, 1905 (October 30th Western calendar), was then 
an intensely critical moment in the history of the autocracy, 
and this was fully realised by nearly all the court, bureaucracy, 
and other defenders of the old power. In the desperate battle 
for its existence that ensued, not only the organisation of the 
Czarism and its policy, but its very soul is exposed. 

At this supreme moment the Czarism pulled itself together 
as a single man, called to the aid of the court and bureaucracy 
the only other classes from which support can be safely relied 
on, the land-owning nobility and the dregs of the city population, 
and fell back on the traditional policy of the Czars — i.e., 
to promote civil war by official lying and the machinery of 
the Government, and then to step in and crush the divided 
forces of the people. For this purpose any line of cleavage 
will do, religion, nice, or social class. M Patriotism* • is the 
general term employed by the Government to rouse and justify 
all such conflicts. Catholics, Protestants, Jews, Mohammedans, 

40 



CZARISM STRUGGLING FOR EXISTENCE 41 

and Russian dissenting creeds are not patriotic because they do 
not belong to the Orthodox Church. Poles, Jews, Armenians, 
and Germans, though they speak Russian and have lived in 
Russia a century or centuries, are foreigners. College gradu- 
ates, professional men, and factory workmen had no part in old 
Russia and are rarely inclined toward the Czar ; they are suspected 
classes in the official propaganda — they, too, are unpatriotic. 

But patriotism, Orthodoxy, and Czarism are not sufficiently 
concrete conceptions to bind the whole of the reactionary move- 
ment together. There was need of a common enemy — an 
arch enemy, present everywhere, always more or less active. 
This enemy has been found in the Jews. For notwithstanding 
the confining of the majority of the Jews in one section of the 
country, the Pale, the minority is scattered everywhere and is 
everywhere pressing into the newest occupations and movements, 
and like all others of the oppressed nationalities is in universal 
opposition to the Czarism. 

The whole philosophy, character, morality, and programme of 
the autocracy is expressed, then, in the cry "Down with the 
Jews." When in the height of its prosperity the Czarism has 
no need of popularity, it announces no programme and no philos- 
ophy. But when it is in need of popular aid, of loyal support 
and sacrifice other than such as it can command always from 
the nobility bought with privileges, or from the dregs bought 
with drink, it has resort to the cry "Down with the Jews"; 
and as conditions vary it adds, "and with Poles," or "and with 
the intellectuals," or even "with the workingmen." This 
invariably brings together the reaction as a man, and appealing, 
as it will be shown later, to the lowest passions of the non- 
reactionary classes, almost invariably draws a few of their 
weakest and most depraved members. There is not a criminal 
or degenerate impulse of mankind that is not played upon to 
maintain the integrity of "Holy Russia" and the power of the 
"Most High." Personal revenge, lust, crazy fanaticism, 
incredible superstition and ignorance, depravity in drink, 
desire for social position, greed, or mere envy and prejudice 
fanned to a flame of murderous hatred, are all motives to which a 
Czarism struggling for existence makes its daily call. 

The propaganda begins necessarily with the secretly spoken 



42 RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

approval of the Czar himself v but it is also openly manifest to 
all in the numberless laws specially directed against the Jews. 
When Prince Urussov was sent to Kishinev directly after the 
massacre there, in response to the world-wide demand for a 
more liberal governor, he was warned by the Czar's famous 
Minister von Plehve to show "less sentimental friendship for 
the Jews." In a long talk with the Czar at this time the prince 
was unable to get from him any expression whatever on the 
Jewish question and had to drop all reference to the recent 
pogrom on account of the manifest displeasure of the Czar. 
It was clearly agreed between Nicholas and Plehve that the 
latter was to handle this vital matter. But there was no reason 
then, and there has been none since, to suggest any discord on 
this subject between the two. The attitude of all high officials 
and those most likely to know the Czar's will was, says Prince 
Urussov, "either to remain silent or to justify the position 
towards the pogroms reflected in the Russian anti-semitic press, 
and which therefore appeared in a certain sense binding on all 
persons in public service." 

The impression of the highest officials spread down through 
every servant of the Government to the least privileged elements 
of the population. "We have come to carry out the Czar's will 
that we should massacre the Jews," said a crowd of peasants 
when asked by an official at the time of the massacre why they 
had come to Kishinev. This interpretation of the " Czar's will " 
certainly had a plausible basis, thinks Prince Urussov, in the 
numberless legal and illegal persecutions of the Jews by the 
officials and their denunciation by the highest persons in the land. 
For instance, these peasants could have read in Krushevan's 
paper, which was permitted by the censor, and subsidised by the 
Government both before and after the pogrom, the following: 

Down with the Jews! Massacre these bloody monsters wallowing 
in Russian blood! 

Act so that they will recall the Odessa pogrom, where the troops them- 
selves hcl|KMl us. This time they will help too, inspired as they are here 
by the love of Christ! 

Hrothers, lend im vour strong arms! 

MuMHuorti these vile Jews! 

We are already numerous. 

|Sign<Ki] Thr Party of Workwomen, 
Who are true Christians. 



CZARISM STRUGGLING FOR EXISTENCE 43 

As a reward for this and similar work Krushevan was afterward 
elected to the Duma with the aid of the officials and the Czar's 
Bessarabian favourites, Pureschevitch and the Krupenskys. 
Indeed, when Governor Urussov complained against this paper 
to the chief of the newspaper censorship, Senator Swerew, a 
trusted adviser of the Czar, he had for answer that Krushevan 's 
tendencies and activities had a sound basis. Did not the peas- 
ants have good reason for assuming that the massacre was the 
will of the Czar? 

The semi-official massacres that accompanied the Czar's 
Manifesto of Liberty were not a chance outburst of reactionary 
passion. They were not dictated by a mere desire of the reac- 
tionaries for revenge, but by the old and deep-laid plot to 
create a counter-revolution. They were the one possible solu- 
tion of the crisis accepted by all the extreme reactionaries 
of the Empire. Furthermore, they did not spring directly out 
of the Manifesto. Soon after the January massacre of 1905 in 
St. Petersburg, and many months before the Manifesto, public 
opinion had already brought Nicholas to promise the rather 
empty form of an elected but purely consultative national council. 
To counteract the danger of this concession, arrangements had 
already been made to give the autocracy a new basis in a popu- 
lar counter-revolutionary uprising, or wholesale massacres of 
intellectual leaders, Jews and organised workingmen, with the, 
aid of the police, the Cossacks, and a part of the priests, the 
black monks. But owing to the unexpected general strike and 
necessity of signing of the Manifesto, the date fixed for the 
massacres had to be set forward. The Manifesto granted, the 
signal for the postponed murder was given. 

The day following the Manifesto, at a hundred different 
points at once, the wholesale and prearranged massacres of men, 
women, and children began. Everywhere the bloody work was 
carried on by small bands of ruffians organised and led by the 
police and protected by the troops. 

Urussov, as assistant to Witte, unearthed and exposed to 
the Duma and the whole world the direct responsibility of Trepov, 
Ratchkovsky, the head of the police, and many others of the 
Czar's favourites, in these massacres. Conclusive evidence in 
incriminating the police is scarcely lacking in one of the hundred 



44 RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

places where the massacres occurred. Lopuchin, the chief of 
the police department at the time, has come out with his state- 
ment that "Government officials have systematically prepared 
Jewish and other massacres. The facts were given to Witte 
and verified by another official . . . and one proclamation 
was approved in writing by Wuitch, head of the secret police.' * 

The prefect of Sebastopol received on the 17th of October, 
the very day of the Manifesto, a telegram, signed Trepov, enjoin- 
ing him not to publish the Manifesto before receiving money for 
a "patriotic (reactionary) demonstration." A few days later 
he received sixty thousand rubles for this purpose and a sug- 
gestion that he should retire the police. Similar telegrams 
were sent in all directions by the highest officials and favourites. 

These exposures in the Duma effected absolutely nothing. 
Trepov remained in office until his final sickness. The chief 
of the police is still in daily contact with the Czar. The court 
favourites are still the court favourites. The local governors- 
and police who more or less actively took part in the massacres 
have largely been promoted and rewarded in person by the 
Czar. The actual murderers Nicholas is now letting out of 
jail by twos and threes and dozens, as a direct act of grace 
from the throne at a time when on grounds of public policy 
pardons are refused to all other persons. 

At the time of the opening of the third Duma the country 
was quiet enough to bring some of the massacres and many of the 
revolutionary disturbances before the courts. It is significant 
to compare the wholesale sentences of revolutionists with the 
fate of the pogrom murderers. On December 7, 1907, to give a 
typical instance, there appeared in the same issue of the Rus- 
sian papers two official telegrams, one about the trial and sen- 
tences of sixty-two sailors that had mutinied a few weeks before 
at Vladivostock, the other of fifty-four ruffians that had parti- 
cipated in the murderous pogrom of October, 1905, in Mohilev. 
Twenty-four of the ruffians were freed, twenty-four condemned 
to short terms of the mildest form of arrest, five to prison for 
less than eighteen months, and one to four years of forced labour. 
Of the sailors twenty were condemned to be shot, twenty were 
condemned to terms of forced labour far more severe than that 
of the one scapegoat ruffian just mentioned, and sixteen were 



CZARISM STRUGGLING FOR EXISTENCE 45 

sentenced to arrest. Thus sharply does the Russian Govern- 
ment distinguish between a courageous revolt in the name of a 
high principle, and the cowardly massacre of unarmed men, 
women, and children in the name of racial hate. 

The higher criminals, as I have said, were never even sen- 
tenced. Major Bugadowsky of the gendarmes was proved before 
the first Duma to have endeavoured to gain the favour of the 
St. Petersburg authorities by pointing out that he had caused 
to be widely distributed a proclamation calling on "all true 
Russian people, those who are for the Czar, the Fatherland, and 
the Orthodox faith," to gather together at the first alarm at 
a designated place "with arms, scythes, and pitchforks" and to 
hurl themselves under "the holy image and the portrait of the 
Gear" on the common enemy. The major, confident of approval, 
explained in his report that he had done "all in his power" 
to give the proclamations a wide circulation, as they would have 
"a happy influence on the peasantry." Stolypine explained to 
the Duma that the major had been called to St. Petersburg, but 
as the massacre did not actually take place he could not judi- 
cially be held responsible! "As to the rewards he received," 
added the Czar's mouthpiece, "they were for having reestab- 
lished order." 

Twenty-six provincial governors, all appointed in person 
by the Czar, were involved. Of these not one has been punished 
to this day, and the two or three that were removed from the 
reach of local vengeance were rewarded with high dignities else- 
where. The governor of Minsk, for example, has been made a 
member of the council of the interior with a large salary. On 
the contrary, all who did not aid in the massacres were removed 
by the Czar; as, for instance, the prefect of Sebastopol, Admiral 
Spitzky, who organised a militia to protect the defenceless 
population; the governor of Samara, who would not allow 
the lieutenant-governor to bring the massacres into execution ; 
the governor of Ufa, who was removed for complaining to the 
prime minister against the preparations for the massacres; 
the governor of Terek, who, when asked by a personage he does 
not name but "too high to refuse" to prepare a massacre, 
preferred to be relieved of his office. These cases of forced 
resignations continue without interruption. 



46 RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

Before the whole Witte ministry was forced out, Ministers 
Kutler and Tolstoi had abandoned all hope of the Czar and 
thrown up their offices. Other self-respecting men, about the 
same time and since, have refused to accept these humiliating 
ministerial positions, including the new influential leader 
Gutchkov. These conservative leaders, among the strongest 
men in Russia, have refused to become ministers, as I learned 
from one in person, just because they know the Czarism and 
the Czar. The position is too humiliating for an honest and 
self-respecting man. 

It is not necessary that a minister should himself be in direct 
relations with the "patriotic" leagues, as is usually the case. 
He may even be on unfriendly terms with them, but at least he 
must be tolerant. Often the right hand taketh not the respon- 
sibility for what the left hand doeth. Witte played the part 
of a liberal. His minister of the Interior, Durnovo, was the most 
reactionary the country has had since von Plehve. I was told 
by a minister that the two disagreed in every cabinet meeting. 
" But," he reassured me, " Witte gets his way in three cases out 
of ten." In the other seven cases Durnovo was arresting 
workingmen for mere membership in the trade unions, sending 
out Cossack expeditions in all directions among the peasantry 
to revenge the landlords for property destroyed, and exiling 
hundreds of persons a day into Siberia or the mines on the 
mere suspicion of the police. Lopuchin has proved that Witte 
was informed of the preparations for massacre and neither took 
effective measures to prevent them nor honourably resigned. 
Witte even claimed in my presence and that of a third person 
that it was not the Government but the whole nation that was 
aroused against the Jews! 

Stolypine's brother, editor of the chief reactionary organ 
in Russia, although he finds inadmissible the permanent cooper- 
ation of the Government with the murderers, confesses that in 
a crisis there is 4l no other choice than an appeal to the League 
of Russian Men." To save the Czar and Czarism, then, the 
minister must always be ready to descend to the principles of 
the St. Bartholomew massacre, the Mafia or the Spanish Inqui- 
sition. This is why, since the beginning of the Stolypine minis- 
try, a helping hand has been frequently extended to the League 



CZARISM STRUGGLING FOR EXISTENCE 47 

from the Central Government, to say nothing of the intimate 
relations encouraged in almost every local government between 
the officials and the local leaders of the league. This is also 
why, in both Duma elections under the Stolypine regime, the 
league has been favoured in every possible manner. Its local 
branches all over Russia were twice endowed with large sums 
directly by the Government, its conservative rivals were appealed 
to by the St. Petersbui'g authorities to ally themselves with the 
league in the elections, and in many places all popular or liberal 
rivals were crushed by the arbitrary arrest of the candidates 
or the wholesale striking of electors off the lists. 

After the great massacres following the Manifesto, there 
was a brief respite. There were two reasons for postponing 
further killings. One was the financial needs of Russia. Too 
much bloodshed would have made it difficult for Russia to bor- 
row the billion rubles she obtained from France and other coun- 
tries the following spring. Too many official crimes would have 
made the Duma elections impossible, or made them still less 
favourable to the Government, and would have destroyed the 
object for which the Duma was created, to give the Czarism an 
artificial credit abroad for money and military allies. Not- 
withstanding these weighty reasons, it was all that Witte could 
do to restrain the Czar's over-zealous friends in the bureaucracy 
and the court. The plotting and planning went on, as was 
exposed later in the Duma by Prince Urussov. Finally the 
"patriots," patience gave way and the world was treated to the 
grandiose massacre of Bielostock. In this three days' massa- 
cre nearly a hundred persons were killed and as many more 
seriously mutilated. 

The Bielostock pogrom was foreseen, as pogroms always are, 
several days before it occurred, and the leading and most 
respected citizens did all they could to persuade the local 
authorities to stop it. They obtained little satisfaction. 
Governor Kister, when complained to, refused to do anything; 
and even after his brief visit to Bielostock by a special train 
during the massacre, the slaughter continued. He doubtless 
knew be would not be permitted to act. The chief of police, 
Rodetzki, who was opposed to the pogrom, resigned on the very 
morning of the massacre and was replaced by a "surer" man. 



48 RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

Shortly before the massacre one of the colonels stationed 
at Bielostock said to his soldiers: "You are defending the Czar 
and the Fatherland. The Jews want to kill you. They have 
decided to exterminate you to the last man. I announce to you 
that the authorities give you the right to do whatever you please 
on the 21st of this month" This colonel knew his Government 
and his Czar. He knew he would be thanked for his bloody 
work and given other opportunities in the future to rise. He 
was not disappointed — as we shall see. 

The Bielostock pogrom was fully investigated and exposed 
by the Duma, then in session. The Duma branded the official 
report as a tissue of lies. The investigators found that the 
troops were present, calm and impassible, at all the crimes of 
the massacre. While the police and ruffians murdered, muti- 
lated and plundered, they swept the streets with volleys "to 
keep away the Jews." The Duma decided that the pogrom was 
not only due to the officials, but solely due to them, that, con- 
trary to the Government report, there was no racial, religious, 
or economic enmity between the Christians and the Jews, that 
this hatred existed only among the police; that the police knew 
all about the preparation for the massacre, and they them- 
selves murdered and robbed; and that the troops shot down 
peaceable men, women, and children without the slightest cause. 

But the Czar knew how to show that he was pleased by the 
massacre and suited by the official report. The guilty troops 
were at once sent his special and public thanks, as was noted 
in the official army journal of July 9, 1906. The mayor of 
the town was removed for questioning the truth of the official 
report. The Catholic Archbishop Ropp, who reported a meet- 
ing of those who were preparing the massacre, has been followed 
by the imperial vengeance until this day. Only recently he 
was forced out of his office on a trivial pretext, even against 
the protest of the Vatican. 

The penalties for the atrocious mutilations at Bielostock 
are significant. Here is the sum total for the punishment: 
One prisoner received a rather severe sentence at hard labour, 
eight years — which, of course, may be later shortened by the 
Czar. One received a sentence of eight months in prison. The 
penalties of the others were nominal. Six were let go, three 




BARON TAUBE AND PICTURES HE SENT HIS FIANCEE TO SHOW 
HOW HE DEALT WITH PEASANTS 

He wrote under the pictures: "Bringing the man to execution." "They are 
preparing to shoot; the men arc at their places." "They are firing the second 
time; he is already dead." These pictures were produced before the first Duma 
by Alexinsky and caused a great sensation 



CZARISM STRUGGLING FOR EXISTENCE 49 

given three months in the disciplinary battalions. Two of the 
leaders, Popko and Peredo, along with several others, although 
tinder accusation were not kept locked up for the trial — 
"which circumstance," laconically explained the gagged Russian 
press, "much favoured their escape." 

For a time the forces of reaction and massacre were some- 
what frightened by the Duma's uproar about the Bielostock 
affair. But soon they were at work again. The first to act 
were, not unnaturally, the brave troops of Bielostock, one regi- 
ment of which was now transported to Siedlice in Poland. A 
frightful pogrom followed this transfer, this time entirely and 
solely carried out by the troops, as shown by two official reports. 
As is proved by one of these, Colonel Tichanovsky, the chief of 
the garrison, called a conference before the pogrom, in which 
he exposed his bloody plans, and answered every protest of one 
or two subordinates by a promise that he would assume full 
responsibility. This meant that he was sure of support higher 
up. The governor was complained to without result and the 
massacre put deliberately into execution. During the whole- 
sale butcheries by the drunken soldiers in the houses and on 
the streets, Colonel Tichanovsky gathered together a soldiers' 
chorus "to raise the spirits of the troops," and "their singing 
resounded amidst the noise of the rifles, the spilling of blood, 
the plundering and conflagration." The colonel said that 
"in case he was killed he hoped the soldiers would honour his 
memory decently and bathe themselves up to the ears in blood." 
Though the killed and wounded amounted to hundreds, while 
only a single soldier lost his life, the colonel complained that 
there were too few dead. This is how Colonel Tichanovsky at 
least, given supreme authority by his superior, interpreted 
the personal thanks of the Czar for loyal services at Bielostock. 

But now Stolypine was in office. However humiliating 
the position he occupied along with all other ministers in the 
court, and however helpless he was against the Czar, Stoly- 
pine saw with the minister of war that this particular manner 
of conducting these campaigns against the "internal enemy" 
was a dangerous, disintegrating force of the army itself. Already 
at Siedlice there was a threatening minority of the officers against 
the massacre. The soldiers of a whole regiment scarcely took a 



So RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

hand in the business. A little more and there could have been 
a mutiny and the military massacres would have turned into a 
revolutionary movement. 

Siedlice was the last military pogrom. We have now in 
the place of this short-lived institution the cherished politics 
of the League of Russian Men, the arming of the dregs of the 
population, and the steady beating and murder under the pro- 
tection of the police of all persons "unfriendly" to the Govern- 
ment. The new system, which prevails at a hundred different 
points at once, received the sanction of the Czar, this time 
so openly and clearly that he could be sentenced for partici- 
pation in the crimes before any honest jury or court. 



CHAPTER IV 

THE SLOW MASSACRE SYSTEM 

THIS new "slow massacre" system, always popular, has 
now been supreme for over a year, and promises to remain 
an indispensable arm of the Government. Recently in Vologda, 
for instance, a respected citizen went to the governor to com- 
plain of the beatings the league was executing daily on the 
streets. As an answer he was sentenced to a month's imprison- 
ment. Of course there is a party that prefers an intensification 
of martial law to this lynch justice of the dregs, and a reaction- 
ary group in the Duma has recently petitioned to this effect. 
But martial law means a setting aside of civil government, 
and even the existing chaotic "system" of the bureaus, plus 
the daily semi-official murder of liberal citizens on the streets, 
is better than the utter arbitrariness of a state of war. The 
first demand of the moderately liberal members of the Duma 
is not the extension but the abolition of martial law, since it 
bears down not on the "internal enemy" alone, but on the 
whole community. There is, then, no alternative for a poor 
Czarism harassed for its existence. The army cannot be used 
quickly to put an end to the business, for that leads to military 
disorganisation and revolt. It cannot be used to govern the 
country, for the price of its arbitrariness falls alike on the just 
and the unjust. The internal enemy must be left to the police 
and such voluntary allies as they can procure themselves from 
the criminal class. 

In the first year of the national organisation of the counter- 
revolution on this principle, and before its universal adoption 
made it impossible to enumerate farther, there were over six 
hundred of these "patriotic demonstrations," $25,000,000 
worth of property was destroyed, over a thousand persons were 
killed and several thousand seriously or permanently injured; 
of Jewish families alone thirty-seven thousand were affected. 

5i 



5 2 RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

It is unfortunate that the figures do not show what was the 
part played by the employees of the Government and what by 
the organised mob. There can be little question that a large 
part, if not most, of the actual killing was done by the hands of 
officials, police, soldiers, spies, and Government employees in 
disguise. The massacres were so similar it seems likely that 
even the details were studied and ordered by the central commit- 
tee; they were enough like those already mentioned not to 
need description here. 

The new development of the "system" as practised in Odessa 
rests upon a triple basis of the Czar's patronage: his direct 
relationship with the organisation that prepares the massacres, 
the favours he extends to his leaders personally, and the pardons 
he distributes freely to any of the murderers themselves who 
may be sentenced through the occasional ignorance or simplicity 
of some honest court. The active aid of Stolypine, who claims 
to oppose it, is not necessary ; with the Czar's personal relation- 
ships, favours and pardons, Stolypine, who is only a minister, 
has nothing to do. Moreover, the people's Duma has been 
abolished and nearly a hundred of the four hundred members of 
the new "landlord's Duma " are members of the massacre organ- 
isations, while the majority of the rest are ultra-conservative 
officials, noblemen, and privileged persons precisely in the 
situation of Stolypine, that is, without either the will or power 
to combat the Czar. Thus, having no influential opposition, 
the Odessa system will continue to reveal daily the life principle 
of the autocratic State. 

In Odessa at the present moment everything reminds us of 
the St. Bartholomew massacre and the league during the civil 
and religious wars three centuries ago in France. Odessa is 
the chief stronghold of the league and Stolypine is naturally 
jealous, as it is his chief rival for the favour of the Czar. So 
bitter is the mutual jealousy that Konovnitzin, the local presi- 
dent of the league, has now brought an important legal suit 
against Stolypine for a criminal non-enforcement of anti-Jewish 
laws. Stolypine has naturally made a counter attack and 
recently exposed in full the Odessa excesses to the Czar — not 
out of any k indues* of heart, be it remarked, for when Stolypine 
was governor of Saratov he permitted the burning of towns and 



THE SLOW MASSACRE SYSTEM 53 

the wildest excesses by the Cossacks and the hired mob. But 
the prime minister could do nothing to shake the Czar's con- 
fidence in the organisation that so nearly responds to his desires, 
and he has allowed nothing to interfere either with Governor 
Kaulbars or the Odessa branch. 

Even among the officials there are a few good men who have 
made complaint — but their voices are drowned in the reaction- 
ary chorus of the Czar's favourites. The civil governor of the 
province that contains Odessa, one Malajew, exclaims to little 
purpose: "We cannot close our eyes. Among all the races 
the Jews are the most oppressed and circumscribed. We 
need not fear them, but ourselves. One is astonished not at the 
grumblings but at the mildness of these people. We must do 
them justice, we must give them the right to live and breathe." 

Grigoriev, until recently chief of police, strove in vain to 
do his duty and prevent the daily slaughter of the Jews. He 
finally went to Stolypine to report that he could do nothing 
against Kaulbars and that either he or Kaulbars must go. 
"Then you resign," replied Stolypine, aware of Kaulbars's 
unshakable position with the Czar. Grigoriev resigned. I 
arrived in Odessa a few months ago on the same train with the 
new chief Novitzki, who came with special secret orders from 
Stolypine, directed mainly of course against the league. The 
town had almost declared a holiday. The streets were lined 
with thousands of people to welcome their last hope. But the 
daily massacres have continued and Novitzki has had to give 
up in despair. He failed above all to muzzle the press of the 
league that calls for massacre from day to day. The head 
of the censorship in St. Petersburg complained of this paper* 
and Novitzki issued the order to suppress it, but Konovnitzin,. 
safe under the protection of Kaulbars, refused to recognise the 
order. 

All the other leading criminals are also immediately under 
the governor's protection. Last year, for instance, the secre- 
tary of the league, Kahov, was arrested for distributing proc- 
lamations calling for the massacre of the Jews. Kahov 's 
brother entered the police headquarters, abused the police, 
called up the governor of that time by telephone and made a 
complaint. Immediately after this he had a personal conference 



54 RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

with the governor and his brother was released. This governor, 
tired of his strenuous duties, resigned, and was later killed. 
He is acknowledged, even in reactionary circles, to have been 
a brute. But in his successor, Kaulbars, the Czar has found 
another man just as much to his taste. Recently a well-known 
and respectable citizen received threatening letters from the 
league. He called on Kaulbars. The governor in his presence 
called up one of the chiefs of the criminals familiarly by tele- 
phone and told him not to touch this particular man. Kaulbars 's 
position in court, along with several other magnates of his 
character, remains as firm as the grand dukes'. When a dele- 
gation from Poland went to complain against Governor Skalon, 
Stolypine received its members with evasive answers and left 
the room. A minister who had been present asked them why 
they complained to Stolypine and if they could possibly be so 
ignorant as not to know that Skalon was protected higher up. 
It is the same with Kaulbars ; he is protected by the " Most High. " 

The situation that has arisen in Odessa is by far the most 
damning to the Government of all the varied and innumer- 
able horrors it has created. After a massacre last June the 
league organ, For Czar and Fatherland, declared quite truth- 
fully that the organisation would act in the same way in the 
future. The continuous massacre began at once to increase its 
daily toll. By August the murderers were in such complete 
possession of the city that not even officials were respected. 
A teacher of the military school wearing his uniform pointed 
out to the police how members of the league at that moment, in 
broad daylight and the centre of the city, were beating Jews. 
The murderers by the grace of the Czar then began to beat the 
teacher before the eyes of the police. He fled, his face stream- 
ing with blood, into a leading hotel near the palace of the 
governor-general. The hotel was filled with high officials. 
Nevertheless the league members surrounded it and threatened 
to bombard if their prey was not surrendered. Two military 
officers tried to calm them in vain. Finally the proposed 
victim was saved by the chance appearance of the assistant 
prosecuting attorney. 

During the massacre on the 3rd, 4th, and 5th of September, in 
which many were killed and still more mutilated by the new 



THE SLOW MASSACRE SYSTEM SS 

curved knives and clubs of rubber and wire that break noses 
and beat out eyes, one of the leaders arrested in the act of plun- 
der was let off merely with a "fatherly warning" by Kaulbars. 
The league issued an appeal in which it ominously recommended 
to those Jews who wanted to preserve their lives and property 
"to gather themselves together with the teachers and rabbis in 
the synagogue and to publicly call down a curse on all the 
revolutionaries and educated Jews, to forget all their clamourings 
for equal rights with the Christians, and to form a league of Jews 
for the maintenance of the unlimited autocracy of the Czar." 

"Since the revolutionists are invisible/' said the Count Mus- 
sin-Puschkin, "we must strike at the public." For striking at 
the public the league has in Odessa a fighting organisation of 
three hundred men armed by the governor and given head- 
quarters in a government building. Besides this band, all very 
young men and some mere boys, there is a student detachment 
of eighty members. These are permitted publicly, as many of 
the other two thousand members are permitted secretly, to 
carry arms. But the overwhelming majority of the ordinary 
members are simply the young toughs and rowdies of a great 
port. The members of the fighting organisation are paid fifteen 
to twenty dollars a month, a goodly wage in a starving country. 
Their duties consist especially in revenging on the general pub- 
lic the killing of police by unknown anarchist or revolutionary 
groups. A recent "order" gives the following scale: for each 
policeman killed two Jews, for each roundsman four, for a 
captain eight, for the chief of police still a larger number, and 
in the case of the assassination of Konovnitzin or Kaulbars a 
general massacre. The scale is not literally carried out, but if 
we substitute two Jews seriously wounded for one killed it is 
executed almost to the letter. 

The league murderers, who often wear a yellow jacket as 
a uniform, are organised under three captains or "attamans." 
It was to one of these that Kaulbars gave the telephone order 
already referred to. Another, Gazabatov, a typical western 
"bad man" nineteen years of age, who even killed a five-year- 
old child, was recently once more released from prison by Kaul- 
bars. Under assumed but well known names he and another 
attaman sell passes of safety from massacre. Nothing else 



56 RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

secures one's life in Odessa now. An American friend recently 
saw a ruffian beat a man in the face. With the blood streaming 
the victim called for help and a crowd was soon giving chase. 
My friend joined in. Soon a policeman was reached. When 
appealed to he threatened the crowd, which he said he considered 
to be a mob, that he would call the Cossacks, and in the mean- 
while the criminal escaped. Another policeman when asked 
in a similar case why he did not arrest the criminal replied: 
"Why, don't you know, he's one of ours?" 

Let the reader note carefully each turn of events in the 
following outbreak, which occurred in Odessa, and he will 
understand the nature of that basic institution of Czarism, 
the pogrom. 

As the body of a police officer, assassinated for an unknown 
cause, passed the Jewish hospital shots resounded. This firing 
shots near a Jewish house is a regular feature of the massacres, 
and in several cases, as at Bielostock, it has been proved that 
the shots were fired by a hidden agent of the police. There 
began a fusillade. Several shots hit the coffin and the corpse, 
but not one of the leaguers was touched! There was a wild panic; 
soon all the streets were deserted and all the shops closed. 
A group of the " yellow jackets " forced its way into the hospital, 
with revolvers in their hands. The police appeared with the 
Cossacks and put an end to the scandal, but they arrested nobody. 
The league members retreated still shooting, and a fourteen- 
year-old girl and a man of seventy-eight were wounded. Not- 
withstanding all those warnings to the authorities, the disorders 
were repeated, unhindered, the next day. Again there was a 
fusillade, an old Jew and an eight-year-old girl were killed, 
several Jews were wounded and many beaten. This occurred 
in the morning. At one o'clock in the afternoon the beatings 
began again; carriages and street-cars were held up and men 
and women passengers attacked. At two o'clock a funeral ap- 
peared accompanied by the Chief of Police Novitzki, by Cossacks, 
and by a large number of mounted police. As the procession 
neared the hospital again the traditional shots resounded, and 
a Jewish boy was severely wounded. After the funeral a crowd 
of yellow jackets again began beating and shooting in the streets, 
a young girl was wounded and a Jew killed before the police 



THE SLOW MASSACRE SYSTEM S7 

put in their tardy appearance. For this carnival of crime 
ten members of the league were taken into custody and sen- 
tenced to two months 9 arrest, doubtless, as usual, in the very 
headquarters of their friends the police. 

The official account of this affair, without mentioning the 
league, puts the whole responsibility, as is commonly done, 
on the murdered Jews. It begins as usual with a totally irrele- 
vant account of the shooting of a policeman, for which the 
massacre is supposed to be the revenge — carried out by the 
Christian population of Odessa. Although the said assault took 
place after dark and the assailants escaped, the police never- 
theless characterised them as Jews. 

"On September ist," says this report, "a detective named 
Vernik was passing about eight o'clock in the evening through 
Portofranco Street when he noticed two Jews stealthily approach- 
ing him. . . . One drew a revolver and shot Vernik in the 
left side. They then escaped. . . . The next day two or 
three Jews roaming through the street fired several more shots 
and then escaped into the crowd. . . . When the body of 
the dead Kharchenko was carried in front of the Jewish hospital, 
a group of Jews opened fire at the squad of police." This report, 
as are all police reports of such affairs, was nothing more nor 
less than clear invitation to repeat the massacre of the Jews. 

The police incitement was successful in stirring up a massacre 
within a few days. In this affair the same performance, even 
to the funeral, was repeated, and in addition several hundred 
shops were plundered or destroyed. In the police report, 
since the "yellow jackets" did all the killing and the Jews 
only furnished the killed, the latter are scarcely mentioned. 
It says that M individuals" forced their way into a tea-room 
and wounded two "persons," that a "man" was wounded on 
the street, that the "crowd" destroyed various windows, that 
a certain " Stcherbakov " received a wound. Nobody familiar 
with the situation would question that the "individuals" and 
the "crowd" were leaguers, while the "persons," the "man" 
and "Stcherbakov" were all unfortunate Jews. 

In the report of the massacre of the following week, the 
police again referred to the Jews six times in the brief space 
of a few hundred words. But it must be by no means inferred 



58 RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

that the Jews are the only subject of attack by the yellow 
jackets and police. A Russian smith who asked a mob of yellow 
jackets who were beating some Jews what offence these Jews had 
committed, was at once disembowelled by the mob. Three 
Russian workingmen were attacked in the house of the mother 
of two of them, and the mother and small sister were beaten. 
The mother died and it is doubtful if the men will ever recover 
from their mistreatment. 

While these massacres go on in the streets, while Kaulbars 
is sitting in council with the league in the governor's palace, 
the life of Odessa has naturally become a chaos. During the 
sessions of the town council, the members of the League of 
Russian Men sit in the gallery and interrupt and terrorise the 
progressive members, while armed reinforcements are waiting 
outside in front of the building. Three newspapers were con- 
fiscated for mentioning the names of the liberal candidates 
for the Duma and their editors thrown in prison, along with 
one of the candidates himself. For Czar and Fatherland, the 
League newspaper, appears daily with the words of the Czar's 
famous telegram at the top: "The League of Russian Men will 
be my most faithful support," and on the next page, "Smash 
the Jews, Socialists, Caduks (Cadets), and other reptiles." 

The anarchy in Odessa, unequalled in any city of Europe 
in modern times, unless in Constantinople, is no worse than in 
many other of the eighty-two (out of eighty-six) provinces of 
the Russian Empire that are now entering into the third year 
of "government" by martial law. It may well be disputed 
whether the martial law has brought on the anarchy, or the 
anarchy the martial law. But it cannot be questioned that 
both are the inevitable results of the anarchy of the Russian 
bureaucracy and the government by violence which history 
shows constitutes the ideal of the true courtier and the true Czar. 



I 



CHAPTER V 

CREATING THE "INTERNAL ENEMY" 

IN A recent conversation with the Czar which was at once 
carefully written down by the Countess Tolstoi, Nicholas 
said: 

"I am very sorry that in the course of the last revolts and 
the massacres of the Jews public opinion of that great country 
(America) has turned against me. I am not guilty of all those 
troubles. I think the Jews themselves incite the mob to attack 
them. The time will come when the Americans themselves will 
hate the Jews and regard them, not as a nation of great intelli- 
gence and isolated from the others through their religion, but 
as the worst type of business-men and money-makers. All the 
revolts of the last two years have been agitated by the Jews. 
A Jew in common life may be good, but a Jew in politics is 
worse than anyone else." 

Before exposing the roots of the gospel of religious and race 
hatred here openly preached by the Czar, let us read what is 
clearly expressed between the lines. The Czar was talking not 
in the abstract but of the situation in Russia at the present 
moment, and we would lose half the value of what he says if 
we did not recall just what questions he is answering and what 
the situation is to which he refers. 

To begin with, most of his remarks cannot apply only to the 
Jews. If he expresses himself fully Nicholas must say he is 
sorry that " in the course of the recent revolts and the massacres " 
of the Poles, Lithuanians, Esths, Letts, Tartars, Georgians, and 
Armenians, the opinion of America and of the whole civilised 
world has turned against him. Neither he nor anyone speaking 
for him has ever withdrawn the accusation constantly issued 
by the officials that each one of these peoples has also agitated 
revolts. Nor has is ever been denied that their rebellious 
tendency is the reason why all non-Russian peoples are more 

59 



60 RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

or less disqualified in the new Duma and legally persecuted by 
the courts. In speaking of the Jews as if they stood alone then, 
Nicholas creates an impression the exact reverse of the fact 
by failing to state the "whole truth." Sworn before an Ameri- 
can court he would stand convicted of the crime of common 
perjury. 

This is a fine specimen of the kind of lie by which the Czarism 
is trying to save itself. If the Jews, as the Czar implies, are 
hated by all the peoples in Russia, it looks badly for the Russian 
Jews. But if all the non-Russian peoples in Russia hate the 
Government and the Czar, and do not hate the Jews, then the 
overwhelming presumption is against the Government and the 
Czar. All the other false impressions created by this little gem 
of falsehood are made doubly vicious by this first general lie 
of omission that underlies every word. The great Autocrat 
finds it inconvenient to mention the other "subject" races 
because had he done so his attack would have appeared on its 
face so vicious and absurd that it would have sufficed in itself 
to convince any thinking person of the malicious hostility of 
the Czar toward all who for any reason oppose him. 

Who is guilty of the massacres according to Nicholas? The 
Czar says he is not. He says the Jews are partly guilty, not 
daring, as do many of his officials, to put all the blame on them. 
The accusation that the Jews are bringing about the massacres, 
of which they are often the only victims, is ridiculous on the 
face of it and a monstrous perversion of facts with which, as 
I have shown, the Czar himself is perfectly familiar. Did not 
the Czar excuse his officials for the Bielostock pogrom, not on 
the ground that the Jews had incited an imaginary mob to 
massacre them, but that the Jews were "republicans and 
revolutionists"? How are we to know when Nicholas speaks 
the truth? Does he hold that the Jews incite the massacres, 
or that the Jews are against Czarism and therefore ought to 
be massacred? 

But if, as he says, to the Jews is due only a part of the guilt, 
where is the rest of it? The Czar does not assume for his own 
Government any pari of the responsibility, and has not caused 
a single official of any consequence to be punished for these 
crimes. Where is the missing guilt? Does it belong to the 



k. 



CREATING THE "INTERNAL ENEMY" 61 

mobs? But often there were no mobs, and in nearly every 
case where so-called mobs existed they were composed of the 
members of the League of Russian Men whom Nicholas 
has since pardoned, because such criminals are an indispen- 
sable element in what he considers to be "the best party" 
in the country. 

Then comes the effort of the Emperor to stir up race hatred, 
the basis of his own power, in the United States. The Czarism 
is like an infectious disease, a sort of black death. It tends to 
spread its putrefaction in all directions, encourages by its 
military power the reactionary influence in Prussia, Poland, 
Hungary and even the horrible jacqueries of Roumania, corrupts 
with high interest on its loans the small bourgeoisie of Prance, 
and now hopes to defend itself by inoculating with its poison 
of lies and hatred England and the United States. Again, 
why does not Nicholas mention the other hounded and massa- 
cred peoples? Why does not the God-sent take the courage 
to tell us the unsuspected dangers of our Armenians, Lithuan- 
ians and Poles? All three races form numerous and valuable 
elements of our people, and the Poles from Russia are even 
more numerous in America than the Russian Jews. How 
does it come that they have received from the Czar the same 
treatment as the Jews and raise the same complaint against him? 
Why does not the Czar tell us that his officials are every whit 
as bitter against the Poles and Armenians wherever they are 
found in Russia, as against the Jews? Because Nicholas knows 
that to give the whole of his lying defences in a single statement 
would in itself be sufficient to convict him of falsehood. 

We hear from the Czar's own lips that the Jews are a separate 
44 nation" — that is, foreigners in his Empire. We know that 
this is the fixed view of the Russian law concerning both the 
Jews and the rest of the fifty million not of Russian race, but 
it is an unexpected frankness to have it so stated by the Auto- 
crat himself. So there are fifty million foreigners in Russia, 
to be legally oppressed and on occasion enumerated among 
"the internal enemy"! And these same people are also "iso- 
lated" by their religion! Not in civilised countries, but in Rus- 
sia we know that innumerable privileges are reserved for only 
the orthodox. Yes, once more and finally, we have from the 



62 RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

mouth of the Czar the secret of autocracy and the very founda- 
tion of all his power. Hatred, violence, war; these are the 
savage instincts in man by the development of which the Czar 
hopes to master. In the end always war. 

The idea is very old. Every absolutism and every political 
slavery has so far been based on war. But Russia's mannner of 
waging war is new. She has invented a system of universal war 
within her own borders that for the purposes of despotism 
excels the most ingenious contrivances of Macchiavellian or 
Roman Imperial politics. Russia might well surpass her 
predecessors and has in fact done so. History has never known 
a power more absolute, more despotic, than the Czar's, and the 
world has never seen an absolutism with a tithe of Russia's 
population, resources, territory, and organisation, to say nothing 
of the thoroughly modern equipment of her army and the 
half-modern exploitation of her wealth. Russia's absolutism 
is more than a success — it is danger to civilisation. If the 
Russian system can survive in the modern world, it will be 
copied in neighbouring countries, and so on indefinitely. It is 
a standing menace to the freedom and progress of humanity 
in the coming age. No free people can afford to view it with 
indifference. 

The great and novel feature of Russian statesmanship on 
which the Czar stakes his empire is civil strife. The Empire is 
already too large for imperialism. The people are satisfied with 
the extent of their country, as large as the average continent, 
touching on all the seas and embracing nearly every clime. The 
foreigner is too far away to hate. Besides, an attack on one 
enemy exposes to another some flank of the unwieldy country. 
Like Great Britain, Russia will be glad with the addition of 
some few small pieces of territory she can easily get by treaty 
to keep what she already has. The recent treaty with Great 
Britain showed that both are essentially peaceful powers. 
Russia can scarcely defend her purely military form of govern- 
ment on the ground of danger from abroad. But since absolut- 
ism lives solely by violence employed against the people there 
must be some pretext or other for military rule, government 
outside of any law. Fortunately for the Czar the fifty million 
non-Russian subjects are not yet thoroughly intermarried 



CREATING THE "INTERNAL ENEMY" 63 

with the Russians nor evenly distributed over the kingdom. 
The pretext has been found. In the case of some races, as 
the Tartars and Armenians, the officials have been able to pro- 
duce an actual war. With others, as with the Jews, it has been 
necessary to subsidise a war between them and the secret police 
and criminal element. By these means the Czar remains 
absolute master. He does not need to risk a foreign war, nor 
to wait for a favourable occasion. He can have his wars, or 
what is equally useful for his purposes, his "states of war" or 
abolition of civil order and civil government, when and where 
he wishes. 

The Czar in this statement, then, is busied with inventing an 
enemy. For without an enemy there is no hate, no violence, 
no open or latent civil war; and without civil war the Czar would 
be supported, of course, by just exactly the number of people 
he could buy. A part of the Russian people, the officials and 
landlords, the Cossacks and the dregs of the population, he has 
bought. But the money was not his own, and without an unpaid 
increment composed of other elements of the population, the 
investment is a bad one. For not one of the elements so far bought 
produces any noticeable income to the State. They are all 
parasites, and a greater number of such parasites will be needed 
to keep the people down every day the people advance in 
wealth-producing power. Every step forward in the wealth- 
producing power of the nation, which is the objective of the 
people who lend the money in Germany or France, is also a step 
forward in the intelligence, organisation, unity, and revolt of 
the people of the Empire. 

The Czar's appeal to hatred is not a sudden inspiration of 
malice or an instinctive revenge. It is a deep expression of 
what has constituted the life principle of the Czarism since the 
dawn of history. 

The Czar's civil war is stirred up by a campaign of lies of every 
kind, is conducted publicly by Government officials and by 
means of direct attacks on the property and liberties of the non- 
Russian subject races, the Russian intellectuals and peasants — 
these officials acting either through specific laws requiring such 
persecution, or under the arbitrary power placed in their hands, 
or under administrative law, or under martial law, or, since there 



64 RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

is never any responsibility to the people in any case, even directly 
counter to all these so-called laws. 

The aims and hopes of the official persecution are best shown 
by the official propaganda. Witness the proclamation printed 
on the official press of the prefect of St. Petersburg, authorised 
by the censor, cynically defended later in an official investigation 
by the prefect on the sole ground of this authorisation, and 
defended by the censor himself because its printing had been 
ordered by "a man who had not been without value" —-sup- 
posedly to the reactionary cause. 

44 Do you know, brothers, workingmen, and peasants, who is 
the principal author of all our ills? Do you know that the Jews 
of Russia, America, Germany, and England have concluded 
an alliance and decided completely to destroy the Russian 
Empire?" asks this shameless document. In West Russia 
just such proclamations are launched against the Poles, in 
the Caucasus against the Armenians, in the Baltic Provinces 
against the Letts, in the country against the workingmen, in 
the city against the students, the educated classes or "intellec- 
tuals" and the Jews. 

"When these betrayers of Christ present themselves," con- 
tinues the proclamation, "slash them to pieces, kill them, so 
as to take away from them all wish to come." The document 
is vicious, ignorant and at once both calculating and naive — 
it breathes the very soul of the statesmanship of Nicholas, the 
ministers and the court. "The order has been given," it says 
to the people, "to elect men who will represent you before the 
Czar (referring to the Duma). Remember that your natural 
defenders are the landlords, manufacturers, and orthodox 
merchants." How ignorant these governmental hopes in 
Russian peasants and workingmen! Except where under 
coercion, they did not elect a single landlord. The valuable 
document then makes a complete exposition of the court's 
favourite measures for "settling" the Jewish question. They 
are similar to those that have been practised for twenty-five 
years by the Czar and his " sainted father," Alexander III., whom 
he claims as pattern. This document says that the Jews, who 
kept out of half the towns, are to be expelled not only from all 
the cities of European and Asiatic Russia, but also from ten 




A TYPE OF THE TERRORISTS WHO 
Sasonov, who in 1904 killed von Plehve- 



ARE CREATED BY OPPRESSION 



the most popular terrorist act ever 
committed in Russia 




MARIE SPIRIDONOYA 

The most famous woman terrorist of recent years- She killed the brutal com- 
mander of a "pacification" expedition 



CREATING THE "INTERNAL ENEMY M 65 

small towns of South Russia where they are now allowed to 
reside. Where permitted to live, they are not to be allowed 
to trade in grain, meat or wood, or to open banking or commer- 
cial houses or "similar establishments," or to own any real 
estate. All special Jewish schools are to be closed and the Jews 
are to be deprived of the right of entrance to all the Russian 
higher, secondary and technical schools. The author-officials 
recognise that it will take a complete sang-froid to execute these 
measures, but "the cause is holy," nothing less than "the 
lasting rescue of the people from the internal enemy." 

The "holy cause" is at the present time especially "holy," 
not so much for the plunder the Czar's officials are used to 
extracting from the Jews and other "internal enemies," as for 
the hope that the people can be corrupted by a promise of a 
share in this plunder to turn their wrath away from the Govern- 
ment to the Jews. For this purpose all the legislation has been 
devilishly contrived from the outset. Whenever the country 
has become very quiet, of course the officials keep all the plunder 
for themselves; in other words, they allow the Jews to violate 
the law, or if paid enough they* even moderate its provisions 
for a time. When revolutionary trouble begins again, the 
persecution takes the form of legislation and enforcement of the 
law, instead of secret blackmail. The purpose of the laws is not 
mere punishment or the satisfaction of an existing hatred, but 
an appeal to the greed and selfishness of all who compete in any 
sphere with the Jews and can draw a profit from the handicap 
set by the Government on their rivals in the race. There is 
no race hatred, but there is selfish and even criminal greed — in 
certain classes. 

All during the last century the laws have been thus reversed 
according to the Government's varying need, either to let the 
Jew prosper and to plunder his wealth, or to ruin him to please 
his competitors and win an enthusiastic and aggressive support 
among certain elements of the population in behalf of the whole 
system of oppression that is called by the name of government. 
The law forbidding Jews to sell liquor was twice repealed and 
twice passed again; that forbidding them to deal in land was 
repealed, then passed again, then twice relaxed in practise, 
then strengthened until now it is absolute. The right to live 



66 RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

in villages was passed, repealed, passed again, and again strength- 
ened. It was justified on what Prince Urussov brands as the 
pure hypocrisy of separating the Jews in order to protect them 
from the Christians! 

The Jews, shut out of agriculture and many other occupations 
by law, are forced into petty trade and handwork. Here the 
wages and profit become so low from over-competition that 
other nationalities shun these occupations, until finally nearly 
all little shopkeepers and artisans are Jews. Then arises the 
cry for further persecution, in hope that it may drive the Jews 
from these occupations also. The cry arises, of course, not from 
the producers of raw material, since it is good to have many 
buyers, nor from the purchasers, who also profit from the 
competition, but from those non- Jewish little traders and arti- 
zans who remain. It is to these poor starving wretches that 
the Government appeals with its campaign of murderous 
plunder. Having artificially produced this desperate misery, 
the Czar and his servants turn part of these wretches against 
the others with a promise of their business when they are 
destroyed. • 

The relatively small but desperately needy class of Russian 
small shopkeepers has in many places succumbed to the poison, 
and wherever the Jews are numerous allows the Government to 
workthemup periodically intoa pitch of hatred, hardly murderous, 
however, since many Jews are their associates and friends. 
It is rather their wilder sons that furnish new recruits to the 
criminal and professional "patriotic" organisations. But the 
small merchants do enroll themselves, subscribe to the organi- 
sation and read its papers, and it is undoubtedly to the selfish 
interest of the small trader in the ruin of Jews that the Govern- 
ment makes its most direct appeal. 

I talked with Tichamirov, the editor of the notorious Moscow 
organ of the League of Russian Men, who made clear to me at 
once the purely lower middle class basis of the league. He is 
close to the people, as he was a leader of the revolutionary party 
in the former reign. While an exile abroad he completely 
reversed his politics, and has written a book on the Czars which 
is said to be the most able defence of autocracy extant. He 
did not hesitate for a moment to acknowledge that anti-semit- 



CREATING THE "INTERNAL ENEMY" 67 

ism was the basis of the ultra-reactionary party and the hope 
of the Czarism. This anti-semitism he considers to be in its 
essence an economic movement, and it is by conservative econ- 
omic reform, not political, that he hopes to preserve the domina- 
tion in Russia of the autocracy, the Orthodox Church and the 
Russian nationality. 

Politically, like all the leaders that stand with the Czar, 
Tichamirov favours inertia. All accept what the Czar has given 
without asking what it is, and all say that what the Czar has 
given, Duma or what not, the Czar can take away. Either they 
do not ask whether Russia has a constitution, or else they say 
definitely with Tichamirov that a pure autocracy still prevails. 
They accept the Duma, but they do not object to any of the 
innumerable limitations under which it has proven utterly 
powerless whenever opposed by the ministers of the Czar. 
The League of Russian Men and all extreme reactionaries are, 
nevertheless, in a certain peculiar sense democrats. They 
believe in the possibility of a mystical direct union of "the 
true Russian people" under their leadership with the 
Czar, and they profess to believe that no disagreement in 
this case is possible and that so autocracy and democracy 
can become one. 

This peculiar union and harmony it is hoped to attain by 
purely economic reforms. The Czar is to favour those classes 
that are most loyal to him and his policies, and these classes 
are to grow and flourish until the whole people become the 
loving children of the "Little Father," the Czar. Naturally 
one must begin, not with the peasants, but with the small 
shopkeepers and the small landowners. The league has 
always bought for itself a fighting organisation of the very 
lowest social classes, but nowhere has is obtained any real foot- 
hold among the mass of the people, the peasants and workingmen. 
These classes are neither loyal to the Czar nor do they want 
small doles in land, but a sovereign people's Duma, expropriation 
of the landlords, and a social guarantee against accumulation 
of the land in the future in private hands. The league has 
definitely recognised that the workingmen and peasants, at 
least for the moment, have strayed off the true path. Ticha- 
mirov even confessed that he did not wish to see an extension 



68 RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

of peasant communal ownership, nor even of small farms, but 
only of those with from 132 to 266 acres. 

Outside of the Government and nobility these small landlords 
and shopkeepers are almost the sole class from which the league 
gets the rank and file of its members, and that they succeed 
here is due solely to the diabolical machinations of the Govern- 
ment. An overwhelming majority, however, even of the small 
landowners belong to other less reactionary or even to merely 
conservative groups; while the larger landlords have a party 
of their own, the moderate reactionaries. The majority of the 
small landowners are probably conservative or reactionary, 
but certainly not very extreme since scarcely one out of ten 
took the trouble to vote. The small shopkeepers, on the other 
hand, took a lively interest. With the aid of the lower officials, 
everywhere openly or secretly connected with the organisation, 
and of the wholesale disfranchisements under the new election 
law, they carried many of the smaller towns. These small 
tradesmen, joined by the numerous class of landlords who are 
also officials, or officials who are also landlords, and by the 
higher clergy, elected over one hundred members or one-fourth 
of the third Duma. 

To this anti-semitic party the peasants have contributed 
almost nothing. In eighty-four out of the eighty-six provinces 
(or states) they have refused practically to have anything to do 
with the organisation. Out of sixteen thousand township electors 
for the third Duma only fifty-one declared themselves members of 
the league, and of these thirty-three came from the one govern- 
ment of Volhynia, leaving several hundred even in that govern- 
ment in other parties. All unprejudiced observations agree 
with those I made personally in a score of Russian villages. 
Among the peasants there is almost no racial prejudice of any 
kind. Even in those governments into which the law has 
forced the Jews in abnormal numbers, there is scarcely a trace 
of hostility. Witness the Duma's report on Bielostock, already 
quoted, and Prince Urussov's conversations with Bessarabian 
peasants. These peasants did not understand why he should 
ask them such a foolish question as to whether they were hostile 
to the Jews, and simply answered with other questions: "What 
do you mean? What kind of hostility? Why any hostility? 



CREATING THE " INTERNAL ENEMY" 69 

I learned absolutely nothing from the peasants about anti- 
semitism, because they don't know what Jew-baiting means. 
It is all a question of plunder. The purely business reasons 
for the persecution are baldly stated by the "patriotic organisa- 
tions'* themselves. The Fatherland Union, of which Count 
Bobrinsky was chief organiser, states in its preamble, " If to 
give the Jews equal rights should prove to be detrimental to 
Russians, then no matter how convincing the. arguments are, 
we shall be energetically opposed to it." This is as if we should 
deny rights of citizenship to emigrants, or to Americans who 
were not "Sons of the Revolution." For the Jews and other 
subject races have inhabited Russia for hundreds of years. 
"Russia is first of all for the Russians," says the declaration, 
apparently meaning those whose ancestors have been Russian 
for a thousand years; and further, "the more elements there 
are of foreign origin in the Russian Empire the stronger and 
more forcible must the real Russian nationality be represented 
in it." What if Americans were to say, the more foreigners 
we have the more we must restrict their privileges and those 
of their children to the last generation? 



CHAPTER VI 

THE DANGER OP PROGRESS 

THE organisations that defend the autocracy are without 
exception the same that call for the persecution of the 
subject races and oppose the giving either of land or of civil 
or political rights to the people. 

The Union of the Fatherland, the League of Russian Men, 
the Russian Assembly and the other "patriotic" organisations, 
are "absolutely opposed to any lessening of the Czar's power." 
One hundred and forty -six of their members in the third Duma 
recognise Nicholas as an absolutely unlimited autocrat. Why 
this self-renunciation, self-annihilation indeed? Because the 
leagues are sure of this and all future Czars. They know 
that the Czar created a Duma of officials and landlords. They 
know that he has restricted the rights of the small merchants' 
Jewish rivals to seats on exchanges or on merchants', artizans' 
and citizens' commissions, and they hope that he will exclude 
them altogether from these bodies. They know that even 
the Centre of the Duma, composed partly of mere conservatives 
rather than reactionaries, has abandoned the Jews. They have 
nothing to gain, and everything to lose then, by the most 
elementary political freedom, and so they believe in the unlimited 
autocracy of the Czar. 

We are beginning to penetrate into the citadel of reaction. 
To the obvious fact that the Czar governs by the mere physical 
power of the army and police, we have added the less obvious 
fact that he governs by creating real or fictitious civil wars; 
to the evident hostility of absolutism to democracy, we have 
added its hostility even to the most elementary or conservative 
forms of political or legal order. The Czarism is opposed to all 
political rights and to any constitutional system. It is the 
complete antithesis not only of individual freedom, but even 
of law and order. 

70 



THE DANGER OF PROGRESS 71 

Now we can get a still deeper insight. In order to protect 
the Czarism from the demand of the people for justice, order 
and law, the Government and reactionaries are compelled to 
attack every line of progress. The spread of intelligence through 
the press, schools, and universities must be hindered, the coming 
into Russia of foreign culture must be prevented, religious 
evolution must at least be held where it is, and modern capital- 
ism and business methods must be admitted with every con- 
ceivable restriction and foresight. The Russian bureaucrats 
and leading reactionaries are not a wonderfully endowed race, 
but they are no savages. They have as a rule half a higher 
education. They have read and travelled over Europe. They 
are not opposed to higher education, modern business, European 
culture, religious progress, and constitutional government, 
because they dislike these things in themselves, but because 
these things endanger their private positions and the whole 
system from which they draw their support. There are a few 
sentimental writers who work themselves up into a genuine 
hatred of progress. The bureaucrats give these writings their 
approval, pass them on to the people, and even paraphrase 
them in the laws. But of course they would not express any 
such views personally, as for example when in conversation 
with intelligent foreigners or their bosom friends. We must 
do justice to their intelligence. They are not fools. The lie by 
which they live and degrade themselves and the whole nation 
they command, is conscious and deliberate. 

All the Government's campaigns against progress are con- 
ducted on the same principles as the attack on the Jewish 
tradesmen already outlined. The Government always appeals 
to the baser instincts of some element of the population that 
may draw a profit from the ruin of another, and it always 
manages to connect its enemies in some way or other with the 
Jews. The onslaught on the freedom of the press, on the 
schools and universities is, for instance, often enough defended 
on the direct ground that all these institutions are opposed 
to the old ideas of autocracy. But when the courage for such 
honesty is lacking, the attack is aimed first at the Jews. The 
teachers, the students, the press, it is said, are under Jewish 
influence. It is for this reason, then, that the already miserable 



72 RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

schools must be deprived often of half their teachers, the uni- 
versities once more closed, and the last shred of so-called jour- 
nalistic freedom, first created two years ago and already grad- 
ually attenuated to almost nothing, finally taken away. 

Anti-semitism is the touchstone of the reaction. It was for 
some time a question whether the party which controls the third 
Duma, the conservative Octobrists, would on the whole prove 
moderately progressive or moderately reactionary. The doubt 
was short-lived. They have made a political agreement with 
the outright reactionaries by which they have abandoned the 
Jews. They will not even ask for Jewish equality before the 
law. This means, and is actually accompanied by, an abandon- 
ment of all the other subject races and oppressed classes of the 
Empire. In fact my talk with the leader, Gutchkov, made it 
unmistakably clear that the Octobrists will insist on keeping 
control of the Duma at every cost and that for this purpose 
they will work, as they must, almost wholly with the landlords 
and bureaucrats who constitute a large majority of the assembly. 
Gutchkov is satisfied especially with the landlords and says 
that at the bottom they are progressive men. I shall show 
later how this is the reverse of the truth. It is enough to say 
here that this alliance with the reactionary landlords is in itself 
enough to alienate from the Duma leader every other important 
element of the population. 

Since the third Duma has decided to take up a position with 
the Government against the Jews and other subject races, it 
has the same pretext as the Government for every reactionary 
measure. It will not now be necessary to make a direct attack 
on progress, and the so-called moderates can even continue the 
polite and harmless verbal criticism on the bureaucracy and 
the court without coming to any serious disagreement with 
either. The campaign against progress in the form of the 
spread of intelligence, has already been typically instituted by 
Gutchkov 's own organ in Moscow, the object being first of all 
narrowly selfish — that is, to destroy this newspaper's rivals — 
and only incidentally to aid the Government. 

"The very fact alone," says this oracle of the third Duma, 
44 that nine-tenths of our press is in the hands of the Jews is a 
disgrace. . . . We must see to it that Russians who know 



THE DANGER OF PROGRESS 73 

that a certain paper is Jewish must not only not read it, but 
not even take it in their hands." This " moderate " party 
organ further suggests Duma legislation against the freedom 
of press, and finally adds a sentence that discloses the truth, 
which is that it is not really the Jews but the opposition in 
general that troubles it. For it is "not only the Jewish press 
but the present oppositional press, preponderantly Jewish" that 
is "in its spirit rotten and foreign." We also see here, as we 
shall see again and again, that what is foreign is scarcely to be 
distinguished from what is rotten by the truly reactionary mind. 

How does this moderate onslaught differ from that made a 
year before by Trepov, speaking almost in the name of the 
Czar? "Don't you see," Trepov said to an English interviewer, 
"that a part of the newspapers of St. Petersburg are owned by 
the Jews and that the majority of their editors are Jews? 
Don't you see to what point the Jews are represented in the 
Duma? Say what you like, this revolutionary movement is 
principally the work of the Jews." But the Jewish writers 
in the capital are scarcely as numerous proportionately as the 
Jewish readers of the press, there are as many anti-semitic as 
Jewish newspaper proprietors, and there were only twelve 
Jewish members of that Duma instead of the twenty to which 
their numbers in the country entitled them. Even this small 
representation was, of course, a disappointment to a Government 
that hoped there would be none in its assembly, but the great 
disillusion was that there were not half a dozen anti-semites. 
In spite of all the outrages of the officials in the elections, and 
the innumerable inequalities of the election law in favour of the 
Jew-baiters, there were not six men in five hundred that voted 
against the full equality of the Jews. 

The hostility to Jewish and oppositional freedom of opinion 
and enlightenment, leads directly to attacks on enlightenment 
itself. In a local government board in Bessarabia recently 
the question arose whether in the country town of Akkerman 
the library for teachers should be continued. No doubt it 
was the only library there. The notorious reactionist 
Pureschewitch, who happened to be a member of the board, 
spoke heatedly and for hours against the library. 

"What do you teachers need books for?" he cried. "Either 



74 RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

you have learned enough already and you don't need to learn 
more, or you have learned nothing. In either case you don't 
need books. 

"No more books! Through your books, through your 
teachers, sedition is being carried amongst the people. For 
the rooting out of this sedition, not the Manifesto of October 
17th, but punishment expeditions are what we need/' 

In the meanwhile the Czar's Government is careful not' 
to allow the chief prey and scapegoat by any possibility to 
go free. The Jews are not permitted in any of the thousand 
activities of life to fuse themselves with the rest of the 
population. The Jews, artificially held separate from the 
rest of the nation in the ways I have indicated, are also forcibly 
held separate in religion, in education, and in every other pos- 
sible way. The most conservative rabbis only are permitted to 
perform their functions, and intellectually inclined Jews are 
by tens of thousands forcibly prevented from obtaining such 
an education as would allow them to become one with the 
educated class. We have seen that the reactionaries demand 
that all higher education be closed to the Jews. Already many 
such institutions as the St. Petersburg Normal, Dramatic, 
Electrical Engineering and Railway Engineering schools, 
the Moscow Agricultural and Medical schools are completely 
closed against them, while in all other higher institutions, 
though from a fourth to a half of the applicants for admission 
are Jews, they are allowed to form only from 2 to 10 per cent, 
of those in attendance. So perhaps not one young Jew out 
of ten striving for a higher education is permitted to attain one. 
In primary education the conditions are still worse, for here 
only the smallest number of Russian-teaching schools are 
provided by the State, while Jews are forbidden to teach children 
the Russian language. As a consequence, in one of the provinces 
where an investigation was held (Odessa), it was found that 
only xx per cent, of the Jews could read and write the 
Russian language. The evident intention of the Government 
is to keep them separate for easier persecution. 

In the schools, as elsewhere, the plan has some success. 
Of course there ar^ tar frv>m enough schools for the population 
anyway. Under these circumstances only good students should 



THE DANGER OF PROGRESS 75 

be admitted, and a large proportion of those passing the best 
examinations are Jews. But it is evident that for every good 
Jewish student excluded some inferior Russian can find a place. 
From this exclusion of Jewish students there results a double 
gain for the Czarism. The standard of dangerous intelligence 
is lowered and " Russianised, " and at the same time the inferior 
Russian students are corrupted. Boys whose dulness already 
inclined them to reaction are often made "patriots" once for 
all by the selfish interest to keep a place they have no right to. 
So there is a certain minority of young reactionaries in the 
intermediate schools. But such students are not suited for 
higher professional studies. They become rather officers, 
bureaucrats, landlords, or merchants. In the universities 
there is scarcely a trace either of reaction or of hostility to the 
Jews. So strongly, indeed, do the Russian students stand up 
for the rights of their fellows that the universities must often 
be closed to make it possible to carry out the persecution of the 
Jews, as has recently happened at Odessa and at Kiev. The 
Government, moving ostensibly against the "foreigners," 
has had the satisfaction of being able to shut up at the same time 
some of the most important centres for the spread of general 
intelligence. 

By the revival of religious persecution the Government hopes 
to enrage against the non-orthodox Russian sects, against 
Catholics, Protestants, Mohammedans, and Jews, all the 
narrowly fanatical and blindly superstitious elements of the 
people. But unfortunately for the Czarism, such elements 
are as rare in Russia as in any country in the world. This 
may seem strange, but the liberal Milyoukov, the reactionary 
Tichamirov, and the best observers of all schools are agreed that 
it is so. Perhaps the most obvious reason for no growth of 
deep-rooted traditions in Russia is the absence of sharply 
defined national boundaries, at least in the older and European 
section. In complete contrast with the rest of Europe there 
were in Russia no naturally fixed populations, little hereditary 
permanence of residence, little chance for narrow and local 
traditions to be created. Through the vast empire were always 
wandering and intermarrying families and tribes of Finns, 
Tartars, several very different races of Slavs, and even some 



76 RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

entirely foreign elements. There was no more possibility of 
deep-rooted prejudice than in the modern United States. 
Another ever-present reason for no traditions, denied of course 
by Tichamirov, is the very existence of the autocracy, at first 
perhaps a military necessity but later a sheer burden on every 
useful class. As each nascent national tradition had to have 
the official stamp of the hated Czarism, the people rejected it 
at the outset, and as far as possible decided their private affairs 
according to their actual conditions and without regard to the 
official traditions of the Church or State. 

Neither Orthodoxy nor Autocracy are national traditions 
among the people. The only places where the official doctrines 
have obtained a certain hold on the people, are where Russia 
has defended the population in a recent generation against some 
foreign foe. The people of Volhynia, for instance, where the 
league obtained a few votes even among the peasants, were 
oppressed a few generations ago by the Poles. Then Russia, 
even with its Czar, was the Volhynian peasants' only hope, just 
as later the Orthodox Russian priests have been the chief 
means of reawakening among them the old Russian language 
and culture almost extirpated during the Polish dominion. 
Of course a result of this dependence on the priests is that 
Volhynia is one of the most ignorant provinces of the empire, 
and this ignorance again aids the reactionary movement. The 
condition is similar in Bessarabia, which was won finally from 
Turkey only a few generations back. There, where the people 
are not Russians, but Latin descendants of the ancient colonies 
of Rome, was the first great stronghold of Krushevan's League 
of Pure Russian Men, and there also was the first great 
massacre of recent years, Kishinev. 

It was in Volhynia that the wild monk, Iliodor, preached 
recently to enormous assemblies a literal religious crusade 
against the internal enemies of the Czar; and it was in the 
neighbouring provinces of Kiev that the following appeal, among 
many others, was launched in October, 1905, to be circulated 
in Volhynia and other near-by provinces: 

In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost, the great 
anchorite of the Lavra in Kiev has ordered the people to be informed 
that Saint Vladimir who first christened the Russian people [Vladimir 



THE DANGER OF PROGRESS 77 

was in reality a barbarian Czar] has risen out of the bowels of the earth, 
waked up the anchorite and wept with him about the Fatherland, brought 
to shame by the Poles and the Jews. 

O God, where is the courage of Russia that once hurled back the 
foreign hordes? Shame and dishonour to the descendants of the holy 
Vladimir whb tremble before a handful of cowardly Jews and street 
urchins they have employed. All of us to whom the name of Russia 
is still dear must know that the Jews and the Poles are thirsting for our 
blood, that they are trying to set us against one another so as to reach 
the throne over our dead bodies and overthrow the Czar. 

Gather, all of you, in the churches, and take counsel there as to how 
the Fatherland is to be defended against the Poles and the Jews. 

Do not kill the Poles and the Jews, but give the students who are sent 
by them the sound thrashing they deserve. 

Each person who receives this letter must make at least three copies 
and send them to other villages and towns. 

He who has not fulfilled this order in six days will undergo serious 
sickness and evil, but whoever spreads more than three copies of this 
letter will be granted recovery from incurable diseases and will prosper 
in all things. In St. Sophia Cathedral and the cloister of St. Michael 
many will assemble, and when they go out they will call out to the people 
that it shall gather itself together against the Jews and Poles. 

The black clergy did assemble in several provinces, as a result 
partly of this denunciation, and led hired ruffians not to beat 
the students but to carry out the thinly veiled suggestion to kill 
the Jews, as well as the Russian students and workingmen that 
stood for their defence. 

Certainly if the Russian peasants were narrow fanatics these 
appeals from the most holy places would have led to a monstrous 
and wholesale bloodshed, instead of to the cut-and-dried 
massacres prepared by the officials and police. As a matter 
of fact only in one of the eighty-six governments did they fall 
on fertile ground. Even here the promise of the league that 
every dues-paying member (the dues are twenty-five cents a 
year) will get land from the Government, is said to have had 
more to do with the movement than the limited popularity of 
the priests. It is chiefly the black monks and others getting 
an income directly through the State's money spent on the 
Church, that give real enthusiasm to the religious part of the 
Government propaganda. They are most numerous in holy 
Kiev, and a light on their political character is shed by the 
action taken at a recent meeting against the press, presided 



78 RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

over by Bishop Agapite. As elsewhere in Russia the press of 
Kiev is gagged and sobered by innumerable fines, yet it 
manages to make as progressive and intelligent a presentation 
of the news as that of Moscow or St. Petersburg. This skill 
and daring in saying something in spite of the censor had called 
down the wrath of these "holy " ecclesiastics, who resolved that 
the great majority of modern newspapers furthered ideas that 
are in direct hostility to religion, the Church, the Government, 
society, and Christianity, and therefore asked that the censorship 
be made more severe and that "a prescribed standard of reason, 
morality, and property " be required of all editors. Doubtless 
their reverences would like to examine the editors themselves 
before they are allowed to write. Or perhaps they are opposed 
to newspapers in general, like Pobiedonostzev. This old 
adviser-in-chief of Nicholas, head of the Church for the first 
decade of his reign, thought that newspapers were largely 
responsible for the democratic spirit that has corrupted Europe 
and the United States and brought them to the present low 
level from which God has spared the empire of the Czars. 

Where the Government is unable to plan religious hatred, 
jealousy of the educated classes, or the greedy desire for the 
ruin of a persecuted race, it makes a direct call to sheer ignorance, 
invents domestic and foreign enemies plotting against the 
Russian nation. In one place it is the Poles and Jews that 
"form the majority of the agitators" and are "far more 
dangerous than our external enemies." These words were 
used by a colonel to his troops, of course where the Poles are 
numerous. In a proclamation, endorsed by the censor and 
the governor at Kiev, the enemies of Russia are "the Poles 
who cannot resign themselves to the fact that the Russians are 
not their serfs; the Japanese and their allies, the English and 
Americans, who instituted the war; and finally the Israelite 
Jews." Then follow citations from the scriptures recalling 
the biblical times when the Hebrews were massacred, and an 
appeal to repeat these massacres. Soon after came the 
massacres in the very places where the manifesto had prepared 
the way. 

The vicious and glaring cartoons spread by "patriotic" 
organisations among the soldiers in Manchuria, leave no doubt 



THE DANGER OF PROGRESS 79 

that the Government also at this time encouraged the last degree 
of hatred against England and the United States. The 
proclamation above mentioned, issued at the order of Trepov 
even after the war was over, is final evidence on the question. 
A very responsible editor of one of the semi-official Russian 
organs, the Sviet, has even warned the United States that 
Russia will not tolerate the insulting remarks made in American 
papers about the Czar. He calls for diplomatic action, and 
suggests as the explanation not that all truly democratic 
newspapers must necessarily oppose despotism, but that the 
American press is also owned by Jews. 



CHAPTER VII 

11 MY CHIBP SUPPORT" 

THERE is no end to the lie system by which this powerful 
Government prepares the persecution of its miserable sub- 
jects. Special lies are needed for the army, and other special lies 
for the lower servants of the Government. It is said the Jews do 
not make good and willing soldiers. There is evidence to show 
that before the present revolutionary movement of all the people 
began, the Jews on the whole made as good soldiers as any. 
Now, of course, special persecutions in the army have had their 
results. Jews are first given the worst of the recruiting, assigned 
to the worst regiments, denied all chances to rise from the 
ranks, refused any respect for their religious observances, their 
race is insulted in the addresses of the officers in which the 
soldiers are told to prepare to crush the Jews — and then they 
are accused of not liking the service. An officer ordered his 
soldiers to spit in a Jewish comrade's face. When some obeyed 
and finally the Jew struck one of them, he wascourts-martialed 
for the act. 

The Government and reactionaries endeavour to get the 
lower officials to hate the Jews on another count — that is, for 
systematically undermining the laws. Here, in a word, is the 
legal situation. In spite of civil and political disabilities and 
exclusion from State and charitable aid and State education, 
the Jews pay the same taxes as the rest of the people. But this 
is not all. Special taxes are raised on Jewish "kosher" meat, 
and even on the candles of the synagogue. These special taxes 
are supposed to provide for the institutions the Jews are denied. 
But no account is rendered by the Government for the millions 
of rubles raised, and the money is often spent, according to 
former Governor Urussov, for pavement of streets, for the 
maintenance of general institutions and of the police, for the 
notorious Russian Red Cross, and even for higher schools in 

80 




KRUSHEVAN 

Professional Jew-baiter, preparer of massacres, and a leader of the extreme 

reactionary party 



"MY CHIEF SUPPORT" 81 

which Jews are not allowed. Thus the Jews are taxed twice over 
for institutions in which they have no share. Is it not inevitable 
that they should try to get around such laws? Yet this very 
fact is often made as pretext for the enactment of further 
restrictive laws. 

Two classes the Government has long ago secured for its civil 
war programme, the nobility and the criminal element, the former 
on account of its intimate connection with the court, the latter 
through its relations with the police and spy system. The 
nobility, it goes without saying, is paid with privileges, 
governmental positions and disguised grants to landlords from 
the treasury of the nation ; the mob, of course, with vodka or cash. 
I have spoken of the noble organiser of the League of Russian 
Men in Odessa. In Moscow Count Sherebatov is at the head, 
in Tula Count Bobrinsky , in Kursk and many other governments 
the head marshals of the nobility, in St. Petersburg Count 
Apraxin, gentleman of the Czar's bedchamber. Besides, 
the league reckons on almost half the court, including many 
princes, generals, court chamberlains, assistant ministers, judges 
and so on. AH this nobility is vitally interested not only in the 
preservation of the court, the bureaucracy, and the privileges of 
landlords, but also in agrarian politics, beet sugar bounties, 
special railroad rates for large exporters of the grain of a starving 
people, the abolition of land taxes, indefinite loans from the 
State Bank, the free import of agricultural implements, especially 
of such as they use and the people cannot buy, and perhaps even 
paper money in the end. 

This would seen to have nothing to do with the Jews. But it 
is obligatory for every reactionary element that seeks to share in 
the plunder to do so under the same pretext. Of course the 
landlords manage to get a special profit from the persecution of 
the Jews. There are no Jewish landlords to persecute, since 
Jews are not allowed to own land. But there are Jewish 
capitalists, and like other capitalists these want the whole state 
policy to be directed to benefit industry rather than agriculture. 
This unsympathetic attitude toward agriculture arises not 
from the fact that they are capitalists, the landlords pretend 
to believe, but from the fact that they are Jews. Under the 
accusation of being part of a Jewish conspiracy to undermine 



82 RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

Russian agriculture, even industry itself is sometimes attacked 
and every effort of foreign or Russian capital to advance it is 
branded as an anti- Russian, Jewish, German or English attempt 
to control the empire through the purse strings. From this 
same agrarian quarter metallic money is already criticised and 
may some day be repudiated as a Jewish contrivance, and the 
payment of interest on the international debt may some day 
be postponed as touching only foreigners and Jews. Already 
there are grumblings among the nobility against un-Russian 
money and the underhand influence of Russia's creditors. There 
is no doubt that at the time of a great financial crisis a tremen- 
dous movement against foreign capital could be created in 
dominant Government circles. Already Russian capitalists 
are pursued with fierce bitterness as friends and business 
associates of Jews. 

That Brodski, a member of the Russian sugar trust, was a 
millionaire did not protect him from being beaten by "patriots " 
on the streets of Kiev. That Erasmus, a wealthy Jew, was 
seated at the table in a Moscow summer garden with a group 
of Christian manufacturers did not prevent a "patriot" leader 
from joining the group uninvited, openly boasting of his murder- 
ous plans, creating a quarrel, and, picking out the Jew for 
for attack, shooting him dead in the arms of his friends. Trepov, 
the murderer, has not been punished, for he is the founder of 
the "League for Active Struggle against the Revolution," of 
which some influential persons are members. 

The Jews "are the worst type of business men and money- 
makers," says the Czar. But they are half the business men 
and money-makers of his empire. When we add further than 
nearly every non- Jewish business man is intimately associated 
with Jews in business, we see that the Czar's feeling is really 
directed against the whole Russian business world. But does 
he attack them because they are money-makers or because they 
are Jews? One familiar with Russian reaction will hesitate for 
an answer. There must be hostility between Government by 
violence and business enterprise. Business men are hated by 
the reactionaries because of their own relative poverty and 
incapacity to earn. The plunder of the Government is an 
irregular source of income at the best and the bag prizes are few. 



"MY CHIEF SUPPORT" 83 

The officials want modern business in Russia, but they want the 
profits for themselves. As they are not business men they 
plunder those who are. So when a reactionary says "Jew" 
he frequently means "business man." To many of these people 
the ordinary American business man would be thought of as, 
or even called, a Jew. 

The Government's favouritism for the League of Russian Men 
in the recent elections has brought out the character of both 
organisations. The league's chief nominee for the Duma in 
Moscow was Schmakov, one of the most important of the 
league's leaders in the country. He declared after his nomina- 
tion that he believed only in pure autocracy, recognised neither 
any Duma nor even merely a consultive assembly as being 
consistent with autocracy, and considered "that there was 
only one goal that made life worth living, only one task worthy 
of man, the struggle against the Jews." If elected, he claimed 
that his election would give him the right to say it was the will 
of the people to extirpate the Jews. In spite of all the aid of 
the Government and police he was not elected. All the fraud, 
bribery, and violence practised brought him in this immense 
city with all its corruptible elements, only a few hundred votes, 
largely those of the spies and other hangers-on of the police, 
such as the house-porters, who are used for police service, and 
the proprietors of Government saloons. 

In Minsk the common candidate of the league and of the so- 
called moderates, Captain Schmidt, was triumphantly elected 
against the wishes of the overwhelming majority of the popu- 
lation. In 1 90 1 Captain Schmidt sold the plans of the fortress 
of Cronstadt, was caught, convicted, sent to Siberia and lost 
all his titles and civil rights. The election law, aimed at the 
revolutionists, expressly disqualifies all such persons and was 
turned against Schmidt during the elections. But this traitor, 
convicted of high treason, had been pardoned by the Czar; he 
had only sold the plans, he was not a convinced revolutionist. 
Of course, the Government, taking its cue from the <4 Most High," 
interfered in his behalf and declared his election valid. After 
a solemn meeting of the league in a monastery in which God 
was thanked for His mercy, the moderates and the True Russian 
Men sent the captain to represent them in the Duma. " Even 



g 4 RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

if he is no Russian," said the presiding officer in one of the 
meetings, "nobody eke defends so well the Orthodox faith." 

Such characters are among the leaders of the organisation 
from which the Czar says he expects his "chief support"; 
ruffians, murderers, and men ready to sell their country for 
a song. It is these men and their noble friends in and out of 
the bureaucracy and court that are the most influential, because 
the most active, element in the " legal " political life of the Russia 
of to-day. It is they that demand daily in their official organ 
the exclusion of all the democrats from the Duma, the arrest 
of Hessen, Milyoukov, and Kutler, the most moderate leaders 
of the moderate reform party, and the regular and systematic 
beating, as part of their punishment, of all the hundreds of 
thousands of political prisoners in the jails. Nor are these 
demands unreasonable, viewed from the standpoint of recent 
actions of the Russian Government. Only a few years ago 
Prince Dolgorukov was exiled for merely expressing the mod- 
erate wishes of the official local government boards, and the 
entire membership of one democratic party is now locked 
up and under trial. The Government still declares the moderate 
party illegal; why should its leaders not be arrested? There is 
scarcely a prison in Russia where beating is not occasionally 
employed, to say nothing of the open flogging of whole villages 
of peasants; why should this beating not be made universal? 
The league demands also the removal of unsuitable "humane" 
chiefs of police, and more frequent shooting by the police of 
suspected persons. But has not General Rennenkampf already 
said, in an official order, that there were too few deaths and 
that the soldiers must shoot to kill? And has not the Czar 
just promoted the famous general in full knowledge of this 
notorious order, and of the general's campaign against the 
"inner enemy" in Siberia when he ordered a whole committee 
that came to him with a complaint to be executed? Why should 
not the league hope for the worst? 

The league knows that the Government's legal persecution 
of the Jews has proceeded to a point where Governor Urussov 
confesses that it constitutes the chief business of the provincial 
governors. It also remembers its own successes; that its 
agitation and demonstrations brought on the great massacres 



"MY CHIEF SUPPORT" 85 

of 1905, that in many places the Government openly partici- 
pated, as in Tiflis where the governor ordered the military 
band to lead their procession, and that at Odessa the governor, 
Neicihardt, to this day unpunished, quoted in the official 
pronunciamentos the league's own proclamation to the effect that 
*• thirty thousand small bourgeois had threatened to burn the 
university if the revolutionary activities of the students did 
not cease, and that he lent them all his power to promote 
instead of to hinder the most horrible massacre of all the bloody 
history of the modern empire." 

The league knows that at Tver its members were allowed 
to besiege in broad daylight the building in which the pro- 
gressive employers of the local government board were holding 
a meeting, to set it afire and to kill and cripple those who escaped, 
all before the eyes of the assembled troops, until finally a single 
volley fired in the air easily put an end to the supposedly irre- 
pressible disturbance. L* Baku the German consul telegraphed 
a protest against the proposed demonstration which he was 
sure would lead to massacre. He received as answer that 
"German citizens" would be protected, and the massacre took 
place according to the schedule. The league knows also that 
to-day Government buildings are turned over to its use, that 
Government officials, especially local officials or those elected 
by the privileged electoral bodies of the Russian law, preside 
over its meetings, that the most influential persons are pub- 
licly or secretly connected with it, that the grand dukes and 
Government newspapers have expressed their cordial approval, 
and that the Czar has given them every encouragement within 
his power. Why should it not demand the arrest of all the 
moderate and liberal leaders and the flogging of the political 
prisoners under arrest? 

No wonder, then, thST they boldly attack even the Czar's 
prime minister for his desire to re-shape the Czarism, to con- 
vert it into a stronger and more orderly if not less oppressive 
system, and to place every activity of the league under legal 
and official restraint. There is raging a real war between the two 
powers, but it is of little benefit to Russia. Taking advantage 
of the state of martial law, Stolypine confiscates the league 
organ, the Russian Flag. But Dr. Dubrowin replies that 



86 . RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

martial law applies to revolutionists and not to patriots like 
himself, and is sustained by the Senate, the highest court of 
the country. Stolypine sees that even martial law cannot be 
equally or evenly applied in a Czarism. But still under martial 
law he has an additional power and it is his only hold against 
the "spontaneous" and relatively democratic action of the 
league. 

Against the disorder of the reaction, as well as the disorder 
of the revolution, Stolypine's only remedy is the disorder of 
martial law. What government by martial law is in Russia 
I shall show later. Here I only wish to show not only how the 
reactionary disorder can work through the disorder of martial 
law, but that it must inevitably do so since the army officers are 
on the whole as reactionary as any official body in the country, 
and every other group of officials to whom martial law is 
supposed to give this power of life and death are as bad as they. 
An example of non-military officials to whom it is proposed 
to give absolute power of life and death are the county "land 
officials" or "zemsky natchalniki." These men already have 
unheard of powers. The peasants have never seen the gover- 
nor and higher officials even of the provincial government. 
For them this " zemsky natchalnik " is already czar, and most of 
the thousands of revolts of recent years have been directed 
mainly against him. These officials are almost universally 
reactionaries — none others would accept the popular hatred 
that goes with the function. 

Everywhere the important "land officials" who may play 
such a r61e in the near future, are most active in the circles of 
the league. Recently one of them was entirely missing from 
his ordinary duties for several weeks. He was sought for in 
vain by the peasants, the marshal of the nobility, the other 
officials and the local and provincial police. He could not 
be found because nobody dared interfere with the more impor- 
tant labours to which he had abandoned himself. He was vice- 
president of the Smolensk league, was attending all this time 
league meetings and conferences in the provincial capital. This 
brings an ordinary picture of the fusion of the local govern- 
ment with the league. 

The extreme reactionaries are indispensable to the new 



"MY CHIEF SUPPORT" 87 

Government, whichever way it turns. If the policy is to be the 
reign of martial law, made practically universal and steadily 
maintained, as Minister Stolypine seems to desire, then a large 
majority of all the more zealous army officers, those who perform 
with zest and interest this police work of crushing the "internal 
enemy," are connected with one of the reactionary leagues or 
unions. If Stolypine goes further toward the creation of local 
czars and special police whose chief duty it is to fight the revo- 
lution, he must rely almost entirely on the same type of men. 
If he wishes to return to the plan of creating an artificial counter- 
revolutionary movement among the people, he finds all the 
arrangements, prestige, and popular leaders already monopo- 
lised by the league. The league is also as strong in the Duma 
as Stolypine's moderate reactionary friends, and stronger in 
the upper house. 

It cannot be questioned that the immediate future of Russia 
is largely in the hands of professional agitators of the League 
of Russian Men. The underlying reason for this Ues in the 
simple fact of human nature, that intelligent and high-minded 
men cannot be obtained to serve a government at war with 
its own people. The work of drowning in blood the struggle 
of all kinds of people to secure the most elementary rights 
and self-government, is a task for dull and bnital men. Nothing 
is inorj to the credit of the Russian nitios at the present 
mcxa*r:t than that the worst of her citizens as a rzle occupy 
the higher position in the State. 



CHAPTER VIII 

WHAT HAPPENED TO "THE CONSTITUTION" 

IN THE same audience in which Nicholas promised the League 
of Russian Men that he would "think over" their petition 
to refuse the rights of Russian citizens to the Jews, one of the 
league's representatives prayed His Majesty also that he should 
preserve the old principle of autocracy — in a word, that he 
should grant no constitution. The Czar replied in an unmis- 
takable affirmative, that he would give an account of his 
power to God. 

So we find always linked together the call for persecution and 
outspoken hostility to constitutional government. One of the 
persecuted races, the Mohammedans, formed a league "to 
further constitutional government in Russia." Several 
government officials thought the league might be legalised on the 
ground that a constitutional limitation of the Czar's power 
already existed in the fact that the Czar could not change the 
so-called fundamental laws without the consent of the Duma. 
The prefect of St. Petersburg took the opposite view, and the 
highest court in the country has finally decided with him that 
it is illegal in Russia for any organisation even to ask for consti- 
tutional government. 

At the time of the great massacres constitutionalists were not 
distinguished from Jews. Indeed the chief purpose of Trepov 
and the grand dukes at that time was to put an end to the cry 
for a modern form of government. Their purpose reached down 
to the lowest officials that were superintending the killing. 
So in the small town of New Zybkov, in Tchernigov, the police 
captain, with a telegram from the governor in his hands, 
mounted a carriage and declared to the people: 

44 Gentlemen, there is no constitution, there are no liberties. 
What was said here yesterday was invented by our enemies 
the Jews, Doctor Ivanov and Bagolioupov. Now you can do 

88 



WHAT HAPPENED TO "THE CONSTITUTION" 89 

what you please to them. You are given this right." Immedi- 
ately a part of the crowd commenced assaulting and killing the 
Jews. 

One third of the members of the new Duma deny that there 
is a constitution and another third refuse to assert officially 
that there is one. The Czar and Stolypine in the meanwhile 
reassert the existence of an unlimited autocracy, and both 
refuse so much as to mention the supposedly constitutional 
promises of October 17, 1905, to say nothing of reasserting 
them. The coup d'etat of the 3rd of June, 1907, by which the 
Duma was made over into an assembly of officials and landlords, 
practically annulled these promises in repealing the previous 
election statute that had been soberly granted by the Czar as a 
"fundamental" law. There is, then, no real need for the 
extreme reactionaries of the Duma to assert and reassert that 
there is no constitution, that whatever the Czar has granted 
he has the right to take away. Already he has done this. 
Already all semblance of a constitution has disappeared, and as 
long as the Duma has no control whatever over the Government 
it remains merely a king's council, no matter how the majority 
may try to dodge the plain statement. 

Persecution reigns and the autocracy is triumphant. The 
anxiety of the extreme loyalists is not so much for the present 
as for the future. If the Czarism is to be preserved, the 
persecution must go on undiminished ; if it is to be strengthened, 
the persecution must be intensified. So all the extreme 
reactionaries speaking in the Duma for autocracy and against 
constitution have occupied themselves almost exclusively with 
attacks on the Poles and Jews. And they have already 
succeeded in getting a majority of the body on their side against 
these races. Stolypine, too, willingly or unwillingly, must 
follow. A few days after the encouragement he received from 
these debates, he closed the Polish School Union that has opened 
780 schools in the year or two it had been allowed to exist. 
His onslaught on the painfully-won liberties of Finland probably 
means that, even here where the conquests of the revolution 
seemed secure, nearly everything will again be taken away. 

The chief party of the third Duma, the moderate reactionary 
Octobrists, have tried to avoid the issue. They secured the 



9 o RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

consent of 212 out of the 440 members that the Duma in its 
address of thanks to the Czar should avoid both the words 
autocracy and constitution. As the democratic and Polish groups 
abstained from voting this remains the Duma's position on the 
question of the constitution, but not so on that of autocracy. 
Only 1 46 reactionaries voted to recognise the unlimited autocracy 
on this occasion, but more than a hundred others have recognised 
it on every other. If two votes were taken, instead of one, 
the Duma would vote against the existence of a constitution and 
in favour of the autocracy. The present anomalous position 
of certain timid constitutionalists by which they acknowledged 
autocracy every day and cannot use the very word constitution 
or any equivalent, is defended by such false and shameless 
subtleties as that the title autocrat refers only to independence 
from foreign powers and not to independence of the people, and 
that the discussion whether Russia has a constitution or is 
governed like China or Turkey is "a purely verbal" or "specu- 
lative question." This is the position of the Government 
itself in the Russia, its official organ. 

In the meanwhile the Duma's cowardly refusal to face the 
one issue that is uppermost in Russian life and includes every 
other question, has forced it to make other and still more 
dangerous concessions to the Government's brutal power. 
In his declaration of his ministerial policy Stolypine did not 
mention the Czar's Manifesto of the 17th of October, the Magna 
Charta of Russian liberty, or at least the only official charter 
of Russia's hopes. A conservative member. Prince Lvov, 
moved that the Duma at any rate recognised the continued 
validity of this instrument. The party of the 17th of October 
thereupon voted down the motion and denied its own name 
and reason for existence. Like the extremists, the moderate 
reactionaries demand nothing, and accept everything, from the 
Government. Russia's so-called representative assembly claims 
neither a constitution, a fundamental law, nor any rights of the 
citizen. It is simply another council of the servants of absolu- 
tism, another arm of the already cumbrous bureaucratic system. 

The leader of the new majority, Alexander Gutchkov, 
explained the position of his party in the following dark but 
explicable manner. In a few years of the new Duma there 



WHAT HAPPENED TO "THE CONSTITUTION" 91 

would be no strife among its leading parties about this question 
of the form of government. They would all be satisfied with 
the practical results. His party was of the view that a consti- 
tution existed, that the Czar himself had limited his own power. 
But he would not insist on the extreme reactionaries recognising 
that there was a system of government other than the will of 
the Czar. All parties could agree to accept the Czar's own 
term for the instrument that had brought the change, namely 
the Act of October 1 7th. As we have seen, Gutchkov's intended 
friends of the extreme reaction would not bear a reference even 
to this instrument, since it is now tabooed by the Government. 
But, so satisfied apparently is he with the present Duma and 
the harmony to come from it, that he consented to abandon the 
only principle through which his party came into being. Or 
perhaps his consent was unwilling. 

Between the moderate and extreme reactionaries is what 
we might call the reactionary centre, a group of over a hundred 
landlords without whom Gutchkov cannot hope to form a 
majority. The landlords by no means agree with Gutchkov; 
they have not decided whether they can expect more from the 
new Duma that has resulted from the Manifesto of October 
17th, or from a return to the older form. They are not so 
optimistic about the Duma. Gutchkov's enthusiastic party 
is composed mostly of officials, rich merchants, and indus- 
trialists. Under the old regime the court influence of the 
landlords had only the bureaucracy to contend against. Gutch- 
kov does not care about the constitution so much as about 
his Duma. The landlords don't care so much about the Duma 
and the October Manifesto as they do about their power over 
the Czar through the court. The landlords alone cannot control 
the Duma, any more than can Gutchkov, but they have carefully 
provided Russia with an election law that gives them a power 
equal to, or greater than, that of any other class. For the 
landlords, that is the nobility, can do nearly what they please; 
they are the foundation of the throne. 

The leader of the Duma was careful to add to his confession 
of constitutional faith that he did not consider that the Czar's 
voluntary limitation of the unlimited autocracy had decreased 
his power. No, the new Duma would be a counterweight against 



a 3E5K&5 

^* ^9BSBKBSflEBB -X TDE 3HBBK9EST jad the COUlt OH the 

-jer, aii is i2BL iiimir ii f 111 1 l ry -wmjBL jgtrhknv's party 

less r-armnarr lamioms. Ir 3l tacg. larger from the i n cre ase d 

jOwccEta laiiniiiiiw t3aa*jim inn zopcs to control the court. 
Indeed he -tas iani ^ l utrr Ii us oiao ironr tint power of the 
most - iiL .l g p w ff .c ^assent .axnsaasssL which the ejection 
!ar Avuim, :^as .:e topes to ram jj&caiaant. Sax I shall 
sflow "rac the r^amcrr .t 3asRa&. .antral lores rrom official 
prmieges -m*i JvYesnaens junsocss -uni baa & corresponding 
inuuence :a: tae bureaus* *u&& «i& toe *wjwh» jre Mum and 
control tae -*juit. 

Ititchkov s :aimg. :3a rxaacare travels* bis aeiviu e as a 
voluntary :uhnxmscnuar Jt the 3e<L Cross - imni^ rhe Japanese 
war and as preadent Jt the Moscow Miimi.ipa i GjotictI. sug- 
gest :iiat he is a snaxre ■ e ioim e i rather *han a m e z e i y a mb itious 
rttarr 3ut be a se ms to bave become a -"awanr .j£ me idea. and. 
a bitter -nemv «J£ ail 'too <hsagree with bis estimate of its value. 
That idea :s that onv .issembiv :>t oxen, however constituted 
and lio w ever limited :n its power, that bears, the Tame it Duma 
has the ability to ■ ytw »t» poor Rusbl* The name "constb- 
txmon ' or " Manifesto oi October 17th " be is ready to abandon. 
The naTTw> ' Duma * ■»■ *•■* ir»< ail the wonder ^ f diking power a£ 
a Russian ikon. Indeed bis paper speaks literally at the 
Dumas "sacred wails. ' He is the only iismterested. public 
man of any great moment in Russia who expects the Russian 
landlords and contractors to relinquish their power aver the 
officialdom and the court. 

But what is the mpaxring of die Duma to the Government? 
Pint nt all. the Government's ffnannal cr e dit abroad is soeadHr 
falling, and rt hnp«i to impress the little French ami trrtfrmBT 
m->*8Ts,n wfeft fcftfcp it from bankruptcy, that Russia has a Icyal 
p/^ubf a*ft*mhfy that vote* all the loans and taxes the Gotoo*- 
ff t *r*t f^wm. That the majority of this Duma consists at imfi- 
*»/to*lt wft6 *r* k*m% by direct sntnidifi in one farmer aactther 



WHAT HAPPENED TO "THE CONSTITUTION" 93 

from the Government is a fact it is hoped the small investor 
will overlook. Second, the Duma serves a purpose inside of the 
country. It unifies the bureaucracy, the court, the landlords, 
and other privileged classes against all pressure of the masses 
of the people from below to secure a democratic form of gov- 
ernment. It enlists definitely on the Government's side all those 
who are in any way dependent upon it, and gives to each element 
a definite rdle to fill in the national defence against progress 
— which, of course, depends entirely on the further democra- 
tisation of the state. 

"The Government must have a firm will in this matter," 
said Stolypine to the Duma; "but this is not enough, the will 
of the Duma must be added to that of the Government." 
Count W. Bobrinsky, in the name of the landlords, the heart 
of the reactionary majority, had just used almost the same 
words: "The Duma without a strong Government is nothing," 
said he, "but the struggle of the Government against the 
revolutionary excesses without the Duma is unproductive. 
Without the Duma the Government cannot accomplish the 
pacification of the country." This pacification accomplished, 
it remains to be seen if the Government or the landlords will 
have any further need of the Duma. They do not have to 
abolish it. The Czar or the upper council can as hitherto veto 
its acts, more pressure can be brought to bear on the elections, 
or the election law can again be modified by the Czar or again 
interpreted by the Senate to suit the occasion. Or perhaps 
Gutchkov will see that discretion is the better part of valour, 
and in order to preserve the form of the present "sacred" 
Duma will definitely abandon, one at a time, every shadow 
of social reform. 

For there is a party in Russia that is composed largely of 
capable and devoted reformers, a party that has at the same 
time given aid to the revolution only in an indirect manner 
as a last desperate resort. This party desires a constitution, 
fundamental changes in the structure of the Government; but 
it is so anxious for the social elevation of the masses that it has 
been willing to give up its greater hopes for the slow and diffi- 
cult work which alone is possible under the present system. 
When the revolution seemed about to triumph, the party mem- 



94 RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

bers were ready to put aside their administrative work to lay 
the foundation for a greater edifice. When the Government 
was for the time victorious over the revolution, they were ready 
to take up again their difficult and almost hopeless task of trying 
to bring about a little progress in the local administration in the 
face of the hostility of the local officials and landlord caste. 
I am speaking of the party of the famous "zemstvos," or local 
government boards. The majority of the professional em- 
ployees and workers were members of the Constitutional Demo- 
cratic Party, a smaller part of the more conservative "peaceful 
regenerators" or even of the liberal wing of the Octobrists, 
Gutchkov's organisation. A few were populists or independent 
progressives, more radical than the Constitutional Democrats. 

But the local government boards are elected mainly by 
landlords. Liberals were on the administrative committees 
and radicals were employed as doctors, veterinaries, teachers, 
agricultural experts and statisticians only because the over- 
whelming reactionary majorities among the landlords did not 
take the pains to vote. As soon as the revolutionary movement 
began among the peasants, their tenants and labourers, the 
landlords began to assert their principles. The results surprised 
even the Russians. Two years ago, of the thirty odd provincial 
zemstvos, nearly every one was liberally administered; now 
all but one are in conservative or reactionary hands, and in the 
several hundred subordinate district boards the proportion is 
similar. Experienced and devoted landlord administrators 
are giving place to ignorant and pronounced reactionaries, 
looked on as enemies by the people they are supposed to serve ; 
or else occasionally, which is sadder to relate, some mild liberal 
surrenders his principles and remains in office. The elections 
showed only 5 or 10 per cent, of Constitutional Democrats 
and a still smaller proportion of liberals of every other variety. 
Faithful employees, of whom tens of thousands have devoted 
themselves heart, mind, and body to the peasants and the 
practical application of their science, have been discharged. 
Hospital after hospital, school after school, has been closed 
because the new administrators have been unwilling to make the 
sacrifices by which alone the old were able to sustain their work 
under Russia's wretched government. 



WHAT HAPPENED TO "THE CONSTITUTION" 95 

The least public spirit ends at once the career of any 
employee, as it did that of Chief Engineer Skriabin, of Vologda, 
who merely complained to the governor of the tolerated beating 
of the Jews. The poor consecrated teachers with their pittance 
of ten or fifteen dollars a month, one-fifth of the rather low 
average of the whole United States, get the worst of it. All 
over Russia the conditions of the teachers are more or less the 
same. Two recent despatches from widely separated points 
testify what these heroes, on whom the future of this half- 
illiterate people hangs, are going through with. Each incident 
is similar to hundreds of the kind. 

"The Glosov zemstvo treasury is empty. The men and 
women teachers have been wandering about the streets several 
days trying to get a few pennies to travel away with. Even 
in this they failed." 

" Kuznetz. In the whole district there are only two teachers 
in freedom. All the rest are arrested." If this district is like 
the others in size, the despatch means that some hundred 
teachers were too radical to suit the landlords or police. 

In these zemstvos lay Russia's only hope for a democra- 
tisation of local government, the basis of every free society. 
Very slowly, indeed at a most discouraging rate, but nevertheless 
surely, they were teaching the people modern culture through 
books, healthy living through doctors and hospitals, and modern 
farming through the sale of modern machines and the object 
lessons of the veterinaries and agricultural experts — to say 
nothing of the invaluable personal influence of Russia's most 
useful citizens, the zemstvos, employees. Besides, they were 
the only effective means of fighting the periodical cholera 
epidemics and the almost chronic famines. Without them even 
the insufficient sums dedicated to these vital purposes are 
desecrated or unequally distributed. 

Now the zemstvos as reform institutions are a thing of the 
past, and the wish of the most hated of all of Russia's ministers 
is accomplished. Von Plehve several years ago recognised that 
the zemstvos were slowly modernising the Russian peasant. 
This is why he exiled Prince Dolgorukov who presented their 
wishes to the Czar, notwithstanding that the clemency of 
Nicholas had been promised. And this is why he executed his 



96 RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

notorious cleaning out of the Tver zemstvo that contained 
Roditchev and Petrunkevitch, later founders of the Consti- 
tutional Democratic Party, and other capable liberals. 

In advance of most of the other local government boards, 
the Tver organisation was making a visible improvement in 
the province, which is as much as to say that it was moving in 
many directions against the reactionary principles of the St. 
Petersburg authorities. A notorious official named Stunner 
was therefore sent to inspect, with full powers. Nearly all the 
employees were dismissed, the teachers not wishing to submit 
to individual persecution resigned in a body, the elected council 
was removed and von Plehve appointed his own nominees to 
take their places. To-day Stunner is again being promoted for 
his zeal. But he is not needed for this particular work now. 
The landlords are awake and the machine of the Government 
is turned no longer against a single provincial group, but against 
the whole liberal organisation, and the Senate has once more 
declared the whole Constitutional Democratic Party to be 
outside of the Russian law. 

Milyoukov in the Duma may well complain against the 
sincerity of Stolypine's political and social reforms. What 
more inevitable than that Stolypine should hand over his 
proposed reform of local government to a committee of reac- 
tionary landlords? Still more significant is the prime minister's 
land reform that must serve as the basis for the people's lives 
in the future. Two years ago even the most reactionary Party 
of Legal Order, when organising a peasants' section, was forced 
to incorporate a proposed measure, the compulsory alienation 
of the landlords' land for the peasants' benefit, in its platform. 
The moderate Constitutional Democrats still retain the 
measure as the only possible solution of the question — though 
they are willing that the State should pay a fair price. Now 
Stolypine actually proposes, to quote Milyoukov, instead of the 
expropriation of the landlords, compulsory expropriation of the 
peasants — a "reform" which would benefit only the relatively 
few small peasant landlords, to the injury of all the poorer 
peasants, as former ministers and imperial councils have repeat- 
edly acknowledged. It is proposed to rob the peasants of the 
protection of their commune, by giving each individual for the 




Photograph by Bulk. St. Prterthurtf 
A VICTIM OF THE CZAR'S MURDERERS 
To the left, Russia's greatest financial authority, Herzenstein, murdered by 
the League of Russian Men, the Czar's favourite organisation; to the right, the 
publicist Kovalevski 



Tfl If- fri ?) M SS <ti it 41 




MAP SHOWING POLITICAL DIVISIONS IN RUSSIA 

From the heavily shaded provinces the majority of the peasant deputies belonged 
to the revolutionary parties ; from the lighter shaded provinces majority belonged 
to Labour Group ; the peasants elsewhere also strongly oppositional. Conditions, 
in Poland and Baltic Provinces too complicated to be shown on a map. 



WHAT HAPPENED TO "THE CONSTITUTION" 97 

first time a right to sell his share in the village property. But 
in a famine ridden country this right to sell is a right to ruin. 
No peasant will prefer to die rather than sell his land. 

Stolypine's land reform is, then, to create a few million 
prosperous peasants alongside of a class of landless labourers 
that will number five or ten times as many. But Russian 
industry is already overcrowded with almost starving workmen. 
These new labourers will have to sell themselves for a few 
crumbs to their neighbours, and in famine periods be supported 
even in greater numbers than at present by the State. They 
will have no power to raise their wages above the starvation 
point, for already agricultural strikes have been called rebellion. 
Under this "reform" the majority of the peasants will be the 
economic serfs of their close-fisted and often needy neighbours 
instead of belonging as now to the rich and often absent 
noblemen. The cost of keeping them alive and in subjection 
will be an added burden to the State, and no revolutionary 
movement will be too desperate to find its common soldiers in 
this element. 

Stolypine, like his predecessor, Witte, has lost all hope for 
the mass of the Russian people "in this epoch." He says 
that freedom on paper can only become real freedom when 
small proprietors are created. In opposition to him Rodit- 
chev finds that all the Czar can do is to abolish privileges, make 
all equal before the law, first of all the officials themselves, 
cease to be a Czar of the nobility, and become a Czar of all the 
Russians. Stolypine's proposed extension of the so-called 
benevolent activities of the Government is simply a pretext 
for a simultaneous extension of its brute power. Half of his 
declaration to the third Duma was taken up with threats against 
officials, judges, and teachers who are not reactionary enough 
to suit the Government. Even the more liberal of the Octob- 
rists were forced to protest. They wished to know whether 
officials were compelled to oppose their moderate reactionary 
party, whether the radical students, "our own children" as 
one speaker truly remarked, were to be treated in the old inhuman 
way, and whether order could not be restored by lawful means. 
Stolypine had said that the Government would be compelled 
to do nothing by fear of a movement from below, that "com- 



98 RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

prehensive rights would be granted only from a "superfluity 
of strength " and not through fear on the part of the Government. 
Milyoukov asked if these high-handed measures were those of 
confident power. Evidently the day of "superfluous strength" 
has not arrived. 

The moderate reactionaries protested but they did not 
revolt. Stolypine cracked his whip, demanded them to vote 
against the reaffirmation even of the October Manifesto, the basis 
of their party platform, and was obeyed. The official Govern- 
ment organ gave them a scolding the next morning for their 
hesitation, and announced that the fact that the moderate 
liberals favoured the Manifesto was reason enough for all friends 
of the Government to vote against it. Even the most weighty 
official actions are "unpatriotic," then, the moment they serve 
progress. Has not the reproduction of the official reports of 
the Czar's own speeches been repeatedly prohibited by thecensor? 

With his inverted social reforms, his blood and iron, and his 
mastery over the national assembly, Stolypine promises to 
turn out a Russian Bismarck. But what is important is not 
whether he is a valuable servant, but whether he is a loyal 
servant, of the Czar. That he is loyal there can now be little 
question. This tells us where he stands. It is unimportant, 
then, whether he or the Czar is governing, whether he is seeking 
to discover his master's will or his master is forcing his orders on 
a willing servant. Well-informed and friendly correspondents 
of weighty and conservative European papers assured me last 
summer that the Czar was managing things himself or that 
he was superintending everything, and that Stolypine lacks the 
will, the ideas, and the statesmanship to have his way with the 
Czar.* Certain it is that the movement of the extreme reaction- 
aries to depose the prime minister has several times made 
considerable headway. If the Czar governs we know by this 
time how he governs. If Stolypine governs he does so, as he 
must, to please the Czar. A certain countess, with access to the 
court and a leading woman in the country, assured me later 
that Stolypine himself was doing the work, even directing the 
Czar's personal appointees, the provincial governors, to whom he 
has no right to give orders, by means of personal correspondence. 



•Sm apptadu. Net* XX 



WHAT HAPPENED TO "THE CONSTITUTION" 99 

It makes little difference whether the supreme direction is 
in the hands of trained Czars like Nicholas, or the trained 
courtiers of trained Czars like Minister Stolypine; the court 
and the Czarism remain unchanged, and the words of Prince 
Urussov received with the prolonged applause of almost the 
whole of the first Duma remain true: 

"The great danger . . . cannot disappear as long as the 
direction of the affairs of state and the destinies of the country 
remain under the influence of men who are marshals of the 
court and policemen by education and murderers by conviction." 

Equally true will probably prove the words of Roditchev 
who was suspended for them by the present reactionary Duma 
after the most dramatic and scandalous scene of the three 
national assemblies. Referring to the hangman's noose by 
which Russia is governed to-day, he shouted above all the 
clamour with which the "patriotic" deputies sought to drown 
his voice: 

"Yes, I say again, if the Russian Government considers as the 
only palladium what Pureschevitch called Muraviev (the 
recent minister of justice) collars and what will be called in the 

future Stolypine neckties " Here he was interrupted by 

the tumult. Stolypine left the minister's box, and Roditchev, 
realising that he had taken the remark quite personally, went 
to him to explain. He passed two of Stolypine's seconds who 
had come to demand an apology. But he did not, as reported, 
regret his words. And when Stolypine said, "I accept your 
apology," Roditchev answered, "I do not apologise." 

Expelled from the Duma Roditchev became the hero of 
Russia. His house was filled with flowers and he received 
hundreds of telegrams from all parts of the country. Already 
the overwhelming majority of all classes of the Russian people 
except the officials and nobility feel that Stolypine governs by 
the noose. 



CHAPTER IX 

"PRUSSIAN" REFORM 

GEORGE III. of England wrote: "The times certainly 
require the concurrence of all those who wish to prevent 
anarchy. I have no wish but the prosperity of my own domin- 
ions, therefore I must look on all those who would not heartily 
aid me not only as bad subjects but as bad men." 

So speaks in all ages the easy conscience of the despot born 
and bred. The times, not despotism, have brought the anarchy. 
The despot born and bred, like the slave-owner, denies that 
he could do otherwise than wish the prosperity of his own 
human property. Disobedient subjects are bad men, criminals, 
or malefactors. Those who heartily assist the despot are not 
courtiers, flatterers, self-seekers, or petty tyrants, but patriots 
and the best men of the realm. And the prevention of anarchy 
and the preservation of despotism absorb nearly the whole 
energy of the State. 

To George III. the anarchists and bad men were happily to be 
found for the most part in America. To Nicholas II. most of 
his own Russian subjects belong either to a class to be suspected 
or to a class to be persecuted. For him the so-called war against 
anarchy and the internal enemy is a war against the over- 
whelming majority of the nation. The struggle of the 
Ctarism to preserve its existence is a desperate business. 
One persecution, one arbitrary act, necessitates another, 
until the oppression as a whole assumes monstrous and 
Anally ridiculous proportions. The unbiased foreigner asks 
perhaps why philosophical books must be censored or school- 
children kept in jail. If the country happens to be quiet 
he does not realise that a desperate and ceaseless struggle is 
goiriff on, that a few lenient measures have often been enough 
to allow a cumulative, and for a time irresistible, movement 
of revolt to be set in motion. It is precisely in the Czarism's 

TOO 



"PRUSSIAN" REFORM 101 

worst feature, its arbitrariness and colossal violence, that 
it cannot reform. 

Indeed as the people grow more intelligent and universally 
discontented the Government must become more oppressive 
if it is to preserve its existence. For instance, two lawyers 
have recently been punished, not by the judges but by the 
political authorities, for the political tenor of speeches made 
in court. This is a novelty even in Russia. But the reactionary 
organ, the Russian Flag, reminds the complaining lawyers' 
association that the provincial governors can, like the Czar, do 
absolutely anything; that they are appointed by the Czar and 
have unlimited powers. It quotes the law to the effect that 
"the governor, as the responsible head of the province 
entrusted to him by the most high will of his Majesty, is there 
the first protector of the infallibility of the most high prerog- 
atives, of the autocracy, of the welfare of the State, etc." 

The power of the civil governors is disputed. But it cannot 
be disputed that nine-tenths of Russia at the present moment 
has been placed entirely in the power of military governors and 
satraps by explicit laws created to "prevent anarchy" and 
"preserve the State." At the same time new civil laws are 
constantly being drafted, the reactionary Duma may lend its 
aid, and in time most of the arbitrary oppression and punish- 
ment now entrusted to individuals or to "military law" may 
be classified and embodied in the civil code. Such a "reform" 
would facilitate the preservation of order for the officials, and 
lighten the burden the loyal and privileged have to bear in 
times of "internal war." Whether it would lighten the 
oppression can be questioned. Under the present disorder some 
officials entrusted with irresponsible power are worse than any 
law, but just as many are more humane than the statutes. 

The one reform on which all officials, courtiers, and reaction- 
aries are agreed is that the nation shall be forced into order 
and tranquillity. But here the harmony comes to an end. 
Shall the new order be an "autocratic" or a "legal" order? 
The extreme reactionaries cannot see how an unlimited ruler 
can be bound by any laws. All their "reforms" propose 
rather to increase his personal power. They are opposed on 
abstract grounds to the bureaucracy and in order to control 



joi RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

U Un.y want Ujc Czar to institute a new supreme court governed 
by no law but bi> pergonal wi&hes. It is certain that every 
tradition of the Czarism is on their side. 

Vni years every great new problem that has arisen has been 
bolvrit, not by an extension of the law, but by lending to some 
newly created i lass of officials a part of the Czar's arbitrary 
power. When u few years ago, in response to the landlords' 
complaints tliat they could not bring their tenants and 
labuiucrs to terms, the local "land officials" were created, they 
wen subordinated not to higher local officials but to a St. 
lYtn-.sburg ministry more subject to the immediate dictates of 
the Caur. But this was not enough for Nicholas. The minis- 
tries a iv after all bureaus subject to laws, while the provincial 
governors are, as we have seen, the Czar's personal lieutenants. 
So Nicholas asked Prince Urussov whether he did not think it 
would be a v,ivat reform to subordinate the land officials directly 
to the provincial governors and so withdraw them entirely from 
the oidiuary laws, and he was most displeased with Urussov "s 
negative answer. 

Ol course, legal order, organisation, and system must be 
extended in Russia since it is a semi-modern State. In its 
enoiiiuuis buMiicss enterprises, :or instance, personal rule 
in uiiiluukaUe. .uul the Stale must be more or iess modern in 
its 'iu'ihod>. Hut the Russian Government :ias peculiar 
!uiuiii»u* ot persecution that can never be -.mite classified, 
oiiicicci. u brought under the law. Such activities will be 
^ '-.Kiure. Legal •.•rder based ->u violence will 
i h -me iepartnients, but alongside it will grow 
:^» i >Iie<.r -ie&potisai. ::ie brutai annihilation of 
'». \.:c :-.uin£ ^Lass ciirou^u -.:ie gallows, prisons, 

.i. .v.- \v-. v: j e Lore ::i Russian his lory oi official 

. . ■ . . . . j. i . . ■ ^ i l- -.v ill be rt ionu ..tinoug t tie officials 

»-.>«: :l. '~se Jjan&iu .::u*v m'orm *i*s human 

■.> -v;;^^ .-:■■! i:suu cerate. !' he irruption 

b^i:»;s > ■:■ - h .'nua» ..:e '-^oiid o\cr and was 

y-.^v -au . -*;a> a-ier «ie recent wars against 

» . . . ::^. . ik^ucS. ..ess a^ioA'U axe Lie discord, 

k.:<^ :.;.u h \\:*+ujjuM£ uie ranmn cTAate bureaus 



.lillUt 


:il*Li LCc 


/\U i 


:,i ;:.nlI! 


LilC 


■ i e -»« ■ : w 


1,1 


.■:■« v».:io 


■n;:;. 


■%.:..". 



"PRUSSIAN" REFORM 103 

and the various ranks of officials within them; the generation- 
long delays in the most fundamental reforms, the arbitrary 
manner in which nearly every official fulfills his functions. That 
all this will be much improved with the aid of the new Duma, 
interested in such administrative improvements, to the exclusion 
of all social reform, there is little doubt. If administrative 
improvements are not made and made quickly the Government 
will not even make a temporary headway against the revolution. 
Even a part of its present allies, including a large part of the 
lower and even a part of the higher officials, will join the revolt. 
Already recent ministers and' generals of the staff have gone over 
to the almost revolutionary opposition, a large majority of the 
railway, post-office, and telegraph employees of all classes 
joined the revolutionary general strike two years ago, and 
several hundred army officers are members of the revolutionary 
organisations. Policemen have struck, officials of all classes 
have aided the moderate opposition, a large part of the village 
clergy has become liberal, and judges have become lenient; 
Stolypine had to devote half his declaration to the third Duma 
to threats against officials that aided the opposition parties, 
however moderate, though he could not deny that all, from 
highest to lowest, are encouraged to join the extreme reactionary 
organisations that openly oppose the ministers as not being 
sufficiently reactionary. The officials must be reformed if the 
Government is not to be crippled by internal dissensions or 
lose its own employees to the revolutionary cause. Indeed the 
bureaucracy must be regenerated if even those measures that 
the Government itself considers most necessary are ever to be 
put into execution.* 

The big business interests are now well represented in the 
new Duma, which includes not only merchants and capitalists 
but many landlords who exploit their lands in a business way, 
and the disorganisation and robberies have reached the limit 
of the bearable for any business interest. The railways, the 
banks, the coal mines, are crippled for lack of effective control, 
and the Duma will not hesitate to use effectively its sole power, 
that of inspection and exposure, a power sufficient to this end. 

It will never be known which of the losses in the recent war 

• See Appendix, Note B. 



io4 RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

were due to thieving officials and which to the real superiority 
of the Japanese. It is known that the supplies for the Red 
Cross were pilfered, that a thousand carloads of coal vanished 
so completely that an investigating committee was unable to 
say when they disappeared, and that the Czar wrote in his own 
hand "poor fellows" on the report telling how soldiers had had 
their feet frozen from boots that wore out after a few days of 
service. It was not that this could be done only under cover 
of the excitement of the war. After the war was over the 
Government declared that Russia must learn from her defeat 
that a new and better army and navy must be created and that 
better fortune awaited her. As a step toward the new navy 
it was decided to build seven gun-boats in the Far East on the 
River Amur. They were nearly completed and an inspector 
was just about to arrive when a fire destroyed them. The 
Russian press claims they were burned by the order of officials 
who had stolen a part of the money assigned to their construction. 
Why should we not believe it? Has not a recent minister just 
been convicted of having handed over an enormous contract 
for supplying grain to starving peasants to a stranger whom 
he had met through a woman of doubtful character? The grain 
was of course not delivered, and thousands of peasants starved. 
The criminal, Lidval, was let out of jail before he had been there 
a few months, the minister, Gurko, was dismissed from office 
but given no punishment. 

It is not likely that this corruption will continue as it has 
been, nor is it likely that the old type of arbitrary official will 
always to tolerated. Like the Prussians, it is probable that 
(iovernment servants of the future will be held more strictly to 
the line of their duty and the letter of the law. Here is a 
typical caw of what has been happening. Prince Gortsch- 
rtkov, Governor of Viatka, went off for a three days' hunt on 
tlw eat* to of a rich merchant. He did not turn over his M unlim- 
ited " }>owrr* to his lieutenant, as is required on such occasions. 
An oi tier cam* from St. Petersburg declaring martial law in one 
<vi the thxtriota of the province. Nothing could be done, 
htwtvei, m thi* apparently critical situation until the prince 
r* lui m <t W hen he did so, instead of issuing special manifestoes 
to the imputation of the disturbed district, he decided to turn 



"PRUSSIAN" REFORM 105 

it over to the mercies of a young officer friend named De Roche- 
fort who was living in his house and whom he had brought with 
him to Viatka. This young official, though of high rank, was not 
on duty, perhaps on account of his notorious habits or his 
publication of a reactionary pamphlet against the Government. 
But still he was made czar of the disturbed district of Sarapul. 
Hereupon, though the elections were just beginning, the cholera 
breaking out, and this district was under martial law, the prince 
went off again officially for an inspection, but unofficially for 
another hunt, and for the journey advanced himself 1,000 
rubles from the Government's funds. 

In Prussia such idle nobleman administrators are not tol- 
erated. If Stolypine has a tithe of the force of Bismarck and 
the new Duma the "loyalty" of the Prussian Landtag, a few 
years will work great changes in the whole governmental machine. 
From the uncertain engine of oppression that it now is, it will 
become the admirable, smooth-working, soul-crushing instru- 
ment that is the Prussian bureaucracy of the present moment. 
The wildness as well as the humanity may largely disappear, 
but the result will be the impressive but highly deceptive 
efficiency of the Prussian bureaucrat. For the Prussians 
have certainly created a "legal" order, but they have as far 
as they were able annihilated individual initiative, hardened 
the lines of caste, and done all in their power to drill into humble 
and terror-stricken privates all the citizens of the country. 

There can be little doubt that Stolypine and the majority 
of the third Duma envy and emulate in almost every particular 
the perfected absolutism and bureaucracy of Prussia. As in 
Prussia, they want a "legal" rather than a "constitutional" 
monarchy, a gradual increase of civil but not of political rights, 
a regenerated State rather than a regenerated people. How 
could it be otherwise? Prussia has, like Russia, a bureaucratic 
absolutism, a militarism, a State that can rely on the zealous 
loyalty only of its landlord nobility. Austria has been, and 
Hungary is still, not dissimilar. The curse of Russia lies not 
in any institutions peculiarly Russian, but in the fact that the 
pe jple have not yet won their freedom by fighting for it. In all 
the eastern half of Europe — Prussia, Saxony, Austria, Hungary, 
and Roumania — elements of the same evils that are seen in 



io6 RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

Russia are still prominent. Prance and England have had 
their revolutions and are politically free. In these other 
countries the people have been beaten and have just such freedom 
as corresponds to the interests of the ruling class. 

A larger part of the Russian practices that shock Englishmen 
and Americans as outrages, glaring there because vigorously 
resisted by the nation, are but better disguised commonplaces 
in Germany, carried out under the forms of law and accepted 
by a people that has no hope whatever of immediately overthrow- 
ing the Government. The Prussian Landtag is, like the Russian 
Duma, composed of officials, landlords, and the privileged classes, 
but the proportions are still higher than in Russia, for there are 
no Socialists and only a handful of opponents to the Government ; 
while in Russia there are fifteen Socialist deputies and the 
opposition numbers about one hundred and fifty, or one-third in 
the Duma. The police terrorise the voters in Russia, but in 
Prussia this is not necessary; the voting is public, and the 
" disloyal" voter is black-listed by the landlords and the 
Government. Indeed the radicals of Prussia are now agitating 
for the secret ballot that Russia has already adopted. 

We forget that Prussia is an absolutism as much as Russia, 
and that the King of Prussia even refused the crown of the 
German Empire in 1849 solely because it was offered to him 
by a constitutional assembly and not by the kings, his equals. 
We forget the boundless Prussian reaction of 1849, anc ^ that 
"the rights of man" are not even guaranteed by the present 
constitution of the whole German Empire. We look at Prussia 
as a modern State because her people are so clearly a modern 
people, at least in part. We forget that politically the Prus- 
sians have been able to make almost no progress against their 
Government since 1848, and that there is actual retrogression 
in such vital matters as the schools, the very basis of Prussia's 
reputation as a modern government — to say nothing of the 
antiquated relations between church and State and the handing 
over of many local governments to the nobility. 

It is preeminently natural, if not inevitable, in a country 
ridden by an absolute monarch, his army, officials, nobility, 
and church, that the people's schools should be neglected. 
The official organ of the Russian Government finds that a slight 



"PRUSSIAN" REFORM 107 

increase of 7,000,000 rubles expenditure for the nation's 
schools would be a "luxury." The Russian budget is 
2,500,000,000 rubles. Pour hundred or five hundred million go 
every year to the army and navy, and this year the amount 
will probably be raised forty or fifty million rubles. The 
schools are getting in many places one-tenth of what they do in 
the United States, and yet an increase of twenty or thirty 
cents a head for the children of the people is a "luxury." 
There have been years when the increased expenditure of 
the backward schools of New York City has been as great. 

But this is not a Russian phenomenon; it is a normal result 
of absolutism. In proportion to her greater wealth and better 
organisation, the Prussian schools are better. Prussia also 
enjoyed a generation ago some sweeping school reforms, under 
the able Minister Studt. But this was at the time of the victori- 
ous wars with Austria and Prance, that seemed to give a raison 
d'itre to absolutism and reanimated all its branches. Since 
1 87 1 there have been no wars, and the degeneration soon set 
in; the common schools stood almost .still while the country 
moved forward, until now an incredible low level prevails. 
We can not dilate upon the antiquated teaching of the one- 
sided religious instruction, the orders to teach the splendid 
achievements of the Hohenzollerns "in every branch of civili- 
sation," the condemnation of all revolt and the glorification of 
war. But we can point out that outside of the large cities, where 
wealth and public opinion have brought some improvements, 
there are sixty-three to seventy-four pupils to a single teacher 
and the expenditure per pupil is from thirty-five to forty- 
eight marks; the better schools of America expend this much 
in dollars, so four times as much — for it must be remembered 
that in the present high-taxed Germany a mark buys no more 
than a quarter of a dollar in the United States. There are 
ten thousand half-day schools, many teachers have even three 
sets of children a day, or as many children as two hundred. 
Three thousand schools are without teachers, either, as in 
Russia, because of their liberal opinions, or because of the nig- 
gardliness of the landlords who control the schools. It seems 
that these latter need the children in the fields, and to secure the 
children's labour, often declare holidays of several days or 



io8 RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

weeks. Recently a teacher who protested was removed and a 
preacher that supported him given a good scolding for resistance 
to his superiors. 

This is what Russia may hope to rise to in her present 
course. For a change to Prussia's condition would be a rise, 
since after all only a small per cent, of the Prussians remain 
without some education, miserable as it is. Further Russia 
will scarcely go until the people have captured some share in the 
Government. With an election law like Russia's or Prussia's, 
there is even a likelihood that the weak national assembly will 
degenerate into a more and more servile tool of the Emperor 
and officials. The Prussian Landtag is much more backward 
than it was sixty years ago. Of over four hundred members 
161 are landlords, in officials, and more than a hundred others 
represent the wealthy classes. It is thus not necessary for the 
Prussian Government to consult the common people either of 
the towns or of the country, nor any part of the inhabitants 
of the towns. The Russian Duma is not yet so bad, but 
the pressure of the Government on its dependents and the 
interference of the police may even bring about, after the coming 
elections, a less representative assembly than the Landtag. 

Indeed the analogy with Prussia is almost indispensable 
for an understanding of the present Russian Government. Of 
course Prussia does not as a rule tolerate the wildest reaction- 
aries as Russia does, yet we have the notorious Count Pickler 
going about for years unpunished and preaching that the day 
would come when the Germans would have to massacre the Jews. 
Even when he was finally arrested "in the fortress" he was 
allowed a leave in which he went home to his estate to drill 
the peasant troops he was preparing for the coming event. 
Fortunately for the Government, the insanity of the count has 
just relieved it from its embarrassing predicament. 

The similarity between the two neighbouring governments 
is more than an analogy ; it is due to common causes, a largely 
common history, and parallel development. For instance, 
the Czars of Russia are very much more German than Russian, 
and this has been the case for two centuries. Of a hundred 
of the present Czar's ancestors scarcely ten are of Russian 
blood and education; nearly all the rest are German. Indeed 



"PRUSSIAN" REFORM 109 

Catherine II. and several other Russian monarchs have been 
wholly German. The nobility and the bureaucracy are also 
largely German. Of a recent cabinet six members, or about 
half, bore German names ; of fifty-three members of the Council 
of State eighteen were Russian Germans; of forty-six members 
of the first department of the Senate twelve were German; 
among noted generals are Kleigels, Kaulbars, Rennenkampf, 
Neidhardt, Muller-Zakomelski, and Bauer; of recent prime 
ministers von Plehve and Witte were German; of the chief 
organisers of the massacres nearly half bear German names. 
Of course these are all Russianised Germans, but at the sameT 
time they come for the most part from the Baltic Provinces where 
they preserve their German culture and are in constant and 
intimate relations with their Prussian neighbours, only a few 
hours away. Very many have much Russian blood, but very 
many noblemen and high officials bearing Russian names are 
largely German. The truth, more accurately expressed, is 
that the highest Russian nobility and bureaucracy owes a 
third or fourth of its blood and traditions to the Germans. 

The bureaucracy and military are not only inspired by their 
own German tradition, but are consciously modelled and 
remodelled on the German example. Sometimes the process 
has been reversed. Doubtless Peter the Great was something of 
an inspiration to Frederick, and Nicholas I. to Wilhelm I. 
The chief influence of Russia on Prussia has been as a possible 
enemy, a bogy to frighten the Prussians into militarism and 
subjection. But Prussia, in this exchange, has given more 
than she has received. Peter's bureaucrats were mostly Germans 
and, in the later reigns, the proportion was even increased. 

The evolution of Russia in the last generation and at the 
present time, so incomprehensible to the English, French, or 
Americans, seems like an old story to the educated Prussian. 
The serfs were emancipated in Prussia from 1808 to 1848, in 
Russia in 1861 ; in both countries the conditions before and after 
the emancipation were remarkably similar. Both were military 
and bureaucratic absolutisms, in both society was divided by 
the law into nobles, peasants and citizens, and all the military 
and important civil posts went to the nobles. 

In both countries the reforms came not as a social regeneration 



no RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

from below, but as measures to save the State from disintegration 
after disastrous wars — in Prussia those against Napoleon, in 
Russia the Crimean war. "The idea" (in Prussia), says Seig- 
nabos, "was not to better the condition of the people but to 
rescue the State from ruin." Count Hardenberg said, "We 
wish to establish a monarchical government without democratic 
principles." His wish was accomplished and his entirely 
undemocratic State remains to this day intact. 

After, as before the emancipations in both countries, the 
peasants remained for a generation or more tinder the police 
and judicial administration of their former owners and were 
still subjected to corporal punishment. In both countries the 
peasants had to pay extortionary and impossible prices both for 
their freedom and the tiny parcels of land that were left them. 
In both they lost their rights of access to the forests and part 
of their common pasture, and held their property on such 
precarious titles that the landlords in control of the courts were 
often enabled to steal it from them. Until 1891, eighty years 
after the emancipation was begun in Prussia, old land laws 
were still in force, and the proprietors were favoured not only 
by the courts but by the letter of the law. And it was not till 
the same date that the local government was taken away from 
the landlords, only to be placed in the hands of a bureaucracy 
which was, as I have shown, almost entirely in their control. 
This is what may be expected to happen in Russia to the 
proposed local government reforms. 

In Prussia, as in Russia, the Government's borrowing 
operations were long kept secret, and a representation of the 
people was long promised but never granted. In both countries 
it took a tremendous struggle to secure the concession that 
the national assembly, such as it is, should be called periodically 
and not merely at the will of the ruler, and that new taxes at 
least must be voted by this body. But in both countries the 
budget is often voted after the money is already expended, and 
neither Bismarck nor Stolypine ever hesitated to go right on 
with their expenditures when the national assemblies were 
opposed. Finally, in both countries the ruler appoints the 
upper chamber, controls alone the army and foreign relations, 
appoints all officials and reserves an absolute veto over all laws. 



•PRUSSIAN" REFORM in 

Russia and Prussia, and even the whole German Empire, 
are unconstitutional governments — if for no other reason than 
for this: When a contingency arises that the constitution (so- 
called) does not provide for, the old laws hold. But the old 
laws were those of absolutism. It is because they recognise 
the fact that the Kaiser has the power in the last resort that the 
opposition parties are so timid, and that the most the majority 
of them claim is merely that the people have certain rights 
alongside the equal rights of the Crown. This is why local reforms 
are arrested, the schools stand still, the dignity of man is crushed 
under an iron heel, and Germany is threatened every moment 
with monstrous war. 

The condition in Russia is and must remain similar until 
there is a revolutionary upheaval from below. But in the 
meanwhile there are two great differences between the two 
countries. Stolypine has provided such a reactionary election 
law that he may not have to repeat his recent coup d'ttat and 
call a Duma more friendly to the Government than the present 
one. In that case he will not have to perform Bismarck's 
act of trampling on the constitution. He can ignore it. 

At the same time Stolypine has a vast disadvantage com- 
pared to Bismarck. He has no chance to wage war, fuse Russia 
together with blood and iron, and crush all opposition with 
renewed and victorious arms. Russia is not a small and de- 
fenceless country like Prussia was. Her peasants are not war- 
like; they are revolutionary. Absolutisms arise from and are 
nourished by war. And without wars all absolutisms will 
perish. With no prospect of patriotic bloodshed the doom of 
the Czarism is sealed. 



CHAPTER X 
autocracy's last hopr 

THE problem before Nicholas II., an ordinary man and an 
ordinary Czar, remains after the lapse of two centuries 
the same as the problem before the Czar-genius Peter the Great. 
It is an insoluble problem. The desire of the Czars at their 
best is to develop the people without giving up to them any of 
the autocratic power. The result is not mere paternalism, but 
a withering benevolent despotism that defeats even its own 
object. 

Peter's system was to create governmental institutions and 
electoral bodies in a country where systematic organisation 
and the regular participation of any class of people in the 
Government were almost unknown. And, indeed, the people were 
forced for the first time, rather arbitrarily to be sure, to think 
about the best form of organisation of the country, to feel 
deeply over real questions of state. The policy of the first ten 
years of Nicholas's reign forms a striking parallel. Nicholas 
is not a genius, but perhaps Witte is. This is a business or 
economic age. It is not then merely political institutions 
that Witte has created, but railways, manufactures, gold 
currency, an enormous liquor monopoly, and banks. It is 
not of political questions that the people have been forced 
to think and feel, but of the great economic questions of 
modern life. 

But the parallel holds good. "Peter was possessed by the 
abstract idea of state," says the Russian historian, "the people 
were only ciphers in the total." But the people could be 
forced into ciphers only by whips and the sword. Peter insti- 
tuted for the first time an elaborate system of espionage, revived 
many of the tortures of Ivan the Terrible, and still failed. His 
great state machine became a Frankenstein and threatened its 
creator's existence. His new bureaucracy became corrupt 

112 



AUTOCRACY'S LAST HOPE 113 

and rotten with bribery, and came to be an additional burden 
on the state. 

Witte is possessed by the idea of the state as the universal 
capitalist, as the great owner, manufacturer, banker, and 
employer. His is a state socialism beyond the dreams of 
Bismarck. If the Russian Government were to continue 
to absorb private capital at the rate it did in the ten years 
of Witte's reign over Russian finance, half a century would 
develop a perfected state capitalism (a more accurate term 
than state socialism) and the monopoly of industry and bank- 
ing by the Government. To accomplish his reforms Witte 
did not have to resort to whips and the sword like Peter. As 
long as the instruments of violence could preserve the Czarism 
from revolution, Witte had no need of their direct use for his 
reforms. Quite the contrary, where they were in use he often 
had them abolished and replaced by more modern instruments. 
Starvation of the people is, as I shall show, literally the founda- 
tion of Witte's reforms. But actual starvation is unable to bring 
about the permanent economic prosperity of any community. 
It cannot be said that Witte's plan has failed, for it is still in 
practice. But it must lead to the greatest economic cataclysm 
the world has seen. 

Peter's whole system, says Kostomarov, was directed against 
the prevailing want of public spirit, the lack of independence 
of action, the absence of initiative capacity. Mentioning his 
proposed reforms and the Czar's October Manifesto, Witte 
says in the budget of 1906: "The steady growth of the con- 
sciousness of the masses will undoubtedly soon lead them 
to true comprehension of economic progress, and arouse in 
them a desire for real improvement of national well-being. A 
sure pledge of the awakening of public life is Your Majesty's call 
to the nation to enter the path of independent action, and also 
the equality before the law granted to all Your Majesty's sub- 
jects." After the lapse of two centuries Russia's statesmen 
are still trying to inoculate her Czar-cursed people with initia- 
tive, independence, and public spirit. 

That Witte failed as Peter did is due not entirely to himself. 
The proposed equality before the law and the popular assembly 
for which he finally obtained the Czar's promise against all the 



ii4 RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

nobility and the court, have now been definitely abandoned. 
If Witte could have spoken more openly perhaps he would have 
deplored not the lack of desire, but the lack of hope, for real 
improvement among the masses of the people. But Witte's 
error lay not so much in a too loyal hopefulness and confidence 
in the false Nicholas, or in a too bureaucratic contempt for the 
people, as in a fundamental misconception of his own business, 
finance. It is he that has the lack of true comprehension of 
economic progress of which he accuses the Russian people. 

Peter could not, says Kostomarov, "inoculate civic courage, 
the feeling of duty, or love of one's neighbour/ 1 he could not create 
a new and living Russia by means of violence. Witte could not 
inoculate initiative, independence, and public spirit on the 
basis of the starvation of the peasants, which is the basis of 
his conception of economic progress. 

Peter the Great laid the foundations of the modern absolutism ; 
Witte has set it on the road of its last hope. Perhaps Witte 
at the last was even conscious of the desperate character of his 
experiment, of the need of compromising with democracy, the 
arch-enemy. It was no accident, however, that the road of 
state socialism was chosen. If Witte had not been there, 
another man or other men would have assumed his burden, and 
the same results would have been reached, perhaps with the 
loss of a few years, or a few billion rubles to the Russian state. 
The reason for choosing this road is not far to seek — the neces- 
sities of war; a reason fearfully painful to consider, for poor, 
starving, Czar-cursed Russia is, after all, part and parcel of the 
great modern world, flesh of our flesh and bone of our bone. 

Russia is part and parcel of the modern world if for no other 
reason because she must defend herself against it. She is our 
neighbour, she controls a fourth of the best cultivable land of 
the earth, her people are of our own white race and of the same 
religions as ourselves. Even at the time of Peter the Great 
she had already decided to utilise all the machinery of modern 
industry that does so much to make our life what it is. Besides, 
millions of her people have all our modern culture, and half the 
rising generation can read and write. Why do we forget all 
these obvious facts and try to judge Russia as a thing apart? 
Even Japan and Turkey are dragged into the circle of modern 



AUTOCRACY'S LAST HOPE 115 

civilisation, above all by the necessity of defending themselves 
by modern means. It was especially by the necessities of war 
that the Czars have been compelled to keep step with many 
modern ideas, and it was the absolute need of getting money 
to support her enormous armies and costly fleets that inevitably 
forced Alexander II. to abolish slavery and his son Alexander III. 
to call a modern financier like Witte into power. It was like- 
wise inevitable in a country where all the power rests with the 
Government, that Witte in strengthening capitalism should seek 
to establish State capitalism, just as Alexander II. in abolishing 
the slavery of the agriculturists to the landlords, should 
establish instead a slavery to the State. 

The crushing defeat of Russia by Prance and England in the 
Crimean War necessitated revolutionary changes in the Russian 
army if the country were to preserve its independence. The 
professional army of military slaves forced to twenty-five years 
of service, had to be replaced by the much larger modern army 
of all the young men of the nation enlisted for a few years and 
trained by a certain "patriotism" as much as by fear. The 
peasants, breaking out more and more in revolt, had to be made 
over not only into loyal but into zealous subjects. War rail- 
roads had to be built, and a new fleet and modern armament 
were indispensable. At least there had to be enough clothes to 
keep the soldiers from freezing, as happened so frequently in 
that war; there had to be medical attendance for the sick and 
wounded, the miserable lack of which had caused more losses 
than the enemies' bullets; and enough powder, also lacking, 
for the cannons and guns. But the country could pay no more 
even for these important purposes. The serfs had to be liberated 
then and modern railroads and industry introduced, or the 
country would be divided up by the foreign powers. It was 
not an internal situation that abolished serfdom and moved 
Russia once more into modern Europe, but the imperative 
necessity of keeping up with her neighbours or belonging to 
them. 

Modern civilisation is a whole. It is doubtful if modern 
machinery can be used without introducing modern ideas and 
a measure of liberty for the individual and democracy for the 
mass. To be able to borrow the money for railroads, passing 



n6 RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

through a non-industrial region that does not give profits in the 
early years, one must have high taxes to pay the interest on the 
railway bonds. To get carrying profits even from the grain- 
trade in an impoverished country, the export business must be 
developed. But high taxes can only be secured from the high 
profits of modern industry and modern agriculture, and it is 
only the latter than can produce enough surplus grain to keep 
going an export trade. Modern industry needs metal and not 
paper money. A debtor nation must have a large export trade, 
and the export trade may make possible gold money. It is 
all one piece — modern armies and fleets and military railroads, 
a large government debt, high taxes, gold money, large agricul- 
tural exports and a protected industry. And all this was forced 
on the unwilling Czars by the fact that Russia is an integral part 
of the modern world. 

State capitalism went further in Russia than elsewhere. 
In monopolising the manufacture of spirits Witte undertook 
one of the very largest businesses in the country; in founding 
mortgage banks and pushing the active participation of the 
Government banks and railroads in the furtherance or hindrance 
of this or that business enterprise, he became the financial 
dictator of the country as much as the Czar, his master, is the 
direct dictator over its political and military life. And as the 
Czar, his master, was helpless before the great fact of human 
nature, that men cannot be governed by external violence, 
so Witte was helpless against the great economic fact that the 
prosperity of a nation cannot be attained without the economic 
elevation of the masses of the people. 

The Council of State confessed at the end of the year 1902 
that "the Government is powerless for the reorganisation of the 
life of the peasants and the assistance of agricultural industry." 
This is an acknowledgment of the complete economic failure 
of the Czarism. Three-fourths of the Russian people are 
peasants and two-thirds of her wealth comes from agricultural 
industry. What is the use of State socialism or autocratic 
capitalism if all economic hope of regenerating " in this 
epoch" the chief national industry and the chief industrial 
class is abandoned? For Witte has used in the State 
budget the explicit words that this regeneration must belong 



AUTOCRACY'S LAST HOPE 117 

to a future epoch — that is,, a future generation, or even 
a future century. 

Witte was forced to avow his helplessness not by war or 
revolution, for neither had yet begun, but by the inevitable 
industrial crisis that must arise when it is sought to build up a 
modern industry among a people a large part of which is 
starving every other year, and is happy to have enough to eat 
let alone being able to purchase the product of the countries' 
factories or to give goods or passengers to its railroads. 

But before this frank confession of failure had been forced 
on Witte by the tremendous panic and crash of Russian industry 
in 1900, which he himself had feared, he had already succeeded 
in one-third revolutionising the economy of Russia. I say one- 
third revolutionising, for many of the best Russian economists 
contend that the same policy by which he revolutionised Russian 
industry is largely accountable for the progressive and constant 
decay of agriculture. 

As I have suggested, the modernising process in the national 
economy began at the time of the emancipation of the serfs 
in 1 861. It took a much more rapid course, on the ascension 
of Alexander III. in 1882, under Witte's predecessor Wishne- 
gradsky. It was he that first introduced the high protective 
customs tariff and increased every other form of indirect taxation 
on articles of consumption. As fast as the peasants began to 
use some manufactured and imported article, or rather as fast 
as the non-starving minority were able to do this, the article 
was burdened with a crushing taxation. A part of the peasants 
began to drink tea with sugar, to wear cotton, to use petroleum, 
and matches and to employ steel ploughs and iron nails. Almost 
in proportion to the increased use the taxes were raised. Again 
and again this happened, and was repeated under Witte, and 
was repeated again in the last two years, until the already 
miserable Russian peasant now pays two, three, and four times 
as much for these articles as do the people of Germany or France. 
The result has been that, although the cost of producing such 
simple articles is falling enormously everywhere and the 
consumption doubling again and again, consumption has risen 
very slowly in all Russia and still more slowly among those most 
in need. The peasant can afford only the fewest nails, the 



118 RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

cheapest plough, and almost no petroleum. His single shirt 
must last a season, sugar is a luxury and his beloved tea an 
occasional drink. 

Under Witte 's predecessor the peasants were already begin- 
ning to bear the new load of the railroads and manufacturing 
industry, added to the already crushing payments they were 
forced to make to their former masters for their so-called freedom 
and the possession of a part of the land they had always occu- 
pied. In 1 89 1 the customs tariff was again increased; during 
Witte's first ten years, 1892-1902, the mileage of the Russian 
railways was doubled, the operations of the State banks were 
still more rapidly increased and a new bank was formed for lend- 
ing money to the nobility; in 1894 the State monopolised the 
alcohol industry, and in 1897 the gold standard was finally 
established. 

All these measures were again bound together as a single 
whole along with the export of grain. For evidently the gold 
standard could not be maintained unless from year to year Russia 
should receive from abroad in payment for her exports a sum 
of gold sufficient to enable her to pay the interest on the huge 
stuns she was borrowing. But the peasants export very little, 
since they produce scarcely enough for their own elementary 
needs. While they were crushed with the indirect taxes required 
to support the new huge and artificial economic structure, their 
enemies, the landlords, were allowed to reach their hands into 
the treasury of this poverty-stricken State. They were loaned 
money below the current rates and in amounts greater than 
their properties justified. Having one bank for this purpose, 
another was created with the high-sounding name of " Peasants 9 
Bank" to enable the most needy landlords to sell out at high 
prices to the few prospering peasants who had elevated them- 
selves by usury to their starving neighbours and in their turn 
have become rich proprietors — some having by now millions 
of acres. But more than this, Witte stated that he did what 
he could in this starving country, which was no little, to keep 
up the prices of grain for the landlord's benefit. 

But the famines came along regularly every other year, boun- 
tiful foreign crops or financial crises lowered prices in spite of 
him, and Witte confessed finally to the Czar that they did not 



AUTOCRACY'S LAST HOPE 119 

possess the economic dictatorship of the earth. Witte was fond 
of saying to his own associates: " But you don't know the cards." 
He had not played his last card and had a most disagreeable sur- 
prise in store for the landlords and the Czar. We need not 
accuse Witte of duplicity at this point. He had always favoured 
industry — even though sometimes only as a home market for 
agriculture. He now felt himself strong enough, and his 
policies far enough in practice, to display his hand. 

The budget speech of 1897 is already addressed to a greater 
power in the end than the Russian landlords, that is, to inter- 
national capital. Of course his relations with the great bankers 
were private. The budget address is aimed at their prot£g£s, 
the small investors. The minister of finance finds now that 
low agricultural prices have their good sides for other elements 
than the landlords. And he boasts that the product of industry 
is now greater than that of agriculture. Industry had increased 
rapidly though artificially, but Witte used here a very vulgar 
prospectus writer's trick. The product of agriculture he 
reckoned at one and a half billion rubles, that of industry at 
two billions. But a large part of the value of the product of 
industry is due merely to raw material. The expert De Vaux 
reckoned the net product at this time as four hundred million 
or one-fifth as much as Witte. 

Instead of being the rich country Witte boasted, Russia is 
almost incredibly poor. One of Witte's modern devices was 
the savings banks. The pennies of the non-starving minority 
of the people were collected in Government saloons, post- 
offices, railway-stations, ships, barracks, and even schools — 
from the first to the last always the pitiful total of about five 
rubles from each depositor. In the fifteen years of Witte's 
administration (1 891—1906) the total of the depositors increased 
from one to five million, of the deposits from two hundred to 
one thousand million rubles. The bank was a good piece of 
business for the Government. But it is only another sign of 
the poverty of this vast nation. The bank has ceased to 
grow so rapidly and probably most of the available pennies 
are already collected. What is a billion rubles among a 
hundred and forty million people? The savings banks of other 
smaller countries have ten times as much. 



i*o RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

This money of course nearly all goes over to the Government. 
It is like another tax. The Government pays low interest and 
gets high. At first the money went directly into Government 
bbnds. But wise and modern Witte has put it into his rail- 
ways and his land banks. And in spite of all, the show remains 
a wretched one. In 1902, after all Witte's borrowing, Russia 
had only forty-two thousand miles of railways to two hundred 
thousand in the United States. Moreover, perhaps a fourth of 
Russia's roads are merely military and most of them are miserably 
built and equipped. The estimates for all the Russian state 
railways (two-thirds of the total) in the budget of 1906 were 
pitifully small — for construction forty-two million rubles, for 
improvements twelve million, for rolling stock two million, 
and for repair of locomotives three million. Divide these figures 
by two to bring them to dollars and they will not by any means 
be as high as those of several private American companies 
for the same year. No wonder the bitter and ceaseless com- 
plaints that appear from day to day in the Russian press from 
every branch of business. Every day products are undelivered, 
factories closed for lack of fuel, perishable goods ruined in trans- 
port and whole train-loads destroyed by accidents. 

Russia is wretchedly provided with railroads; the United 
States has eight times as many miles for each soul of her popu- 
lation. But still Russia will find it difficult to build more until 
it is arranged that her people shall cease to starve. Witte 
boasted that the annual loss on the railroads, had fallen from 
one hundred and seventy-six million rubles in 1892 to ninety 
million in 1897. According to the juggled official figures it 
fell to only thirty-five million in 1901, but by 1903 it had 
risen again to sixty million and is not likely soon to fall. 

Far worse, and in the end a greater waste, for the country is 
the almost complete absence of roads. I have seen almost no 
paved roads except for a few miles from the towns and across 
some of the properties of the grand dukes of the Czar. The 
mileage of paved roads in France is one hundred and in Great 
Britain six hundred times as great as in Russia. 

In fact Russia has none of the elements of great wealth except 
the raw materials of the earth that would have been there 
were the land without people at all. She has neither a great 



AUTOCRACY'S LAST HOPE xax 

agriculture, a great transportation system, a great industry, 
a great internal, or a great external trade in proportion to 
her population. The value of the products of Russian indus- 
try as reckoned by Witte in 1897 was less than one-tenth, that 
of agriculture one-fifteenth, of those of the United States. The 
Russian farmers, confesses Witte, are in the economic position 
of European farmers of 1800 or 1850. I shall later show this 
to be a fact. 

The Russian farmer gets only one-third the product per 
acre the English or German does, though he has a much better 
soil. While the total wheat product of the United States 
increased more than a third during the last decade, that of 
miserable Russia increased less than one-tenth, not as fast as 
the population. During this period while Russian exports of 
wheat remained about the same, ours nearly doubled 

But as I have shown, the whole economic structure of Russian 
society and the credit of the Government rests largely on the 
exports, of which two-thirds are grain and all but 3 per 
cent, raw or half-raw products. The export of animals and 
animal products in this vast country, so much better adapted to 
the purposes of animal raising than Canada, is less than one- 
tenth that of the latter comparatively small country. Russia " 
exports less wool than she imports and less than ten other 
smaller countries. 

The total trade of Russia increased in the last decade be- 
fore the war, only 25 per cent., less rapidly than the popu- 
lation. The exports, however, increased only 14 per cent, 
and the so necessary favourable balance of trade, or superiority 
of exports over imports, fell by one-third. More recently, in 
1903, 1904, and 1905, it seems surprising to find that this balance 
has doubled. The explanation of this, according to a personal 
remark of Finance Minister Shipov, was that the peasants were 
so necessitous that they were forced to sell products needed by 
their animals and themselves, and these products were then 
exported. But even then the balance was only about four 
hundred million rubles, not enough to pay the annual interest 
on the foreign debts of the State, the railroads, and the great 
industrial enterprises. And then came, in the years 1906 and 
1907, the periodical famine. 



i2 2 RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

The false policy of the minister of finance kept up the exports 
the first of these years in order to pay the country's bad debts, 
but now even reactionaries are demanding the prohibition of 
the export of the food of a starving people. The Government 
has not forbidden, but it has discouraged, the shipping away 
of grain, and this has rapidly diminished. 

But in the coming decade, as in the last, reckoning every 
second or third year as a. famine year, as has been the case for 
several decades, the excess of exports over imports will scarcely 
average more than two hundred million rubles, or less than half 
enough to pay the interest, to say nothing of payments on the 
principal, on the foreign debt. 

Whether the Russian Government is a failure as a business 
institution or not, it is certain that the nation under its present 
masters is not a successful business concern. The Government 
has the advantage over the nation in that it can secure money 
from abroad, either through the hope of the lenders that it will 
be able to shoot and whip more taxes out of the people, or that 
it will lend the aid of its rifles and cannons or warships to some 
foreign ally. In either case the foreign investor is lending not 
to a business, but to an army of mercenaries. 

And in either case there are two sides to this bargain. If 
the foreign investor in Russian bonds agrees to ask no question 
as to where or how the Czar gets the money to pay him his 
interest, the Czar must furnish the guns. He is subject to a 
large extent to the wishes of the creditors to whom he must 
appeal year after year. Already the most powerful reactionary 
and Governmental organ has protested angrily that it is not 
the Duma but the foreign financiers that constitute Russia's 
real parliament. 

This, then, is where the new finance and the last hope of 
the autocracy has led — to a permanent financial dependence 
on foreign capital. And if internal poverty is the weakness 
of Witte's policy, it is this external dependence that is its strength. 
The international bankers are exacting, but they are the 
powerful and invaluable friends that are keeping the Czarism 
together. For the Czarism is not supported by Russia — the 
Russians would have destroyed it long ago — but by the whole 
world through its gold. 



AUTOCRACY'S LAST HOPE 123 

Russia is poor but the world is rich. The Russian finances 
in themselves are as hopeless as were those of Prance before the 
Revolution. But at that time there was not a tithe of the wealth 
there is in the world to-day, and all the nations but England 
were poorer than France. Now there are four great nations 
each with several times the wealth of Russia, and four smaller 
ones as rich. All the older countries are overflowing with 
capital seeking profitable investment, and Russia, like India 
or China, has become a financial protectorate of international 
capital. 

Already Russia is the heaviest indebted as well as the poorest 
of the great nations. The Government has borrowed five 
billion rubles for military purposes and three billion for the 
railways, while Russia's private railways and industries have 
indebted themselves for an almost equal sum. From 1890 to 
1896 there were four large Government loans, from 1897 to l 9°3 
most of the borrowing was private. Since the war every year 
again requires large borrowings from abroad. The taxes have 
been brought nearly to the limits; the chief expenditures, the 
military and naval, are about to be increased, for only by 
maintaining her armed strength does Russia obtain her foreign 
military allies and loans. It seems that the deficit of several 
hundred millions, euphemistically called in the budget 
"extraordinary expenditure," must remain. Every year or two 
will see a new loan, just as every two or three years sees a new 
famine. The sums paid for interest will increase and the 
Government's financial position will remain of the most difficult. 
It will not mean bankruptcy unless there is some international 
military or financial crisis. For if the Government has not the 
power to make fundamental financial reforms, it can, with the 
aid of foreign capital, maintain the present taxes and 
expenditure. 

But the country is clamouring for reform and reform can 
mean in a position like Russia's nothing but decreased taxation 
or increased Government expenditure. Those who want any- 
thing fundamental, whether it is a new fleet or better schools, 
will have to solve the financial problem. And they will soon 
see that it is useless to go to the Government, and will begin 
more and more to look over the head of the minister of finance 



i2 4 RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

and the Czar, to their financial masters abroad. Here also 
they will get no more than they have already gotten, and all 
the vigorous forces of the country, both revolutionary and 
reactionary, may turn against the foreign creditor. Already 
the revolutionaries have announced they will recognise no loan 
not authorised by a people's Duma, and the reactionaries almost 
as a man declare that Witte has turned over Russia to the 
international Jews (e. g., financiers). The popular measure 
Would be the suspension of interest on the bonds or its payment 
in paper money, rather of course than the cruder cancellation 
of the debt. 

In the meanwhile private capital is not accumulating to any 
great extent in Russia, simply because the larger share of 
profitable business has been monopolised by the Government. 
According to Witte's figures, already quoted, the private income 
of Russia cannot be more than two or three billion rubles. 
But the Government industries and railroads themselves produce 
a billion gross income and it takes another billion from the 
people in the form of taxes. The Government besides borrows 
several hundred million, which is several times as much as 
private enterprises get from abroad. The Russian people, then, 
already owes most of its income directly to the Government, 
whether in the form of salaries, purchases, or contracts. The 
way to make money, then, is not to go into business, but to stand 
in with the officials or to be one. Naturally the accumulation 
of capital under these conditions is slow. Without materially 
diminishing poverty State capitalism has made all but impossible 
the rapid accumulation of wealth. 

Witte *s conception of the omnipotent state went so far as to 
consider it as the "dispenser of credit" and arbiter of industry. 
He dilates upon the greatness of this power, but never once sug- 
gests that it might be used to enable the peasant to support 
himself and accumulate capital enough to modernise his agri- 
culture. Witte simply delivered the economic policy of the 
Government for a short time from the hands of the landlords 
and gave it over to the foreign financiers. The Japanese war 
loans strengthened the grip of the financiers, but the dismissal 
of Witte, the reaction against all liberalism, and the third 
Duma, seem again about to deliver it over to the landlords. 



AUTOCRACY'S LAST HOPE 125 

Still more likely is a return under the leadership of Stolypine 
and Gutchkov to the middle course followed during the reign 
of the father of the present Czar, by which Russian landlords 
and foreign capitalists inside and outside of Russia divide 
among them all the rich profits of the benevolent despotism 
that do not fall to the bureaucracy's lot. 

Inertia, reaction, or merely formal reform, these are the 
three courses open to the Government, but the greatest of these 
is inertia. Inertia defeated completely the heroic measures 
of Peter the Great to Prussianise his empire and reduced his 
bureaus to parodies in later years. The impossibility of bringing 
about any great economic reforms in a country presided over 
by violence, and where neither freedom of contract nor equality 
before the law nor inviolability either of property or labour 
prevail, the contradiction of obtaining the funds for the carry- 
ing out of such reforms by promising the aid of the Russian 
army in case of war, or by guaranteeing the use of the same 
arbitrary power to squeeze the money in some way out of the 
people — all this is reducing to a still more tragic parody Witte's 
efforts to modernise Russia by marrying the autocracy to the 
money-power. The union has taken place and it has brought 
its fruits. But it is like a union of royal houses. The people 
were not consulted. But they are already surly and the strength 
of sullen resistance knows no bounds. There are economic laws 
even in Russia. Against these neither the Czarism nor capi- 
talism is able to have its will. What these laws are I can say 
only after I have spoken of the people, of the new Russia that 
is in some degree independent of the Government, and of the 
several efforts to bring the people to a consciousness of the 
economic realities in which they live. 



CHAPTER XI 

THE PEOPLES' ENEMIES ARE THE CZAR'S ALLIES 

NEITHER reform by violence nor the State Socialism 
(or State capitalism) has put any check on the campaign 
of the reactionary classes against progress. The present ten- 
dency of the Russian Government is the resultant of these three 
forces — the strengthening and better organisation of the brute 
power of the State, its absorption of private industry, and 
measures against liberty of the individual in every sphere of 
private and public life — the "coming slavery" that haunted 
Herbert Spencer. 

This tendency will be maintained until the Czar has been 
forced to acknowledge, not that he has voluntarily granted some 
reform while his power remains intact, but that the people have 
compelled him to abdicate or to share his power. 

The coming Government, like the present one, will be rich 
and strong. It will not need to bother about the details of 
the persecution of the individual. But it will still need the 
support, against the ever rising tide of. revolutionary feeling r 
of certain classes that receive their income from privilege 
rather than directly from the coffers of the State. It will have 
to seek the aid of these through lending them the arbitrary 
power of the State to crush their rivals on the principle shown 
in an earlier chapter, or, as we shall now see, to crush their 
employees. It will be done, not in disorder as now, but by law 
as the moderate reactionaries suggest. 

Western Europeans and Americans do not have the habit 
of mind of thinking of social evolution as sometimes going 
backward. There has been too much prosperity in the past 
century in America, Great Britain, and France for these countries 
to have a very defined idea of the reverse of progress. Never- 
theless we all know that a nation can move backward, and 
we must realise that it is on the whole reaction which is desired 

126 



PEOPLES' ENEMIES ARE CZAR'S ALLIES 127 

by a large part, if not the majority, of Russia's ruling classes — 
not because they hate progress in the abstract but because they 
hate it in Russia where it endangers their incomes, their priv- 
ileges and their domination. 

The changes will begin at the bottom, they will be tried 
first in the schools. There must be no more trouble from the 
unruly children of the rich and privileged who now absorb 
ideals of progress and liberty and upset the universities. They 
will be trained to worship the Emperor, to spend their youth 
in dissipation, to ignore every serious interest and study except 
that of their future official career, and to hate foreigners, peas- 
ants, and working people, as do the youths of the Prussian 
universities at the present time. 

The monarchists' congress in Moscow (July, 1907) demanded 
a "sound Russian national school." A model specimen has 
indeed just been opened in St. Petersburg. We can picture 
how it may carry the Prussian school idea beyond anything ever 
approached on its native soil. In connection with the same 
propaganda for the enforcement of sound national ideas the 
congress insisted on the "effective" punishment of agitation 
in the press, as if the censorship had not already gone beyond 
anything known in modern times. 

The reactionaries are clamouring for the same programme 
they were in the past, based, first of all, on opposition to all 
traces of democracy in the Government, and next on the "prior- 
ity of the Russian race in Russia," with all the persecution 
this implies. They are still insisting on the continuance of the 
principles of Alexander HI., followed by the present Czar 
without exception for the first ten years of his reign, and restored 
to the full in the creation of the new landlords' Duma. Whether 
the reaction has restored the landlords to power, or the 
landlords have brought about the reaction, will never be 
decided. No Russian could ever imagine either landlord power 
or reaction as existing independent of the other. 

At the monarchist congress preceding the one I have just 
mentioned the president, the nobleman and landlord Shere- 
batov, declared that during the revolution the nobility had 
either kept silent or in the persons of its leaders had joined 
the enemy. Now the landlord class has awakened, expelled 



rag RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

from its assemblies most of these traitorous leaders, and its con- 
gresses together with the League of Russian Men have directed 
the policies of the Government. It was the landlords 9 
organisation and the league that demanded the dissolution of 
the first Duma, and the coup <T$tat that dissolved the second 
and put the people's representatives in an insignificant minority 
by an election law framed directly contrary to the Czar's so-called 
unchangeable fundamental laws. 

These monarchists congresses, then, have a great significance. 
They indicate clearly the position of Russia's ruling class, 
since both the league and the landlords are represented there. 
The president's speech in 1906 was a beacon in the often incom- 
prehensible obscurity of reaction. If the Duma should be 
abolished altogether, says this courtier and landlord, let us hope 
it will be replaced by an assembly of the old Russian character 
composed exclusively of " the population that composes Russia's 
roots." The Czar did not follow this advice in its entirety; 
he preserved the name of Duma, and left a few representatives 
to the Caucasians and Poles. But he certainly went more than 
half way toward the goal. One more short step and it will 
be reached. 

"The principle of the sovereign prerogatives of the Russian 
nation" must be expressed in several ways said Sherebatov. 
First, all the responsible official positions are to be filled with 
scions of pure Russian stock, and even at least half the clerks 
must be of the dominant race. The congress of 1907 went 
further and extended its protection not only to Russian clerks 
but even to Russian servants. It decided its members were to 
use every means to get positions among Christian families for 
such servants as were employed by Jews. It is indeed wise for 
the league to promise something to the servants, for it is among 
the most ignorant of these that it obtains in the larger cities 
most of its members. 

The difficulty of the league and other organisations supported 
by the landlords, is not to influence the Government, but to 
get members. There are only about a hundred thousand noble 
landlords. The Government officials, house-servants and small 
shopkeepers do not form a tithe of the population. The 
peasantry, conceded Sherebatov, was in commotion and, 



PEOPLE'S ENEMIES ARE CZAR'S ALLIES 129 

"without noticing it," he claims, "followed the revolutionists." 
It is hoped to win these back through the priesthood. The 
resolution passed by this congress about the punishing of any 
priests who make themselves offensive by their liberality in the 
Duma, or in any way opposing the league's principles, is being 
carried into effect. Every day priests who have assumed any 
kind of popular leadership are immured in the monasteries, 
those who spoke for the people in the Duma have been unfrocked, 
and two- thirds of the present delegation in the Duma is composed 
of reactionaries of the most violent character. 

This extraordinary movement that professes to be so loyal 
to the Czar is strangely opposed to the Government. It 
savagely attacks officialdom for losing the Japanese war and 
wants an account of the nation's expenditures. It is opposed 
to the arbitrariness and corruption in the bureaucracy to the 
point that it would destroy the bureaucracy's power. But not 
by making ministers and officials responsible to the Duma. 
Oh, no, this would be democratic. They are to be made more 
responsible to — the Czar! To the Czar's thousand bureaus 
and councils is to be added another, a supreme court, above 
all the others and directly answerable to the "Most High." 
To this court each of Russia's sixty million adult citizens is to 
have access, and all will be well. Such is the political science 
of the reactionary mind. 

The political economy of our "Czarists" may be summed 
up in a word. The State is all. I have spoken of the steps 
toward the State monopoly of industry, transportation and 
credit. The professional reactionist does not stop half-way; 
he always goes further than the Government. The State, which 
is all, surely need not burden itself with the necessity of keeping 
hoarded up a supply of gold as the basis for money. Paper 
money is not only a natural demand in a desperately impover- 
ished and indebted country, it is the inevitable logical outcome 
of all the thinking and all the principles, such as they are, that 
underlie the Czarism. 

The Czars have never ruled alone. They have always had 
the indispensable support of a powerful ruling caste. The 
autocracy has merely been the device by which this oligarchy 
has governed. While subjecting themselves absolutely to the 



i 3 o RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

autocrat, the landlords have relied on the fact that it is from 
their ranks that are naturally chosen courtiers, ministers, 
generals and administrators. Landlords are the chief source 
of the Czar's information, teach him in childhood, advise him 
when he governs, execute his orders, and organise the demon- 
strations of loyalty that give some appearance of popularity 
to the system. In return the landlords have offered the Czar 
a loyal and zealous support. Whatever causes they may have 
had for complaint, no considerable part of the landlords have 
for centuries been so foolish as to attempt to overthrow a system 
that has worked so admirably in their interests. When the 
Czars have been wise, they have done everything in their power 
for the landlord class. When they have been weak, innumerable 
wealthy or ambitious landlords have crowded to the court to 
become the true governors of the land. But only rarely have 
the landlords tried to moderate, and never have they tried to 
abolish, the autocratic system. 

So for a thousand years the people of Russia have been 
living under a double slavery — abject economic subjection to 
the landlords, and abject political subjection to the State. 
But always while the people owed a double servitude, the 
masters were really one. The Czar himself is the greatest land- 
holder and the natural head of the class. The landlords owe 
their property, their privileges, and their power to their influence 
over the Czar. There were never those very serious conflicts 
among the members of nobility, and between the nobility 
and the chief ruler, that gave the people a chance to obtain a 
share of the power in other European states. There were no 
artificial boundaries to give rise to independent robber barons; 
the constant threat of Tartar and Turkish invasion strengthened 
the military power and maintained the absolute dominion of 
the Czar. There were no great seaports or trading centres to 
build up independent towns, no industries to create a buffer 
middle-class. When occasionally the Czar's generals and 
governors were chosen from among the people they at once 
became landlords, since the land constituted the sole great 
treasure of the State from which to draw their rewards. 

For centuries the peasants have borne this double servitude 
under changing forms. During these centuries serfdom was 



PEOPLE'S ENEMIES ARE CZAR'S ALLIES 131 

instituted and then abolished, and finally a " constitution" 
has been granted and elections held. But the Czar still remains 
autocrat with absolute and unlimited powers, he still governs 
in the interest of the landlord caste, draws most of the ministers 
and nearly all the governors and generals from the landlords, 
and relies almost entirely for his power on their enthusiastic 
and eager support. In the new Duma it is in the main the 
landlords, elected under the unequal election law not by the 
people but by themselves, that vote for the measures of the 
Czar. As for centuries, the Czarism and the landlord caste 
stand united to maintain their rule. 

In the present revolutionary crisis the landlords are no longer 
entirely united, but none favour the peasants' programme. 
Practically all are loyal to the monarchy, and the overwhelming 
majority are zealously fighting to preserve the autocratic 
State. They are divided with few and insignificant exceptions 
into three parties: the extreme reactionaries, the conservatives 
or moderate reactionaries, and the moderate liberals. Perhaps 
the most influential are still the extreme reactionaries who 
demand a complete return to the old order: the peasants to be 
held on the level of serfs, the towns and industries to be left in 
the hands of an irresponsible bureaucracy limited only by the 
influence of the court party, which is and must remain the only 
possible source of control over the Governmental machine. 
For in a country as enormous and complex as modern Russia, 
government by an absolute monarch means government by 
the court party. No ruler ever lived that could impress his 
single will on such a State. 

The reactionaries' programme may be summed up in the single 
word — repression. Let Russia be bathed in blood if necessary 
until the last spark of self-assertion among the people be 
destroyed. Then let the Czar abolish the Duma forever, 
revive the Orthodox Church, and renew the persecutions against 
Russian dissenters, Polish Catholics, and Jews. Finally, let a 
general economic reform be introduced of such a character that 
none but those sentimental landlords who happen to have some 
sentimental attachment to their estates could cavil at its terms — 
a reform that in turning over part of the land to the peasants 
would leave the landlords better off than before, and let the 



i 3 2 RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

nation pay the bill. Let the Government subsidise the so- 
called "Peasants' Bank" and let that bank gradually buy up 
estates. In this way, former Minister of Agriculture Kutler 
himself pointed out, the prices of estates stimulated by 
Government bidding would constantly rise, and the landlords 
would secure even more than the present rack-rent prices for 
their lands. Kutler was so outraged at this proposition made 
by Count Witte in 1906 that he resigned from the ministry and 
became the chairman of the second Duma's commission on the 
land question and is now the financial expert and leader of the 
moderate opposition party. 

This "reform" would cost Russia three or four billion rubles, 
about as much as the Japanese war. I was actually approached 
by one of the most notorious leaders of the court party last fall, 
Count X., with an inquiry as to my opinion about the possibility 
of his interesting American financiers in such a loan. The 
count had heard that America was overflowing with money 
to be had by foreign governments on good security at 3 
and 4 per cent. Might not America lend Russia a billion 
dollars or two on the security of her land? The count was of 
the same group of reactionaries which proposed to mortgage 
the Russian railways to some Morgan syndicate, and which 
actually succeeded in putting a large part of the securities of 
the " Peasants ' Bank" in English hands, with hopes of continuing 
the process. 

Until his "execution" by terrorists, the notorious Jew-baiter, 
Count Ignatiev, was the leader of this party in the court. 
Pobiedonostzev, head of the church, Trepov, military dictator 
of St. Petersburg, and the other chief advisers of the Czar with 
few exceptions belonged to it and were its principal support. 
Some of the largest landlords in the country, such as Prince 
Sheremetrieff, also a power in the court, have spoken openly 
on all occasions since the October Manifesto in favour of a return 
to pure Orthodoxy, autocracy, and nationalist persecution. 

This party, which might be called the "old" landlords 9 
party, is "legal" — that is, allowed to hold public meetings 
and demonstrations ; while all the large parties of the Duma, 
even the moderate Constitutional Democrats, are still "illegal." 
Yet the basis of its programme is violence, illegal governmental 



PEOPLE'S ENEMIES ARE CZAR'S ALLIES 133 

violence, without the check even of military law, where govern- 
mental violence is effective, and wherever it is not, the arming 
of the dregs of the population against all the better classes. 
It is this class that has hired to guard their estates large bands 
of so-called Cossacks, often really only raw recruits raked even 
from the refuse of prisons. One noble landlord told me that he 
had instructed his ruffians, as soon as any peasant touched any 
of his property, to burn the whole thatch-roofed village down. 
This was in fact the official decision reached at the landlords' 
congress as to the action to be taken in case of peasant attack. 

But why does this landlord party give itself up to counter- 
revolutionary violence rather than to its more profitable economic 
reform, the purchase of its lands by the Government at a figure 
beyond all criticism? The cause is this. First, the revolu- 
tionary propaganda among the peasants has given them the 
hope and the courage to demand for nothing the land that they 
have already repeatedly purchased with their sweat and blood. 
The peasants refuse to buy. In the meanwhile the revolutionary 
movement forces some of the landlords to flee and sell their 
estates. Second, the national credit is so low that the 
Government could scarcely get the money to make the purchase. 
After all the landlords, even the most violent, are business men. 
If by fair or unfair means they can crush the revolution, the 
field of exploitation will again be theirs. They do not have 
at their disposal any huge corruption funds like our corporation 
magnates. With all their millions of acres they are "land poor." 
But they are almost in complete control of this great engine of 
violence, the Russian Government, and by that means a large 
part among them still hopes to achieve their ends. 

But the new landlord party in the court would rather follow 
the well-tried methods of the Prussian, Polish, Austrian, and 
Hungarian proprietors. They do not hope to bring about a 
return to old conditions. They do not want to abolish the 
Duma, but to dissolve it and change the election law back to 
the Prussian model, as was recently done in Saxony. They 
knew the Duma was created not by the Czar or the revolution, 
but by the foreign financiers, and that therefore it cannot be 
entirely done away with. They wish, not more violence, but 
the continued application of the present measures of repression 



134 RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

which have imprisoned and exiled two hundred thousand or 
three hundred thousand people during last year. They relied 
at first on the "constitution," which allows the Czar's "council" 
to counteract the Duma and in which event permits the Czar 
to enact the laws alone. 

With the enactment of an election law that left three-fourths 
of the provinces entirely in the landlords' hands, and gave them 
nearly all the rest in common with an electoral body composed 
exclusively of the wealthy and privileged classes of the towns, 
the proprietors were inspired with a new life. In the third 
Duma the majority of the extreme reactionary group of more 
than one hundred members, and of the moderate reactionary 
group of 150 members, are landlords, while a third group that 
takes a position between the two, the so-called simple rights, 
is composed almost exclusively of landowners. Of these three 
groups the moderates hold the balance of power, but only 
when the democratic and popular parties, who are often so 
disgusted with the Duma that they refuse to participate, happen 
to decide to vote with their moderate against their extreme 
enemies. Otherwise not the moderate, but the centre reaction- 
aries, control. This also often happens when the less moderate 
landlord members of the moderate group vote with their more 
violently reactionary friends. In either case the almost ex- 
clusively landlord party controls entirely the national assembly. 
And in any case, even when the landlords don't control, they 
entirely dominate the Duma. 

The leader of this moderate reactionary party is the wealthy 
Count Bobrinsky. It has already become almost the official 
party of the landlords* congress. Perhaps to a greater extent 
even than the still more extreme reactionaries it now has the 
sympathy of the ministry and the Czar, and it is in close alliance 
with the Octobrists who actually propose certain moderate 
reforms. Both parties, however, are agreed that the landlords 
are to suffer no loss in whatever transformation is to come. 

The least influential and numerous party among the land- 
lords has been touched with the liberal ideas of the middle 
classes of the towns and feels that Russia can neither go back 
nor stop at the present point of her political evolution. They 
have joined in the movement ot the Constitutional Democrats, 



PEOPLE'S ENEMIES ARE CZAR'S ALLIES 135 

the Progressists or the "Peaceful Regenerators" in the belief 
that the victory of liberalism and the gradual evolution of a 
moderately democratic state, may stop the revolution and save 
them from threatened financial ruin. Some have formed 
the so-called "right wing" of the landlords' party; others 
have formed the more conservative and independent 
group of "Peaceful Regeneration." Such are the Princes 
Dolgorukov, Trubetzkoi, and Lvov, Count Heyden, and former 
Minister Kutler. Their policy seemed the wisest for the land- 
lords and at first promised to become the most successful. 
Their influence on the Constitutional Democrats has so far 
moderated the latter's position of revolutionary opposition to 
the Government that this party has lost what little popularity 
it formerly enjoyed among the people. The party owed its 
power in the second Duma almost entirely to a few hundred 
thousand city electors, who, under the unjust election law 
even of that Duma, controlled almost as many members as the 
twenty million peasants. But the Constitutional Democrats 
have increased their influence over the ministers and the foreign 
financiers as fast as they have lost it with the people. The party 
that in an early congress recognised the democratic republic as 
the goal toward which Russia must evolve, later defended 
the monarch in the Duma against all disloyal remarks. Its 
leader, Hessen, has declared that his party was ready to com- 
promise both on the great political issue, on equal suffrage and 
on the great economic issue, the handing over of the land to 
the people. 

Before the meeting of the first Duma the peasant party 
leader, Aladdin, reminded us that the Constitutional Democratic 
Party, of whom a considerable majority were landlords, could 
never understand or satisfy the peasants' demands. The 
leaders at that time were Petrunkevitch, Roditchev and Nabo- 
kov, all noblemen and landlords. These men were not members 
of the avowedly conservative "right wing" of the party, but 
of the centre. Public spirit certainly plays a prominent part 
in their opinions. Nevertheless they are landlords, and so 
little were the peasants, their tenants and labourers, satisfied 
with their lukewarm advocacy of the peasants' cause in the first 
Duma, that they decreased their number to a half in the second. 



i 3 6 RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

Many landlords joined this conservatively liberal party, 
but the peasants turned against it the more bitterly as the 
landlords joined. After centuries of oppression they have 
little confidence in a party half composed of landlords and 
fought at nearly every point by their own elected representa- 
tives. A generation ago they had a great experience with a 
reform amended and carried, if not originally executed, by 
the landlord class. The generation they have lived out since 
has proved one of the most bitter of history. 

The peasants of that time were even opposed to their emanci- 
pation without enough land to keep them from starvation. 
Warned by the emancipation and pauperisation of the peasants 
of Prussia, and of the German and Polish parts of Russia a few 
years before, they feared an abject dependence on the landlords 
for bread more than they hated their blows. The landlords, on 
the other hand, came to look on the emancipation even with 
favour before it was actually put into execution. They looked 
forward to the institution of a new peasantry, free but not 
provided with enough land for their food, as the source of a 
cheaper and more reliable form of farm labourers than the 
serfs. Besides this, they were lured by three immediate economic 
rewards. The State agreed to force the peasants to pay both 
for their liberation and for the miserable plots of land that the 
landlords were forced to leave to them. In addition to these 
immense sums in cash, the landlords took the woods and the 
better half of the pastures, most of which had formerly been 
used, though not owned, by the peasants. The opposition 
offered by the landlords was merely a haggling for terms. When 
the great measure was finally accomplished it more than ful- 
filled the landlords' anticipations and the peasants' fears. No 
sooner was it put into effect in 1861, than a thousand peasant 
revolts reached an importance that required the intervention 
of military force. But it took a generation for this landlords' 
reform to produce its maximum of peasant rain. The famine 
of 1906, following so many others, has brought the industry 
and class on which all Russian society is reared, down to an 
economic level scarcely higher than that they occupied a 
century ago. 

In order to collect the new dues required by the enormous 



PEOPLE'S ENEMIES ARE CZAR'S ALLIES 137 

sums banded over to the landlords, the screws of servitude to 
the autocratic State, which had never for a moment been relaxed, 
were turned on harder than ever. The serfs' bodies were taken 
from the hands of the landlords only to be turned over to 
another more brutal master, the State. The State has always 
been the worse of the two masters. In the generation that 
preceded the emancipation Nicholas I. had forced a large part 
of the peasants to a military slavery of twenty-five years dura- 
tion and to the most inhuman "discipline." But what is less 
known is that this same terrible discipline was applied to all 
the miners of the land, to the post-office and all the lower 
employees of the State. And what is still more important is 
that a police system of an almost equally barbarous severity 
was also applied to half of the peasants working on the land; 
for to nearly half of the peasants the Czar was not only the 
great arch tyrant, but their sole master. The State owned 
literally not only the army which furnished servants and working- 
men, the miners, the State employees, but also nearly one half 
the agricultural serfs. 

By the "emancipation" this State serfdom was simply 
extended over all the land. The police were given a power 
more despotic and scarcely less immediate than that formerly 
the right of the serf -owners. New servitudes replaced the 
old, and it was largely, if not entirely, on the landlords' account 
that their severity was increased. To make easier the collection 
of the State taxes devoted for the greater part to paying indem- 
nities and making loans to the landlords, and to prevent the 
escape of the landlords' quarry of cheaper labour, the emanci- 
pated peasant was again fixed to the land. He could not leave 
his village without a special and rarely granted legal consent. 
When the first rumblings of the present revolution were heard 
this measure was abolished "as a law" only to give place to an 
almost exactly similar regulation by the police. To make the 
collection of taxes more sure the village was made responsible 
as a whole for each delinquent tax-payer. The village was 
then given the right to inflict corporal punishment or forced 
labour on its delinquent members. With the alternative 
hanging over their heads of the ruin and destruction of the 
village by savage Cossacks, the villagers seldom hesitated 



138 RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

to use their powers under the eyes and direction of the police. 
But this is servitude. What more is there to serfdom than 
corporal punishment, forced labour, and fixture to the soil? 

When after two decades the State found it could beat no 
more out of the pauperised and starving peasant, it imposed a 
new and immense and crushing burden of indirect taxes that 
he could not possibly escape. The plan worked so much better 
than the other that these taxes, as already indicated, have 
been increased from year to year until the wretched peasant is 
forced to pay several prices for his plough, the petroleum for his 
lamp, the shirt on his back and even for his poor luxuries, 
sugar and tea. 

Not only has the condition of the people long ago ceased 
to improve, but agriculture has gone backward and the very soil 
has deteriorated. The average peasant farmer is to-day 
producing less per acre than he did at the time of the emanci- 
pation forty years ago — and this at the very period in which 
agriculture has made the most spectacular strides forward, and 
the American farmer is getting almost twice as much from a 
day's labour as before. Year after year the peasant's share of 
land is growing smaller, his horses and cattle are degenerating 
and decreasing in numbers from under-nourishment. The 
horses are already only about half the weight of those of France. 
They require less food, but even taking this into account three 
of them still get scarcely what is necessary for two. Even 
the men are habitually underfed — according to a Government 
report to the extent of 17 per cent. Farm machinery and 
even harness and the iron needed for waggons are almost 
beyond the peasant's reach, and are often replaced by devices 
of wood and rope. The harrows are of wood and the ploughs 
penetrate only a few inches into the soil. So when a dry year 
comes along the peasants obtain, as a recent investigation has 
shown, only half the crop of neighbouring landlords who are 
able to follow the methods of modern agriculture. 

The frequent famines are worse in years of drought, but 
the drought is only a secondary cause of the suffering. With 
more means and modern methods the peasant would have twice 
his present crop even in dry years, and in good years he would be 
able to accumulate enough surplus capital to last him until 



PEOPLE'S ENEMIES ARE CZAR'S ALLIES 139 

the next season, as do our farmers of the arid belt. As it is, 
he is forced by every drought to sell his farm animals and even 
his ploughs. It is at such times # that the landlords contract for 
the peasants' labour for the next season, in return for a little 
bread, at a half or a third of the usual starvation wages. The 
conditions after each famine increase the losses and sufferings 
of the next, and every dry year brings a greater harvest of death. 
The annual death rate is already forty per thousand, twice that 
of any other civilised land. 

The landlords do not profit from the peasants' starvation 
alone. The permanent land-hunger of the peasantry has 
reached such a point that the landlords are able to obtain, 
for land no more productive than at the time of the emancipation, 
four and five times as much rent as it then obtained. The lack 
of land is so great that the peasants are employing on their own 
land only one-fifth, and their horses only one-third, of their 
possible working time. To ward off starvation. the peasants 
must either work for the landlord, or pay him a rent that gives 
him as much profit as he could extort by direct exploitation of 
pauper labour. 

So the landlords have prospered while the peasants have 
starved. Year after year they are sending out more and more 
grain from the country, while the peasants and their farm animals 
are more and more underfed. In 1906, the great famine year, 
Russian landlords exported enough grain to feed all of Russia's 
starving millions. In some famine years, as in 1905, the exports 
were scarcely lowered at all. 

The landlords have prospered not only because of the 
conditions created at the time of the "emancipation," but also 
by their steady influence over the Czars since that time. All 
the laws favour the landlords. The labour contract with the 
44 free" peasants has been turned into a farce. The landlord, 
or any of his family, have a right to fine their labourers at their 
discretion not only for neglect of work but even for lack of 
respect. But even with this the landlords were not satisfied. 
Disagreeable and expensive quarrels with the peasants about 
wages and rents continued to arise. So a new official was 
instituted whose special business it is to settle all disputes 
between landlords and peasants. This "land official" has 



i 4 o RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

become more hateful to the peasants than were the worst of 
their former landlord proprietors. He is responsible, not to 
local authorities, but directly to St. Petersburg — and is inac- 
cessible to any except influential persons. He is backed by the 
full autocratic power of the Czar, prison, the knout, Siberia, and 
Cossack invasion. Furthermore, the Czar's ukase requires that 
he himself shall be a nobleman of rank, which is in most cases 
tantamount to a landlord! 

These new officials, surrounded and courted by landlords, 
have made full use of their powers. Villages have revolted by 
the hundreds, only to be beaten and shot into subjection by 
the savage Cossacks, to have their houses burned and their 
women outraged as in the days of Tamerlane. When terror- 
stricken villages have answered the despots' orders with loyal 
arguments about the true will of God and the Czar, it has 
almost become the custom for these gentlemen to answer, 
" 1 am your God and your Czar." 

Landlord influence has governed Russia from the institution 
of serfdom centuries ago, to the institution of the hundreds of 
landlord sub-despots in the last decade, and to the institution of 
the landlords' Duma of the present moment. The peasants are 
not again likely to leave their destinies in the hands of any party 
in which the landlords exert an important power. They showed 
in all three elections that they are more than ever attached to 
their own party and its programme. The immense price the 
peasants have already paid in beatings, imprisonment, exile, 
starvation and violent death; the hopes that have been newly 
raised; the evident justice of their demands for a controlling 
voice in the nation's parliament and for the early possession of 
the land, though evidently, starving as they are, they cannot 
pay for it and will not be able to for many years to come; and 
above all the results that their revolutionary movement has 
already brought to their cause — these things have decided all 
the parties that represent them not to await anything even 
from the most liberal part of their former masters, and not to 
wait indefinitely for the installment of an indefinite portion of 
their demands 

Even the Constitutional Democrats concede that fear of 
revolution is still a leading motive with the Government, as 




PEOPLE'S ENEMIES ARE CZAR'S ALLIES 141 

it was at the time of the emancipation. Soon after the peasant 
disorders of 1902 and 1903 the Czar abolished corporal punish- 
ment and the confinement of the peasantry to their native 
village, as normal institutions of peasant life. After the 
disorders of 1905 the Czar gave the peasants a large proportion 
of the seats in the new Duma, remitted half of their direct 
taxes to the State, shortened the term of service in the army, 
and bettered the food of the soldiers and increased their pay. 
After the disorders of 1906 the peasants were given part of the 
crown lands, they were admitted for the first time to equality 
with other citizens before the courts and the law, and they were 
given for the first time the same rights as others over their own 
land. During 1907 there were few disturbances and no great 
reforms. 

If we remember that this same movement of violent resistance 
of the peasants has procured them more respect from the police, 
has driven away some of the more obnoxious landlords, raised 
wages and lowered rents, and if we observe that this movement 
has become better organised, more sure and less bloody each 
year, we may realise why the peasants are clenching their 
teeth and holding up their heads as never before in a thousand 
years. 

The peasants are full of hope ; but even if the situation of the 
Russian people is desperate, if it is hopeless for the present 
generation, this is because of great historical causes over which 
this noble nation has had no control. And the chief of these 
is not the Czarism with its dependent army of Cossacks, officials, 
and police, but the existence of a deep-rooted and time-honoured 
governing caste, the owners of the white slaves of the last 
generation, a caste whose interests are against those of the 
nation and diametrically opposed to the regeneration the nation 
demands. 

The majority of the first Duma has just been on trial for 
having provoked the disobedience of the people. The words 
of one of the people's own representatives addressed to the 
judges and the Government, is the judgment of the Russian 
nation on the third Duma. 

"We see in you," said Chersky, "in this the greatest 
political trial of the century, the defenders of the interests 



i42 RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

of Stolypine's one hundred and thirty thousand landlords, and 
the enemies of the law and the people." 

This, then, is the anal alignment of the Russian nation — 
on the one side the Czar, the court, the Government officials, 
the officers of the army, and the one hundred and thirty thousand 
landlords; on the other the one hundred mfninn peasants, 
the working people and nearly all the middle class. 

The power may long remain with the Government. Justice 
is with the nation 



PART THREE 

Revolt 



CHAPTER I 

THE RUSSIAN PEOPLE — A MYSTERY 

THE Czar and his ministers continue to assure the world 
that the real Russian people, the hundred million peasants 
are, and always have been, contented, loyal and devoted 
subjects. This has been the favourite slander in the long 
campaign of defamation of its own people that constitutes 
one of the worst crimes of the Government. We know some 
of the infamies of Czarism, but there are many of which we are 
entirely ignorant. Because of the rigid censorship in Russia 
of all the news, the systematic bribery of many foreign news- 
papers, and the favourable misrepresentation of officials on all 
occasions, it has been impossible to get at reliable and general 
information on the very subjects that are fundamental to all 
others —the actual conditions of the villages where four-fifths 
of the people live, the present development of the peasants, their 
attitude to the Czar, the Church, the officials, the landlords 
and the revolution. 

With so little reliable knowledge we have been at the mercy 
of the unscrupulous official statements. Before the peasants 
had an opportunity to voice themselves in their national 
parliament, these official statements had succeeded in implanting 
in the consciousness and literature of foreign nations a vague 
and indefinite, but none the less obnoxious, picture portraying the 
peasants as a dull and indolent race, ignorant, hard-drinking, 
fanatically religious and stupidly devoted to the Czar. Natu- 
rally we have had small sympathy with a people we believed 
to have so little manhood and so little love of freedom as 
humbly to submit to the curse of Czarism. 

In Russia itself the Czar's defenders have carried their attacks 
on the peasants' character so far as to reduce them to absurdity. 
As patriotic Russians they pretended, of course, that most of 
the shameful characteristics they attributed to the great mass 

MS 



146 RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

of their countrymen are after all virtues, and that the key to 
the peasants' psychology, the greatest of all virtues, is — self- 
renunciation. This is "the highest expression possible to the 
human individual" since it makes of him the perfect subject 
of those divine Russian institutions, the absolute Czarism and 
the "changeless" Church. According to the professional 
Russian patriots or Slavophils, whatever is Russian is right. 
But the peasants of Russia are both poor and illite rate. Are 
^ the ir poverty and lack of education also part of the " highest 
ex pression possible to the human individ ual"? The late head 
of the Holy Church could well give an authoritative answer, 
since he was also the most venerated adviser of Alexander III. 
and of the present Czar. That terrible old man Pobiedonostzev 
opposed general education, newspapers, and everything else 
that might develop the slightest spirit of freedom. He carried 
his ideas to their logical conclusion and fearlessly announced 
to a world that still refuses to believe its ears and does not yet 
realise the full monstrosity of his doctrine, that "inertia is the 
fulcrum of progress" and that "poverty, lowliness, deprivation, 
and self-denial are the true lot of men." 

Such are the ideas that have ruled and guided the present 
Czar. 

This "official character" of the peasants, as I have said, 
has been so long and stoutly repeated as to have been accepted 
and passed on by foreign writers on Russian conditions. The 
three volume work of Leroy-Beaulieu is undoubtedly the most 
important foreign study of "The Empire of the Czars." By 
a scientific and historical method the author has covered every 
phase of Russian life, from the geography of the country to its 
latest political, economic, and cultural development. But he 
has refused to place himself at the only standpoint that can 
lead to a true understanding, that of the Russian people. He 
has failed to distinguish between that part of Russian life that 
emanates from the spirit and natural evolution of the Russian 
people, and that other alien part that has been forced on it by 
an alien Government which owes its origin and maintenance 
either to foreign power and influence or to the stern military 
necessity of defending the most exposed country of Europe 
against the Turks and Tartars. 



THE RUSSIAN PEOPLE— A MYSTERY 147 

This famous "scientific" but unsympathetic observer, attrib- 
uting the barbarism of the Government to the whole nation, 
has branded the Russian people with the same vulgar libels 
that are current among those totally ignorant of the land. To 
him Russia is still essentially mediaeval, the people mystical, 
fatalistic, inert. " Modern as Russia is if we look to the external 
side of her civilisation, to her army and bureaucracy," he says, 
"she is mediaeval still in the manners and spirit of her people." 

This brief sentence is yet such a conglomeration of truth, 
untruth, and half-truth that I can scarcely correct it, and to 
bring out all its inaccuracies I must offer a substitute. I am 
certain that the author in penning such a perversion of the 
reality was thinking of the only side of Russia with which his 
book shows any deep acquaintance, namely its government. 
The sentence should read "Modern as the Russian Government 
is, if we look at the external side of her army and bureaucracy, 
the governing caste is still mediaeval in its opinions and spirit." 
Certainly the Russian army has a modern organisation and 
armament, certainly the Russian prisons and police are among 
the most highly developed in the world — this organized 
violence is indeed the very raison d'Hre of the autocratic form 
of government. It is alone to a certain aptitude and success 
in modernising the means of holding the people in subjection 
that it owes its existence. But this is the end of the virtues 
of the ruling caste. The whole history of Russia and of the 
present revolution shows that it is the spirit and opinions 
of the army of officers and Government officials that are reaction- 
ary and even mediaeval. 

Perhaps the most dangerous of all the criticisms of Russia 
is that which attaches some fundamental deficiency to the race 
itself. Leroy-Beaulieu, who is careful to make no direct attack 
on the Slavic peoples as such, nevertheless characterises the 
peasant of to-day as inert and lacking in creative power. But 
what permanently oppressed and starving people ever showed 
much sign of creative power? Are not the East Prussian 
peasants of to-day, though infinitely less poverty-stricken, 
both inert and reactionary, an accusation that can scarcely 
be made against the revolutionary and Socialistic Russian 
peasants. Have not the Russian peasants adapted themselves 



i 4 8 RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

quickly to every variety of modern life and industry that was 
opened to them? Are not former peasants working success- 
fully in many instances the most complicated agricultural 
machinery, railway locomotives, the most delicate tools? In 
fact half of the five or six million working people in Russia's 
modern industries are former peasants. 

Furthermore, Leroy-Beaulieu refers continually to "mysti- 
cism," "fatalism," and "passive endurance" as the chief 
traits of the peasant's character. Yet may not such passive 
qualities, as far as they really do exist, be simply the temporary 
results of oppression? Mysticism may arise from the very 
keenness of the desire for a rational explanation of life on the 
part of those to whom knowledge is denied; fatalism may come 
from the intensity of frustrated longing for a better regime; 
passive endurance from the futility of resistance to a stronger 
physical power. Leroy-Beaulieu himself acknowledged that 
he had only spoken of negative qualities, for he found it impos- 
sible at the time he wrote to give an estimate of the peasant's 
"actual creative power." It is precisely this positive creative 
power that we want to understand. 

But this racial prejudice appears much more clearly in more 
recent and less scientific books than the one to which I have 
been referring, works which are nevertheless widely circulated 
and have had on the whole an immense influence. An Ameri- 
can book that appeared just before the Russian- Japanese War 
is typical. The author. Senator Beveridge, is known to every- 
body in America and his views are sure to have had their con- 
verts. Among the most striking traits of the Slavic race he 
finds fatalism, indolence, stolidity, inertia, slowness, lethargy, 
conservatism, subservience, and lack of initiative. Passing 
from the people to the general spirit of the nation the writer 
finds the soul of Russia in the voice of Pobiedonostzev. But on 
this man's death the foreign press characterised him rightly 
as the best-hated man in all Russia. 

The voice of Pobiedonostzev and of the officers, officials, 
landlords, bankers, merchants, and manufacturers, to whom 
this author expressly acknowledges his indebtedness for the 
information he gathered during the few weeks of his stay in 
European Russia, naturally supplied him with his view of 



THE RUSSIAN PEOPLE— A MYSTERY 149 

the nation's ideals. The author found that his interlocutors, 
whose identity he betrays when he speaks of the "ordinary 
Russian," "business man, banker, or what-not," "appears to be 
devoted to his Czar and Russian institutions,' * and that "the 
Czar is beloved by the great body of his subjects with an adoring 
affection not accorded to any other ruler." Finally he con- 
cluded that the Slav thinks that autocratic Czarism and the 
Orthodox Church are the " foundation stones of civilisation." 
Unfo rtunately, many persons still believe that the Ru ssian 
masses are devoted to their Czar and Church in spite of the 
plentiful evidence to the contrary in the recent revolutionary 
events: — I shall d6ai witn tnis tallAdy in an eariy cnapter. But 
in the meanwhile I shall show the superficial character of the 
broad assertions of this typical observer. The writer quotes 
without criticism or contradiction the statement of a landlord 
that the emancipation was granted by the "liberal" Czar "at 
the expense of the Russian nobility." The truth is that the 
chief cause of the present revolution is the crushing burden of 
taxes laid on the peasants to enable the Government to pay 
the nobility not only an ample, but often even an exorbitant, 
price for their losses both of land and the uncompensated 
service of the serfs. This same informant also told our writer 
that the ignorant peasants had not not known how to use their 
liberty and had even refused to use iron or steel ploughs. The 
truth is that the peasants had used iron ploughs even under 
serfdom, and as to the steel ones they do not employ them 
at the present day simply because they cannot afford the price. 
It is certainly not true that the peasant has ever refused to 
use any important agricultural implement within his purchasing 
power. Finally, this landlord informed our friend that the 
peasants had soon forgotten the severities of serfdom and 
remembered only "the comparatively trivial inconveniences" 
of the present time. I shall deal with these comparatively 
trivial inconveniences later. I can find no words for the ignor- 
ance, carelessness, or indifference of a person writing on the 
Russia of to-day for a necessarily ignorant audience, who 
reprints this phrase with every sign of approval and without 
giving anywhere a single fact or statement to counteract the 
singularly false and misleading impression it creates. The 



ISO RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

present sufferings of the peasants may be less than those at the 
time of serfdom, but they are not trivial in comparison with 
those of any period through which humanity has passed, and 
to speak of them as inconveniences is a monstrous understate- 
ment of the truth. 

The reader of Senator Beveridge's book knows that this 
writer's judgment has been condemned out of his own mouth. 
Writing just before the war with Japan he predicted in his 
book that there was no probability in international politics 
greater than the permanency of the Russian occupation of 
Manchuria. Writing after the outbreak of the great and bloody 
labour disturbances of 1902 and 1903, which he even mentions, 
he says that "there have been no considerable labour riots," 
that labour is submissive and there is no labour question. The 
year before the outbreak of the revolution he belittles what 
disturbances had occurred and expected nothing of a very 
serious character. 

Another book is worth mentioning here as a sample of the 
malicious statements that have been circulated over the world 
as the truth. During the famine of 1906-7 Mr. Howard P. 
Kennard, M. D., an English "humanitarian," was in Russia 
to assist the Government and the landlords in relieving the 
wholesale starvation and disease they themselves had brought 
on. His book, "The Russian Peasant," he claims to be based 
on his own personal observation; however, in his preface he 
confesses himself indebted to such acknowledged friends of 
Nicholas II. and enemies of the Russian people as the French- 
man Leroy-Beaulieu, the Englishmen Sir Donald Mackenzie 
Wallace, and the courtier Prince Nicholas Sherebatov, one of 
the most hated men in all Russia. 

Mr. Kennard unmistakably suggests that the peasants have 
not progressed since the time of Ivan the Terrible. He describes 
a national peasant festivity, which he claims is typical, as an 
"unbridled bestial orgy." He finds that "natural laziness 
and addiction to drink have brought the peasant to the pass 
he is in to-day," says that the peasant's belly is his god, that 
he does not wish to improve his condition, and that they do 
not even wish "to learn to farm in any other way than that 
which has been handed down to them by their forefathers." 



THE RUSSIAN PEOPLE —A MYSTERY 151 

Mr. Kennard declares that the " Russian peasant, devoid of all 
capabilities in the matter of reading and writing, has a mind 
and imagination which are ripe for the reception of all trash 
that Church, State, those desirous of influencing him for good 
or evil, may pour into his poor besotted brain." Our savant 
friend then proceeds to state "that the only subject he knows 
about is the subject of devils," and that the peasant's first 
thought every morning is "what will the Domovoi (household 
demon) do to-day?" In brief, Mr. Kennard finds the peasant 
"utterly unable to understand what is meant by education, 
progress, or culture." 

Finally he stuns up the peasant in this manner: "The peasant 
emerges from the ordeal to-day but the semblance of a man 
— a thing with half a mind, a mortal without attributes; a mor- 
bid being blessed with life alone, and cursed with ignorance 
and imbecility until, in the twentieth century, his melancholy 
has become innate." 

All of these statements of Mr. Kennard are about as false 
and vicious as any calumnies concerning a whole people, or 
a large majority of any people, could well be. His book must 
remain a classic example of the stream of poison and hatred 
that pours into some hearts in the presence of the ugliness 
of human misery. I have no hope of driving the writer who 
penned such words to shame. But I do expect to show that, 
badly educated as the peasants are, a very large portion of 
them have more than a modicum of education and that they 
are thirsting for more, that far from being devoted to devils 
the peasants have a kind of natural instinct for independent 
religious and ethical ideas; and I expect to show that nothing 
but a readiness to accept prejudiced statements, or a natural 
blindness to truth while in its very presence, or a deeply ingrained 
hatred of mankind, could have led any person who has spent 
several months among the Russian farmers to find in them 
merely a creature ranking somewhere between man and beast. 

I trust it is clear to the reader that the Russian people have 
enemies in all directions, even among those who claim the most 
loudly to be their friends; and I trust that he will read what 
follows unswayed by the self-evident prejudices so widely 
circulated by writers like those referred to above. This im- 



iSa RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

partiality is important, not alone because of the immense 
interest attaching to the peasant, but also because he has so long 
remained an unknown quantity, even to the most sympathetic 
and unbiased minds. 

The real character of the peasant has remained a mystery 
until to-day. He constitutes the greatest unknown element 
of the white race. He is just for this reason the most interest- 
ing human problem of our time. If his nature is undeveloped 
it is in the same proportion unfixed and unspoiled — in other 
words, the nature of the generic man. He will come to his 
majority in the twentieth century more freed from tradition 
than our own pioneers in the nineteenth. The Russian revolution, 
bound sooner or later to end in his favour, will not only make 
him master of half Europe and Asia, and revolutionise the 
relations of the world powers; it will decide the fate of every 
democratic movement on the continent, and give a new inspi- 
ration to the international movement for economic quality. 



CHAPTER II 

THE RUSSIAN PEOPLE — THEIR TRUE CHARACTER 

BUT at last the mystery surrounding the peasant, his low 
reputation, are beginning to be dissolved. Since the 
first and second Dumas, in which the peasants' feelings and 
opinions, kept dumb for centuries, were for the first time publicly 
voiced, we have begun to get a glimpse of the true character of 
the peasants, of their true attitude toward the Government. 
The people's own chosen representatives have pointed out that 
the peasants are and always have been in a rebellious state, that 
the history of the Russian peasantry has been that of an 
unending series of revolts, and that the only reason a revolution 
has not yet overturned the Government is the terrible brute- 
power of the half-million semi-foreign Cossacks who guard the 
Czar. It appears in contradiction to everything the Govern- 
ment has claimed that the peasant is a democrat in everything 
and a Socialist in regard to the land, that he is almost without 
race prejudice, and that he is liberal and even independent in his 
religious views. There can no longer be the slightest doubt of 
these claims; the two elections are substantiated by tens of 
thousands of village meetings, endorsing the action and attitude 
of the people's representatives, and by thousands of cases in 
which the peasants have gone to imprisonment and death for 
supporting their political faith. 

It seems that the spiritual, if not the physical, resistance of 
the people has risen proportionately to the unreason, injustice, 
and violence of the ruling caste. Instead of devotion to the 
Czar, there reigns in the mind of the peasant a supreme 
indifference to the spirit of his laws and an almost equal indif- 
ference to the authority of his Church. In this the Russian 
is removed at once from the subserviency of the German peasant 
before his officials, and that of the Southern Italian before his 
priests. 

The story of the origin of the Russian Church gives the best 

*53 



154 RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

symbol of its position to-day. Before their "c onversi on" to 
Christianity, the ancient Slavs had a very simple and flexible 
form of belief. They were not idolaters or worshippers of many 
gods, they had no priests, and their cult was limited to that of 
Svarog, the god of heaven and light, certainly a rather spiritual 
deity who might well symbolise the universe and its life. The 
Emperor Vladimir, however, descendant of one of the Norse 
conquerors of the land, was impressed with the glory of 
Constantinople and the Greek Church, and proceeded quite in the 
scientific spirit to send a commission to study it and the other 
Christian churches. The commission returned overcome by the 
beauty of the singing, temples, and service of the Greeks. They 
declared that they found no gladness among the Bulgarians, and 
no beauty in the temples of the Germans, but among the Greeks 
they found such beauty that they knew not how to tell of it, 
they no longer knew, they said, "whether they were in heaven or 
onearth." " It is there," they reported, "that God dwells among 
men, and their service surpasses that of any land." So 
influenced by the beauty of the Greek Church's temples and 
service, and in return for the hand of a princess of the Eastern 
Empire, Vladimir was baptised, and gave up his promising 
design of capturing Constantinople, which if accomplished 
might well have transformed the history of Europe and the 
world. No sooner was he Christianised than with the true 
gesture of a Czar he ordered his people led to the rivers and 
baptised. Thus was Russia converted to the Greek Church. 

In the same spirit a law among the statutes to-day requires 
every Russian citizen who does not belong to some other 
"recognised" creed to attend at least once every year the 
Orthodox service. Innumerable other enactments of the kind 
have followed without interruption since the time of Vladimir's 
baptism, and naturally have had no spiritual effect. To-day 
it is the pleasure taken in the service and singing that attracts 
the peasant; the priest does not as a rule enter seriously into 
his life. The priest is nearly always paid in kind for each service 
and so is economically dependent on the poorest peasants, who 
often find they can make a bargain better in proportion to 
the amount of vodka they can persuade him to drink. The 
priests also are forced to serve as the political agents of the 



THEIR TRUE CHARACTER 155 

Government, and this the peasants do not fail to feel and resent. 
For instance, the priests received full instructions as to what 
they were to say and do during the elections for the Duma. 
The outraged peasants replied by ceasing to go to church, by 
refusing to do any labour for the priests, and even in some 
cases by proposing through the village meetings to take away 
their land. Subjected economically to the peasants, and 
politically to the police, even the relatively small number of the 
priests that possess the attributes to assume moral leadership 
are usually without the power to do so. 

In what, then, does the peasant's loudly proclaimed 
Orthodoxy consist? In the first place he has shown an uncon- 
querable tendency not to be Orthodox at all, but to do his own 
religious thinking. When two centuries and a half ago one of 
the Czars appointed a commission to study again the original 
forms of the Greek Church, which were supposed to have 
degenerated, the new ceremonies that were enacted were met 
by a variety of passive resistance as obstinate and successful 
as the world has ever seen. The passive resisters, the "Old 
Believers," were satisfied with the "Slavic" Church and the 
forms of service they themselves had helped to develop. The 
genius of the people, working through the Church, has developed 
an original and truly beautiful music that is a real source of 
inspirational delight. The people loved these forms as they 
were, they considered they had a God-given right to them. So 
they obstinately refused these Czar-imposed changes — refused 
them though persecuted and tortured relentlessly. The Czars, 
on the other hand, have realised that one freedom leads to 
another, and have claimed with equal obstinacy until to-day 
that God, having entrusted them with the absolute mastery 
of the peasants' bodies, has also made them tyrants of their souls. 

A large portion of the peasants still go to the Czar's church, 
for in the sombre, isolated and often starving villages of the 
forests and the steppes, the most beautiful or least ugly spot is 
the church, and the most interesting occasion is its service. 
But they do not obey the Czar's priests and they have developed 
a morality of their own making. Another large part have not 
been deterred by the most terrible persecution from creating 
a religion also after their own ideas. The tendency to break 



156 RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

away altogether from the priests is general. A laige part of 
the "Old Believers/' especially those who settled in outlying 
districts where priests were difficult to obtain, decided finally 
to do without them altogether. The idea spread all over the 
country and of course led these "priestless" ones, as they are 
called, to do their religious thinking for themselves. The 
result is perhaps as large a body of sincere and rationalistic 
religious thinkers as is to be found among the people of any land. 

But the religious evolution did not stop here. It has 
continued and grown with the increase of education and travel, 
and with the new life and new occupations of the people in this 
already half -modernised country. Along with a political 
revolution as profound as the French, is going on a popular 
religious reformation comparable only to the peasants' 
movements of Luther's time. The peasants have created 
systems of new religious belief on an entirely independent basis. 
The subtlety, simplicity and dignity of these beliefs has charmed, 
and even won, many of their observers. It is enough to 
remember that Tolstoi has confessed his deep indebtedness to 
both Molokani and Doukhobors. Though these numerous 
sects are still in progress of growth and development, their 
adherents are already numbered by the millions. 

The Government, of course, is at present straining every 
nerve to repress and conceal these schisms and to strengthen 
in every possible way the Orthodox Church. Persecutions 
relaxed for a year or more after the Czar's famous promises of 
religious liberty, are every day being renewed. The warfare 
between the people's genuine religious instinct and the hated 
State Church is bound to go on undiminished. 

The peasants have shown as much character in their attitude 
toward the laws of the Czar as toward his Church. The 
thousands of bloodily suppressed revolts, and the hundreds of 
thousands of cases of rebellious peasants who have languished 
away their lives in prison and exile, are only the lesser mani- 
festation of the hatred for the Government, Where the people 
have been literally beaten into submission by the Cossacks, and 
this has happened at one time or another in most of the villages, 
there has arisen a spirit of passive resistance which has often 
ended by a complete victory over the Czar. 



THEIR TRUE CHARACTER 157 

The Czars have always been able to exact from the peasant 
a terrible tribute of taxes and recruits. They have been able 
to tie the peasants to their villages and to prevent their escape 
from these exactions, but when they have attempted to interfere 
with the villagers' internal affairs, the imperial will has been 
shattered against the people's own ideas of right and wrong. 
Especially when they have tried to upset the peoples' own laws 
of property, it has been the autocrats who have had to 
surrender. The peasants as a whole have not yet permitted 
the Czars to subvert their laws of inheritance or their equitable 
system of distributing the land. 

The hundred thousand villages where the mass of the Russian 
people live are in their internal affairs so many little immemorial 
republics. At the present moment, as at the earliest dawn 
of history, they are ruled by a pure spirit of democracy not 
only in political but in economic affairs. A large part of the 
peasant land is village property used by all the villagers in 
common; the rest is divided, and from time to time redistributed, 
according to the ideas of equity of the whole village. An 
estimate is made of each family's claims, either at the death 
of its head, or at the time of a general census, and the family 
is allotted a certain proportion of the village ploughed land. 
But no person is ever allowed to claim a right to a particular 
piece of soil, he has merely a right to a certain quantity. There 
is no such thing as title and private ownership of the land itself, 
since it is not a product of individual labour but a "gift of God." 
A family is allowed possession of a definite piece of the land 
long enough only to secure the family the fruits of its labour — 
that is, for the three years' rotation of crops which prevails — 
then triennial redistribution of land takes place. This is why 
the peasant deputies in the Duma can say with perfect truth 
that the peasants do not want the land to buy and sell, but 
merely to plough. They want more land in order that they may 
have more work. They have never in their own experience 
known what rents or unearned profits from land ownership are. 

The village community, since it controls the peasant's means 
of livelihood, has an unlimited power over his existence. But 
this power is as democratic as it is unlimited. All the peasants 
live in the village, and are infinitely more intimately related 



i 5 8 RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

to one another than a country-people living on isolated farms. 
They work together and are always under one another's eye. 
The spirit is profoundly social, and has been made all the more 
so by the village ownership of the land. The democracy is 
therefore profound and rests on the feeling of full social and 
economic equality, which is the only sure foundation of 
democracy in any land. The village meetings concern themselves 
principally with questions of the chief and only great business 
of every member, the winning of the daily bread. And so the 
equality of these tens of thousands of little communities has 
gone deeper than any other equality we know, because it rests 
on a social and not merely on a political democracy. 

There is no conflict between this village government and its 
citizens. The villages do not elect temporary masters to 
rule over them, like many so-called democratic communities. 
The starosta, or head of the village, is in very truth the servant 
of the community, and remains its servant in spite of all the St. 
Petersburg Government can do to make of him an authority of 
the despotic order always so necessary to a Czarism. The 
Czar has enacted that the starosta shall receive a good salary 
and be immune from taxes and corporal punishment; the 
Government has endowed him with enough insignia of office 
to buy the souls of the nobility of some European countries. 
But the village assembly considers him as its servant and gives 
its orders at every meeting as to its secretary or clerk. 

The real business of the village is concentrated in the assembly 
itself, and there are few villagers that do not take an active 
part. There is nothing more immediate or important in their 
lives. Conducted on a scale sufficiently small to enable all the 
elements of the vital questions under discussion to be under- 
stood by everybody, the village meeting has come to form a 
part and parcel of the peasant's existence. Public life is not a 
thing apart as in some externally democratic countries where 
private business overshadows public affairs and politics are a 
mask for private interests and the greed for office. "As soon 
as public service ceases to be the principal business of the citi- 
zens," said Rousseau, "the state is already near to ruin." 
Of all modern communities the Russian villages are perhaps 
farthest from this calamity. 



THEIR TRUE CHARACTER 159 

In some cases there is already complete communism — that 
is, both common ownership and common cultivation of the soil, 
a system that allows the advantages not only of every modern 
method of agriculture but of large scale production and the use 
of machinery that no small farmer can afford. Peasant 
companies (artels) often buy or rent a piece of land, work it 
together, and share expenses and profits according to a pre- 
arranged plan. In all the villages the peasants manage their 
cattle in common, cut their hay in common, and in many cases 
they own a common granary. A large part of the peasants, and 
the most progressive and enlightened experts on Russian 
agriculture as well, hope and believe that this cooperation in 
production, a natural outgrowth of the prevalent social spirit, 
will so develop as to make it possible that common property 
in land will remain the basis of Russian agriculture and of 
Russian society. The peasants' party in the Duma wishes 
each province to be allowed to adopt communism if it desires. 
This privilege would certainly be widely accepted and would 
result in the abolition of private property in two-thirds of the 
land. 

The Czar's Government has looked with suspicion enough 
at this village nucleus of democracy and Socialism. A gener- 
ation ago Alexander II. was deliberating over the village 
commune, or mir. The dangers to the Czarism of maintaining 
such a democratic institution were obvious. But for several 
generations the Czarism has been caught between two equal 
dangers — one due to the education and development of the 
people within the country, and another due to industrial 
progress of the rival nations without. If the village commune 
were to be dissolved to give place to private property, this 
would do away with the immemorial village republics; but it 
would also hasten the economic development of Russia by 
creating two new classes, landless working people furnishing 
cheap labour, and a rural middle class to furnish capital and 
business enterprise. The development of capitalists and cheap 
labour might in turn enable Russia to develop her industry, to 
accumulate wealth and to build up an army and navy fit to 
resist those of other modern lands. But such a development 
seemed to many of the highest officials highly undesirable. 



160 RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

Both working people and small capitalists are democratic 
everywhere, and it was they that had brought about the 
European revolution of 1848. So Alexander decided to keep 
the mir. He preferred a democratic village to a free nation, 
a pauperised people to a constitution. 

But the same Czar also used all his power to maintain another 
class, whose interests were in sharpest contrast to the peasants' 
commune. He had made the landlords free their peasant 
serfs, but he allowed them to take away part of the peasants' 
land, while he forced these famishing agriculturists to take on 
a new and crushing burden of taxes and payments of indemnity 
for their own freedom. The result was that the peasants 
starved more and more as the years went on, agriculture stag- 
nated and even deteriorated, it became impossible to beat 
more taxes out of the villagers, industry was without country 
purchasers, and the State finances were hopeless. The finance 
ministers, as we have seen, had introduced every manner 
of taxation, had protected industry, established a gold currency, 
built railways, and borrowed billions of rubles from abroad; 
but the Counsel of State, during Count Witte's ministry, was 
forced to confess the failure of all these measures to reach 
their chief aim and to declare that the Government was "power- 
less for the reorganisation of the life of the peasants and assist- 
ing agricultural industry." Read for "peasants" the "mass 
of the people" and for "assisting agricultural industry" "pre- 
serving from ruin the economic foundation of Russian society." 

The Czars had no hope for their people. But the condition 
could scarcely be worse, and they began almost automatically 
to reverse their older policies. So finally the present Czar 
decided to abandon the mir. If there were no chance to save the 
mass of the people from starvation, perhaps he might aid a 
few of the peasants to establish an agricultural middle class 
on the ruin and pauperisation of the rest. 

Minister Stolypine now proposes to give the last stroke to the 
village commune — to allow every starving peasant the right 
of selling his land, and to assign the communities' political 
powers to other higher, newer, and less dangerous local authorities. 
It is doubtful if the villages will surrender their political power, 
more than doubtful if they will allow a few of their number 



THEIR TRUE CHARACTER 161 

the right to buy up the land of the rest. For the popularity of 
communal property has been growing, and the well-defined 
Socialist and revolutionary politics of the peasant representa- 
tives in the second Duma leave no further doubt of the Socialistic 
principles Russia will some day apply to her land. The great 
peasant institution, the Socialistic commune, will have furnished 
the basis of the future Russian State. 

The peasants, then, show every sign of creative power, in religion, 
in politics, in economic institutions. They are independent and 
positive in their individual thought and feeling, social and 
democratic in public life. Have they also the practical qualities 
that will bring the revolution to a successful conclusion? We 
can be certain of at least two of the characteristics most essen- 
tial to a rapid and sound development, open-mindedness to 
modern ideas, and the spirit of unity among themselves. They 
are open-minded with regard to national institutions because 
Russia has had no national traditions except those imposed 
by the violence of the Czar. The peasants have neither assisted 
in the law-making nor, except under coercion, obeyed the law. 
They are progressive also because conditions have united them 
by a close material and spiritual bond with two other classes 
that are as progressive, if not more so, than the corresponding 
classes of any other country — the working people and the 
professional element. 

In Russia, as in no other land, the city working people and 
the country people form a single whole. The city working- 
men were drawn only lately from the country. Most of them 
are in the habit of returning to the country from time to time; 
many go back for every harvest, for often the city work, service, 
driving, and so on, is less important to them than their interest 
in the village property. Furthermore, this current from city 
to country is increased by the tens of thousands of rebellious 
workingmen the Government sends back to their villages. 
All these workingmen have brought back with them the revo- 
lutionary ideas of the towns. 

The educated classes have succeeded in establishing the 
most cordial and intimate relations with the people of both 
cities and villages. It is as if the whole country were an end- 
less series of social settlements in which the settlement residents 



162 RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

had not merely sacrificed a few luxuries and pleasures, but had 
accepted the risk of imprisonment, exile, and execution. In 
all the great popular organisations of the revolution, the ixUL 
HgetUsia, or educated and professional classes, have played a 
predominant r61e, have been gladly accepted by the people, 
and have acted side by side with the people's leaders, who 
often owed their education in turn to that same class. The 
political parties are governed almost exclusively by these 
tried and cultivated democrats. The still more typically popular 
organisations, the Peasants' Union, the Railway Union, the 
Councils of Labour Deputies, were also managed almost entirely 
by men of university training and by self-educated peasants 
and workingmen. From the greatest professors and lawyers 
of the land down to the village doctors and school teachers, 
there has been one common movement toward the people — 
a movement not only for union against despotism, but for 
bringing to the people all the great ideas and aspirations of 
civilisation. The culture of this educated class being in many 
respects superior to that of other countries — as for instance, 
in knowledge of foreign languages, literature, and history, and 
in the sincerity of their social theories — the people secured a 
corresponding advantage. Through this movement some of 
the greatest ideas and highest aspirations of humanity have 
gained common circulation among the masses. Many Russian 
peasants and workingmen are now seriously and intelligently 
interested in foreign history, literature, economics, and politics. 
The politics and economics of their own land are put into terse 
andreadable form by the "intellectuals," spread over the country 
in a sea of leaflets and illegal or short-lived newspapers, and 
literally devoured by the people of every village and workshop 
in the empire. 

Thus there has arisen a great unity among the masses, 
including the educated and professional class. On the other 
side and in favour of the Czarism, are only the landlords, offi- 
cials and army officers and those who accept their pay. Neither 
the bitterness and class hatred that characterised Germany, 
nor the selfishness of the extreme individualism that was 
created by early conditions and still characterises the United 
States, have ever existed in Russia, to plant in the minds of 




A SOUTHERN TYPE OF PEASANT 
From a painting by Rcpin 



THEIR TRUE CHARACTER 163 

the people anti-social or non-social instincts that may take 
generations to eradicate. The origin of the Russian people, its 
common struggle against those united powers of evil that call 
themselves the Czarism, and above all the situation in which 
it finds itself to-day, have joined together to create the strongest 
social and the first Socialistic nation of history. 

It is not only the psychology of the people, it is the present 
situation itself, that has created this Socialistic sentiment. 
For whatever the causes of the revolutionary crisis, the crisis 
itself demands and requires a social solution. The situation 
is in sharpest contrast to that which prevailed at the birth of 
our nation. The United States of America were formed by 
a democratic population whose problem was to people a vast 
and uninhabited land. The United States of Russia will be 
formed by a democratic nation whose problem will be to provide 
a vast people with land. Our internal problem was purely 
political, to protect individuals from the violent encroachments 
of other individuals. Most economic and social problems were 
left in the individual's hands, and out of the control of society. 
The result has been the most developed individualism the world 
has known. The Russian people, on the contrary, are confronted 
with a problem that is at once social, economic, and political. 
The political problem is to do away, not with the violence of 
individuals, but with that of the State. The economic problem 
is the common need for all classes of the nation to lift to the level 
of the times the methods of the national industry of agriculture 
and the conditions of the whole agricultural class. As the 
great mass of the farms and farmers are at present on the same 
low level, this economic problem is not only common to all, 
but one in the solution of which society as a whole can and will 
certainly take an active part. The great social problem has to 
do with the present and future division of the land. If the 
Duma were to allow unrestricted private property, free trade 
in land under the present conditions, the penniless and needy 
peasants would be at the mercy of such among them as had 
a little capital at hand with which to buy the others' land. 
The peasants are painfully conscious of this danger, and have 
declared at innumerable village meetings that the right of 
private property would mean the still further impoverishment, 



x6h RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

the absolute pauperisation, of the many for the benefit of a 
new landlord class. Some are, therefore, in favour of the reten- 
tion of the old form of property, the village commune, adapted 
to new needs. All are for special laws restricting the rights 
of the individual owner and possessor, and all are in favour of 
the absolute subordination of private interests as the foundation 
of the new law and the Nationalisation op thb Land. 

The social spirit goes to unimagined lengths. It has no 
sombre exceptions for persons of foreign race. The same 
feeling that holds individuals and classes together has bound 
into one whole all the races of the enormous empire. Finns 
and Tartars, with their separate religions, have lived for centu- 
ries in friendly neighbourliness with the Russian peasants all 
over the country. In certain sections, German and Jewish 
colonies have been treated in a cordial and neighbourly manner 
for a similar period. The White Russians and South Russians 
have lived for generations in harmony with Letts, Lithuanians, 
and Poles. The Siberian settlers have gotten along with 
innumerable Asiatic tribes, as we failed to get along with our 
Indians, and as the English failed to get along with their native 
subjects. When the Czars have decided to undertake a special 
persecution and robbery of some subject race — like the Jews 
— they have not been able to get the least support from the 
people on racial grounds, and have had to resort to the same 
purely religious pretexts with which they persecute the purest 
Russian sects. The few popular persecutions of the Jews on 
Russian territory have been the work not of Russians, but of 
Poles or of Roumanians, like Krushevan. This absence of 
race feeling is perhaps the last and severest test of the pro- 
fundity, the completeness, of the social spirit that binds together 
this great-hearted people. 

It is not merely a new race or a new nation that is coming into 
being in the great territory that stretches half-way round 
the world, from the Pacific to the Black and Baltic seas. The 
new country, casting aside all governmental violence within 
and invincible to external attack in its freedom and immensity, 
will be held together only by the common social problem and 
the common social idea. By its freedom and power it will be 
constituted a great and almost decisive influence for peace 



THEIR TRUE CHARACTER 165 

among the nations. An essentially new people on the stage 
of the world, in possession of a boundless and almost undeveloped 
land, unhampered by traditions, accustomed to economic 
equality, and permeated with the social spirit, the Russians 
are likely soon to become the chief inspiration of the other 
nations, a position recently lost after having been held for a 
century by the United States. 



CHAPTER III 



HOW THE PEASANTS LIVE 



THOUGH Russia's hundred million agriculturists are free 
from the self-imposed shackles of accepted tradition, 
both of Church and of State, yet they are by no means free from 
limitations forced upon them by their own meagre lives, by 
exhausting and almost unremunerated labour, and by the 
calamities through which they have had to pass. To see a 
little way into the lives of these so little understood people — 
to know concretely the daily work that makes them what they 
are — to understand the present meaning of their recent history, 
and even more to know just what they are thinking to-day 

— to know how far they have advanced in their feeling about 
coming social changes, how far they dare to pit themselves against 
the Government, and what are the qualities by which they expect 
to win and hold the power over the greatest empire in the world 

— it is necessary not only to hear what sympathetic and edu- 
cated Russians have to say, but it is also necessary to move 
among the peasants themselves. So after having interviewed 
in the towns numerous experts on Russian agriculture and the 
condition of the peasantry, I went out among the villages armed 
with introductions to doctors, school teachers, and other devoted 
persons of education living there, and also to certain of the more 
intelligent peasants who were able to put me in touch with the 
rest. I visited half a hundred villages, scattered from the 
northern forests of Kostroma to the southern steppes of Poltava, 
from near the Asiatic frontier to the former Polish province 
of Kiev, and talked with several hundred peasants of every 
condition and every class. I made it a practice to verify all 
statements made to me; I endeavoured always to avoid the 
prejudices of a given moment or a given place; and I checked 
by personal observations the statistics I had obtained in the 
provincial capitals, and then in turn I had my observations 



HOW THE PEASANTS LIVE 167 

criticised by the doctors, teachers, agricultural experts and 
statisticians who are giving their lives to the betterment of 
country conditions. In this business I spent half of the summer 
of 1906, while the revolutionary movement was still in swing, 
and half of the summer of 1907, when the revolution had greatly 
subsided and the peasants were hoping to overturn the Czarism 
only after a desperate struggle that would perhaps not even 
begin in its full intensity for several years. 

A mention of some of the circumstances attending these 
trips will afford an insight into the internal condition of Russia. 
The Government is trying to quarantine the villages from all 
contact with the world's intelligence by means just as strin- 
gent as those taken to quarantine them from Asiatic cholera 
or any pest. Very many of the city persons to whom I was 
directed, although by no means active revolutionists, had just 
been hurried off by the officials to be entombed in prisons or 
exiled to the arctic deserts, merely because they had visited 
some village, or happened to be acquainted with a few peasants. 
Most of the courageous, progressive element had indeed dis- 
appeared on my second circuit of the provincial towns. Those 
that remained often did all they could to discourage me from 
the very idea of visiting any Russian village. Indeed, it is so 
difficult and rare for Russians to be allowed to travel about 
among the peasants that on my return from the first journey in 
1906 I was eagerly interviewed, even by some who have devoted 
their whole lives to a study of the peasant question. Occasionally 
it happened that I would have to spend several days in a pro- 
vincial capital of some one hundred thousand people, with the 
best introductions, before any one would dare to suggest the 
name of some friend in the country to whom I might talk 
without endangering his safety. In one province, after remain- 
ing several days, I had finally to abandon entirely the idea 
of visiting any of the several thousand villages it contained. 

In this great quarantine, probably the lack of sufficient 
railways and the almost total lack of good roads does more 
automatically to keep the villages and towns separated from one- 
another than all the Government can accomplish with its 
oppression. Whenever I had to wait in a railway station I 
found dozens, sometimes hundreds, of peasants lying about 



,68 RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

on the hard floors waiting for trains, where often they had 
waited for days. Sometimes the trains were late, but usually 
the delay was because the Government did not take pains to 
furnish sufficient cars for such very common passengers. This 
is doubtless a matter of much less consequence to the peasant 
than the fact that the cars he needs to transport his products 
are not on hand, and the further fact that the railways are not 
able to take the peasants' products to market but rather serve 
the largest estates and industries or are used merely for strategic 
military ends. 

Away from the railways conditions are infinitely worse. 
Of course there are no roads whatever in the sense of paved 
roadways. Everywhere there is naturally some effort to 
drain off the most serious mud holes and to bridge over other- 
wise impassable streams, but even this work is so badly done 
that the roads are often utterly impassable for many weeks, 
while in many sections the bridges are in a passable condition 
only in that part of the year when they are strictly necessary. 
This condition is partly due not only to the poverty of the 
peasant, who in the Province of Simbirsk spends only half a 
cent a head per year on the repair of roads, but also partly to 
the Government which allows the landlords to have an absolute 
monopoly of the local government and even to pay no taxes 
whatever for such purposes. It is unnecessary to attempt a 
calculation of how many hundred million rubles such a state 
of the roads costs this miserably poor country that can so ill 
afford such waste. 

In the great majority of the Russian provinces I did not 
see any isolated farm-houses. The villages, where live the 
peasants, are separated by many miles of forests or fields. 
Usually the first objects that struck the eye before entering 
a village were a large number of windmills. These are nearly 
everywhere constructed on the same primitive pattern and 
entirely of wood, apparently as they were a hundred years ago. 
It seems that the milling of flour on an economic scale has 
scarcely begun in most of the villages. It is also to be noted 
that the windmills are owned and operated in common by 
a group of several families, as is so often the case in Russian 
country life. The same cooperative habit can be noticed 



HOW THE PEASANTS LIVE 169 

in the presence outside the villages of flocks and herds tended 
by a single shepherd or cowherd, generally some small girl. 
The average family has only a very few head of cattle, and 
usually the herding is done in common. 

The village consisted as a rule of a single street, a mile or 
more long Here I was reminded at once of the ever-present 
despotism that weighs like a nightmare on the land. Most 
of the villages have the appearance of fortified camps, are 
surrounded by palisades, and toward evening have a guard 
standing at the gate. This is no mere figure of speech, for the 
Government actually does consider the villagers to be prisoners 
for the night. Here is an order issued by a "land-official" 
in 1899 which became a popular model for such orders among 
other such officials of his class: 

Nobody shall leave the village at night at all, or in the day-time for 
more than twenty-four hours without reporting to the selectman where 
he is going and for what purpose. For any departure without permission 
the guilty one shall be punished. Anyone who departs at night is to be 
reported in the morning by the watchmen and sentinels to the selectman, 
who is to inquire into the matter and punish disobedience, even if it be 
proven that there was nothing suspicious or improper in the departure. 

That this law is enforced more generally than ever to-day 
there need be little doubt. Further, the Government has not 
only guarded the villages, but in many cases has established 
a night patrol across the country as well — as is done in a 
conquered country. 

There is a remarkable similarity among the houses in a 
village. As a rule there are not more than two or three houses 
in an entire village that differentiate themselves by some slight 
change from the others — though of course in different parts 
of the country the style and size of the cottage varies consider- 
ably. There is usually no iron employed, and* even wood 
for doors is sparingly used. The single door is made so small 
that a peasant above the average height is unable to enter 
without bowing his head. Everywhere the people spend no 
small part of their time in re-thatching the roofs and re-plastering 
the cracks in their houses with mud. Extremely cheap and 
amateur construction make necessary a great deal more repairs 
than are required in other countries. Of course if the house 



i 7 o RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

falls into a bad condition while the peasants are very busy, or 
when they have lost a hand by death, they are forced to stand 
the cold and moisture for a long period. 

The cottage is generally fifteen by thirty feet, and half of it, 
without windows and constructed more poorly than the rest, 
is built for animals rather than for men. Indeed, every cottage 
is also a stable. As we pass through the low door we come 
into the animals' part of the house. Here we often stumble 
over cattle, chickens, and pigs, and some of the more valuable 
agricultural implements. It is impossible to describe this part 
of the house, for there is really nothing here to describe. 
Passing through the second door we come into the one room, 
about fifteen feet square, that serves as kitchen, sleeping and 
living room for the whole family of six to twelve persons — for 
a " family," it must be remembered, consists not only of parents 
and children, but also of the grandparents, and perhaps of a 
non-relative or two, for all single unattached adults of a commu- 
nity arc divided up among the families. 

The worked-out old people — they are the cause of one of 
the greatest tragedies of peasant life. They are the paupers 
of paupers. It is no easy situation for a family, the food- 
producers of which are starving, to be compelled to share its 
food with those who can contribute nothing. Sometimes the 
peasants find themselves looking forward to the time when the 
old people will be removed by a natural cause. Nor is this 
the worst of the tragedies which come from the fearful poverty 
and overcrowding in the cottages. It is unnecessary to picture 
conditions that often arise when ten or fifteen people of both 
sexes and all ages, sometimes not very nearly related, are piled 
up on a single broad wooden shelf and the single earthen stove 
that constitute the only cottage beds. 

The only furniture in such a place is a table, benches around 
the wall, and the large shelf that composes the sleeping place 
of all the family, except the old people, for whom the top of 
the stove is reserved. Both benches and beds remind one of 
tin* \\il furniture that in more prosperous countries is considered 
a ! M rt »t the punishment of the convicted criminal. 

Aim- i st everywhere windows are few and very small; they 
.lie I'ftcn broken, and often they are sealed so that it is 



HOW THE PEASANTS LIVE 171 

impossible to open them the year through. It must be remem- 
bered that in mid-summer Russia has the same hot and dry 
weather that prevails in America. The inability to open the 
windows in the summer is a very great evil, but a far greater 
one is the inability to replace during the long and terrible winter 
the broken panes on account of the cost of glass. In consequence 
many broken windows are boarded up a large part of the year. 
As soon as the weather becomes a little chilly even such as 
can be opened are immediately tightly closed until the return 
of spring. Many superficial visitors are disgusted at such 
an unhealthy habit; but this is not a matter of sanitary or 
unsanitary habits — it is a matter of expense. Nothing is 
more costly in many parts of the country than wood. To open 
one of the little windows, even partly for a whole day or night, 
would doubtless cost the peasant several kopecks for fuel. 
Perhaps it would be better for the health of the family *f he 
would spend this little sum and eat a little less, already famishing 
as he is. Let us remember, however, that a large part even of the 
educated classes of Russia's neighbour, Germany, would unques- 
tionably reach the same unsanitary solution wherever the 
question lay between expense and fresh air. 

Do not convict the peasant too hastily of uncleanliness. 
There is no doubt that he lives in contaminating proximity with 
his calves, chickens, and sometimes also with his pigs. The 
reason for this is not far to seek. In the long and severe winters 
the animals would often freeze if it were not that they got a 
little of the heat of the living-room. Furthermore, it is true 
the peasant does not often change his clothes. An answer to 
this charge is, he has not the clothes to change. In addition 
it can be said in his behalf that, as the public bath-house is an 
institution of his country, there is much more cleanliness in 
Russia than there was, for instance, in some parts of America 
in the early days when no such institution existed. 

Not only do the peasants not have enough inner garments 
to permit cleanliness, but they do not have enough shoes and 
overcoats to keep them warm. I was shocked when I saw 
women passing along the roads in their short skirts on windy 
winter days and noticed that they wore no woollen clothing of 
any kind. It would seem to be possible for the peasant to have 



173 RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

at least enough of these cotton garments far cleanliness and 
warmth if the Government had not put such a high customs 
tariff on cotton and cotton goods that the wretched consumers 
are forced to pay several prices for all they buy. As it is, the 
man has not enough shirts or the woman enough skirts even for 
decency, not to speak of warmth. 

As for woollen garments, they are rare. Is it not incredible 
that in this country, possessing more pasture land than any 
Other on earth, there should be insufficient wool for the 
elementary needs of the population, and insufficient hides and 
leather to enable the people to wear leather shoes? For in the 
south, and in the north in the summer, the shoe is not of leather, 
but is of woven bark such as is used by many a primitive race. 
Even in winter one sees more boots of felt than of leather. But 
worst of all, these wretched people are not able to afford warm 
overcoats. It is by no means always that a peasant has a 
good sheep-skin coat. If he does possess one, it is often held 
together in tatters for many years until it reaches a disgusting 
degree of filth. Certainly a sheep-skin coat is the least 
expensive garment imaginable to protect him from the winter, 
but even that is all but beyond his attenuated means. 

It is almost superfluous to speak of the dreadfully low quality 
and poor variety of the peasant's food. He himself considers 
that he is very fortunate when he has enough to eat, to say 
nothing of quality or variety. The staple diet is black bread 
and potato soup, with in summer green cucumbers or water- 
melons. The staple drink is not tea as is commonly supposed; 
on the other hand this is considered rather as a luxury. Their 
Chief drink is "kvas," which is brewed from sour bread. It is 
not only tea which is looked upon as a luxury more than a 
necessity, but often also sugar, cabbage, and even a sufficient 
amount of salt. All these articles are to be seen in every 
peasant's cottage, but they are very sparingly used. The tea 
is diluted and adulterated until it is almost unfit to drink, the 
salt is coarse and dirty from long keeping until it is repugnant 
even to the eye. Of meat, even the coarsest cuts of pork are 
not eaten daily, but are a luxury indeed. A large part of the 
peasant families have meat only on the greatest holidays — that 
is, four times a year. 



HOW THE PEASANTS LIVE 173 

But in the preceding paragraph I have spoken only of the 
average. A teacher from one of the poorer districts, who knew 
all the peasants of her village, assured me that there, even 
when there is no famine, the ordinary peasant does not drink 
tea, that there are no vegetables in common use except green 
cucumbers, and that he who can put fat in his soup is considered 
by the others to be a rich man. Instead of meat on the ordinary 
holidays, they were able to purchase only a little dry fish. 
And during the frequent famines the food is infinitely more 
miserable; the flour, to increase the bulk of the bread, is mixed 
with hay, straw, bark, and even earth. 

One feels keenly just what life on this basis means when one 
considers the life of the women. Of course, it is impossible for 
any woman that must work like a man in the fields to give any 
attention to cooking. Bread is baked once a week, and this 
is about all the cooking; occasionally, with a great effort and 
at a sacrifice of her already exhausted strength, a peasant woman 
will be able to cook a little potato or cabbage soup in the evening. 
Ordinarily she leaves a few pieces of bread at home for the chil- 
dren, takes some more with her to the fields and returns only after 
an absence of twelve to fifteen hours — for we must remember 
that the Russian system forces the peasants to work at a great 
distance from the villages. It happens not only occasionally, 
but very commonly, that the women give birth to children 
in the fields, that they are carried home only in the evening, 
and that in three or four days they are back again at work, tak- 
ing the child with them. The inevitable result is that nearly 
every peasant woman of middle age is sick in some way or other. 

Women who work and live and suffer like this are naturally 
unable to see anything of life or even of the commonest condi- 
tions immediately around them. One woman with whom I 
spoke, who happened to be very intelligent, had never been on 
a railway train in all the forty-five years of her life although 
the station was only four or five miles away. Twelve years 
before my visit she had been in a little town a few miles away, 
but not since. Her case was not an extreme one. This woman, 
as well as other educated persons in the neighbourhood, assured 
me that in a village not very far away the women were unable 
to feed their children after a few months, and that the children 



RUSSIAS MESSAGE 




by the women 

aad pot isso Ssae neks. Of eone, each children die wholesale; 
the {leaser pan c£ Rasa's aearfrf mattaJstij figures apply to 
children ■zader qae year oc age. Abo m the village referred to 
even the growzr^xp net were isder-aaed. 

I spoke oi these fearfsl cowfitaoos to one of Witte's lieutenants 
in St. Petersburg, and asked mm what was the hope for the 
Rttwian peasant. Of coerce no satisfactory answer was forth- 
coming. But although he did not have a solution, he did have 
a point of view, and this came out as the result of his telling 
how it was very common among the peasants to wear a belt 
and to tighten it frequently to allay the pangs of hunger. 
"Why, under the present perfectly hopeless circumstances," 
he asked, "is this not a very practical device? Why may it not 
pay both the peasant and Russia that he should just take in his 
belt? The peasant is underfed, but there is not enough work 
for him to do. Why should he be kept in full strength? Is it 
not fortunate for Russia that her peasants do not have the habit 
of eating as much as they do elsewhere? For the most part 
they manage to live and cost the country comparatively little. 
This is lucky for the peasant, as there is no possibility of 
obtaining any more. Countries differ in respect to diet as in 
respect to everything else. There are many savage races that, 
forced by necessity, have accommodated themselves to the most 
varied and meagre diet. It is only by this power of accommo- 
dation that they manage to survive." 

He was thoroughly aware of all the tragdies of the situation, 
but he accepted them as if there was no ray of hope in any 
direction. Like the minister of finance, he stated that Russia's 
grain exports were momentarily rising, because the people were 
loo poor to be able to keep their food for themselves; he pointed 
out that the exports of eggs and butter from Siberia deprived 
the Siberian peasants themselves of these simple articles of diet. 
But when he finally took an economic standpoint in which he 
viewed the peasant entirely as he viewed a horse, the true 
inwardncHB of his philosophy came to the light. While we were 
speaking of the degeneration of the Russian horse and of the 
(act that it was also underfed, he insisted that it was not worth 
while feeding such a horse, and used the same terms with which 




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HOW THE PEASANTS LIVE 175 

he had spoken of the peasant. For the most part the Russian 
officials do not have any social philosophy, but this is the 
morality of those who do. The Russian peasants, they eonfess, 
are in a deplorable condition — so little advanced, indeed, 
that it would not even pay for the State to make any sacrifice 
on their behalf. 

The terribly low productivity of the peasant's agriculture 
and the small size of his income are of course at the bottom of 
his suffering. He is receiving about one-third the income of 
a poor German peasant, one-fourth that of a French. He is 
producing only about one-half enough to properly feed himself 
and animals. To discuss a remedy for this condition leads 
at once to the whole social problem, the whole economic and 
political situation of the country, a matter on which conclusions 
can be reached only farther on; but in the meanwhlie it can be 
pointed out how the situation is aggravated by the Government. 
There are two very reliable estimates of the portion of the 
peasant's income which goes into the treasury of the Government 
in the form of direct taxation; one from the relatively poor 
province of Saratov and the other from the relatively rich 
province of Moscow. In the poor province, where the net 
family income is only 114 rubles ($57), more than half goes 
in the form of taxes to the Government. In Moscow where 
the income, the highest in Russia, is nearly four hundred 
rubles, nearly one-fifth goes to taxation. Of the taxes the 
most important are the indirect. 

In proportion as the direct taxes have been slowly lowered, 
the indirect have been rapidly elevated. It must not be 
supposed, however, that direct land taxes absorb any small 
part of the peasant's income. Direct taxes going to the Central 
Government have been recently much decreased, but there 
has been at the same time a very large increase in direct taxes 
going to the province and the village. As the relation between 
the local and Central Government is so intimate the latter takes 
advantage of the new taxing power of the local government, 
made possible by the retirement of the central authorities, to 
throw off on the provinces many of its own burdens, and it may 
soon be that the stun total of all direct taxes will also begin 
again to increase. 



176 RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

In the last twenty-five years some of the indirect tax-rates 
have been raised almost every year. It is estimated that 
between 1880 and 1902 the tax on tea increased threefold, that 
on sugar, five, and that on cotton six; the increased duties on 
copper and iron have corresponded. The American Bureau of 
Statistics estimates that on account of the taxing system 
Russians are forced to pay four times as much for petroleum as 
they would otherwise. The result is not only that the people 
are paying several times more for ordinary articles than they 
should, but that they are absolutely unable to purchase very 
large quantities of any of the articles so heavily taxed. Where 
modern industries are arising, as in the cities, and the people 
are slightly better off, they are consuming five times as much 
sugar, ten times as much tea, eighteen times as much petroleum, 
as in the country. 

The robbing of the people through this system is effected not 
only by the money taken by the State itself, but also through 
the abnormal profits the very high customs tariff gives to the 
Russian manufacturer. The latter is the chief beneficiary from 
the several prices which are paid for cotton goods and for sugar. 
But in other cases, tea and alcohol for instance, the profit of 
the system is almost altogether the Government's. Four-fifths 
of all that the peasants pay for alcohol goes into the coffers of the 
Government and half of what he pays for tea. On tea and 
cotton alone, the greater portion of both of which goes into 
the hands of the masses, the Government raises over a hundred 
million rubles. 

If any considerable portion of all these sums, so vast for a 
poor country like Russia, came back to the people, perhaps 
there would be somewhat less reason for complaint. But if 
we were to examine the expenditure of the Russian budget 
(excluding expenditures for businesses liKe alcohol and railways 
which are privately operated in other countries) we would find 
that over one-half of the total sum expended for purely govern- 
mental ends, goes for the army and navy and the police, while 
another fourth goes to pay the interest on the over-swollen 
national debt. In reckoning the sum paid for interest by the 
Government as one-fourth of the total expended, I have not 
included the interest on sums borrowed for railways, although 



\ 



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HOW THE PEASANTS LIVE 177 

a very large part of this money also served for almost purely 
military ends. 

Considering the many millions of persons that have died 
in Russia in the last decade from direct starvation or diseases 
that are derived from it, the amount borrowed and spent on 
such an absolutely prime national necessity as the relief of famine 
has been trivial — a total of a few hundred million rubles in all 
these years. We cannot at all grasp the conditions of the life 
of the Russian peasantry without recalling the almost chronic 
famines. We must remember that not only do famines occur 
occasionally, but that in the larger part of the country they 
occur with the greatest regularity every two or three years. 
Of course I did not fail to enter into a famine district in order 
to see with my own eyes what the conditions were. In the 
district of Buzuluk, in the province of Samara, the crop had been 
so small in 1906, and what little grain there was left was so 
valuable, that the peasants pulled the stalks by hand, finding 
it impossible to use their scythes. There was even no hay for 
the horses, and in August they were already breaking down 
with disease and the people were feeding the thatched roofs of 
barns to the dying animals. In a small district seven hundred 
cows had already been sold, which meant, of course, more 
starvation for the coming year. Horses were selling at five and 
ten rubles, and goats for as little as seventy-five kopecks. The 
peasants had recently been forced to buy grain at a ruble and 
a quarter, the grain they had sold a few weeks before for three- 
quarters of a ruble. The children were already too weak to 
study and had left the schools — the village meetings had 
declared that they would soon die of hunger. Some parents, 
finding they could not feed their children by staying at home, 
had left them behind in the village, hoping they might be able 
somewhere or other to earn them a little bread. 

The Government was doing something to relieve the famine, 
but the relief was ridiculously insufficient and outrageously 
administered. The peasants were being given for the whole 
season forty pounds of grain for each person in the village, 
whereas at least two hundred pounds would be required. The 
Government was feeding the people not with bread, but with a 
weak soup made out of potatoes and bread. Not only was the 



178 RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

Government ration insufficient, but in many places the grain 
sent for seeds was mixed with earth and manure, even to such an 
extent that in one case the peasants of a certain village had 
refused absolutely to accept it. In some districts the grain 
sent for food was rotten and full of worms; in others the seed 
needed for planting on the first of September had only been 
half delivered when that time arrived. In still others, as was 
brought out in the noted case of the stealing grain-contractor, 
Lidval, and his friend, Assistant Minister Gurko, a large portion 
of the sum assigned for this purpose was stolen outright. I 
have called attention elsewhere to the fact that Lidval was let 
out of jail on bail, and that it was impossible in the Government's 
courts to place any criminal responsibility on the shoulders of 
the former minister. 

Let us recall that while the peasants are starving, the exports 
of rye, even from the very district where the famine occurred, 
continued, and that the total exports of the country in the famine 
year of 1906 even rose, and that the encouragement of these 
large exports is the basis of the whole financial policy of the 
country. And let us remember, finally, that the new law which 
allows the peasant for the first time to sell or mortgage his land, 
will rob him during such famine periods of the only assurance 
that remains to him of the slightest chance of extricating himself 
from his hopeless situation. 

In 1906, when the official reports showed that thirty million 
people were on the verge of starvation, Russia's grain exports 
actually reached a value of more than five hundred million rubles — 
more than sufficient to have prevented the death by famine 
diseases of several hundred thousand children, and to have kept 
alive millions of dying horses and cattle on which the peasants' life 
or death in the future depended. If the peasants had not been 
pauperised by taxes, they would have bought this grain and never 
have allowed it to leave the country. If the landlords had not been 
subsidised for a generation, they would never have owned either 
the grain or the land that produced it. and the famine would not 
even have existed. For famine is a by -product of poverty. We 
have the same droughts in America as they do in Russia, some- 
time? even the same en>t> failure: but we do not have 
:&n;:r.es. Our tarmtrc >«avc twv rauch saocev in the bank. 




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HOW THE PEASANTS LIVE 179 

And this new law is Stolypine's great reform. The over- 
whelming majority of the people must continue to starve. 
The State is not prepared to make any great financial sacrifice or 
fundamental reorganisation of the Government in their behalf. 
But at any cost it must have a few -million farmers of the Ger- 
man or American sort. So the State has decided to give over 
the mass into the hands of the more thrifty and business-like 
few, to sacrifice the ninety penniless families of the village 
for the five or ten that have a little cash. The penniless peasants 
are to be allowed for the first time to sell and mortgage their 
little lots. The very first famine they will be sold into the 
hands of their more usurious or thrifty neighbours. It will then 
doubtless be possible for many of these latter to build up quite 
modern little farms of fifty to a hundred acres with several of 
the former peasants as labourers, forced to accept all wages 
and conditions offered or to starve. 

The Government proposes to reduce ninety million of Russia's 
peasants to a still lower level of dependence and misery than 
that on which they now live, in order, by handing over their 
property to the rest, to build up the prosperity of the remaining 
ten millions. This, in Governmental Russia, is what is called 
"social reform." 



chapter rr 

WOW THE FEASANTS TUX TEEM SOU. 

IT IS impossible for the peasants to extricate themselves 
from their terrible predicament- Their farming is doomed 
t/> pitiful failure from the outset. The youngest American for- 
mer boy would die of irritation if he were set to work under 
the antiquated conditions that prevail everywhere in Russia. 
It is very difficult indeed to make the reader realise how far 
behind in this respect the Russian peasants are; yet we must 
not imagine them too backward. It was only a generation 
at two ago when many parts of America and several European 
countries were farmed in a similar manner; and in the United 
States even to-day there are to be found localities in the out- 
of-the-way mountains of the East where methods are not 
much more improved. 

In the conditions of labour we can see, as in no other part of 
the lives of the Russian people, the extent to which they have 
been debarred from civilisation, and why their condition is 
hopeless without some revolutionary change. We have seen 
that the peasant is underfed; Kornilov shows that the men 
have 17 per cent., the horses 40 per cent., less food than they 
require, even to maintain their full working power. But the 
peasants want work as much as they do bread; they are even 
more underworked than they are underfed. A Government 
commission investigating the cause of poverty in central Russia 
found the men had enough work to employ only one-fifth, and 
the horses enough to employ only one-third, of their working 
power. 

Here, then, were the great, incontestable truths underlying 
the peasants' condition. Neither the farmers nor the farm 
animals have enough to keep them from physical degeneration. 
Even if the peasant was sufficiently occupied to keep himself 
from starving to death, there would still be no chance for him to 

180 



HOW THE PEASANTS TILL SOIL 181 

save money and to accumulate that capital absolutely necessary 
for the regeneration of his agriculture; even if the men and 
farm animals had enough to eat, the peasants would still be 
idle three-fourth of their time and the horses one-half the time; 
there would be no money to buy better animals or better ploughs, 
no means to increase the miserable yield of the crops and to 
improve the lot of the miserable agriculturist. 

We cannot account for these conditions by saying amply 
that Russia has not entered into the pale of civilisation as 
far as agriculture is concerned. Everywhere one passes great 
estates of the nobility and merchants, or occasionally of the 
very exceptional peasants who have become rich from usury 
and the very sufferings of their fellow-countrymen. In nearly 
every such estate modern agricultural methods are applied, 
often in the most advanced manner. Everywhere peasants are 
employed on these places, and after a little natural prejudice 
at the beginning, they soon master the most complicated 
machines. It is not, therefore, as if the people did not know 
what scientific methods are. We are facing in Russia not 
the poverty of barbarism, but the poverty of civilisation, a clear 
social product. 

Anyone with a pencil and paper can verify in a few minutes 
the reckoning of the great geographist, Elisee Reclus, that 
Russia, cultivated like Great Britain, should sustain the popu- 
lation of five hundred million souls. Cultivated like the United 
States even, it should keep in prosperity half that number; 
whereas at the present moment a large part of its one hundred 
and forty million starves. Nor does the condition tend to 
improve. Every year, while the population increases 2 or 3 
per cent. , the agricultural production of the country increases only 
about half as fast. While American farmers have learned to 
get at least twice as much from an acre as they did half a 
century ago, the Russian peasants are actually producing less 
than they did at the time of the emancipation in 1861. 

This is bankruptcy, ruin, and degeneration for the peasants' 
agriculture. Of course the soil is being robbed and exhausted 
and the farm animals are becoming weaker and smaller every 
year. In the agricultural section, too, men die twice as rapidly 
as in any other modern country. Every year half a million 



xS* RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

human lives, more than those lost in the whole of the Japanese 
war, are sacrificed to the demon poverty. 

This is the social evil in Russia, this is the marsh and quick- 
sand on which courtier-statesmen are building their gilded 
and tawdry structure of mere police reform. Since Witte's 
Council of State declared the Government helpless to aid the 
peasantry, no minister has had the effrontery even to claim 
that anything could be done to strike at the root of Russia's ills. 

When I went to the villages I knew that I saw conditions 
that have existed over half a century, that are not improving 
themselves to-day, and that the Government has no hope to 
improve materially "in this epoch," to use the words of Witte. 
When I saw how the Russian Government leaves the farmer 
to sow and reap, I saw at the same time into the very heart 
of hearts of the Czarism's pretensions. Laying aside for the 
moment the question of the right of any man to govern and 
master another without that other's consent, forgetting that 
the Russian peasant has a right to the full power over his own 
life, if for no other reason than because nobody else has any 
superior claim to exercise that power, let us see how the Czar has 
employed his "God-given" pretension to act as "shepherd 
to his flock," to employ again a favourite official phrase. 

Before entering into the Russian villages themselves, even 
from the train windows, two or three significant features of the 
peasants' agriculture can be noted : first, that the fields are every- 
where divided into very long and ridiculously narrow strips, often 
stretching as far as the eye can reach and only a few paces wide ; 
and, second, that every third field is lying fallow all the year 
around. The strips result from the fact that all the land of the 
village is the common property of the whole. In their crude 
efforts to attain equality in the division of the land, and the 
absence of any method of exactly estimating the value of the 
different kinds of soil in the village's possession, each field is 
divided among all the several hundred villagers in this manner. 
Even where, as it happens sometimes in Western Russia, that 
a single peasant is allowed to own several ** shares," the same 
method of division is used. 

This custom, one of the greatest evils in the present system, 
and recognised as such both by the Government and the 



HOW THE PEASANTS TILL SOIL 183 

peasants, is to be attributed almost entirely to the oppressive 
system of the Government. No sooner was there a measure of 
liberty a year or so ago, than both peasants and educated persons 
who worked in their behalf began to replace this awkward 
triennial redistribution of the land by some kind of graduated 
land tax, such as is already in practice in Australia. There is 
no tendency on the part of the peasants to abandon their almost 
instinctive insistence on the greatest possible economic equality, 
but it is evident that a graduated tax is a far superior method 
of reaching this end than the perpetual redistribution of the 
land, especially in these utterly impractical narrow strips. 

The other feature to be seen from the car window, the fallow 
fields, indicate the still universal use in Russia of the ancient 
"three field system." The peasantry have never been rich 
enough to afford a rotation of crops, to be able to plant a field 
in root crops and to wait for a good yield; neither have they 
enough farm animals to be able properly to utilise these crops, 
or to manure the fields. If they stick to the old wasteful system 
it is not due to ignorance, but to the pressure of sheer economic 
necessity. 

The implements used by the peasants are almost incredibly 
crude. The majority of the waggons I have examined were 
made without the least scrap of iron, as was sometimes the case 
among our pioneer farmers over a century ago. The plough 
is for the most part of a type that has been in use for more than 
a hundred years, while the so-called new plough, also in com- 
mon use, is two or three generations behind the times. The 
harrow, like the waggon, is made without a scrap of iron. Nor 
is it iron alone that is too expensive for extensive use ; it is very 
rare that the peasant can afford anything but rope or thongs 
of some wild fibre for the harness either of his carts or his 
ploughing implements. 

In this beautiful and immensely rich agricultural country, 
with its long sunny days in the summer, its plentiful snows in 
the winter, and its very wonderful black soil, the vastest agricul- 
tural plain in the world, all the work of cultivating the soil is car- 
ried on in such a primitive and wasteful manner that far more 
of its riches go to waste than are economically utilised. Every- 
thing, of course, is done by hand. The seeds are cast out of a 



i8 4 RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

sack or apron, as they were a hundred years ago. Naturally, 
the birds that are to be seen everywhere in immense swarms, 
get a large part. Then if there is too much rain, the seeds rot, 
or if not enough, it is very common for the wind to heap them 
up or to blow them away. The ploughing as a rule is about six 
or eight inches into the soil. In the eastern half of Russia, in 
the most fertile sections, droughts are very frequent. If a plough 
was here used that turned up from twelve to eighteen inches, 
to say nothing of the use of the modern dust blanket idea, there 
would be very few famines at all in the land, but at the worst 
only half crops. That this is no exaggeration is proven by the 
results already achieved by some of the German colonists that 
settled in the heart of Russia over a century ago. 

In the summer of 1905, when there was almost a complete 
crop failure on the lower Volga, where I happened to be, I 
was able to secure some of the crop statistics of these German 
colonists and their Russian neighbours in nine German and 
eighteen Russian townships. These figures show that already 
the Germans have learned to produce one-quarter or one-half 
crop where the Russians get practically nothing. In the 
majority of the Russian townships, the rye crops showed next 
to nothing, while in the majority of the German there was 
almost one-quarter of a normal crop. While a large part of 
the Russian townships produced less than one-quarter of the 
normal wheat crops, the majority of the German townships 
were able to obtain from one-quarter to one-half of a normal 
crop. Now of course these Germans are also poor and have 
by no means introduced the most modern methods. Where 
they obtained a fourth, there is little doubt that our Kansas 
farmer could have obtained half a crop. 

Of course the first cause of the peasants* agriculture is his 
poverty, just as the first cause of his poverty is his bad agri- 
culture. The average peasant family is enabled to obtain an 
income altogether of only one hundred to two hundred rubles 
(fifty to one hundred dollars) ; the most friendly of the reformers 
do not undertake to promise him that he will be able to bring 
his income to higher than two hundred rubles within the 
first few wars. To show just what these figures mean, we 
have many scientific investigations of the peasants' expendi- 



HOW THE PEASANTS TILL SOIL 185 

ture. Such an inquiry in the province of Veronege showed 
that the peasants' total household expenditure, outside of 
purchases of food for men and horses, was a little less than 
one hundred rubles, that he invested for building thirty- 
four, for clothes twenty-five, for farm animals twenty-four, 
for implements about eight, and for furniture and vessels 
six. If we convert these figures into dollars it is not necessary 
to have any further explanation of the backwardness of the 
peasants' agriculture. 

I took pains frequently to learn what the peasant paid for 
ploughs, harrows, and waggons — and these prices will indicate 
the inefficiency of the implements. For the most modern plough 
in use he was paying five rubles and every three years he had 
to renew the ploughshare at the cost of about 1.80 rubles. These 
ploughs were manufactured in the village with the exception 
of certain bolts, screws, and simple pieces that the smiths 
bought from the factory. I found that the peasants rarely paid 
more than ten rubles for a waggon, and one waggon-maker assured 
me a majority of those he made he sold for only five rubles 
and that such a waggon was the result of one week of his labour. 
The harrows with iron teeth, which are in rather common use, 
are worth five or six rubles, but I saw more wooden ones which 
were only worth a ruble or two. 

I have traced the blame of these conditions first of all to the 
poverty and general condition of the country; but the Govern- 
ment, besides being responsible for this, has also a special blame. 
The tariff of the customs duties on iron has been placed so high 
that the peasants can scarcely afford to use even nails. As 
a result Russia uses per head one-tenth as much iron as the 
United States. The duty on the machinery the peasant requires 
is correspondingly high, and there can be no question that a 
large part of all his technical expenses are due directly to this 
high tariff policy of the Government. 

The condition in respect to the live stock is even more 
illuminating than that of the implements. More than one- 
fourth of the peasants' households are entirely without a horse, 
another third has only one horse, while only slightly more than 
a third have two or more. The condition is not getting better, 
but worse. In the centre of the country, out of one hundred 



1 86 RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

families, one every year joins the horseless class. Still more 
striking is the fact that the average Russian horse weighs 
little more than half of the better breeds of France. In 1870 
there were nine head of cattle for each household. Every 
ten years this number has fallen one; in 1900 the average number 
was only a little over six head of cattle for each household. 
Neither in cattle, sheep nor pigs are the Russian peasants one- 
quarter as well provided as those of Germany. 

To make still more clear the remarkable inferiority of the 
agriculture of the Russian peasant, let us contrast the better 
farmers among the Russian peasants with those of the leading 
agricultural states of the American Northwest. The American 
farmer in this section has about one hundred acres of 
land, the Russian peasant about twenty. The value of the 
land of the American farmer is about four times as great, so 
we see already that the landed wealth of the American is twenty 
times that of his Russian competitor — for we must not forget 
that these two great grain-exporting countries and their farmers 
are competitors in the world market. 

The value of the live stock and implements is in about the 
same proportion. We may reckon this in Russia to be about 
twenty-five rubles for machinery and seventy-five for live 
stock — that is altogether about one hundred rubles or fifty 
dollars; whereas the American farmer of the Northwest has more 
than two hundred dollars in implements and machinery and 
nearly eight hundred dollars in live stock. Witte estimated 
the value of the Russian agriculture products of 1897 as one 
and a half billion rubles; those of America were about eight 
times as great. The area of the crops in the two countries was 
about the same. This relative condition is not changing, for 
whereas in the last decade our wheat crop increased 39 per 
cent, that of Russia scarcely increased 9 per cent. 

The contrast is even greater in regard to exports. In the 
fifteen years preceding 1902 the wheat exports of America 
nearly doubled, while those of Russia remained almost stationary. 
But I have suggested in a former chapter that the whole economy 
of the Russian nation, the maintenance of the gold standard, 
the payment of the interest on foreign loans, all depend upon 
a large grain export. The majority of the total exports of 



HOW THE PEASANTS TILL SOIL 187 

Russia is indeed grain; butter and eggs bring up the 
proportion of agricultural products in exports to two-thirds of 
the total, and the rest consists of the raw materials, like 
wood and petroleum; manufactured products do not make 
3 per cent, of the whole. If the agricultural exports, espec- 
ially wheat, do not rise rapidly, then the whole financial 
policy deliberately chosen by the Government has proved 
itself a failure. 

It would doubtless have been more wise on the part of the 
Government to have discontinued entirely the policy of encour- 
aging grain exports from a country where both men and farm 
animals are starving for the need of grain. Only lately another 
repetition of famine has forced the minister of finance not 
only to reverse the former policy, but actually to discourage 
the exports. Both from the extreme reactionary and the 
extreme revolutionary party there was a strong cry for the 
forbidding of exports from starving districts, but it was only 
after her neighbour, Turkey, had taken this very essential means 
of protecting its population from wholesale starvation that 
Russia was forced to follow its example. Of course it is 
recognised by all writers on economic questions that the forbid- 
ding of exports must be only a temporary expedient, absolutely 
necessary as it may be in times of famine and war. 

But the real source of the degeneration of Russian agriculture 
lies deeper than the exporting of the food of starving men 
and beasts. At the time of the emancipation in 1861 it was 
already recognised that a peasant family, in order to support 
itself, should possess at least twelve and a half dessiatines 
(or thirty-three acres) of land. When serf-owners allowed 
their peasants' land to fall below this amount, the Government 
insisted that the peasants should be transported to some of the 
newer sections, such as the Province of Samara. But in 1875 
the average amount of land in the peasants' possession was 
already only about nine dessiatines (twenty-four acres) for each 
household; in 1900 it had fallen further to six and a half dessi- 
atines (seventeen acres) — just about half enough, according 
to the Government's own calculation, to keep a peasant family 
alive. This does not quite represent the situation, for in some 
places the decrease has been relatively slight, whereas in the 



188 RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

wrath and west the peasants have at the present time less than 
a half of what they had at the time of the emancipation. 

Only in the extreme south does the value of the average 
peasant farm rise as high as five hundred rubles, whereas in the 
leading agricultural districts in the centre and east it is between 
three hundred and seventy-five and five hundred rubles, and in 
the north and west under this sum. An American can get 
an idea of these farms only by comparing, them with the 
miserable little holdings of our Southern Negroes. Even this 
does not represent the low level of the Russian agriculturist; 
the woods and meadows so necessary for the pasturing of cattle 
and the forests that supply building material and fuel are 
largely in the hands of the landlords. In the north where 
the land is poor, and in the east where the so-called " beggar's 
lots" exist, a large part of the revolts that have occurred in the 
last two years have had for their immediate cause some quarrel 
with the landlords over the woods and meadows. So far have 
the proprietors gone in protecting such monopolised property 
rights that they have even forbidden the gathering of berries 
or mushrooms. 

The " beggar's lots" are those of the peasants whose masters 
at the time of the emancipation took advantage of the clause 
of the law allowing them to give the peasants a diminutive piece 
of land outright, rather than to sell them a larger piece. At 
this time these "beggar's lots' 9 consisted usually of less than 
one dessiatine (two and three-quarter acres). Now, owing 
to the increase of population and division of these properties, 
the peasant owners are often possessed of no more than one 
single acre. Such owners of "beggar's lots " are of course forced 
to rent land from the landlord at his own terms if they remain 
in the country. The proprietors assign for this purpose the 
worst and least accessible of their lands, at rents which have 
very often been proved statistically to amount to more than 
the net product, and sometimes even to twice as much. Of 
course such rents are not, and cannot be, collected. They mean 
simply that the peasants are forced to do the landlords' work on 
the "rented" land for the price often of nothing more than the 
straw that is left over. As part of the rent of meadows the 
landlords often insist on the transportation of their grain to the 



HOW THE PEASANTS TILL SOIL 189 

railways, usually at a considerable distance, and even on as 
much as two-thirds of the hay crop besides. Little wonder 
the helpless peasants revolt. 

Meanwhile all these conditions are always getting worse. 
The peasant's poverty and the exhaustion of the soil enable 
him to get less from the land than he did a generation ago, 
whereas land values and rents have risen more than threefold. 
Far from being of any service whatever to the people in this 
hopeless situation, the Government is an even more oppressive 
financial burden than the landlords themselves. Professor 
Janson has shown that for many years continually (in fact, until 
two years ago) the Government taxes were often equal to the 
peasant's income from the land, and sometimes even twice as 
much. Again, it goes without saying, as in the case of the 
high rents just mentioned, that such taxes were not collected. 
But these excessive burdens meant that the tax-collecting 
officials were present at the time of the harvest and took every 
scrap of the peasant's property that was not necessary to prevent 
his immediate starvation. As we shall see later, the Government 
actually intended that this tax should make the former serf 
of a private individual the serf of the State. The taxes were so 
high that they took from the peasants not only all that the land 
could produce, but also a very large part of all that he could 
make by his labour elsewhere. 

Professor Simkhovitch quotes figures from the province of 
Novgorod showing that the food deficit to be made up by labour 
of the peasants in the cities or on the estates of the landlords 
amounted to three million rubles, taxes to a similar stun, and 
that all that remained to the peasants of this province, after 
all their labour for themselves and for other persons, was only 
about twelve and a half rubles per household, from which 
infinitesimal amount they had to purchase their clothing, part 
of their food, and their agricultural implements. The same 
writer quotes the opinion of Professor Janson to the effect that 
the peasantry was economically better off even during serfdom 
than at the present time. 

The result of this extreme poverty is of course to drive a 
very large part of the peasantry into the position of mere 
agricultural labourers. Of these there are now in Russia many 



i9o RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

minions. What it means to be a farm worker in Russia one 
can very readily grasp from the wages they receive. One 
of the most scientific and complete studies on the subject has 
been produced by the local government board of Poltava. 
The wages of this class of labour from 1890 to 1900 varied from 
twenty-two to forty kopecks a day, with the exception of a 
single year. The average was thirty-three kopecks (seventeen 
cents). The monthly wages were on the average $3.06, and the 
yearly wages $29.46. The wages in the United States, except 
in the South, were in 1900 about seventeen dollars per month, or 
nearly six times as much. 

This by no means indicates the worst of the Russian wage 
conditions in agricultural industry. We must take into 
account the good and bad harvests and the varying wages of the 
different seasons. During the harvest period wages have in 
certain years risen almost to fifty cents a day, and in the worst 
years they have fallen only about as low as twenty-five. But 
we must take into account the long spring and winter seasons 
when the wages have varied from nine to twelve and a half cents 
per day. We can indicate the fundamental condition that 
underlies such starvation wages by remembering that the product 
for a farm worker in the United States has risen in the last 
decade by nearly half, while that of the Russian worker has 
fallen to a little more than half what it was. Russia's hundred 
million people employed in agriculture are producing crops that, 
at the most liberal estimate, have only a fifth of the value of 
those produced by less than fifty million people in the United 
States. With the aid of our railroads, education, and farm 
machinery, a single American farmer is producing crops as 
valuable as those produced by ten Russian peasants, while 
he is actually receiving as much as fifteen or twenty. 

There is a glaring inequality in the distribution of such 
wealth as Russia does manage to produce. The Government 
and the landlords take nearly half of the peasants' product; 
and, furthermore, in order to retain their large share of the 
spoils, the Government and the landlords will not allow the 
peasants enough income even to develop their agriculture. 
With a free government, as in America, and the land in the 
possession of the rural workers themselves, Russia would now 



HOW THE PEASANTS TILL SOIL 191 

be producing tenfold the agricultural wealth she does to-day. 
And if the people had possessed liberty and the land a century 
ago the social problem in Russia would not be other than it is 
now in the United States. 

But this opportunity has passed. The social evil has now 
become deeper in Russia than in any other modern country, 
the social problem has become greater, and the solution of 
this problem will have to be correspondingly more revolutionary 
and more profound. 



CHAPTER V 

FROM SLA TBS OF THB LANDLORD TO SLAVES OF THB STATB 

And as for the activity of landlords, nobody would even attempt to 
justify it.— Tolstoi, "What Is to Be Done.* 9 

WHITE slavery has been the basis of the Russian State 
for a thousand years. The so-called revolutionary 
change that took place at the time of the emancipation of the 
serfs in 1861 by Alexander II. was no more than a change of 
the system of servitude. Before that time a part of the peasants 
had been the slaves directly of the landlords and only indirectly 
of the State. By the emancipation they became directly the 
slaves of the State. The overwhelming majority of the Russian 
people, of absolutely the same blood as the landlord nobility, in 
this country where all are levelled before the Czar and a nobleman 
may be created overnight, were not merely serfs but slaves 
in the fullest sense of the term. For the so-called serfdom 
that prevailed for two centuries before the emancipation was 
nothing less than slavery. To be sure, the greater part of the 
peasants tilling the soil had some sort of a guaranteed legal 
relation to the land. But this was purely a matter of con- 
venience. It was possible for the landlords and the Government 
to transfer them at any time into the class of domestic slaves, 
who were also called by the same name of serf. 

After the fixing of the peasants to the soil over two centuries 
ago, which was the beginning of the new slavery, serfdom, 
there was a continuous contest between the Czar and the 
landlords as to which should exercise the dominant rdle over 
the slaves. Of course there was never any question that the 
landlord noblemen also were the slaves of the Czar, and that 
the serfs were therefore the slaves of slaves. But there were 
always many matters of state which hung on the question as 
to how far the Czar should interfere directly in the behaviour of 

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SLAVES OP LANDLORD OR STATE 193 

the masters toward the slaves, and concerning the extent to which 
he should exercise directly his power over them. 

Both Catharine II. and Alexander I., over a century ago, saw 
that the landlords were becoming such despotic masters that 
they were starving their own slaves and depopulating the 
country, to say nothing of other vices of the system which 
threatened the State's very existence. Both monarchs saw 
that the serfs must be ultimately "free" — that is, they under- 
stood that the welfare of the country required a single form of 
slavery instead of both Czarism and serfdom, two systems that 
contradict each other at many points. For a long time serfdom, 
or servitude to the landlords, was maintained. In spite of 
the foresight of the more intelligent Czars, they valued the 
support and aid furnished them by the landlords even more 
than they did the health or even the existence of the common 
man. When the emancipation was finally enacted it meant 
only a partial accomplishment of the Czar's design of replacing 
slavery to the individual by slavery to the State; for while 
politically the landlord masters lost their old position, the 
emancipation was accomplished in such a way, as I shall show, 
as to make the peasantry economically more dependent than 
ever on the landlord class. 

The contest between two systems, an oligarchy of slave- 
owning noblemen and a slave-holding bureaucratic absolutism 
with all the power centred in the Czar, has been a burning one 
from the outset. After the two hundred years of this contest 
that have elapsed since the reign of Peter the Great, it is still 
impossible to say whether the autocracy or the oligarchy of 
landlords has at last come out the stronger. We have just seen 
the creation of a landlords' Duma. Under Peter the Great the 
landlord nobility was absolutely crushed, and every individual 
nobleman that arose into any prominence, whether Menchikov, 
Biren, or Munich, was exiled, imprisoned, or executed. It 
might appear from this that the power of the nobility was 
increasing, but such is not the case. The victory fluctuates from 
one to another in each succeeding reign, and after viewing the two 
centuries as a whole we must rather conclude that all such conflict 
is equally unprofitable for both sides, and that the autocracy 
and nobility are absolutely necessary to one another's existence. 



i 9 4 RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

A few years after the death of Peter the Great, in 1730, the 
Empress Anne even signed a sort of constitution granting a 
noblemen's government. There was to have been an assembly 
of gentlemen, merchants, and the lesser nobility, a senate of the 
higher nobility, and a supreme council of twelve which was 
always to be consulted on questions of peace and war, taxation, 
the appointment of officials and the condemnation of the 
nobility or confiscation of their property, and even on the 
alienation of the Crown domains, the marriages of the royal 
princes and the fixing of the principles of succession. The 
Empress was to have a fixed sum for her household and was to 
command only the Palace Guards. Ten days after yielding to 
the landlords Anne tore this instrument to pieces. It had proved 
impossible to maintain any unity among the nobility and the 
nobles saw then, as they had often seen before and since, that 
the autocracy was a necessary method of maintaining their 
domination in the country — sorry as thev might be to have to 
be forced to admit a despot above themselves. 

All the palace revolutions, those of 1740 and 1741, of 1762 
when Catharine II. got rid of her husband, of 1801 when 
Alexander I. allowed his father to be assassinated, were revolu- 
tions accomplished by the nobility for their own ends. At the 
same time the nobles had been taught by experience, and their 
purpose was merely the naming of a new autocrat. They 
had learned that the Czarism is as necessary to themselves as 
it is to the Czar. Catharine II., indeed, moved in an opposite 
direction from Peter and Anne; although she did not limit her 
own power directly she did the same thing indirectly by making 
the landlords absolute masters over the peasantry. Under 
her grandson, Alexander I, the severity used against the masses 
was even greater than before, and the peasants' complaints were 
not even tolerated. Alexander's chief favourite, Arakcheev, 
led in the tortures until he was finally murdered by his own 
slaves. 

Alexander I., who reigned at the beginning of the last century, 
was one of the Czars who felt inclined rather to reduce chattel 
slavery in order to strengthen the servitude to the State; but, 
unfortunately, he had enjoyed such a good education that he 
also understood the absurdity of the State despotism. Hesi- 



SLAVES OF LANDLORD OR STATE 195 

tating for a while between the reform of these two evils, he was 
finally caught in the wave of reaction that spread over Europe 
and accomplished neither. In the meanwhile his insight into 
the impossibility of absolutism led him to maintain the power 
of the landlord class. 

One of the books that did the most to bring about the 
emancipation was "The Annals of a Sportsman" by Turgeniev, 
whom many think the greatest novelist the world has ever 
produced. In order to give an idea of the condition in which 
the fathers and grandfathers of the peasants were held, and of 
the opinions in which the present officials and landlords have 
been educated, I shall draw upon a few stories from this book, 
which was recognised by all the contemporaries to be eminently 
moderate and fair in its judgments. Though Turgeniev 
pictures a number of typical landlords, I shall refer only to the 
more humane ones. 

As a sportsman Turgeniev *s attention was especially called 
to proprietors who summoned peasants from their daily labour 
to use them as huntsmen. This shows that the so-called 
serfdom was nothing but slavery. It was slavery, as Turgeniev 
mentioned, because the landlords had the right to judge the 
peasants and to send them to exile or imprisonment for life in 
the military battalions. The landlords drawn by Turgeniev 
took advantage of their position to rob the peasants of land 
which they were supposed to have a right to cultivate. Even 
this right to work on a certain piece of land, the very basis of 
serfdom and the only feature that separates it from mere slavery, 
was all but ignored. In one case robbery had been accomp- 
lished by ceaseless beatings, and the land in dispute was referred 
to by the peasants in the neighbourhood as the " cudgelled 
land." 

Since serfdom was supposed to differ in some respects from 
slavery, of course it was not supposed that the landlords had 
a right to allow and forbid the peasants to marry, but this right 
also they assumed. Turgeniev speaks of one cruel master who 
forbade all his maids to marry and had cruelly punished any- 
one who disobeyed; he relates the story of a peasant lover who 
was sent away for twenty-five years to the ruin of the whole 
family which was supported by him alone; and he tells of an 



i 9 6 * RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

old-maid mistress who never allowed any of her serfs, male or 
female, to marry. "God forbid," she sometimes said, "here 
I am living single; what indulgence! what are they thinking of!" 

The most cruel of the masters were under no illusions as to 
whether the system in existence was serfdom or slavery. " When 
a man's a master he is a master," explains one of them, who 
had advised every manner of torture for his slaves, "and when 
he is a peasant, he is a peasant." But what is the most inter- 
esting for our purpose, is that when the slaves were most dis- 
obedient and the masters most cruelly aroused, they spoke not 
of a slaves' revolt, but of a "mutiny." In other words, the 
most extreme form of servitude that these slave-owners could 
imagine was military servitude, the most extreme form of 
insubordination was military mutiny — that is, revolt not 
against private ownership but against the State, which was 
after all the more oppressive master at that time and has 
remained so until the present day. 

Turgeniev hesitated to present in a work intended for general 
reading a full picture of the frightful degree which the oppression 
at that time had reached. But we must understand this if we 
are to understand the character of the present rulers of the 
country. The cruelties that follow are all supported by docu- 
mentary evidence. 

The proprietors were allowed to make their own laws for 
the most part as far as the peasants were concerned. One 
such law read as follows: "For insulting a neighbouring pro- 
prietor — to be whipped cruelly:" another, "if a serf omits 
to fast at the proper time and for a period ordained by the 
Church, he or she must fast for a week and receive five thousand 
strokes unsparingly." The preceding are from the private 
law-books. There is one from the public army regulations, 
chapter 29, that requires that the court must examine carefully 
in the case of a peasant's death why he died so easily and how 
it was possible for him to die so easily. The public laws set the 
example, and we must remember that half of the serfs were not 
owned by private proprietors but by the Czar himself. Cath- 
arine II. issued an order that the serfs were not to be permitted 
to complain to their masters, and when some peasants begged 
that they be killed or exiled forever rather than be left to the 



SLAVES OF LANDLORD OR STATE 197 

mercies of their master, Count Alexis Lapuchin, Catharine ordered 
44 half of them to be whipped publicly with rods in the market- 
place and other squares in Moscow, and the other half to be 
whipped in the villages in presence of the peasants; and then 
sent them to hard labour in the Siberian mines."* 

When cases against the peasants did come up for trial they 
were judged of course by the landlords themselves. A certain 
Redkin, marshal of the nobility in the Government of Riazan, 
said frankly: "If I saw a gentleman who is my comrade kill 
one of his serfs I would take an oath without any scruple that 
I had seen nothing." This from the chief of the nobility of a 
whole province. 

The slavery of white men of the same blood as their masters 
is even more demoralising than the slavery of another race 
that the whites can imagine inferior to their own. This demoral- 
isation in Russia knew no bounds. A certain nobleman had his 
manager present to him on the day of his arrival at his estate 
each year, a list of all the adult young women of the two villages 
under the manager's authority. This gentleman then took 
each one of these girls into his seignorial mansion as a servant, 
and when the list was exhausted he went to another one of his 
estates. The same story repeated itself year after year. This, 
like the other cases I shall relate, is given by the best known and 
most reliable of the Russian historians. One of these servant 
women belonging to a proprietor named Karteev tried to escape. 
He had her whipped and put a collar with iron points on it around 
her neck. The unfortunate woman tried to drown herself 
but did not succeed, and the proprietor captured her again. 
He then had her foot chained to a post in the kitchen, and she 
was kept this way for five years until finally she was unchained 
in order to be allowed to work in the fields of the proprietor. 
This case of chaining peasants up like dogs was repeated else- 
where, although sometimes the chain was placed around the 
peasant's neck. 

One proprietor, Sau Kanov, killed a boy of twelve years for 
having let a hare escape on a hunt. He felled the lad with a 
stroke of his bayonet, and continued the attack by kicking 
him in the stomach and chest. The boy died the same day. 

•See Kcanard, Chapter II. 



i 



i 9 8 RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

The inquiry undertaken by gentlemen landlords discovered 
nothing. The doctor did not find any traces on the body, 
and the peasants kept a profound silence, terrorised by the prom- 
ise of Sau Kanov to flay alive whoever should dare utter a single 
word against him. But the inquiry was again taken up, and 
this time the council of State brought out the truth. 

It is impossible to imagine all the methods and instruments 
of torture that were in use on various estates. In the govern- 
ment of Saratov there is a document in the archives that de- 
scribes some of them. From the list of hundreds the following 
are interesting: beating with salted sticks and rubbing salt 
into the wounds; putting on collars of iron with nails inside; 
beating with rawhide whips; burning the hair of women 
down to the skin; boiling in a caldron; roasting on red-hot 
grills. In this same government a proprietor named Garasky 
beat his steward so hard in the chest that the man died within 
a week. Police agents coming to make a search in the village 
found various instruments of torture in the proprietors' houses 
— a collar, chains, handcuffs, a mask that was placed over 
the head of the peasant and then locked in order to rob him 
of the possibility of eating. This latter end, by the way, is 
accomplished much better at the present time when the peasant 
has only half as much land as he had before the emancipation, 
and is more effectually placed at the disposition of his economic 
masters without the proprietor being forced to take any direct 
action. 

It must not be supposed that these white slaves quietly 
accepted their servitude. The tradition of the days when 
they had had much greater freedom still lived on, and they 
knew that they were the same flesh and blood as their masters; 
but the means of revolt were narrowly limited and the first 
reaction among the peasants was usually desperate. Suicides 
were frequent, very many thousands taking place every year, 
sometimes in the most spectacular manner. One coachman 
belonging to a paralysed landlord drove the latter into a forest 
and hung himself before his master's eyes to a bare tree, leaving 
him alone and helpless until he was able to call others to take 
him home — a Strang vengeance on the landlord by a servant 
who for several decades had suffered unbearable tortures. 



SLAVES OF LANDLORD OR STATE 199 

Of course it often happened that the peasants killed the 
nobleman instead of themselves. Hardly a month passed 
that some such attempt of murder did not succeed and reach 
the ears of the public. How many murders were done, how 
many attempted, without being disclosed, will never be known. 
In the peasants' defence it must be recalled that the Czars 
condemned to the most terrible punishment any peasant that 
even had the audacity to complain against his proprietor. 

Later I shall show how this slavery continues to-day under a 
new form. But first I shall touch upon the other form of 
slavery that existed before the emancipation, that is, slavery 
to the State. This served also as the historical foundation 
of the present servitude. 

Nicholas I. was the monarch who developed this form of 
slavery to its height. He was the son of a very stupid German 
woman and was penetrated to the bottom of his soul with 
monarchial and religious prejudices. Although his successor 
was forced to introduce the Emancipation Act, Nicholas was 
violently opposed to it, and developed the country in the 
opposite direction. For while he did not believe that the 
landlords should themselves exercise much power, he was in 
favour of slavery as a general principle, and saw that it was 
necessary to lend the landlords some of his autocratic power. 
He did this against his will, for his favourite tyranny was of a 
purely military character. 

He himself confessed that he and his brother Michael had 
received a very poor education, that "even in the matter of 
religion we had been taught only to make the sign of the cross 
at certain moments, to go to Mass and to recite by heart a few 
prayers without taking the slightest interest in what was going 
on in our souls." The sciences were completely neglected, and 
while the teacher was trying to instruct the children they were 
drawing caricatures. All their education, all their play even, 
had for its only end the development of a taste for military 
exercise. This confession, written by Nicholas for his own 
children, shows the way in which the characters and souls of 
Czars are formed. 

From this training Nicholas became, according to the historian 
Childere, coarse, rude, haughty, and presumptuous. He 



aoo RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

showed his hatred on every occasion of all that was liberal, 
and his love for Prussian military despotism. While on his 
visit to England he did not wish even to see the Parliament or 
to make the acquaintance of English statesmen; he passed all 
his time with officers and generals. In Prussia he delighted 
only in military parades and reviewing the army with his father- 
in-law, the King of Prussia. Dressed in the uniform of a 
Prussian regiment, he said to the soldiers, "Never forget, my 
friends, that I am half your countryman and that like you I am 
a member of the army of your King." Perhaps this was what 
gave rise to the Russian couplet, popular at that time: 

The Czar's a German Russian, 
His uniform is Prussian. 

It was this same military Emperor who tried to revive the 
Holy Alliance in 1848, and to help all the kings of Europe to 
put down the democratic movements of their subjects; and it 
was this same haughty military despot that met his defeat at 
the hands of the liberal French and English in the Crimean 
War, and died probably of shame as the result. 

It was a Czar of this soulless military type that brought 
the State slavery to its highest point of development. So far 
did he go that it was necessary first of all that he should prevent 
all intellectual development among his subjects, since his 
actions were such that no intelligent man could tolerate them. 
He forbade all discussions in the press on the subject of the 
Government. He created not one office of censorship but a 
dozen — the ecclesiastic, the military, the educational, the 
judicial, the political, the ministers' and the secret. When a 
distinguished citizen asked to be allowed to start a review, the 
Emperor replied curtly: "There is no need for it." The 
minister of foreign affairs ordered that, in articles on any of the 
foreign countries, the Russian press should not even print the 
words "parliament," "constitution," or "elections," and 
should not mention the demands, or even the needs, of the for- 
eign working class. The minister of interior affairs ordered, in 
his turn, that there should be no description of the needs or 
calamities of the Russian people or of any contemporary event 
that might excite the population, that no regret should be 
expressed concerning the position of the peasant serfs, and 



SLAVES OF LANDLORD OR STATE aoi 

that there should be no description of the proprietors' abuses 
of their authority. The minister of education ordered that 
there should be no mention of the historic facts that there had 
been struggles for freedom in Greece and Rome, and no mention 
of the names of the heroes of those struggles. In an historical 
work on Greek history the censor would not even permit to a 
former minister to make use of the Greek word "Demos," 
commanding that it be replaced by some other word. Recog- 
nising how much Nicholas I. had in common with Ivan the 
Terrible, the deviltries of the latter were not allowed to be 
mentioned in Russian histories. Let us remember that all 
these measures belong to but a little more than a half century 
ago, and that conditions are in many respects similar at the 
present moment. 

Nicholas, however, went a little farther than any other Czars 
in his fight against intelligence. "His object/' says a Russian 
historian, "seemed to be to enslave the people intellectually 
and to extinguish their souls." "Imagine," says another, 
"an enormous and solid prison, a prison for forced labour 
constructed purposely to contain all the peasants of Russia, 
and around this prison sentinels with loaded guns, and you will 
have an exact image of the whole policy of Nicholas I. as far 
as the peasants are concerned." Of course a man who thus 
treated the whole nation, considered the peasants to be not 
only less than men but merely pieces of wood, objects even 
rather than beasts. 

Under Nicholas the State had ten million slaves directly 
belonging to it. We are interested not only in its behaviour 
toward this half of the peasantry, but also toward the enor- 
mous standing army and the million of other slaves that were 
employed directly or indirectly by the Government. Although 
the State did not as a rule deal in human flesh commercially, 
yet this practice also existed. The Crown paid 300 rubles a 
head for every young man that it was allowed to send to colo- 
nise Siberia, and it was very common for peasants to be sold to 
take the place of other recruits under the ironical name always 
of "volunteers." 

I have already mentioned that the soldiers were slaves of 
the lowest order for the twenty-five years of their service, that 



aoa RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

all the Government employees in the post-office and other 
departments, as well as in the mines, were nothing less than 
slaves, and that the State also permitted the manufacturers 
to deal with their employees in an utterly arbitrary manner. 
So we see that on the whole the State was a much more im- 
portant master of serfs than all the landlords put together. 
Against the State there was another desperate remedy besides 
suicide and the killing of a few cruel masters. This remedy 
was revolt, such as has been in practice for Russia during 
centuries and is going on at the present moment all over the 
Empire 

In 1 841 four hundred persons organised a resistance to the 
soldiers, and thirty-three were killed and one hundred and four- 
teen wounded. Here was a little pitched battle of the same kind 
as has occurred so frequently in recent years. In 1842, in the 
government of Kasan, the authorities wanted to force the 
peasants belonging to the Crown to plough the land in common. 
Eight were killed, two hundred and thirty wounded and four 
hundred and twenty taken before the military courts. Then, 
year after year, until the emancipation in 1861, there were 
twenty to forty revolts, more frequent of course on the small 
and numerous estates of the proprietors, but of a far more 
serious import on the large properties of the Government. 
It was because he was frightened at these revolts, as Nicholas I. 
confessed, that he began to consider the question of emancipa- 
tion, though he finally decided against it. 

The State Council discussions upon emancipation are 
interesting as showing the intimate and interdependent relations 
of the landlords and the Crown. Although Nicholas confessed 
that the " present position cannot continue forever," he said 
also, "I shall never decide for the emancipation." The reason 
he thought conditions could not continue, he said frankly, was 
the spirit of revolt among the peasants. A councillor of state, 
seeing a little further ahead than Nicholas, proposed a plan of 
emancipation by which the landlord-noblemen friends of the 
Czar should not suffer. "In order that the peasants to be 
deprived of land shall not escape the labour of gentlemen," 
he said, "when emancipated they should form a class of 
obligatory peasants who should not have the right to change 



SLAVES OP LANDLORD OR STATE 203 

their place of residence without the permission of the author- 
ities." This is exactly what was finally done, and it had the 
desired result. For if the landlord owns the larger part of the 
land and the peasants are not permitted to leave the village, 
they have no choice but to work for him at his own terms or 
to starve. The proprietor might lose a few slave house- 
servants by the new system, but he would probably be better 
served with labour on the land. Councillors still more 
conservative feared that the Government would not be able 
to gather taxes regularly, and insisted that the peasants should 
have a certain amount of land, but should be forced to pay a 
tax beyond their power to the landlords. This amendment 
was also accepted, with the modification that the Government 
instead of the landlords collected these taxes. As the proposer 
of this amendment claimed would be the case, the peasants 
were thus obliged to work all their lives for the proprietor, with 
the advantage for the State and the public peace that the 
amount contributed was determined once for all by the law. 

The State was probably persuaded to undertake the 
emancipation by three considerations: First, the necessity of 
promoting the prosperity of the peasants in order to get a new 
source of taxation for itself, so pressing after the disastrous 
Crimean War; secondly, in order to make possible the change 
from a small professional army to an army of the whole people, 
in which of course patriotism as well as military terror must 
be a part of the soldiers' discipline; and thirdly, in order to 
prevent the proprietors from literally eating up the peasantry 
and depopulating the country — for many of the landlords, 
after squeezing the last penny out of the peasants, spent every- 
thing on riotous living, invested nothing in agriculture, and 
were either unable or unwilling even to keep their peasants 
alive in famine times. 

Such was the benefit received by the State. I shall now 
speak of the profit received by the proprietors. Let us recall, 
however, that whatever profited the nobility profited the State 
also. The Emperor Paul loved to repeat that the State had in 
the one hundred thousand noblemen one hundred thousand 
voluntary chiefs of police. The councillor of Nicholas I. whom 
I have just quoted, the Minister of Public Instructions Ourvarov, 



2o 4 RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

said of serfdom, "This tree has taken a profound root; it shades 
both the Church and the Throne." 

Although it was decided that it was impossible to give the 
peasants freedom without giving them land on which to live, 
nevertheless a very large portion received either no land or 
so little that it was impossible for them to keep themselves 
alive without another occupation. Seven hundred thousand 
domestics who before the emancipation were supposed to have 
the same claim as other peasants to a share of the land, were 
deprived definitely of all rights at this time ; one hundred and sixty 
thousand other peasants were left landless without any excuse 
being offered; six hundred thousand received the so-called "beg- 
gar's lots. " The extent of these lots was only one-fourth of the 
land the peasants had formerly tilled, the other three-fourths 
being left for the first time in the absolute possession and 
ownership of the landlords, unburdened by the duty of supporting 
as formerly the peasants that had been legally attached to the 
soil. Of the remaining four million households (the other four 
and a half million were the previously mentioned serfs of the 
State), one-half received allotments so small that according to 
the law of the Government itself, they would have had the right 
before the emancipation to be sent away to some new section of 
the country. 

In all sections where the land was more valuable the 
peasants fell into one or another of the above classes. In the 
east and south, where the land was both rich and comparatively 
new, having been under cultivation only a few decades, the 
peasants lost from one-fifth to one-half, and even more, of all 
their property. In the equally rich but older centre of the 
country, they lost in every province, sometimes as much as 
20 per cent. If we look at the total amount of land in 
possession of the peasants and proprietors at this time, we 
find that one hundred thousand landlords still were in posses- 
sion of almost as much of the land as twenty million peasants. 

The landlords gained, then, both by obtaining cheaper and 
more reliable labour and by getting possession of large amounts 
of land formerly in the peasants' hands. But this was not all. 
Whatever power over the person of the peasants they had lost 
was handed over to the police, who were also controlled either 



SLAVES OP LANDLORD OR STATE 205 

directly by the local landlords or through St. Petersburg 
bureaus that were on the friendliest terms with the land-owning 
class. A typical law of these bureaus is that of the 12th of June, 
1886, whichgivestheemployerthe right to make deductions from 
wages of the peasant for whatever he considered to be negligent 
work and even for rudeness. 

The crushing burden of taxation laid upon the peasantry 
by the State has also been of tremendous service to the land- 
lords in keeping the peasants in an utterly dependent economic 
condition. At the time of the emancipation the peasants who 
received the pitifully small allotments mentioned were burdened 
by the Czar with a debt of almost nine hundred million rubles, 
one-half more than the total value of their land. Of course they 
fell immediately into arrears — and at the present moment, 
according to a statement made in the Duma, have already paid 
more than one thousand five hundred million rubles. So 
crushing were these taxes which the starving peasants were 
forced to pay for freedom, that they often reached as much 
as 50 percent, of their total net product, and in the last decade 
of the nineteenth century even exceeded the peasants' income. 
But during this same decade the amount of money loaned by 
the Government to the nobility below tiie market rate of interest 
increased from nine hundred million rubles in 1890 to one 
thousand six hundred and fifty million in 1900. 

In the meanwhile landlordism continued to flourish. Prince 
Galitzin, grand equerry of the court, has nearly three million 
acres; Prince Rukavishnikov, secret counsel of the ministry 
of the interior, has nearly two million; Prince Sheremetiev, 
of the Imperial Council, has nearly half a million, and so on. 
To show better the local conditions I shall mention some of 
the largest estates in the miserable province of Poltava, where 
I visited in the summer of 1906. There, where land is worth 
about one hundred rubles an acre (fifty dollars), the Duke of 
Mecklenburg-Strelitz has an estate worth about fifteen million 
rubles, Minister Durnovo's property is worth about four million, 
those of the Princes Kotzebue, Bariatinsky, and Gortchakov are 
each worth several millions. About one-third is in the hands of 
the rich or well-to-do proprietors, averaging more than four 
hundred acres of the valuable soil; while the majority of the 



2o6 RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

peasants own only from five to twenty-five acres per household, 
and two hundred thousand have less than five acres. 

An examination of the economic basis of Russia's landlord 
nobility shows that there are two thousand persons, largely 
of princely rank, possessed of more than twenty-five thousand 
acres, fifteen thousand of the higher nobility and persons of 
corresponding wealth possessed of from twenty-five hundred to 
twenty-five thousand acres, and sixty thousand of the lesser 
nobility or gentry with two hundred and fifty to twenty-five 
hundred acres. The four hundred thousand individual farmers 
and other persons of a similar class are possessed of less than 
two hundred and fifty acres each. We see by these figures 
not only what a power the nobility has in the land, owning as it 
does one-third of the richest soil in the country, but also that 
the land is highly concentrated even within this class; for the 
owners whom I have called of " the higher nobility "are possessed 
of twice as much land as the mere gentry, while the princes own 
half as much again. The gentlemen taken altogether have 
thirteen times as much land as the middle-class farmers, 
excluding the fifteen million peasant households. 

The condition is not fully represented by taking the country 
as a whole. In some parts the landlords are comparatively 
powerless, but in others they own such a large proportion of 
the land, are possessed of such large funds with which to buy 
the local officials and police, that under the Russian despotic 
system they are nothing less than a local oligarchy. In all 
the western and southernmost provinces, and in five others, 
the landlords own almost as much as, or more than, the 
peasants. It is in these provinces that the massacres have been 
organised, that the police have practised the most outrages 
in the so-called elections, that rents are most exorbitant and 
that the revolts of the peasantry have had the least success. 

It is impossible, then, to consider that the peasants have 
ever been emancipated. Fully one-half of them, those that 
before 1861 had belonged to the State, are in approximately 
the same situation now as they were fifty years ago. The rest, 
besides being subjected to the State slavery that always over- 
shadowed the private serfdom, are placed economically in the 
landlords' hands, and this economic dependence is enacted into 



SLAVES OF LANDLORD OR STATE 207 

law by the statutes concerning wage contracts, strikes, rents 
and every other economic question. The germs of reform that 
are being planted at the present time, are not only without 
any chance of growing up into something of consequence, but 
they are insignificant compared to the revival of the wholesale 
use of direct violence on the part of the Government and the 
landlords, and compared to the institution of a regular civil 
war against that " internal enemy," the revolted peasantry. 

Let us remember that the Government and the landlords, 
and all the innumerable writers and journalists in their pay 
all over the world, blame the peasants themselves for their 
tragic condition, and that the landlords have also managed to 
cajole many serious persons into crediting their statement. 
Let us then judge between this standpoint of hostility toward 
the Russian people, and that of the tens of thousands of true 
Russians who have devoted their whole lives to the peasantry 
and who take a diametrically opposite point of view. And then 
let us realise to the full the criminal character of a monarch and 
a nobility that can sustain their self-respect before the modern 
world only by this most infamous campaign of lies against the 
people to whose exploitation and misery they owe their very 
existence. 



CHAPTER VI 

THB PEASANT GIVES HIS ORDERS 

AFTER the first Duma was dissolved it became more clear 
than ever that the great revolution is something far 
deeper than a struggle against the absolutism of the Czar. It is 
true that for more than a generation there has been growing,up 
a strong agitation for political freedom — of the American or 
Western Europe type. This culminated in the general strike, 
the Czar's October Manifesto, the Constitutional Democratic 
Party and the Duma. It is also true that until the eve of its 
dissolution, the first Duma busied itself with political rather 
than social questions. The Constitutional Democratic majority 
as far as possible avoided the social problem — the question 
of the ownership of the land. In their party congress they 
had even omitted the land question from their programme, 
passing a mere resolution on the subject. In the Duma they 
postponed it to the last. 

When, a few days before the Duma's end, the clamour of 
the peasant population, agrarian disorders and the direct pres- 
sure of the peasant deputies forced the Constitutional Demo- 
crats to take up the question that underlies the whole titanic 
revolt, they at once left the revolutionary tactics they had 
followed when purely political issues were at stake. Prom 
political revolutionism they passed, not to social revolutionism, 
but to mere social reform. They proposed very radical 
measures — to provide the peasants with more land, to seize 
all the larger estates for this purpose, to pay for them without 
considering in their evaluation the abnormal rents extorted from 
a hungry people, to abolish absentee landlordism, to limit the 
amount of land a man can own to what he can himself superin- 
tend, and to see that each peasant was provided, "as nearly as 
possible," with the "alimentary norm" of land — enough to 
furnish him means to provide himself with food, shelter, clothing 

208 





THRESHING BY FOOT AND BY FLAIL 





•** > ...ro> '£ ~n« wtmsi 



THE PEASANT GIVES HIS ORDERS 209 

— and taxes. They denied, through the mouth of their econo- 
mist Herzenstein, the possibility of giving the peasant more 
than the alimentary norm of "providing work for all the people." 
They hope, that is to say, that the peasant will not have to 
starve, but they despair of setting him on the road to prosperity. 
They expect that he will be condemned to much enforced 
idleness for the lack of land — they deny the possibility of the 
rapid improvement of agriculture, when they say that he 
cannot hope to have enough land to accumulate a surplus 
capital of his own. At the same time they proclaim the 
sacredness and inviolability of private property, and assert 
that they stand not for social revolution, but for social reform. 

But the Russian revolution is not a mere political struggle 
for emancipation from an archaic form of government — it is a 
movement of the masses of the people to regenerate Russian 
society. An old order is doomed — its government, its ruling 
caste, its ruling ideas, its religion, its property, its property 
forms, its economic methods and its dominating social power. 
The new order cannot by any possibility be ushered in by mere 
political changes modeled on the political institutions of England 
or the United States. With the autocratic form of government 
will go many of the social wrongs that weigh down both the 
peasants and the relatively more prosperous and more educated 
people. Because the peasants are poor and innocent of book 
learning is no reason why, in the great transformation that is 
taking place, they should lose all the lessons of modern industrial 
development and the other social teachings of the hundred 
years that have passed since the revolution in France. 

History is indeed preparing "new forms of human society," 
as the peasant leader Anikine claimed — precisely because all 
the great forces of modern life are present in the nation — while 
the counter-forces are melting away. The greatest retarding 
forces, the national traditions, political, religious, and social, 
are already comparatively lifeless. The revolution is beating 
out of them what vitality remained. The national character 
is that of a youth, the character of the individual peasant that of 
a child. Both absorb readily every new and useful idea. The 
peasant is somewhat inert because he is physically and spiri- 
tually underfed. He grasps and devours a friendly book or 



2io RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

newspaper with as much avidity as a loaf of unaccustomed 
wheat flour. With the same appreciation of his needs he adopts 
and learns the use of modern agricultural implements and 
every modern method, when they happen to fall within his 
miserable means. The ignorance and poverty of the peasant 
do not constitute a national tradition, despite the doctrine of 
Pobiedonostzev. The peasants are as eager to improve their 
condition, spiritual and material, as are any poor and ignorant 
pioneers. Their inertia is only a resisting medium; it is not a 
reactionary force. It can delay the time of the final outbreak, 
and increase its intensity and profundity in proportion to the 
delay. To overcome this ignorance and poverty of the peasants 
there are present, on a greater or lesser scale, all the forces of 
modern civilisation, and a public spirit new in the history of 
the great nations. 

The material development is backward only in the country 
and in the less accessible sections. Very many of the factories, 
mills, railroads, and steamships are most modern ; so are many of 
the public buildings, theatres, many of the public institutions 
and schools, and nearly all the ideas, aspirations and theories 
of the truly educated class. No educated class in the world's 
history has ever made such a general, persistent, and heroic 
effort to reach the people. A considerable proportion of the 
Russian peasants, and the larger part of the Russian working- 
men, have been familiarised with the most important movements 
and ideas of foreign lands by means of a sea of forbidden, and 
therefore all the more valued, popular literature. From the 
agrarian movements of Europe to our People's Party, and 
from the conservative trades unions of Great Britain to the 
revolutionary socialism of the continent, there is no great 
movement or social idea that has not been in this way brought 
to the people. I do not believe that there is anywhere any 
such deep and varied study of all that goes to make up modern 
Socialism as among the Russian working class. 

The Russian upheaval is, then, a conscious social movement, 
and this is why it may develop into the most portentous historic 
event up to the present time. Like former revolutions and 
civil wars in France, England, and the United States, it claims 
for the citizens the political rights of men But unlike any 



THE PEASANT GIVES HIS ORDERS an 

preceding national cataclysm, it insists on social as well as 
political rights, on economic equality, on the right of every 
man to as much land as he can till, and of no man to more, and 
on the right of all the people to all the land for all time. 

The first Duma was dissolved, not on account of the revolts 
tionary political measures or the radical social reforms of the 
Constitutional Democratic majority, but because the peasant 
deputies were making ominous preparations for social revolu- 
tion. The Labour Group proposed, not the expropriation of 
some, but the abolition of all landlords, along with their depen- 
dents the tenants and agricultural labourers; not the temporary 
suspension of the sacred right of private property in the time 
of a great social crisis, but its abolition for all time. They 
claimed it was the duty of society to provide work for all the 
people. Therefore, they proposed to provide every peasant 
labourer with all the land he could work with his own hands, 
or to come as near that standard, "the labour norm," as condi- 
tions would allow. 

There seems not to be enough land in Russia to keep every 
tiller of the soil fully employed. But it is just for this reason 
that the land question has become a social problem. If there 
were enough land, each individual could be provided with his 
quarter section and left to fight it out with nature, as in the 
United States. Every man would cultivate as much as his 
brain and body allowed. Competition in the marketing of 
products there would be, but not cut-throat competition for the 
land itself. Russian agriculture is facing already a crisis that 
all agriculture will have to face in the end, when there is no more 
free land. The nations then either will have to take the land 
for all the people, or leave it a monopoly in the hands of a 
larger or smaller social class. 

If Russia's supply of land is too small now, argue the peasants, 
even after the expropriation of all the landlords, why allow 
every individual the right further to decrease that supply by 
acquiring a disproportionate share? No one man is to own 
an acre in fee simple, and even his right of possession is to be 
restricted, not to what he can personally superintend, as the 
Constitutional Democrats suggest, but to what he can work 
with his own hands or in cooperation with fellow labourers. 



2ia RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

In the words of Anikine in the Duma: "We need the land not 
for sale or mortgage, not for speculation, not to rent it out and 
get rich, but to work .on it. The land interests us not as a 
merchandise or commodity, but as a means to raise useful 
products. We need the land only to plough, therefore we do 
not want private property." 

But if economic equality is to be maintained there must be 
either equalisation by periodic redistributions, or a progressive 
tax against the more valuable properties. The peasants' 
group in the Duma adopted both ideas. If there is a rapid 
rise in land values, the surplus value of those benefited is forth- 
with to be taxed away for the benefit of the community. If 
the rise is large, there may also be a redistribution of the land. 
With a rise in the cost of living and a corresponding increase 
in the size of the "alimentary norm," the individual may 
demand a larger share, and always a landless worker may 
claim his allotment. The problem of the unemployed is to be 
solved by every labourer having the right to a farm — however 
small. 

As the maximum and minimum land allotment the peasants 
propose to establish are the same — every man to have as 
much land as he can work with his own hands, and. no man 
to have more — their goal is nothing less that a practical 
economic equality. Some margin is allowed for variations 
of exceptional individuals from the average in their capacity 
for labour, but the margin is not very wide. Numerous reso- 
lutions of peasant meetings give an accurate numerical measure. 
The peasants of the poorer lands would allow a man to hold 
from fifty-six to one hundred and thirty-two acres, those of 
more fertile districts from twenty-four to sixty-six acres, con- 
sidering that the best worker in good health can scarcely do 
three times the work of his neighbour. This is almost equality. 
Certainly it is the recognition of the principle that no man 
should enjoy the fruits of another's labour. 

The hundred million know very well they are asking for 
no simple social reform, but for a social revolution and the 
mastery of their country. They knew that they were not likely 
to see their strivings of half a century satisfied by a Duma in 
the full power of the Czar. The instructions, "ukases," they 



THE PEASANT GIVES HIS ORDERS 213 

sent to their deputies by the tens of thousands were filled with 
a sense of the probable bitterness of the coming conflict. " Fight 
on you fighters," run the exact words of one of these. "Fight 
to the bitter end. Go forward fearlessly for the people's cause. 
Many millions of dead-worn and tormented peasants look to 
you and wait. As long as you are with us we will stand by 
you." The deputies obeyed. In the Duma they denounced 
the Government and all its works; when the Duma was closed 
they called the people to armed rebellion. They fought to 
the bitter end — prison and the shadow of the scaffold. And 
the peasants kept their word too, as far as their power allowed, 
for they frequently offered their lives and liberty to save their 
deputies from arrest. 

Another ukase shows clearly the cry for real, social equity 
— not a merely theoretical or political, but a genuine, concrete, 
economic equality. " Some tens of thousands own the land and 
live in luxury," it argues, "while tens of millions must go half 
starved and work for them their whole life through. We human 
beings are all alike and all brothers. We must enjoy equally 
the nature God has created, and therefore we have decided to 
ask the Duma to confiscate all the land and to have the State 
take charge of it and to allow only those to have access to it 
who will till it with their own hands. We rely upon the depu- 
ties we have elected to do all that is possible to relieve us from 
all kinds of misery and from the Cossacks. The Duma can 
count on our doing whatever will be required." 

The following ukase of a Samara village typifies thousands: 

We assembled here to write to you and after a discussion we came to 
the conclusion that the famine, the misery, and the ignorance of the 
Russian people, the shameful war with the Japanese, the unheard-of- 
troubles, the continuous insurrections, come from the fact that the best 
lands of our country belong to gentlemen proprietors, to the Crown, to 
the State, and to the monasteries. In spite of ourselves we are forced 
to rent these lands and pay for them every year thirty rubles a dessiatine 
($5.62 an acre). 

Until now we have not been allowed to think even of our rights. 
They confiscated our property, laughed at us as much as they pleased; 
and since the organisation of the institution of the officials called "Zem&ki 
Natchalniki" (land officials), we have fallen completely into the hands 
of the gentlemen bureaucrats. We cannot take a single step without 
the authorisation of this little despot. Our private and community 



2i 4 RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

affairs, family and property matters, must all be submitted to their 
sanction. Some of them often tell us that they ought to be to us both 
M God and the Czar." 

So we fear that all the ills of our poor country come from the fact that 
we are in the power of a little group of gentlemen, rich people, and bureau- 
crats. We have had enough. We are at the end of our patience, and 
we order our delegate Chuvalov to demand in the Duma: 

(i) The right to send to the Duma as our representatives men whom 
we esteem and with whose convictions we are familiar. These repre- 
sentatives must have constitutional power They must be selected by 
a direct, universal, equal, and secret ballot. [This is more advanced than 
in the United States, since the votes that elect our Senators are neither 
equal nor direct]. 

(a) The confiscation of State, Crown, monastery and private lands 
and their transmission into the hands of the whole people on the condi- 
tion that every citizen may make use of it who works it with his own 
hands, with the aid of his family, or in cooperation. 

The other demands are the repayment into the coffers of the 
State of all the money the peasants have already paid for their 
lands, the replacement of customs duties and excises by a pro- 
gressive income tax, a general amnesty of political prisoners 
and exiles, the abolition of the death penalty, the election of 
all local officials, compulsory education, and the carrying out of all 
the liberties promised by the Manifesto of the 17th of October. 

Already, then, along with the social ownership of the land, 
Russia's common people are insisting on every other line of 
revolutionary social advance: the elevation of the sacredness 
of the human individual to the point of the abolition of capital 
punishment; the gradual equalisation of wealth through the 
graduated income tax, and the most democratic representative 
government possible, a single sovereign chamber, with full 
legislative, judicial and executive powers, to be elected by 
direct suffrage, like the British Parliament, and by an 
equal and universal vote. Each one of these democratic 
institutions has been now thoroughly tried, but to our eternal 
shame and disgrace none prevail in the United States. The 
Russians have passed us in their political demands. They are 
making an heroic revolutionary effort to reach a degree 
of democracy and liberty that remains only a pious aspiration 
among the Americans. 

The men the peasants trust and to whom they sent their 



THE PEASANT GIVES HIS ORDERS 215 

ukases and delegations are revolutionists. They did all it 
was possible to do in the Duma of the Czar. While the Duma 
was in session they insisted on a peaceful revolution, an imme- 
diate constitutional assembly. They proposed local commis- 
sions, elected by the equal vote of the people, to report to the 
coming constitutional assembly on the question of the land. 
But they expected and predicted that the Duma would be 
dissolved before anything could be accomplished. When this 
happened they turned to overt revolution, accused the Govern- 
ment of treason, called on the army to mutiny, on the population 
to disobey the officers of the law, on the peasants to take the land. 

The peasant group are also Socialists — often former mem- 
bers of the Socialist Revolutionary or Social Democratic 
parties. They are independent of formulated party programmes, 
they are true democrats who believe that the peasants them- 
selves will force the country in the direction of Socialism. 
The programme they proposed in the Duma was not their 
own, but that already worked out by the Peasants 9 Union a 
year before and endorsed by thousands *tt. villages in the fall. 
With this programme as a starting-point, with the aid of some 
twenty thousand "instructions" they received while the Duma 
was in session, and with the advice of the six hundred delegates 
the peasants sent to St. Petersburg, they can surely claim to 
know what the peasants want. 

The demand of the Peasants' Union, of the twenty thousand 
villages, and of the Labour Group has swollen from the old 
demand for "land and freedom" to the war-cry of the social 
revolution: "To the people all the power and all the land." 

Russia's desperate struggle is not a mere reaction against 
hunger and the Czar. It is a world-event of unparalleled 
significance, a giant effort to win for Russia, and perhaps other 
nations as well, what no nation has ever attained — unlimited 
democracy in government and equality in possession of the 
land — the fulfilment of the French Revolution, the limit of 
purely democratic evolution, the conquest of the last of the 
eights of man, a fierce attack at the roots of private property 
and the laying of foundation for a free Socialist state. 

This is the cause that Russians die for, the faith of the revo- 
lution — "to the people all the power and all the land." 



CHAPTER VII 

HOW THE PEASANT BECAME A REVOLUTIONIST 

THERE was a time when we considered the Czar the god 
of the earth and the greatest of all benefactors. Now, 
the newspapers have opened the eyes of us common people. 
We see that he is only the richest of landlords and the first 
of all vampires. The blood that he has drunk will some day 
flow from him again." 

T his statement is typical of how the peasants talked aft er the 
Czar closed the first Duma and d estroyed the fait h of his people. 
It Was Kp6ken in a voiga village m my presence beiore a chance 
gathering of peasants, and I was requested to write it down 
and send it to America to show what the common people are 
thinking about their Czar. The Russian State is resting on a 
sleeping volcano of the people's hate. Th e real revo lution 
— that of the hundred million peasants — is yet to co me. When 
it does come the French Revolution will be eclipsed. For the 
forces to be overthrown by the Russian people are richer, wiser, 
and incomparably better organised than was the rotten 
feudalism of France. 

What are the chances of an event of this inconceivable 
magnitude? At first glance the outlook is dark enough. Through- 
out all Russia the townspeople have abandoned themselves 
to depression or despair. The middle classes staked every- 
thing on the Dumas. Their last cards were passive resistance 
as to taxes and recruits, and the denunciation of foreign 
loans. Passive resistance having proved impracticable against 
active despotism, was definitely abandoned by the very 
party by which it was proposed The denunciation of foreign 
loans is accountable at the most for a fall of not more than a 
pomt or two in the Russian funds. The Constitutional Demo- 
crats, partisans of those measures, managed to prevent the 
general disintegration of their party, but they have not been 

216 



THE PEASANT BECOMES A REVOLUTIONIST 217 

able to prevent a wholesale desertion from their ranks. In the 
provincial capitals and country towns, where, like low thunder, 
the voice of the gagged and beaten peasants is beginning to be 
heard, there is a restless seeking for new parties and new means 
of combat to correspond with the magnitude and profundity of 
the growing revolt. 

The workingmen are hardly in a better situation than the 
middle classes of the towns. The brillia ntly successful general 
strik e of October, iqq$, brough t the Manifesto, Dut it seems 
to have succeeded only because the L'zaf frk S tuip fSpa red. The 
workingmen 's organisations were the first to recognise the fact. 
The n ext general strike must also be an insurrection, the St. 
Pet ersburg council of labour deputies decided within a few 
days after the strike had been brought to a close. Thfi expected 
insurrection strike took place long before the councils were 
ready for it. The barricades of Moscow were reproduced at 
a dozen other important industrial centres. But the Govern- 
ment was prepared this time for both strikes and insurrection. 
Within a few weeks the last of the barricades had been swept 
away, the leaders imprisoned or shot, and the railroad men put 
to work under martial law and the penalty of instant death 
for leaving their posts. 

This was the last spasmodic effort of the rebellious working- 
men. Since the barricades, the masses of the towns have been 
vainly dreaming of, or sometimes vainly planning, another 
insurrection. This time it was to be an insurrection of soldiers 
and workmen — a mutiny strike. There were two insurmount- 
able obstacles to the new plan. The w orkmen -soldiers of the 
arti llery and sappers and miners were ready to die for the 
cause, and did die by hund r eds at &veab org and Kronstadt ; 
but the pe asant soldiers, in the face ol thisTypgnpf-TPttnity , 
remamecTT oyal to the Czar. The Railroad Union was ready to 
strike, but .-the y were not ready t(T face the military courts 
un less the strike had some chances of succe ss. To gain success, 
their congress unanimously decided, there must not only be a ces- 
sation of labour, but a tearing up of rails, blowing up of bridges 
and the destruction of the telegraph lines. The Government 
has declared a railway strike rebellion, the strikers to be instantly 
executed for high treason. Against this official "state of war" 






9x8 RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

the union proposed also to declare war. But for such a war 
the railway workers are not enough ; they must have the support 

^\^° ^^ °* *** e population along the lines. That population must 

^^ be in flamed to the point not only of protecting and hiding 

the s cattered and otherwise helpless railway men, b ut~oi aiding 

Vk.Caa~-> jn the work of c utting and keeping out the Government's com- 
munications — an object eminently worth while 111 one case, 
but one" only , when * the " peaswts"tli'em^v<^"''are in revolt. 
The Railroad Union decided to wait. 

Every path, then, that the "legal" opposition or the illegal 
revolution has trod has led finally to the peasants. Refusal of 
taxes, refusal of recruits, refusal to shoot on the revolted work- 
men, destruction of the railway lines, all depend on the peasants. 
And what has been their reply? We know what they did in 
the first two Duma elections; they sent the most radical and 
fearless deputies the Duma contained, men at the same time 
wise enough to lead the Duma even to its dissolution, and after 
that to the manifesto of "passive" revolt. We know how they 
supported their members with hundreds of delegations and 
some twenty thousand instructions as to what their servants, 
the deputies, were to demand. What do they intend, now that 
their Dumas are abolished, now that they have lost the only 
chance for a free discussion of their lot on a national scale that 
they have had for the thousand years since they left the pastoral 
stage of man, now that all other classes in the nation have 
cried out to them to act? 

What did the peasants say when the first Duma was closed? 
The papers of the capital were not allowed to discuss the subject, 
the peasants no longer had Duma delegates with whom to lodge 
their grievances. But the provincial papers, caught in the 
irresistible current of free expression that prevailed during the 
Duma's session, were harder to suppress, and from them we 
see that in thousands of villages peasant opinion had so gained 
the upper hand over the village clergy and police that public 
discussion, even in official village meetings, went on much as 
before the Duma was dissolved. I went to the provincial 
capitals and smaller towns, and visited a number of villages, to 
make sure that these reports were correct. I found the peasants 
invariably familiar with all the larger aspects ot the revolution. 



THE PEASANT BECOMES A REVOLUTIONIST a 19 

I found that, trained by centuries of oppression and defeat, 
and having put little hope in the late Duma, they were neither 
surprised nor despondent at its dissolution. Having long hated 
the Government, they were now beginning to hate the Czar. 
Having long lost respect for the Government Church, they were 
now turning actively against it. Having put their case in the 
Duma and seeing it despised and their elected deputies thrown 
into prison, they now fully realised that they would get from 
the Government only what they could take. 

"When Gapon came with the workingmen and a petition to 
the Czar, the ministers called them rebels," said the peasant 
I have quoted at the beginning of this chapter. "Then we 
believed it. When the Duma was meeting, the ministers stood 
against the people, and we knew that the ministers were our 
enemies. But now that the Duma is dissolved, we see that the 
Czar and the ministers are the same. Now we know that the 
Czar is our enemy, too, and we must upset the whole Govern- 
ment. And the peasants are ready to do it M 

This statement of the peasant attitude is true. The massacre 
of the 2 ad of January, 1905, removed the last traces of loyalty 
from the masses of the workmen and the citizens. The brutal 
dissolution of the first Duma, and the abolition of the second, 
took away the last illusion and the last hope from the people 
of the soil. On the evening of the 2 2d of January a friend 
visiting Count Witte found him prostrate on his couch. With 
tears in his eyes, Witte said the last hope of the nation had 
been destroyed, the faith of the people in the Czar. That was 
true only of the cities then. It is true of the country and the 
nation to-day. 

Listen now to the voice of another village. A little group 
was explaining to me the village opinion, and about them 
gathered the whole village, old men and young as they came 
home one by one from the fields, the women and the children. 
Many talked at the same time, but the peasants know how to 
talk together — as they have learned to do in their village 
meetings for centuries past. Out of the whole clearly came 
this common speech: 

"We did hope the Duma would help us. But now we see 
that it was made for the rich and not for the poor. We were 



22o RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

told from the first that the Duma was a fraud made to lead us 
off by the nose, and that 's all it was. We heard about the 
closing of the Duma a few days after it happened, but we did 
not hear the Czar's manifesto about it read in church. We 
do not go to church any more because when we hear the pope 
pray for the Government and the Czar, it is just as if some 
one turned a knife in our stomachs. 

"We believed the October Manifesto, too, and in three days 
the Czar took it back. Now we all see we have nothing to 
expect. We 've had enough of carrying the landlords on our 
backs. It 's better to die for the right. If the other villages 
do anything we won't be behind." 

"Do you believe in the Czar?" I asked. 

"We believed in him once," they answered, without a protest- 
ing voice, "as in God, but our eyes now are open. Now we 
know it isn't the ministers, but the Czar himself who is to 
blame." 

The villages I have mentioned were on the middle and lower 
Volga. Up toward the source of the river, by the northern 
woods that stretch up to the arctic tundra and reindeer land, 
I visited another little town. There the older peasants — 
splendid, erect, regular-featured men — were gathered together 
in the tea-house to make a business deal concerning the village 
hay with their friend, the agricultural expert of the Zemstvo, 
who had brought me with him. They, too, were unanimous in 
their opinions. They would gladly boycott the taxes and 
refuse recruits if this were possible. But a village can't resist 
a squadron of Cossacks, and the taxes, they understood clearly, 
were for the most part indirect and could not be boycotted. 
They knew all about the customs duties on cotton and tea, 
and the excise duties on petroleum, alcohol, sugar and vodka, 
that make them pay two or three prices for all they buy. They 
were clear as to what they thought about the Duma. They 
would not bother about another such as the last. The next one 
they would turn into a constituent assembly, and for that they 
would lay down their lives. They knew well enough what a 
constituent assembly was. It is a body, they said, that appoints 
all the ministers and officials. It must have all the power, and 
nobody (not the Czar) is to have a right to interfere with its 



THE PEASANT BECOMES A REVOLUTIONIST 221 

acts. While the older peasants were saying these things the 
younger peasants outside were singing as accompaniment the 
fiery, revolutionary words of the peasants' "Marseillaise." 

The last hope of the Czar, the ignorance and disunion of his 
people, is giving way. In Russia the tendency of all despotism 
to keep the people in darkness and to exploit their divided 
state has been exalted into a perfectly conscious principle of 
State, freely expressed by ministers, bureaucrats, and heads of 
the Church. First, they say, do not let the individual know 
what the Government is about, and, second, if individuals do 
manage to learn, they must not be allowed any expression of 
what they think or want. The peasants were not only not 
taught to read by the Government, they were not allowed to 
read. If they had learned what the Government was about 
and wanted to hold meetings to discuss what they had learned, 
the village police sat by, closed the meeting when they saw fit, 
and arrested those whose speeches they did not like. As to 
meetings of several villages, they were tolerated under no form. 

Since the war the new pressure against this system of com- 
pulsory ignorance has all but broken it down. The police 
are still on duty. Joint meetings of villages must be held 
secretly in the woods. Unnumbered tons of pamphlets and 
newspapers are confiscated and destroyed. But all the villages 
have now read more or less of the new deluge of newspapers, 
pamphlets, books, and peasants' weeklies. The peasants' 
intellectual appetite has grown incredibly, as I have already 
pointed out. They beg newspapers from the travellers, they 
send delegates to towns to get the students' aid. They spend 
the nights in barns or woods listening to readings of the French 
Revolution, or the history of Russia as it is not taught in the 
schools. Invariably they begged reading matter from our 
party, and I was often astonished by what they had already 
read. They pulled the most revolutionary proclamations out 
of their pockets, and asked intelligent questions about the 
conditions in the United States. 

In a certain village I met a typical case of this development 
of interest. A young peasant who had been reading and 
studying through the long winter evenings for several years, 
under the guidance of a genial revolutionist librarian that 



222 RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

spent his summers nearby, undertook to rouse the people of 
his village by reading to them. Two winters before my visit 
he had found the villagers so little interested that even in the 
dull isolation of the northern night, they did not care to hear 
him read. The following winter all was suddenly changed; 
they eagerly followed and fairly consumed every scrap of 
printed matter he could offer; they were specially delighted 
with a little history of Russia, already circulated among the 
villages to the number of half a million copies. Picture the 
excitement of the peasants of a village that has slumbered from 
immemorial times when suddenly awakened to the dramatic 
story of their own wrongs, as freshly written by a Socialist 
writer with something of the simple style and the emotional 
genius of a Tolstoi! 

Nearly all the peasants I met during my two thousand mile 
journey down the Volga had read an excellent peasants' weekly, 
published in Kasan. As a type of several others issued by the 
Socialist Revolutionary Party or the peasant group in the Duma 
and scattered in nearly every village in the land, a summary 
of its contents during the Duma and since will show the 
character of the peasants' new intellectual diet. 

The Kasan Peasants 9 News seemingly neglected nothing that 
the peasants most needed to understand. Beginning with the 
late war, the whole ruinous policy of the Government was 
exposed and effectually damned. The weapons by which the 
Government maintains itself were sketched historically — 
Cossacks, "black hundreds" and the League of True Russian 
Men. It was pointed out that the village police and the 
new type of soldier-ruffians called rural guards, are paid twice 
as much as the village schoolmaster, who gets one hundred 
dollars a year. The Government's proposed reforms were laid 
bare in all their flimsiness, and there was a r£sum£ showing how 
little the Government has done for the peasants. 

The possibility of change was suggested by outlines of foreign 
forms of government, foreign election laws and foreign 
agrarian movements. There was a full account of the now 
illegal Peasants' Union, of the thousands of ukases sent by the 
peasants to the Duma, of the agrarian disorders, of the brutal 
expeditions of revenge sent out by the Government at the 



THE PEASANT BECOMES A REVOLUTIONIST 223 

demand and often tinder the personal direction of the injured 
landlords, of the killing and maiming of the peasants, of the 
retaliation of the latter in the Baltic provinces and in the 
Caucasus. To combat the Government's efforts to turn the 
popular excitement from itself to the Jews, Poles, Armenians, 
Letts, Lithuanians, this peasants' paper tried in every number 
to familiarise the peasants with the virtues and friendliness 
of these "conquered peoples." 

The " black" papers, sustained by Government subsidies, 
or by the liberal subscriptions of high-place bureaucrats, 
generals, and landlords, carefully excluded any mention of these 
wholesome truths. But their influence was slight. Only in 
one village did I find copies of any of the reactionary organs 
sent gratis all over the land. For they were not only incredibly 
brutal and false, they were incredibly stupid in their judgment 
of the peasants. For instance, starving countrymen — and, 
be it remembered, there were thirty million of them in the winter 
of 1906-7 — were told that the reports of the famine were 
grossly exaggerated, and that if they suffered it was from their 
own drunkenness and laziness. 

" Without the land officials and police and other benefactors," 
says one of those extraordinary articles, "the peasants would 
perish like a flock without shepherds." Now the hatred of 
the peasants for these same officials and police is too bitter and 
deep for words. Innumerable cases are on record in which 
these "shepherds" have beaten their sheep to death with clubs, 
or have crippled them for life. In Tambov, in the fall of 1905, 
some half hundred peasant rioters were captured while engaged 
in openly hauling off the landlords' grain, as the peasants did 
in thousands of villages at this time. The police "shepherd" 
had them bound and gagged, and held them prisoners in the 
barn which they were sacking. They were made to lie on one 
side for several weeks and beaten when they turned. One at 
a time they were "examined" and tortured within hearing 
of their comrades. Sixteen were thus before all slowly beaten 
to death, executed, not for murder, violence, or attack on the 
public officials, but for taking in broad daylight, or stealing if 
you like, what they considered should in law and justice have 
been their own. Every village has seen or known of cases of the 



**4 RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

land. What influence can a press have that sees in these 
brutes the shepherds of the peasant flock? 

If it were not for the assiduity of a part of the village priests 
the peasants would long ago have lost all credence in the official 
system of falsehood. One priest and patriotic agitator travels 
about calling the peasants' deputies in the Duma Anti-Christs 
who had been bought by the Jews. Others preach the like 
in their churches; all are perforce tools of the Czar, must read 
his ukases and manifestoes from the pulpit. Not all, however, 
are still "black" in their hearts; thousands are openly liberal 
and some are secretly revolutionists. Those who are still 
loyal are being reduced by the population to narrow straits. 
Only a dozen families of the hundreds in the village, the money- 
lenders and shopkeepers, are contented. The discontented, 
when not rebels at heart, are incredulous; in many places they 
have deserted the churches; in others they are beginning to 
boycott the services of the priests, and in some cases the villagers 
are taking away from the priests the grants of village lands upon 
which they live. The village popes were never respected, and 
this lack of respect is turning into open hate. Their sermons, 
threats, and advice will not long seriously hinder the new flood 
of literature and public discussion. 

In the last two years and a half there has been more reading 
and discussion in the villages than took place in the preceding 
forty-five years. The peasants, then, know the great facts 
of the situation, but they know also what they have yet to learn. 
They have discussed everything in their village meetings, and 
often several villages have met together in the woods. They 
have held frequent secret congresses at which dozens, hundreds, 
and even thousands of villages have been represented. They 
have gone further in some governments, where, with the aid 
of the revolutionists, the whole countryside is organised in a 
system of secret committees — village, volost (township), 
district (county), and government (state). All this reading, 
discussion, and organisation, however hampered and incomplete, 
is duly bearing fruit. 

The idea of a peasants' union and a peasants' party, of the 
absolute necessity of a common organization for all Russia, 
has taken permanent root; also the idea that the people's Duma 



THE PEASANT BECOMES A REVOLUTIONIST 325 

was opposed, thwarted and finally abolished by the Government 
of the Czar; also the demand for a Duma with all the power 
of a constituent assembly; and, finally, the belief that the 
people should have all the land and that there should be no 
more landlords either now or at any future time. 

The great majority of the villages hold in common the same 
ideas as to the means by which the people are to get the power 
and the land. They and their representatives — who had 
long ago proposed passive resistance, the refusal of taxes and 
recruits, and the denunciation of the foreign loans, measures 
that the Constitutional Democrats adopted only when the Duma 
was dissolved — were also the first to discover, as they had 
suspected from the outset, that these measures alone would 
never bring the Government to terms. Furthermore, the 
peasants have recognised that the measures of their own 
representatives were not at the time practical. After the 
dissolution of the first Duma the peasant deputies not only 
declared the Government illegal and at war with the people, 
but they declared all peaceful relations at an end. They left 
the accepted Fabian tactics of revolution of the Peasants 9 
Union and joined with the Socialist parties in the proclamation 
of mutiny and armed insurrection before the army was ready to 
mutiny or the peasants ready to rise. 

Now, what has happened in the tens of thousands of disaffected 
villages that cover the land? They read the proclamation of 
the peasants' group, and agreed heartily that the Government 
was illegal and was to be overturned. As for the proposal of 
insurrection, they served it as they did the call to passive 
resistance of the Constitutional Democrats; they labeled it 
as impractical and passed to the order of the day — the tried 
and developed tactics of the Peasants' Union. 

Here is the peasants' programme: The Government evidently 
is not yet to be voted out, starved out or suddenly overthrown. 
But it can be worried to death, it can be gradually cut off from 
its sources of supply, the army can be gradually honeycombed 
with disaffection, the elections can serve as an excuse for 
agitation and disorders; the landlords, the only economic class 
supporting the Government, can be starved out, their houses 
and crops burned at night, and themselves literally driven from 



226 RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

the land; the life of the village authorities, officials, clergymen, 
and police, can be made unbearable — their property and lives 
forfeited if need be. Government property can be pillaged and 
Government officials killed. In cases of successful guerilla 
war, as in the Caucasus and the Baltic provinces, the guerilla 
bands can be provided with food and money, and at the proper 
moment bridges and railroads can be destroyed. And the 
forced service of the peasant soldiers against their relatives and 
friends can lead rapidly to the spread of mutiny, till finally 
the larger part of the army passes out of Government control. 
That all this can be is proven by the fact that it has already 
been. A general, simultaneous, armed insurrection may never 
occur. But there are many degrees of rebellion between this 
and the tame submission to such "legal" reforms as may be 
granted by a Government whose hands are red with the people's 
blood. 

Revolution by secret and guerilla war may be long and 
costly — it may be proportionately thorough and profound. 
Russia may pay a price such as Germany paid in the Thirty 
Years' War — she has not yet made a tithe of the sacrifices 
we suffered for an alien race during our War of the Rebellion. 
But the facts are already here to show that, unfrightened by 
the Czar's access to all the gold of earth, Russia is treading 
with increasing rapidity the road of decentralised, general, and 
revolutionary violence against her Government, and that she 
will follow it to the end. 



CHAPTER VIII 

THE VILLAGE AGAINST THE CZAR — A STATE OP MIND 

THE threat and the imminent possibility of a costly, bloody 
and terrible revolution of the whole mass of the people 
is the driving force in Russia to-day. A general uprising is 
in the last resort the only possible goal for the revolutionary 
parties, it being deliberately prepared for by the Government, 
and it is the only real argument with which the nation has 
ever influenced the Czar. Whether the uprising actually does 
occur this year, next year, or never is relatively unimportant. 
It is enough to shape Russian history that it is an imminent 
possibility. To understand the chances of the revolution, the 
motives of the revolutionists, the inner meaning of the policy 
of the Government, we must realise with all well-informed 
Russians that this mass movement is, under present conditions, 
just what may be expected to occur; we must see just what the 
Government is doing and may be expected to do to prevent it, 
and we must know what qualities in the people and what 
elements in the general situation give the revolutionists the 
remarkable faith in the people that inspires their action. 

The Government is in a feverish strain to keep the peasants 
out of the revolution. This is the key to every action it has 
taken since Witte came into power. I myself have heard 
Count Witte say, as I have already mentioned, that he expected 
the first Duma — largely a peasant body — to be composed 
of Jew-haters ; that is, he actually thought (or said he thought) 
that the peasants would send forward extreme reactionaries 
in answer to the call of the Czar. In this mistaken belief lies 
the reason for the original convocation of a body that proved 
to be so hostile to the Czar. A majority of reactionary 
peasants was expected by the Government, and this majority 
was to have offset the revolutionism of the zemstvos, the 
intelligent townspeople and the workingmen. But instead 

227 



2a8 RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

of sending reactionary representatives, the peasants sent 
Aladdin and his confreres, and these men called on the 
peasants, when the Duma was dissolved, to revolt against 
a Government that had "betrayed" them, was guilty of 
"treason," and had forfeited all claims to authority and the 
obedience of the people. 

Not only the institution of a representative assembly, but all 
the other real Government changes in Russia since the fall 
of 1905, along with innumerable false promises of changes, have 
been aimed at the growing peasant discontent. Take for 
instance the new so-called "freedom of worship." Immediately 
after the October Manifesto the popular faction of the Russian 
Church, the ritualists, or " old believers," were given religious 
freedom, while the Jewish and other religions remained in about 
the same position as before. Why were the "old believers" 
preferred? Because among them are fifteen to twenty million 
peasants. Then consider the only important change in the 
system of taxation. Witte had not been prime minister for 
many weeks before the peasants were relieved of thirty-five 
million rubles of direct taxation on the land — and in 1906 a 
similar burden was removed. To counterbalance this loss 
all other forms of taxation were increased. Then shortly before 
the closing of the first Duma came the sale of the Crown lands 
-—a drop in the bucket for the individual peasants — but a 
very real loss to the Czar. Then a few months ago certain 
special legal disabilities of the peasants were removed. They 
wore given, for the first time, freedom to come and go, and access 
to the same justice ( ?) as the higher classes. Finally the property 
disqualification — the inability of the peasants to sell or mort- 
gage their share of the village land — has been abolished, and 
it is said that the village commune, along with its common 
responsibility to the Government for the taxes of individuals, 
must disappear. 

All these concessions were made during or after the time of 
hundreds and thousands of armed peasant revolts. And what is 
the outcome? The peasants feel that they have forced the 
Government to terms. They are not grateful as they would 
ha\e l.»een had the changes been freely granted. They are only 
vising for more. For, of course, none of these reforms strike 



A STATE OF MIND 229 

at the roots of the evil — the peasants' poverty, the terrible 
indirect taxation on which the Government lives, the oppres- 
sion by local officials, the lack of the least trace of individual 
freedom, and the lack of that public life which can only come 
from local and national self-government. Besides, most 
of the reforms that have been given are not in reality in force. 
Every vestige of new or old freedom or legal form is choked by 
a monstrous growth of military courts, military governors, 
political execution and exile without trace of legal procedure. 
And every reality has been diluted and adulterated by a mass 
of false and broken promises. 

The Russian peasantry has always been an eminently rebel* 
lious people and the tradition of rebellion has been revered 
and kept alive for hundreds of years. Over two centuries ago, 
almost immediately after the institution of serfdom, occurred the 
revolt of the Volga pirate, Stenka Razin, in which millions of 
peasants took part. More than a hundred years ago half of 
peasant Russia was infected with the rebellion of the serfs 
against the masters under the pretender Pougatchev. In this 
rebellion hundreds of thousands of peasants died, apparently 
in vain, for freedom. But neither the authorities nor the 
peasants have ever forgotten the event. I passed through 
a Volga province last summer, where the peasants of a certain 
village had asked the priest to say a mass for the souls of Pougat- 
chev and Stenka Razin. 

All through the present century every province of Russia 
has witnessed the horribly bloody suppression of peasant revolts. 
In 1854 and 1855 the rebellions covered a large part of Russia, 
and the partly enlightened Alexander II. told his landlords 
tnat they must either consent to the proposed emancipation 
of the serfs or see it accomplished by a movement from below. 
Even this Czar, so autocratic in the last half of his reign, realised 
the power and probable will of the peasants in extremis to over- 
turn the whole structure of the Russian State. The great 
emancipation, then, was accomplished neither from philan- 
thropic motives nor from economic consideration, but from a 
highly justified fear of immediate revolution. 

After the emancipation the peasants again showed their unwil- 
lingness to accept, unless through sheer impotence, either autoc- 



2 3 o RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

racy or the well-disguised shadow of reform that the emanci- 
pation turned out to be. After passing through the hands 
of the landlords' commission to which the Czar referred it, the 
proclamation contained neither freedom nor even the more 
needed land. The State simply became the master and extor- 
tioner instead of the landlord, while the latter got an even 
firmer grip on all the better parts of the land. The following 
years were most busy ones for the Czar's Cossacks and dragoons. 
The peasantry of whole provinces were in rebellion, there was 
violence in every direction, and there were many hundreds 
of outbreaks sufficiently serious to justify the call for military 
aid. 

Never since the emancipation has the ceaseless recurrence 
of village rebellions been interrupted. Five years ago, before the 
Japanese war, there were half a hundred revolts in two provinces 
alone, and the peasants had to be mercilessly beaten and executed 
into submission. And in 1906 the spirit and fact of rebellion 
became general throughout the nation — more general, perhaps, 
than ever in the history of the empire. 

The Russian villages have never lacked the will or the courage 
to revolt. They have only been wanting in the physical possi- 
bility of revolting together. No army can act as a unit, divided 
into a hundred thousand contingents and scattered over the 
half of a hemisphere. Yet if not much more codrdinated and 
organised now than before, the revolts have become more and 
more general, and more and more imbued with a common idea. 
The villages discuss for months and years a situation that is 
general in the land. National crises arise. The reaction on 
the villages is general, almost universal — all the villages are 
prepared for similar action by the same events. Some village 
makes a desperate beginning and the outbreaks spread like 
wildfire over the country. To the outsider it all looks blind 
and wild. The observer in the village is neither shocked nor 
surprised. So it has come about that the spirit and manner of 
the peasants' revolts have kept a general character and have 
evolved together as a single movement. 

The first roots of revolution go down to the very sources of the 
peasant nature. The Russian peasant was originally enslaved 
only by the utmost cruelty and bloodshed, after centuries 



A STATE OF MIND a 3 i 

of the same relative freedom as our Anglo-Saxon forefathers 
enjoyed before the Normans came. But the enslavement came 
a thousand years ago in England; in Russia it came but three 
centuries ago — ten or twelve uneventful generations — and 
the peasants never forgot their former relative freedom. The 
Russians were so little serfs in spirit that they attached the 
smallest importance to their emancipation in 1861 from a yoke 
they had never accepted in their hearts. The system had only 
succeeded in keeping alive the spirit of rebellion against all 
authority. 

The State religion, as we have also seen, had no deeper hold. 
No people of Europe so thoroughly paganised the early 
Christianity with their own popular legends and their own 
truly popular saints. Many millions of peasants, separating 
entirely from the Russian Church, have formed some of the 
most rational and some of the most spiritual sects in existence, 
never halted in their growth by the continuous persecution of 
the Government. As to the rest, the so-called orthodox, they 
mechanically follow the set Governmental forms and are inspired 
with a sincere, if broad and loose, Christianity. But nowhere 
do they show any deep respect either for the priests or their 
State-directed utterances from the pulpit. Not in Catholic 
Italy or Protestant England is there more resistance to the 
Church as an institution, more independent religious feeling, 
more rebellion against established creed. The peasant is imbued 
and permeated in his religious feeling, that is in the depths of 
his nature, by a thorough spirit of revolt. 

In morality and law the opinion of the village, and not that 
of the priests, fixes the living moral code. This code is vital 
and flexible, irregular and changeable, but on the whole most 
elevated and most humane — witness any great Russian writer, 
say Turgeniev or Tolstoi. As for the St. Petersburg law, true, 
it must be obeyed, for it is backed by whips and bullets, imprison- 
ment and exile — but it comes from outside the village assembly, 
so it is obeyed only in its letter, and not in its spirit. The 
peasants are told by the Government not to try to understand 
it, but to obey. So they obey its letter without trying to 
understand its spirit, and in consequence fully half of the 
Czar's orders are reduced to naught. 



332 RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

The peasants are born and bred in an atmosphere of 
unconscious and even conscious passive resistance to both 
Church and State. They were ordered from St. Petersburg 
not to interfere in the passing of property from father to son. 
But the villagers have always been accustomed to consider all 
the land at the bottom common property of the village. When 
an heir had too little, he was given something from the village 
store; when he had too much, something was taken away. 
So the Czar's orders were disobeyed. His terrible Cossacks 
were as nothing against the quiet village will, the common and 
almost religious feeling of the people that the land belongs to 
the community. The majority of the villagers not only 
equalised the shares between heirs, but they equalised landed 
wealth among all the families of the village. The Czar's 
Government, seeing at every point in the present revolution the 
danger of this rebellious village spirit, has decided to abolish 
entirely the commune's control over individual property. It 
can be doubted if the Czar has the power. In the village, the 
village meeting is the sovereign rather than the Czar. 

Before the first Duma met, before even the Peasants' Union 
had conceived the plan, the peasants' spirit of resistance had 
already led to boycotting taxes and recruits. Many villages 
had refused taxes on various grounds; many others had refused 
the last levies of recruits during the war. These methods of 
action were proposed a year before the Duma by peasants at 
all the congresses of the Peasants' Union and were adopted and 
spread broadcast over the land. When the Czar dissolved the 
first Duma, and the representatives of all the nation wished to 
find a means of general national resistance, they adopted as a 
national measure the peasants' plan of the boycotting of taxes 
and recruits. Thus the first great revolutionary measure ever 
endorsed by the Russian people as a nation, came neither from 
professional revolutionists nor any upper social class, but from 
the people themselves. 

But long before the Duma had adopted this measure, it 
had already been sufficiently tested among the peasantry to 
be rejected by them as impractical, for it left every advantage 
in the hands of the Government, which, of course, did not 
scruple to use force. They had turned to less passive ways 



A STATE OF MIND 233 

of making their power felt. The first and most natural action 
was against the landlords, who constitute the main support 
of the throne both in St. Petersburg and in the country. As 
soon as the Czar had granted the October Manifesto, the 
peasants began to make their preparations. They argued that 
the Manifesto must have given something of a very concrete 
nature to the nation at large, as was evident to them by the 
enthusiasm with which it had been received in the towns. 
They knew that the only reality to them as country people 
was the land. Therefore the Manifesto must sooner or later 
enable them to acquire the landlords' landed property. They 
began to consider themselves as the future proprietors of the 
landlords' estates. The latter protested in vain. 

Had the landlords not lived at the people's expense? the 
peasants asked, and had they not stood between them and 
the Czar? Did they have any place in the village religion, 
the village morality, or the village law? Had they not pillaged 
the peasants after the emancipation, and since that time had 
they not taken advantage of the peasants' economic weakness 
and starvation to mercilessly lower wages while they pitilessly 
raised rents? To take a business advantage of a starving 
neighbour may be well in America; it agrees neither with the 
law, morality, nor religion of the benighted Russian peasants. 
When the landlords heard how the peasants reasoned, they 
began to hire armed guards. Evidently, said the peasants, 
they propose to thwart the will of the Czar. The peasants would 
see about that. 

Suddenly the latent class-hatred between the village and 
landlord broke out into a gigantic class war. The countryside 
from Poland to the Urals and from the Black Sea to the Baltic 
was lighted up within a few weeks by the fires of thousands of 
country mansions — in all some fifty million dollars of property 
was destroyed. Everywhere the movement was similar, since 
it was everywhere invited by a common situation and founded on 
the same peasant nature. It consisted of two procedures. 
First, the peasants moved as a village against the neighbouring 
estate, often in daytime, always with their horses and carts. 
They took possession of all the landlord's movable property — 
implements, animals, and grain — and divided it in more or less 



234 RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

equal proportions among themselves. They usually claimed 
to act either in the name of the people or that of the Peasants' 
Union. The second procedure was almost always the burning 
of the landlord's house as a war measure against this common 
enemy of the people, lest he should return and demand 
possession of what he claimed as his own. The landlord himself 
and his servants were rarely attacked. There was little or 
nothing of the spirit of personal vengeance. 

This was the most universal plan of action in the months of 
November and December, 1905. With the coming of the winter 
snows, all the most active movements must relax. The peasants 
had time to think over this first plan of revolt, and their cooler 
judgment was against it. Cossacks came to the villages — not 
to all at once, there would not have been enough Cossacks in 
the Empire to do that — but to one at a time; they took back 
the landlords' property, beat the peasants into submission, 
killed a few of the ringleaders, and sent others to Siberia or the 
prisons in the towns. The landlords got back enough of their 
live stock and provisions to enable them to return. The plan 
had failed in every aspect. The peasants were neither on a 
better economic footing, nor had they achieved the least 
measure of freedom. They had only further embittered the 
landlords and police. 



CHAPTER IX 

THE CZAR'S ARMIES OP REVENGE 

Ciphered Telegram N 929, January 5, 1906: To-day an agitator 
has been arrested in the Kagarlyk locality, government of Kiev, in the 
estate of Ychertkoff. The crowd demands with threats his immediate 
liberation. The local armed force is insufficient. I therefore urge you 
persistently, in this case as in all similar ones, to order the mutineers to 
be forthwith annihilated by force of arms, and in case of resistance their 
houses to be burned. At the present moment, it is necessary to uproot 
once and for all the people's tendency to take the law into their own 
hands. Arrests do not attain their purpose now; it is impossible to judge 
hundreds and thousands of people. The sole thing necessary now is that 
the troops should be penetrated by the directions given above. 

(Signed) P. Durnovo. 

AT THE beginning of 1906 it was already evident the Russian 
Government was declaring war upon a large part of the 
Russian people. The measures proposed in this order of the 
minister of the interior are not legal measures, nor even the 
customary procedure of maitial law. This means that, in the 
course of a few weeks, he had reached the last stage of govern- 
mental violence. On November 30, 1905, Durnovo had issued 
another order also directed against the Russian civil law, but 
still perhaps not in accord with a certain military conception of 
legality. He had addressed a circular to the local agents of 
the political police as follows: 

I request you (1) to arrest all those revolutionary ringleaders and 
agitators who have not been arrested by the judicial authorities and 
immediately to take steps to have them confined under police surveillance; 
(2) not to make any special inquiries in regard to such cases, but merely 
to draw up a report stating briefly the causes of arrest and facts establish- 
ing guilt; (3) if persons known as agitators are liberated by the judicial 
authorities to keep them under guard and to proceed to act in accordance 
with (2). 

I had a long interview with the Minister of War Rediger at 
this time. He did not fail to distinguish between military law 

235 



236 RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

and levying war on the population. "When a detachment 
of soldiers in charge of an officer is sent into a village with an 
order to arrest and shoot such and such persons, or to burn down 
such and such houses, this can be accomplished without 
disturbing the ordinary functions and regulations of a modern 
army. Even if the officer is told to shoot every tenth peasant, 
or to burn down every tenth house, it is possible for him to 
execute this order. But what is the sense of issuing a command 
to a young officer to pacify a village (the stereotyped official 
phrase for the revenge taken by these military expeditions)? 
There can be no denying that a considerable proportion of the 
younger officers lack the character, education, and sense of 
responsibility to be entrusted with such a task. It could not be 
denied that many of the young lieutenants are often heavy 
drinkers. Stationed a few days or a few months in the village, 
with the power of life and death over all its inhabitants, it is 
impossible to say what outrages they might allow to be 
committed in their name." 

If we remember not only that many of the younger officers 
are drunkards, as the minister suggested, but that they are 
themselves the very landlords or the sons of the very landlords 
that the peasants have attacked, we may be prepared to expect 
every possible cruelty and excess. We are not surprised at the 
execution of captured peasants by the dozens and hundreds, 
nor by the barbarous tortures that have been practised over 
and over again. I shall not even try to summarise the various 
notorious cases of torture, in many of which young girls 
were the victims, that have been proven to take place in 
the prisons. I shall not speak of the execution soon after 
torture of many prisoners in order to prevent them from 
reporting the scenes later to the public. It may interest the 
reader, however, to show the spirit in which this bloody 
work was carried on, to quote a well-authenticated case 
among innumerable others of the beating of a woman by 
the order of the notorious German Baron von Sievers at 
Fellin During the thrashing the woman did not utter a 
sound but afterward declared in a strong and energetic voice 
to her tormentors, "This is against the law. There is no 
Russian law that allows you to punish people in such a 



THE CZAR'S ARMIES OF REVENGE 237 

manner." Von Sievers's answer was an order for her to be 
thrashed a second time. 

Already hundreds of thousands have been beaten and tens 
of thousands executed under this thin pretence of military law. 
But when we come to the wholesale beating of villages according 
to the first-quoted order of Minister Durnovo, we are no longer 
dealing with punishment at all, of however unjust and barbarous 
a character, but with civil war, for there is no pretence that more 
than a part of the people beaten are guilty of anything whatever, 
unless it be not aiding the Government in its brutal revenge. 

Here is a typical case, quoted from the letter of an inhabitant 
of the village of Korovine in the province of Smolensk: 

On the 8th of January a troop of soldiers was sent into this village. 
With the soldiers there arrived the captain of police, a colonel of the 
gendarmes, and other officers. The "judgment" (otherwise called 
pacification) commenced. The mayor of the village was called. "How 
did you dare to allow this brigandage in the village?" 

"What could I do," replied the mayor. "One dares everything when 
one is starving. But to know which of us took part in this brigandage 
there must be a just trial." 

' ' Take off his clothes and take him into the neighbouring barn. There 
they will give you a just trial." 

Pour soldiers, two armed with guns and two with rods, were sent into 
the barn. The soldiers with guns stopped in front of the gate and the 
soldiers with rods went inside. . . . The tribunal remained in the 
village the entire day. In Korovine all the peasants were beaten; 
nobody was spared, not even the old men. No interrogation was made, 
no inquiry — everybody was beaten without distinction. An old man 
aged sixty who had received twenty-five blows said on rising: "God 
be praised that they have not beaten me to death." This seemed to 
be an insolence and the old man received twenty-five more blows. 

These situations are entirely beyond the power of an ordinary 
pen. I make no attempt to picture them to the reader's mind. 
Fortunately, Russia's writers of genius have made such an 
attempt unnecessary. Among these none is more devoted 
to the peasantry than Korolenko, the greatest writer of South 
Russia living at the present time, the author of many stories 
translated into every modern language, a publicist of the first 
importance, and chief editor of Russian Wealth, perhaps 
the country's leading scientific and literary monthly. Korolenko 
is not merely devoted to the peasants; no man in Russia has been 



*3* RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

more active in their behalf, and therefore of coarse more hostile 
to the Government. Like so many of Russia's great men, he 
has spent a large part of his life in exile. 

1 talked with Korolenko about the conditions in his province 
of Poltava, and later I paid a visit to the very place that caused 
the writing of the famous letter which I quote in part below. 
1 interviewed the peasants of the villages where these brutalities 
had occurred, and they substantiated in every respect Korolenko's 
facts and shared his views. I talked also with the liberal 
justice of the peace who brought the facts to Korolenko's 
attention, and he guaranteed that all was just as Korolenko 
relates. All the facts the letter contains are perfectly familiar 
to every Russian in hundreds and thousands of other cases; 
but the courageous statement by Korolenko was the sensation 
of the country for many weeks, and the celebrated author is 
still not free from the Government persecutions that were its 
result. The reader will be interested to know that the brutal 
Filonoff was afterward killed by the revolutionists. 

Korolenko's letter: 

Sir States-Counsel Filonoff: 

Personally I do not know you at all. Neither do you know me. But 
you are an official who has come into wide prominence in our province 
for the glorious war you have been waging against your own country- 
men. And I am but a writer who asks you to take a retrospective look 
at a brief record of your deeds. 

In the village Sorochintza (Poltava province) a number of meetings 
have taken place. The people of Sorochintza evidently thought that 
the Manifesto of the 1 7th of October granted them freedom of assemblage 
and speech. At those meetings speeches were made, resolutions passed. 
Amongst other things it was decided to close the Government liquor stores, 
and not waiting for an official sanction, they were in compliance with the 
decision closed. 

On the 18th of December, for no cause whatsoever, a villager by the 
name of Besviconny was arrested. The Sorochintza people demanded 
that he be tried before a court, and that meanwhile he should be let out 
on bail. This they were denied. Then the Sorochintza people in their 
turn arrested an uriadnik and a pristav (police officials). 

On the 19th of December, Assistant Ispravink (a higher police official) 
Barabast, at the head of a hundred Cossacks, arrived at the village. 
He was permitted to see the arrested pristav and uriadnik. The latter 
advised him to release the arrested peasant. Barabast promised to do 
«o But then he changed his mind and decided to "punish" the Soro- 



THE CZAR'S ARMIES OP REVENGE 239 

chintza people. He ordered the Cossacks to attack them — and a terri- 
ble collision between the attacking Cossacks and the unarmed peasants 
took place, as a result of which the assistant ispravink was mortally 
wounded and about twenty peasants killed. The Cossacks were not 
satisfied with dispersing the crowd and releasing the pristav. They 
chased the peasants and killed them when overtaken. This was not 
enough; they dashed into the village and began to hunt down every one 
insight . . . 

So in the house of Maisinka the watchman Otrechko fell while peace- 
ably cleaning the snow off the steps of his master; so Garkovenko, feeding 
his master's cattle in the court a kilometre away from the mayor's house; 
a Cossack took aim at him from the corner of the street, Garkovenko, 
wounded, fell before he had even seen his assassin. So the old pharma- 
cist, Fabian Perevozki, coming back from the post-office with his son. 
A Cossack shot the son to death under the eyes of the father near the 
Orlov home. So Sergius Kovchine was killed a few metres away from 
his door. The wife of the peasant Mabvestki was killed at the same 
door. A young girl named Kelepov had her two cheeks shot away. I 
could tell you with details the conditions and the place of all the murders 
of Sorochintza — it is enough to say that eight persons were killed at 
the mayor's house and nearby, that twelve fell in the street near their 
houses or in the courtyards. 

Now, Mr. States-Counsel Filonoff, I'll take the liberty to ask you: 
Was there committed in Sorochintza on the 19th of December one or 
many crimes? Do you think that only the blood of people in uniforms 
is valuable and that the blood of these common people dressed in simple 
peasants' clothes can be freely shed like water? Doesn't it seem to you 
that if it is necessary to investigate by whom and under what circum- 
stances Barabast was killed, that it is not less necessary that justice 
should occupy itself with the investigation of the men who with rifle 
and sabre were butchering in the streets, yards, and orchards unarmed 
people who were neither attacking them, nor offering any resistance, and 
who neither were present at the spot of the fatal collision nor even aware 
that it had taken place? 

It is not at all necessary for me to apply to this tragedy the great prin- 
ciples of the new fundamental laws (the October Manifesto). For this 
purpose any law of any country which has the most rudimentary concep- 
tion about written or customary laws would be sufficient. Just go, Mr. 
States-Counsel Filonoff , to the land of the half-savage Kurds, to the home 
of the Bashi-Bazouks. Even there any judge will say, "Even our imper- 
fect laws recognise that the blood of people in plain clothes appeals to 
justice just as much as the blood of a killed official." 

Will you dare to openly and publicly deny this, Mr. States-Counsel 
Filonoff? Undoubtedly not! And, therefore, we both agree that the 
representative of the authorities and law in going to Sorochintza had a 
severe, but honourable and solemn r6le to fulfill. 

In this place, seized by confusion, sorrow, and horror, he ought to 



2 4 o RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

have reminded the people of the law, severe but impassionate, just, 
standing above all momentary emotion and passion, which severely 
condemns the mob's law, but which also (note, Mr. Filonoff) does not 
admit the very idea about caste vengeance from the part of officials on the 
population . . . 

But to Sorochintza there was sent, not an investigating magistrate, 
but you, Mr. States-Counsel Filonoff, and upon you falls the whole 
responsibility that the military force placed at your disposal turned 
from guardians of the law into lawbreakers and outrageous oppressors. 

You began from the very start to act in Sorochintza as if in a conquered 
land. You ordered the village assembly to be driven together — and 
declared that if it would not assemble you would destroy the whole 
village, "not leaving even ashes to remember it by." 

Is it then to be wondered at that, after such orders in such a form, 
the Cossacks began to drive the peasants together in their own way. . . . 
that men were cruelly beaten, women and girls outraged? 

First of all you ordered the people thus driven together all to get down 
on their knees — you forced them to obey your order by surrounding 
them with Cossacks with drawn swords and by placing opposite the crowd 
two field guns. All submitted and got down on their knees, their heads 
uncovered, in the snow. . . . Under the threat of death you kept 
them thus for four and a half hours. You did not even give a thought 
to this, that amongst these unlawfully tortured people there may have 
been those who had not yet buried those innocently killed on the 19th 
of December, brothers, fathers and daughters, before whom others ought to 
kneel and ask forgiveness for killing . . . 

This crowd of people was necessary for you as a background to prove 
your Counselman's Almightiness and . . . contempt for the laws. 

The further "examination" consisted in that you called out names 
of peasants from a list made beforehand. 

And what did you call them out for? For examination? For estab- 
lishing the extent of their guilt and responsibility? 

As soon as the person called out opened his mouth to answer the 
question asked of him, to explain, maybe to prove, his utter innocence, 
you with your own Counselman's hands gave the man full swinging blows 
in the face, and handed him over to Cossacks who by your order continued 
the criminal torture begun by yourself, throwing him in the snow, beating 
him with nagaikas on the head and face until the prey lost his voice, 
consciousness, and all semblance to a man. 

But all this seemed to you not enough, and casting your eyes over the 
people who stood before your Counselman Majesty, you were inspired 
with a new act of refined cruelty. You ordered the Jews to separate 
from the Christians, put them separately on their knees and ordered the 
Cossacks to beat them without discrimination. You explained this 
act of yours by this, that the Jews are clever and that they are the 
enemies of Russia. The Cossacks moved through the kneeling crowd, 
whipping right and left men, children, and aged people. And you, Mr. 



THE CZAR'S ARMIES OF REVENGE 241 

Counsellor of State, stood looking at their butchery and encouraging the 
Cossacks to greater cruelties. 

Filonoff's expedition of course did not terminate in a single 
village, but covered a score. I followed in his path and found 
that everywhere his actions had been the same; and I also found 
that the peasants rejoiced at his death, and were far more 
revolutionary than before his visit. Filonoff's expedition was 
not an extreme case of brutality. According to all that I was 
able to find out, it was rather a typical case. Some of the 
officials were less brutal, but only a few. Multiply Filonoff's 
score of villages by several hundred, and we have some sort 
of a picture of the Government's revenge among the Russian 
peasantry. Add to these the far more serious wholesale 
slaughter and massacres among all the non-Russian races, 
Letts, Poles, Armenians, Georgians and others, and we get a 
general idea of the full extent of this chapter of the Government's 
colossal crimes. 

Some of the worst of Stolypine's wholesale tortures while 
governor of the Province of Saratov, were for the purpose of 
coercing the peasants to bear false witness against themselves. 
I have a signed document, sworn to by a whole village, as 
testimony of this kind of action. The action described is only 
one among very many of Stolypine's exploits, and Stolypine 
himself is only a type of a hundred high dignitaries of the 
Russian Government who have hehaved in this manner toward 
the conquered people. Here is the document: 

The 1 8th of November, 1905, we, the undersigned peasants of the 
village of Khvalinshine of the district Sordobsk of the province of 
Saratov, having assisted at the meeting of the village assembly to the 
number of 215 persons, have discussed the question of the arrests in our 
commune made by the order of General Sacharov. 

The 8th of November Mr. Sacharov arrived in our village accompanied 
by Governor Stolypine, by the chief official of the district, the chief of 
the district police, other functionaries and an escort of Cossacks. 

A village meeting was called together before which Mr. Sacharov 
explained the end of his visit and the powers with which he was furnished 
(practically all the unlimited powers of the despot Czar). 

The president of the village community and the village council wished 
to speak for the peasants in favour of sending to St. Petersburg a dele- 
gation to explain the peasants' misery, but they were immediately arrested 
and beaten till they lost consciousness. 



242 RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

After a brief conversation Mr. Sacharov retired into the office of the 
village court, after which Mr. Governor Stolypine called one after another 
the members of our commune, submitting them to the following questions : 

"Have you pillaged the property of the landlord Beklenichev? Have 
you burned his house?" 

"No. M was the answer. 

Then the Cossacks commenced to beat with their "nagaikas," to strike 
with their fists and their bayonets and the flats of their swords, to tear 
out the hair and beards of the wretched peasants. Several were beaten 
two or three times to force confessions from them. Some, all bloody, 
finally confessed. All this took place under the eyes of the officials, 
who gave the order to redouble the rigour of the punishment. Such was 
the manner in which the thirty-two men arrested were questioned. 

After these savage punishments Governor Stolypine proposed to 
the other peasants that they should sign a decree, by which the commune 
declared that it rejected these thirty-two men from its midst as dangerous 
individuals. Indeed, we ourselves signed this degree, for after the terror 
through which we had passed we did not have the strength to refuse. 
AH the arrested men are now in prison. 

As soon as we became conscious of the illegality of the administration, 
we found that the functionaries who had come to us had acted on the 
evidence of the local police, of spies, and of other cowardly persons. 
Although the property of Beklenichev had been sacked, the culpability 
of the thirty-two peasants of our commune had not been established. 
All the men arrested are good people and have never been known to have 
committed any damaging acts in the village. They underwent their 
punishment at the instigation of police spie~ and officials. The decree 
that we signed on the 8th of November to have these thirty-two men 
exiled to Siberia, we consider to be illegal, because it was tor tur ed from 
us by violence. In consequence, we have decided to address ourselves 
to the Council of Advocates, praying it to present our decree to the high- 
est administration in order that it may be annulled, that a new inquiry 
may be ordered concerning the thirty-two peasants falsely convicted 
and that the administrators who tolerated the savage punishments 
inflicted by the Cossacks may be cited before the courts. We hope that 
our r e qu es t will be heard. 

Needless to say. it was not. But later, Sacharov, who was 
gtrihy in innumerable cases of shedding innocent blood, was 
" executed** by the revolutionists* 

It wiD be seen that the village was by no means converted 
to loyalty to the Government by these terrible public tortures. 
No man ever failed more miserably to frighten the peasantry 
than Prime Minister Stolypine while governor o f the province 
of Saratov. The following instance is quoted and condensed 



THE CZAR'S ARMIES OF REVENGE 243 

from an account by the popular poet, "Tan," or Bogoraz, one 
of the founders of the Peasants' Union, a scientific writer on 
ethnology, a literary character of the first rank in Russia, who 
had visited the village of Ivanovka very soon after the presence 
there of a "punishment expedition" of Stolypine. The cause 
of this expedition was a resolution that had been passed by the 
village assembly after having been drawn up by a young 
educated peasant of the place. This young man, typical 
of the new village leaders, had educated himself at a tremendous 
sacrifice to become a teacher, but had been thwarted by the offi- 
cials on account of his liberal opinions. Like all the other resolu- 
tions, this one demanded liberty of speech, press and meeting, a 
constitutional assembly elected by equal and universal suffrage, 
and the transference of the land into the hands of the people. 

A few days after the passage of this the then Governor Stoly- 
pine arrived. "Rebels, revolutionists, who influenced you 
to do this?" he shouted. 

"All the village," he was answered. 

"You lie! Who composed the resolution?" 

Bitchenkov, the young man, advanced and declared, "It 
was I!" 

"You lie! Go and write!" 

They took this man Bitchenkov into a neighbouring room 
and gave him pen and paper. 

"Why do you not write?" 

"Wait, I must think a little; I am very excited." 

"You lie! Why should you be excited?" 

"I was never so near such a great person as you." 

In half an hour Bitchenkov composed, without seeing the 
old one, a new copy of the resolution. 

"You lie! You learned it by heart. Shut your mouth; 
do not dare to reason with me!" 

The demand for the nationalisation of the land enraged 
the governor more than anything else. After his fierce denun- 
ciation of the peasants an old white-headed man spoke: "Your 
excellency, we have listened to your speech. Now listen to 
ours. I have two sons in the war, and twenty-one persons at 
home to nourish and land enough for only one person. How 
shall we feed ourselves?" 



244 RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

The governor could reply only by the Malthusian theory: 
41 Who forced you to reproduce yourselves in this way?" 

11 That is a sin what you are saying now/' said the old man. 
"It te against God." 

"Silence! No reasoning!" shouted Stolypine. 

The assembly of peasants was sourrounded by Cossacks and 
dispersed, while the elected chiefs of the village were imprisoned. 
After two hours of violent shouting the governor demanded 
that the village should place in his hands all its leaders, confess 
who had influenced the peasants to adopt such a resolution and 
draw up another to suit the official taste. That evening all 
the village consulted together over Stolypine's demands. 

"Well, old men, have you come to a decision?" asked the 
governor of the peasants the next morning. 

"Yes, your excellency, we have passed a resolution," returned 
the mayor. 

"That is good; where is it, this new resolution of yours?" 

"We have resolved to stand by the old one." 

The governor was enraged. He himself questioned every- 
body, but everybody kept silent. The next day twenty of the 
most respected peasants were arrested. Eighteen persons were 
imprisoned for a month and Bitchenkov and an old man named 
Savelieff for two months. 

There was only one traitor in the village, and when it was 
discovered that it was he who had denounced everybody to 
Governor Stolypine, the others declared a boycott against him 
without mercy. They burned his barns twice and finally 
declared to him categorically that he must leave the village. 
The wretched spy went to his son at Volsk; but the son would 
not receive him, and declared, ° I have no need of such Iscariots." 
Finally, the wrecked informer had to go into another province. 

While the arrested peasants were gone, the villagers performed 
all their work for them, and even gave bread and potatoes to 
the poorer families. A month later eighteen of the condemned 
returned, and were received as home-coming heroes. The 
commune sent to meet them eighteen waggons, in each four 
persons, the horse decorated with green leaves and red 
ribbons — and as the procession entered the village it was 
greeted by the singing of the Marseillaise. Bitchenkov and 



THE CZAR'S ARMIES OF REVENGE 245 

Savelieff returned a month later. For them, too, a great cele- 
bration was prepared. 

But, of course, the village did not escape so easily. Later 
Stolypine returned, and after a two days' stay departed, leaving 
a hundred Cossacks, one officer, and eight rural guards, to execute 
his orders. From that time the "nagaikas" commenced to 
whistle on the backs and heads of the peasants. The Cossacks 
beat not only the peasants of Ivanovka; they beat the passers- 
by, they beat everybody that fell into their hands. Some of 
their wounded victims they threw into prison, and held them 
there without any medical relief. They stole everything 
they could lay their hands on, from the smallest household 
object to the grain in the granary. When a respected peasant 
went, as representative of the village, to the head man of the 
Cossacks to beg the cessation of this persecution, he was killed 
by the Cossacks in broad daylight. 

This is how Premier Stolypine 's orders were executed when 
as provincial governor he was travelling about among the 
villages. All reliable persons in the province agree in saying 
that at this time he behaved more like a beast than a human 
being. This is the man the Czar has selected to "pacify" the 
country, and with whose labours he has expressed himself as 
amply pleased. 

In addition to imprisonment, flogging, violent death, the 
ravishment of women, the peasants have had to endure a most 
serious economic hardship in consequence of the Government's 
"punishment expeditions." Wherever these expeditions have 
been most successful, advantage is immediately taken by the 
landlords of the peasants' depressed condition to lower their 
wages and raise their rents. Undoubtedly this is the first 
object of the proprietor in calling for these expeditions. For 
this benefit of the landlords no new forms of economic slavery 
have had to be invented in despotic Russia; the old tyrannical 
laws have merely had to be put again into practice. The 
Russian laws make explicit provisions for keeping agricultural 
labourers as far as practicable in servitude. 

A recent circular of the governor of Poltava to the "land 
officials" is significant of the power the landlord has over 
the peasant labourer. "There is reason to believe," says this 



a 4 6 RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

circular, "that the agitation of the revolutionary parties in 
the country will be directed this summer to bring about the 
suspension of work by the agricultural labourers. Among the 
means of combating such proceedings, the most excellent is the 
quick and energetic interference of the authorities and the use 
of the law as soon as the violations come to light. The arbitrary 
leaving of work without sufficient ground, is a cause for a legal 
persecution upon the complaint of the employer alone. The 
result is that damages can be collected from the labourer up 
to the stun of the contracted wages for three months. However, 
the judgment of the land officials (themselves landlords, it will 
be remembered) can be put into execution immediately. But 
if the labourer is bound by a written contract, the employer 
has the right to give up the above mentioned damages and to 
turn to the police with the demand to force the labourer immedi- 
ately to the performance of his labour." This order, I will add, 
was strictly enforced. 

In the neighbouring province the landlords turned to the 
prison authorities with the request that, on account of the 
great demand for field hands, the prisoners should be turned 
over to them for field labour for a suitable wage. Now we see 
the perfect trap ready to catch peasants not able to support 
themselves from their own lands. As soon as the spirit of 
the disturbed district is sufficiently crushed so that field labour 
can be continued, the employers begin to lower wages and 
raise rents, with the assurance that they will have the armed 
assistance of the Government to compel the peasants to labour. 
There are two ways in which the landlord gets his initial "legal" 
grip on the labourer. First, if the preceding winter has been 
a bad one, it was naturally easy for the landlords to get the 
peasants to sign any kind of a contract (often for as little as a 
third of the usual wage) to avoid their immediate economic 
ruin or death by starvation; with this piece of paper in then- 
hands the landlords are masters of slaves for the term of the 
contract. Second, if the peasant's absolute necessity has not 
forced him to enter into this "voluntary" servitude, the 
proprietors can still lure him to enter their employment under 
false promises. As soon as the peasant begins to complain of 
impossible food, of the fines that the employer is allowed to 



THE CZAR'S ARMIES OF REVENGE 247 

place upon him, or of other frauds, and quits work, the employer 
has a civil case against him, which can be judged immediately 
by his landlord friend, the "land official. ,, After the judgment 
the peasant has either to go to labour immediately under the 
old conditions or be arrested, and if he is arrested he is again 
subject to be driven to the fields, as the ancient slaves of Greece 
or Rome. 

Every "punishment expedition" has been followed imme- 
diately by the lowering of wages and the raising of rents. Protest 
against these harsher conditions has meant a new expedition. 
The peasants on the estate of Prince Kotzebue in the province 
of Poltava told me how, it being impossible for them to keep 
alive either as tenants on account of the high rents, or as 
labourers on wages of twenty to thirty kopecks (ten to fifteen 
cents) a day, they had therefore decided to quit work and not 
to pay rent. Of course the Cossacks came, and were still there 
at the time of my visit. They beat the villagers from day to 
day, and the discontented peasants were sent away by the dozen 
and sometimes in shoals of as many as fifty at a time. The 
result of the strike, followed by the "punishment expedition," 
was that wages had again been lowered and rents raised. 

But although the peasants' attempt to better their economic 
conditions by organised effort is checkmated by the guns 
and whips of the Cossacks, the peasants have by no means been 
terrorised as the Government desires; they cannot "strike" 
successfully as this is physically impossible against an armed 
force, but they can still plan and work toward revolution. 
They are ever learning new determination and courage in the 
great war. They are just reaching the height of that primitive 
lynch justice which doubtless has preserved the existence of 
many communities under barbarous surroundings. If they 
should ever learn the use of this measure as did the pioneers of 
our West, it would be an inconceivably powerful instrument in 
their emancipation. Here is a recent story that shows the new 
practice, adapted especially to landlords: 

The landlord Pavlovsky of the town of Shestkovka, in the govern- 
ment of Cherson, had noticed a peasant's horse while riding through his 
fields. He turned to the peasant, who had come to get the horse, with 
the question why he had let his horse on another's field. The peasant 



243 RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

answered that the horse himself had run away to the place. Thereupon 
Pavlovsky fired a shot and killed the horse. The owner of the horse 
went thereupon with other peasants to the house of Pavlovsky and 
declared to Pavlovsky 's people that the landlord had shot his horse and 
that he, its owner, would take instead a horse of the landlord. There 
arose a conflict between the people of the estate and the peasants, during 
which the people of the estate fired several shots, wounded the owner of 
the killed horse and killed his son. Out of fear of the lynch justice of 
the peasants the landlord's people hastened to the station where two 
of them surrendered themselves to the police and the third was arrested. 
As we were afterwards informed, a crowd of the peasants marched to 
the station, broke into the office, dragged out the landlord's people and 
practised lynch justice on them by beating them to death. 

The new lynch justice of the peasants is not always directed 
against the landlords, but also against the landlord's allies, 
the local officials. In many places the so-called "land officials" 
have been resigning by the wholesale, and it is very difficult 
to find new men to take their places. In one province this 
class of official does not dare to appear in the villages without 
the accompaniment of several others of the same class and the 
accumulated bodyguards of the whole, that is to say, a hundred 
or more rural guards. In Voronege province the Government 
has to keep transferring the heads, of the district police from 
one district to another, in the hope of preventing in this way 
the sharp conflicts that prevail as soon as these persons become 
personally known to the peasants. In one district of Jaroslav, 
of four "land officials" only one remained and this one feared 
to wear the uniform. Another, after holding the position only 
a month and a half, fell into acute insanity. He used to write 
petitions in which he implored the peasants not to tear him 
to pieces but simply to hang him. He had to be taken to the 
asylum. 

It is becoming rather less common to attempt to resist the 
armed authorities by means of pitched battles such as took 
place in thousands of cases in 1905 and 1906. At that time 
it had become almost a custom for the peasants to go up into 
the church tower when the enemy approached and to sound 
the alarm. The immense crowds of peasants that would 
then gather were often equal even to a company of armed 
soldiers. Now, when Cossacks come to a village, they first of 
all go to the church and tie up the tongue of the bell or take it 



THE CZAR'S ARMIES OP REVENGE 249 

altogether away. In some villages, even, "unknown thieves" 
(the police) have succeeded in stealing the bell. 

More successful is the well-known war measure of burning 
down the enemy's property and source of supplies. The land- 
lords' mansions are still being burned by the peasants in every 
section of the country. So far has this gone that now, to quote 
from the conservative organ, Novoe Vretnya, "not a single fire 
insurance company in Russia issues any policies on farm stock 
or buildings, owing to the enormous spread of incendiarism. 
The landlords for a long time concealed the facts, misleading 
both the companies and the Government, but the true state of 
affairs at last leaked out." This is the most serious and pressing 
question that confronts the landlords to-day. A committee 
recently called on Prime Minister Stolypine with a plan of 
rehabilitating the fire insurance on country estates. Stolypine 
approved, but of course could see no way by which the Govern- 
ment could participate in such an unprofitable business. 

But neither Mr. Stolypine nor any others of the savages in 
civilised clothing that are executing the Czar's orders have 
had or can have any permanent success in suppressing the 
growing and invincible revolutionary spirit that is already 
animating a large part of Russia's hundred million peasants. 
If the country people are on the defensive at the present moment 
it is not that they lack the will for the most aggressive and 
violent warfare against the Government, but merely that for 
the moment they lack the power. Whether this situation can 
long continue may most seriously be questioned. 



CHAPTER X 

THB VILLAGE AGAINST THB CZAR A STATE OP WAR 

WAS the spirit of rebellion crushed in the winter of 1906 
by the twenty-five thousand exiles and arrests and 
the hundred thousand flayed backs of the insurrectionists? 
In Russia at the time this was the mooted question among all 
profound students of the revolutionary movement. 

There was another great question. Had the peasants done 
their best and finally become discouraged? Events soon 
proved that the peasants had lost nothing of their rebellious 
instinct. They had only been forced to change the tactics of 
revolt. The spring of 1906 had hardly commenced when a new 
movement began, equally widespread with the last and cover- 
ing nearly all the rich agricultural section of Russia. A strike 
of agricultural labourers was organised against all landlords 
who worked their own land, and a movement against high 
rents was directed against those who farmed out their estates. 

The strike was highly organized, aggressive, and violent. 
In all cases the action was by village, often in pursuance of 
resolutions of the official village meeting. In one government 
of the south not only were whole villages represented in district 
committees, but the district committee sent their representa- 
tive to a central convention of the whole government. The 
strike was aggressive, because the peasants were asking for an 
increase in wages that amounted often to 200 or 300 per cent. 
It was violent, in that strike-breaking peasants were not only 
beaten by their neighbours, but often also their houses were 
burned over their heads. Its results were highly satisfactory 
from the peasants' standpoint, the rate of wages per hour being 
more than doubled. Peasants who were getting thirty or fifty 
kopeks for a twelve or fourteen-hour day were often paid one 
or two rubles for a day of ten hours. In some cases those land- 
lords who could not afford to pay the wages demanded were 

250 



A STATE OP WAR 251 

told that they might sell their land to the village, but that 
the peasants' terms would not be lowered. The movement 
against high rents was equally successful, some villages in the 
east paying fifteen rubles where before they had paid forty. 

This was the movement of the spring. The summer again 
marked another step forward toward revolution. The landlords 
had been beaten on the economic field but they were more 
embittered than ever by their new difficulties and more ready 
than before to make use of their allies, the Cossacks and police. 
So after the first Duma had met and it was evident even to the 
most credulous villages (some never had believed) that the 
Czar was going to grant none of the people's demands, the 
aggressive economic movement was supplemented by a still 
more aggressive attack against the landlords, who were justly 
blamed for a large part of the Czar's stubbornness. The princi- 
ple of the boycott was applied to the landlords, their servants 
and the police. Every relation between the landlord and the 
village was made a source of trouble and even of combat. Some 
villages refused to pay taxes to the zemstvos in order that the 
landlord might be forced to build his own roads. Others refused 
to allow the landlord's horses and cattle even to cross the 
village land, or to furnish horses or lodging to the police. They 
beat, burned out, or expelled from the village, any peasant 
who did the landord or the Government a service. 

But this was only the first step. In very many villages ths 
movement went much further. In the fall of 1905 the peasants 
were burning the landlords' mansions in the daytime In 
the summer of 1906 they were burning their farms and granaries 
at night. At first the destruction was merely a matter of war 
fare. Then it became the result of a bitter spirit of revenge. 
This spirit has gone still further, and very many guards and 
superintendents and a considerable number of landlords have 
been killed; also many of the village police and even members 
of the newly created military arm, the rural guards. 

The reign of terror in some sections is already very similar 
to that of the towns and mining regions. Recently, in the 
province in which Odessa is situated, fires and murders became 
so frequent that the governor actually felt himself, constrained 
to establish a night patrol. Does not this order indicate that 



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mXi^''^ ** «-■•-•* it-*- 't.ubfesl'r. f- Tjlt»-JIi TVU-IZSE. 1 

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A STATE OP WAR a S3 

Both are the subject of constant persecution in those sections 
of the country that are most advanced. In many cases these 
local representatives of the Czarism are already dominated 
by village opinion; more particularly, of course, the priests. 
In Kasan the peasants captured several of the local police 
functionaries and held them until the Government liberated 
an imprisoned leader of the revolution. Besides these personal 
pledges, there is in every village a valuable property pledge in 
the shape of the Government saloon from which the Czarism 
receives a third of its annual income. Every day the official 
Russian telegrams report the robbery or destruction of some 
of these saloons. How many are really attacked or destroyed 
cannot be known. New villages are daily taking up the campaign 
against this Government monopoly, and a new plan of attack has 
been devised — the boycott. The village meeting decides that 
the peasants shall not drink; an agreed schedule of fines is 
arranged for all those who do — one ruble for the first drink, three 
for the second, five for the third, and expulsion for the fourth. 

So successfully have these various attacks hit at the Govern- 
ment revenue that the authorities have been forced to the most 
extreme measures of protection. Already all post-offices, 
railway stations, and every visible form of property have had 
to be guarded by soldiers or police. Now the same becomes 
true of all of the tens of thousands of vodka shops in Russia — 
a sufficient sign in itself of the revolution's strength. Through 
raising the price of vodka to the very limit the traffic will bear, 
the Government has succeeded so far in retaining the level of its 
revenue, but it is only a question of a short time before the 
State budget must show an enormous loss. 

The measures of physical protection for the saloons are 
the least interesting of the Government's policies in this matter. 
In one government of the south, the governor-general has issued 
an order that any village which has boycotted the saloon must 
be made to pay in direct taxes the same stun which that saloon 
produced for the Government the year before. The Govern- 
ment has always encouraged the use of the vodka poison. It 
is now compelling it by nagaikas and bayonets. 

The warfare of the village against the Government is being 
worked up into a science. The revolutionary bodies are direct- 



»54 RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

ing the activities, but the peasants are quick enough to under- 
stand. Every possible form of worrying the Government, 
of upsetting the authority of the local officials, of cutting off the 
Government's income from the village, of implanting the spirit 
of mutiny among the new recruits, of coercing the landlords, 
is being embodied by the revolutionists into a regular revolu- 
tionary code. Congresses of local and village committees 
have been held all over Russia to discuss the best means for 
carrying out the war. It is generally recognised that the time 
for concerted action in the country at large has not yet arrived, 
and it is evident to the outside observer that it will not even 
arrive so soon as the revolutionists hope. What is sought now 
is not the common action of several villages, but the comparative 
study of the best modes of action for each individual com- 
munity. So well do the villages understand this that some 
have not only themselves absorbed the new programme, but 
have undertaken to spread it far and wide among the neigh- 
bouring communities. I visited one village, for instance, where 
practically everybody was active in one way or another in this 
revolutionary work, and where the young men seemed almost 
without exception to be members of the fighting organisations 
of the revolution. It is especially in those villages where the 
peasants have been beaten by the Cossacks or imprisoned 
that the feeling runs most high and the action takes the most 
aggressive and intelligent form. 

This is the situation at the present moment. There are also 
ominous preparations for a far more serious and violent manner 
of warfare. In several of the leading provinces the villages 
are making every effort to arm and to train up a secret village 
militia for future use. In the government of Saratov nearly 
every one of the fifteen hundred villages has its secret committee, 
and nearly every one of these committees has more or less 
arms. Some committees are small, consisting of half a dozen 
members. Others include a hundred or more — all the young 
men of the village. In some cases the committee has only a 
few old revolvers and guns; in others the peasants are provided 
with modern rifles. These local committees are all organised 
under the district committees* and the district committees 
under the committees of the Government. 



A STATE OF WAR 255 

The revolutionary committee of Saratov is preparing daily 
for future needs. The local militia are being secretly drilled, 
taught how to use their weapons and educated in the art of 
guerilla war. All the roads, bridges, and railway lines are 
being studied with the end of accomplishing the destruction 
of the means of communication in the quickest possible manner 
when the moment arrives. Of course, the peasant militia 
has the fullest assurance of the support of the whole Railway 
Union in this plan. Saratov is the model province of Russia 
from the standpoint of peasant revolt, but many others, espe- 
cially among its neighbours and those provinces nearest to the 
Black Sea, are following Saratov's example. 

Until a short time ago there seemed to be one fatal lack 
in the revolutionist plan — the means with which to purchase 
the large supplies of arms that will be needed before this guerilla 
war can be put on the same footing that it has reached in the 
Caucasus and the Baltic provinces. There are now scarcely 
a hundred thousand rifles among the revolutionists, even includ- 
ing these outlying parts of the empire. There must be several 
times that number before the guerilla war can be successfully 
begun in the central parts of the country. The money for this 
purpose was entirely wanting a year ago, but within the past 
year the well planned and executed robberies of the Govern- 
ment officers and large banks by the revolutionists (the robberies 
of the private institutions were of course undertaken only by 
the most extreme wing) have partly supplied the lack. Approx- 
imately some ten million rubles have been obtained in this way 
— sufficient, perhaps, to justify the carrying of the guerilla 
war into the heart of rural Russia as soon as the guns have 
been smuggled over the border, or secured by official corruption 
within the realm. 

The peasants are striving for their liberty at a terrible cost, 
of which the blood tribute is the least important item. All 
this sacrifice of life, all the misery and hardship that it must 
entail, are not a very large price for the Russian peasants to 
pay for emancipation from age-long oppression, famine, and 
misery. The worst part of the situation is the reaction on 
their own character of the violence to which the Government 
forces the people to resort. When the peasant gets used to 



t 5 6 RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

killing overseers and police, he must have become more or less 
accustomed to the shedding of blood — as brutalised, perhaps, as 
soldiers during a war. But he cannot and will not stop there. 
Already the villager's h?nd is raised against his fellow-villager. 
The soldiers of brutal regiments that are still " loyal " to the Czar 
are beaten by the villagers when they return home. Peasants 
that refuse to take part in the general revolutionary movement 
or strike, are beaten or slain. 

Even this is not the worst. Some villages may have among 
them no '•traitors" to the cause; but there is in nearly every 
village a small class of peasants who have always been, and 
may for some time remain, openly loyal to the Czar. These 
are the privileged — the village usurers, the peasant landlords, 
the small merchants, the mail carriers, the contractors, the 
Government saloon-keepers and others favoured by the officials. 
They are usually only a half dozen or dozen families out of a 
hundred or two, but they are among the most active of alL 
Everywhere among the families of the common peasants there 
are also a few that are inclined to follow the lead of this village 
aristocracy. Between these and the majority of the peasants 
there is arising the most brutal and terrible war. The victory 
is not so easily with the majority as it might seem. A strong 
village policeman and a few well-hidden spies, a detachment 
of rural guards or Cossacks in the village or near at hand, will 
Ifive the advantage entirely to the favoured few. In such cases 
Home horrible incidents have arisen. The peasant aristocrats, 
following the illustrious example of the Czar, have even insti- 
tuted so-called military courts for the execution of the leaders 
of acdition, and have executed such of their enemies as they 
could lay their hands on. With others, also emulating the 
Cswir, they have proceeded to apply the well-established custom 
oi the "red cock" — that is, they have burned down their 
euemifs' houses over their heads* 

But this last is a dangerous prvvedure, for it invites a fierce 
retaliation. The red cock is a principal weapon of the revolu- 
tionary element in the village, and as the property is to a large 
degree in the hands of the reactionary few. these few are the 
principal sufferers in this kind of a war. Such village feuds, 
resulting in the burning down ot the houses of the enemies. 



A STATE OF WAR 257 

and sometimes by accident of neighbours' houses, or of the 
whole village as well, have always been frequent. Since the 
revolution began this incendiarism has doubled, and to the other 
plagues of Russia — war, famine, pillage, and Cossacks — must 
be added fire. In the short space of one year there were over 
three thousand such fires in a single government of the fifty 
of European Russia. 

Worse than the public executions in the village and worse 
than fire, is the secret murder by night. Of course when the 
war reaches this stage it cannot last long, as the numbers are 
overwhelming on the side of the poverty-stricken many* But 
the spirit of bloodshed has been turned against neighbours, 
an infinitely more demoralising fact than the killing of those 
regarded as natural enemies, the landlords and police. 

With this loss of regard for life comes an equal disregard 
of personal property and every other form of personal right. 
From pillaging the landlords it is a short step to pillaging the 
rich peasants. The latter reply where they can with a forced 
confiscation of the weaker peasants' goods. Soon a period of 
plunder sets in, directed very largely against those with whom 
the peasants have their scores to settle — that is, the rich 
peasants, the landlords, and the police. 

The whole picture of the immediate future of the Russian vil- 
lage is such a terrible one that few large-hearted and cultivated 
Russians can bear to contemplate it. Many, in revolt against 
the only picture their reason tells them to expect, will yet deny 
some of the most obvious facts. Others, unable to argue away 
the facts, give up all hope and can see no end to the demoralisa- 
tion once it gains the upper hand. I have been forced to confess, 
indeed, that the spread and success of the revolution depends 
probably, not so much on its successful organisation, as on the 
disorganisation of the Government and on the spread of the spirit 
of rebellion and desperation in the mind of the individual peas- 
ants. Evidently individual rebellion is subject to all the limi- 
tations of the individual rebel. A growing disregard for life, 
property, industry, and order, is inevitable as long as the revo- 
lution continues. The powers that are maintaining the Russian 
Government to-day can undoubtedly force the nation to this 
fearful and protracted disorganisation. The revolutionary 



*58 RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

organisations and organised forms of revolt that make against 
this demoralisation, the Government can defeat and destroy. 
Against millions of individual rebels, who, however unorganised, 
are ready to give up everything for the cause, the Government 
can accomplish nothing. 

It would be the grossest error to conclude that there is no 
organisation of the revolutionary forces. Only a few pages 
back I have spoken of the effort at secret military organisation. 
In addition there is a constant and often successful effort to 
create organisations of every kind, though such organisations 
are organisations only in an educational sense. The personnel 
of both leaders and rank and file is constantly shifting. 
Continuous and concerted action is out of the question. 

The Peasants' Union gathered together, in a single programme 
and a single set of revolutionary tactics, the best opinion among 
the Russian radicals as well as the most widely accepted 
opinions of the peasants. It perfected and developed its 
programme through repeated national conferences, and it 
finally succeeded in spreading a knowledge of its tactics in 
nearly every village of the land. This is organisation in the 
deepest spiritual sense. Its central committee was imprisoned; 
its local committees were exiled; all its most openly active 
members were beaten or thrown into jail. Yet the idea of the 
union lives, and it unites the peasants in a common effort 
for a common end. The union remains as popular as ever 
among the peasantry. Whole villages are still anxious to be 
admitted to its somewhat mysterious folds. They know its 
programme; they do not and cannot know the personnel of its 
organisation. The intelligent peasants of nearly every village 
will tell you that they stand for the Peasants' Union. One 
peasant summed the matter up in this way: 

"Of course I am for the Peasants* Union, whatever I may 
think of other organisations. It is like the hen that spreads 
it* wings over all the smaller reactionary brood.** 

After the Peasants' Union came another organisation, equally 
successful and equally popular. The radical and revefutionary 
p**sai\ts sent by the villages to represent then in the Duma 
fcrtued their.selvre into the "LaXxsr Group. ~ This group 
adopted tra^tscaUy s^* entire prv^ramrae oc the feasants' 



A STATE OF WAR 259 

Union, and urged the most advanced and democratic demands 
along every line. It was the members of this group, it will be 
recalled, that kept themselves in daily touch with the villages 
all over Russia while the first Duma was in session, and who 
issued, after the Duma was closed, the sensational appeal to 
arms. This appeal is the most dangerous document to the 
Government that has ever been published. It has not reached 
all the villages, but it has certainly reached a large majority. 
It is so violent and desperate in tone that there are doubtless 
some villages to which it would not appeal. However, it has 
been circulated broadcast, has met with approval in all directions, 
and in the villages that had received it I found it had called 
forth the most cordial and enthusiastic endorsement. A large 
part of the members of the Labour Group, like the organisers of 
the Peasants' Union, are now in prison or exile; but many are 
the villagers who have answered the call of the village bell to 
arms, or rather to sticks and pitchforks, when there has been 
a need to rally to the assistance of these members. Though 
known to thousands of peasants, and travelling about freely 
after the first Duma was dissolved, many, perhaps half, of the 
members of the group were enabled by the peasants' aid to 
escape abroad. The group's proclamation lives in the peasants' 
minds, gains ground every day, and may yet serve as a rallying 
cry for the great revolt. 

Through these organisations, or frameworks of organisations, 
a very large proportion of the villages have been thoroughly 
ripened and prepared for revolt. Of course the revolt may 
never occur. It is impossible to say at what time the Govern- 
ment may become sufficiently frightened to make a complete 
surrender. The peasants will be satisfied with nothing less 
than complete surrender, and the only proposal that has 
appealed to them so far is that a constitutional assembly be 
instantly convened. If the Government should not surrender, 
as it shows no signs of doing at the present time, the guerilla 
war will some day take a more terrible form. The country 
will swarm with an army of guerilla bands, and the Government 
authorities may be forced to retire from the villages to the strong 
places the Cossacks are able to hold. The peasants will already 
have gained part of that for which they are contending. The 



s6o RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

revolution would have to wait for further success on the capture 
of some sufficiently important stronghold to serve as a centre 
for an insurrectionary government and for the formation and 
organisation of a regular revolutionary force. Even then the 
Government armies might be able to put up a terrific resistance. 

But whether events ever proceed so far or not, it is the 
imminent possibility that they may which constitutes the hope 
of the revolution, and the only factor that is able to force from 
the autocratic Government such fundamental and revolutionary 
changes as, in the minds of every important element of the 
Russian people, are now absolutely essential to the development 
of Russia. 

The Russian people, perhaps more than any other, deplore 
all warfare. They stand squarely for the abolition of govern- 
mental violence in every form. But until the present inhuman 
despotism is done away with, neither war, nor capital punish- 
ment, nor imprisonment and exile without trial can be done 
away with. War is the excuse for the Czarism's existence. 
Administrative punishment and execution are its sole means 
of support. It is in a last hope of putting an end, perhaps 
forever, to war and bloodshed that the people have declared 
war on the Ctarism and are ready to pay with their own blood 
for victory. 



CHAPTER XI 

WAITING FOR CIVIL WAR 

THE military aspect of the Russian revolution must finally 
decide the great struggle. Nor does this military aspect 
concern Russia alone. The United States and several other 
modern nations think they are permanently free. But if the 
art of modern warfare is ever so developed that a fraction of a 
nation, the Government, has at any time the physical power 
to keep the rest of the nation in subjection, freedom has no 
concrete foundation on which to rest. Our liberties depend 
largely on the character of the arts of war. If coercive govern- 
ment is possible, it is because the modern means of war give a 
coercive government the physical superiority. 

Since the invention of repeating rifles, rapid-fire cannon, and 
machine guns, no prominent people has been in general armed 
revolt against its government. We can neither say how heavy 
the popular majority would have to be to win against the 
disciplined and centralised armies of the government, nor if the 
people did win, can we say what would be the slaughter the 
victory would entail. Terrible and unspiritual as these 
conjectures are, they are of supreme moment and form one of 
the greatest questions that the Russian revolution has to 
answer. Some of the Russian conditions are special to that 
country, but this much is general — the Government has a 
monopoly of most of the machinery of modern warfare, the 
possession of the strategic points, the use of a large, disciplined, 
and centralised army of professional fighting men. 

For more than two years past the Russian Government has 
practically been at war with its people. Military law prevails 
throughout the whole empire. The military courts are backed 
by an enormous military power. The war against the people 
is being carried on by a full score of modern army corps. An 
army of more than two hundred thousand men is holding down 

261 



262 RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

the Poles, armies of from fifty thousand to one hundred thousand 
are burning and hanging in the Caucasus and the Baltic 
provinces. Armies almost as large are the sole means of 
preventing insurrections practically en masse of the people of 
St. Petersburg and Moscow. Every city in Russia is an armed 
camp. 

In all these armies nearly all the more brutal and dangerous 
* work falls to four hundred thousand Cossacks. They are loyal 
and enthusiastic killers, and, being half foreign, they are 
serviceable in massacring Russians, Letts, or Jews. It is for 
this reason that a large part of them are divided into small 
bands and kept occupied beating, maiming, and killing the 
rebellious Russian peasantry. But peasant rebellions have 
increased recently in number and intensity and the Cossacks 
have become insufficient. As there are no more Cossacks 
available, a large number being occupied on the Manchurian 
and other frontiers, a new army, called the "rural guards," 
has been especially created for this part of the governmental 
campaign. 

On paper the Russian army, including these Cossacks, consists 
at the present time of some two million men. The mutinies 
of the last two years prove that few of this army except the 
Cossacks can safely be counted on for service in the present 
internal war. Several hundred thousand of the common 
soldiers, chiefly former workingmen, would even turn their guns 
against the Government if they could. The rest — more than 
a million peasant soldiers of the line — are clearly a neutral 
force. They have not the organisation, determination, dash, 
or physical ability to create a successful revolt. In case they 
did mutiny they would probably prove helpless against the 
loyal troops that are carefully mingled with them in every 
camp. On the other hand, they would certainly be glad to 
desert the ranks at the first opportunity — if for no other reason 
than to avoid the suffering and hardship of the Russian soldier's 
lite. This life has always been hard, the discipline always 
severe, and since the revolution conditions are worse than ever. 
For the suppression of agrarian disorders, then, such soldiers 
could scarcely avail. An irresistible opportunity for individual 
desertion would be afforded the moment they were spread 



WAITING FOR CIVIL WAR 263 

over the land in the inevitable small detachments. Moreover, 
they have nearly all now taken part in peasant disturbances 
in their own villages before they were torn from their homes 
and taken to the barracks. They might mutiny, tiiey would 
probably desert, they would certainly be useless in an agrarian 
uprising. 

The Government can count on its four hundred thousand 
Cossacks and on some one hundred thousand other troops of 
favoured regiments. The newly formed "rural guards," if not 
very valuable, are probably loyal, as are also an equal number 
of the gendarmes and of the police. Here are some seven 
hundred thousand armed and disciplined men. Also there are 
some fifty thousand loyal army officers and several hundred 
thousand rural police, spies, ruffians and black hundreds which 
the Government has armed and can rely on where the warfare 
has not yet entered into a critical guerilla stage. Altogether, 
then, the Government has at its disposal a million armed men. 

There are also determined partisans of the Government 
without arms — Government officials in the middle and higher 
ranks, large and small landlords, the merchants of the towns, 
village usurers and shopkeepers, petty traders who wish to get 
rid of their business rivals among the Jews. But, as the 
elections have finally proven, it may be doubted if the Govern- 
ment's unarmed supporters number, all told, another million. 

The rest of the people, not less than twenty-five million 
fighting men, are opposed to the Government, and gradually are 
joining in the war against it. They are fighting men because 
nearly all have had four or five years training in the army, 
and several millions have been through the recent war. They 
are opposed to the Government because the Government has 
taken a clear and final stand against their wishes for a political 
and economic revolution, as expressed in the first Duma, 
and is using the most violent, savage, and murderous means to 
repress their discontent. What part of the twenty-five million 
are already prepared to go to war — i. e., to risk their lives 
for the cause — it is impossible to say. Certainly almost 
the whole youth of the cities and towns, probably the over- 
whelming majority of the young peasants as well. The older 
men, less valuable and slower to act, are fast moving toward the 



i6 4 RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

same attitude. If the present conditions continue there is no 
doubt that a large part of the twenty-five million will soon be 
ready for the revolution's service. 

What is lacking to the revolution is not men but organisation 
and means. It is here that the disparity is most glaring. The 
Government gets every year several hundred million rubles 
from foreign financiers, and will doubtless continue to get these 
sums at whatever cost. The Government has control of 
hundreds of forts and arsenals throughout the land, of innum- 
erable rapid-firing cannon and machine guns. It monopolises 
the use of the telegraphs and railroad lines, and will continue 
to monopolise them even in the height of civil war. The 
revolutionists can always destroy the railways — the organisation 
to use them is lacking and must remain lacking until the 
Government has been overthrown. The same is true of the 
telegraphs. Even when all the lines are down, the Government 
will continue to have the use of its wireless system against 
the revolution. 

The Government is not only highly organised, but it is 
organised especially to fight the revolution. By the side of the 
first Government, a second has grown up. There is one 
organisation of the railroads in time of peace, and another 
organisation in time of insurrection. In time of insurrection 
the roads are on a war footing. Every workman becomes a 
soldier, every superintendent an officer. So with the telegraphs, 
the post-office, and the police. Machine guns are 
within a few minutes of every public place, spies infest every 
restaurant and railway station. Cossacks are en the alert for 
the few cents of extra pay they get for every hour of "service 
against the internal enemy/* 

Against such an array of organisation and force what can 
the people do? There is do hidden answer to the question, no 
possibility of an easy escape from the colossal tragedy of the 
situation. The people m^st be ready ^o vfc. When they are 
ready to make the necessary sacrttkes of Ere and everything 
that life contains, taen eciy can they here &r freedro. A 
quarter of a rrritlictt sctikrs w«e sicrtaced si Japan- This is 
a war of infinitely mere snipcrtxexof tc tiae land. 

The war between the Cfcar 4Cvt tbe reecte has already passed 



WAITING FOR CIVIL WAR 265 

the first stages. The armies have taken up their positions,, 
and the first skirmishes, in which the Government has been 
uniformly successful, have already occurred. Nevertheless,, 
the revolutionists have gained a great advantage. With a 
mere fraction of their army mobilised and in the field, they 
are keeping busy the total available Government force. 

How many men of fighting age are subject to revolutionary 
orders at the present time? Probably two-thirds of the city 
population, most of the miners and railway men, practically 
the whole people of the Baltic provinces and of parts of the 
Caucasus, and a few hundred thousand Russian peasants. In 
all, certainly no more than a few million men — armed with a 
few hundred thousand revolvers and less than a hundred 
thousand rifles, financed with the few million rubles they have 
been able to seize from the Government, held together largely 
by purely local organisations and limited in their field of action 
to a fraction of the land. The workingmen are able to gather 
in mobs of several hundred or several thousand. Without 
arms they cannot be able to do much active damage, though 
it takes several large armies and numerous smaller detachments 
to keep them down. The guerilla forces in the Baltic provinces, 
the Caucasus and Poland, are composed of bands of only ten to 
a hundred armed men, but they destroy a great deal of 
Government property and keep three armies employed. 

The peasants' contingents are only beginning to move. 
The whole peasantry is daily growing more bitter against the 
Government, but hardly a tithe have yet become soldiers of 
the revolution. Nevertheless, see what an army they have 
engaged. The Cossacks and rural guards in the country probably 
number not less than two hundred thousand mounted men. 
If the peasants' revolt continues to spread, if ever the dozen 
most revolutionary provinces of the Volga and the south rise 
at the same time, this force would not be a fraction of what 
would be needed to keep the peasants down. It is at this 
moment of the peasants' uprising that the Railway Union has 
agreed to strike, and with the aid of the peasants to destroy 
the bridges and tear up the ties. The national movements 
in Poland, Finland, the Baltic provinces and the Caucasus, 
would redouble at such an auspicious revolt. The Czar's loyal 



*ft RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

*m?-~tfc*t &, the fart which is loyal — would db well if 
it MA tiut *trr/n% plate* and a few important fines of canmnmi- 
ftfttioftr The rsjttmtry district* would have practically emanci- 
pated thetnaelvea at the outset, the cities would soon become 
i*ntr** of mutinies and barricades, and all Russia would be 
f*w*r*A with the name guerilla warfare that has been waging 
for the year pant on the borders of the Black and Baltic seas. 

It ma/ well be a protracted struggle, for it is most likely 
to *nd aa it begin*, a guerilla war. The revolutionary forces 
will strive for better organisation, more arms and more finan^i 
backing —but they will long remain relatively disorganised 
and \««ti in l*oth money and guns. The size of the guerilla 
band* tnhy increase from tens to hundreds, or even thousands; 
it will certainly be long before anything like a regular army 
i* in the field. The bast* of the operations of these bands may 
ftfrfftftd from a dozen outlying districts to a large section of 
Kunftia lUelf, the hundred thousand men now secretly or openly 
under Arm* may increase even tenfold; the Government will 
continue to count successfully on all, or a very large part, of a 
eentralised army of nearly a million men. It will continue to 
hold for a long time nearly all the strong places, the cannon and 
the machine guns; the wireless telegraphs will remain; the 
railway soldiers will hold and operate the main lines and repair 
them sufficiently At least for the transportation of troops. 

There 1* possibility of appalling bloodshed. No people 
U more luvUh of lives than a peaceful people whipped and 
driven to revolt. If the Csar is determined, no man can see 
where the bloodshed will end. In our Civil War the United 
State*, A nation of thirty millions fighting over the freedom 
of A few million blacks, and the preservation of the Union, lost 
A million men. If great Russia, fighting over the freedom of 
one hundred and forty million human beings and for the birth- 
right ot a nation, should give the lives of a million or several 
million, could we fail to understand? 

It in certain that the intelligence, daring and fighting powers 
displayed in any of the great revolutions of England, France, 
or America would not have been sufficient to win this present 
atruKgle, If to the resources of the tyrannical governments 
iu all past caste* there had been added an apparently inexhaustible 



WAITING FOR CIVIL WAR 267 

treasury, military railroads, and even wireless telegraphy, these 
revolutions might have taken generations where they took 
years to triumph. We must remember that as far as its need 
of the machinery of war to fight its people is concerned, the 
Russian Government's resources are inexhaustible; for France 
cannot afford to let Russia be without a modern army. And 
it must also be remembered that the cannon, machine guns, 
railroads, and telegraphs cannot be turned against their owners, 
as Westerners so superficially imagine. All that is necessary 
to protect them is an army of a million well paid and well- 
drilled mercenaries — and these Russia has, literally a profes- 
sional army, such as is supposed not to exist since the introduction 
of universal military servitude. 

Americans and Europeans would do well to take an interest 
in the new Russian military slavery by which a modern 
professional army of a million men can keep down twenty 
million. If the method succeeds, it will first be imitated by 
Prussia, Hungary, and other reactionary countries, and later 
perhaps by their more Western neighbours. A few years or 
decades would be enough to endanger all the liberty there is on 
this earth. The great world-danger of Russia's success is, it 
may encourage the hope of the privileged classes everywhere to 
establish similar military despotisms, and encourage the gradual 
growth of armies making the establishment of such despotisms 
possible. 



part four 
Evolution of a New Nation 



CHAPTER I 

THE NATION UNITED 

IN STRUGGLING against Czarism the Russian people are 
fighting for the right of free development in every possible 
direction. The professors are struggling for academic freedom, 
the peasants for land, the workingmen for the right to organise, 
citizens for the right to govern themselves, publicists for the 
right to speak and write, and the people at large for every 
elementary human freedom. As a result there are as many 
parties as there are groups of people that emphasise one or 
another aspect of the struggle; but it by no means follows that 
these parties are turning aside to fight one another. On the 
contrary there is no fundamental confusion. The object of 
every bona fide liberal, radical, or revolutionary organisation, 
is to take all the power away from the incompetent, immoral,, 
and murderous regime that is at present in control. All opposi- 
tional parties are agreed that the Government has never listened 
to any argument except that of violence; that the past warfare 
of the people against the Government, whether the best possible 
or not, has been entirely natural and justifiable; that no one 
but the Russian people itself should be consulted in the regenera- 
tion of Russia : that the Duma should have absolute and supreme 
power, and that a system of universal suffrage should be estab- 
lished by which the common people should control the destiny 
of the nation. In the words of Professor Maxime Kovalevsky, 
there is only one question in Russia to-day, that is whether 
Russia is to be a European or an Asiatic nation. 

From this state of the public mind some kind of unity is 
a necessary and inevitable consequence. The various revolu- 
tionary and oppositional organisations often feel bitterly against 
one another for what they consider to be a misinterpretation 
of the main purpose of the revolution, or a dangerous error 
in the others' tactics. Nevertheless they cooperate practically 

271 



a 7 a RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

in that they have dropped into an unconscious and, perhaps 
even unwilling, but nevertheless perfectly definite, division of 
labour. The Liberals or Constitutional Democrats provided 
the parliamentary organisation and the leading parliamentary 
ideas; the Peasants' Unions and the Labour Group directed 
the peasantry into politics; the Social Democrats organised 
the workingmen; the Social Revolutionists are most actively 
occupied with preparations for insurrection. 

The nation was first united at the time of the great general 
strike which brought about the October Manifesto. Before 
the Manifesto there were only two organisations which could be 
said to have any very important political influence. The 
first was the congress of the zemstvos, or local government 
boards, and the town councils; the second was the Union of 
Unions, which included organisations of all the professions of 
Russia and of nearly all their leading members. Of course all 
these local government bodies are, according to Russian election 
laws, placed in the hands of the richest, most privileged and 
most conservative classes alone. It happened, however, that 
their power was so restricted by the Central Government, and 
their functions relatively so unimportant, that none but the 
enthusiastic reformers took part in the elections. Therefore, 
although at least nine-tenths of the landlords and rich citizens 
that elect these bodies are ultra-conservative and entirely 
friendly to the Government, the zemstvos had nearly everywhere 
fallen into the hands of honest and enthusiastic, sometimes 
even quite serious and democratic, reformers. 

The congress held at Moscow on the 6th of November, 1905, 
three weeks after the Manifesto of Freedom, shows the temper 
of the organisation at this time. The overwhelming majority 
of these relatively disinterested reformers voted in favour of 
all the essential features of the revolutionary proposals that were 
afterward made the programme of the whole nation in the 
address of the first Duma to the throne. One of the speakers, 
the well-known Roditchev, the only important public character 
in Russia who has been a member of all three Dumas, and who 
was also perhaps the leading orator in each, demanded that 
either the new elections should be general and direct or that the 
proposed Duma should not be convoked at all. As it was known 



THE NATION UNITED 373 

that the laws then being framed by the ministers did not concede 
direct elections this was a challenge and ultimatum to the 
Government. He insisted also on the "absolute separation 
of the Government from the reactionary court party." Prince 
Dolgorukov said that they ought to refuse to grant the Govern- 
ment any credits. Other speakers demanded a common action 
with the extreme revolutionary parties. One said, "Do not 
fear the word 'revolution;' we are also revolutionaries, at least 
in principle." Another said, "I am not a Socialist, but if any 
one will show me that the Socialists will save Russia, I shall 
be first to stretch them my hand; a temporary alliance is 
inevitable." 

It was decided to demand an absolute amnesty of all political 
and religious criminals, and at the same time the punishment 
of all officials guilty of having stirred up the massacres and 
other disorders. This resolution justifies the whole movement 
against the Government even in its most revolutionary aspects, 
while it refuses any clemency toward officials guilty only of 
having carried out the well-known inclinations of the Czar. 

It is worth while to stop and notice in this early congress the 
beginning of the only great division that now separates the 
Russian people. The more peace-loving and less aggressive 
members of the congress proposed, instead 01 the Duma elected 
by universal and equal suffrage, a national assembly to be 
composed of representatives sent by local government boards, 
town councils, universities, and so on, and suggested that this 
body should then elaborate the new electoral law. In favour 
of this proposition were the well-known public men Prince 
Trubetzkoi, General Kousmin-Karavaiev and Stachovitch. 
Another relatively conservative view was that of Maxime 
Kovalevsky, who said that he was not an anti-republican but 
that he was persuaded that the peasants did not yet want a 
republic, and therefore that although in France he might be a 
republican in Russia he was a monarchist. Count Heyden 
agreed with these ideas. 

These points of view were not so objectionable as those 
expressed by Alexander Gutchkov, who has now become the 
leader of the third Duma, and of such reformers as are entirely 
friendly with the present Government. Mr. Gutchkov was 



374 RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

opposed to direct suffrage and also to any sort of alliance with 
the revolutionary parties. Finally, Prince Volkonsky, now 
become the leader of the notorious black hundreds, demanded, 
though without receiving any approval, that the congress lend 
its support unconditionally to the Government. It is necessary 
to note in passing these conservative tendencies of the minority 
of the congress, for since the revolutionary movement has 
stirred up the land-owning and otherwise privileged electors 
the recent zemstvo congresses have taken a position somewhere 
between that of Volkonsky and Gutchkov, and this must not 
appear as a reaction but merely as an assertion of neglected 
privileges on the part of a threatened social class. 

At the same period also the famous Union of Unions reached 
its highest degree of development. This organisation had 
declared its support of the first general strike, and later, in view 
of a possible recurrence, decided to assess all its members one 
day's earnings for the support of the next great national effort. 
Nearly all the most distinguished engineers, lawyers, doctors, 
journalists, artists, actors, and authors had openly joined in 
the movement. Even the professors and school-teachers were 
organised, and the Railway and Peasants' Unions were admitted 
to membership. Besides, there was a union for the advance- 
ment of the interests of women, and the Union of Hebrews. 
The Hebrew union alone, I was told by a prominent Jewish editor, 
had more than one hundred and fifty local branches and fifty 
thousand members. 

Here is the heart of the Union of Unions' revolutionary 
declaration on the eve of the second strike: 

The Government has committed many new crimes. It has arrested 
the Central Bureau of the Union of Peasants, of the Union of the Post 
and Telegraphs, also the Council of Deputies of the Workingmen. It 
has closed the progressive newspapers and proclaimed laws that destroy 
civil liberty. The Government is threatening the rights which the 
people obtained for themselves by struggle, and which it confirmed 
(only) by the Manifesto of October 17th. The liberty of the people is 
in danger. 

The Central Bureau and Committee of the Union of Unions, declaring 
a common cause with the Council of Workingmen 's Deputies in its 
struggle against the Government, calls upon all citizens to defend their 
rights. The Government invites us to struggle; then let us struggle. 
The form of this struggle does not depend at all upon us. It depends 



THE NATION UNITED 275 

upon the actions of the Government, which by its invasions is trying to 
destroy the organisation of the working people, of the peasants and of 
the revolutionary professional classes. By its effort it is compelling the 
revolutionary movement to take an elementary road. If the Govern* 
ment keeps the power in its hands it threatens innumerable misfortunes 
and bloodshed. The Central Bureau and Committee of the Union of 
Unions invites all the unions which compose it to commence a mobili- 
sation of their forces to be ready every moment to take part in the general 
political strike as soon as it shall be proclaimed. 

The Union then demands the abdication of the "provocative Govern- 
ment" and the immediate convocation of a constitutional assembly. 

As long as the Government allowed it to remain in existence 
the union continued its revolutionary activities. On the 3d of 
May, 1906, after the Government had secured a loan of 
850,000,000 rubles without asking the Duma's consent, the 
union again issued an equally revolutionary declaration stating 
that this loan permitted the Government to reply to the popular 
demands in the same old way, by bullets, bayonets, imprison- 
ment, and exile: 

New cannons, new machine guns, armoured automobiles, the mobilisa- 
tion of new Cossack regiments, the formation of new troops of rural 
guards, gendarmes, and secret police— these are the results that threaten 
us from this new financial operation. . . . The money of the people 
will be employed by those who are outraging it, our children will be 
compelled to pay for our enslavement. 

The Union of Unions declares this loan a crime against the nation. It 
declares that, contracted illegally without the consent of the people, this 
loan cannot bind the coming popular Government, just as was declared 
last year by the Peasants' Union, the Council of Labour Deputies and all 
the Socialist parties. . . . 

But the effective power of the people cannot be established except by 
a constituent assembly possessing full constitution-making, legislative, 
executive, and judicial powers, and convoked by a universal, direct, 
secret, and equal suffrage. 

When we have had a glimpse into the programme of these 
two great organisations, the Zemstvo Congress and the Union 
of Unions, we have all the materials necessary for understanding 
the origin of the Constitutional Democratic party, which has 
occupied the principal position between the thoroughgoing 
revolutionists and the Government. The party so formed 
is indeed in a sense the leading political party of Russia, 
as we can readily perceive if we recall the fact that the large 



276 RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

majority of the people, hoping little from politics in Russia* 
have definitely organised themselves — when at all — rather 
into revolutionary organisations than into political parties. 

At the very first congress of the Constitutional Democratic 
Party, in October, 1905, the position taken was thoroughly 
revolutionary. Professor Milyoukov's opening speech declared 
that the end of the party, and that of all the Russian people, 
was a constituent assembly based on universal and equal suffrage. 
He declared that the programme of his party was not only radi- 
cal for Russia but the most radical of any similar organisation 
in all Europe, going further in the direction of the decentrali- 
sation of government and opposition of the principle of laissez 
faire than any of the rest. While his party wished to preserve 
the integrity of the Russian State as well as the inviolability 
of private property, it was in favour of giving the greatest 
possible liberty to all local branches of the Government, and of 
extending the functions of the State in every direction that for- 
warded the common good rather than of restricting them 
according to the principles of the radicals of half a century ago. 

Not only did the party take up this advanced position but 
it looked forward to a strong revolutionary movement and 
continued to do so for a year or more. In the first number of the 
party paper, edited by Professor Milyoukov, he said: "We are 
for the revolution, then, in so far as it serves the cause of politi- 
cal enfranchisement and social reform." This was not an 
abstract or general position merely. Professor Milyoukov wrote 
some time later showing that he was prepared for great dis- 
turbances. "The disposition of the country," he said, "has 
not quieted down; it has only gone down deeper below the 
surface and is now going through some difficult preparatory 
process ... As in the case of many organisms, the greater 
the interval between the moment of irritation on the surface 
and the final discharge of nervous energy, the more grandiose 
the latter becomes. " Professor Milyoukov has so far changed 
his opinion of late — as I shall show in the following chapter — 
that I have considered it necessary to indicate definitely that 
he stood at this time with the rest of the Russian nation. 

Indeed, we may well feel that the Constitutional Democratic 
leader was then too optimistic. He reported an interesting 



THE NATION UNITED 277 

interview that he had had with the then prime minister, Count 
Witte. He said that he had called Count Witte's attention to the 
mistake the latter (or the Czar) had made in not responding to 
the general wish of the Russian people by calling a constitutional 
assembly and bringing about a liberal but monarchists consti- 
tution similar to that of Bulgaria — established, by the way, 
with the aid of the Russian Government. Count Witte answered 
that the public would now be satisfied with no constitution 
that was given from above. " In other words," says Milyoukov, 
"Count Witte proved more liberal than I." Professor Milyou- 
kov's answer was that the public would not be satisfied with 
a constitution from above only because it did not believe it possi- 
ble to get it, and he threatened that the first Duma would draw 
up an election law, demand a constitutional assembly elected 
on the basis of this law, and that only after this would a third 
and regular legislative body be convened. Professor Milyoukov, 
we see, from the very outset had an almost child-like faith in 
the powers of any parliamentary or legislative body to bring 
about revolution without reference to the guns outside its 
hall. He did not suspect that the progressive and revolutionary 
elements would be reduced to naught either by the election law 
or by the new Duma being ignored by the Government. Count 
Witte in this instance was the true statesman. He reckoned 
only with the real elements of the situation, the revolutionary 
movement, which would not be satisfied with any constitution 
from above, and was undismayed by Milyoukov's threats of 
paper laws to be passed by a powerless assembly. 

But we must consider that even Professor Milyoukov had 
small faith at first in the Duma. He wrote a little later, " Until 
there is a definite admission from the Government that a con 
stitution is finally established, and as long as open preparations 
for a coup d'&at continue, it will be impossible to squeeze the 
revolutionary struggle into the framework of parliamentary 
combat. We are under no delusion about this and do not 
imagine that the weapons of parliamentary struggle are very 
great." Since the Government has now definitely refused to 
consider that there is a constitution, and the coup d'ttat Mil- 
youkov feared has actually taken place, we must conclude from 
his own logic that the weapons of parliamentary struggle have 



a78 RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

become insignificant, no matter what Professor Milyoukov 
may now say to the contrary. If Professor Milyoukov and 
the Constitutional Democratic Party have become more con- 
servative, this is doubtless largely due to the fact that, instead 
of seeing that both parliamentary and extra-parliamentary 
revolutionary movements in Russia have no immediate outlook, 
he was disposed to be pessimistic only concerning the latter 
phase of the great movement. 

Before the first Duma the Constitutional Democratic Party 
decided that they were actually to enter into the details of 
social reform rather than to continue a direct effort for a funda- 
mental political change; they were already on a downward 
slope which could not but lead to the miserable fiasco later 
to be mentioned. But they had not yet deserted the Emanci- 
pation movement, and so we can speak of the unity of the 
whole Russian people in the first Duma. 



CHAPTER II 

THE NATION CHOOSES THE REVOLUTIONARY WAT 

THE address of the first Duma to the throne was signed 
by all its members except an insignificant minority of 
seven. In this address the Russian nation presented to the 
Government and the world its Magna Charta. It was passed 
unanimously. While the seven extreme reactionaries did not 
vote for it they did not dare to vote against it, but merely 
walked out of the hall as if they did not know what had been 
passed. In the voting on every important question proposed 
in that address the majorities were overwhelming. Sometimes 
the vote was unanimous, sometimes the majorities .were four 
hundred to one, to three, five, or six. This unity was secured 
not only by the powerful pressure and intelligence of the Consti- 
tutional Democrats who occupied the centre, but by the full 
recognition of the necessity of unity by both of the extremes. 
After the Duma was dissolved both the revolutionary and the 
peaceful extremists in the Duma were more than ever impressed 
with the necessity of making the great fight on the basis of the 
address to the throne. Whatever agitation and discussion of 
other revolutionary subjects may have been in the air, all the 
wise leaders of every oppositional and revolutionary party 
were at one in the necessity of concentration oh this basis.* 

The most important article in the address, the matter that 
came first of all before the Duma, was the demand for imme- 
diate and full political amnesty as "the first pledge of mutual 
understanding and mutual agreement between the Czar and 
his people." This demand for amnesty is a demand for the 
most revolutionary measure practicable under the present 
conditions of the country. Few of the hundreds of thousands 
of political prisoners are terrorised by their political punish- 
ments. The idea that people can be forced into submission by 

* For the text of the address to the throne, see Appendix, Note B. 

279 



28o RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

sheer terror comes down from the days of Ivan the Terrible and 
is utterly inapplicable at the present time. The Duma knew 
that when these political prisoners got out they would first 
look about to see if the Government was itself making a funda- 
mental and revolutionary reform. If not, the revolutionary 
movement would be wondrously reinvigourated by these out- 
raged subjects. Indeed the Duma felt that the revolutionary 
movement would become invincible when reinforced by a hundred 
thousand active recruits. The Duma likewise demanded the 
abolition of martial law, knowing well that this would leave 
entire provinces, and perhaps the larger part of the country, 
entirely in the people's hands. 

. The first Duma demanded universal suffrage, the respon- 
sibility of the ministers and all the Czar's officials to the Duma 
and not to the Czar, the abolition of the existing Council of 
State, and all laws that stood in the way of the full popular 
sovereignty. In a word, the representatives of the Russian 
nation demanded the full sovereignty of the people, and, 
whether monarchy or republic, a wholly democratic state. At 
the same time the Duma was very well aware that it was most 
unlikely the present Czar would grant this request for a com- 
paratively free government, and it knew full well that the 
demand itself was leading to future revolutionary conflicts. 

Quite as revolutionary as its political programme was the 
Dumas's challenge to the reigning landlord caste. In demanding 
the expropriation of the estates of the large proprietors on the 
principle of eminent domain, the Duma was instituting a social 
conflict of the greatest importance. It was facing the funda- 
mental social question in Russia, for, besides the Government, 
the common enemy of the nation is the landlord class. In 
taking this position the Duma was only fulfilling the mandates 
on which it had been elected, for all over the country the voters 
had united definitely against the landlords as well as against 
the Government. All the calamities that have happened since 
the nation's declaration of war against the landlords, have 
been traced by the Constitutional Democratic leaders themselves 
to a conspiracy between the Government and the Russian land- 
owning nobility to restore fully the old oppressive despotism. 

The Constitutional Democrats not only took up a revolu- 



NATION CHOOSES REVOLUTIONARY WAY 281 

tionary position with the rest of the nation at the beginning 
of the Duma; they maintained it in a sense until the close. The 
Duma's action, which was used by the Government as an excuse 
for closing it, was animated by the same revolutionary spirit 
as the address to the throne. The Duma proposed to post in 
every village in the country declarations to the effect that it 
intended to provide all the peasants with land. Although the 
proposal itself is entirely practical and on its surface innocent r 
its bearings can be well imagined. Neither the Government nor 
any considerable part of the landlords were ever willing to 
carry out such a fundamental social reform, and to do it against 
the will of the Czar and the ruling social caste meant nothing 
less than social revolution. 

No sooner were the troops stationed around the Duma hall 
for the purpose of expelling the deputies than active members 
both of the peasants' and the Constitutional Democratic parties 
arranged to get a majority of the members then present 
in St. Petersburg to meet together at the Viborg in Finland, 
where they issued the now famous manifesto. In this historic 
document, signed by more than two hundred representatives 
of the people, it was predicted that the Government would use 
every effort to obtain a second and more servile Duma, and that 
if it succeeded "in suppressing the people's movement altogether 
it would summon no other Duma at all." As is usual with 
political predictions this one turned out to be true only in a 
very large interpretation. Before calling an obedient and 
servile Duma the Government again made an experiment with 
the old Duma election law, and in spite of all the efforts of 
the police the second Duma was more Socialist and more revolu- 
tionary than the first. But the prediction held strictly true for 
the third Duma, the elections for which were held after all 
only thirteen months after the Viborg manifesto. When, after 
deciding to dissolve the second Duma also, the Government 
had succeeded in suppressing the people's movement altogether* 
it did indeed summon no other Duma, if we use the 
word "Duma" in the sense in which it was employed by the 
signers of the manifesto. For the third Duma is no Duma at 
all, but merely a council of elected representatives chosen not 
by the people but to suit the Government's convenience. 



a8a RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

The chief revolutionary proposal of the Viborg manifesto 
was that the Government had no right to demand taxes or 
recruits from the people without the consent of their represen- 
tatives. As there was no such clause in the so-called consti- 
tution or in fundamental laws in existence at that time, this 
principle, however just, was entirely extra-constitutional and 
revolutionary. The manifesto also proclaimed that all loans 
raised without its consent would be illegal. That all three of 
these revolutionary proposals were belated and impractical, 
that the country was no longer in a revolutionary fever as at the 
time of the successful general strike a year before, is not of 
interest at this point. I insist only that these measures were 
thoroughly unconstitutional and revolutionary, being the same 
which had been demanded more than a year before by the 
Peasants' Union, the Railway Union, the Council of Labour Depu- 
ties and the Socialist parties — and which were then opposed 
by the timid Constitutionalists, at the only time when they had 
any chance of practical effect. During the Duma the Consti- 
tutional Democrats had been continually forced in a revolutionary 
direction, or at least held in a radical position, by the so-called 
"Labour Group," an offshoot of the Peasants' Union. At its 
dose they fell almost entirely into the revolutionary position 
and the tactics elaborated more than a year before by that 
and other related organisations. 

Among the signers of the Viborg manifesto were nearly all 
the important members of the Duma, the only exceptions being 
several leadeis who were attending the inter-parliamentary 
congress in London, and a few conservatives like Heyden and 
Stachovitch. The parties that stood for the manifesto had 
much greater success than ever in the elections for the second 
Duma. The only regret expressed among the mass of the elec- 
tors was that the meeting could not have been held in St. Peters- 
burg and that the Duma did not then and there declare itself 
the Russian Government. Such an attempt would undoubtedly 
have led to the immediate arrest of the whole Duma. This 
would have had a much more electrical effect, would have been 
much more likely to precipitate an uprising of the whole nation 
than the passive-resistance measure actually adopted which 
called on the people to refuse recruits and the payment of taxes. 



NATION CHOOSES REVOLUTIONARY WAY 283 

Moreover, these members of the Duma did not save them- 
selves by not inviting their own arrest at this time, when it would 
have brought on not only a powerful movement in Russia 
but a great wave of international indignation such as has not 
been seen since the days of the January massacre in St. Peters- 
burg — for they have all just been on trial and have been 
sentenced to three months' imprisonment by the courts. 

In this trial Muromzev, president of the first Duma, asked 
how it could be possible that the people's elected representatives, 
and so the people themselves, should be declared to be enemies 
of the Government, and he claimed that such a view sets us back 
in the Middle Ages when the governments behaved toward the 
people as the conquerors in a conquered land. He asked: 
14 Can we look on our people in this way? It is said that this 
is the patriotic standpoint, but this is not so; it is rather a 
standpoint of hostility to the very idea of the State." 

We see that in the intervening two years the president of 
the Duma has not retracted his former principles, and we find 
that the revolutionary spirit of the workingmen and peasant 
deputies had on the contrary rather increased than fallen during 
this period. As there were only two of the most extreme revo- 
lutionary party among the peasants' deputies in the first Duma 
and forty were sent to the second, we can see to what degree 
the revolutionary feeling had risen between the two Dumas. 
The trial of the Viborg deputies is indeed, as the lawyers claimed, 
not a trial of individuals but of the whole Russian people. The 
Russian Government, by its decision in this trial, has convicted 
90 per cent, of the Russian people of political crime and sent 
their representatives to prison as a punishment. 

That the signers of this manifesto deserved well of the Russian 
people is witnessed also by the attack made on them by the 
reactionary leaders. The Russian Flag, the extreme reac- 
tionary organ favoured by a large class of officials and courtiers, 
demands for Muromzev, the president, and for the Princes 
Dolgorukov and Schackovskoi, the vice-presidents of the Duma, 
the death .penalty, or, what is even worse, a life-long sentence 
of forced labour in the mines. 

We must distinguish the action of the moderate Constitutional 
Democratic majority in this Duma from the action of the 



iS 4 RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

radical minority. The majority of the Duma represented at 
the most a few hundred thousand city electors and small land- 
owners, while the Labour Group represented no less than five 
or ten million peasants. This group, after having signed the 
manifesto calling for passive resistance, went much further 
in its appeal to the population and called on them to enter into 
real revolution , ' ' open violent rebellion. ' ' Its manifesto declared: 

Nobody has a right to submit to such a government, it would be 
criminal to execute its decrees. The people ought everywhere to drive 
away the local authorities and replace them by elected authorities. 
They ought to confiscate everywhere and place in the hands of authorities 
legally elected by the nation, all the fixed and movable property of the 
State. . . . 

The peasants ought to take their affairs in their own hands. They 
have not been given land and liberty. They must take liberty; they 
must take all the land, not in a disorderly manner, but by putting it 
from the outset into the hands of locally-elected authorities . . . 
Now is the moment for the whole country to rise as a single man to save 
the fatherland from ruin, and to pronounce the terrible judgment of the 
people against the betrayers of the country. 

Prom the point of view of immediate practical results this 
appeal was no more efficient than the call of the Duma majority 
for passive resistance, but it had a far more revolutionary and 
permanent effect on the people, as I have already indicated 
in speaking of the state of mind of the peasantry. The signers 
of this proclamation were, however, quite mistaken as to the 
ripeness of the country for a great revolutionary movement. 
There has been a tremendous evolution in this direction, but 
the people were by no means aroused to that pitch of warlike 
spirit and readiness for martyrdom that would be necessary to 
overthrow a government having such financial and military 
resources as that of the Czar. 

The revolutionary spirit of the first Duma lived not only in 
the largely increased number of Socialist and revolutionary 
deputies elected to the second — nearly one-half of the whole 
body in spite of the outrageous election law and the monstrous 
interference of the police — but also in a frequent reasscmption 
by the moderate party of the revolutionary position it had 
taken in the ttrst Puma. When this Duma also had made 
itself obnoxious to the Government inc Nicholas dissolved it 



NATION CHOOSES REVOLUTIONARY WAY 385 

in a manifesto creating an even more outrageous election law, 
he specified certain accusations of political crime. Prom the 
standpoint of one wishing to preserve all his arbitrary power, 
these accusations were certainly justified. It was true, as 
Nicholas claimed, that the Duma in refusing to endorse certain 
measures of the Government was unquestionably encouraging 
the revolutionary movement. The Government asked for a 
law punishing the justification, in meetings and in the press, 
of so-called political "crimes." The Duma refused its consent. 
The Government proposed a law punishing more severely 
revolutionary agitation in the army. The Duma refused its 
consent on the ground that such agitation could only be fought, 
not by more severe punishment than that in existence, but by 
far-reaching social reforms. The Czar accused the Duma of 
having allowed a minority (the two hundred Socialist or semi- 
Socialist deputies, a pretty large minority) of using the Duma's 
right of questioning the Government as " a means of waging war 
against it and awaking the mistrust of the population." There 
can be no question that this accusation was practically true. 
Finally, the Government accused the Duma of not having 
examined the budget after a session of two months, and suggests 
rightly that this action was due to the non-Russian elements 
in the Duma in league with the revolutionists. It is true that 
the Polish delegates who held the balance of power were consider- 
ing the refusal of the budget on the ground that the Govern- 
ment was continuing its oppression of the Polish people. It is 
also true that the Mohammedan group was probably more in 
accord with the moderate Socialists than with the Constitutional 
Democrats, and that by the union of these forces a majority 
entirely hostile to the Government on the all-important land 
question might have been created had the Duma continued. 

The second Duma, then, was more revolutionary than the 
first, in spite of efforts of the moderate Constitutional Demo- 
crats to prevent its drift in the revolutionary direction. On 
all great economic and political questions the Constitutional 
Democrats in the Duma were disposed to compromise indefi- 
nitely with the Government, but on the most pressing and 
immediate questions they were forced by the overwhelming 
sentiment of the country to take up a revolutionary position. 



286 RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

Indeed the position that they took at this time in refusing to 
pass a resolution condemning the assassination of officials, 
without reference to the arbitrary and equally violent acts of 
the Government, is the one thing which will never be forgiven 
them by the reactionary forces of the country. It will be 
difficult for the most conservative members of the party to over- 
come this revolutionary past, and above all it will be difficult, 
if not impossible, for them to entirely reverse the party's position 
on this question of "The Terror." 

The practical unity of the Russian people in favour of the 
revolutionary movement and against the Government was 
maintained, then, until the dissolution of the second Duma,, 
when the Czar's coup d'ttaX practically put an end to every 
shadow of constitutional and parliamentary government. 



CHAPTER III 



THB UNITY DESTROYED 



T X TE HAVE now to deal with the only serious division 
V V that has taken place in the ranks of the people since 
the beginning of the Russian revolution. It is by no means as 
important a division as it appears, but owing to the fact that 
the Constitutional Democratic party, favoured by an absurdly 
unjust election law which they themselves have denounced, 
formed the majority of the first Duma and usually held the 
balance of power in the second, this division has become noised 
abroad and is overestimated by even the most serious foreign 
observers. There is no question that the Constitutional 
Democratic party after the dissolution of the second Duma 
had lost almost all of its revolutionary standpoint, and 
become an ordinary radical party. Such parties are vitally 
important and entirely justifiable in all countries that have 
any real constitutional government. It may be doubted, 
however, if this kind of opposition has any deep signifi- 
cance whatever, under the arbitrary government of the Russia 
of to-day. 

That a group so timid and weak as to assume this moderate 
position during the present great crisis, has left the revolution- 
ary ranks does not necessarily mean a weakening of the whole 
revolutionary movement. Quite the contrary. It means 
that the new army, composed only of such elements as are 
ready to fight the Government by all means until it is entirely 
overthrown, is more practically constituted, more profound 
in its principles, and much more powerful in every way. The 
Constitutional Democratic party has withdrawn from the 
revolutionary movement only a small minority of the middle 
class. The majority of the middle class, the overwhelming 
majority of the one hundred and forty million peasants and 
working people, remain as they were before, united in the move- 

287 



*88 RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

tnent for a constitutional assembly and the absolute sovereignty 
of the people. 

Nevertheless, this desertion of the official Constitutional 
Democratic party (let it be noted from the outset that the 
rank and file of those who have voted for the party have by no 
means forsaken the revolution), since it is the first and only 
great betrayal since the beginning of the movement, is the only 
spiritual calamity that has happened to the revolutionary 
movement. Though the loss was only of one part of one of 
the several corps of the great revolutionary army, yet the loss 
did destroy the complete national unity that existed during the 
first Duma when all elements of the Russian population were 
as one against the Czar, the nobility and their bought retainers 
and mercenaries. 

We must examine this desertion carefully to find out whether, 
from the standpoint of the conservative wing of the Russian 
moderate party, there are any fundamental defects in the 
morality or the intelligence of the revolutionary movement. 
From the outset the Constitutional Democratic Party was an 
opportunist and political organisation. It was not endeavour- 
ing, like the Socialist parties, to unite the people on fundamental 
principles of social evolution; it did not endeavour, like the 
Peasants' Union or the Council of Labour Deputies, to bring 
together large elements of the population on the sole ground 
of their economical interests. It was a political party in the 
same sense as those of England or the United States, where 
political liberty has already been attained. 

Nevertheless this party differed from similar parties in other 
countries. At the time of its formation it was impossible, and 
remains impossible to-day, to organise any large party in 
Russia, even if it is to have only one hundred thousand members, 
without taking in revolutionary and Socialistic elements. In 
the first congress of the party Professor Milyoukov, the 
president, stated that the party was composed of persons with 
two opinions in regard to the Socialist proposals — one class 
which were convinced that these principles were just but that 
they were outside the limits of practical politics, another that 
considered them unacceptable in general. Therefore, he urged 
that it was necessary for the party to take no position on these 



THE UNITY DESTROYED 289 

fundamental social principles. "To put these questions in the 
foreground," he said, "and to include them in our programme, 
will have as an immediate result the dissolution of the party." 
We see then, not that the party was conservative, since it wished 
to take into its ranks a large number of convinced Socialists, 
but that it was opportunist. The leader, Milyoukov, was a 
confessed opportunist. The party executive, largely composed 
of members of the first Duma, was half opportunistic. The 
party members, on the other hand, were from the outset 
extremely radical and Socialistic if not Socialist. One may say 
without danger of error that a very large proportion of them 
were "opportunist Socialists" and far more friendly to the 
Socialist parties than to organisations more conservative than 
their own. When we come to those who gave their votes for 
this party, a much larger and more important body than the 
party members, we find a still more Socialistic and revolutionary 
opinion. In each election a very large portion voted for the 
Constitutional Democratic Party only because there was no 
other organisation between this party and the Socialists. 

The party organisation itself has ceased to be revolutionary, 
but this change could hardly have come about except for the 
persecution of the Government. A large part of the radical 
members of all the committees have been arrested all over 
the country, leaving inevitably only the most conservative 
which the Government either could not or did not care to disturb. 
For instance, the radical members of the first Duma were 
disqualified by the Government for election to the second. 
As a result many of the new representatives came from the 
conservative wing of the party. Again and again the 
Government has been able to change the whole tactics of this 
party, which has insisted always on being strictly legal, by orders 
issued directly from the Government bureaus. Whenever 
anything the party was doing seemed especially radical to the 
Government, it proceeded to enact some new administrative 
regulation by which the agitation was eradicated. The party 
insisted on being legax. Is it necessary to expatiate on the 
absurdity of legality in the Russia of to-day? Step by step, as 
the Government has become more severe in its measures, the 
"legal" party has been forced backward. 



2 9 o RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

Tainted with the vice of opportunism rather than that 
of conservatism, the party at the meeting of the second Duma 
seemed about to change its tactics once more and to adopt a 
more revolutionary rather than a more conservative position. 
During the second elections, and before the Duma met, it 
appeared that the Socialists would very nearly have a majority 
without the Constitutional Democrats, and Professor Milyoukov 
said in a public interview that the party would have to work 
with these elements. But when the Duma met it was soon 
clear that the aggressive tactics of the Socialists against the 
Government might lead to an immediate dissolution. Now 
as a purely opportunist and purely political party, the Consti- 
tutional Democrats were of practically no importance except 
by the Duma being in session. They were therefore forced into 
every possible measure for conciliating the Government and 
preventing the dissolution. They dropped all the revolutionary 
proposals addressed to the throne by the first Duma, postponed 
the demand for amnesty and declared through their leaders, 
Hessen and Milyoukov, that they were ready to compromise 
even on the absolutely vital matters of obtaining a just election 
law and expropriating the landlords for the benefit of the 
peasants. But this timid and conciliatory attitude, instead of 
bringing the Government to yield to their attenuated proposals, 
only made easier the Government's design of abolishing the 
parliamentary institution at least in all but name. 

When the Czar dissolved the second Duma, and at the same 
time broke his own word and repealed a "fundamental law," 
he performed, according to the Constitutional Democrats, an 
unconstitutional act. In pursuance of their own principles, and 
concentrating all their strength in a fight for the constitution, 
they should have done everything in their power to resist this 
measure. All the organs and speakers of the party should have 
proclaimed, without cessation or fear of any punishment, the 
unconstitutionality of this act. Being unconstitutional it was 
also a political crime. By proclaiming this act a crime of the 
Czar, all the well-known leaders of their party could have got 
themselves imprisoned or exiled, and thus have created the 
utmost possible protest against this measure — which, according 
to their principles, was the worst the Government could be 



THE UNITY DESTROYED 391 

guilty of. I am not defending the party's principles. I do 
not see that there was ever anything resembling a constitution 
in Russia. What I insist on pointing out here is that the party 
was not even true to its own fictitious and timid conceptions 
of how liberty is to be won for the Russian nation. We see again 
from this failure to act that constitutionalism is not the basis of 
this party, but that its very foundation is mere political 
opportunism — to keep moving a little bit in the right direction 
without reference to the rate at which the goal is neared. 
Having accepted from the outset in its resolution to be legal the 
framework made for it by the Government, the party is now 
operating within limitations so narrow as to make it appear 
quite ridiculous in view of the momentous, tragic issues at stake. 

The Russian independent press has pointed out that the 
Constitutional Democrats have now taken the position formerly 
occupied by the confessedly anti-revolutionary reformers, the 
Octobrists. This party was in favour of the strictest " legality " 
in all measures of reform — that is, the strictest submission 
to the will of the Czar. Since the coup d'Oat, however, which 
the Octobrists also confess to have been a wholly illegal act, 
they have even lost this principle of legality, for it was by 
the new illegal election law that they were given control of 
the third Duma, and they are now opposed to any further 
changes in the law. In the same way the Constitutional 
Democrats, who were formerly constitutionalists, have 
consented to sign an address to the Czar in the name of the 
whole of the third Duma in which the word "constitution" is 
not mentioned. All that remains of their former principles is 
a sort of "legal" or "loyal" opposition precisely similar to the 
former opposition of the Octobrists. Prom their own stand* 
point, then, the Constitutional Democratic Party has taken 
the place of their most bitter opponents, the very position which 
they were denouncing a few months ago. 

The degeneration of the party, after having reached this 
low level, continued apace. The new timid position assumed 
by the organisation while its more radical members remained 
in prison and exile, has given an opportunity to an entirely new 
class of men to secure control. The type that now has the 
greatest influence over the party congresses, however common 



992 RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

in other countries, is comparatively rare in Russia, trained as 
she is to a large degree of public spirit by her great struggle. 
In the empire of the Czars such public characters as do not live 
first of all for their country, but rather to make a success in their 
own private lives, are called "careerists," a term of the utmost 
reproach. In America many such anti-social but successful 
individuals are simply praised as self-made men. I do not 
imply that the Russian type is in any way different from that 
familiar in other countries, but only that the type is less common 
and less popular there. Individuals who have not been 
imprisoned recently, and are taking up such a position that 
they are not likely to be seriously persecuted by the Government 
in the future, those who have profited rather than suffered by 
the revolution, now compose the principal element in the 
Constitutional Democratic faction in the third Duma. I do 
not mean that such persons have not been persecuted more 
or less, but only that they are not being seriously persecuted at 
the present moment, although they still are submitted to the 
irritating annoyances of police regime. Examples of this type 
are commonly held to be Professor Milyoukov himself, Hessen, 
the other editor of the central organ of the party, and Struve, 
the principal theoretical writer. They are all more of the 
German professorial type than of the type of the Russians 
active in local government who were the true founders of 
the Constitutional Democratic Party. 

In all that follows I must warn the reader to distinguish 
sharply between the degeneration brought about by these 
leaders and their relatively small following, and the opinions 
held by those who have merely voted for the party. But 
though we can exonerate the great mass of voters, we cannot 
exonerate the party organisation. The party, as well as its 
leaders, is responsible; long ago it chose the wrong road. 
Although the first party congress took up a clearly defined revo- 
lutionary position, the second, deciding that Russia was already a 
constitutional country, took the path of a purely parliamentary 
agitation inconsistent with any true emancipation movement 
in a despotic land. They adopted the theory that Russia had 
a constitution, and supposed that they were following politically 
advanced countries like England and the United States where 



THE UNITY DESTROYED 293 

legal convictions must flourish and have played an important 
and useful rdle — in times of social peace. These Russian 
moderates have forgotten that no people have ever been more 
revolutionary and more practical in times of social war than 
the people of England and the United States. A Cromwell 
would have said of the second Duma, even before the Czar 
showed his scorn of it, "Take away that bauble." An 
American assembly would certainly have signed some declaration 
of independence even if they had gone to imprisonment or 
execution in the next moment. The German professors of the 
Constitutional Democratic Party decided to talk about a 
constitution in Russia until the people, and the Czar himself, 
should come to believe in its existence — until gradually their 
voices should force the Government to grant the reality in place 
of the shadow. 

The first mistake of the Constitutional Democrats was in 
claiming that Russia had a constitution. Article 87 of the 
fundamental laws reduced almost to zero the right of the Duma 
to reject projects and laws which the ministers have the 
intention to propose, and reduced the right of the Duma over 
the budget, as Milyoukov himself confessed, to all but a pure 
illusion. The second mistake was to take seriously a parliament 
which had absolutely no power, and to act as if this were a 
genuine parliament. But this was only the beginning of a 
whole series of mistakes which necessarily followed. 

The third incomprehensible error of this timid party was in 
not taking a more decidedly revolutionary position at the 
time of the Viborg manifesto and in not accepting their penalties 
at that critical moment instead of being convicted two years 
later of political crime. As I have indicated, this might have 
brought the nation much nearer to a crisis. 

The fourth mistake of the party was when, after the 
dissolution of the first Duma, it fell practically into the hands of 
the mere opportunist and politician Milyoukov (I use politician, 
of course, in the true sense of a man devoted merely to politics 
without any ulterior motives). I have already shown how 
this came about, and that it led to the surrender of all the great 
principles of the Russian Magna Charta, the address of the first 
Duma to the throne. 



294 RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

The fifth great surrender of the party was its prospoal to 
vote in favour of the Government on the question of the budget 
in the third Duma on the ground that it did not have any power 
over the budget anyway. Common sense, logic, and loyalty to 
principle would have taught, it would seem, the opposite 
conclusion: viz., that the less power the Duma had over the 
budget the more clearly it should express itself as opposed to the 
colossal robberies and frauds and waste of the public money 
which the budget contains. 

The sixth and last error which has reduced the Constitutional 
Democratic Party to a nonentity in the great Russian crisis 
(unless it again reverses its decision), was its refusal to take 
up any effective position at the time when the Government 
itself took away a large part of what this party was pleased to 
call the constitution. Certainly the party was unable to 
prevent this action on the part of the Government, but it could 
have made a very effective protest by making an appeal to the 
Russian nation and the whole world, showing the impossibility of 
legal action in such a country ; and it could have resolved itself 
again into a conspirative organisation like the Emancipation 
League of a few years before, which included the majority of the 
present leaders of the party. 

Having taken the downward slope of mere politics the party 
has now come to the logical conclusion of such a policy. All 
real politics have now become impossible, and the party is 
reduced to mere empty words in a parliament constituted by 
the Government to suit itself and even then not entrusted with 
any sovereign power. 





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CHAPTER IV 

THB MODERATES COOPERATE WITH THE REACTIONARIES 

THE report of the Constitutional Democratic party after 
Czar's coup d'ttat shows very clearly the illogical basis 
and impractical politics of the organisation. Instead of stating 
boldly the true meaning of the great illegal act of the Govern- 
ment, the party was satisfied with the most indirect indictment. 
44 As to the political and judicial meaning of the change that has 
taken place by the act of the 3d of June," says the report, "there 
cannot be the least difference of opinion." But it is precisely 
the fundamental difference of opinion between those who reject 
this coup d'ttat and those who do not reject it, that constitutes 
the fundamental distinction between those who are really 
opposing the Russian Government to-day and those who are 
opposing it only within the lines of demarcation marked out 
by the Government itself as suitable for a "loyal" opposition 
movement. The report says that the denial of the constitution 
by the more revolutionary parties has injured the approval of the 
new-born, and far from perfect, constitutionalism that was 
growing up in the public mind. The Constitutional Democratic 
Party, then, far from being the practical organisation that it 
claims to be, bases all its politics on the shadowy notion in the 
public mind concerning an institution of which the Government 
itself, which alone has the power of interpreting the law of 
Russia, denies the very existence. 

The Constitutional Democrats in this report accuse the 
revolutionary parties of having promised everything without 
reference to what they could obtain. The reverse is the truth. 
The Socialistic deputies selected by the peasants promised 
"to fight for the land and freedom," but the cases were relatively 
few in which they held out any hopes to the peasants of obtaining 
through the Duma the things for which they were fighting. 
On the other hand, the same report states it definitely as a 

295 



a 9 6 RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

purpose of the Constitutional Democratic Party (in spite of 
the utter absence of popular government in Russia) "to realise 
solutions for certain national problems." The leaders of the 
party now confess privately that they have no hopes whatever 
for any such general solutions. The party claims of course 
that it could have persuaded the Government to grant some- 
thing in the way of compromises, had it not been for the revo- 
lutionary attitude of the Socialistic peasant and workingmen 
deputies — but it must be noted that the r epresentatives of 
the people did not wish to stand for such half-way and totally 
unsatisfactory measures as were called "reform" by the Con- 
stitutional Democrats. This may be seen sufficiently clear 
from the proposed "solution" of the agrarian question. The 
representatives of the people were in favour of creating a great 
land fund from which land should be granted only temporarily to 
the peasants or to local governmental units representing them. 
In order to defeat this proposition the Constitutional Democrats 
had to vote not only with the conservative Polish party, but 
with the party of the landlords themselves. 

The report makes it very dear why the Constitutional Demo- 
cratic party had taken up a generally conservative position. 
It rebukes one of the Socialist parties for asking a more conser- 
vative organisation to "plunge into illegality without any refer- 
ence to any other social force and whether or not there is any 
general upheaval in the country." It is not true that the 
majority of the revdutionary deputies wanted any important 
section of the Russian people to phnage into illegality without 
reference to the other sections ; all ejcpected and still expect 
the overwhelming majority c£ all sections to act together in a 
irvcfoaiicaiaiy saovesaent. Bat at is perfectly true that all 
the revcfatksaajy or^sanisatkes wsuli jJD who dktam to represent 
any important pan c£ the peopk-. t*> plhaage into illegality 
whether or not thew are aaay sjrnri fr fti a t g- hopes tor success of 
the revoJhntkffl. Whet** & ^v^sxirant. ccxnsastang in consider- 
*}&? pan of i=rcandtarc7£ iod €T2a£±a&&. as it is screed by all the 
cippjsasa^T&al eieaaeait^. has ir ax pc-wer the abscfate decision 
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MODERATES COOPERATE WITH REACTIONARIES 297 

As the consequences of such principles and such politics 
the Constitutional Democratic Party cut a very sorry figure 
in the second Duma. Most of the great occasions were quite 
dominated by the Social Democratic party, consisting largely 
of workingmen; and even the peasants' deputies, though less 
educated and capable, got the better of their Constitutional 
Democratic opponents. When Stolypine had given his insult- 
ing opening address, the moderate parties, for fear of offending 
him, decided to make no reply, but the Social Democrats in 
the person of their brilliant orator, Zeretelly, took advan- 
tage of this great opportunity to tell the story of Russia's 
condition to the civilised world. It was perhaps the best 
oratorical effort of the whole Duma, inspired as it was from 
start to finish by an outright tone of utter hostility to the 
Government. 

"By all its actions," said Zeretelly, "the Government has 
opened the eyes, even of the blind, to see and understand the 
indissoluble bonds that exist between the autocratic Govern- 
ment and a band of landlord ex-serfholders who prey upon 
the millions of homeless peasants." 

Zeretelly then went on in his famous speech to expose the 
Government's efforts to subdue, terrorise, and crush into 
submission the miserable peasant population. He pointed 
out that two-thirds of Russia had been placed under martial 
law, transformed into a number of entirely independent satrap- 
ies and given up to the arbitrary will of authorised generals 
to accomplish their purposes. He recalled the organisation 
of the massacres by the Government and the bombardment 
of whole villages and towns and the killing of innocent people, 
and made a convincing argument that the actions constituted 
nothing less than warfare against the nation. It took courage 
to use such language at this time. Zeretelly knew almost 
certainly that he would be imprisoned for many years for his- 
words, as he was talking in the very claws of the Government, 
surrounded as the Duma was by overwhelming military force. 
He was not disappointed and is now in prison for a term of 
years, not only losing a large part of his youth (he is not thirty 
yet), but risking his life, for he is dangerously ill. 

The concluding part of his speech was even more outspoken 



298 RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

than the first, being a direct appeal to revolutionary action 
outside of the Duma: 

We, the servants of the people, must direct and concencrate all our 
energy, all our aspiration and efforts toward helping the people to unite 
and organise, because only with the help and direct support of the 
people will it be possible to stop the wild debauch of the oppressors who 
are devasting the country. You, fellow citizens, representatives of the 
people, probably remember well how ten months ago the deputy Nabokov 
(Constitutional Democrat) from the height of the Duma platform rightly 
said to the Government, "The executive power shall be subordinated to 
the legislative power." Two months after the executive power, supported 
by bayonets, dispersed the legislative power. I am saying all this simply 
to show you that we have no real constitution, that there are only 
symptoms of one, and that every step of ours must be directed first of 
all toward solidifying the people into an organised force capable of 
wiping off from the face of the earth its autocratic Government. 

Let the revealing voice of the representatives of the people sound 
through the length and breadth of the country and wake up to the 
struggle those who are not yet awake. And let the Duma at the same 
time organise and rally the awakened masses through legislation; let 
us stir up in this way the actual force of the people which is the only 
support to any real constitution. Without this force the people will 
never get either freedom or land, will never be able to take them from 
the hands of the Government. This force is growing every day, every 
hour. The people, once conscious of their rights, will sooner or later 
unite for the realisation of those rights. This movement cannot be 
stopped by the autocratic Government. May be, I say may be, this 
Duma will be no more in a week from now, but the mighty popular 
movement which succeeded in leading Russia from the old shores will 
succeed with the Duma, or without it, in forcing a path through all 
obstacles in freedom's way. 

And now since the hour has not yet arrived, we do not yet call upon 
the Government to submit to the people's power. We turn to the 
people's representatives with the appeal to organise that power. We 
do not say with the Constitutional Democrats that the executive power 
should submit to the legislative. We say, "In union with the people, 
bound up with the people, legislative power will force the submission 
of the executive power! " 

The Constitutional Democrats not only refused to join issue 
with the Government at the opening of the second Duma; 
they failed to represent the nation again and again during the 
session. The demand for complete political amnesty, the first 
words uttered in the first Duma, was laid aside by the second 
Duma. The Constitutionalists, defending their timidity on 




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MODERATES COOPERATE WITH REACTIONARIES 299 

this question, claimed that they had no "legal power" over 
it. It was on the same grounds that they decided to vote in 
favour of the budget and in favour of granting the very recruits 
that were being used for the bloody "punishment expeditions." 
Perhaps even more traitorous was the conduct of certain 
members of the party in voting in favour of the validity of the 
elections in Poltava, where conservatives had been returned by 
the most outrageous official frauds. The stolen seats were 
held by the reactionaries through the aid not only of the con- 
servative members, but also of part of the so-called moderates, 
who in this act more clearly than any other showed themselves 
to be the humble servants of the Government. 

Several of the great debates deserve to be noticed, as showing 
how the Constitutional Democrats have retreated from their 
former position, and as showing the widening gulf between 
them and the radical opposition. In the discussion of the 
budget the Constitutional Democrats allowed their criticisms 
to be conducted chiefly by ex-Minister Kutler who had just 
joined their party. His criticism was entirely taken up with 
matters of petty details, just as if this discussion had taken 
place during an ordinary peaceful period in any free country. 
The revolutionary Social Democrat, Alexinsky, of St. Peters- 
burg, scathingly denounced the Constitutional Democrats along 
with their Governmental allies, since in this case there was no 
fundamental disagreement. Further on Alexinsky said: 

When a representative of the Government, a representative of State 
authority, comes before the representatives of the people with his first 
account of his financial activity, he ought to give them not merely a 
formal justification, he ought not to refer to clauses and paragraphs 
of dead old laws. He ought to bring a living justification — that is, 
a justification from the point of view of the people's interests, a 
justification for those enormous expenses which have exhausted and 
impoverished our unfortunate people. This real justification has not 
been given us. . . . 

The minister told us our indebtedness and the unfavourable condition 
of our finances are to a great extent due to war expenses. He pointed 
out to us that there was a time when Russia stood as the defender of the 
whole of Europe. He referred to the beginning of the last century and 
considers the rdle that Russia had played then to be a sufficient reason 
and justification for the nine billions of debt that now rests on our State 
treasury. 



3 oo RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

I must say that the worlringmen that have sent me here, people who 
are less informed perhaps on the question of finance and politics, have 
reasoned thus: It is true that Russia has played an important role in 
foreign events and in the international conflicts of Europe; but it is not 
enough to play an important role; the question is, what kind of a role 
and to whose interest is it? And in studying the history of Russia the 
worlringmen have come to the conclusion that when the Government 
of Russia tried to be the guard of "law and order/' at home and in other 
countries, it has always been striving to play the role of an international 
gendarme. 

Alexinsky's last phrase, which may seem dark to us, is worth 
making clear. France has furnished immense sums of money 
to the Czar which he has used for the purpose of crushing the 
movement of freedom in Russia. France loaned this money 
only because she thought she could make use of the Russian 
army in the event of war with Germany. Russia has agreed 
to help France against Germany almost entirely in return for 
this money. The French bankers, then, were paying for 
mercenary aid from the Russian Government. The Russian 
Government may be maintaining law and order in Europe, 
but it is doing it only in order to help herself to maintain her 
authority and continue her oppression at home. 

The most sensational debate was that over the granting of 
recruits. Here, as before, the position of the moderates and 
that of the Government were all but identical. The real conflict 
was between the moderates and the revolutionists. The 
moderate deputy, Hes9en, pointed out that the Duma did not 
have any power according to "Article 119 of the fundamental 
laws,'' to decrease the number oi recruits. It seemed to the 
radicals that this was all the more reason that the Duma should 
express itself dearly on the subject. Constitutional Democrats 
of the new conservative type, ex-Minister Kutler and the jurist 
Maldakow tried to warn the radicals that the rank and £le of 
the Russian people would not stand for this "unpatriotic"" 
attack on the army, showing that their real motive in supporting 
the Government was not the Duma's lack of power to deal with 
the question but rather the moderates' lack of faith in the 
people, the most decr>scatcd curse of this rapidly degenerating 
party. 

The peasant deputy Seme&ov, after the maimer of intelligent 



MODERATES COOPERATE WITH REACTIONARIES 301 

but half-educated persons, went straight to the heart of the 
subject and accused the Government of increasing the number 
of recruits in order to "keep us in slavery as before, so that 
we shall be under oppression and get it from the nagaikas, 
bayonets, and machine guns as we have always got it." 
He continued: 

What do the soldiers serve? The State and Fatherland? No, they serve 
the officers who compel them to take care of their dogs. . . . All we 
are taught wnen we enter the army is the title, forename, and father's 
name of the sergeant, officers, and others. What kind of science is this? 
The soldiers ought to be taught business. . . . We ought to recollect 
the saying, "that the soldier is no good if he has no ambition to become a 
general." But can the soldier who has to take care of the officers' dogs 
ever become a general? 

"We promise to defend Russia, but we will never defend 
the landlords! " cried another peasant deputy. Others spoke to 
the same effect, showing the deep-lying hatred of military ser- 
vice and the officer caste that exists in all classes of the people. 
But it was the Social Democrat Zurabov, an army officer him- 
self, who created the greatest sensation of the season. Speaking 
as an officer, a Socialist and a revolutionist, Zurabov quickly 
came to the point that there existed a war in Russia between 
the people and the Government. He said: 

We do not consider it possible to declare an armistice; we do not find 
it possible to enter into any negotiations with the old power; we are on 
the field of battle and therefore it would be insanity on our part to grant 
this old power the armament it demands. ... In order to make 
the army serve as a blind tool for its own purpose and interests, the 
autocratic Government terrorises it by an iron and utterly merciless 
discipline which makes of a living human being a soulless machine that 
neither thinks nor is conscious of its acts, that can be turned and 
compelled to act in any direction wanted by its chiefs. . . . 

It is impossible with the little money the soldier is paid to meet the 
demands of barrack life, to have boots, to mend clothes and to provide 
himself with soap and blacking and so on. For all these needs, to say 
nothing of others, forty-five kopecks a month is certainly not sufficient. 
The soldier, in order to provide himself with what he is compelled and 
ordered to have, resorts to robbery and thieving, and thus becomes in 
the end demoralised. . . . As far as our army officers are con- 
cerned, it is a well known fact that the majority are the most ignorant 
of men. And this is true not only in regard to their general character, 
but even in regard to their own specialty. As the result of all this we 



3 o2 RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

have an army which is from top to bottom entirely unfit for outer defence ; 
no wonder that this army has given us such chiefs as the Renenkanovs, 
Orlovs, and Karilbavs. That they are the dullest of men nobody can 
doubt. . . . 

Our army under the autocratic state, no matter how often we are told 
differently from these benches, will never be fit for the purpose of outer 
defence. Such an army will successfully fight us (the people) and will 
successfully disperse you (the people's assembly) , but it will always 
suffer defeat from the East. 

Here began outcries from the reactionary deputies against 
the speaker, accusing him of treason, and here occurred the 
greatest and final disgrace of the Constitutional Democratic 
Party. The organisation was now hurried into a sensational 
reactionary position by the notorious Jew-baiter, Puresche- 
vitch. Pureschevitch interjected repeatedly and at the top 
of his voice, "Get out!" and Golovine, the president, Constitu- 
tional Democrat, instead of calling him to order, turned to 
Zurabov and asked him not to make such remarks in the Duma 
as there was "no ground for such opinions." But in the recent 
trials of the generals that conducted the late war with Japan 
it has become clear that Zurabov was probably right; Russia 
would have little hope of victory under the present regime. 
Golovine postponed the sitting and when it was resumed later 
proposed the suspension of Zurabov from the Duma, because 
"of his insulting expression regarding the Russian army." As 
a result the peasant and workingmen deputies, representing 
the vast majority of the Russian people, left the hall. 

After a second secret session held the next day, the Social 
Democrats returned to the attack and exposed clearly the true 
ground for the Constitutional Democratic position. Quoting 
from Struve's paper, the Northern Star, Alexinsky showed 
that the writer had claimed that only a standing army in the 
hands of the "conscious elements of the country," that is, of 
the liberal landlords and middle classes which Struve represents, 
could serve as a reliable means against popular outbreaks. We 
see then that the leading motive of the Constitutional Demo- 
crats of Struve's type at least was probably already, not only 
to win the friendship of the Government by concession, but 
also to make use of the army to crush the revolutionary move- 
ment. Alexinsky again reproached the Constitutional Demo- 



MODERATES COOPERATE WITH REACTIONARIES 303 

crats, who had a few months before counselled the nation in the 
Viborg manifesto not to give a single soldier or a single kopeck 
to the Government, for having betrayed the people. It was 
true certainly that the Constitutional Democrats voted for 
recruits, which a few months before they had called on the people 
to refuse at the risk of their lives. It was also true that they 
had every reason for supposing that within a few weeks an 
even more critical situation might arise. 

Again during this speech the reactionaries showed that they 
were at one with the so-called Constitutional Democrats. 
Count Bobrinsky interrupted to exclaim, "Against the common 
enemy we will fight as one!" A few moments before Pures- 
chevitch had called out to Alexinsky, "The whole question 
is who is who will hang whom — I you, or you me." In the 
most violent attack that the reactionaries ever made on the 
people's deputies of the Duma, the Constitutonal Democrats 
found themselves at one with the defenders of all the iniquities 
of the Czarism. 



CHAPTER V 

BEGGING FOR CRUMBS 

IT APPEARED clearly after the dissolution of the first 
Duma and at the opening of the third, that the moderate 
leaders had not carried with them the mass of the party 
adherents. In its last congress the Constitutional Democratic 
Party was faced by a serious internal crisis. As usual, Professor 
Milyoukov presided. In his opening speech he stated the 
ultra-parliamentary view that the October Manifesto and 
fundamental laws, though practically broken on June 3rd, still 
remained judicially in force, and that the party still considered 
its policy to be the carrying on of the struggle on a legal basis, 
so long as this proves in the least degree possible. We see 
then that the Government has only to leave to the Constitutional 
Democrats a petty and insignificant field of legal action in 
order to make it a perfectly harmless organisation. 

Milyoukov said in conclusion that his party, although it 
would be in the minority of the third Duma, would represent 
the people. This is untrue. The Russian nation, as is clear 
from all three elections, is represented by parties far more 
radical than the Constitutional Democrats. The very tragedy 
of the situation for this legal party is that it has neither the 
legal power of a Duma majority nor the moral power of an 
organisation that can claim to represent the Russian nation. 

Milyoukov is such a power at the moment that perhaps 
his position should be further explained. It must be remem- 
bered that before the revolutionary movement began, he was 
quite sympathetic toward it. In his book, "The Russian 
Crisis," he speaks in favour of a direct agreement between the 
liberals and revolutionists, in favour of the radical idea of a 
single legislative chamber, and also in favour of the State 
making a large financial contribution toward the solution of 
the land question. The latter reform he seemed ready to 

304 



BEGGING FOR CRUMBS 305 

abandon when, at the time of the second Duma, he expressed 
himself as hoping to get some agreement with Stolypine on this 
question. He has now entirely dropped his agitation in favour 
of the single chamber; and finally, he has become the most 
active opponent of the revolutionary movement in his party. 
He is becoming a mere opportunist, stating recently in an 
interview that the party would enter the Duma with certain 
principles but would be ready to abandon any of them if this 
would bring it the least nearer to its main goal, a constitution. 
In explaining his desertion of his "revolutionary friends," 
he said that he had done this because they had no longer any 
power. It is quite true, of course, that their power is very 
limited, but it is also true, as has been shown, that the 
moderates have very little power over the Duma, or through it 
over the Government. If every section of the revolutionary 
army were to desert every other section on the ground that the 
"other fellow" had little or no power, at this depressing 
moment the revolutionary movement would break up entirely. 

Milyoukov's attitude at the time of the great crisis, the 
coup d'ttat of June 3rd, gives us a very deep insight into his 
reasoning. Instead of attributing this calamity, not to any 
moral cause, but to the sheer immoral physical power of the 
Government, he seeks to find an answer to the questions: 
"Where lies the blame? In the ill will of the rulers? In the 
bad statesmanship of the governing class? In the mistakes of 
the leaders of the emancipation movement? In a reaction 
against the revolutionary excesses?" We might very well 
answer all these questions with a whole or partial affirmative, 
but we still would not have given the real answer. The 
Government dissolved the Duma almost wholly on the ground 
that it had the power to do so and that it found the Duma to a 
greater or lesser degree inconvenient to its plan of oppression. 

In a conversation with Professor Milyoukov about this 
time, I asked him on what real force outside of the mere justice 
of the cause he thought his party could rely. The only answer 
which he gave was that such a force existed in "the disorgani- 
sation and anarchy in the country caused by spontaneous, 
disorganised acts of rebellion and individual crime." The 
present Government being totally incapable of successfully 




306 RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

repressing this kind of blind revolt, Professor Milyoukov thought 
that it would one day be taught to rely on the capacity of his 
party to restore order. There is no question that the disorgani- 
sation referred to — robbery, arson, and assassination — existed 
on an enormous scale at that time and continues almost unabated 
at the present moment. But let us consider the logical 
consequences for this party from placing its sole reliance on 
unorganised and semi-criminal disorder. In doing this 
Professor Milyoukov's party is depending upon the forces 
entirely outside of its own control. A party that relies on 
factors outside of its control is not only opportunist, but 
exclusively opportunist. In hoping to benefit indirectly from 
the reigning disorder, Milyoukov and his followers are depending 
on a destructive tendency, and they lay themselves open to the 
accusation that they themselves passively welcome this anarchy. 
Of course it may be that this anarchistic tendency will be 
successfully suppressed by the present Government. In that 
case this accusation will have no further application, but to-day 
the party still remains guilty of having based its hopes on chaos. 
Milyoukov, Struve, and other leaders are even making over- 
tures to the enemy. Thus the party paper, after the dissolution 
of the second Duma, said that the fate of the third would depend 
wholly on the class of proprietors, but that they had not lost 
faith absolutely and still hoped that in this class there would 
be sufficient vitality and intelligence to repudiate an egotistic 
policy of special privilege. These living elements would shatter 
"the reactionaries' illusion of the unity and solidity of the 
big land-holding class." We have seen that the big land- 
owning class is in fact the heart of the reaction, and that 
opposition to this class, rather than any effort to obtain such 
insignificant reforms as could be secured with its aid, is the life 
principle of the revolutionary movement. The position here 
taken does not materially differ from that of the confessedly 
conservative leader of the majority of the third Duma. In a 
conversation I had with Gutchkov at this time he said he also 
considered the landlords to be sufficiently liberal, and explained 
then he had bo ideas of any fundamental economic reform for 
the peasantry, and that he was aware that the Government 
measures which he favoured would throw millions of peasants 



i 



BEGGING FOR CRUMBS 307 

once and for all in the class of absolutely pauperised agricultural 
labourers He also confessed that he believed in the existing 
military courts and that he was sure that they would do no 
injustice 1 

This then is the leader alongside of whom the Constitutional 
Democratic organ took its position in the most practical 
question of third Duma politics. Later at the congress of the 
party the same conservative elements that were responsible for 
the article just quoted, were able to put through a resolution 
allowing an agreement between this so-called Constitutional 
Democratic Party and Gutchkov's Octobrists, who in their 
congress declared first of all for "the restoration of authority/' 
then against equal rights to the Jews, against any reform of the 
Czar's new election law, and in favour of the agrarian politics 
of the Government. When the Duma met an Octobrist was 
elected president and secured, among others, the votes of the 
Constitutional Democrats. In his opening speech he said that 
the purpose of the Duma was to fulfill the "sovereign will of 
the Czar" and made no mention of the constitution. 

At this time Maklakov, one of the Constitutional Democrat 
leaders of the Milyoukov type, explained in an interview that 
it was only necessary "in order to completely suppress the 
revolution" that the Duma should be placed on a firm footing 
and that he believed in "a loyal opposition" and was satisfied 
that the majority of the Duma (landlords) was progressive. 
This so-called popular leader was then satisfied with the very 
element that he knew had actively engaged in and aided 
the massacres and persecutions conducted by the Russian 
Government. 

It is unnecessary to add that these hopes in the landlords, 
whether genuine or only meant to flatter, are coming to nothing. 
The moderate party expressed its hopes to accomplish in the 
third Duma, with the aid of the landlords, at least two reforms — 
that of the local government, and that of the administration of 
justice. The local government reform has already fallen to 
committees formed of the very landlords who have done the 
most to corrupt it, and justice is being regenerated in an equally 
ludicrous manner. New justices of the peace are to be instituted 
and the old detested "land officials" abolished, but the new 



3 o8 RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

justices are to have qualifications which make it certain that 
few if any of them will be peasants, while at the same time the 
popular peasants' courts of course are to be abolished. But 
there is an even worse judicial "reform" — a reform carried 
even through the reactionary Council of the Empire by a 
majority of only four votes among a hundred and fifty. In his 
speech in favour of this typical governmental reform the 
Minister of Justice spoke practically in these words: "The 
Government cannot exist if the possibility is taken away from 
it of conducting the inner politics of the country. The right 
to choose the personnel of State institutions (the judges) is a 
mighty weapon for the direction of politics on the road 
prescribed for them by His Majesty." This reform will consist, 
then, of a new supreme court to be as usual entirely under the 
thumb of the Czar. 

Against the moderate new politics of sacrificing everything 
for such "reforms," the revolt in the party itself is serious. 
When Milyoukov and other leaders of the last party congress 
voted down the proposition that the party should take a strong 
oppositional stand and avoid all rapprochement with the 
Octobrists, and that it should only support laws which would 
lead to the increase of freedom of the people or to the democrati- 
sation of the Russian institutions, the progressive element 
at last realised where they stood. Already Mandelstam, 
whom a recent referendum had shown to be the favourite 
candidate of half of the party members in Moscow, had resigned 
from the Central Committee. Another important leader and 
member of the first Duma resigned from the party altogether, 
and the principal independent and radical newspapers of the 
country nearly all took up a more or less hostile position to 
the organisation, even though they had been very friendly 
before. Many other active party members turned aside from 
party work into a new educational propaganda, with a view 
to getting the nation ready for a new revolutionary movement 
in later years. 

In the recent congress Mandelstam accused the party 
management of the second Duma of having failed to reassert the 
principle on which they staked everything during the first, 
that of the responsibility of the ministers, not to the Czar. 



BEGGING FOR CRUMBS 309 

but to the national assembly, and of having foolishly supposed 
up to the very day of its dissolution that the Government, 
pleased by their new docility, would allow the Duma to continue. 
He claimed it was a mistake for the party to accept peacefully 
the coup d'ttat, and that it should rather rely on the new 
wave of revolution which must arise. He thought that the 
party ought now at least to see that, since the Duma was elected 
to suit the Government, the latter would make concessions 
rather to its extreme reactionary friends in that body, than to 
the Constitutional Democrats or other oppositional elements. 

"In a pseudo-constitutional regime the chief task," said 
Mandelstam, "is to define the means of securing a real 
constitution, and behold we are told (by Milyoukov and his 
friends) to try and convince the Government." Another 
speaker, Safonov of Kostroma, a member of the first Duma, 
who represented a very large part of all the party members 
and a still larger part of the voters themselves, said that the 
party would find itself in the third Duma in the hostile camp 
of the anti-Constitutionalists, that compromise was not only 
dangerous to the party, but to the whole social movement, and 
that the proper function of the party in the third Duma was 
purely one of criticism. The only important point in Milyoukov *s 
answer was the claim that the voters had shown they were 
satisfied with the party. As I have made plain, this is wholly 
false. 

This was not the final fall of Milyoukov. When Roditchev, 
a Constitutional Democratic leader scarcely less important than 
Milyoukov, during an early session of the third Duma, made 
his sensational attack on Stolypine, saying that in future the 
gallows would be called "Stolypine neckties," Milyoukov with 
several other party members in the Duma took part in the 
reactionary demonstration of sympathy for Stolypine! So 
shocking was this act to the Russian nation that even the 
Central Committee could not stand it and Milyoukov was called 
before it for a reprimand. Certainly he could not have 
degraded his party further in the opinion of the country. 

I have given so much attention to Professor Milyoukov 
and his opinions and his actions, that I cannot avoid at least 
a brief mention of another type of leader, Prince Shakovskoi. 



3io RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

In the element of the party to which he belongs are found 
nearly all the original founders of the movement and those who 
have made the largest sacrifices for its benefit. The party 
has two very capable women members, the Countess Bobrinsky 
and Mme. Turkov, two unprejudiced, and I believe most 
intelligent, observers of the situation within the party. The 
former in a conversation with me called Shakovskoi the heart 
of the whole moderate movement; the latter has given him the 
title of "the fisher of souls," claiming that it was he, before any 
one else, who brought into the movement its most valuable and 
devoted members. Prince Shakovskoi is still in the party and 
likely to remain there. Besides being one of its very first 
organisers, he was the secretary of the first Duma. In contrast 
with Milyoukov, in the opinion of several party leaders with 
whom I conversed, he is a democrat always, while in the past, 
like many other moderates, he has been not only friendly 
toward, but actively interested in, the whole revolutionary 
movement. Perhaps he and the other leaders of his type are 
hardly such prominent characters as Milyoukov, but instead of 
being viewed with suspicion even by many members of their 
own organisation, they are loved and respected by all. 

Professor Milyoukov, however, has long been the chief figure 
in his party and is so well known abroad that it has been 
necessary to define his position with the utmost clearness, to 
show definitely why he is so unpopular in his own country, and 
to show that he is not a leader of any large part of the Russian 
nation. His leadership, his and his followers' opinion that their 
party can accomplish something 'legally'' under a government 
which recognises no law, has led only to the miserable fiasco 
of the organisation. 

One American editor, at least, writing in the New York 
Globe of January 14, 1908, has grasped the situation so clearly 
that his words deserve to be quoted. They are in part as 
follows: 

Milyoukov is an absolute parliamentarian — now. Revolutionary 
activity is as foreign to his programme as to the minds of most stable 
Americans; hence in him Americans recognise a kindred spirit, a cham- 
pion of the fundamental principles of human liberty and human justice 
that we ourselves won a century and a quarter ago. Milyoukov's aims 
are our ideals and our fixed standards. Mftyoukov's tactics and methods 



BEGGING FOR CRUMPS 311 

to-day in Russia are precisely our tactics and methods. So it develops 
that the very elements in Milyoukov's policy that appeal to a greater 
number of Americans than the- policy of any other Russian who has ever 
come to us, also alienate him from a vast section of Russia — the element 
that believes that Russia's freedom must eventually be purchased by 
precisely the same means as our freedom was purchased. The shackles 
of slavery were not struck off by act of Congress. The rule of taxation 
without representation was not ended by act of Parliament. The tyran- 
ny of the Czars, the incredible oppression of autocracy, may cease through 
the legislative efforts of the Duma, but a large section of the Russian 
people fear not. Milyoukov represents the optimistic minority. 

Last winter it was our privilege to welcome and listen to two other 
Russians whose stirring appeals moved many thousands of our people. 
One of these men — Nicholas Tchaykovsky — now lies in the grim old 
fortress of SS. Peter and Paul, while the other — Alexis Aladdin — has 
been obliged to remain in exile from his native land. Such are the 
penalties these two brave men are paying for their appeal to America — 
not for material support, but for sympathy and understanding. [They 
are paying these penalties rather for other and greater services to their 
country.] 

Wherever Tchaykovsky and Aladdin journeyed in this country they 
were introduced as representatives of "two of the great parties of Rus- 
sia's liberal movement." In Professor Milyoukov we have the repre- 
sentative of the third and last great party of progress . . . Tchay- 
kovsky was frankly a revolutionist. He believed that constitutional 
government could be permanently established only through fighting. 
Aladdin based his hopes on the parliament, but held armed resistance 
in the background as an ultimate resource — trusted in God and the 
Czar, but kept his powder dry, as it were. Milyoukov stakes everything 
on the parliament. He stands ready to compromise everything save 
the merest forms of parliamentary government. "Half a loaf is better 
than no bread," according to the old adage. M Crumbs are better than 
nothing when there is small hope for even the half loaf," says Milyoukov. 

But what crumbs he has obtained he has gotten only by 
abject humiliation and' the betrayal of former principles. A 
party that only begs for crumbs has no longer any claim to be 
considered a part of a great emancipation movement. 



CHAPTER VI 

THE PEASANTS BECOME SOCIALISTS 

THE masses of the Russian people took the dissolution 
of the first Duma far more seriously than did the 
moderate parties. This act of the Czar's had the same electrical 
effect on the peasantry that the massacres of January 22, 1905, 
in St. Petersburg, had on the working people. The outraged 
nation expressed in the second elections an opinion so radical 
that a national unity on the basis of the comparatively moderate 
Viborg manifesto was no longer possible. While the moderate 
party was becoming more moderate the population was becoming 
more revolutionary. 

In spite of the election law that favoured the reactionary 
and moderate parties and the arbitrary actions of the police in 
many provinces where they openly robbed the democrats of their 
victories, the second Duma came within an ace of being an 
outright Socialist body. Out of twenty million voters the 
results showed that at least fifteen million had voted for 
revolutionary and Socialistic organisations, which having been 
tested in the first Duma were thoroughly well known to the 
people for what they really were. Of the other five million 
votes the majority went to revolutionary nationalist parties, 
such as those of the Poles, the Caucasians, the Letts, the 
Tartars, and the Armenians. Only a million or two at the 
outside cast their votes for moderate and reactionary parties. 
A majority of the people then voted for recognised Socialist 
candidates, and an overwhelming majority for revolutionists. 

If we take into account *he fact that the delegations from 
several provinces, according to the Duma's decisions, had 
been stolen by the officials, we can say that the majority of 
the deputies actually legally elected were Socialists and 
revolutionists. This is a very remarkable result when we 
consider that the election law made one landlord equal to 

3" 



THE PEASANTS BECOME SOCIALISTS 31$ 

several hundred peasants, gave the middle class voter of the 
cities a voting power equal to half a hundred peasants, and 
allotted to the working people a proportion of the electors 
scarcely better than that of the peasantry themselves. 

After the warning the Government had already received 
at the first elections, we may wonder that it did not put inta 
effect its coup d'itat before these second elections. It decided 
to try to obtain a docile Duma by police measures without 
breaking its solemn pledge to maintain the law, so as to satisfy 
the foreign money-lenders, on whom Russia is so dependent, 
that the country was really entering into a modern parliamentary 
form of government. 

The outrages committed by the police went so far that some 
of them were even branded by Russia's highest courts — after 
the second Duma had already been dissolved. This was the case 
with the candidates Hellat and Pold who were thus robbed of 
their seats from the Baltic Provinces. The elections in the 
province of Minsk were quashed by the St. Petersburg 
authorities without the slightest reason. They acted at the 
suggestion of the notorious Schmidt, whom I have already 
mentioned and who has now become an outcast even from 
the reactionary parties. One of the candidates so elected and 
illegally thrown out was Isaac Hourwich, long resident in the 
United States and known there by his economic writings. In the 
government of Kiev, the Central Government struck off 
thirteen thousand voters from the lists because their apartments 
did not correspond to on official's idea of a home as specified in 
the law. Newspapers were confiscated for merely giving the 
lists of electors, and in the province of Vladimir they were 
forbidden even to mention political questions. That a very 
large Socialist minority was elected in spite of all these measures 
shows unmistakably the strong and irresistibly Socialist and 
revolutionary current in Russian opinion. 

Of the majority of the deputies elected by the masses of the 
people over a hundred were members of the so-called " Labour 
Group." founded by Aladdin, Anikine,and others in the first 
Duma. There can be no question that a universal suffrage law, 
as demanded even by the moderate opposition parties, would 
have given to the Labour Group a majority of the whole Duma. 



3M RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

Almost equally important were the democratic parties which 
use the Socialist conception as the basis of their programme and 
in the title of their organisation, the Socialist Revolutionary, 
the Social Democratic and the National Socialist parties, which 
combined also returned more than a hundred members. In 
the first Duma these organisations had had only twenty deputies, 
in the second Duma they had approximately one hundred and 
twenty. While the moderate Socialist "Labour Group" had 
doubled its representation, the still more revolutionary and 
wholly Socialist parties had increased theirs sixfold. 

After these elections it is unnecessary for a true democrat to 
give any further consideration to the Constitutional Demo- 
cratic party. Doubtless the middle-class electors were dis- 
satisfied with the party for the reasons I have already stated, 
but there is a more deep-seated reason separating the conser- 
vative element of the moderate party now in control of the party 
from the masses of the people. Before the first Duma met 
Aladdin called attention to the fact that the large majority 
of the Constitutional Democrats elected were landlords and 
that the peasants had no deep confidence in the liberalism of 
any part of the class whose estates they proposed to expro- 
priate. We must remember always with the peasants that the 
fathers of these men, however liberal, hafi been slave-owners and 
the older of them had themselves been masters of white slave 
servants in their youth or childhood. 

The peoples' underlying distrust of the Constitutional Demo- 
crats has its counterpart in the Constitutional Democrats' 
distrust of the people. They have constantly doubted the 
peasant's capacity and have even regarded him as a savage 
by nature. It is not only a lack of faith but a lack of scien- 
tific observation, true sympathy, and understanding, that marks 
this patronising and undemocratic organisation. I do not 
imply that the leaders of the movement are governed by their 
interests as landlords, but I do assert it as a profound belief that 
they have not lost entirely the slave-owner's psychology, and 
I know that the people's true leaders share this view. The 
democracy of the Constitutional Democratic party is patro- 
nising and tinged with a sort of benevolent feudalism. Their 
constitutionalism, taken largely from the professors and the- 



THE PEASANTS BECOME SOCIALISTS 315 

oretical publicists among them, is of a purely logical order — 
uninspired as it is by knowledge, love, or faith, it is no wonder 
that it has broken down in the great crisis. 

It is interesting to observe that the several million votes 
given to the nationalist parties were on the whole more favour- 
able to the Socialist than to the moderate standpoint. The 
Polish situation is so complicated that it could only be properly 
analysed in a work apart and it is best not to endeavour to 
explain it here at all. The Tartars, even a more important 
element numerically in Russia's population, numbering as they 
do more than fifteen millions, furnish a less complicated prob- 
lem. I shall touch on them only as an illustration, leaving aside 
the Poles and the Armenians, Georgians, Letts, Esths, and 
other minor but not unimportant nationalities. 

The Mussulman group in the second Duma had thirty-one 
members, enough to hold the balance of power. Until the 
close of the Duma this organisation was outwardly allied with 
the moderate parties, but there are elements in its programme 
and its tactics at this moment which justify the belief that its 
position was far more radical than the moderates', and that it 
would soon have forsaken the alliance. I talked with a leading 
member who stated that his group had decided to vote for a full 
political amnesty and not only for a partial one as the moderates 
had proposed. In the important land question also the position 
of this party was nearer to that of the "Labour Group' ' than 
to the moderates. Among other of the Mussulman principles 
was that no compensation was to be paid for lands that had 
been made as a gift by the Government to former officials. As 
such lands form a very considerable part of the whole nobility's 
possessions, a measure embodying this principle would have 
brought on a most violent conflict. Another important item 
of the Mussulman programme was that the people's representa- 
tives should demand the right of legislating, not only within 
the bounds laid down by the Czar, but also concerning the 
so-called "fundamental laws," which is as much as to say 
that the party favoured turning the Duma into a constitutional 
assembly. 

It is probable, then, even without taking into consideration 
that a large part of the reactionary members had no right to 



3 i6 RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

their seats, that the second Duma did not really have a moderate 
majority. It is probable that it was dissolved by the Govern- 
ment just before it had time to show to the world its true 
revolutionary character. 

In the Viborg manifesto the revolutionary proposals were 
largely of a political nature. The deputies of the majority 
of the nation in the second Duma were in favour of a social 
revolutionary programme. The social revolution which the 
masses of the people had united to demand was concerned prin- 
cipally with the land question. On the other social questions 
a certain part even of the revolutionary deputies might be called 
mere radicals, on the land question they were Socialists. All 
the parties which had any claim to represent the peasant 
majority of the nation were in favour of the State expropriating, 
with or without compensation, all the land belonging to the 
nobility and the wealthy classes, of creating out of this land 
a national land fund, and of giving either to individual peasants, 
to villages, or to other local government bodies, a permanent 
right to share in this fund. The proposed measure was not 
like the land grants made to settlers by the United States 
Government. In America there was at first too much land 
and not enough settlers. In Russia there is not enough land 
for the people. It is therefore proposed by all the popular 
parties not to divide the land permanently into private property, 
but either to lease it for long terms to individuals, or to leave 
it in the hands of the villagers or of local governments to dis- 
pose of as they will according to some plan arranged by the 
National Representative Assembly. 

It is recognised by all the popular and Socialistic parties 
that this programme amounts to a social revolution, and that 
the Government can only be forced to grant the programme 
either by a general insurrection or by continued agrarian rebel- 
lions which it will be unable to repress. Stolypine said to the 
Duma; "You shall not frighten the Government, for it has 
behind it the physical power." "Behind us," said Karaviev, 
a leader of the Labour Group, " are justice, science, and a hundred 
million peasants, four-fifths of the population of the Empire." 

On the land question, when it became acute in the discussions 
of the second Duma, the Constitutional Democrats entirely 



THE PEASANTS BECOME SOCIALISTS 317 

failed to satisfy the people's representatives. Ex-Minister 
Kutler, their leader, while confessing that many interests of 
society were above that of private property, reached in his 
argument only that degree of radicalism attained many years ago 
all over the world by the opponents of "absentee" landlordism. 
Passing lightly over the historic wrongs under which the peas- 
ants are suffering, the only evil he saw was that certain land- 
lords should draw an income from their estates without really 
taking part in their management. His party did not ask that 
any of the other great wrongs which were crushing the Russian 
peasantry should be redressed. The party proposed to pay for 
the land to be expropriated for the peasants' benefit a sum less 
than its present artificial market value, but it wished the starv- 
ing peasantry themselves to pay half of this stun. 

All of the popular groups took a more advanced position. 
At first glance it might appear that the Social Democrats, who 
were looking forward in the future not to the growth of small 
farms in Russia but rather to their gradual absorption by large 
estates even after the expropriation, were taking up a more 
conservative position than the Constitutional Democrats, who 
rather expected to see the new small properties now to be 
instituted becoming a permanent feature of Russian agriculture. 
However, the Social Democrats did not want the peasants, 
or even the Government, to pay anything to the landlords for 
the expropriated property, while the Constitutional Democrats 
voted in committee with the most violent reactionaries and 
secured a majority in favour of compensation. The Constitu- 
tional Democratic position was dictated both by a desire to 
please the landlords and a lack of true contact with the peasantry 
— that of the Social Democrats was derived solely from a dis- 
trust of the peasants. Primarily a city workingmen's party, 
this organisation does not believe in the permanence of the 
peasants' Socialist tendencies, but considers that the peasants 
will soon be satisfied with unrestricted private property, and 
considers that they play also a secondary r61e in the revolution 
— that the peasant disorders, in the words of their spokesman, 
Zeretelly, were only an echo of the emancipation movement in 
the towns. 

In spite of their skepticism in regard to the peasants' Social- 



3x8 RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

ism and revolutionism, however, the majority of this party 
has forced a somewhat conservative minority to a friendly 
position toward other Socialist parties that stand nearer to 
the peasants. The party does not believe, with one of the 
landlord speakers in the Duma, that the peasants are an ignorant 
herd that cannot be left without a nobleman pastor. It is 
genuinely democratic and understands that the peasants must 
be allowed to decide their questions for themselves. It urges 
only against the other popular parties that a national land fund 
entirely in the hands of the centralised State might prove 
dangerous to the people's interest because it might increase 
the power of an undemocratic government. It proposes, 
therefore, that the distribution of the land be left entirely in 
the hands of local government organisations, the provinces, 
districts, and towns. It also objects to making those small 
properties, relatively few, that are now in the hands of individual 
peasants a part of the national land fund, on the ground that 
this class of small farmers would become hostile and dangerous 
to the success of the revolutionary movement. The party 
suggests that the local government should either rent the land 
to the peasantry, or operate it itself in the form of large estates, 
or divide it finally among the peasants. 

It is principally the present form of communal property in 
the villages that this organisation opposes, the very form 
favoured by the rival organisation, the Socialist Revolutionary 
Party, on the grounds that it is the historic Russian land institu- 
tion. We need not anticipate, however, a serious conflict, 
as both parties are entirely democratic in their principles, 
and will leave the question to be decided finally by the people 
themselves. Certainly the Social Democrats, who consider 
these communes not an advanced but a retarded form of land 
ownership holding back the full modern exploitation of the land, 
and consider them the genesis of large estates and of property- 
less agricultural labourers, cannot refuse to allow the peasants 
to try this form of property if they wish. On the other hand 
the Socialist Revolutionary Party cannot refuse to give the 
local authorities, duly elected by the peasantry, full power to 
give over the land into private property or administer it muni- 
cipally if they so decide. When at the beginning of the first 



THE PEASANTS BECOME SOCIALISTS 319 

Duma I asked Aladdin, of the Labour Group, whether his 
organisation favoured communal ownership, he answered: 
"We favour leaving this question to the peasants themselves* 
Certainly we are not going to send Cossacks and machine guns 
to any locality to enforce either communal or private property." 

The proposal which must shock most the earnest believers 
in private property is that of confiscating without compensa- 
tion, as proposed by the Socialists, or without full compensation 
as proposed by the Constitutional Democrats. But the argu- 
ments used in the Duma would convince any broad-minded and 
disinterested hearer. Zeretelly called attention to the punish- 
ment expeditions, which, in burning homes, villages, bombarding 
houses and whole city districts, had ignored private property 
in every part of the country. He might also have spoken of 
the wholesale confiscation of estates by the Government for 
purely political reasons. He looked on these Government 
confiscations as a war measure and declared his party answered 
by proposing the destruction of the present State, to its very 
bureaucratic and landlord foundations. A deputy from Little 
Russia reminded the Duma how the Government had given 
away to court favourites twenty-five million acres of land that 
had been the property of the Cossack population who had won 
it from the Turks and Tartars at the cost of innumerable lives. 
At the same time that this property was confiscated by the 
Czar the free population of this part of Russia was the first 
time sold into serfdom, at the end of the eighteenth century I 

The members of the more moderate Labour Group were in 
favour of fair compensation by the State, but the majority 
were persuaded that the peasants themselves, who had been 
forced by the Government to pay an exorbitant price for their 
own lands and also for the mere fact of their emancipation, 
should pay nothing. The landlords then were to be rewarded 
by such payments only as a democratic government could 
afford, which would have as its principal source of income 
from taxation only the middle and upper classes. 

The solution of the land question proposed by this, the most 
important group in the second Duma, lies in some respects 
between the Social Revolutionary and Social Democrats 
proposals already mentioned. With the Social Democrats 



32o RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

the Labour Group does not wish to expropriate the small prop- 
erties of peasants who have already won for themselves a 
sufficient amount of land to fully occupy all their labour. With 
the Social Revolutionists it proposes that all private sales, 
mortgages and other deals in land shall be immediately and 
permanently put an end to, while the Social Democrats would 
leave this question wholly in the hands of the local government 
to decide in either way. In another aspect of the question 
the position of the Labour Group, which can best claim to 
represent the peasantry, is still more diametrically opposed to 
that of the Social Democrats. The Social Democrats welcome 
the Government's measure which allows every peasant share- 
holder in the common property of the villages to sell off his 
share as his private property. This measure favours those 
peasants who, not finding sufficient occupation in the villages, 
have drifted to the towns. By this law they can demand their 
property and sell it immediately to some well-to-do peasant, 
leaving the village that much poorer in the future. However 
hard on the peasants remaining in the village, this measure 
cannot but be welcomed by the workingmen owners. Acting 
on the contrary principle, the Labour Group demands that in 
the allotment of the new lands to be taken from the proprietors 
the agricultural population be first provided for. 

The arguments used by the present deputies in support of 
the proposed expropriation were of the most revolutionary 
character. "Do you really think." asked one, "that you will 
succeed for a moment in convincing the peasants, whose fathers, 
brothers and children's lives have been expropriated by the 
Government without their consent, that this cannot and must 
not be done with the land?" This militant challenge was 
greeted with a storm of applause. Another said, "We know 
from experience of one sacred form of inviolable property — it 
was the peasantry themselves who were kept in slavery. . . . 
Do you landlords sitting here think that we do not remember 
that you used to bet us on cards and exchange us for hunting 
dogs! (Thunderous applause.) . . . Once the people .make 
up their minds to it there is nothing sacred. . . . You say 
your property is sacred and inviolable, I will tell you one thing, 
that we will never purchase it; the peasants that sent me here 




THE PEASANTS BECOME SOCIALISTS 321 

told me to tell you the land is ours; we do not want to buy it, 
but to take it." 

If in the question nearest the peasant's heart, the land question, 
he could expect nothing from the Government, the same is 
true also with the other great social questions referring to the 
peasant's economic, moral or intellectual situation. The same 
Government which robs its peasants of the land, so essential 
for their very existence, secures one half of its own income 
from the promotion of drunkenness among them, and spends 
most of this income on armament and wars for conquest and 
almost nothing at all on popular education, which it calls a 
"luxury." Alexinsky showed to the Duma that the United 
States spends twelve times as much per person. Education 
takes only 2 or 3 per cent, of the total expenditure of the 
Central Government and only a relatively small proportion of 
that of the local government bodies. A few years ago there 
was a movement among these organisations to improve the 
schools; in 1900 the Government shut off their principal source 
of income and put the improvement to an end. 

The school system is at an incredibly low level. The teachers' 
salaries range between one hundred and two hundred rubles 
a year (from fifty dollars to one hundred dollars); the highest 
are about five hundred rubles, and hundreds of teachers are 
paid even less than one hundred. In those provinces where 
the landlords are relatively powerful, education is at its worst 
and the proportion of literates in the population is sometimes 
as low as one-fifth. In general the situation is not quite so 
bad. One-half of the young men are now literate, though of 
those of middle age, who suffered from the still worse conditions 
of the last generation, only one-fourth can read and write. 
Worst of all is the condition of the women. For many years 
less than 5 per cent, reaching maturity could read and write; 
the proportion has now risen, but only to about one-eighth of 
the total. While this situation is bad enough, and a terrible 
accusation against such an extravagant government as that 
of Russia, it must not be exaggerated. We must notice that 
half of the present generation of young men in the country 
read and write, and that the proportion in the cities is very 
much higher. This condition is certainly better than that of 



322 RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

the people of the western part of the United States a few genera- 
tions ago, when no one questioned the capacity of the people 
of this part of the country for intelligent self-government. Yet 
it is a disgrace to Russia, which did not spend as much for the 
elementary schools of the whole Empire in 1900 — fifty million 
rubles — as did the city of New York alone (if we take into 
account the expenditure for school grounds, rents and buildings). 
But the official organ of the Russian Government, the Rossia, 
stated recently that the proposed paltry increase of expendi- 
ture of seven million rubles on the schools was a luxury! The 
peasants see that they will only get good schools when they 
have conquered the Czar. 

The Russian Government is now making a net profit every 
year of five hundred million rubles on the nation's drink bill. 
The peasants are not very heavy drinkers compared with other 
nations, but unfortunately they drink in spells. Depressed 
by their always impending economic ruin, starving in times 
of famine and confined to village drudgery by their extreme 
poverty, they occasionally take refuge in drink. However, 
the consumption of alcohol per capita was falling rapidly in 
the last generation, till the Government took up the monopoly 
of the business. Before 1880 the people were consuming four 
litres per year per head; in the years immediately before the 
assumption of the business by the State (1897) the consumption 
had already fallen to two and a half. Before the opening of 
the State saloons every village had a right by the vote of the 
majority to shut up the local public houses; not only is this 
no longer tolerated since the Government has assumed control, 
but, as we have seen, any village that even passes a resolution 
to boycott the liquor store is heavily fined by the local czars. 
Before the institution of the Government monopoly the elected 
village authorities used to extract large sums of money for the 
relief of local needs whenever a licence was granted. In one 
province the total sum so paid to the villages amounted to one 
million rubles, a tremendous amount to a pauper population. 
After the institution of the Government monopoly the value 
of alcohol consumed doubled within five years, rising from 
254,000,000 to 504,000,000 rubles (in 1906) and the amount 
also rapidly increased. 



THE PEASANTS BECOME SOCIALISTS 323 

At the present moment the Government and the reactionaries 
are making a great pretence of conducting a campaign against 
the drink evil. As it is obvious that the success of such a 
campaign would ruin the Government one must doubt its 
sincerity. 

Even in the third Duma a moderate peasant leader had the 
courage to denounce the Government and the Duma's position 
on this question. Immediately after Stolypine's declaration 
at the opening of the Duma, he arose and, gazing severely at 
the astonished premier, cried out in stentorian tones: "I am 
amazed to have heard nothing from his Excellency about the 
most important, the most vital question in Russia — the drink 
question . . . Drink kills Russia . . . You speak of 
the hopeful condition of the State finance, but your budget is 
built up of the poison given to the people, upon the poisoning 
of its vital forces by drink encouraged for financial purposes." 
So obviously just was every word this peasant said, and on the 
face of it so removed from any political revolutionism, that a 
large part of the Duma cheered the speaker and listened to him 
attentively afterward every time he brought up the question. 
The whole Duma has decided that something ought to be done 
about the drink question, but nothing in Russian politics is more 
certain than that no serious reform will be accomplished without 
revolution. The moral deterioration of the masses of the people 
is as much a matter of indifference to the Government and to 
the landlords as are their intellectual and physical starvation. 

In view of the hopelessness of getting the Government or 
landlords to do anything on any of these vital social questions, 
in view of the contempt in which the peasants know they are 
held by the ruling classes, it is not to be wondered at that they 
have lost all interest in the Duma, and that in many parts of 
Russia all the parties representing them decided to have nothing 
to do with the third election which placed the Duma entirely in 
the landlords' hands while leaving it as helplessly in the power 
of the Government as before. By the coup d'ttat of the 3d of 
June, 1907, the electors of the workingmen, the peasants, and 
of the non-privileged and poorer part of the city middle classes, 
were reduced to one-half of their former number, while those of 
the landlords were increased 30 per cent. This left the 



324 RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

majority of the provinces of Russia entirely in the landlords' 
power, and nearly all the rest in the hands of the landlords in 
combination with the richest class of the city electors, who had 
been given by the new law a right to vote apart not only from 
the workingmen, but also from the majority of the middle classes. 

The Constitutional Democrats complained of this new law, 
and it is true that their power, compared to that of the reaction- 
aries, was very much decreased, but at the same time they 
suffered far less than the workingman and the peasant. In 
the third Duma the Constitutional Democrats and groups allied 
to them have about one-fourth of all the deputies, whereas in 
the second Duma they had about one-half; the peasants' and 
workingmen 's parties, on the other hand, which also had nearly 
one-half of the deputies of the second Duma, have less than 
one-eighth of those in the third. Under the new law a landlord 
has the vote of about ten ordinary citizens, but every such 
citizen has the vote of fifty peasants, and of more than fifty 
workingmen. We can see, then, that the injustice done to the 
masses of the people is much greater than that done to the 
classes from which the moderate party secures nearly all its 
votes, and this accounts largely for the relative satisfaction 
of the latter with the third Duma. 

The real distribution of political power in Russia is better 
shown by the fact that any two landlords had the same voice 
in the elections for the third Duma as any thousand peasants. 
We must not forget also that in case the Duma should by any 
chance happen to displease the Government in any way, the 
latter has the power to reduce it to a nullity. The people would 
perhaps have distrusted the third Duma on this account alone, 
even if the election law had remained unchanged, but when 
the relative voting power of their enemy, the landlords, was 
increased several fold all over Russia, they lost their interest 
almost entirely. In the Province of Viatka the landlords had 
been given sixteen times the influence compared with -that of 
the peasants that they had before. For the most part the 
peasants either took very little interest, or boycotted the 
elections entirely. When they did vote, however, they voted 
for Socialist and revolutionary electors just as before. I have 
already shown that there were only a handful of reactionaries 



THE PEASANTS BECOME SOCIALISTS 325 

among sixteen thousand peasant electors. In a large number 
of the towns also revolutionary electors preponderated. If 
the workingmen had been given an equal vote and had combined 
with the revolutionary element of the middle class, two-thirds 
or three-fourths of the population of every city in Russia 
would have voted Socialist. 

Another class of the population from which both the 
Government and the moderate reformers hoped to get great 
support, took the attitude of the peasants. Of the small 
landowners, very few participated in the elections. In the 
Moscow district, out of one thousand four hundred and eighty 
electors only sixteen appeared, and in the district of Odessa 
only one came out of one thousand nine hundred. In the 
country at large so few of this class of votes appeared that more 
than one-half of the elections could not take place at the 
appointed time. It need not be inferred that the small landlords 
are very revolutionary, but it is evident that they do not now 
consider the Government's promises to be worth even a few 
hours away from business, though they were much interested 
in the former Dumas. 

The Socialist Revolutionary Party, which next to the Labour 
Group is most successful among the peasantry, boycotted the 
elections everywhere. Their manifesto calling for the boycott 
explains the attitude of a very large number of the Russian 
people. It runs in part as follows: 

As the third Duma will inevitably be a sort of organisation of the 
reactionary pseudo-constitutional and anti-revolutionary forces in 
general; as the participation in the Duma of revolutionary elements 
will only help the Government to give the next Duma an appearance of 
an authoritative parliament; as this will strengthen the financial and 
international position of the Government; as under such conditions to 
go into the Duma would be logical only for those who have lost faith 
in the revolution and to whom therefore the non-participation in the 
Duma is equal to passivity and inactivity; the council of the Socialist 
Revolutionary Party therefore resolves to take a most energetic part in 
the election campaign agitation for the propaganda of an effective 
demonstrative boycott by the population at the elections as well as in 
the Duma itself; to make a pressure by means of public opinion upon 
radical deputies in the Duma, if there be any such, with the purpose of 
impelling them demonstratively to go out of the Duma and leave it to 
its naturally wretched lot. 



326 RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

In accordance with this policy the few popular representatives 
who have really entered the Duma have lost no occasion to 
tempt the reactionaries to expel them. Liachnitzky, a member 
of the Labour Group, told the Duma that 'the great mass of 
people who most need reform are not represented here" — 
to the great scandal of the reactionaries, who scarcely allowed 
his voice to be heard through the tumult they created. "As 
a representative of the population ," said another member of 
the same group, Petrov, "as a workingman, I repeat what 
my comrade voters have told me. We are suffocating under 
these laws, we are dying under these laws. The voters said 
to us, 'demand the rights for the pople that are rotting in 
the prisons and mines; your duty is to fight for freedom/ " 

It would seem that even this relatively moderate revolutionary 
party, the Labour Group, is entirely of the opinion of the more 
radical Socialist Revolutionary leader, the late Gregory Gershuni, 
who, though his own party had boycotted the Duma and had 
no representatives there, urged the Labour Group to demand 
frankly the execution of the national will, full political 
amnesty, the realisation of the promised liberties, the judgment 
of the autocratic Government by the people and the convocation 
of a constitutional assembly elected by universal suffrage. 
This is the task, says the well-known revolutionist, that the 
Labour Group must assume; it must understand that its end 
is not the realisation of half-way reforms, for it will never 
succeed in tearing anything from the Government, but the 
frank and clear statement of the popular demands in order that 
the people should consider the Labour Group as the true 
representative of its interest. 





A TYPICAL EDUCATED LEADER OF THE PEASANTRY 



CHAPTER VII 

THE PEASANT PARTIES ABANDON HOPE IN THE DUMA 

AS THE people have grown conscious of their unity, the 
revolutionary movement has become more profound. 
At the opening of the first Duma the members of all the popular 
parties, including those of the Social Democratic workingmen's 
party, were organised together in the " Labour Group," all were 
looking forward to an early overthrow of the Czarism, and all 
were demanding a constitutional assembly elected by equal 
suffrage. But the unity was based on political grounds. As 
the land question came into the foreground and the revolutionary 
movement became a social movement, the unity was threatened, 
and it was only after a vast discussion and much disagreement 
on the fundamental land question that the popular parties have 
again all reached a very similar standpoint. As long as the 
Duma had any chance of becoming an organ not alone of a 
political but also of a social revolution, the parties were some- 
what disunited, principally on account of the essential question 
as to whether the city working people or the peasants were to 
be the principal factor in the movement; but after the Govern- 
ment had destroyed all hopes of bringing about any revolution 
through the Duma, the parties again began to come together. 
There remain important theoretical differences, but practically 
on the land question and on the agreement that the revolution 
needs for its success outside the Duma the overwhelming 
majority both of the peasants and workingmen, the popular 
parties are again united. 

The organisation which has done the most to bring about 
this unity is the Labour Group. It was revolutionary enough 
to declare at the dissolution of the first Duma that the people 
must be the absolute masters of the State, and that all the land 
of Russia must belong to the entire people ; and it was Socialist 
enough to demand measures leading toward a permanent equali- 
se 



328 RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

sation of the land among the peasantry. This organisation 
was able to please more or less all the other Socialist and 
revolutionary parties, and became at the same time immensely 
popular among the overwhelming majority of the peasants, 
those not yet organised. The party wanted the Constitutional 
Democrats to insert in the Viborg manifesto an appeal to the 
people no longer to obey the Government "in fratricidal 
war with the nation" and to return to St. Petersburg and 
attempt at least to resume the session of the Duma. Meet- 
ing a refusal on the part of the moderates, it turned to the 
people with a proclamation that closed by calling for a 
Duma of the people with full sovereignty, or in other 
words, a constitutional assembly. "The Czar with his 
ministers," the Labour Group declared, "has closed for us all 
peaceful roads to liberty and justice, let us try to clear them 
by force." 

From the beginning this party owed most of its ruling ideas 
and the majority of its most active leaders and organisers to 
the Socialist Revolutionary Party; not being a dogmatic organi- 
sation, however, it has laid aside all the theoretical elements 
of revolutionary Socialism and retained only the programme of 
the immediate measures proposed. In the first Duma half of 
the group consisted of the peasants who had not yet made up 
their minds on the leading issues; of the others a part were 
connected with the Socialist Revolutionary Party and Peasants' 
Union, or held independent Socialist views; another part leaned 
to the Socialist Democratic Party or were members of that 
organisation, but these soon left the group and the Socialist 
Revolutionary influence became dominant. In the first Duma 
one-third, and in the second Duma one-half, of the members of 
the group signed the land bill of the Socialist Revolutionary 
Party. In the second Duma the majority of the party became 
more revolutionary in a political sense, and made use of their 
position in the Duma solely to stir up an agitation among the 
people of the country, abandoning all hope of turning the Duma 
itself into a revolutionary body ; both of these actions helped to 
secure a tremendous popularity for the organisation among the 
peasantry. The party, which in the first Duma had forced the 
moderates and the whole Duma to a revolutionary position. 



PEASANTS ADANDON HOPE 329 

used the second Duma to unite the masses of the people on a 
revolutionary and Socialist programme. 

The keynote to the Socialist land reform of this organisation 
is a proposal to equalise permanently the distribution of the 
land, just as the founders of the American Republic had 
temporarily equalised the Government lands in the new part 
of the country. As there is not enough land in Russia to enable 
the Government to provide for all, measures must be taken to 
prevent its accumulation in the future in the hands of a few 
persons, a process which takes place very rapidly wherever 
the population is crowded as in Russia. The group realises 
that pure political democracy, far more advanced than the 
constitution of the United States, is necessary in order to put 
into execution such a revolutionary measure, and it is therefore 
for political revolution ; but it also feels that only with an equal 
distribution of the land would the democracy be truly strong, 
and so it insists also on the principle of a permanent economic 
equality in the distribution of the land. It has long been 
recognised by democratic writers of all countries that political 
liberty itself depends on some approach at least to economic 
equality. From Rousseau to de Tocqueville in his comments 
on America, we have been told that political equality cannot 
continue to exist where there is an unequal distribution of 
wealth. 

The Russians are hopeful for a social solution of the land 
question, because the large majority of the peasants are not 
only its converted but its born partisans, having maintained a 
certain economic equality in the villages for generations through 
their common ownership of the land. Whatever be the 
solution of the land question, whether the communal ownership 
continues or not, Russians are convinced that its principles 
are a part of the peasant's very soul and that the peasants will 
demand not only political, but also economic, equality as a 
permanent principle of Russian society. 

"We wish to have the land to work it," said Anikine in the 
first Duma. "We do not want it as private property — no, 
and again no! No private property; such notions do not exist 
in the juridical conscience of the Russian peasants. It has been 
claimed here that the peasants want private property in land in 



330 RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

order to be able to will it to their children, but look at the 
transfers of the land in the various sections of the country and 
you will see that this is not the case and that the peasants have 
rather a horror of this private property." Anikine then cited at 
length many documents proving that even in the western 
provinces, where the communal form of property does not 
prevail, the peasants in their village regulations of inheritance 
have ideas against private inheritance and are in favour of the 
distribution of the land of deceased peasants on principles of 
social justice. 

It is only in the non-Russian parts of the country, Poland 
and the Baltic provinces and Lithuania, and in relatively small 
sections of White and Little Russia and the three Border 
provinces, that private property is the dominant form among 
the peasantry. Even in the western provinces, Little and 
White Russia, from a quarter to a third of the peasants live 
under the communal system. In the other parts of the country, 
two-thirds of the whole, common ownership by village prevails 
in from 80 to 95 per cent, of the peasant households. In the 
centre the proportion rises to 90 per cent., in the north and 
east to more than 95. Of the fifteen million peasant house- 
holds in Russia proper, only four hundred thousand have 
private property in land. The Government is using every 
effort to increase this number, and it may soon rise to a million 
or perhaps even to a million and a half; even then in the villages 
only half a dozen families out of one hundred or two hundred 
will have private property. 

Communal property has even been growing in popularity. 
In some of the eastern provinces the redistributions of the land 
by which equality is maintained have doubled in frequency 
since the emancipation, until now in two-thirds of the villages 
redistribution takes place within each decade. In thirty-seven 
provinces statistics show that one-half of the villagers are 
redistributing the village property according to the needs of 
each household — that is, according to the mouths to be fed — 
while in the most typical agricultural section of Central Russia 
the proportion rises to two-thirds. The village property is 
also often redistributed to each family in proportion to the 
amount of workers in the family, or its "labour power." The 



PEASANTS ABANDON HOPE 331 

majority of the peasants of Russia, then, have no underlying 
instinct for private property, but quite the contrary; the habit 
is rather one of codperation, seen not only in many undertakings 
by the democratic government of the village, but also in the 
associations for codperative labour, or "artels," that are so 
common among the peasantry. There is no mystic idea among 
them of some legal bond existing between a man and a thing 
which he has not produced. The land is felt by them to be a 
thing apart, very precious and insufficient in quantity, and so 
obviously to be divided according to democratic and social 
principles. 

Conservative authority is not lacking to support this 
interpretation of the Russian peasants' attitude in regard to 
land. Count Witte declared a few years ago that, in spite of 
all the Government's efforts, it was unable to innure peasants 
to private property, and Milyoukov has declared to the Duma 
that the small individual property ideal is no Russian ideal. 

Mushenko, a member of the Socialist Revolutionary Party, 
said that the principal defence of private property in land was 
that it assured durability in the possession of the land for 
the persons working on it. He then denied that this was the 
fact in most countries and quoted a Russian Government report 
on the question as follows: 

The study of other countries has proved to us beyond doubt that 
small peasant households, when submitted to the same free conditions 
of purchase and sale as other property, are not durable and gradually 
vanish away, giving place to land ownership of a different character: 
on the one side, a concentration of a great number of separate lots under 
the ownership of a single person takes place, larger households are formed 
and a large part of the agricultural population is misplaced; on the other 
side, there arises an extreme sub-division of the land (by inheritance), 
some lots becoming so small that it is impossible to till them economi- 
cally, the land loses its productivity and finally falls into the hands 
of larger landowners. 

It is indeed precisely to this process, as we have seen, that 
both the Government and leading party in the third Duma 
are looking calmly forward. A few hundred thousand peasants, 
or perhaps a million or more, are to become relatively prosperous, 
while many millions are to be expropriated by natural economic 
laws, thus furnishing an enormous army of cheap labour for 



332 RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

the landlords and capitalists. The Government itself recognises 
that the process might go so far as to become dangerous, 
creating desperate village disturbances, and proposes the 
limitation of the expected concentration of property in the 
hands of a few peasants to the shares that would naturally fall 
to six average families — viz.,* twenty-five dessatines or about 
sixty-five acres. 

The Government proposes to favour a few at the expense 
of the many by two measures. The first is by abolishing all the 
communal property, or rather, since such a measure cannot be 
executed against the will of the peasantry, of allowing individual 
peasants to demand some particular piece of land, equal in 
value to their present share, as their permanent private 
property. This may seem to one unfamiliar with the commune 
to be no more than just to the individual, whether a wise measure 
socially or not, but this is not the case. Many villages have 
even persuaded all the peasants to swear allegiance to the 
communal form of ownership, and not to take advantage of the 
law. In the discussions that are going on about this question 
among the peasants all over Russia, the sentiment is over- 
whelming against the dissolution of the commune, as was 
evidenced by nearly all the Duma members representing the 
peasants. It is against their deepest feelings of morality and 
justice that a man with few or no dependents should be allowed 
to take away from his fellow villagers a share of the land 
attributed to him years before, when his family was larger, 
while some peasant households with ten to twenty members 
are without sufficient land for the barest livelihood. So strongly 
do they feel this injustice to them as individuals that they are 
taking every measure to coerce unsocial members of the 
community who are disposed to take advantage of the law. 
Although in force for many months, the number of persons 
making use of the law has been very disappointing to the 
Government, and arbitrary police measures have failed to 
increase it. 

The second measure promises to have more success from the 
Government standpoint. By helping financially the Peasants' 
Bank, the Government has enabled it to buy up and divide 
many large estates and sell them to individual peasants. It is 



PEASANTS ABANDON HOPE 333 

true that the prices asked are exorbitant and that the land is 
often overburdened with payments to the bank — that is, 
to the Government — greater even than its full value; but 
nevertheless a great deal is in this way passing over into the 
peasants' hands, in the one year 1907 more than in any ten 
years before, nearly twenty million acres. Through this second 
law the Government is accomplishing the same purpose of 
favouring the creation of a new class of small landowners at 
the expense of the masses. Its reasons are obvious. It is not 
alone that these measures favour the capitalists and landlords, 
who want to exploit the new army of pauper labour which will 
arise, though this motive is doubtless the main influence with 
the majority of the third Duma. Stolypine, with Witte, has 
probably still more at heart the direct interests of the Czar's 
treasury. The State income, as I have shown, depends largely 
on the building up of industry, and industry has its principal 
market among this small landowning class, since the peasants, 
as has been explained, barely produce enough to eat and there- 
fore can purchase little. It is chiefly from this class that the 
Government can hope to obtain greater sums, either by direct 
taxation or by indirect taxation of the tea, sugar, and other 
articles they buy in quantities the ordinary peasant cannot 
afford. As Witte has explained very clearly, the peasants are 
so poor that it does not pay the Government to help them. 
There is no promise that the great mass of them will have 
enough money in the near future either to promote Russian 
industry by their purchases, or to be able in any way to help 
out the Russian treasury, so near to bankruptcy. 

Indeed, from an economic standpoint, half-way measures 
of relief to the masses of the peasants would lead to further 
impoverishment of the nation as a whole, for the reason that the 
largest of the estates of the landlords are much more produc- 
tively operated than the small holdings; the decrease of the 
foimer and the increase of the latter, while benefiting the 
peasants, would impoverish the nation as a whole, and the 
Government treasury would feel the result. Statistics from 
the province of Poltava show that the large properties produce 
25 per cent, more wheat and 40 per cent, more rye than 
the small. Indeed, there is already raging a hopeless economic 



334 RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

conflict between the two cultures — the landlords' and the 
peasants'. The famishing peasants having so little land 
themselves are pressed to rent that of the landlords, but they 
cannot produce as large crops and often do not get enough 
even to pay the rent, to say nothing of making anything to 
repay their labour. For example, a certain Poltava landlord 
calculated that he could get nineteen rubles a dessatine by 
renting his land at an exorbitant figure, whereas he made 
twenty-seven by cultivating it himself. It is evident then that 
half-way measures under these conditions might really imperil 
the State finances, even under a modern and democratic 
government ; and it is just because they feel this that the peasant 
parties want to find a far more fundamental solution. 

Nearly every measure proposed by the Government is a half- 
way, and therefore a retrograde, measure. It is doing everything 
possible, for instance, to encourage emigration to Siberia, 
and in the last year for the first time has had considerable 
success. However, even if half a million peasants are removed 
to the new country every year, the Government will not in this 
way be able to provide even for a third of the annual increase 
of population. The Siberian peasants would seem to be 
relatively prosperous, exporting as they do large amounts of 
butter and eggs, but we find on investigation that no section of 
the Russian peasantry is more revolutionary, and we see the 
explanation of this attitude partly in the heavy railway rates on 
which these isolated farmers are absolutely dependent. Like 
the new small landowning class the Government is creating in 
Russia itself, they are burdened with immense taxation either 
on their purchases of goods or in payment for the land; even 
the amount advanced by the Government to get them to 
Siberia is a serious matter for the pauperised peasants. This 
taxation is not likely to be diminished. The Government, on 
the verge of bankruptcy, is using every possible means of 
extorting money; it will hardly exempt these new classes that 
have no representation either in the Duma or the Government. 

The discontent on account of the heavy taxation is not the 
only additional danger the Government has to fear from this 
new class. The first famine that appears, a large proportion of 
the new debtors of the Governmental Peasants* Bank will prove 



PEASANTS ABANDON HOPE 335 

delinquent and will turn all the wrath formerly spent on the 
landlords against the Government.- All the revolutionary 
representatives of the peasants in the Duma are looking forward 
to this new class, which the Government is trying to create, 
as a powerful factor in the coming revolutionary movement. 

In a private conversation I had with Anikine in the summer 
of 1907, the most popular of all the peasant leaders set his main 
hope of the revolutionising of the peasantry on the high pay- 
ments which would be demanded from them by the Government 
for the new land. He thought that these reforms would bring 
about a new revolutionary movement quicker than any other 
measures the Government could take. "In trying to satisfy 
the peasants' land hunger," he said, "the Government is digging 
its own grave." The same view is held by the Socialist Revolu- 
tionary Party; it expects that the peasants will be both unable 
and unwilling to pay for the land they are now buying, and 
basing its hopes largely on this measure it is preparing to renew 
its agitation in the villages in the most thoroughgoing way. 

The Socialist Revolutionary Party expects to win to the 
Socialist ideas not only such peasants as have become landless, 
and therefore uninterested in the preservation of private prop- 
erty in land, but also the communal peasants who have already 
learned to believe in the equal distribution. It does not wish 
to see Russia proceed further "along the sad and beaten path 
of capitalistic development," and to prevent this it hopes to 
preserve the village commune against all Governmental attacks. 
The Socialist Revolutionist expect to make use both of the 
vague yearnings for social liberty and equality that have grown 
up in the democratic village assembly and of the very clear 
social conceptions with regard to land, labour, and human 
relations that have resulted from the long prevalence of com- 
munal property. These yearnings and these definite concep- 
tions they hope to combine into an intelligent political 
programme. 

For the purpose of arousing the peasants they hope first 
of all to make popular among them the agrarian bill signed by 
the majority of the peasant deputies of the second Duma. They 
expect to adapt this bill to local conditions and thus to make its 
application clear to the villages. They appeal also to the 



336 RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

peasantry to take advantage of their right of communal property, 
to redistribute the land not after the end of ten years or more, 
as is the usual custom, but immediately. In this way they hope 
to satisfy all elements in the community and to eliminate the 
chief motive that tempts the individual to sell out — namely, 
dissatisfaction with his present allotment. They expect to 
take advantage of the peasants' cooperative traditions to form 
new organisations, especially for the lowering of rents and the 
raising of wages. In general they are using every effort to 
strengthen and further organise the village as a unit and to 
promote its interests both against the anti-social individual 
and the anti-social State. 

In most of the practical features of its programme the Socia- 
list Revolutionary Party has the support of several other very 
important organisations, including the Teachers' Union, the 
Railway Union and, best of all, the Peasants' Union. The 
policy of the Socialist Revolutionary Party is to promote in 
every way these and similar organisations, while preserving its 
own political independence. Besides meeting the majority 
of the chief leaders of the Socialist Revolutionary Party, I have 
taken pains to make the acquaintance of nearly all the founders 
of the Peasants' Union and of several of the active officers of 
the Teachers' and Railway Unions. I have visited these organi- 
sations in their headquarters and attended one of the congresses. 
The policy of these organisations has been to aid only in a general 
way the revolutionary movement, without adopting a too 
definite programme which might offend any particular revolu- 
tionary political party. The Socialist Revolutionary Party 
gives full recognition to the Peasants' Union as being the im- 
portant economical organisation of the peasant classes. At 
no time have there been fundamental matters of difference 
between these two organisations. They have always had 
many important members in common, while the party has 
furnished a large portion of the persons who have done most to 
spread the union among the villages. 

I have written at some length of the Labour Group. I must 
call attention now to the fact that it took nearly all its pro- 
gramme, as well as its tactics, from the Peasants' Union, and 
that many of the founders both of the union and the Labour 



PEASANTS ABANDON HOPE 337 

Group were former members of the Socialist Revolutionary 
Party. The principal element of the Labour Group's solution 
of the land question, that each peasant is to have only so much 
land as he can work with his own labour, was taken directly 
from the Peasants' Union. But the latter organisation has 
always been somewhat more revolutionary. The Labour 
Group was under the necessity of assimiliating and educating 
many peasants who, though all broadly speaking revolutionary 
and in favour of expropriating the landlords' estates, had no 
other very definite political ideas. 



CHAPTER VIII 

THE LEADERS OF THE PEOPLE 

THE founders of the Peasants 1 Union were all merely seeking 
to express the existing state of opinion of the peasantry. 
The union was really founded by the peasants themselves. The 
resolutions of its first congress in Moscow in July, 1905, were 
printed in all the Russian press, and, through the teachers or 
progressive and educated peasants, soon reached a large part 
of the villages. It is not surprising that it was everywhere 
received with favour, for the first congress was composed largely 
of ordinary peasants. To understand how the idea of the 
union was received, and branches formed without any local 
agitation, let us take an account of a meeting that was held in 
Saratov in the summer of 1905. This and other meetings in 
that province were reported to the Central Committe by the 
writer Bogoraz, and had a good deal to do with shaping the 
future policy of the union, of which Bogoraz became a 
secretary. After a long discussion by the peasants, who had 
assembled to discuss not the Peasants' Union but the question 
of cooperation, they decided that there was no use in orga- 
nising a cooperative society under the insufferable conditions 
that prevailed, and drew up after several hours' labour the 
following resolution: 

We are bora and brought up in the villages- We do not know any 
other occupation except agriculture. We are not in a condition to occupy 
ourselves with other things because we are l»j-Vi«g the means for it 
Agriculture has to nourish us: it has to give us the possabtHty of saving 
a few pennies for our dark days, for the famine years, or in case we have 
to marry off a daughter or send our sons into rmhtary service. This 
occupation has to give us means of paying taxes, of paying for our elected 
authorities, our clergy, our school, our hospitals* and of constructing 
our roads and paying the indirect taxes, which are the most important 
of aO and iall entirely on us. AD the taxes cm akc&cd. pecrctann, tea, 
sugar and matches come principally fncsa u& We bave to extract 



THE LEADERS OF THE PEOPLE 339 

hundreds of millions of rubles from our land to pay for the needs of the 
State, and in spite of this the land that we possess gives us a chance to 
live only in a half-starved condition. 

That is what we are suffering from, the lack of land; but the lack of 
liberty makes us suffer still more. We have such a quantity of officials 
over us that at times we do not know whom we ought to fear most. We 
do not know why they exist in such a number, or who has installed them, 
but we know that those who are most numerous here are like guards over 
prisons. One might think that we peasants are the greatest of criminals. 
All our officials shout at us, curse us, threaten us with prison, the whip 
and "nagaika," and with forced military service. They have only one 
law, the club. They know only one kind word to address us with; 
it is "give." 

The "land officials," the police captain, the police colonel and the 
governor, even the elected authorities of the village, even the priests who 
ought to be our fathers in Christ, they too do nothing but laugh at us. 
Our assembly has no power over them. All the power is in the hands of 
the officials and the upper classes. We build schools to have our chil- 
dren taught. We want our children to learn the truth in these schools, 
but the officials send us teachers not of our choice. These teachers 
teach our children all sorts of stupidity in the place of true knowledge. 
They forbid our children to read good books. They hide the truth from 
them. We do not know where the taxes go that are collected from us, 
but we know that if we do not pay them in time acts of violence are 
committed against us. 

We have no true justice. We have no defence, if injustice is committed 
against us. When we want to defend ourselves soldiers are sent and 
beat us. It is our brothers and sons that do the beating, our brothers 
and our children whom we tear from our families and send to defend the 
Fatherland. They teach them instead to kill their own brothers, but they 
do not learn how to defend the Fatherland. 

This cannot last. We must confess that we find it necessary to bring 
it about that this state of things be changed. 

People elected by everybody ought to govern the country, and not 
only the officials. All the voters ought to be equal, the rich and the poor, 
the educated and the uneducated. Those elected by the people must 
give equal laws for all and they must follow the way in which the people's 
money is being expended. 

The army must be replaced by a popular militia, so that every man 
should learn military science at home and during his free time. We are 
sure that such a militia in the case of war will know how to defend our 
country as well as the present army. 

The people must have the liberty of meeting and of speaking freely 
about everything, about affairs of state and about social questions. 
The censorship must be abolished. 

All crimes must be judged by jury, and the right should not exist to 
arrest any one more than two days without judgment. 



340 RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

Taxes ought not to be collected as now by the taxation of poor people 
alone. A certain per cent, of income ought to be taken and this per cent, 
ought to be increased according to the size of the property owned; a 
large part of an inheritance that one has received ought also to be taxed, 
for this is not money earned. 

Complete liberty of conscience ought to exist. The clergy must be 
elected by the people. Education of the people must be free and equal 
for all, and the Government must give the m o n ey for it. 

Finally, and this is the most important, this will put an end to our 
servitude and stop our ruin — for servitude still exists, and alongside 
the peasant agriculturists are living landlords who are enriching them- 
selves by the peasants' labour, which they can do because of their right 
of possessing God's property — finally, it is indispensable to expropriate 
all private lands and to give these lands into the possession of the villages 
which will give it only to him who cultivates it with his own labour. 
Only when all that will be accomplished will the people be able to live 
and commence a regular life, but if all that is not accomplished a great 
misfortune awaits our country. 

To realise all these demands we find necessary the immediate convo- 
cation of a constitutional assembly on the principle of universal, equal, 
and secret suffrage. 

For the struggle to obtain these reforms we are founding the Peasants* 
Union of the district of Petrovsk. The founders of this union are all 
the members present at this conference. 

The last words give us a key to the origin of the union. 
Everywhere the peasants themselves took the initiative as soon 
as they heard that such an organisation was being formed. All 
those who did the work of organising report that villages sent 
to request them to put these villages into relations with the 
national organisation. Locally no agitation was necessary. 

A few words about the educated organisers of the union in 
Moscow and St. Petersburg might not, however, be inappro- 
priate. In the country the organisation was promoted chiefly 
by the employees of the local governments, teachers, doctors, 
agricultural experts and others, all of whom had their national 
organisations which aided in the movement. Besides these 
organisations there was a little group of men in Moscow among 
whom the idea at first took root, largely as a reaction against 
the effort of the Government to organise the peasants into some 
form of "patriotic" association. The "patriotic" association 
was a failure, but the Peasants* Union was perhaps the most 
remarkable and quickly successful effort to bring into unity 



THE LEADERS OF THE PEOPLE 341 

a disassociated mass of many million people, of which we have 
any record. 

Perhaps the first initiator of the idea was a lawyer named 
Staal, who had obtained his first ideas of social movements 
while a student in Germany. He saw then, he told me, that 
the organisation of the masses after the manner of the Social 
Democratic Party in Germany would never succeed in Russia, 
principally because only a very small proportion of the Russian 
people are working people while a vast majority are peasants. 
Yet he felt that the future social transformation must come 
through some form of popular organisation. 

After the massacre of January 22, 1905, the Czar granted 
certain limited rights to meet to discuss "the needs and the 
benefits of the Government." Taking advantage of this law, 
Staal conceived the idea of starting some kind of Peasants' 
Union in opposition to the association that the reactionaries 
were trying to establish. Bringing together several friends 
and acquaintances in Moscow, principally active members of 
the national organisations of agricultural experts and statisti- 
cians, who had been in close contact with the peasantry, Staal 
proposed the idea of his association. Most valuable among his 
friends was a peasant Kurneen, still in touch with his village, 
but a man of affairs and agent for the Rothschild oil business 
in Moscow. The small committee wrote a proclamation with 
Kurneen 's assistance and sent it out among the villages of the 
Moscow province through Kurneen 's agents and the salesmen 
of tea and caldrons. The proclamation was at once well 
received in all the villages and the agents soon brought back 
suggestions from the peasants about the future organisation 
of the union. At the same time Masurenko, a former army 
officer, was carrying on similar work independently in the Don 
district. It was soon decided to call a congress. 

With the aid especially of the teachers' organisation, and of 
Masurenko, a very large number of the villages, representing 
perhaps a million peasants, sent delegates to the first congress. 
From the outset the members of the union and the dele- 
gates to the congress took a radical position on economic ques- 
tions, demanding the expropriation of all the landlords' land, 
its division among only those who work the land themselves, 



34« RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

the abolition of indirect taxation, and the establishment of a 
progressive income tax. 

It was evident that the union was no artificial organisation 
but had grown up from the people themselves. The majority of 
the founders of the union were what may be called independent 
Socialists ; most of them were inspired with the Socialist Revolu- 
tionary programme, but they did not feel that it would be 
just or practical to urge their ideas on the peasant delegates 
and left them entirely free to work out their own programme 
with a few stimulating suggestions. They were democratic 
leaders, that is, they were helping the people to go where they 
themselves desired. I talked with nearly all of them. One of 
the most interesting of these conversations was with the well- 
known writer on agriculture and economics, Bielevski, while he 
was under house arrest with the gendarmes before his door. It 
was just about one year after the first congress of the union. 
Bielevski was looking forward to a long and frightful revolution. 
He said that a foreigner only imagined he observed Russia's 
condition, for he could not see how Russian hearts were full 
of hate. He spoke of the Czar's punishment expeditions, of 
his armies of revenge, and said that the people were almost 
insane with anger. 

"The Government," he said, "is used to using the 'nagaika' 
and blows; it hates the people, while the people hate the Govern- 
ment, as a slave does his master." He believed that the Govern- 
ment had gone so far in betraying its promises that it had 
compromised among the people not only itself but the Czar 
also. He tried to picture the state of mind of the peasants by 
calling attention to the thousands and thousands of flayed 
backs all over the country. These were things that were never 
forgotten. He thought that the people had learned more during 
the year since the union had been founded than they had in a 
generation. He insisted not only that the revolutionary 
sentiment but also the Socialist programme of the union came 
from the peasants themselves, since they knew that if free trade 
in land was allowed in starving Russia they would be forced 
to sell their little lots at the very first famine. 

Staal and Kurneen also insisted that the union had only put 
in words what the peasants were already thinking. The union 



THE LEADERS OF THE PEOPLE 343 

indeed was so thoroughly popular that even the reactionaries 
were forced to change their plan for organising the peasants and 
to adopt the Peasants' Union programme almost in full, with the 
single exception of ignoring the call for a constitutional assembly. 

The founders of the union have been tried and condemned 
to a year's imprisonment by the Government. That the 
punishment was not longer is owing to the very intelligent and 
broad attitude that these men took in their work. In the trial 
itself it was made thoroughly clear that there had been a demand 
among the people for political leadership that had been filled by 
a number of the devoted and patriotic "intellectuals" of the 
kind I have mentioned. These intellectuals proved that their 
principle had been to spread among the peasantry a correct 
understanding of the land question. One leader, Pieshekanov, 
defended himself in the trial by saying that there were only 
two roads to be chosen, either to let the peasants pour by 
themselves into a torrent of anarchistic revolt, or to take the 
direction of the movement and reduce it to order. It was 
shown in the trial that where the union was best organised the 
disorders were least; and I myself have had it pointed out to 
me by the peasants that the union and the revolutionary 
parties try to restrain them from revengeful violence. The 
peasants told me of an incident in which the president of a local 
government board, a landlord, the guards of whose estate had 
fired on the peasantry, was attacked by the latter and sent to 
town to secure some revolutionary student to talk to the 
peasants and protect him from their revenge. 

Among the St. Petersburg members of the union a new and 
still more definitely organised party, that of the National 
Socialists, took its origin. The Peasants' Union and other 
revolutionary organisations had successfully taught the peasants 
that they must look forward to a constitutional assembly and 
that they would have to take the land for themselves. I 
believe that this new organisation may possibly find the correct 
solution of the problem of the distribution of the land. There 
is no doubt that each of the parties we have mentioned will 
contribute something to this solution. In the programmes 
both of the Labour Group and of the Socialist Revolutionary 
Party one of the measures for equalising land is a heavily 



344 RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

graduated land tax on the principle of Henry George, Miacotiii, 
one of the chief leaders of the new party, told me he considered 
this the most important element for the purpose of bringing about 
the desired economic equality ; and considering the enormous diffi- 
culties of the actual redistribution of land itself as it is now car- 
ried on in the Russian villages, there seems no doubt that this 
measure will be the one on which ultimately the Socialist and 
revolutionary parties will all unite. The Nationalist Socialist 
Party is the organisation which is best liked by all the other 
revolutionary parties at considerable rivalry with one another. 
Although the democratic Socialist movement that has em- 
bodied itself in the Peasants' Union, the Labour Group and 
the National Socialist Party, owes its theoretical inspiration to 
the Socialist Revolutionaries and its real origin to the spon- 
taneous demands of the people, it has not been wanting in 
leaders among the chief men of Russia. Vladimir Korolenko, 
whom I have already mentioned, a novelist known abroad and 
beloved by every Russian, has been in the forefront of all the 
great movements of protest in which Russia's most distinguished 
and talented names have figured. Korolenko has for years 
been in close touch with the Socialist Revolutionary movement 
and is now Considered to be one of the chief leaders of the new 
popular Socialist parties, without, of course, being a partisan 
of any. I visited him in his home in Poltava and found him 
looking forward to a greater and broader and more profound 
revolutionary movement with the same hopefulness as the masses 
of the peasant people. He was under no illusions as to immediate 
prospects, realising that the Government had succeeded in 
imprisoning or exiling the brains of the movement, but he did 
not consider this check at all as an insuperable calamity, but 
rather perhaps even as a piece of good fortune in the end. To 
Korolenko and all the great Russians in real, close and sympa- 
thetic contact with the people, the revolution is such an im- 
mense thing that it ought not to succeed too rapidly ; too hasty 
victories in such a cause would necessarily lead to latei deleats. 
He felt that the great thing needed was organisation in the 
spirit of the Peasants' Union and the Labour Group and con- 
sidered that tremendous progress had already been made in 
this direction. He did not believe that any amount of dis 





THE LEADERS OF THE PEOPLE 345 

organised and blind revolt could do anything but strengthen 
the Government. Far from agreeing with Milyoukov that the 
continuance of disorder in Russia would force the Government 
to rely on the reformers to straighten things out, he felt that 
just the contrary was the case and that disorderly revolt could 
only weaken the revolutionary movement. 

Korolenko is an excellent type of Russia's famous men who 
have participated in the popular revolutionary movement. 
Of the new leaders that are also springing up plentifully all over 
the country each of the Dumas has produced a score. One of 
the most influential and typical is Karaviev, perhaps the most 
impressive speaker of the Labour Group in the second Duma. 
When a youth he was a physician to the local government 
board of Perm. Having exposed a corrupt judge, the latter 
tried to have him removed; however Karaviev's peasant 
friends were so outraged that they threatened to kill this 
official if the measure was carried out; to solve the difficulty 
Karaviev removed to one of the districts of the St. Petersburg 
provinces. Again he was arrested, because the political police 
had decided "that he was too popular and influential and that 
his beliefs were dangerous to the State." No other accusations 
could be made against him; indeed, while Karaviev is both a 
revolutionary and a Socialist, he belongs to the moderate wing 
of the movement and has always been very careful in his public 
life. It happened that some of the factories situated in the 
district where he was living at this time (1897) were English, 
and that some of the members of the English colony were 
interested in him and secured his release from prison, but he 
was forbidden to reside in any industrial province. Without 
his knowledge the peasants of the neighbourhood had sent 
an application to the Czar that he should be allowed to stay. 
Later on he removed to Kharkov in the south of Russia, but his 
persecution by no means ceased. His election to the second Duma 
and the prominent part he played in it, far from relieving him from 
petty and serious police persecutions, have made them worse. 

When I visited him in the summer of 1907 he had just had 
the good fortune to be elected as physician of a certain factory 
hospital; the governor, however, had notified him that he 
would remove him from this position if he accepted it. Kara- 



346 RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

viev, it must be remembered, is under no legal process of any 
kind, and the Government has never been able to formulate 
any accusation against him. He had decided to accept the 
position offered in defiance of the governor. I have no doubt that 
he will soon end in Siberia, but persecution everywhere in Russia 
is now so bad that progressive people do not feel it is of any tragic 
importance where they live, in Siberia, or in their native town. 

Karaviev was strongly in favour of a peasant party entirely 
independent of the theoretical influence of the Socialist organi- 
sation, but he also realised that the Socialistic and revolutionary 
proposals adopted by the Peasants' Union were of a thoroughly 
practical character and applicable to the present condition of 
the country. He therefore wished the peasants' party to be 
headed by the Peasants' Union. Although he thought that 
the peasants felt that a hereditary ruler was a sort of law of 
nature, he was certain that they were also so democratic that, 
if they had their way, they would so qualify and limit any 
monarchy that there would be very little place left in it for the 
Czar. Besides, he had noticed that an anti-monarchical senti- 
ment was growing up very rapidly among all the more educated 
villagers. He thought that social ideas of the peasants had 
gone further even than their political ideas and believed that, 
if political equality were established, Socialist ideas in some 
practical form would be readily accepted by the whole population. 

Like Korolenko he was hopeful for the future. He thought 
there was much promise in the view prevailing among the 
peasants that, after a few years when the army was composed 
entirely of new recruits sworn by the villages not to shoot against 
the people, the revolution would be able to conquer; and he 
was confident that the peasants now purchasing property 
through the Peasants' Bank, and so seemingly accepting the 
Governmental land reform, would, within a few years, revolt 
against making any further payments and accentuate the 
revolutionary situation. 

I talked with many other leaders of this class, active Duma 
members in thoroughly intimate contact with their constit- 
uents. All were hopeful of a renewal of the revolutionary 
movement within a few years, and all were in general accord 
with the opinions and feelings stated by the peasants themselves. 



part five 
Revolution and the Message 



;■ » 



J 



CHAPTER I 

THE WORKINGMEN 

IP THE peasants-have become revolutionary and Socialistic, 
the city workingmen, better paid, better educated, and 
better organised, have both preceded them and gone further 
in this direction. Indeed the most important events of the 
revolutionary movement up to the present have been brought 
about solely by the workingmen. The Czar's promise of a 
national assembly was forced from him by the indignation of 
Russia and the whole world at his massacre, on January 22, 
1905 (Western calendar), of the courageous workingmen peti- 
tioners before the Winter Palace in St. Petersburg. On October 
30th of the same year the general strike instituted by the 
Railway Union wrung from the reluctant Czar his promise of 
universal suffrage for this assembly and of the rights of man 
for Russian citizens. All these promises were empty phrases, 
but nevertheless the most momentous political acts of all 
Russian history up to the present day. Having gone so far, 
having made such sacrifices, and having won such a moral 
victory for the nation, the working people began to ask some- 
thing for themselves. They saw it was possible that even 
under a free government, if it fell into the hands of other social 
classes, they might still continue to starve. 

They had never placed a mere political liberty above their 
hope to reach a position where they might cease to go hungry. 
The petition of January 2 2d itself was the result of a strike 
for better wages and bearable hours of labour. The national 
general strike was instituted by the Railway Union driven to 
exasperation because the Government had refused it the ele- 
mentary right to organise railway employees for economic 
betterment. The Russian workingmen have fought not only 
against political conditions worse than those of other countries, 

349 



3 5 o RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

but also against an equally inferior economic situation. They 
are not willing to give up their lives to a fight for a political 
freedom that would not bring a corresponding economic im- 
provement. 

The Russian working people are for the most part able' to 
read and write. For many years the country has been in such a 
disturbed condition that they have had the advantage of the 
leadership not only of the intelligent individuals in their midst 
but of a large part of the equally revolutionary educated class 
who have turned to the working people with their ideas for 
political and social regeneration of Russia. They have come 
to be keenly conscious of the superior conditions of working- 
men in other countries, and at the same time of all the social 
and political evils against which labour unions and social parties 
everywhere are fighting. They have found much matter of 
vital import to them in comparing the condition of their country 
with that of other lands. 

They found that the American workingmen, with the aid of 
education and modern machinery, are producing three times, 
and the Englishmen twice, as much as the Russian, that the 
Englishmen are paid four and the American five times as 
much wages per hour, while the cost of living is on the whole 
as high in Russia as elsewhere. The meat is indeed dearer, 
the bread is as dear, and only clothes are cheap; yet the aver- 
age yearly wage in Russia is less than $100: the very highest 
wages in any industry is that in the construction of machines, 
$262.50. The hours are longer than in other countries, even 
if we take into account in reckoning the annual working time 
of the Russians the large number of holidays. The hated system 
of company stores prevails widely, fines are in very wide use, 
and the employers pay the wages at such times as they think 
fit. Worst of all the conditions, perhaps, is the fact that the 
factories own a large part of the workingmen 's homes and the 
overcrowding is greater than in the worst tenement districts 
in Xew York, sometimes several families being put into a single 
room. Sometimes the homes are even in the factories. There 
are labour laws, some cf which lock very well cm the statute 
Kvks. However, the law of 1^07 about boors shortens them 
only to eleven and a half asd is pdoriy enforced ai that. 



THE WORKINGMEN 351 

The big strikes began in the very beginning of the recent 
industrial movement in Russia, in 1885. Conditions at that 
time amounted practically to slavery and the result was a sort 
of anarchy in the factories. The chief cause of the large dis- 
turbances in the Moscow district in 1885 was that the employers 
were taking back from the working people of the Morosov factory 
every year three hundred thousand rubles, or nearly 40 per 
cent, of the workingmen's wages, in the form of fines. The 
strike was successful in a sense; laws were passed against the 
fines and company stores and irregularity in the payment of 
wages, but of course they were not enforced. The strikes 
continued to grow from this time, until in St. Petersburg in 1896 
the strike of the weavers was so serious that the question came 
up in a conference between Finance Minister Witte and the chief 
of police of the city, Kleigels, whether it would be practicable, 
under modern conditions, to force workingmen, like slaves, to 
their work. The city chief of police answered that he could 
force workingmen to labour "if they would only make disturb- 
ances on the street," but that if they sat quietly at home he 
could do nothing against them. As a result of this strike the 
eleven and a half hours law I have mentioned was written on 
the statute books. 

All the strikes during the recent revolutionary movement, 
both before and after the St. Petersburg strike that led to the 
massacre, have had as part of their object shorter hours and 
higher wages. In some cases the hours have actually been 
shortened to ten, nine, or in a very few even to eight hours. 
The workingmen have felt they have a certain power, however 
large the reserve army of starving peasants ready to take their 
places, or the army of police ready to shoot them down. They 
have felt at the same time that this power rises or falls with the 
general revolutionary movement, for as soon as the Govern- 
ment began to get the upper hand during 1907 wages were again 
curtailed and hours are being gradually put back to the old 
level. 

Even more than the peasants, then, the working people had 
a social element in their revolutionary programme. Even 
before the meeting of the first Duma they had arrived at a 
very revolutionary position, demanding no mere reform of any 



35* RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

land, but a constitutional assembly. They did not wait, like 
the peasants, to see whether the Duma succeeded or failed in 
wringing important concessions from the Czar; they wanted 
the Czar to turn over the Government into the hands of the 
people, and they felt that no lesser measure would give them 
any guarantee of the promised freedom. 

Soon after the Labour Group was formed the eleven working- 
men deputies left it. They were not satisfied with the address 
of the Duma to the Throne, but issued another of their own, 
in which they accused the Czar of having already broken his 
"sacred" promises of the October Manifesto of only a few 
months before, and of having lessened rather than increased the 
rights of the people. They further accused the Czar in issuing 
the fundamental laws of April 25, 1906, of having attempted 
to abolish the other part of the October Manifesto, viz., the 
promise of a popular Duma. It was certainly true that the 
power given to the Upper Chamber by this law and the 
restriction of the Duma's rights over the budget left the latter 
practically no power whatever. The workingmen 's represen- 
tatives demanded again immediate amnesty for all political 
prisoners, liberty and justice for those who had fought against 
the Government. They further asserted that the great land 
question could not be rightfully decided by the present Duma, 
elected on restricted suffrage, but must be turned over to an- 
other Duma elected by equal votes of all the people. They 
concluded that the only purpose of the first Duma, its only 
raison d'etre, was to pass a universal suffrage law, and they 
declared that this must be done speedily if it was to be done 
peacefully. 

The workingmen had reached the extreme revolutionary 
position without having to learn anything from the Dumas. 
The majority of the peasants only reached it after the dissolu- 
tion of the first Duma, and a considerable part is only just now 
learning to take this advanced position. Not only had the 
workingmen reached this point, but the overwhelming ma- 
jority were already republicans. The Social Democratic 
Party, to which most of them belong, demanded not only an 
immediate trial of "those bloody murderers, the ministers 
and the Czar,** but also the abolition of the monarchy once 



THE WORKINGMEN 353 

for all. It asserted before the meeting of the first Duma that 
all the ministers were simply the Czar's servants, and that he, 
therefore, must be held strictly responsible for all the outrages 
they committed. 

The workingmen of Russia would be glad to secure the half- 
freedom of the workingmen of other countries, or even of 
the United States, but they are not ready to die for it. They 
did not have themselves shot down on the 22nd of January, 
executed by hundreds in Moscow, Riga, and Odessa, imprisoned 
by thousands in every Russian jail, and exiled to the deserts 
and the arctic regions, in exchange for the doubtful privi- 
leges of the workingmen of Goldfield or Cripple Creek. They 
knew these American stories; I have heard them from their own 
lips. I have talked with labour leaders of all the factions — 
pure and simple unionists, revolutionary Socialists, independent 
Socialists, and Social Democrats, members of the Duma, and 
the practical leaders of the great Railway Union. They were 
all agreed that our political institutions are much preferable 
to their own, but they were not very anxious to exchange one 
despot for another. The enthusiasm with which they, more 
than any other class in Russia, throw away their lives is due 
to the great hope that they may not exchange the despotism 
of the Czar for a despotism of private capital. No faction 
has any idea of the immediate creation of a Socialist state, but 
every faction hopes that the Russian working class, if it once 
makes possible the greatest revolution of the world's history, 
will demand such a voice in the reborn nation as to make it 
impossible that the new Government should be dominated by 
a handful of capitalists. 

For a short while it looked as if labour might combine with 
capital against the Czar. After the 22nd of January, employers 
cooperated for a time with the workmen, and the workmen with 
employers, in a common cause against the Government. The 
strikes at that time had almost without exception a political 
character. Many employers freely paid for waiting time 
during these purely political strikes, a direct subsidy to the 
revolution. Even during the Moscow barricades several of 
the largest manufacturers openly or secretly supported the 
insurrection. But now the situation has cleared and the 



354 RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

KussiaA revolution, the only great revolution the world has 
3*ea since the rise of modern capitalism, is directed as much 
ageiast landlordism and capitalism as it is against the Czar. 
F<wr the Caar, by the " fundamental laws " of April 25th, invented 
aft improved style of American Senate. Half the members of 
Ik* august body are elected by employers, landlords, bankers, 
and clergymen — half appointed by the Czar. For fear the 
Duma might do something popular this second body shares the 
|M>wer. The employers were finally cured of their revolution- 
ism by this measure, for from the capitalistic standpoint the 
new body was an ideal representation of the nation. When a 
tew months later the second Duma was dissolved and a third 
created almost in the image of this Senate, or Council of the 
Empire, the capitalists became enthusiastic supporters of the 
"new" Government. The workingmen 's unions and political 
parties, which never had anything but suspicion toward their 
self-professed ally, were at least in the fortunate position of 
having both their opponents, absolutism and capitalism, in a 
single camp. 

Witte saw the danger that the workingmen would demand a 
share in the political power of the future Russian Government 
which his friends, the capitalists, would be unwilling to con- 
cede, and did not fail to try to thwart it. He advised the labour 
leaders to leave politics alone. He favoured purely economic 
action for his " brother workingmen," as he styled them. As 
much class struggle as you please, but no class politics! 

When I called. Witte referred me to his Minister of Commerce 
(and 1-abor) Timiriaseff, with orders to the latter to talk freely 
for the benefit of the American workingman. Mr. Timiriaseff 
Klieved, he said, in the widest possible democracy — much 
tevond the M checks and balances " of the American Constitution. 
Ht believed in cabinet government ; that is, that every execu- 
tive should be always and forever responsible to the legislative 
ptwtrr — an idea that, put into the American Constitution, 
ttuptit do much to restrain the unbridled conservatism of our 
rie'Utc! executives and the judges, their appointees. He believed 
1 mai;v kinds of labour legislation, such as a legal maximum 
ii - tn- wariring day and workingmen's insurance. He believed, 
■ 1 1 wii.m everything the workingmen wanted, but he did n't 



THE WORKINGMEN 355 

want them to take it themselves. He explained the benevolence 
of the new Government, which was ready to do everything, and 
showed how he and Witte had fought in the cabinet for tolera- 
tion of "good" unions (the non-revolutionary ones). It was 
not Witte, he explained, but the Czar's pet minister, Durnovo, 
chief of police, gendarmes and spies, that had not even per- 
mitted these pious unions to hold a single meeting. Witte him- 
self would have had them given every privilege. 

Here was Mr. Witte's scheme to foil the revolution. The 
workingmen were to be divided into two parts — the wild 
and the tame. The wild, he said to a friend of mine, those 
who were not satisfied with his benevolent efforts, were to be 
killed or caged, "like the wild beasts they were." The tame 
were to be further tamed. First came Gapon with his 30,000 
rubles subsidy for restoring the workingmen 's clubs, under 
police supervision to be sure. But Gapon was inconvenient for 
the taming. He played such a hidden game — either very deep 
and subtle or else very oily and false — that he was trusted 
neither by the watchful workmen nor by the watchful police. 
His long, involved career is of more interest to the searcher 
for clever plots for novels than it is to the serious public. He 
stands for no great clear idea, and he spent the last year of his 
life trying in vain to explain himself. 

Gapon' s successor was Ushakoff, with whom I have talked 
frequently and at length. He certainly considered himself an 
honest man, though he has taken Witte's money for his move- • 
ment. But labour did not fall into the trap. Ushakoff, as it 
happened, took more money than he was willing to confess. 
Exactly like one of the Gapon troop, he turned it over to the 
union, but he was ashamed to turn it over in Witte's name. 
The real origin of the money was discovered, and his movement 
was ruined. The Russian workman, his eyes more widely 
opened, now decided to keep his hands clean of Count Witte's 
benevolence. Later, when independent labour parties and 
unions appeared, condemning both Gapon and Ushakoff, but 
satisfied with political conditions and permitted by the Rus- 
sian Government, this was enough in itself to condemn them 
in the eyes of the honest workman. So the tottering liberal 
(capitalistic) ministry had at last to give up its attempt to 



356 RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

defeat the revolutionising of the working class by terrorising 
its more active part and cajoling and deceiving the timid and 
ignorant. 

The Russian workingman is revolutionary, but he is neither 
violent, dogmatic, nor unintelligent. He is ready for barri- 
cades, but he has studied them, and alone of the workmen of 
the world he has learned about them from actual experience. 
He believes in the class struggle. He is ready and willing to 
fight his oppressor, the capitalist class, to the finish. But he 
does not ignore the existence of still other classes. He merely 
asks that the other classes take one side or the other in the bitter 
conflict that draws so near. 

He is unwilling to antagonise the agricultural classes, the 
peasants, though they may not always agree with him; he 
hopes rather to secure a common basis of action. There are 
many orthodox Marxists in Russia, but the great mass of the 
Russian workmen do not expect the peasants to disappear, 
absorbed either in the capitalist or working class, according to 
the stricter Marxist formula. Far from expecting the 
increasing lower middle classes of the cities to disappear, the 
workingmen invited their aid to build barricades and carry 
out the general strike — and the Moscow insurrection was 
carried on not alone by workmen but by students, clerks, office 
workers, Government employees, teachers, doctors, engineers. 
The majority faction of the Social Democratic Party (the pro- 
gressive and more Russian part) having seen this light, is now 
for cooperation with these "little bourgeois." 

The Railway Union, which formed the heart and core of 
the great October general strike, realises that the success 
even of a general strike does not depend on the working class 
alone. For if the October strike won the Manifesto, the De- 
cember strike, at the time of the Moscow barricades, failed. 
The workingmen of the cities joined the strike, but it was 
only in Moscow that the whole mass of the population, 
excepting only the rich and privileged, was thoroughly roused. 
The Railway Union has proved itself wise. It favoured the 
October strike and the strike was won. It opposed the Decem- 
ber strike and the strike was lost. It realises fully the enor- 
mous cost and danger of tying up the transportation of a great 




FATHER GAPON 
Killed by enraged workingmen for trying to buy them for the Government 




T\Tb' OF A RUSSIAN WORKING MAX 



THE WORKINGMEN 357 

country. Its wisdom consists in knowing that if the popula- 
tion is not thoroughly with the strike, the strike will fail. It 
does not oppose a new strike, but it proposes to wait until 
success is assured. 

The railway men and the labour movement at large have not 
lost their heads. In October, 1905, they showed the world 
the first great example of a successful general strike on a national 
scale. At the first stroke they secured the Manifesto — the 
first promise of freedom ever wrung from the Czar. The next 
stroke is to be for nothing less than the final sovereignty of the 
people, in place of the sovereignty of the Czar — who, if he is 
kept at all, will retain little more than his name. The work- 
men are as one man in their demand for a constitution, and they 
know they will have to force it by revolution — "open, violent 
rebellion" as Carlyle defines it. 

But they propose to make this revolution as speedy and 
orderly as it can be made, and for this end they propose one 
more great general strike. The working people, having forced 
the Czar to promise freedom, propose now to force him to make 
his promise good. It is to be a class struggle against officials, 
landlords, and employers. But the working class will not 
antagonise any other class except that of the rich and privileged. 
The Russian labour movement is under no delusions as to the 
"benevolence" of the employing class, but it does not extend 
its hatred to every other class outside its ranks. In the next 
great revolutionary crisis behind the rejected working people 
will be found the great mass of the intelligent city population of 
Russia — all those not held back by private interests, privi- 
leges, or public office, and above all, the overwhelming majority 
of her agricultural population of a hundred million souls. 



CHAPTER II 

THB POSITION OP THE WORKINGMBN 

IMMEDIATELY after the great general strike the labour 
unions and the Socialist parties became at once aware that 
the promises in the Czar's Manifesto had no real value. If 
there were any illusions they did not last beyond the massacres 
of the second day; most of the leaders were thoroughly con- 
scious of the emptiness of the victory from the first moment 
they heard the Manifesto and saw that it was a compromise 
that left all the actual power in the hands of the Czar. That 
the next movement would have to be, not a peaceful general 
strike, but an insurrection, was realised fully by the famous 
Council of Labour Deputies. 

In St. Petersburg and many other places the insurrection- 
strike that followed was a complete fiasco, but in Moscow the 
revolutionaries succeeded with a little body of armed men, far 
inferior numerically to the army to which they were opposed, 
and with the aid of the population, in holding for several days 
large portions of Moscow. They were without cavalry, without 
artillery, and the great majority were without discipline; the 
trained revolutionary militia formed a very small part of the 
whole. Their success was due to the enthusiastic support of 
the population. If the revolutionary militia consisted of 
workingmen with a certain proportion of students and pro- 
fessional Socialist leaders, the barricades were built by work- 
ingmen, servants, clerks, engineers, lawyers, and members of 
the professional class. 

A great lesson remains fixed in the minds of all the revo- 
lutionists, especially of the workingmen — the possible suc- 
cess of guerilla tactics in a modern city. It was because the 
population could safely aid the revolutionary militia without 
being caught; because the arms could be passed from hand to 
hand, so that one gun did the service of three., and the military 

358 



THE POSITION OF THE WORKINGMEN 359 

had no rest; because of the impossibility of the Government's 
deciding which house-owner was terrorised into aiding the revo- 
lutionists and which was glad to do so; because of the possi- 
bility of the sudden transformation of a peaceful citizen into 
a revolutionist and a revolutionist into a peaceful citizen at 
a moment's notice and without the least chance of detection — 
it was because of these conditions that the revolutionists per- 
formed their astounding feat. In a week were belied the 
theories of a whole generation of revolutionary but timid 
European Socialists and a century of military dogmas on the 
hopelessness of insurrection. The spontaneous and universal 
use of guerilla tactics by the revolutionaries and the assistance 
of a large part of the people of Moscow came near placing the 
second city of a great empire in the hands of the revolutionists. 
In other sections of the country where the whole popula- 
tion had for many months been preparing for an armed insurrec- 
tion, the movement, also guided by the workingmen, was more 
difficult to conquer. In one part of the Empire it even had a 
complete victory, and the Czar has not yet been able to force 
this section under the old servitude. In the Finnish, as in 
the other insurrectionary movements of which I have been 
speaking, the working people played by far the most important 
part. Aided by the "Red Guard, *' entirely under the leader- 
ship of workingmen and Socialists, moderately well supplied 
with arms and supported by nearly all classes of the population, 
the revolutionists were able to abolish entirely the Czar's 
Government, to remove the Russian officials and police and 
to establish Finns in their stead. It is well known that the 
Finnish revolutionary movement was orderly from the outset, 
that there was no unnecessary bloodshed and that there has 
been none since. The Czar's Government, occupied seriously 
with other insurrectionary movements in the heart of the Em- 
pire, conceded nearly everything, and for a while there was 
no freer country in Europe. Now the Red Guard has been dis- 
banded, but the Finnish people have learned a lesson and 
if there is any sign of revolutionary movement in Russia they 
will undoubtedly at once undertake active measures for the 
defence and recovery of their liberties now being gradually 
stolen away. 



3 6o RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

Similar revolutionary movements of the overwhelming major- 
ity of the population, under the leadership of the working 
classes, placed considerable parts of Poland and the Caucasus 
for a time in the hands of the people. But with the aid of 
armies of 50,000 and 1 50,000 men these movements were com- 
pletely suppressed. The movements in both these regions were 
on the whole orderly and humane, while the Government 
repressions were savage and barbarous from the first moment. 

The intelligent classes in both sections saw that the rule 
of the revolutionary committees was in many respects better 
than the former rule of the police. The systematic lynching 
of thieves and the deliberate destruction of houses of ill-repute 
by the revolutionists did more for the good of Warsaw than 
years of its miserable, inefficient, and corrupt police, often 
in league with the thieves and souteneurs and occupied almost 
entirely with the oppression of political suspects. The Govern- 
ment has occupied, rather than conquered, these two regions, 
and it does not dare to remove any considerable part of the 
occupying forces. The people are not defeated, but only wait- 
ing until the Russian people are ready to renew the war against 
the Czar. 

The same revolutionary committees were also conducting the 
only schools and classes to be found during the height of the 
movement. When all the schools were closed and all the 
scholars, from little children to students of law, medicine, and 
engineering, were on strike, the Socialists were conducting 
secret evening classes in reading and writing for the neglected 
children of the workers, and secret evening courses in these and 
other subjects for the adults. And for years every evening 
literally hundreds of these circles, necessarily confined to a 
dozen pupils or less for fear of the police, have gathered in every 
corner of Warsaw, taught by the students of the universities 
and higher schools, by young men of the professional classes, 
by young salesmen and clerks. 

The schools are only a small part of the education the rev- 
olutionists provide. There are secret revolutionary pamphlets 
by the million, and even many regular revolutionary journals, 
the only truly popular newspapers, which handle every sort 
of political, economic, and social question under the direction 



THE POSITION OF THE WORKINGMEN 361 

of university-bred editors and contributors. The innumerable 
Government prosecutions have failed utterly to hold this flood 
of printed matter back. 

Simultaneously with this great educational movement, both 
in Poland and throughout Russia generally, the revolutionary 
movement enabled the working people to organise into large and 
successful trade unions in spite of the prohibitions and persecu- 
tions of the Government. Wages were raised and hours short- 
ened, until sometimes the wages were 50 per cent, more than 
before. From any standpoint of the public welfare or the best 
economic interests of the country at large, this movement must 
be considered entirely a progressive and profitable one. As 
soon as the Government once more secured the upper hand 
the unions were again suppressed, until now membership in 
nearly any union in Russia is a crime under the law. Doubtless 
the Government from its point of view is quite right in reaching 
this decision, since it is impossible to imagine that any labour 
organisation could long continue under the present Government 
without deciding to fight it to the death. 

During the revolutionary movement the peaceful construc- 
tive work of organising the working people, not only in trade 
unions but in cooperative organisations, has gone on much more 
rapidly than before. Just as the Government has destroyed 
the unions and attacked the tremendously successful "People's 
Universities" or university extension movements as danger- 
ous to the State, so have the reactionary organisations proposed 
that the Government should either close by force, or put out of 
business by subsidised competition, the astonishingly success- 
ful cooperative movement that began recently in St. Petersburg. 
There are already thousands of these workingmen's cooperative 
stores, just as there are thousands of secret classes to which 
the teachers and professors of the country, nearly all public- 
spirited men, are freely giving their time. It is certain that both 
of these movements are untinged by any direct political ob- 
ject; it is equally certain that the Government from the stand- 
point of the safety of autocracy, is right that anything that 
elevates the condition of the working people or increases their 
intelligence is likely soon to become an imminent danger to the 
Czarism. 



362 RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

It has, of course, been realised that the support of the army 
must be secured, and of the numerous mutinies that have occur- 
red from Vladivostock to Sebastopol, Riga, and Cronstadt, 
nearly all have been brought about principally by workingmen 
agitators and by such elements of the army as have been com- 
posed largely of workingmen. The reason for the mutinies 
that all but put the fleets both of the Black and Baltic seas 
into the hands of the revolutionists was that sailors are also 
workingmen and in close touch with the rest of the working 
classes. Even the conservative wing of the Social Democrats 
has always favoured agitation in the army and hoped that the 
Government might fall into the hands of the people through 
widespread army rebellion. The prosecution of the fifty 
deputies of the Social Democratic Party of the second Duma, 
which was used by the Government as a pretext for dissolving 
the Duma when it refused to turn over the deputies to the 
courts, was based on the fact of this army agitation. The trial 
has now taken place; a third of these deputies have been sen- 
tenced to hard labour in the mines and another third exiled, 
while only a very few have gone entirely without punishment. 

But these mutinies, isolated from one another, occurring 
also at different times, never succeeded even in gaining the 
whole garrison to their side. This was a necessary result of the 
propaganda as carried on by the workingmen *s parties; the pro- 
paganda among soldiers already enlisted was necessarily a bar- 
racks propaganda and necessarily dealt largely with the con- 
ditions of the soldiers themselves, which varied greatly from 
regiment to regiment, and town to town. The leaders of the 
agitation soon saw two great necessities. One was to convert 
the soldiers before they enlisted, so that they would understand 
that they were fighting, not for temporary or small military 
evils, but for a great national cause. Another was to secure 
some form of common movement between the army and the 
rest of the people, without which no mutiny could, of course, 
ever develop into a national revolutionary movement. But 
before these lessons were learned hundreds of persons had been 
executed and thousands sent to hard labour for their lives for 
agitation in the barracks. The parties now know very well 
that no army movement, any more than a general strike, can 



THE POSITION OF THE WORKINGMEN 363 

succeed until the general state of public feeling has reached an 
extremely acute stage. They know that no revolution can be 
planned beforehand; but they propose to be as ready as possible 
when the psychological moment has arrived. Unfortunately, 
a certain difficulty still exists between the workingmen's and 
the peasants' organisations. It is well understood that co- 
operation is necessary but some of the workingmen's parties, 
especially those composed largely of "intellectuals," feel that 
in the general movement the working people should have the 
leading rdle. This seems a very wrong attitude, since the 
peasants in Russia are five times more numerous than all 
other working classes. 

The organisations that were initiated and managed by the 
workingmen themselves with the minimum of assistance from 
outsiders have always shown a very friendly spirit toward 
the peasantry. Most remarkable of such organisations were 
doubtless the Councils of Labour Deputies, purely revolutionary 
or insurrectionary bodies, that arose after the general strike 
and before the Government had again seized firmly the reins 
of power. These organisations were of a purely Socialist 
character but they were at the same time strictly non-partisan 
and took care not to develop a too definite political programme ; 
they were composed of workingmen but they were not by any 
means labour unions, or even a federation of labour unions. 
They were nothing more nor less than a framework for a 
revolutionary government, perhaps some vague foreshadowing 
of what may develop into a very real power in some future 
revolutionary moment. It is largely on account of experience 
with these organisations that the Government hesitates to 
allow any labour association of any kind and continually fluctu- 
ates between two equally impossible policies. First it forbids 
all unions, but this only leads to the more rapid development 
of conspirative parties and every form of violence, as. well 
as that disorganisation of industry which now exists at Odessa, 
Lodz, and many other places. Urged, then, by the employers 
themselves, and perhaps by the small moderate element among 
the workingmen, the Government decides to tolerate loyal and 
peaceful unions, but it has no sooner done this for a few months 
than these organisations, outraged at every point by the pre- 



364 RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

vailing despotism, turn into purely revolutionary associations. 
It was the Council of Labour Deputies to a large degree that 
taught the working people their power and placed the Govern- 
ment in the dilemma from which it can find no issue. 

The Councils of Labour Deputies have usually taken a broad 
national view of the revolutionary movement, cooperating in 
the fullest way, for instance, with the Peasants' Union. Far 
from taking their leaders from the Socialist parties, they have 
rather given those parties some of their most active organisers. 
Such an example is Khrustalev, a figure so important and also so 
typical of the organisers of the labour movement in general that 
I have obtained from him a personal statement of his life. 

Khrustalev, more correctly Nossar, was a peasant's son from 
the province of Poltava. His father had become a Tolstoian 
and was sentenced to exile for twenty years by the Government, 
though he was allowed to return under police supervision. His 
home was the centre of all revolutionary thought in the neigh- 
bourhood and the young man was early surrounded by every 
shade of revolutionist. As a Tolstoian his father demanded 
that he should work with his hands. He was employed at times 
by his landlord and at times attended a board school. 

At this period, the early nineties, the revolutionary move- 
ment existed chiefly among the students, and young Nossar 
was urged to become one in order to carry on agitation. The 
police, knowing his revolutionary environment, wished to 
prevent his entrance to the high school, but the director was 
a friend of peasant and self-taught students and he was 
accepted. In 1897 he was one of the organisers of a students' 
congress. The police insisted on his being expelled from the 
school but he was allowed first to graduate. He then went to 
St. Petersburg and entered the university. The first great 
students' strike took place in 1898, and for having aided in the 
organisation of the national movement he was kept three months 
in prison. It was at this time that he changed from the radical 
people's party, of which Korolenko was at that time the leader, 
and joined the Social Democratic organisation, which, with its 
rich German literature, has always been popular among the 
student class. 

He was exiled to South Russia, took part there in the organi- 




A CORNER OF OLD MOSCOW 




PRINCE KROPOTKIX 
Greatest living enemy of coercive government 



THE POSITION OF THE WORKINGMEN 365 

sation of unions, a workingman's party, and a workingman's 
paper. Later he went to the Caucasus and tried to organise 
a railroad union and only escaped another imprisonment 
because he was employed as tutor to the son of the pros- 
ecuting attorney. The latter advised him to leave. He 
returned to St. Petersburg to continue his studies, but the police 
interfered and exiled him to Yaroslav, where he passed his law 
examinations and received the rights of citizen and the privi- 
lege of holding a chair at the university, providing, of course, 
he could secure a vacancy. 

In 1904, returning again to St. Petersburg, he met Gapon 
and took a prominent part in the movement that led to the 
general strike in St. Petersburg and the massacre of the work- 
ing people on January aid. It was at this time that he got 
his name of Khrustalev. When, after the massacre, the working- 
men were allowed to elect a delegation to deal with the employers, 
Nossar was elected as a member, but since he was not a work- 
ingman he could not serve. Offered his place by a workingman, 
Khrustalev, Nossar assumed the workingman's name and has 
since borne it. The members of the commission were all ar- 
rested, among others Nossar. He stayed two months in prison 
and was condemned to eight years hard labour in Siberia. In 
the meanwhile he was exiled to Kharkov. But at the first sta- 
tion out from St. Petersburg he left the train and returned. 
In St. Petersburg he was again arrested, again kept two months 
in prison, again exiled, this time under escort. When the train 
arrived at Moscow a street demonstration was taking place and 
Khrustalev again managed to escape. Here he helped to 
organise a Council of Labour Deputies, and when the great 
general strike of October began he was sent as a delegate of this 
council to St. Petersburg to aid in organising a similar body 
there. He was successful, and after the great strike became 
the central figure of the revolutionary movement. He was 
again arrested and again exiled, but managed to make his 
escape. The conduct of his organisation and his opinions showed 
sufficient force and originality to interest the world at that time ; 
and to this day, of course, he continues one of the leaders of 
the movement 

Another leader, Trotsky, likewise a young man in the early 



366 RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

thirties, is equally known among the revolutionists. In a re- 
cent talk with the latter I asked what was the final conclusion 
reached by the leaders of this movement as to the future of the 
revolution, and he answered that the future army would have to 
be educated for revolt in the villages themselves. In four 
years the army will be entirely composed of new recruits. It 
is hoped by Trotsky, as well as by a large part of the peasantry 
themselves, that the new army, made up of young men familiar 
with existing conditions, will be made up of revolutionists. 

In the new revolutionary tactics which are working toward 
a complete unity of the peasants and working people in the revo- 
lutionary movement, the popular faction of the Social Demo- 
cratic party has played a still more important r6le perhaps 
than the Council of Labour Deputies. But there has been a 
certain current of opinion in the party against this evidently 
practical and indispensable proposal of unity. The minority 
faction, represented by a number of leaders, among others by 
Zeretelly, has a very great scorn for peasant rebellions, which 
it claims have always been easily suppressed. It might, of 
course, be answered that rebellions conducted by workingmen 
alone have likewise failed. Fortunately, this attitude of sus- 
picion toward the peasantry and underestimate of their power 
in the popular movement are confined almost entirely to the 
leaders. The majority faction and the Council of Labour 
Deputies, both composed largely of workingmen, have evolved 
no such theory of the superiority of workingmen over all other 
classes, either during the revolutionary movement or after it. 
The workingmen have from the first shown themselves more 
social than the majority of the professional Socialists, especially 
in their attitude toward the peasant class. 

Nevertheless, the attitude of these leaders of the Social Dem- 
ocratic Party, more workingman than the workingmen them- 
selves, more proletarian than the proletarians, has been a 
great retarding force on the levohitionaiy movement, and one 
of the great changes through which the masses of the people 
have gone has been to learn to distrust those who believe that 
there is a fundamental antagonism between the two most im- 
por^r.: classes of the country, the peasants and the working 
people. It was because of this saspkaoa toward the peasantry 



THE POSITION OF THE WORKINGMEN 367 

that the leaders of the minority succeeded in getting the last 
congress of the party to reject guerilla warfare and the ex- 
propriation of Governmental funds as a means of combat at the 
present moment. The resolution, however, would have been 
lost had it been put to the vote of the Russians of the party 
alone. The delegates from Poland, the Baltic Provinces, and the 
Caucasus, though most revolutionary, were against the practice 
of guerilla war at the present time for a very practical reason 
peculiar to these non- Russian provinces — that the guerilla 
war in these sections has necessarily taken an anti-Russian 
turn, and the Russian soldiers stationed as garrison there have 
been severe sufferers. Many lives of innocent peasant soldiers 
have thus been sacrificed, and- sometimes it has happened that 
Russian revolutionists themselves have been killed through 
inevitable mistakes. This reason does not apply in Russia 
itself, and the overwhelming majority of the working people of 
Russia, even of those who are members of this party, favours 
relentless warfare against the Government and the expropria- 
tion of Government money. 

It can be asserted with all confidence that the Lettish, Polish, 
and Caucasian leaders of the party are not of a moderate but 
of the most revolutionary opinion. A Lettish leader has 
assured me that his party is only temporarily against guerilla 
war because the Russian movement itself is scarcely ripe for 
these tactics. A leader of the Poles has pointed out that a 
solution of the difficulty has been found by one of the chief 
Polish Socialist parties. This organisation has declared itself 
in favor of guerilla war, but at the same time against all war 
on the Russian soldiers. This restricts guerilla tactics very 
narrowly, but the principle is that in which the large majority 
of the Russian working people and nationalists undoubtedly 
believe. The most important Caucasian leader, though a mem- 
ber of the minority faction, declared to me that the peasants 
of the Caucasus, are both revolutionary and well armed, that 
they make use of the strike and boycott almost as frequently 
and as successfully as the workingmen, that they are largely 
members of the party, and that the party hopes to keep them 
in its ranks, even those who are property owners. Certainly 
these peasants are not opposed generally to guerilla war. 



368 RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

The abandonment of guerilla war means the crippling of the 
agitation in the army itself. All the conferences of those 
who have risked their lives in this work favour both guerilla 
war and the expropriation of Government money. In the 
resolutions introduced by the majority faction, both these meas- 
ures are favoured as a means of preparing the members of the 
party and the working people in general for future revolutionary 
conflicts. This is naturally the principal question within the 
party, for, if the organisation goes in for a guerilla civil war, 
it must expect to receive the most bitter opposition of all well- 
to-do and prosperous classes, who will necessarily suffer by the 
resulting confusion, and it must at the same time seek the closest 
possible alliance with the peasantry. The leaders of the 
majority now in control of the party clearly recognise this 
significance of the new policy. It is for this reason that they 
are in favour not merely of guerilla war but of the organisation 
of armed bands composed partly or altogether of non-party 
members, thus offering the possibility of the most complete co- 
6peration with the peasants, who have shown very little tendency 
to join the Social Democratic organisation. The majority 
faction realises thoroughly the necessity of a full unity in the 
revolutionary movement and points out that the lack of this 
has been the chief failure up to the present point. 

The leaders now in control of the party feel that the peas- 
antry and the less well-to-do element of the middle classes of the 
large cities are entirely against both the landlords and the abso- 
lutism and altogether ripe for a thorough democratic revolution. 
This is why they favour the fullest cooperation both with the 
peasants and with the majority of the middle classes of the 
towns. But even these leaders do not concede that the Socialism 
of either of these classes can possibly be as genuine on the 
whole as that of the working people; they do not feel that unity 
is possible on the great land question, the first social issue to 
be solved by a democratic government. But they do feel that 
these classes can all struggle side by side for a constitutional 
assembly. It seems, then, that this party under the present 
leadership has shown that it may assume a part, but not the 
whole, of the leadership of the revolutionary movement. 

I talked with the chief speaker and also with the chief writer 



THE POSITION OF THE WORKINGMEN 369 

of this party in their separate hiding places in the woods of 
Finland. Alexinsky, one of the chief figures in the second 
Duma, is part workingman, part student, very much in the same 
way as Khrustalev. When he was elected to the Duma he was 
member of the Central Committee of the party in St. Petersburg. 
He is also a very young man, scarcely above thirty years of age. 
Like all the present leaders of the party, he feels that it must 
struggle as much against the "traitor Constitutional Democrats " 
as against the Government itself, and he stakes all his hope in 
the future of the revolution on the further development of the 
peasants' movement. He thought that the power given to the 
landlords in the third Duma was a reactionary movement that 
would especially stir up the peasants' hatred. Before this, he 
said, the landlords were only parasites, now they are occupying 
themselves with the politics of oppression as much as their noble 
heads permit. He felt that it was only when the peasants were 
in a revolutionary movement that it would be possible to 
secure the aid of the army, and so he, it is seen, was in 
substantial agreement with the organisers of the Councils of 
Labour Deputies. 

Still more important for understanding the position of the 
workingmen's party at the present moment was my talk with 
the man who is perhaps the most popular leader in Russia, 
Lenin. He feels that the revolution in Russia is being re- 
tarded consciously by foreign capitalists and governments, 
which are very glad to be able to hold it back at any cost, 
knowing that it is sure to have a social character in the end 
that will affect even their own governments. All of his views 
are formed with a very full knowledge of the economic and 
political situation of other countries and are especially interest- 
ing because he sharply differentiates his Socialism from that 
prevailing in Germany, whence the leaders of the opposite 
faction have taken bodily nearly all their ideas. The German 
movement, he finds, has been too anxious to be legal. Under 
a despotic government like that of Prussia he would have been 
glad to see it take a more illegal and violent form; he thought 
that it had been deluded by the fact that Prussia had a paper 
constitution. 

Like Alexinsky, Lenin awaits the agrarian movement, favours 



370 RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

the guerilla war at the present time, and hopes that a railway 
■trike with the destruction of the lines of communication and 
the support of the peasantry may some day put the Government 
of Russia into the people's hands. However, I was shocked 
to find that this important leader also, though he expects a full 
cooperation with the peasants on equal terms during the 
revolution, feels toward them a very deep distrust, thinking 
them to a large extent bigoted and blindly patriotic, and 
fearing that they may some day shoot down the revolutionary 
workingmen as the French peasants did during the Paris 
Commune. 

The chief basis for this distrust is of course the prejudiced 
feeling that the peasants are not likely to become good So- 
cialists. It is on account of this feeling that Lenin and all 
the Social Democratic leaders place their hopes on a future 
development of modern large agricultural estates in Russia and 
the increase of the landless agricultural working class, which 
alone they believe would prove truly Socialist. At the same 
time Lenin is far more open-minded on the subject than the 
leaders formerly in control of the party, and conceded it was 
possible that such peasants or farmers as were not at the same 
time employers might join in a future Socialist movement. 

We see. then, that the Russian working people in all their 
cuyniusations are prepared for a cordial and full cooperation 
with the agricultural population in the revolutionary movement, 
but we see at the same time that their leading political party 
expects the city working pwple to maintain the chief r61e and 
that the confidence of the leaders of this party in the peasantry 
is without any deep roots. There is another Socialist and revo- 
lutionary organisation in Russia, however, that has as much 
trust u\ the peasants as in the wv>rk£c&=iec. an organisation 
tH*t iv*$ aiso a wry Unx ivfiowiag acoeg the working classes. 
It w to ;>,w ryvotertioaarv twiy :ha: *r* suet: look to &nd cu; 
how tar :h* Rv\rtwr,5 tor the ssa£yiE£ of tire varices revoSc- 
Uowarv w«sSer,-cw*. tor the tortaat&cc cc a sc^fc national wro- 



CHAPTER III 

ORGANISING 

THE principles and tactics of the Socialist Revolutionary 
Party afford the best insight into the heart of the whole 
revolutionary and Socialist movement that is taking possession 
of the greater part of Russia's peasants and workingmen. Like 
the majority of the peasants and workingmen, the party is not 
looking backward on recent defeats and victories as marking 
any final stage in the movement; there is no sign of surrender 
or compromise. A recent party statement claims that the 
revolution has scarcely seen the end of its first act ; that the chief 
characters in this first act were the city workingmen — the 
advance guard of the revolution — but that it would be erro- 
neous to believe that this advance guard can take the place 
of the bulk of the army, the peasantry. It is just at this point 
that the party differs from the Social Democratic organisation 
which looks to the peasants to play a secondary, if essential, r61e. 
"We are only at the beginning of the revolution," says 
this declaration, "and we have before us a long period of obsti- 
nate struggle, of organization, of new open conflicts, of new 
defeats and new victories." The Government, it acknowledges, 
is again in full power, but the general atmosphere is no longer 
the same and no repression in the world can efface from the 
conscience of the people what it has felt and endured dur- 
ing the period through which it has just passed. The task is 
the same as before the Manifesto, but the conditions are more 
favourable. In a conversation with one of the younger, but 
most important leaders, of the party, Sevenkov, the man who 
planned the "executions" of the brutal von Plehve and the 
Grand Duke Sergius, I found he held the same view. Par from 
underestimating the obstacles ahead of the movement, Sevenkov 
felt that the difficulties of the French Revolution were a baga- 
telle by comparison. The executive committee of the party 

37i 



37* RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

feels the same way: it looks at the third Duma as having the 
power of considerably strengthening the Autocracy; it does 
not deny that certain elements of the population, frightened 
by the growing profundity of the revolution, its development 
from a purely political to a profoundly social movement, 
have been driven into the camp of the enemy ; it acknowledges 
that a part of the educated leaders of the revolutionary move- 
ment have become tired out, that another part have become 
disappointed, and that a third part have lost their heads; it sees 
that the Government repression has successfully prevented the 
organised movement of the masses, and it recognises that active 
and rebellious individuals, finding no possibility of an organ- 
ised outlet for their passionate anger against the Government, 
have taken to individual actions which have no social value, 
however much they may have been prompted in the first 
instance by the social spirit. Nevertheless, it feels that this 
very situation will still further intensify the struggle and will 
weld all the revolutionary movements into a single whole. 

Viewing the situation thus seriously, but without the least 
despondency, the party with its powerful allies, the Rail- 
way Union, the Peasants' Union and the majority of the Social 
Democratic Party, has laid out a whole plan of campaign against 
the Autocracy to be carried out without regard to the length of 
time or number of lives necessary for its execution. The party 
especially urges the peasantry to concentrate their efforts against 
the Government and its agents rather than against the land- 
lords, and has a highly elaborate series of suggestions of means 
by which the struggle can be carried on with the greatest 
possible effect. The party undertakes to direct into a common 
plan of action the innumerable devoted persons who propose to 
sell their lives for those of officials who are carrying out the 
Ciar's plan of murder on the wholesale scale. These persons 
are advised by the party as to the means of organizing their 
actions, of bringing them as tar as possible into a general plan, 
of making them simultaneous, of directing them against the 
most nefarious persons* of aiding ihesc to reach a successful 
result, and. in such few cases wfcere this is possible, to escape 
with their own lives. The putr also ss always busy with plans 
for all possible insamcuooaiy and rtrohitMoaiy movements 



ORGANISING 373 

on a national scale that seem to have any chance of success; 
above all, it concentrates its attention on the army and navy, 
and as far as possible on the officers, feeling that intelligent 
organisation is most of all necessary in an army movement. 
To the workingmen the party says above all that the labour 
unions must enter, independently of all political parties, into 
Socialist and revolutionary politics. 

In order to promote the unification of all the elements of the 
population that recognise that the only way to answer the 
war the Government is levying against the Russian people, 
is for the people to levy war against the Government, the 
party is endeavouring to maintain the friendliest relations 
with all organisations that are ready to fight. It has been 
especially ready and willing to grant whatever national autono- 
my is demanded by the movements of the very many oppressed 
people that live under the Czar's rule. By this policy it 
has brought into intimate relations with itself the principal 
revolutionary party in Poland and also the principal Armenian 
organisation. 

This important organisation has conceived a broad idea 
not only with regard to tactics ; its principles also are so broad 
as to admit all the important revolutionary elements in 
the country. The preamble to the party programme, besides 
employing the usual Marxian formulas, broadly attributes 
social progress to the conscious action of those who struggle 
for truth and justice; while the party expects to use, in order to 
realise its end of revolutionary Socialism, all the positive 
elements of economic evolution in the capitalist regime and also 
independent and autonomous creative powers of the working 
classes, whether property less or not. Thus the party appeals 
not only to the industrial working classes, but to the small 
farmers and to the professional element, without regard to the 
question as to whether they are well-to-do or not. The language 
of its programme, as that of many of its leaders, suggests that 
its attack is levelled against capitalism rather than against 
private property, this is partly why it has had considerable 
success in bringing about a unity among all the revolutionary 
classes of Russia. 

The party assumes that war exists between the Russian 



374 RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

Government and the Russian people. It assumes that this war 
ought to be conducted under the rules of civilised warfare, and 
it strictly limits and disciplines the action of its party mem- 
bers to such a degree that the moderate parties recognise 
that it lives up to its own code, which can by no means be 
said of the Russian Government. The party saw at once that in 
this war against odds more overwhelming perhaps than those of 
any war on record, new methods and new tactics are necessary, 
but it believes that the measures that it undertakes are an 
inevitable outcome of the mere fact that this civil and social 
war exists. 

Already there is a roll of thirty thousand people killed in 
the struggle for freedom — the majority in massacres in which 
the police and Cossacks have participated. Not only the 
outlying and non-Russian provinces, like Poland, the Caucasus, 
and the Baltic Provinces, are involved, but every part of Russia 
without exception. At the present time all but. 26 of the 661 
districts of European Russia are either under some form of mar- 
tial law or the local governor is given by Nicholas II. the right 
to issue any order he pleases with the force of law. 

A glance at a few places where the conflicts have been most 
acute will help to show how far this war has gone. In several 
Russian cities, like Odessa and Bielostock, several per cent, 
of the population have been killed or wounded. In Odessa 
as well as in Warsaw and Lodz, tens of thousands of persons 
have been imprisoned and exiled. The condition is such that 
scarcely one family out of ten has not suffered through its own 
members or intimate connections. Many other places have 
suffered more severely: Rostov and Novorissisk on the Black 
Sea, Tomsk in Siberia, and Kronstadt a couple of hours from 
St. Petersburg, have been partly depopulated. 

This is war of the most barbarous kind; and without at- 
tempting to judge the morality or practicability of the meas- 
ures adopted in their counter-war by the revolutionists, I 
have no hesitancy in saying'that they are justified in using 
any means that tend to reach their goal without damaging 
innocent persons. Archangelsky declared in the Duma that as 
long as the demands of the people with regard to the pardon 
of the hundreds and thousands of political prisoners, and the 



ORGANISING 375 

abolition of martial law, were denied, as long as the Govern- 
ment refused to abdicate in favour of a constitutional assembly 
elected by the equal votes of the whole people, the war would 
continue. 

The character of the war waged by the revolutionists is 
rapidly changing. During the year 1907 the war was reduced 
almost exclusively to the executions of exceptionally brutal 
officials as a check on the ruthless massacres and "legal" 
murders practised by the Government. Widespread prev- 
alence of this kind of warfare, it will be readily seen, is almost 
an inevitable result of Russia's condition. This is recognised 
by moderates as well as by all the popular parties; by the 
moderates when they refuse to condemn these acts, except 
in stating at the same time that they are the natural accom- 
paniment of the violent acts of the Government; by the popular 
parties in refusing to condemn them altogether, except oc- 
casionally on purely tactical grounds. The execution of officials 
is justified as the only possible check to the savagery and 
cruelty of the official class. It is not supposed that such 
measures will long continue and it is purposed even by the most 
extreme organisations to replace them at the earliest moment 
by an entirely different mode of warfare. 

When Ministers Sipiaguine and von Plehve were killed, a 
majority of the Russian people applauded, and a large part 
of Europe has since learned to recognise that these acts were as 
patriotic as that of William Tell. The killing of Bobrikov is 
certainly approved by the majority of the peaceful people of 
Finland, and like the execution of von Plehve brought decidedly 
beneficial results, since no man so strong and ruthless was to 
be procured to succeed him. Of those since executed, Ignatiev, 
a favourite of the Czar, was the chief instigator of the massacres 
of thousands of Jews; von Launitz was the savage head of 
Russia's savage police; Pavlov, who while speaking to the first 
Duma from the Minister's bench was driven out of the room 
with calls of "murderer," was the first organiser of the lawless 
military courts that have executed hundreds of persons with- 
out any real trial; Maximo vsky, as head of the prison system, 
was responsible for the wholesale tortures and murders of poli- 
tical prisoners; and the Grand Duke Sergius Was perhaps the 



376 RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

most cruel, brutal, and corrupt member of the royal family 
since Ivan the Terrible. It is impossible to deny that the 
nation has gained tremendously by the death of each of these 
individuals, and relatively few Russians outside of Govern- 
ment circles are disposed to question the public utility of 
most of these executions. Although, as the executions spread 
from the highest authorities to lower officials, their social utility 
becomes more and more questionable — laying aside for the 
moment all questions of morality inapplicable to a state of 
war, and remembering only the deep human instinct against 
all unnecessary cruelty and unnecessary sacrifices of life — we 
cannot doubt that such of them as are justified by the national 
conscience have afforded much temporary relief from the hor- 
rible practices of the Government. 

The revolutionists and other outraged citizens have killed 
and wounded in the two years before July i, 1907, seven hun- 
dred police officials and several thousand spies, political police, 
and other persons engaged in similar work. The proportion 
of the police officials attacked has been a considerable part of 
the total, but there can be no question that nearly all such offi- 
cials are engaged in a perfectly relentless war against those 
who are trying to overturn the Government. Nor is the pro- 
portion of the total number of common police and gendarmes 
killed or injured a small one, although the policy of all the 
parties is to attack such persons as little as possible, since it is 
recognised that they are mere mercenaries, selling themselves 
perhaps only temporarily for their bloody work. 

A large part of the common soldiers as well as Cossacks 
have been used against the revolutionists, yet even when 
both are classed together only a few hundreds out of the army 
of nearly two million have been killed or injured, for the 
revolutionists hope to ultimately win over most of the soldiers 
and even a considerable part of the Cossacks. Unfortunately, 
a good many private citizens have also been killed or wounded 
for political causes by peasants or workingmen, but the total 
out of Russia's millions is only a few hundred; not at all a seri- 
ous matter in these times of tremendous losses of life. 

Moreover, it is only in a very few parts of the country that 
these acts of violence have gone to a bitter extreme. In 



ORGANISING 377 

Sebastopol and Kronstadt, two small towns of a half a hundred 
thousand people, over a hundred officials have been killed or 
wounded as the result of the repeated mutinies of soldiers and 
sailors engaged in a desperate war with the authorities. In the 
Caucasus, also in Tiflis and Baku, hundreds of these attacks on 
officials have taken place and the ordinary life of the community 
has certainly been forced into an entirely new course. The 
same is true of all the chief cities of Poland. Outside of these 
districts there have been massacres, mutinies, and other serious 
forms of revolutionary disturbances, but the attacks on offi- 
cials have never reached such an acute stage as to mean any- 
thing in the daily life of the ordinary citizen. 

This method of warfare is pretty well under the control of 
its principal advocates, the Socialist Revolutionary Party. 
During the first Duma the party ordered that the executions 
should cease, and they fell to less than one half of what they 
were before, such attacks as were made being those of half- 
organised groups or individuals on the police. 

Recognising the inevitability of this form of self-defence on 
the part of the population, neither of the first two Dumas were 
willing to condemn it, without attacking in the same breath 
the Government also. The representatives of the people in 
both bodies, the deputies of 95 per cent, of the Russian popu- 
lation, the peasants and workingmen, were unwilling even 
to characterise with similar expressions the violence of the 
Government and that of the popular revolutionary organisa- 
tions, for the latter they recognise as a legitimate means of 
replying to the warfare of a government. Even the moderates, 
in condemning violence on both sides, put the chief blame 
on the Government; assuming that this violence will and must 
continue until liberty is granted to the people, they do not 
defend it, but accept it, once and for all, as the inevitable result 
of the Government's own action, and hope that one day the 
Czar, realising his inability to restore order, will turn over his 
power into their hands. 

Those of the popular parties which do not themselves take 
part in the practice of these executions, defend them. Alexin- 
sky, the Social Democratic leader in the second Duma, pro- 
claimed that these executions were as legitimate a weapon of 



378 RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

warfare as the courts-martial of the Government. "The 
State/' he said, "is a gallows State, a nagaika State, a State 
of murder." Even the leaders of the more moderate faction of 
this party have confessed to me in private conversation that 
they recognise the utility of popular executions and wish to 
see them increased, desiring especially at the present time the 
execution of Stolypine, a strong and brutal servant the Czar 
would find it very difficult to replace. 

The first of the present series of great executions was not 
accomplished by a member of any party. The Minister of the. 
Interior, Sipiaguine, was shot by Balmachov in April, 1902. 
" My only accomplice in this act," said the popular executioner, 
before paying its penalty, "was the Russian Government; I 
was always against terrorism and violence, I was in favour of 
law and the constitution ; it was the Russian ministers who con- 
verted me to the belief that there is no order and law in Russia, 
but instead only unpunished lawlessness and violence that can 
be resisted only by force." 

The Social Revolutionary Party has been responsible for 
all the important later deeds. Since it has undertaken to or- 
ganise this kind of warfare, it is natural that individuals who 
have decided that the nation has had enough of some partic- 
ular oppressor, should join their forces with this organisation 
for the purpose of carrying out their proposed act. One- 
quarter of the persons executed by the Government in the first 
year of the courts-martial were members of this party. Al- 
ready over a year ago (April, 1907) the party had lost fifteen 
thousand of its members, more than one-quarter of its 
total membership, by imprisonment, or exile in Siberia or in 
the mines; there can be little question that at least one-half of 
this organisation has been now captured by the enemy. But 
the party is by no means destroyed; the fighting spirit of the 
remaining members is rather intensified, and new recruits 
supply the empty places in the ranks. Each martyrdom brings 
in numerous new persons. If we can judge by the case of the 
revolutionists released from imprisonment or exile of fifteen 
or twenty years by the amnesty of the Government in 1905. 
we can be assured that as often as those now imprisoned or 
exiled are released or make escape, they also will rejoin the 



ORGANISING 379 

movement. All the world knows of the cases of exiles, both 
men and women, some of them in the later years of life, and of 
prisoners who have been locked up in the fortresses ever since 
the former revolutionary movement in the eighties, who on their 
escape or release have plunged at once into the war of the new 
generation. 

But the warfare is fast moving out of this stage; the revo- 
lutionists are now planning not isolated acts of " popular 
defence/' but to teach the whole nation how to wage aggressive 
war against the Government. For this purpose the party 
is trying to draw into its camp all persons of whatever 
nationality or social class who are ready to give up their lives 
to overthrow th6 Czarism, and it has considered every possible 
plan for accomplishing its purpose. At present it is dividing its 
energies between plans for a general military and popular 
insurrection and its efforts to teach the people how to wage a 
guerilla war on the Government, which might, in the course of 
a few years, lead up to this national revolutionary movement. 
A relatively small portion of its energies now goes to the exe- 
cution of officials, and the day is certainly drawing near when 
these executions will be almost entirely abandoned. At a 
period when the masses of the people had already reached a 
revolutionary attitude, but did not yet know how to fight 
against the Government, the party members considered it neces- 
sary to give up their lives in exchange for those of the most 
brutal of the oppressors. Now that the masses are being 
drawn into the warfare, a growing part of the membership 
considers it not only a possibility, but also a democratic duty, 
to leave the fighting largely in the hands of the masses them- 
selves. Recognising this first principle of a democratic revolu- 
tionism, the party is on the verge of a very fundamental change. 
From the beginning its principles have been those of a revolu- 
tionary democracy. It proposed to use violence only for 
the purpose of establishing democracy, the rule of the people, 
and not for any other element of its programme. 

It was in accordance with the previous interpretation of 
its duties that it should act for, rather than through, the people, 
that the party had decided in favour of the popular executions 
carried out by the party and against the growing violence of 



3*o RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

the peasants themselves. It boasted that in the early peasant 
disturbances managed by the party in Poltava and Kharkov 
in 1905, that there was not a single murder in more than twenty 
provinces. But as we have shown, the peasants are being 
treated in a manner which does not allow them to refrain from 
waging war on their oppressors. The party, fearing that this 
independent warfare of the peasantry might develop to excess, 
has passed repeated resolutions against it, but the young 
leaders are all now seeing that these spontaneous conflicts can- 
not be restrained much longer. Already the party is trying 
to afford an outlet for the peasants' martial instincts in organis- 
ing guerilla bands in each village and finding a proper work 
for them to do. It recommends that only officials be attacked, 
and among these only the most cruel. It allows land- 
lords to be assaulted only when they have taken an active part 
in the anti-popular violence, in the Government expeditions 
of murder and revenge; but as the cases of such landlords are 
very many, the peasants will have enough to do without in- 
fringing the party's principles. One step further and the 
principal revolutionary party will have placed its full reliance 
on the capacity of the people to wage their own war of liberation, 
attempting only to organise it, to give it a national character 
and to bring it to the earliest possible conclusion. 

This guerilla war does not any longer require preparatory 
organising. In a half dozen parts of the country it has already 
been developed into a very high state — in the Baltic Provinces, 
in the Caucasus, in Siberia, and in the Ural Mountains. Al- 
though the insurrectionary disturbances and mutinies in the 
centre of Russia have ceased for more than a year, Cossack 
armies have not even yet succeeded in stamping out these 
various guerilla movements. A few months ago a whole com- 
pany of soldiers who had deserted were still to be seen in the neigh- 
bourhood of Briansk in the heart of Russia. During a mutiny last 
year in Kiev this company had escaped to the woods and none 
were captured for months, until about them a sort of legend 
grew up in the neighbourhood and the peasant population as- 
cribed to "the hundred" almost fabulous achievements. A 
band of half a hundred men were able to elude capture for many 
months in the Ural Mountains and to make innumerable sue- 



ORGANISING 381 

cessful attacks on Government property and Government 
officials; always polite to the population and regardful of private 
property, they became exceedingly popular. It was only in 
January, 1908, that the leader Lvov, who had by this time 
become nothing less than a popular hero for hundreds of miles 
around, was captured. All these incidents are of the keenest 
interest to all the peasantry and must have given every pos- 
sible encouragement to those among them that have decided 
to devote themselves to guerilla war. 



CHAPTER IV 



PLANNING THE WAR 



THE goal of all revolutionary striving is the army. No 
revolutionary movement can hope to accomplish any- 
thing of lasting value until the larger part of the Czar's army is 
turned against him. The revolutionary parties have assigned 
thousands of their members to the work of agitation among the 
troops ; many of these are executed, imprisoned or exiled every 
month, but the ranks are continually filled and the agitation 
goes on almost undiminished. All the parties have very 
numerous organisations among the troops of all the garrisons 
and all branches of the service. It is only the Socialist Revolu- 
tionary party, however, that has made any progress in the 
organisation of the officers. Before his recent arrest, Tchai- 
kovsky assured me that there were no less than four hundred or 
five hundred members of the revolutionary Officers' Union. 

Before the nation can make use of the army for its own 
purposes there are three great difficulties to be overcome: first, 
the number of officers ready to give up their lives for the cause 
has to be greatly increased ; second, further inroads have to be 
made into the loyalty of the troops, of which a very considerable 
portion is still faithful to the Czar; third, the soldiers who are 
already converted to the revolutionary cause have to be taught 
not only to refuse to shoot at the people, but to make war on 
such regiments as remain stubbornly loyal. 

I shall show that none of these obstacles are insuperable. 
Every year sees more and more officers of the highest rank and 
greatest capacity becoming bitterly discontented with the exist- 
ing conditions in the army: loyal regiments, even among the 
Cossacks and Guards, have only a year ago gone over to the 
revolutionary movement; and the common soldiers of several 
fortresses have shown that, being unwilling to wait for the word 
of command, they were even too ready to die for the cause. 



PLANNING THE WAR 383 

Intelligent and progressive officers, even those whose chief 
interest is in arms and war, are on the very verge of deserting 
the Government, not only on account of its ruin of the nation 
and of the people at large, but especially because of its misuse 
of the army, of the waging of unjust and senseless wars and the 
humiliation of both officers and soldiers through crushing and 
unnecessary defeat. 

I talked with an officer of the Guards who was at the same 
time a member of the most extreme revolutionary organisation. 
It was difficult to meet him without danger to himself, but by 
taking great precautions I was able to discuss at considerable 
length the revolutionary situation in the Guards' regiments. 
He acknowledged that at the time #f our conversation there 
were no other revolutionary officers among the Guards, but he 
said this was because it was assumed at that time, a few months 
after the October Manifesto, that certain constitutional guaran- 
tees were in existence. He said that before the Manifesto there 
were scores of officers organised and ready to aid in overthrow- 
ing the Government, and he predicted that this would soon 
be the case again when 'it was seen that the constitutional prom- 
ises were without value. Now that the whole nation is dis- 
illusioned on this score, this time has probably arrived. 

I met other officers of various grades, including four generals 
of the highest rank. All acknowledged that the warfare of 
the Government against the people was injurious to the army — 
even the Minister of War, it will be remembered, confessed as 
much before the whole Duma. General Subbotitch went further. 
He is the most important military figure that has joined, not 
the revolutionists, but the most extreme opposition party. 
He was the chief figure in the very large group of officers that 
supported for several months a remarkable army daily, the 
Soldiers 9 Voice. Day after day for several months this organ 
appeared with the most fundamental and bitter criticisms of 
the Government's conduct of army affairs. The facts it ex- 
posed could hardly be more injurious to the credit of the Czarism 
than those recently laid before the whole world by the famous 
trial of the generals who conducted the Japanese war. But 
the matter was of a different character. It dealt with the use 
of the army in the suppression of the revolutionary disturbances 



384 RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

and the resulting disorganisation, and with internal politics 
in general; no day passed when some of its declarations would 
not have satisfied the most active revolutionist. 

The chief position of this journal, so popular among the 
Russian officers, was that the army ought to remain neutral in 
the internal politics of the country. This is as much as to say 
that such disturbances as could not be suppressed by the police 
must be treated as insuppressable. It would follow, of course, 
that the Government would have to make terms with the 
revolutionists. General Subbotitch, having since been dismissed 
from the army for conducting his governorship of Turkestan 
according to these neutral ideas, has come out openly against 
the Government, demanding a constitution. In a long attack 
on the whole policy of the Czar at the present moment he says 
frankly that the internal warfare being waged by the Govern- 
ment against the people must necessarily lead to the demorali- 
sation and embitterment of the army and the destruction of 
military discipline. He accuses the Government of unrestrained 
violence, of allowing the people to starve and of driving them 
to rage and exasperation. 

The Government realises the seriousness of the army situa- 
tion. As a first measure of protection it is proposed to raise 
the army's pay. But while the common soldiers have been given 
an extra twenty kopecks (ten cents) a month, a little tea and 
sugar, soap and towels, and an extra shirt each year, the Cos- 
sacks have been granted enormous subsidies and special pay for 
every day of service against " the internal enemy." They are now 
clamouring for a gift of horses from the Government and for a 
shortened service. To make up for their relatively shabby 
financial treatment, such common soldiers as have served the 
Government faithfully against the revolutionists are being re- 
warded with the decoration of St. Anne, with the decoration 
of St. George with the words "for courage," or with a plain 
medal with the words "for zeal." We doubt if the common 
soldier enlightened by the revolutionary agitation will take such 
trinkets as compensation for shooting down his relatives — 
especially in view of the handsome treatment of the Cossack 
regiments. 

But the lion's share of the new Government's expenditures 




SOME OF THE MEN WHO HAVE HELPED ORGANISE THE SOCIALIST 
REVOLUTIONARY PARTY AMONG PEASANTS 
On floor, right, Stepniak; left, Tchaikovsky. Seated, right, Volkovsky; left, 

Chisko 



PLANNING THE WAR 385 

will go to the commissioned and non-commissioned officers. 
It is especially by high pay and pensions that the war ministry 
has hoped to secure a permanent army of 100,000 non-com- 
missioned officers, who would make a life work of executing the 
Government's orders without question. The increase of pay 
demanded by the commissioned officers is so large that the 
Government has not dared yet to put it into execution, but the 
bill will unquestionably be passed by the present Duma and 
become a law, January 1, 1909. 

As the money for all of these expenditures, so wasteful for 
starving Russia, must come from Germany or France, it will be 
difficult for the Government to make it out that this extrava- 
gance is of a patriotic character, to develop an army to be used 
against foreign foes. It will be easy for the revolutionists to 
convince the peasant soldiers that not only fire they getting too 
little of these immense sums but that the whole plan is only to 
secure an army for the further oppression of the Russian people. 

The Soldiers 9 Voice confessed repeatedly the growing 
bitterness between soldiers and officers. One article warned the 
military authorities against converting the barracks into prisons. 
"Every movement of the soldier," it stated, "is controlled; 
visits of acquaintances or friends are strictly forbidden; the 
soldiers have been forbidden to walk in the streets, to talk in 
a crowd, to read newspapers or books. Even their letters are 
submitted to the officers' censorship." The paper quoted a 
soldier's letter with approval, in which the writer accused the 
officers of humiliating the soldier at every opportunity and 
displaying a malice that awoke in the soldier's heart the 
profoundest hatred. 

The most significant of all the military revolts was that 
of the Preobrajenski Guards. The famous Guards mutinied 
almost to the last man, demanding first of all to be better treated 
by their superiors, to be relieved of police duties, to be granted 
the free right to come and go from the barracks and to have 
their private correspondence respected. Two others of the 
demands of this crack regiment were of the most revolutionary 
character: that the duty of saluting officers excepting com- 
manders of battalions should be abolished, and that political 
opinions should be free in the regiment and that no one should be 



386 RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

punished for his convictions. Under existing conditions this 
latter reform would rapidly lead to the same demand for neu- 
trality on the part of the soldiers as is now put forward by the 
more progressive officers. The result would be that the Govern- 
ment would soon find itself in a helpless condition and that the 
army, appealed to both by the revolutionists and the Govern- 
ment, would take necessarily a constitutional and popular stand- 
point. It is impossible that this, the chief demand of the 
Russian soldiers, should be granted by the military authorities. 
It is impossible, on the other hand, that the clamour for the 
elementary liberties of the individual should not continue to 
grow in the army as everywhere else. 

Fortunately for Russia, the conditions of the army have 
not reached such a point that the army has been roused to carry 
out a purely military revolt and so gotten into its hands the 
destinies of the nation. But I think I have shown that the dis- 
content has come at least to this, that the army could not be 
relied on to take a stand against any very widespread revolu- 
tionary movement, and that it would only be a matter of a 
relatively short time when the army would go over to the 
people's side. The revolutionary leaders do not expect more. 
Whether army officers themselves or leaders of the peasants, 
they are of the same opinion — that the future revolt must 
begin among the peasantry and that it must rely on the army 
only for assistance and not for carrying on the principal work 
of revolution. The reason for this, as stated by the Officers' 
Union, is that no one questions that a considerable part of the 
Cossacks, police, gendarmes, and non-commissioned officers, 
will remain loyal, amply satisfied with the large financial re- 
ward the Government is able to lavish upon them owing to the 
generosity of the capitalists of foreign countries who are so 
freely supplying it with the means. Against such mercenaries 
the revolutionists are prepared ultimately to wage a relent- 
less war. 

The mass of the peasants take the same keen interest in 
the army as do the most enlightened and educated of the revolu- 
tionary army officers. Journeying among them in the late 
summer of 1907, I found that they were everywhere expecting 
that the new recruits, sworn in the last two years and to be 



PLANNING THE WAR 387 

enlisted in the two years to come, would prove loyal, not to the 
Czar, but to the people. Many villages are making the 
recruits take an oath to the nation against the Czar, and every- 
where I found the people looking forward to war. "What 
kind of a war? " I asked. They answered, "A war for the land; 
a people's war in which the soldiers will not fight against the 
peasantry as before." This people's war, the peasants under- 
stand as well as do the revolutionary organisations, must be 
begun by themselves, and they seem to be very nearly in a 
proper mood for this. 

In the last village I visited, in September, I was photo- 
graphing the poor little houses when some women came along 
and asked what I was doing. On explaining that I was going to 
use the picture to describe the village to foreigners, they shouted 
out in a tone of bitter irony: " If you go back to St. Petersburg, 
show your pictures to the White Czar and let him see how we 
live — like dogs." They said that they knew the Czar did not 
care how they lived, but that he cared precious well for the 
landlords. A few minutes later a passing peasant, noticing 
what I was doing, said: " See what the Czar has brought us to! 
He helps the landlords when they are in trouble, gives them jobs 
in the army and the Government. For us he does nothing. 
The Czar is responsible for all this ; he did away with the Duma 
and the liberty he had granted us." One peasant, when told 
of the dissolution of the second Duma and the creation of a 
landlords' Duma, cried out before the whole crowd: "What 
a crook! " What is interesting in these expressions is not that 
they were new, but that they were said openly before perfect 
strangers. Certainly the peasants have got a long way from 
the old belief in the "God-given powers of the Czar" ; certainly 
they are not troubled with any feeling of loyalty or duty 
toward his Government. 

The peasants on the whole seemed to prefer the Socialist 
Revolutionary Party at the present moment to all other revolu- 
tionary organisations. They are all friendly disposed toward 
the Peasants' Union and the Labour Group, but the former is 
mainly an economic and the latter mainly a political organi- 
sation, whereas the Socialist Revolutionaries have given more 
study to the question of how to organise the peasants' war 



388 RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

and to make a successful revolution than all the other parties 
combined. In nearly every one of the six hundred districts of 
Russia, they have their members, or their committees, and in 
tens of thousands of villages they have little groups of ad- 
herents. I have shown how they are urging the full exercises of 
its great powers by the village assembly, the formation of co- 
operative societies and the organisation of strikes and boycotts ; 
besides, along with the Peasants' Union, they are trying to get 
the peasants to boycott the Government saloons, the source of 
half of its net income. Long before the beginning of the pres- 
ent hypocritical movement among the reactionaries against the 
drink evil, the revolutionists had declared total prohibition, 
aiming to save the peasants morally and to ruin the Govern- 
ment financially at a single stroke. 

Not only do the enlightened revolutionists consider every 
form of organisation as of utility for the terrible future con- 
flicts, not only do they feel that good revolutionary fighters 
must be sober and moral in their habits and submissive to the 
will of the community, but they feel, above all, the need of 
greater intelligence. Already a large part of the literature 
read by the peasants comes from the secret presses of this 
revolutionary organisation. Since the Government forbids 
to the peasants all but the most antiquated and stilted 
reading, denying them nine-tenths even of the literature that is 
allowed to the city people (we have seen that in the cities many 
purely scientific and literary works are forbidden, to say noth- 
ing of histories), the revolutionists have supplied the lack with 
popular science, history, and literature from their own stand- 
point. Chisko's " History of Russia M has been circulated to the 
extent of half a million copies, which means that nearly every 
village in Russia is supplied with this well written and extremely 
revolutionary book that sums up the whole history of the 
ruthless and brutal oppression of the Russian peasants. As 
Chisko is at the same time the chief theoretical writer of the 
party, we can see what an influence the party has gained over 
the population by this book alone. Besides, there are hundreds 
of other brochures and newspapers of the greatest popularity. 

Thus far it has seemed that the Government has been suc- 
ceeding gradually in suppressing the peasant disorders, but 



PLANNING THE WAR 389 

two or three illustrations will show how ineradicable the 
revolutionary movement has become, and how near the Govern- 
ment is to the limit of its power for checking the movement's 
growth. So frequent have attacks on and executions of officials 
become that a very large part of the village population is 
already more or less involved and it is becoming nearly im- 
possible to find the culprits. In a recent investigation of a 
killing of a political order, the guilty party was found to be 
on the investigating jury. When one of the most cruel of the 
German barons of the Baltic Provinces, Budberg, was killed 
on the way from his estate, there was no way of finding any 
trace of the one who had done the killing, and the helpless 
Government, feeling that it had to do something if such acts 
were not to be encouraged by such examples, laid a heavy fine 
on the two villages between which the killing had occurred. 
As the fines were not paid troops were sent to seize the peas- 
ants' property. By this act the Government turned all the 
moderate persons in the village, of whom there were doubt- 
less still a few, into bitter revolutionists. 

Another example of how the Government is reaching the 
limit of its powers is found in the rural guards, recently drawn 
from the ranks of the people and still in many cases very near 
to them in their sentiments. It is upon this newly created army 
that the Government must rely to keep order in the country- 
side. I found recently, for instance, that the brother of one 
of th^se guards kept the supply of revolutionary literature 
in the village. In many cases the guards have refused to act 
against rebellious villagers, finding them "in the right." 
When a village is not able to win the friendship of the rural 
guards, it is often able to frighten them into powerlessness. 
It finds out from what village the guard comes and has action 
taken by this village against the guard's interests. If this 
measure does not succeed the guards are often attacked by 
superior numbers and disarmed. In one case the peasantry 
were able to get the better of sixty of them and seized nearly 
two hundred rifles and three hundred pounds of cartridges. 
Another measure is for the villagers to boycott those who take 
in the rural guards for the night, and even to burn down the 
houses of the villagers who sho^r the enemy any friendship. 



390 RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

Certainly it seems that it will be difficult for the Government 
to increase very largely this new army corps, without still 
further increasing at the same time the number of its mem- 
bers who are revolutionists at heart. 

The guerilla war has an immediate object, to drive the hated 
landlords and officials from the countryside. I have already 
pointed out that the peasants have achieved some success 
in this direction. Formerly it was required that the land offi- 
cials should be noblemen ; the Government has found so much 
difficulty in getting anyone to accept this dangerous position, 
that it has been forced to abolish the rule, and even then the 
vacancies, in spite of the enormous power of the office, are 
frequently unfilled. 

The goal of the new revolutionary movement is agreed upon 
both by the peasants and the revolutionary parties. The par- 
ties are making considerable headway toward organising the 
people for the struggle to reach this goal, and it is even clear 
that the leaders needed for such a movement will not be lack- 
ing. One of the most popular revolutionists among the peas- 
ants, a man perhaps who has longest advocated the new move- 
ment and is at the same time the most mature of its leaders, 
Prince Hilkhov, feels that the time is very near when it is only 
a question of securing the right leaders to launch the movement. 
He does not think it likely that the movement will begin in an 
entirely intelligent and revolutionary manner; he believes that 
it is likely to be directed rather against the landlords than 
against the Czar, in spite of the efforts of the revolutionists and 
of the disillusionment of a large part of the people with regard to 
the Emperor. He feels that another Father Gapon, trusted 
by the peasants as was Father Gapon, whether he deserved it or 
not, by the workingmen, will some day lead millions to a half- 
blind but irresistible revolt ; and that when such a movement 
is once started, it will soon pass into the hands of the revolu- 
tionists and remain there, as happened with the Gapon move- 
ment. 

The most important psychological element in the coming 
conflict Prince Hilkhov considers to be the people's militant 
religious instincts. A few years ago the Baptist peasants of 
his village, persecuted to despair by the Government, burned 



PLANNING THE WAR 391 

the orthodox church; every time two or three met together to 
read the Bible they had been fined fifty rubles as a penalty. 
These peasants, who have gone freely to prison and exile for 
their beliefs, have now been reading the revolutionary liter- 
ature; without losing any interest in the Bible, they have 
laid it temporarily aside, trying to inform themselves from 
political literature of the day — and now their indomitable 
spirit is turning into politics and Socialism. So strong is 
the tendency for them to throw their religious enthusiasm into 
revolution, that the police have vainly urged them to renew 
their former narrower religious activities. Such of them as 
have been arrested for their political ideas and held in prison 
for several months, have listened to the orators there and 
returned bringing back an intensified political enthusiasm. 
This idealism and enthusiasm, Prince Hilkhov thinks, can be 
organised by some popular leader, who will then have an 
unconquerable army to lead against the enemy. So sympa- 
thetic is Hilkhov's grasp of this religious instinct and so fervid 
is his revolutionary spirit that one cannot help supposing 
that he himself might prove to be such a leader, or at least a 
power behind the leader, of such a movement. 



CHAPTER V 

HOW THB PRIESTS ARE BECOMING REVOLUTIONISTS 

1HAVE been speaking at such length of the economic 
problems that underlie every great social movement, and 
have given so much attention to the political struggle in which 
the economic conflict expresses itself, that I have spoken little 
of the quite independent spiritual revolution which may in the 
end have as great an influence in reshaping the destinies of 
Russia's one hundred and forty millions as the political and 
economic revolution itself. 

I do not speak of the spiritual regeneration of Russia as 
a thing apart. If the Czarism had not grown so infamous as 
to destroy all the illusions of trusting religious natures in 
the possibility of benevolent despotism whether in State or 
Church, if the peasantry had not evolved out of the most elemen- 
tary human instincts a fundamental reaction against every 
form of oppression, if modern capitalism had not invaded Rus- 
sia with its creation of new industries and new social classes, 
if modern science and modern ideas had not taken possession 
of all of Russia's intelligent classes, if the Duma had not created 
a centre to bring all these democratic tendencies together — 
then the spiritual and religious revolution could never have 
taken a general and national form. It would necessarily have 
been expressed, as for generations past, in the personal 
revolts of unconquerable individuals or in the localised, poorly 
organised and by no means entirely enlightened religious 
rebellion of Russia's numerous and highly interesting religious 
sects. 

AH elements of the people recognise that something of the 
greatest import is going on in Russia's religious thought. It 
is unnecessary to show how general this recognition is since 
the Government itself has proposed extraordinary measures to 
put it to an end. The first of such measures was the proposal 

39* 



PRIESTS ARE BECOMING REVOLUTIONISTS 39$ 

to grant what the Government was pleased to call "religious 
freedom"; the second, equally significant, is the calling of the 
first general congress of the Russian Church. It is hardly 
necessary to say that neither have the foreign religionists in 
Russia — Catholics, Mohammedans, Lutherans, or Jews, or the 
Russian sects, or the half-orthodox "old believers" — been in 
the least deluded by the Government's promises; nor have the 
ordinary members of the Orthodox Church, the liberal element 
among the democratic village priests, or those national leaders 
clamouring for church reform who have developed during the 
recent emancipation movement, put any hope whatever in the 
promised congress. The grounds for all these suspicions are 
very obvious 

The Holy Synod, which now has the active backing not only 
of the Government but of at least one-third of the artificially 
elected reactionary Duma and the passive support of perhaps 
two-thirds of that body, has already set its "interpretation" on 
the new "religious freedom." Indicative of the general position 
taken is its demand that no new religions or religious sects shall 
be allowed "except if subordinated as before under the supreme 
spiritual authorities." The Synod has also practically decided 
to ask for the maintenance of all the principal elements of its 
control over religions and sects already "tolerated." It 
holds it for "its holy duty to insist that all the privileges of the 
Orthodox Church hitherto existing in Russia shall be reserved 
to it unchanged in the future, and that the right of the free 
propaganda of religious teachings shall belong alone to the 
Orthodox Church, while all other religious confessions shall be 
allowed to take into their faiths only such persons as come over 
to them of their own free impulsion." We might consider this 
reactionary proposal as merely a very despotic measure of 
defence. Other parts of the Synod's "reforms," although in the 
same defensive guise, are really almost savagely militant, 
reminding one of the persecutions and even tortures in force 
recently under the Pobiedonostzev regime. The Synod finds 
it necessary "in order to protect the dignity of the Orthodox 
Church and its servants against attacks, that all insults and ex- 
pressed contempt of its laws shall be severely punished whether 
they take place in ordinary private conversation or in the press 



394 RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

or in representations on the stage" — a sort of a law of Itsemajestt 
of the church, going as far certainly as any of the outrages of 
the past. 

Recently the convention of a certain society, not of the non- 
orthodox but of the half-orthodox "old believers," ordinarily 
most loyal to the Czar, was forbidden in Moscow although it 
had held its sessions free and unhindered even under the rule 
of Minister von Plehve, supposedly the most oppressive that 
Russia has ever endured ; while a priest of this creed that counts 
perhaps fifteen million believers in Russia was punished "because 
he had had friendly intercourse with the members of the village 
and had been able to convert the orthodox to the 'old believers' 
church." 

Known to the whole nation and even more outrageous has 
been the attempt of the State to coerce the priests and members 
of the Orthodox Church politically. In the last elections in the 
province of Tver, for instance, the bishop required twenty priests 
that had been chosen as electors by the people to meet in his 
house and to take no part in electoral assemblies. He threatened 
that he would deprive them of their positions and also punish 
them in other ways if they did not vote for the extreme reaction- 
ary parties. Everywhere the priests were instructed by their 
superiors to preach from the pulpit that the people must not 
elect to the Duma " enemies of the sacred Faith and the Throne." 
In Voronege the Church functionary, Anastasius, thundered 
against "intellectual rebels." In Bolkhov the head priest urged 
his flock to choose unlearned men and true Russians, suggesting 
by the latter phrase members of the massacre organisations. 

Where the priests did not wish to obey the ecclesiastical 
authorities they were persecuted and dismissed by the whole- 
sale. A priest of the town of Salucce in the Government of 
Tchernigov, asked by his parishioners if there was any need 
of beating the Jews as some of the officials were instructing them 
to do, replied, " You must not listen if anyone advises you to do 
such a thing, even if the person that does it wears a uniform of 
the police. The Jew is useful to us; besides he must be pitied 
and not struck ; he works for his family and, nevertheless, remains 
very poor; he has not enough to eat." A few days afterward 
the parishioners were surprised to learn that their priest had 



PRIESTS ARE BECOMING REVOLUTIONISTS 395 

been thrown into prison. Aroused by this news they made a 
collection and sent a telegram to Count Witte. Thirteen days 
afterward the priest was released, but on the order of the 
bishop he was excommunicated and deprived of his robes. 
Accompanied by an escort of Cossacks to protect themselves 
from the enraged populace, who knew how to appreciate this 
kind of priest, the clergy came to the village to make an inquiry 
and found nothing against him; but the order remained in force 
and the priest had to go to a hospital and leave his family with- 
out food or shelter. 

So much for the " religious freedom " and the political freedom 
of the priest, matters of general interest to the whole population. 
The proposed Church Council is, on the other hand, so much 
a Church affair that it is best understood and must necessarily 
be exposed largely by the lower clergy themselves, without 
much assistance from the general public which during the centuries 
of the State Church has lost all interest and hope of participa- 
tion in its administration. The village or white clergy, so 
called to distinguish them from the black clergy or monks that 
furnish the higher ecclesiastical authorities, is almost unani- 
mously opposed to the new Church Council — because they 
know it is a fraud, but equally because they are to be given 
no voice whatever in its deliberations, although they are the 
only ones who could by any chance bring a new life and popu- 
larity to the Church. At a recent meeting of seventy-nine 
priests from all parts of the country, it was decided unanimously 
not to take part in this Council, even as guests, the humiliating 
position allotted to the white clergy. At the same time it was 
demanded that not only the white clergy, but also the people 
themselves, should be allowed active participation in the Council. 

The white clergy's position, then, toward the official religious 
reforms, as well as that of the believers and clergy of all other 
sects and creeds, is wholly opposed to that of the Government. 
I except, of course, the very numerous cases of neutral and 
timid individuals who do not express any opinion on any sub- 
ject. At the time of the October Manifesto a part of the white 
clergy explained it sympathetically to the people. They were 
soon seized and cast into prison, so that in many parishes no 
one was left to perform the religious ceremonies. In many 



396 RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

sections there were meetings of priests that decided it was high 
time the clergy should declare themselves in relation to the 
emancipation movement, and national organisations like the 
"League of Workers for Church Reform" were established. 
Moreover, congresses have been held of the various sects hoping 
to find some common basis for a sort of general Protestant 
Church. There was much agreement on many questions, and 
it was only a rather serious contention on infants' baptism 
that prevented some kind of a union. 

Most significant of the spirit of rebellion has been the partici- 
pation of the priests in the Duma. At last, in the third Duma, 
by the combined action of a Chinese election law, barbarous 
police threats, and the official Church, the Czar has secured 
a solid delegation of some forty more or less reactionary priests. 
In the first Duma, elected by the people, there were several 
radicals, while in the second half of the dozen priests elected 
were distinctly revolutionary. The Government has prosecuted 
six of them because of their political attitude and convicted 
five. The most revolutionary was the priest Brilliantov; he 
was accused with four others of having absented himself from 
the Duma when a resolution condemning political assassinations 
was being voted upon. When asked for an explanation of his 
action, he refused to give it or to leave the Social Revolutionary 
Party, of which he was, and still is, a member. Three others 
of the priests, Tichvinski, Archipov, and Kolokolnikov, were 
members of the Labour Group, and this membership was the 
accusation against them on the part of the Church, which 
rightly called the Labour Group a revolutionary organisation. 
On technical grounds the priests denied this latter accusation, 
but they did not deny their political tenets in general and they 
were all unfrocked. 

Tichvinski, the most important of the three, wrote a well 
known letter to Metropolitan Antonius, explaining his political 
views. 

I, a former reactionary and narrow-hearted conservative, have 
revised my views in the course of four years under the influence of the 
needs and sufferings of the people, who have placed their conditions be- 
fore the priests; and I have put myself on the side of the interests of the 
people and of a legal state. Now according to the order of the Synod of 



PRIESTS ARE BECOMING REVOLUTIONISTS 397 

1 2th May, in the course of three days I must turn over to the opposite 
side "according to my conscience/ ' change my convictions and join the 
reactionary monarchists or the independent reactionaries. We are 
not only asked formally to leave our party but according to conscience 
to change our convictions. I declare that I cannot change my convic- 
tions. My political opinions, all my economic views, my Christian 
orthodox standpoint, my activity in the past, are known to you. I stand 
disclosed before you and I have talked nothing secretly. These my con- 
victions, my life, my activity and the conduct of my office, are known 
to the people who honour me with their confidence through my election 
to the Duma. How can I change my convictions without becoming 
a traitor to the people ? Such a day would be the disgrace of my life. 

The persecutions of these priests only began with their ecclesi- 
astical punishment. They have been hounded from one end 
of the Empire to the other, exiled from this place to that and 
always prevented from undertaking any kind of fruitful work. 
Two who tried to study at universities were driven hither and 
thither. The outright revolutionist Brilliantov wrote a letter 
to the Social Democrats in the third Duma in which he describes 
his sufferings. Studying in the University of Tomsk, he was 
arrested and banished from Tomsk and forbidden to live in 
Moscow, anywhere near the Siberian railroad, in the towns of 
the Caucasus, and so on and so on. He chose Ufa as his 
dwelling place and was sent there on foot, but when he arrived 
he was put not in freedom but in solitary confinement. He 
complained bitterly over his treatment. He wrote, "On what 
grounds I came into solitary confinement I do not know. I 
know only that this little room only four feet long, the lack of 
walks, the perpetual half darkness of the room, have finally 
undermined my shattered health." 

The Government did not suppress the revolutionary feeling 
among the priests by these persecutions. Especially note- 
worthy had been the continued denunciation of two very well 
known priests, both of high rank and national reputation, 
Father Petrov and the Archmandrite Michael. The latter 
kept up a continual series of brilliant letters to the radical press 
even after he was banished to a monastery on a dreary island 
of Lake Ladoga. Finally, he found a way out of his difficulties 
by voluntarily quitting the Church and joining the "old believers." 
Indeed, it was told me by Father Petrov that this was the 



398 RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

most practicable step for all the radical priests and would per- 
haps lead to a very important tendency in the revolutionary 
movement. The ' ' old believers ' ' are so Russian and so numerous 
that State policy requires that they be granted certain moderate 
rights. If the radical priests go over in considerable numbers 
to this church, an educated leadership now waiting will be sup- 
plied, and a new and powerful revolutionary force created. 
Archmandrite Michael denounced the proposed Church Council 
as a fraud before he quit the fold and fearlessly demanded a 
review of the judgments passed against the revolutionary 
priests of the first and second Dumas. He questioned whether 
the people of the Church had accepted their dismissal. So 
radical were his opinions that the papers in which they were 
printed were confiscated by the Government. But Michael 
could not be gagged. 

The most striking clerical figure that has been developed 
so far in the course of the recent movement is Father Petrov, 
a figure of such importance that he promises not only to urge 
forward the coming religious transformation but also to furnish 
a very important leader for the revolutionary movement at 
large, since his political capacity and his power as a popular 
writer are as great as his influence as a preacher and writer of 
religious tracts. In fact, Father Petrov is a movement in him- 
self. The author of a hundred religious, moral, political, and 
social pamphlets, with a combined circulation of more than ten 
million copies, he is master of a style so popular that it is said 
that the peasants read him with greater pleasure than they do 
Tolstoi. At the same time he has been the editor of the most 
popular newspaper that ever circulated among the Russian 
peasantry, and his name is perhaps as well known to the people 
of all the country as that of any living man. 

Most interesting in the personal life of Father Petrov is the 
fact that he has been in contact with the whole of the Russian 
people from the peasantry to the court. For years the tutor 
of the families of two of the Grand Dukes, it is said, on the 
highest authority, that he was selected to become the future 
tutor of the Czarevitch, the heir to the throne. The present 
Queen of Greece, by birth a member of Russia's royal family, 
was such an admirer of his that she alone has circulated, it is 



PRIESTS ARE BECOMING REVOLUTIONISTS 399 

estimated, a million of his pamphlets. When I add to this that 
Petrov was elected to the second Duma from St. Petersburg as 
one of the small number of deputies elected by the capital, not 
as the member of any of the influential parties but as that very 
rare thing in the Dumas, an independent, we begin to realise 
the importance of the rdle he has played. 

Not a pope's son, like most of the priests, he chose the clergy 
freely as his profession, having an ambition to fill the r6le of 
a regenerator of the true religious instincts of the people. 
Brought up in his father's grocery store in a village near St. 
Petersburg, he had every opportunity of observing the common 
people. Like Gorky, he became especially fond of tramps 
and outcasts. Feeling at the same time their misery and their 
humanity, he both loved them and thought that he was sent by 
God to deliver them from their suffering. When he taught 
later in an aristocratic school he saw, he assured me, that these 
tramps were better people than the highest aristocrats in the 
country. 

A certain ecclesiastical law allows the students of the theolo- 
gical seminaries to preach. Taking advantage of this law 
Petrov often returned to his village to deliver impromptu 
sermons and was delighted to find that he was always able to 
interest his audience. In this very early period of his life he 
had already conceived the idea which it seems to me is his con- 
tribution to the present movement. He expressed it to me in 
these words: "Even Kant can be understood by the people.'* 
This assumption, though similar to Tolstoi's, is exactly the 
opposite to that of all the Socialist parties. Conceiving as they 
do the economic and political principles of the emancipation 
movement from a scientific standpoint, they are unable to bring 
them into popular language and very seldom succeed in clothing 
them in flesh and blood. Among such doctrinaires the opposite 
belief of Petrov has given him a tremendous importance. 
Almost alone among the important leaders he believes that the 
people understand all clear language and clear ideas even better 
than do the educated class. 

In the theological seminary he was intelligent enough to 
be bitterly disappointed. Imagining in his simplicity that all 
mysteries would be explained to him there, he rather found that 



4 oo RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

in proportion as one immersed one's self in the theological 
studies, one was buried alive. However, students of the theolo- 
gical seminaries are no exception to the general rule for Russian 
students. Even they are imbued with the current revolutionary 
and Socialist ideas and know what independent thinking means. 
So far has this gone that recently nearly all the theological stu- 
dents of a certain province, after graduation, refused to go into 
the ministry and the whole province is short of preachers. Father 
Petrov then was able without much difficulty to form a small 
group of students to read history, literature and philosophy, 
and it was in this group, he told me, that he got an entirely 
different and broader conception of life. Among the influ- 
ences that he fell under at this time he places second to none 
Ruskin and Carlyle. He was especially impressed with a story 
of Ruskin 's who, seeing an announcement that prayer was to be 
.said to God in a certain church between nine and eleven, asked 
44 to whom do you pray before nine?" This expresses Petrov 's 
fundamental religious feeling that all life should be prayer and 
that mere words were useless. 

After graduation from the seminary Father Petrov went to 
preach in the slaughter-houses near St. Petersburg, where for six 
years he delivered eight to ten lectures a week, attaining a 
tremendous popularity among the peasants and working people. 
It was through the common people indeed that he was introduced 
to the upper classes. A servant in the family of the Grand Duke 
Paul heard of him and begged his master to have him give a pri- 
vate sermon. This was arranged and he was taken into the 
family of the Grand Dukes Paid and Constantine as teacher 
of their children He lectured everywhere among fashionable 
schools and organisations, in the pages corps, in the Guards, and 
so on. He says he might have filled sixty hours a day. 

Before he accepted this opportunity to work among the court 
circles, as a profound democrat he hesitated. It was only after 
long arguments that his comrades persuaded him to accept, 
since the fate of Russia was entirely in the hands of these peo- 
ple. But he soon found that he had made a mistake. "While 
the common people want light like grass wants the sun," he said, 
"the nobility are a separate race entirely; they cannot under- 
stand the wants of the people. They read willingly what I 




n:i.'ti.>£i\i[.'M'y JTullI, St. JVlcrbburg 

TWO REVOLUTIONARY PRIESTS 

Left, Father Petrov, the most famous churchman of Russia, former pastor to a 

grand duke; right, Father Kolokolnikov 



PRIESTS ARE BECOMING REVOLUTIONISTS 401 

wrote, but they admired only the figures of speech and phrases, 
in the same way as they would a pretty landscape painting or 
society poem. The children of the grand dukes and nobility 
cannot understand ; they are taught from the first that they are 
superhuman and different from other people. One girl exclaimed 
to me once, ' How difficult it is to be human in the Court! ' She 
had a true human instinct, but the teachers do not appeal to 
and awaken such higher instincts, but only the lower." 

Father Petrov learned very much in the court. He met 
not only Russian but also foreign aristocrats. He found that 
everywhere the aristocracy feel that the people must be thank- 
ful to them, that Russia or any other country in their power 
is merely a private estate, that the masses should be glad to 
pick up what falls from their table, that the people owe every- 
thing to the aristocracy and the aristocracy nothing to the 
people. In 1904 he met the Grand Duke Sergius whom he 
found had read his book, "The Evangel as the Basis of Life." 
The murderous grand duke remarked: "You reformers are all 
dreamers; the people are all beasts; they only understand what 
is taught them with the fist and the 'nagaika.'" Petrov 
answered: "You said that to the Japanese and they replied 
with a still heavier fist. That is what the people will do to you. " 

Father Petrov withdrew from the court circles, but at the 
time of the October Manifesto was still professor in the theo- 
logical and military academies. He soon saw it was impossible 
to continue even in this work. He thinks that the gulf is so wide 
between the people and the ruling class that it is impossible 
to stand with one foot on either side, and so he left the ruling 
class. During the year and a half that elapsed before the 
elections to the second Duma he occupied himself almost 
entirely with his writing and the editorship of his wonderfully 
popular paper, Gad's Truth. He attributes his success to the 
fact that he came from the people, that they know that his 
heart beats with them, that they understand that he knows 
their wants and is ready to give up his life if necessary in their 
behalf. Servants, cabdrivers, and other common people used 
to come to his office to ask not for God's Truth, but for "our" 
paper. 



CHAPTER VI 

TBS RELIGIOUS REVOLUTION 

AFTER his election to the Duma from St. Petersburg in 
February, 1906, by an immense majority, Father Petrov 
was immediately banished to a monastery by the Holy Synod 
and returned only when the Duma was dissolved. He was 
dismissed then by the order of the Holy Synod from all the 
schools and colleges in which he had taught and was forbidden 
to preach in any church. However, his paper, God's Truth, 
attained enormous success among the masses of the people both 
of tho cities and of the villages. I was assured by those able to 
judge that nothing ever written in Russia reached more directly 
to the heart of the people, and I was unable to find any illiterate 
cabdriver or peasant who had not heard of Father Petrov. 
When I asked the opinion of some common man about him 
I was always answered: "How could we fail to be pleased by 
what he writes; it is God's truth." 

During a few months twenty-seven prosecutions were started 
against him with a view to depriving him of his robe and civic 
rights. On all occasions he was able to prove that neither 
he nor his writings had ever turned aside from Christianity. 
At last, in the beginning of 1908, he saw that the Government 
would condemn him to be unfrocked in spite of anything that 
he could do, and taking the advantage of the prestige of his 
robe before he was deprived of it he wrote a public letter to 
Russia and the world. 

In order that this important letter should not be suppr e sse d 
Father IVtrov addressed it not only to the Holy Synod, bet 
to the somewhat Hberal Metropolitan of St. P et ersb urg . Anto- 
tnusx and also mailed copies to all the ministers and to persons 
who would assure its publicity. Within a few days he met 
his puivls^iuetiV He was deprived of bis rcbes* the right of 
res*sU:uce in Si. t\t*rsbcT£ or Moscow for seven jears* and cf 



THE RELIGIOUS REVOLUTION 403 

most of the other privileges, such as they are, of the Russian 
citizen. Strong as are the denunciations of the Czar in this 
letter, Father Petrov is so popular in Russia and so known abroad 
that, as in the case of Tolstoi, the Government did not dare to 
go further. I give a large part of this very important letter, 
summing up as it does the situation of the Russian church 
and the attitude of a large majority of liberal Russians, whether 
priests or laymen, on the condition of the Church and the feeling 
of truly religious persons about the Czarism and the revolution. 

Your High Eminence, Lord Antonius: 

. . . The second accusation was founded on complaints against 
my work and speeches. Prom these complaints the ecclesiastical in- 
vestigators drew up a long series of questions. To reply to all these 
questions would be easy for me and I could have closed the affair in 
this way, but such replies would not have satisfied the questions that I 
have put to myself. 

The thing which our Holy Synod passed for the Orthodox Church and 
the composition of the Synod itself, can these be considered as at all 
the true church of Christ? Am I in accord at all points with the 
Synod and the Orthodox Church? If I differ, in what and upon what are 
the differences founded? 

To reply to these questions that I have put to myself, I have preferred, 
instead of addressing myself to the ecclesiastical prosecutors, to send to 
Your Highness an exposition of my religious opinions and of the political 
opinions which result from them . . . 

I am explaining my whole way of understanding the duty of the 
Church at the present moment. My conscience demands it. You will 
act as yours commands you to act. 

We have to-day, after nineteen centuries of preaching, individual 
Christians, separate persons, but no Christianity; there is no Christian 
legislation; our customs and morals are no longer Christian; there exists 
no Christian government. It is strange to speak of the Christian world. 
The mutual relations of the various peoples are altogether contrary to the 
spirit of the Evangel; the most Christian states maintain millions of 
men for mass butcheries, sometimes of their neighbours and sometimes 
of their own citizens. 

To justify these monstrous butcheries the very soul of the mystified 
population is sapped away. The same butcheries are erected into a 
science. They are the object of the military art, the art of killing. In 
what way are these relations of Christian people distinct from the rela- 
tions of the people of pagan antiquity? Governments violate, states 
oppress, entire populations. Kings look at their countries as their prop- 
erty; at the people as their herds. They do not serve the people but 
they demand that the people serve them. They try to replace the will 



40 4 RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

of the nations by their own desires and even by their caprices. Every 
year they plunder the poor population of millions for their palaces, and 
such a state of affairs is called legal! 

On the other hand, the demand of the people addressed to the king 
to r eco gnise the rights of the nation, is a crime to be pitilessly punished. 
With what cruelty Christian Czars have made the blood of the people 
flow, when attempts have been made by the latter to find some relief 
for their sad destiny. What pitiless brutality there is in the punishment 
that they have let fall on countries already enough o p pressed 

There is no Christian Czar and no Christian government. Conditions 
of fife are not Christian. The upper classes rule the lower classes. A 
little group keeps the rest of the population enslaved. This little group 
has robbed the working people of wealth, power, science, art, and even 
religion, which they have also subjected; they have left them only 
ignorance and misery. In the place of pleasure they have given the 
people drunkenness; in the place of religion gross superstition; and be- 
sides, the work of a convict , a work without rest or reward. That which 
the upper class have taken either by force or by artifice they have called 
their sacred property. When the nobility had serfs the latter were very 
sacred property; at present some of them have taken possession of the 
land and this they call the sacred property. If the rich had been able 
to take the sky, the air, the sea, or the stars, they would stul have called 
all this their sacred property. They squeeze out heavy rents for the 
maintenance of their idleness, and when the people, brought nearly to 
exhaustion by suffering, outraged in its highest feelings, speaks of rights, 
demands for its labour a part of their abundance, the rich classes send 
against it with cannons and bayonets its own brothers — only dressed 
up in the uniforms of soldiers and transformed by barrack drill into a 
machine that kills. 

It that Christianity? 

The true servant of the true Church and Christ, John Slatoust, said 
in discussing the question of the unequal distribution of wealth in society. 
"Every rich man is a criminal or the son of a criminal. "' Those whom 
he attacked rebelled at this declaration. He replied to them, " My speech 
puts you out of temper. You say to me, when will you cease to speak 
against the rich ; I answer, when you cease to oppress the poor. What, 
you cry out, more thunders against the rich? Against your cruelty 
to the poor! You abuse without check your power over the poor and me. 
and I will never check my curses.*' 

But the words of John Slatoust, like the words of several other fathers 
of the Church, were only rare rays of light which scarcely pierced the 
thick fog of satiety of the rich classes. The unequal distribution of 
wealth is being corrected by charity. An infinitesimal part of what 
has been taken away from them is given back to the disinherited, and 
this passes for a virtue! As to the crying misery of millions of working 
people alongside of the extraordinary opulence of the rich classes, the 
preachers say: "It has pleased God that it should be so. Where there 



THE RELIGIOUS REVOLUTION 405 

is light there is always shadow." Such preachings are a calumny of 
God . . . 

Christian morality would have been limited and little developed if it 
had had no other end but the life and conduct of private persons with- 
out throwing light on the organisations, the rulers, the life and conduct 
of societies and states. "But that is politics/' says the clergy; "our 
business is religion." . . . 

True politics is in fact the art of the better organisation of life in 
society and the state; but is not the Evangel, with its doctrine of the 
Kingdom of God, the science of the better organisation of life, of society, 
and of the entire State? This being true the clergy cannot say that 
politics is the business of politicians; it cannot say that the labour ques- 
tion, the agrarian question, the question of the class and race hatred in 
the State does not concern them, for these are just the questions that do 
concern them . . . 

But Christianity has become the State religion before the State has 
ceased to be pagan. How should we explain otherwise the fact that the 
influence of Christianity has not really been exerted on the laws of society 
and the organisation of the State? The Evangel, from the broad road 
of the organisation of the Kingdom of God in societies and states, has 
had to pass into the narrow path of personal virtues and the salvation 
of the individual. How has this happened? Christianity itself is 
accused. Defects are sought for in the doctrine of Christ; this is wrong, 
for it is the fault rather of the higher clergy which in spite of the triumph 
of Christianity has not been able to resist the seduction of power. It is 
not the clergy that has influenced the State, but on the contrary, it 
has borrowed from the State its external brilliance, its organisation, its 
means of action, its constraint and its non-spiritual punishments . . . 

The Papistry is not the disease of the Roman clergy alone. All the 
Christian religions suffer from some form of Papistry. The Greek Church 
no less than the others. As in the West, the higher clergy aspire greedily 
for power, but it could not conquer the imperial power so mighty here in 
the East. And it did not even conceive such a notion; it directed all its 
greed to the interior of the church, pushed aside the lower clergy and 
the faithful and said to them: L'Eglist, c'est tnoi ! And to enjoy with- 
out any obstacle from the Government a complete administrative power, 
the princes of the Church shared with the Government. They left to it 
sovereign power over society and the State, and they reserved for them- 
selves the direction of the Church . . . The clergy governed the 
Church and submitted to the temporal authorities and served them as 
a docile tool . . . Whatever crimes the authorities accomplished, 
the clergy repeated invariably to the people: "Obey and submit; God 
requires it." Or still further, "All authority comes from God." 

All over our country every day are proceeding executions by shooting 
and hanging. It is all done at the order of the power of the authorities. 
The hangman builds the gallows and throttles the victim with the rope. 
But it is not the hangman that kills. He is but an instrument connected 



4 o6 RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

with the execution, like the gallows and the noose. It is the high- 
placed executioner who kills. The judge who passes the death sentence, 
the administrator who sanctions the sentence. It is the minister who 
covers the face of the country with the gallows, who sees in the gallows 
the support and upholder of his power — he it is who throttles. It 
is the sovereign power that throttles, the sovereign who appoints the 
hangman minister. A whole hierarchy of authorities strangles people 
already bound and solitary, already rendered harmless; in the place 
of giving justice it gives proof of an unrivaled, cowardly and cruel spirit 
of revenge. 

Can one say that such authorities are placed there by God? 

The ruling regular clergy, with its cold, heartless, bony fingers, has 
stifled the Russian Church, killed its creative spirit, chained the Gospel 
itself, and sold the Church to the Government. There is no outrage, no 
crime, no perfidy of the State authorities which the monks who rule the 
Church would not cover with the mantle of the Church, would not bless, 
would not seal with their own hands. What power would the voice of the 
Church possess were is raised in genuine Christian words! If it should 
speak them to the rulers and to the people, to revolutionists and to 
reactionaries, if it should speak to the whole country! Such words would 
become the voice of the eternal Gospel truths addressed to the conscience 
of the country. They would strike every heart, they would penetrate 
into every corner, they would chime above the thunders of revolution, 
above the clamour of execution, like the voice of a church-bell through 
the howling of the tempest. 

When on January 22, 1905, the people, that immense, naive child, 
went with ikons and crosses to beg the authorities for truth and justice, 
in answer to them was arranged a monstrous onslaught ; when the bleed- 
ing heaps upon the square made the whole world shudder, the Synod 
approached the quivering mass of bodies not yet cool, stopped before them, 
and in a priestly message struck them with a vile and brutal libel. It 
declared that the murdered ones were not seekers of justice, that they 
were Japanese agents, bought by Japanese money. The Synod could 
not find one word of reproach for the murderers, one sigh for the victims — 
nothing but a libel. A libel signed by the Synod in the name of the 
whole Church. 

In the Church the creative power of truth became withered, dried, and 
anemic; separated from life, the thought of the Church was condemned 
to turn about in the world of abstract dogma and theological discussions. 
God was reasoned about without being introduced into life 
itself. A sort of special Atheism was created, practical Atheism. Cer- 
tainly in words and thoughts the existence of God was recognised, but 
life activity went forward as if it was not so, as if God was only an ab- 
stract word, a sound without meaning. An example of such practical 
Atheism is Pobiedonostzev, of sad memory, or rather the tendency of the 
life of the Church that has borrowed his name. This tendency was in- 
deed not created by him for it existed before and after. He only put 



THE RELIGIOUS REVOLUTION 407 

strongly in relief this current of clerical life ; it is the same morally anaemic, 
Byzantine spirit which drove Christianity from the Church and sub- 
stituted itself in its place. . . . The principal aim of his Church was 
the same as that of the Papacy: to replace the Kingdom of God by the 
kingdom of the princes of the Church and the reigning monks. Sepa- 
rated by an asceticism, by their monk's mantle, from all the joys of the 
world, even the most pure, the reigning monks tried to find consolation 
in what they had repudiated — in their power over the world 
We have no Papacy but we have what is called correctly the Papacy 
of the Czar. With us even in the code (Vol. I, Chap. VII, Art. 42) the 
sovereign is called Lord of the Church, Lord even with a capital L. In 
the true Church the Lord is Christ. In the Papacy the chief of the state 
is the pope, and in the Russian Church it is the sovereign . . . 

The majority of the lower clergy is ignorant, poor, dulled; nobody 
occupies himself with its moral welfare. It is crowded by the reigning 
monks into a corner, it has its arms tied; it is deprived of the liberty to 
think, to speak and to act. They who are so near to the masses of the 
people, to the centre of life, they who see all its misery, the deprivation 
of justice from which the whole country suffers, who hear the ceaseless 
groans that rise from below, who are choked by the tears of the people, 
blinded by the sight of the frightful nightmare created all over the coun- 
try by the impious violence of the reigning power, they have not even the 
right to speak of the sufferings of their flocks, not even the chance to 
cry out to the violators, halt! . . . 

Indeed, according to the opinion of the monks, who are at the same 
time reigning dignitaries of the Church, all that goes against the State 
goes against the Church, against Christ and against God. This is to 
reduce the great work of the salvation of humanity to the petty r61e of 
bodyguard to the temporal autocratic organization . . . The Church 
is the universal union, the organisation of all humanity, above nations 
and states. For to the Church none of the existing organisations of the 
State are invariable, perfect, permanent, or infallible. 

Such an organisation is the work of the future; expressing one's self in 
the language of the Evangel, it will be the future Kingdom of God. An 
organisation in which everything will be maintained not by external 
violence but by a common interior moral bond, in which there will be 
neither exploitation nor arbitrary government nor violence nor master 
nor workman, where all will support equally the burdens of life and all 
will profit equally from its good. This is the task of the Church, but 
the organisations which exist at present, whether they are autocratic or 
not, are worth nothing. Their only difference is in the degree of useless- 
ness; one is more, another is less useful; yet our old expiring organisation 
is the worst of all that exists in the Christian world. 

Of course this letter made it unnecessary for the Synod to 
carry to a finality its other prosecutions that contained such 
accusations as that, on a visit at Yasnaya Polyana he had asked 



4a8 RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

Count Tolstoi (excommunicated, it will be remembered, from 
the Orthodox Church), for his blessing on his work, and that 
during a visit in the Crimea he had spent most of his time with 
two Jews. 

Father Petrov is more than the most formidable enemy, 
aside from Tolstoi, of the Russian State Church. He is an 
independent religious and political thinker and leader; in fact, 
the great interest of his standpoint is that he neither separates 
politics and religion, nor allows one to interfere with the other. 
In many countries he might be classed in spite of himself as 
a Christian Socialist, but he objects vigorously to this term. 
He says he is a Christian and a Socialist but that his Socialism 
and his Christianity are both unqualified. He wishes to be 
considered simply a Christian and not a Christian of any par- 
ticular sect, objecting, therefore, even to the limitation of the 
social obligations of his Christianity implied by the term " Chris- 
tian Socialist." He is a Socialist, differing from the others 
only in that he has arrived at precisely the same point by the 
religious path instead of the study of Marx or the indirect 
experience of the economic conflict. He does not wish to 
differentiate himself from other Socialists by qualifying himself 
as a Christian Socialist. 

We might be tempted to compare him in some respects with 
Tolstoi; but the difference is profound. He is a great admirer 
of Tolstoi, for he says that the latter has done an incalculable 
service to Russia in reviving the interest in the Evangels among 
educated classes at the very moment when Buchner, Darwin, and 
materialism were sweeping all before them. He shares Tol- 
stoi's indifference to mere political forms, but he does not 
share his indifference to the organisation of the future state. 
Tolstoi confesses himself to be an anarchist in the philosophical 
ssnse. Petrov is a Socialist and hopes that the spirit of Chris- 
tianity will not destroy but regenerate the State. Indeed, 
in one of his brochures he goes so far as to express a preference 
for the republican form of government which with Tolstoi meets 
almost the same contempt as does the Czarism itself. Like 
Tolstoi, Petrov is interested in the psychology of the ruling 
classes and it is because he understands this psychology so well 
that he denounces this class. For these denunciations he ex- 



THE RELIGIOUS REVOLUTION 409. 

pects to be considered wild, seditious, revolutionary, and 
criminal, just as those who denounced serfdom a generation 
ago were branded by these same terms of reproach. 

Like Tolstoi, Petrov *s attitude toward existing society is 
that of a revolutionist. "In other forms and with certain 
changed aspects," he says in a typical message, "the relation 
of the slave-driver and serf-holder to the lower strata of the 
people remains in force in our own day. The majority of 
people of our time who have privilege or power either through 
capital or noble birth, have not learned to understand that no* 
one has the right to exploit another, to turn a man like himself 
into a tool as a means of promoting his own welfare, and that 
all privilege is not lawful and right, but unlawful, violent, 
unjust. All men are men. All have the same right of the 
recognition of their personality. Nature, which created man 
and the means of his existence, does not know of any selection 
and special favouritism." 

But Father Petrov is not a revolutionist who places his 
sole hope on the regeneration of the individual, as does 
Tolstoi. He seeks rather a regeneration of both the Church 
and the State, his efforts being equally directed to remove 
the growing "contempt and hatred" of the people toward the 
clergy, and to introduce democracy and Socialism into the State. 
In his politics he has nothing in common with the moderates, 
just as he has perhaps nothing in common with the violent, 
revolutionists. He felt bitterly toward the pusillanimous 
attitude of the Constitutional Democratic party in the second 
Duma, who in order to persuade the Czar not to dismiss the 
Duma were ready to concede everything to the Government. 
Petrov thought, on the contrary, that as long as the Duma, 
existed it ought to have been worthy of its task, outspoken 
on every question and ready to submit to the Czar on none. 

Father Petrov does not believe in the possibility of a peaceful 
political evolution in Russia. He believes that a period of great, 
violence is inevitably approaching, since there is no hope of 
any spirit of progress in the Court or upper classes. The preach- 
ers in the Court he brands as men without principles or ideas, 
like the Vostorgov who has been mentioned, who is a leader 
in the organisation that is preparing the massacres. He con- 



4 io RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

aiders that the Government's so-called punishments dealt out 
by this time to literally millions of people are not in truth punish- 
ments in any true sense of the term, but mere revenge. He 
feels that the ministers have the instincts of hunting dogs, that 
the Government is not conducting its persecutions from any 
standpoint of State but merely as a war against an enemy 
without belligerent rights. He feels with the other revolution- 
ists that the way in which the Government is conducting this 
campaign is not as humane as ordinary war and urges that 
The Hague Conference ought to interfere. It does not occur, he 
says, in modern countries that an officer outrages a captured 
girl, as recently happened in Russia. Petrov knows the court 
and his indignation is in proportion to his knowledge. He looks 
gloomily upon the approaching struggle, but is sure of the 
triumph of justice in the end, though only after great bloodshed. 
The people, he is confident, will not recede in the least degree 
from their revolutionary demands, based as they are on necessity. 

Father Petrov looks more hopefully toward the expected 
spiritual regeneration. He realises that at the present moment 
the Church is losing adherents every day on account of its 
intimate connection with the infamous Czarism, but as soon as 
the least elements of democracy begin to appear during the 
course of the coming struggle he feels that there will be a rapid 
revolution in the Church also. The chief ground for his hope is 
that the village clergy will not only join in large numbers in 
the popular movement but will even become martyrs for the 
cause. He feels also that as soon as the least religious liberty 
is offered the whole mass of the peasantry will go over to the "old 
believers/' who differ from the Orthodox Church chiefly in 
that they have no connection with the State. 

He does not take so much interest in the sects as he does 
in the "old believers," because he has observed with Prince 
Hilkhov that the members of the sects are interesting them- 
selves at the present time rather in politics than in religion. 
I agree with Father Petrov — that the majority of the Russian 
peasants will probably only reach the point of the* 'old believers." 
But I feel that the sects are the most advanced element of the 
Russian population, though not the most numerous, and I 
believe that their participation in politics will be as spiritual 



THE RELIGIOUS REVOLUTION 41 1 

as their religious development has been practical. Indeed I 
have met complaints from among their most revolutionary 
members that the Socialist parties were not sufficiently imbued 
with ideals, but too much interested in the mere questions of 
wages and rents and elections of a constitutional assembly. 
I believe that the chief religious movement and hope of a 
spiritual regeneration in xhe near future lies in the increasing 
spirit of self-assertion of these sects which promise a tremendous- 
ly rapid growth as soon as the least real religious freedom has 
been won from the Government. 

Let me remind the reader of a typical sect, that natural 
product of the Russian soil, the Dukhobors. To be sure, trans- 
ferred to the strange soil of Canada, it has manifested itself 
in some peculiar forms, but in its original state in Russia it 
could not have failed to inspire any sympathetic observer. 
I am confident that this is a type of faith that will grow most 
rapidly among the peasants, and that. as it grows the economic 
and political movements will receive a spiritual reinforcement 
that will make finally certain the victory of the reigning Socialist 
and democratic ideas. 

The members of this faith cast aside all ceremonies and 
externalities. The only important dogma of their belief is the 
justification of God as "the spirit of truth." They recognise 
the Trinity but declare that it has a purely spiritual sense. By 
"the Mother of God" they understand the endless grace and 
bounty of God, which produces " the spirit of truth " in ourselves, 
which they call the Son of God. For the saving of the soul the 
belief in this purely spiritual Christ is necessary, but a belief 
without deeds is dead. God lives in the soul of man and He 
teaches men Himself. It is in us that Christ must be born, 
grow up, teach, be resurrected and carried to heaven. The 
Church and religious images are not recognised. The church, 
the Dukhobors say, is in ourselves and wherever two or three 
men gather together in the name of Christ. 

The Dukhobors* faith is their only law in their daily lives; 
they apply their doctrines to their whole existence. Most 
important is their communal life; property is held in common, 
each one takes for his family according to its recognised needs. 
Their refusal to go in for military service is notorious. They 



4X3 RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

accept the most severe and cruel punishments liberally 
bestowed on them by the Russian Government, or a whole life- 
time in prison, rather than to loll their brother men. War 
they declare to be murder, contradicting flatly the idea of 
brotherly love. 

Such evident purity of religious faith, such depth of social 
and moral principle in daily life, and such unconquerable cour- 
age in defending their practices, may prove after all the most 
insuperable obstacle that the Government has to meet. Among 
the Dukhobors and related sects a resistance may take the form 
of refusal to participate in the suppression of disturbances. 
Among the Russian Baptists (Stundists), who have millions 
of adherents, it is already taking the form of a religious warfare 
against the Government as determined and invincible as the 
religious wars of the English Puritans and Levellers against 
the king and his church, and in the same unconquerable spirit 
with which the Tyrolese Catholics or the Swiss Protestants 
defended their homes against their religious foes. The Czarism 
has conquered the bodies of its subjects; we doubt if it wiD ever 
be able to conquer their souls. 



CHAPTER VII 

THE RUSSIAN REVOLUTION 

In new song the old note of mournful meditation was absent. It 
was not the utterance of a soul wandering in solitude along the dark 
paths of melancholy perplexity, of a soul beaten down by want, burdened 
with fear, deprived of individuality and colourless. It breathed no sighs 
of a strength hungering for space ; it shouted no provoking cries of irritated 
courage ready to crush both the good and the bad indiscriminately. It 
did not voice the striving elemental of the animal "instinct " for freedom, 
for freedom's sake, nor the freedom of wrong or vengeance capable of 
destroying everything and powerless to build up anything. In this 
song there was nothing from the old, slavish world. 

It floated along directly, evenly; it proclaimed an iron virility; a calm 
threat. Simple and clear, it swept the people after it along an endless 
path leading to the far distant future; and it spoke frankly of the hard- 
ships of the way. — Maxim Gorky, Foma Gordeeff. 



THE struggle in which Russia is engaged is so desperate, the 
brave and intelligent people are at present so helpless, that 
the foreigner is almost incapable of grasping the full tragedy of 
the situation. We moderns can conceive tragedies of the in- 
dividual. We are not accustomed to tragedies in which whole 
peoples are the heroes. In Russia a single class of men, put by 
circumstances in entire control of the destinies of the nation, 
has become so cold, so false, so dulled to all its higher inter- 
ests, that our minds refuse to credit their actions. In other 
countries we do not have a ruling class with such utterly irre- 
sponsible power, and we have almost forgotten the depth of evil 
that still remains in mankind. Russia's rulers are to all appear- 
ances modern educated men that would pass anywhere for good 
Europeans or Americans, but they have been given a mastery 
over others, a right to govern others without their consent, and 
through this they have become like the tyrants of old. 

4i3 



4M RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

" The debauched, idle and blas£ men that compose the govern- 
ing classes generally/ 9 says Tolstoi, "must find some goal for 
their existence, but this goal can only be the increase of their 
own glory. In all other passions the point of satiety is soon 
reached; only the passion for glory is unlimited." We have 
forgotten that it is a law of all history that men in a false 
position of power are bound to degenerate, that no man is good 
enough to .govern another against the other's consent, and if 
he does so that he is bound to bring about both his own and 
that other's ruin. Unless we seize again this principle which 
lies at the bottom of all social life, we cannot hope to grasp 
one iota of the awful tragedy that faces the Russian people 
at the present moment. 

It is just because its spiritual life has been deepened and 
intensified by great experience in the suffering of the whole 
nation, that Russia's message is able to stir the other countries; 
happier lands less experienced, living more superficially, have 
had no such insights into the evil that still lies buried in man, 
into the horrors that can be perpetrated in the present state 
of society, and into the heroic capacities that fie latent in us to 
enable us to fight even without success against a world of evil. 
It is not another society that Russians are learning to under- 
stand through suffering, but our own. We know capitalism, cf 
soulless corporations that rob consumers, starve employees and 
corrupt the State. Russia knows that this same capitalism 
gives the Cxar the money to buOd prisons fur h^sdreds of thou- 
sands of his people, to buy the riSes asd —Ar^-rt guns of the 
Cossacks and to hire an army of th^s — 3q:tr thit this same 
capitalism is as ready to take prcdrts director froci =mre er and 
plunder supported by murder as h s t: grew rich thresh 
bought corpora taccs. lawyers r.r jcpjo^TorsL 

The Russian psvrcBe have roasco^d :t ;« th*t mrocr capctaJ- 
ism will stop at r*c wt.tc^:, rro: th*t re thr* rr^rder of whc3e 
peoples — they h*x* exr*r?m;*vf tihs ^:.r:..r« *tis£ tr=th in 
their own Sesh ;*ad hikod. r^K-y ennr thai eich rscrridTiaJ 
capitalist has orc^sites? thj? rr thit TannI rrof izc his xrrrt:* 
fife, but they k=>jTr that thf ckrc^Lhssiv al bmmd t^fiibcr h«y 
the bond cf mterr^r3rn*2 "fmtn^f- at* rsa^r ^ 3znr*5fr *X nu»- 
kind and secure h^b^r srtsrsss ^l». & iter* has beet Ttimranrt 



THE RUSSIAN REVOLUTION 415 

in Russia's heart a great and ennobling hatred; not a hatred of 
persons but of a system, a hatred raised to great social princi- 
ples and ideas. Hatred against men brings the world no mes- 
sage. Such of Russia's victims as have been killed in a war of 
mere mutual hate, however just the cause for which they have 
died, however honoured by their companions in arms, will never 
be viewed by the world as mankind's martyrs, as world-heroes 
who "when we are born are straight our friends." Russia's 
martyrs have often died with their hearts filled with love not 
hatred, not for a party merely or even for a nation, but quite 
consciously for all mankind. 

They died as victims of that capitalism which oppresses 
the whole race. Like the early Christians they died for the 
emancipation of humanity. Some, it is true, seek first a mate- 
rial emancipation for their fellow men, putting things spiritual 
in a second place; others merit Tolstoi's accusation that though 
sincere, they have an egotistic passion for leadership in the 
new cause; but most of those who go gladly to prison and exile 
and death go for the spiritual elevation of the races, for the 
ideal of a better society that is to produce better types of 
individuals than the world has yet seen. 

11 

The Russian people had already won their battle against the 
Czarism when the foreigners interfered and threw in their 
forces with those of the Czar — lending him 1,000,000,000 rubles, 
satisfied with 7 per cent, interest and making no conditions 
for what murderous purposes the money was to be employed. 

The battle was won when the Czar was allowed to reach his 
hands into the vast treasury house of the international capital — 
and now, until he is cut off from the colossal subsidies that en- 
able him to continue his murderous Government, the situation 
is desperate indeed. Cases are common in which despots 
have allied themselves with foreign powers. But this is new - — 
this is the unique instance of all history, when foreign powers 
have each contributed something to support the oppressive 
government. There is hardly an important banking interest 
in France or Germany that has not contributed something to 



4 i 6 RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

the Czar's murder funds, and scarcely a prominent capitalistic 
institution of Austria and England that is not indirectly con- 
nected with it. Even America was tainted a few years ago. 

The Russian people, I say, had won their struggle at the 
time of the fiat Duma when the foreign capitalists loaned 
1,000,000,000 rubles to the despotic Government, pretending to 
assume that they thought the Czarism was becoming constitu- 
tional, but really well aware that it was absolutely irresponsible 
toward the people. The European military situation was 
only a part of the cause of this monstrous international pride. 
France and Germany, overloaded with military burdens and 
forced to subordinate their greatest social reforms to military 
necessities, are entirely depending on the position toward the 
other nations taken by the Czar's criminal Government. Before 
the last loan the immense sums of gold secured from France 
to make possible the perpetuation of the Czarism, were obtained 
largely on the ground that the money would go to supply arms 
to an enemy of Germany. The new crushing tax burdens for 
the rebuilding of the navy destroyed by the Japanese — bur- 
dens which make impossible any genuine reform inside of Russia 
in the near future — were levied to please the Czar's cousin. 
William II. of Germany, who wants to see another European 
fleet that might be used in an emergency against his rival. Eng- 
land. As long as the Russian Government remains despotic 
and half independent, it will engage, like every other despotism, 
in aggressive enterprises of one kind or another, if not in Turkey 
in Japan, if not in Japan then by pledging its army to this or 
the other power as mercenary troops. The last monster loan 
also was in part a sale of Russia's organised forces for murder. 
It will be remembered that larg-e contributors to tins l>an. 
besides France, were also Austria and England, and other coun- 
tries. In return for these immense sums the Russia?: &3vem- 
ment. :t a-opears, premised the world to work against Germany 
in the cause of international peace ; it was a sort of intfirnationa; 
blackr^ai*. 

Rut the m^r^erous Czarism probably frets more of the mcaey 
of the international bankers by selhncr the natural resources 
vM* the ^rox-erishe*:: ooar.try ir the forrr: of industrial privil^es 
£Tant*v£ by the Government, or by means of high rates of inter- 



THE RUSSIAN REVOLUTION 417 

est squeezed from the starving population, than it does as pay 
for its mercenary army. 

For many years English, Belgian, and German money, as well 
as French, has been pouring into Russia's industries under the 
tutelage of the State, until the country is rapidly becoming like 
India, Egypt, Turkey or Persia, with both the Government 
and industries largely in the hands of foreign financiers. 
Already leading conservatives even have spoken of Russia's 
real parliament, the international bankers. There is a decided 
danger, indeed, that the country may in the not distant future 
become a sort of international protectorate, like China — unless 
in the naeanwhile the Czarism is overturned. 

The Russian people, in resisting the alliance between the 
foreign financiers and its Government, are fighting to prevent 
another effort of international capital to still further strengthen 
itself, to enlarge the territory of its "colonies" or "subject 
races/' and by means of its vast income so secured to further 
corrupt the worlds governments and maintain its power. 

The Russian fight is in this sense a world fight indeed, but 
it is also a world movement in a more direct and much more 
spiritual meaning. It is a world struggle for modern or social 
democracy. The Russian movement is the only revolutionary 
movement of a whole people in our times. Russia is therefore 
the only country where, under the guidance of the best knowl- 
edge and the highest ideals of our period, a new foundation is 
being laid for the democracy of the future. 

For whenever democracy has taken deep and permanent root 
it owes its first beginning to revolution, to open violent re- 
bellion. This is notoriously true of France; it is true of Eng- 
land ; it is true of the United States. That country which has 
had no revolution has had no real democracy. Many per- 
sons look at modern Prussia, where there has been no revolu- 
tion, as possessing a semi-democratic government. Let such 
persons recall the principle of Bismarck when, as recently as 
1863, he governed the country without the consent of the Land- 
tag as it was governed centuries ago. There has been a con- 
stitutional deadlock, and as there has never been a revolution 
to put an end once and for all to the last vestiges of the old 
autocratic system, Bismarck could very reasonably claim that 



4 i 8 RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

in such cases when the new laws did not work it was necessary 
to return to the old. When the constitution fails to work in 
the United States the reactionary forces cannot turn back to 
the laws of George III., because the United States has had a 
revolution; nor do English judges revert in political questions 
to English institutions before 1688, nor the French to laws that 
existed before 1789. In these countries revolutions have cut 
off the line of retreat of reactionary forces. In every great con- 
test between reaction and progress, then, progress has the 
advantage, for reaction can only obtain a foothold by basing 
its claims on the barbarities of the past. In supporting a 
profound revolutionary movement, then, the Russian people 
are laying the only possible basis for a new democracy. This 
democracy, struggling into being to-day, must be based on the 
world conditions of the present moment. It is evident that the 
problem before any great revolutionary movement in our time 
will be the great problem of the age — the social problem. 

HI 

A revolutionary social movement in any one nation would 
be rich in lessons for every other. But the only countries that 
can really advance new and great solutions are the large coun- 
tries — those that are powerful enough to be independent, that 
embrace such a variety of conditions and of peoples that their 
solution may be of a universal application. It is evident that 
countries like Germany or Fiance, the slaves of constant ter- 
ror of destructive war, or Great Britain, oppressed by the night- 
mare that one day she may be reduced to poverty by the loss of 
her control of the ocean, are not entirely free to undertake 
solutions of great social problems; they must give the first 
place in the policies of State and the expenditure of public 
money to problems of national defence. Russia, on the other 
hand, has long ago lost all terror of becoming a province of some 
other nation, just as the United States is under no necessity 
of maintaining cither a lai^e land force or a navy of the size 
of Great Britain s. 

Russia, like the United States, is a self-sufficient country; 
more than a country . a world. Like the new world, the Russian 



THE RUSSIAN REVOLUTION 419 

Irorld forms an almost complete economic whole, embracing 
under a single government nearly all, if not all, climates and 
nearly all the raw products used in modern life ; both countries 
are large exporters of agricultural products, both are devoted 
more to agriculture than to manufacturing industry. Both 
of these worlds are composed largely of newly acquired and 
newly settled territory; though both are inhabited by very 
many races, in each a single race prevails numerically and in 
most other respects over all the rest, and keeps them together 
as a single whole. As the result of the mixture of races and the 
recent settlement of large parts of both countries, their culture 
is international, world-culture, unmarked by the comparatively 
provincial nationalistic tendencies of England, Germany, or 
France. We may look, according to a great German publicist, 
Kautsky, to America for the great economic experiments of the 
near future and to Russia for the new (social) politics. 

America is essentially a country of rapid economic evolu- 
tion, while Russia is undeveloped, economically and financially 
dependent. America is the country of economic genius, a nation 
whose conceptions of material development have reached even 
a spiritual height. The great American qualities, the American 
virtues, the American imagination, have thrown themselves 
almost wholly into business, the material development of the 
country. Americans are the first of modern peoples that have 
learned to respect the repeated failures of enterprising individuals 
with a genius for affairs, knowing that such failures often 
lead to greater heights of success. They have learned how to 
excuse enormous waste when it was made for the sake of econo- 
mies lying in the distant future. They can appreciate the 
enterprise of persons who, instead of immediately exploiting 
their properties, know how to wait, like some of our most able 
builders that, foreseeing the brilliant future of the locality in 
which they are situated, are satisfied with temporary structures 
and poor incomes until the time is ripe for some of the magni- 
ficent modern achievements in architecture, in which we so 
clearly lead. All three of these types of men we admire are true 
revolutionists, who prefer to wait, to waste, or to fail, rather 
than to accept the lesser for the greater good. 

So it is with Russians in their politics. There seems no 



420 RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

reason for doubting that the near future will show that the 
political failures now being made by the Russians are the 
failures of political genius, that the waste of lives and property 
will be repaid later a hundredfold, and that the hopeful and 
planful patience with which the Russians are looking forward 
and working to a great social transformation promises the 
greatest and most magnificent results when that transforma- 
tion is achieved. Already the political revolution of the 
Russian people, though not yet embodied in political institu- 
tions, is becoming as rapid, as remarkable, as phenomenal, 
as the economic revolution of the United States. 

IV 

As the Russians have to contend with world forces and are 
bringing about world results, it is no ordinary war or revolution 
in which they have engaged themselves. Already it has become 
a part of the social struggle of all Europe; if it lasts many years 
it must ultimately become a part of some future world upheaval 
of unprecedented magnitude, of new and widespread world 
revolutions and world wars. We are not so likely to deny the 
possibility that such events as the French Revolution and 
the world wars which accompanied it may occur again, as to 
be misled by a too close comparison between the present situa- 
tion and that of 1 789. Considered even as a world movement 
the French Revolution was a success, but it was also a failure, 
so it has come about that whenever we hear of revolutions we 
hear also of the inevitable "reaction that must follow revolu- 
tion," and of the avenging "man on horseback." 

Certainly there was a reaction in Europe soon after 1800; 
certainly Napoleon was of all men that ever lived Ik* man on 
horseback. But were this reaction and this man on horse- 
back results of the French Revolution? To answer this ques- 
tion we must first divide the revolution into two parts — the 
true revolution, the movement that embraced the whole of the 
nation, that resulted in the final overthrow of feudalism in 
France, and led to the calling of the Constitutional Assembly. 
In contrast to this we have the later Insurrection of Plans which 
resulted in the execution of the king — a measure by no means 



THE RUSSIAN REVOLUTION 421 

approved of by the whole nation — and in the capture of the 
Legislative Assembly by the mob of Paris with the assistance 
of a few regiments of professional soldiers. Moreover, the Paris 
of 179a was in a sense the tyrant over the nation. Modern 
capitals have no such power as did Paris then. It was this 
insurrection that produced the reign of terror and led ultimately 
to the inevitable reaction, not against the revolution, but 
against the insurrection. 

The insurrection of Paris in 179a, not the Revolution of 
France in 1789, produced the terror — a reign of violence not 
against the Government, not from below, but by the Govern- 
ment itself against the captives in its power. There has been 
no single important example of such mob violence in Russia. 
The so-called "terror" does not consist in the execution by 
revolutionists, without risk to themselves, of persons within 
their power, but of heroic attacks on murderous officials that 
hold the community by the throat, attacks which almost 
always result in the instant death or execution of the revolu- 
tionists. Every political party in Russia is even opposed to 
capital punishment, not only for political but even for ordinary 
crimes. The Russian nation, far from being led to any reaction 
by terroristic deeds, looks at these executioners of the popular 
will as national heroes and martyrs in the same sense as were 
the early Christians that braved the wrath of Nero or Domitian. 

There was, however, an international reaction against the 
French Revolution that put the nation under the necessity of 
granting military powers to Napoleon, that robbed the French 
people of a part of the victories they had won, and that long 
supported a reactionary government in the country itself. 
Napoleon would never have been created had it not been for 
the reactionary attacks of all the foreign powers of Europe on 
Republican France; he would never have been entrusted with 
the powers of a despot if France had not been under the desperate 
necessity of fighting a life and death battle for her very exis- 
tence. It is literally true that England, Russia, Austria, and 
Prussia placed Napoleon on the throne and that they kept there 
one king or another for more than a generation afterward. 
Even Napoleon III. would have had no success in appealing to 
the imperialistic instincts of the country if it had not been for the 



4 22 RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

general movement and reaction of Prussia, Russia, and Austria, 
a sort of renewal of the Holy Alliance after 1848. 

The reactionary countries of Europe were able to plant their 
despotic autocracies in France after the revolution because, 
leagued together, they were far more powerful than that nation. 
There are still reactionary countries in Europe. As we have 
shown, the Prussian Government is in some respects even behind 
her Russian neighbour. But the other nations of the world 
to-day, especially France, England, and the United States, will 
by no means be so far behind democratic Russia as the monar- 
chies at the end of the eighteenth century were behind France. 
There is no power than can force the Russian people in self- 
defence to rely on a man on horseback. Nor is there any tendency 
amongst the Russians themselves to worship individuals to 
the exclusion of great principles. France had had the evil 
example of a feudalistic Catholic Church and its infallible pope. 
In Russia there is no pope and the Church has no prestige 
among the people. France had been engaged in wars with 
her neighbours uninterruptedly for many generations; to a 
certain degree she had learned the military spirit that could 
be used by Napoleon and the foreign oppressors. Russia has 
long ceased to expand territorially, and she possesses such a 
large part of the surface of the earth that the keenest ambition 
of her people is rather to hold and develop what they have than 
to gain more. Nowhere are the masses of the population so 
pacific as in Russia. Let us, then, not judge the Russian Revolu- 
tion by the French. The reaction in France and the coming 
of Napoleon are both explained by the special conditions of the 
world at the time, and none of these conditions exist to-day. 

In France, as in Russia, the more prosperous and privi- 
leged part of the middle classes, at first enthusiastic revolu- 
tionists, soon left the movement, but in neither country has 
this desertion been great enough to create a reaction. Cariyle 
shows how constitutionalism in France "in sorrow and anger" 
demanded martial law against the revoluticciists and obtained 
it. an act that soon may be expected from tie majority of the 
Russian constitutionalists and that is already supported by 
a lar^e minority. This step, says the gr**t historian, can be 
justiaevi on one prcsdse only — that *"caca£tatymatism is of 



THE RUSSIAN REVOLUTION 423 

God and mob assembling the devil, otherwise it is not so just." 
Like the Russian Constitutional Democrats, the august National 
Assembly, according to Carlyle, never really wanted riot. "All 
it ever wanted was riot enough to balance court plotting." 
In Russia, as in France, the people very soon learned the worth- 
lessness of their moderate constitutionalist allies. "To them 
it was dear," writes Carlyle, " that Philosophism has baked no 
bread: that Patriot Committee men will level down to their 
own level, and no lower." 

The Russian moderates have not carried with them in their 
retreat even as large a part of the population as did the French. 
Nearly all the unions of the professional classes which at first 
allowed themselves to be used by the President of the Union of 
Unions, Professor Milyoukov, for the purposes of the Constitu- 
tional Democratic Party, have cast this organisation off. From 
the first most of them refused to throw their weight in for any 
lesser measure than an assembly elected by an equal suffrage, 
while such as temporarily joined the moderate party have left 
in large numbers. 



From the very first the intellectual leaders of the Russian 
people have been opposed heart and soul to the Czarism, and 
there is hardly one name of the first rank from the beginning 
that has not made every sacrifice, even to suffering imprison- 
ment, exile, and death, in the struggle against it. Over a century 
ago Novikov, who founded the first newspaper and publishing 
house of importance and established scholarships and libraries 
all over the country, was imprisoned by Catharine II. until his 
death. Roditchev was similarly persecuted by the same 
monarch. Catharine said of him, u He is spreading the French 
plague (the Revolution), he is a rebel worse than Pugatchev, 
he praises Franklin." These were among the founders of Rus- 
sian literature, since educated persons before this time wrote 
and even spoke almost exclusively in French. I need barely 
mention the later writers whose works and persecutions are 
known to everybody: Pushkin, Turgeniev, Gogol, Tcher- 
nechevsky, Dostoievsky, Tolstoi, Korolenko and Gorky, there 



4*4 RUSSIANS MESSAGE 

*f* also a 4o&m ocfaero eq&aOjweO known to 
*rfco bayc atsftercd as orach. 

Sw-oe the tact generation educated and refined women have 
t&k*t} tbe same part in tbe movement as the men; in fact, they 
have been even more high-spirited, devoted, and consistent. 
It is not that the equality of women is a special feature of Rus- 
sian civilisation, for Russian women until the emancipation 
movement had been perhaps even less prominent in literature, 
politics, and affairs than had the women of some other countries. 
It is that there began in Russia a generation ago the first life 
and death struggle of a nation, carried out on the very highest 
social principles. Into this struggle women plunged from the 
vtry outset and they have furnished a very considerable part 
of the martyrs to the cause. In the revolutionary movement 
of the '8os, in some of the big trials, often a fourth or a fifth 
of the prisoners were women of the educated and noble classes. 
Several of these women who have spent fifteen or twenty years 
in exile or solitary confinement have rejoined the revolutionary 
movement. Still more important, they and less active friends 
and admirers who were legion, have taught their children either 
to look up to or respect the revolutionists. As Russian children 
are already without any inbred love of the State or Church, 
they are ripe for the most complete sacrifices for the revolutionary 
movement. 

I cannot even sum up the wholesale sacrifice made by hun- 
dreds of thousands of the young men and women students of 
Russia for the social liberty and equality of the whole Russian 
people and for Socialism the world over. I will only deny the 
reports that are being spread that there is any relaxation of this 
movement. It has been said that a certain part of the students 
are becoming less revolutionary, that the Government has been 
able to terrorise another part into submission. Both state- 
ments are entirely false. If the proportion of timid or naturally 
conservative students in the universities has somewhat increased, 
it is because tens of thousands of the brave axe languishing in 
prison or exile. This year already the majority of the leading 
universities of Russia have been closed again on account of 
revolutionary student disturbances. A reactionary paper 
recently reported with glee the reopening of one of them — the 



THE RUSSIAN REVOLUTION 42s 

picture it drew of the reopening is sufficient to show its true 
significance: "The University is again open. At the doors 
there are standing policemen and sentinels with loaded guns; 
inside of the University is a company of soldiers and a large 
squad of police. The students have to show tickets on going 
in and to have them marked. The lectures are going regularly 
forward. It is to be noticed that there is no tearing about in 
the corridors, with cries, noises, and alarms, with the caps on 
the head. The strong measures have forced order. The 
revolutionists are foaming with rage." Let us not leave the 
picture without recalling the misery of these students who give 
up everything, present opportunities, their freedom, and their 
future careers, for the cause, who go about in the university 
towns in the terrible Russian winters without warm overcoats, 
who are ready to accept any sort of old clothes from anyone 
sufficiently sympathetic with the revolutionary movement to 
donate them in the name of the cause, who earn their living 
by any means, from shaving to giving lessons for two or three 
rubles a month. 

There can be no question that the overwhelming majority 
of the educated class of Russia are devoted heart and soul to 
the revolution. This is not an accident; it is not due to any 
particular element of the moment, nor perhaps even to the poli- 
tical situation of Russia in general. The Russian educated 
man is not bourgeois like those of other countries. His 
character has never been drawn better in a few words than by 
Merejkovsky, one of Russia's most brilliant writers, whose 
works are being translated to-day into every language. ' 4 Recall, ' ' 
he says, "the figures of Rasbolnikov, Bazarov, Karamazov 
(perhaps the three most famous characters of Russian litera- 
ture). What strange characters! You can call these men 
what you like; they are not bourgeois. In their presence 
Flaubert would not have dared to say that politics is the busi- 
ness of the mob. For them politics are a passion, an intoxica- 
tion, a devouring flame. They are heroes and martyrs who 
leave of their own free will the camp of the successful to go into 
the camp of the dying." 

The character of nations, like that of individuals, can be 
made great by tragic experience. Some of our modern countries 



4*6 RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

are so far from such calamities and deep experiences that they 
have forgotten what can be learned from misery and suffer- 
ing. The Russian people are losing much of their vital forces and 
even something in certain elements of character by the struggle, 
but they are gaining more than they lose. Every year sees 
an astounding and inspiring increase of the intelligence and 
seriousness of all classes of the people. There is, for instance, 
little tendency to patronise light and superficial literature and 
plays, to look at great situations in a superficial or comic man- 
ner, to idealise the brutal and ugly forces of life because we are 
on the whole satisfied with our present state. The nation is 
becoming refined, chastened, elevated and ennobled by the 
indomitable struggle it is making for great and pure ideas. 

Under the leadership and guidance of men devoted to great 
causes, the Russian people is surely awaited by a greater destiny 
than is so far known to history. All the best writers of the 
country, read as no others perhaps by the whole civilised world, 
arc trying to express the message that this heroic and devoted 
people are sending to humanity. It will only be after the 
climax of the great revolution that we shall know definitely 
what this message is. In the meanwhile that which lends most 
of all an absorbing and irresistible interest to the Russian 
revolution is the dim foreshadowing of large ideas. Whoever 
trios to peer even a little way into the future must make his 
essay at a characterisation of the Russian message. Certainly 
its import to humanity does not promise to be inferior to 
the message of Rousseau and Voltaire, and we should z:2t be 
surprised to Snd one day that the world has been sore affect-ei 
by the Russian revolution than it has by any of the cneat -*-:»rid 
transformations that have taken place snice the £*Z of the 
Roman Empire and the general adoption of ChrtstLiriTr by the 
European people. 

For R-.sss;a it swms to be at ceoe a r^rcrtarci. a refrr- 
m&t;on, ar.d a r^naissanoe. To tie woriii it =i*y be the bec^- 
r.;r v c of a st:"d p*at*r charare.. For Rock tb* adrc-taaz re 
Christianity was a profound t^ansforrsatarn: in the Cinrrhh ar-i 
£tatc. tor oi-»*i'.:s&t:or. it was the rj-'irsk* a: tih* a~-y aad sdes^ 
th&: had fc^d :; for a thonsar;d ysar*. A ransa:«ns snnnd 
revolution victorious :r. Rus&a n^*ht set it mzonr an rrtJld 



THE RUSSIAN REVOLUTION 427 

world-change in both the organisation of society and the ruling 
ideas and aims of mankind. 

"Christian humanity — if not all humanity," says Tolstoi, 
"is at present at the beginning of a universal transformation 
that has been smouldering during centuries, even thousands of 
years." 

What is this transformation? What is Russia's message? 



CHAPTER VIII 
Russia's message 



THE Russian revolution is an heir to the ages. It is 
descended in part from primitive Christianity and partly 
from the Reformation, but its immediate predecessor was the 
French Revolution. The first Russian revolutionists, the 
Decembrists of 1825, received their ideas and inspiration directly 
from France itself. Both Russia's great religious Socialist, 
Tolstoi, and its new political Socialism, are deeply indebted 
to the French Revolution and its thinker, Rousseau. In the 
last generation many liberal and educated Russians have been 
brought up from the cradle on the pure and noble democracy 
of Rousseau. For more than a generation the "Nouvelle 
Heloise," "Emile," and the "Contrat Social," were the source 
of social inspiration not only to France and Russia, but to the 
world. In France they were gospels — as Carlyle had said, 
M the Evangel according to St, Jacques"; and in Russia even 
to-day if we want to understand the political side at least of the 
new faith we must turn back for at least a moment to Rousseau. 
Unlike the faith of his predecessor, Montesquieu, the father, 
if there was one, of the American Constitution, and unlike the 
sociology and most of the Socialism of our time, the social faith 
of Rousseau was based on a conception of the moral duty of the 
individual rather than on a mere evaluation and acceptance 
of the conditions and necessities of history. Rousseau based 
his principles and ideas not on what has been, but, as he declared, 
on what ought to be. Here he is at one with Tolstoi, who 
replaced him in a sense in Russia. Like Tolstoi also, Rousseau 
was not at all satisfied to give society a mere scheme of political 
or social principles. He felt that no healthy social organism 
could exist on the basis of a sort of civil religion, common beliefs 

A** 



RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 429 

that should hold society together and furnish the foundation 
of a social faith. 

To-day Rousseau no longer answers definitely the prevailing 
social questions, but at least he formulated the great question 
as it should be formulated. He asked not what kind of govern- 
ment is best suited to the men of the time, but what kind of 
government will form the best men. His question is, then, 
what is permanent and what can be improved in man. His 
social principles all rest on a moral study of human nature, 
with no special relation to conditions that happen to exist now 
or have existed for a few generations or centuries. He asks 
what is the destiny of man, what can be made of him, and what 
government is necessary to this end. . In contrast with Montes- 
quieu, whose ideas prevailed before Rousseau and still prevail 
in England, the United States, and other countries, Rousseau 
was a pure democrat. His first principle was that the sovereign 
people could not be bound even by its own actions; to him there 
could be no written constitution, for he demanded that the first 
question to be asked in every governmental assembly ought to 
be, what form of government do we want. The sovereign 
people of Rousseau had the right at any moment to revoke 
the power of its agent, the government; this was the principle 
that we know to-day as the imperative mandate. A law that 
the people had not ratified was not a law; this was the principle 
now called the referendum. To Rousseau a representative 
government was a really free government only during the 
elections, only while the voters were actually exercising their 
will — afterward they were absolutely enslaved. 

All these principles, it will be remembered, were adopted 
during the French Revolution by not only the extreme revolu- 
tionary Jacobins, but even the moderate Girondists. If they 
had been put into practice, as the latter indeed demanded, 
during the trial of Louis XVI. the French king would never 
have been executed and the chief disgrace of the Revolution, 
the " Terror,' \ would never have come to be. 

Sovereignty for Rousseau was also indivisible. He abhorred 
Montesquieu's (the American) system of checks and balances. 
In all other important respects also Montesquieu was a perfect 
contrast, demanding as he did that laws be rarely altered, that 



430 RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

the only way to rule rulers was to change them frequently and to 
divide their power, that if two dangerous arms of government 
were both limited by the other the people were comparatively 
safe from oppression, that there should be a second legislative 
chamber composed of persons of birth, wealth and honours — 
all principles that in their application in America to-day enable 
the capitalistic power to go far toward controlling the govern- 
ment. But Montesquieu was at least logical. Like Alexander 
Hamilton, he was perfectly conscious that he was as much of an 
aristocrat as democrat. If a democratic republic, he says, be 
founded on commerce, individuals may safely possess great 
riches, for the spirit of commerce brings with it that of economy, 
moderation, labour, wisdom, tranquillity, and order. In other 
words, a commercial state to Montesquieu has all the political 
virtues. For Rousseau it has all the vices; for him democracy 
requires absolutely certain equality of fortune. To Rousseau 
Montesquieu's republic might indeed be a republic after the 
order of the oligarchies of Venice or Florence, but it had no 
claim to the title of democracy. 

In the free and democratic form of government conceived 
by the prophet of the French Revolution, "each one of us puts 
his person and all his power under the supreme direction of the 
general will ; and we receive into our body every member as an 
indivisible part of the whole." This great conception rested, 
it may be seen, on faith in the absolute unity between the indi- 
vidual and the government, transcending in this r espect all social 
philosophies which see some conflict of interest between society 
and the individual. Rousseau reached this height in his view 
of society because of his equally unified conception of the raoral 
nature of the individual. "The truly free man/* he says, in 
"Emile." "wishes only for what he can achieve and cdy does 
what pleases him." 

Applied to social Ere this feeling of the aai: y of raaa"s aarrre, 
k\i to the conclusion that "as scon as the pnbEc service ceases 
to Nr the rhr.xiri*! bxsaess cf the citisecs . . . the sta&e 
is already -sir «o nan.* Ro<ssseas oeraaaoed thea. as rrrar* 
*$ Tvr&t-ot c: ih* Risssan Sccalast c£ tc-^5aT. ro« oc-t 



ocr.xvr^.-T Vet th* cccriet* ievcswc ,:£ the ccxSv>d^3iL tc the 
$ratr*I **££&%. He h*c so rrrstx-al beSet than, sk ^ervrcxan 



RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 431 

of every man to his own private business would necessarily lead 
to the general good. 

Rousseau's successor in Russia was partially , and for a certain 
time at least, Tolstoi, but contemporary with Tolstoi, or almost 
so, have been the teachings of another international thinker, 
read more in Russia than in any other land, Karl Marx. I shall 
not stop to characterise the teachings of the founder of German 
Socialism any longer than to say that his influence in present* 
day Russia has to be reckoned alongside that of Rousseau, and 
certainly above that of Tolstoi. Perhaps the chief significance 
of Tolstoi for Russia, where Marxism is the dominant social 
theory among the present generation, is his antagonism to it. 
Tolstoi himself feels so strongly his antagonism to Marx that he 
bears proudly the title of Marx's most bitter opponent, the 
philosophical anarchist, rather than that of Social Democrat 
monopolised by the Marxian school. We look on him, however, 
as a complement rather than an opponent of Marx. We do not 
and cannot deny the antagonism, but as far as their practical 
proposals are concerned we say that the points of strength in 
Marx are for the most part the weak points of Tolstoi, just as 
we say that the essential weaknesses of Marxism are the very 
elements of strength in Tolstoi's doctrine. 

Tolstoi indeed recognises many of the most fundamental 
principles of Marxian Socialism and elaborates them in the most 
effective way. To Tolstoi, as to Marx, the struggle between the 
rich and the poor, the employer and the employee, is a bitter 
reality. Both recognise the existence of this "class struggle.'* 

But while Tolstoi recognises the struggle he does not express 
it in Marx's dogmatic form, but feels, like so many other Russian 
Socialists, that it is a conflict not between the "haves" and 
"have-nots," but rather between those who have more and 
those who have less. Laying the chief emphasis, as he does, 
on its spiritual $nd not on its material aspect, he does not feel 
that the question of a small amount of property decides the po- 
sition of an individual in the conflict. At the same time he 
gives equal importance to other struggles, those between indivi- 
duals and nations, and condemns all as the expression of the same 
irreligious and unsocial hatred that characterises present-day 
mankind in his social relationships. 



432 RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

It might appear that the economist, Marx, and the religionist, 
Tolstoi, had few points of contact; but since Marx concerns 
himself with all society, including religion, and Tolstoi applies 
his religion to economic questions, this is not the case. In 
regard to the land question, Tolstoi is undoubtedly a kind of 
Socialist. He agrees with the fundamental principle of Socialism 
that the work of society must be reorganised. In our conversa- 
tion he explained that he thought this could be done according 
to the principles of Henry George ; at any rate he had a supreme 
faith in the soundness of the life and instincts of the country 
people. But at the same time he surprised me by acknowledg- 
ing quite frankly that he was not clear as to how the future 
society could be organised in the towns. Here, then, we have 
a point where a third person may well reconcile Tolstoi's economy 
with that of Marx. Of course the disciples of neither would 
tolerate such a reconciliation. But since Marx expressed more 
or less pity or even contempt for the peasant and displayed 
very little knowledge of the evolution through which the peasant 
has passed, we may well decide that Tolstoi understands better 
the conditions of his peasants, just as Marx was unquestionably 
a master of all questions concerning most nearly his workingmen. 
It is indeed on this principle that the Russian political movement 
is solving the great social problem. It is bent on finding a 
common ground for the best parts of the doctrine of Marx and 
Henry George. 

The Labour Group in the Duma, representing the majority 
of the Russian peasantry, in proposing a solution of the land 
question, proposed at the same time to solve the labour question 
for the workingmen. It was for this reason perhaps that its 
delegate, Anikine, was received as a Socialist by an international 
congress at London in 1906. For this revolutionary land reform 
of the Labour Group is Socialism of the broadest and deepest 
kind. In demanding that each individual shall be supplied 
with land, while knowing full well that there is not enough land 
to give any one all that he needs, the Labour Group proposed 
to make the Russian Government responsible for the economic 
well being of each and every citizen. In insisting that every 
individual should have a right to his share in the soil the Group 
offered an alternative of agricultural labour to every workingman 



RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 4 33 

in the country. In declaring that no man should have more 
land than he could work with his own hands the Group pro- 
posed to abolish wage labour in the agricultural sections. 

The result of this great social revolution would be that the 
fanners would become interested in the upbuilding of indus- 
try, not only to gain a market but also to lift from their own 
shoulders the necessity of dividing their land with the disin- 
herited. The farmers would share the burden of the underpaid 
and unemployed workers of the towns, but in return they would 
demand by right from the general Government every possible 
support for agriculture in the form of cheaper transportation, 
cheap credit, and wherever beneficial to them, free trade. At 
the same time, having the burden of the labourer on their 
shoulders, they would have his interest at heart; they would 
want to build up industry and encourage business enterprise, 
while they would be jealous of all exceptional profits and would 
join their forces against those of private capital alongside the 
working people and professional classes of the towns. For 
according to Tolstoi, according to the Labour Group, and 
according to all the popular and Socialist parties of Russia, 
the larger part of the profits of private capital are unearned. 
Tolstoi has best expressed the feeling of all. 

" It a statesman," writes Tolstoi, "says that besides a personal 
advantage he has in view the common benefit, we cannot help 
believing him, and each of us knows such men; but a business 
man from the nature of his occupations, cannot have and would 
be ridiculous in the sight of his fellows if in his business he did 
aim at something besides the increasing of his own wealth and 
the keeping of it. And therefore the working people do not 
consider the activity of business men of any help to them, for 
their activity is associated with violence toward the working 
people; and its object is not the good of the people but always 
and only personal advantage." 

This is the view not of Tolstoi alone, nor of the popular 
class, but of nearly all classes of Russian society. Of course 
he is speaking not of the business man who is also something 
else, but of the business man as business man. As far as a man 
is absorbed wholly in business, says the Russian opinion of 
to-day, he cannot have in view the common good. 



434 RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

Tolstoi has also expressed better than any other Russian the 
common belief of the majority of the nation that capitalis- 
tic property is the root of all the evil of present-day society. 
In another passage, equally a part of Russia's message, Tolstoi 
used the word " property " instead of "capital/* but since he is a 
follower of Henry George, he doubtless has in mind rather than 
property of all kinds only capital and land. 

" Property," he says, " is the root of all evil; and at the same 
time property is that toward which all the activity of our 
modern society is directed, and that which directs the activ- 
ity of the world states and government intrigues, makes wars 
for the sake of property, for the possession of the banks of the 
Rhine, of land in Africa, China, the Balkan Peninsula. Bankers, 
merchants, manufacturers, landlords, labour, use cunning, tor- 
ment themselves, torment others, for the sake of property; 
government functionaries, tradesmen, landlords, struggle. deceive, 
oppress, suffer, for the sake of property; courts of justice and 
police protect property ; penal servitude, prisons, all the terrors 
of so-called punishments — all is done for the sake of property." 

In spite of the jealousy felt against him by the Socialist 
parties, especially the more orthodox Marxian party, Tolstoi 
is the greatest opponent of capitalism in Russia and in the world 
to-day. He is indeed a party in himself — not a political party, 
of course, but the exponent of a social programme. This social 
programme may be impracticable, but it is among the greatest 
menaces to the continued existence of the Czarism supported by 
international capital. Tolstoi's great contribution, as I have 
already suggested, is his attack on the intellectual defenders 
of the present system. "Science," he says, "has proclaimed 
stru^vjle and hatred as necessary and beneficent conditions of 
hu:::a:: life." This also is a feature of the criticism of all the 
v^rv intellectual and truly philosophical Russian movement. 
' ?r.v appropriation of the labour of others by a strong man. 
wh:.h formerly theologians called Divine predestination." says 
"\ '.*:-. : :r. another of his strongest passages. " which philosophers 
jailed inevitable conditions of life, scientific science now calls 
:>.. . r^amc division of labour. All the importance of the ruling 
n. _::o.- insists in this alone. This science now becomes the 
di^txiocr :t diplomas for idleness, because she alone in her 



RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 435 

temples analyses and determines what activity is parasitic 
and what is organic in the social organism. As if men could not, 
each for himself, much better decide it and more quickly, too, 
by consulting his reason and conscience." "When art and 
science really existed," he says elsewhere, "they were intelligent 
to all men. " This demand, then, for democracy, applied not only 
to political, economic, and social questions, but also to science 
and art, is the great contribution of Tolstoi to revolutionary 
Socialism. Often half-hearted democrats take refuge in the 
advocacy of an "aristocracy of mind and heart." This to 
Tolstoi is not only a sin and a crime but the very source of all 
the evil of our time, since men are led astray not so much by 
their mere selfish desires as by their very unwillingness to obey 
the appeals of society instead of answering only their own 
intellectual or aesthetic whims. 

Tolstoi, as I have said, placed all his hopes on the peasant, 
while Marx in his communist manifesto spoke of the "idiocy 
of rural life." According to a recent interpreter (Boudin) Marx 
was at the best filled with "compassion" for the "hopeless case 
of the poor peasant." The new Russian Socialism takes no 
such patronising view. It does not share the common suspicions 
against either half of the population, the peasants or the work- 
ingmen. Already even the Russian Marxians concede that the 
peasantry of Russia may make as good revolutionists and 
democrats, if not as good Socialists, as the workingmen. But 
the Socialist Revolutionary Party goes further and feels that 
the agricultural population will make good Socialists also. 
Their chief writers stake everything on the peasants without 
deserting the workingmen. One of them, Tchernov, tries to 
interpret Marx, to prove that he did understand the peasant and 
points to the efforts of nearly all the European Socialist parties to 
fix up their doctrines to please the agricultural population and 
to accept as justifiable some form of private property in land, 
in order that the country people shall not be frightened away 
from Socialism by fear of losing their possessions. 

But another thinker of the Socialist Revolutionists, rather 
than endeavouring to make one more interpretation of Marx, 
seeks the historical predecessors of the new Socialist doctrine 
in the French Revolution. Chisko and others who think with 



4ju RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

.nm u*uc 3ax\L2u3c, Marx's chief antagonist, almost as much 
^ iiiu. iu >Lat\ hums.cli. In championing the cause of the foun- 
der .: :ncc<rnLaa**r\.;usmthey show that they are as much opposed 
tu j'.cr-LVt: i/.cmment as they are to private property and 
;usu;y to* .lajjn ihat the object of their attack is not private 
property aay ai^re than it is government, but capitalism in 
so :ar j^ :t r-^vis itseli in both. 

The fuadamcatal ideal of the communists' manifesto" 
vtiic t^a jvrn.TiAndiiKrnu of Marxian Socialism), says Chisko, 
"that -o.n^ciic phenomena, independently of the will and ten- 
jencx* :f >nankiKd. ar* pivparing the technical material and 
?$;.■%: his.*l -,-leaieats jz the social revolution, must be renounced. M 
ChLk'j :iica. is well as tise scuntfiiy of the Socialist Revolution- 
ary ?3szy, is a: ;-ac with Rousseau and Tolstoi in placing the 
ars: emphasis .-a tbe will >f «aan. 

The Socialist Revolutionise acvuse their orthodox Marxian 
predecessc rs : : iefeading oolv ^he iuwrosts of vage laboiuers 
who y-cssess uowhiag. the $o-ca!jk»i ~'r*Tc\l£5ars*T," ar&i a^c those 
of labour in general. It u> .^e :is$ ^rraaf ih*i Tcswraov 
accuses them :: lacking bech i^i zrx- Scv*«t?yzr ac&i trae 
i-iaiocrajy. "ndeed. in *tta».£mg pnv-iss rrjcerrr rzssea.i c£ 
private .a^ital. :a refusing to rscvgmse linu a peasaa- even 
the ^h he is :a possession jc a pities :c imii, Trrrt^iied Ire 
do^ 'i.t -:mpl.-y aaochcr. m;» be i> social as zhm weneng- 
!iu::. thv -lier Socialists had ahamitmed a. prmeipie jf a-mai 
in:--, rtarce .•■.rtaialy with Socialism itseif. aameiy democracy. 
The Serial I?t literacy *.^k> brought Socialism m rae vancus 
na'.io::? tc- j. *iu*iL/-s:ded :nsis precisely because ji its undem- 
ocratic ■.■hd.rj.jtcr. 

If a. Socialist . rganisation is attached :o Socialism collectiv- 
ism rather than :■- iein-jeraey. :t :si uacurai resuit that 3mpisa 
Fabian Societies >h-juld arise — thac favour, or at lease accept 
without much resistance. ;ven >o \mdtmo«.ractc an idea as tat' 
iu^tirication .-f a minority rule. This ieaus at .-nee. it .ourse. 
to the idea or a Aoaiinatiou by jooi*: mr.'.p.iy. usually some 
Dart m the middle -lass. The Socialism ~nen proposed :s not 
any v.i:i.:ai:icntal change :i socieiy bus .-nly a State Socialism. 
the extension of the functions A the ^ovemmenc. 

If the working people, unwilling to aeeepc the domxnation. 



RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 437 

of a numerical majority, insist on pushing forward their Social- 
istic beliefs in a revolutionary manner, then the penalty of this 
form of undemocratic Socialism is a Paris Commune. If, on 
the other hand, while still remaining revolutionary and undem- 
ocratic, they propose to wait for a majority, they announce that 
with the aid of their majority they are going to establish 
a "dictatorship" of the proletariat, and all the neutral 
and wavering elements of society are frightened into 
reaction by the idea that all minorities are to be crushed 
by the working class. 

But the undemocratic Socialists give up their revolutionary 
spirit. They console themselves by some illusion of politics, 
some kind of parliamentarism. So in Germany we have seen 
the naive working class under the leadership of Bebel calmly 
looking forward to the day when the majority of the nation 
would be workingmen — a day whose arrival we may well 
doubt in any self-sufficient modern country. Nor is this the 
greatest danger for this latter peaceful and undemocratic type 
of movement. It stakes everything on the permanence of 
constitutionalism and universal suffrage; it fails to learn from 
the recent examples in Germany and Russia and many other 
countries that it is as easy for political institutions to be turned 
backward as forward, and that without democracy, without a 
majority in possession of the concrete power to enforce its will, 
no people has the hope of evolving a great social movement, 
that no people is protected by a mere paper constitution or 
an election law in the hands of a hostile power. 

The Russian Socialists are both revolutionists and democrats. 
They know that they have to win liberty and Socialism by 
fighting for them, and they know that they can hope for nothing 
unless they can maintain a unity of the masses of the population 
both of the towns and country. It is in order to maintain 
this unity that they have sought a reconciliation of the 
revolutionary social principles with regard to the land, those 
of Henry George, and the revolutionary view of capitalism, 
that of Marx. 

It is this unification of all the highest conceptions of Socialism 
and politics that we shall learn from Russia, rather than any 
entirely new social ideals. It is precisely because Russia is 



40 2X55IA'S MESSAGE 

:•> much a parr ->f ^he modern world that we cannot and 
must n'/t expect an entirely new and strange irff— 1. bat we 
'an expect and have already received from her hig*w»r and 
I jitter expressions of the profonndest social conceptions that 
have yet been formulated by men. 

ii 

The Russian Revolution gives the world more than a social 
programme. The new Russian ideas tend to revolutionise the 
very basis of modern thought, not only with regard to society, 
but with regard to all life; they tend to revolutionise the method 
of reasoning and feeling of every individual; they attack the 
modern religion, the only real deeply rooted religion of onr 
day, the theory of evolution, considered not as a mere hypothe- 
sis of physical science, but as a guide to all life. Russians in 
general, even conservatives, are agreed that the great m ove ment 
that is gaining possession of the nation means not merely a 
change of the constitution, but if I may quote from a pcrrate 
conversation with Michael Stachovitch, one of the most moder- 
ate, "a change of all institutions, of all relations, of aS life, of 
everything. " 

In developing the new idea of the laws a£ tae grrwri af 
scvietw :.he Russian people are also reaching a arc . ■ymKyp iiaa 
%\t *I! lite. .\f all realms of human aotrrirr, errs cc a--i»^ an 
Ar.*i r^v^-a. F* x r ^ concepccca rf trse law n: sacsail ^rjath 

o;-V: . »i^A> .-^ij^r ii^> 3$ **'i- H^sssa s ftarrnc: aim nrihr rt 

'^xj;^*.' jJJ. ^>* sn^cs ii-r^ .\T23ot sr^mrmiir Trrtiiisxis — 

jk ** i% . : v. "U«i .xvis«> .*c n»ii"^.i r milk !itnv ir memg": 'zm =d- 
>**V> a.ic K-* ?," £ «* ^ift? *rr;iifs r-mr "UK ^rau: srimnmis zi 
i^v : t;i**i jiviu&cr** ■?-* ;\*n*umvr* u\i smaiiwss -nsoaai izjsaerwi 
",k»j*. :t -K' laac *> ;l ,-u^iCLui&o» — "xiw iucuii TTngrnxmm imf 

-»iu(^vi!/ ,1 ~-ta ?•:*'•: itiriwn :> nntftntt^anrai. 3ut: "iie scr 
.*.wiv,vwv:^ii ;x lit; Jii«»t laii :tj .Mne rnnn T*n=gnt. "±re mi" 
.• vin a .»i%v';uiM s.mTtMui v/ *.!*.-* "ai anvs ~ixtt rmuiusc ;c 



RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 439 

the world by the new scientific religion, now too deeply rooted 
to be eradicated under ordinary conditions of life. The French 
Revolution overthrew not only Louis XVI. in France and shook 
feudalism in all Europe; it also upset authorities in philosophy, 
religion, science, and art and prepared the way for Kant and 
Darwin as world powers. Humanity has undergone no French 
Revolution, no spiritual world upheaval for a century, and as a 
consequence new authorities begin to rule and we have been 
sinking gradually into unfruitful skepticism and even into a 
virulently anti-social faith. 

Several generations ago several great social thinkers, like 
Marx and Proudhon, began to write how society develops, not 
only by slow, quiet, orderly, and continuous evolution, but also 
by rapid changes, by apparent though not real breaks in the 
ordinary process. The best known and most influential of these 
writers was Karl Marx. Marx conceived a new idea of the 
law of social development, especially of that particular form 
of development known as revolutions. He, however, was 
chiefly concerned with that revolution which he thought was 
rapidly approaching at the time he wrote. As he conceived 
of revolution as the "open and violent rebellion" we usually 
know under that name, he did not look further ahead into the 
future than to the next catastrophe, he did not try to foresee the 
kind of revolution that humanity should have to go through 
with for a longer period. This lack of far-sightedness vitiated 
his doctrine. To followers of Marx the conception that revolu- 
tion in the social psychology of mankind, in the methods of the 
control of society over individuals and of individuals over 
society, should continue forever, might be even a misuse of the 
term revolution. 

In spite of the fact that the world is already in possession 
of Marx's elaborate doctrine of revolution, the so-called scien- 
tific Socialism, the prevailing conception of social growth in all 
countries, even among the most scientific persons, is still of the 
simplest order. The great masses still believe in the same form 
of linear social development. To them society moves along 
more or less straight lines in one direction or another, and this 
they call "evolution." To the more educated the conception 
is slightly more complicated and the idea is perhaps that of an 



440 RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

"evolution " along the line of a spiral — society is suppo se d to 
move from one side to the other of the spiral, to return to a 
similar position vertically to the one it occupied before, but on 
a higher plane. It is doubtless true, as many psychologists 
say, that we must use, as handles or tools of thought, certain 
physical images and certain mechanical figures of speech, but 
if our logical and reasoning powers have not developed further 
than this, let us at least see that our images and figures are 
more developed. Let us try, like those Russians, all of whose 
waking and sleeping thoughts are absorbed by the social prob- 
lem, to conceive society in a more subtle and realistic manner. 
If we must use figures, let us imagine social development as 
taking place, not along any single line, no matter how curved 
or complicated, but in every possible direction at once and in 
all three dimensions. By the use of this figure we would be 
rescued from many of the absurdities of the prevailing concep- 
tion, we could for the first time conceive of society as growing 
in two opposite directions at the same time, or developing in 
one direction without losing what had already been gained in 
another. We would not speak, then, of political revolution as 
being the result of reaction, or of reaction as the inevitable 
result of revolution. If we must put our concept of the tendency 
of society at a given moment in a single figure of speech, we 
could speak of the movement of the centre of gravity of the 
growing body politic in some new direction, and along some 
given line. But a solid body growing always in many directions 
would be something far different from our old figure of society 
as a point moving along a line, since bodies of the same bulk and 
the same centre could have an infinite variety of form and 
structure. To employ this figure for our own p urposes, if the 
resultant, the sum of all the motions of society in various 
directions, the general movement of the whole, shocld itself 
suddenly take a new dinvtion, or ooTnn:cnce to rscve rraci 2aoce 
rapidly alor*£ the same path, wt sho^d have what wraic be 
mow properly called WAV^utori rhar. e vjihrdcc- 

Revolution is simply a tkw rarccitx. cc saooes^y c&aa^ad 
direction, of evoJutsor. . This is the £re*t tmtl th*t tbe ^ ; » w ^ 
outside of Russia ar* f^c^rtn^:. aac zz t^yrsrric rt asr risk- 
sr^ a2 t^c rrwecsr.. <5«rjocra^y. aac aevrekra^-i Ofvelqpmcn: zc 



RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 441 

the race that revolution has obtained for mankind. Some 
advances have been obtained by evolution, exclusive of revolu- 
tion ; I am not opposing one to the other, but on the contrary 
I am objecting most vigorously to this very fictitious opposition, 
to the consideration either of evolution or of revolution as a 
superior form of social development. To speak of evolution as 
against revolution, or to exclude rapid and strikingly new devel- 
opments as entirely inadmissible, as a higher form of social 
progress, is to adopt the most fundamentally conservative and 
reactionary idea' ever yet thought out by the mind of man. 
Many religions and theories of the state have spiritually sub- 
jected humanity, but none were ever so universal, so dangerous, 
and so terrible as this. If we speak of social development as 
evolution, and if from this term evolution we exclude all revolu- 
tionary development, we are in the toils of a dogmatic creed or 
philosophy worse than anything the world has seen since the 
time of the ancient Egyptians. 

This reactionary scientific-religious faith was invited by the 
dull neutral attitude toward moral and social questions held 
by the great scientists in the middle of the last century, who 
divided life into science and — life. Spencer and his school 
had no social or individual faith to offer. They converted 
mankind to an almost servile respect for physical science, 
destroyed by the aid of this science much of the old philosophy 
and many of the old moral and social ideals, and offered nothing 
to take their place. Their successors have not been so modest; 
the place was there visibly empty ; only the voices of the devo- 
tees of science could fill it, for other voices were no longer heard; 
God had been overthrown, the throne was empty and there 
was every temptation to set up the devil in his stead. 

A generation ago John Morley in his interesting book on 
"Compromise," that sums up so well the best political thought 
of our intellectual predecessors, deplored the lack of faith in 
the thinking of the English people of that day. To-day we are 
facing a still greater evil in the prevalence not of indifference 
but of a positively anti-social faith. Morley complained of a 
profound distrust of all general principles, of the popular sup- 
position that there was some antagonism between principle 
and expediency, between theory and fact. He accused his 



*:.2*i--\V MESSAGE 

^-vi«;^ - iiniis.iij i?n: i- in-- mieres: or" the day ancv-r 
4..U. j 1.1 -=. . -.-itxii-. 'Waa: prea; political caused 
•* *** *• " jr .— . .-■ tfiii-iiwr .. . x.i Lngianri defending to-day : * 
r* 4^.c_, ^a.. aifct* :*»* a^rii'. juesuui. o: any other peoplt x 
t- ;**!» .*^. .* . i*:v- .*±t. c: an" i»eopk to-day. 

#-„**v _i*. ^^m.-r- Ai.*. Us-, otuer great individualists a: 
-!•■ :-^*. •*_-. ?::_ .***• jt: r^nsms*. influence, especially in 
• •:_»*,r.,.«.. *;i u.-r; ; :.;-_ nt*t\ o: Iik recognition of "the sacred- 
:*** j r -:*-::i r "i * L'j«jrmu o: national deterioration." hs 

*u-<. wii u.*.., -,***- k iu« wiKt life waric has grown into thf 
^x^.>»<w: fc * *. jc» ^^■••.niif fusi that day comes, all §TDoi 
;.;.^c «.-u "-Jif.-* -ut new doctrine itself will never 

*.>...* lA^y. v.-:i s^i^u ;cv:hiwsec: it- their own liberation. 
',-. u»./ .»" » v.*.: -^«.-iu«.'.r.fXfe fcnc 5#etty utility must fast pass 
«.»•».,» ',„.■ . juv'. v* -i* vat t-s^ediencies must reach further 
*-.: -Iaaja' v - r fw.»":v:v.«. v. «*r:h for the highest verities, 
J-. y ,K ._.... ,..'_«: v.C/w *i*-z:. rzras? first become the supreme 
i.*.= v/ v.iv.-.' ^s "/** itvr'vy and ins generation are respon- 
*...;^ #/./„^ I./.**.!. oJI v T .^r* i'.r the further deterioration of public 
•,.,;fj.*«u rtji.ii ugafi ?^»i* apolitical and all other great principles. 
!•.,» i<ioUa.j ijt v»*l*stiiiti% the only new doctrine that could 
*.*.*. i.i l»ili« 6i#iic-iy, tiit-y opj>osed it with all their power; 
liUi. M.iiU^ iiUiULlf, who, though he acknowledged some form of 
£v<. ulum *«** lucviuhlr, promised to die fighting it with back 
(.. tu». Mall, in likti hjK-iurr who called it the coming slavery. 
u»ua u <t tiiiuitfy wIuth love of constant improvement 
iiut.M in tio t«iiu4tcT than anywhere else, because the fear of 
i»-i .iluiuni U U-ai," wrote Morlcy — but the fear of revolution, 
tit (>a!uk the hone ot revolution, is the mainspring of the 
t;tf.ti«>i ^nwfcjvwss ol the rcuv. 

U *> fci*v*use thvv ha\e grasped this principle of social p?ti£s 
llutt itu- Kto*t.ti\ siuiis is so greas t»da>\ Once h^v^z^ lor. 
w'u v^u^ii *o*-*i w.v.u k s. i; was uasural thas M:rify iz-i ^ 

■I.4.L ,.-.so.^'J^\'. -"»c sovviv.^Msy ,«i ^i:c yeoule. t^ie irsc 7raxci::i« 
.. kl tsA.uk. .'.vii 1 <-'**• -t.i»i ^t'*cn >L'i;jc ,*r^jit: "o ^ie beiier *uia; 
.,-. .t .. . *.i.> :i iv.xvj .►. ")*:»•.%> ^i" .'cii '",'rti"s *x* ^»;^rim it. \Lone^ 
fc.vv..^^^ Vus ^^.Wi'ii^ A.i«i >-»l -»mi tir.-icr ::iuu !ie. ict*.- 



RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 443 

ing "the right kind of compromise/' like the moderate party 
in the Russia of to-day, he bargained away most of his great 
principles, even to avoiding the issue as to whether he favoured 
a republic or a monarchy in the England of the present day. 

Since individualism, much as it saw the need of it, supplied 
no social faith, Nietsche and Kipling have come along to fill 
the empty place until now the new popular social science, as 
Tolstoi rightly says, even in the midst of our so-called civilisation, 
defends the survival of the principle of the tooth and claw; 
while a Henley or a Nietsche actually glorifies war, not for its 
fruits alone but because they see in it the noble art. In seeking 
to lay the philosophical foundations for a higher individualism, 
in endeavouring to inspire mankind with the passionate desire 
to produce a higher type, Nietsche has indeed not only ignored 
society, but he has constructed a positively anti-social belief, 
leaving no place but slavery or death for the overwhelming 
majority, who are not "supermen." Yet this man's phil- 
osophy rules in Germany and the number of his disciples grows 
apace in other lands! 

This is as we might have expected; men cannot live with- 
out faith; we must either idealise the coming society, including 
as part of it the coming man, or we must idealise the individual 
of the future without regard to society and the race, and accept 
the worship of mere power without regard to any other question. 
Humanity need no longer go without a faith adapted to the 
times; the Russians have already found it. During the present 
generation, say the Russians, we are in need of preachers of 
revolution, and of revolution in all things. The goal of the human 
race is best expressed perhaps in Schopenhauer's "will to live" 
or Nietsche's "will to power"; the living out of our deepest 
instincts, however doubtful when applied only to individuals, 
may hold true if applied to humanity as a whole; but if this 
is so, if society exists to fulfill its own purpose and not to con- 
form to fatal and fixed conditions of environment, the now 
popular use or misuse of the conception of evolution would again 
be consigned to a secondary rdle. We should say with Maeter- 
linck in his essay, "The Bees," that it is our duty to seek out the 
ends of our existence, not in the natural environment or even 
in human history, but rather in the study of the structure of our 



444 RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

own psychical and physical organs; and since functions are 
fixed by the structure of organs, to live the life we were bom 
for — to travel in the directions pointed out by our own organic 
ends and capacities, under the limitations of our own physical 
and psychical organisms, rather than under the external 
limitations imposed on us by the outside universe, considered 
by the evolutionary or historical school as the only really 
important element of our environment. According to this 
conception it is not the function of man and society to try to 
see life from a dead scientific standpoint, to endeavour to be 
objective and external, as it were to put ourselves outside of 
our bodies, but to give up this equally useless and impossible 
task and to live the life for which another kind of science, a 
physically and psychically introspective science, a science 
that restores man to his true place in the centre of his universe, 
shows we were created. 

Here is a truly spiritual conception of evolution and the 
struggle for existence. In this conception we do not struggle 
against one another, forced to internecine strife by the 
narrow limits of a fixed environment; but the environment 
presents itself to our senses, to our intelligence, our will and 
our power, dumbly pleading to us for such recognition as it 
humanly deserves, each element of the environment struggling 
with the other to be taken into the only realm that is real to 
man, that of our physical and psychical life, in order there to 
become an element in the further evolution of our being. This 
is indeed a revolution of the prevailing evolutionary theory. 
Instead of individuals struggling against one another under a 
more or less fixed environment, this new world-outlook regards 
human evolution as being a struggle of environments before the 
human individual, the arbiter of the universe, at least as far 
as mankind is concerned. This beautiful concept loses nothing 
of what modern science has gained for us; it merely reverses 
the inhuman social and moral principles that have been allowed 
almost to monopolise the applications of science to our ideas 
of human life. 

To worship nature objectively as some scientists advise 
us to do is to return very near to the psychology of the primi- 
tive man, who in his devotion both to the devil and to God was 



RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 4 45 

paying a no greater tribute to the maleficent and beneficent 
powers of nature. It is to go back even of the ancient Hebrews ; 
it is to forget that mankind is a chosen race, that as long as 
there is a single human family left, we must obey nothing, 
not even non-human "nature/ 9 which is absolutely external 
to ourselves, but must follow our own best moral reasons and 
instincts supported by a scientific study of the nature of our 
physical and spiritual selves. 

This modern return to nature and betrayal of man, this 
adoption of the standpoint of the savages, which is supposed to 
be preached by the theory of evolution, is nothing less than 
impious to a truly social people like the Russians of to-day. Of 
all the countries of the world, it is the only one where such 
pseudo-scientific sociology is completely discredited. Yet we 
all feel there is something wrong. 

It is because Tolstoi attacks this pseudo-science more effec- 
tively than anyone else that he is the most respected and vener- 
ated man alive to-day, even in countries where pernicious 
doctrines rule. If Tolstoi has lost nothing of the love and 
admiration in which he was held since he gave up trying to 
entertain and please his readers and took to preaching to them — 
this is due to the fact that he takes an absolute and moral view 
of life, retaining all the best conclusions of the ancient philoso- 
phies and religions on the nature of man, but drawing his 
materials entirely from our time. Tolstoi does not know that 
we are related to all things as well as to all men, but he contends 
nevertheless that our individual and social duty is not relative 
but absolute. There is for each individual in each given 
moment only one best way ; if we fall below our appointed func- 
tion as it is shown us by nature and our own best instincts and 
reasonings, or if society falls in the same way below its appointed 
functions, we hear from our individual or social conscience 
and know we have done wrong. 

This view places man again in the centre of the universe, 
and gives him a truly unified and unbroken conception of life 
and of society. If we look at society not from the human, but 
from the pseudo-scientific or objective standpoint, we shall fail 
to understand a single social problem. If, for instance, political 
development is studied apart from all the other developments of 



446 RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

the life of society and of the individuals that compose it, we 
shall not only see political revolutions in the sense of a rapid 
evolution or evolution in some new direction, but we shall imag- 
ine we see or fear we may see positive gaps in the continuity 
of the process of development. As long as we consider political 
or even social evolution as a thing apart from the rest of the 
science of life, we shall stand in fear of these gaps. Indeed, 
ill-understood interruptions of continuous political evolution 
are so common that it is often even denied that there are any 
laws of political development. We do not know what politics 
will bring for us to-morrow because the political situation of 
to-day depends not on the political situation of yesterday , but 
on that of industry, science, religion, education, public morality, 
or even on some obscure corner of social life. There is no steady 
evolution of politics; there is only a continuous evolution of life, 
while politics consists of an endless series of more or less revolu- 
tionary transformations. Indeed it is only when politics are 
least important and have the least fundamental contact with 
life, that there can be anything resembling continuous and quiet 
political evolution. When politics become vital, when the 
energies of the individual and of society go principally and 
consciously in a political direction, the evolution of politics 
becomes to a large degree the barometer of the whole evolution 
of the race; and since it is certain that in trying to prophesy 
the political future we shall leave important elements of this 
greater evolution out of the reckoning, it is also certain that 
revolutions or breaks in the imaginary chain of political develop- 
ment will occur to surprise the "scientific" observer. 

The Russians learned the danger of the old political thinking 
from their own experience. The Government through its 
prime ministers endeavours to promote such "scientific" think- 
ing. As soon as the Government can succeed in polarising the 
popular thought, and concentrating the public attention on any 
two extremes, it is easy to persuade it that both are to be 
avoided. As soon as the people are divided into two 
camps, even in discussion, while the timid elements of the 
community are situated between, the Government can step 
in, and taking advantage of the chaos, itself induce some 
principle of that unity which every society imperatively 



RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 447 

demands. When it can stir up such a spiritual conflict it is 
as if the Government had itself ordered the placing of the 
enemy's forces. Unity there must be; if in the chaos of 
competition of American industry, it is a great economic unit, 
a trust, that introduces the new and necessary unity, to the 
economic subjection of the people; if in Russia, it is the Czarism 
that steps in to restore the balance in race struggles and social 
conflicts it has itself encouraged, replacing by an artificial and 
violent unity the revolutionary Socialist unity for which the 
nation is striving. 

If in Russia it is the Government that takes advantage of the 
division in the thought of the individual, it is the moderate 
party that is now trying to make use of this old and crude 
dualistic manner of political thought in order to put an end to 
the revolutionary movement. Contending, like Witte, that 
there are no interruptions in political evolution, the philosophers 
of Russia's moderate party and of the conservative wing of the 
Marxian Socialists as well, deny the possibility of revolutionary 
political changes, assume a legal or constitutional regime even 
before it exists, obey the present Government, and wear out 
their souls in vain working for the smallest beginning of a real 
constitution. The moderates' dualistic attitude toward life, 
their separation of science and the human soul, was recently 
expressed by the well known writer Berydaiev when he said: 
"We desire a neutral social development, the freeing of human- 
ity and the lifting of it out of animal state, but not the trans- 
forming of social visions and dreams into a religion; for with a 
neutral sphere we can make our religion harmonise." But for 
the Socialist Christians or almost religious Socialists of the type 
that is dominating in Russia to-day, whether a Father Petrov 
or a Maxim Gorky, it is precisely these social dreams and 
passions that must be transformed into a religion and a social 
faith, and it is this social faith that constitutes the essence of all 
the deepest human thought and feeling, whether we call it religion 
or something else. Socialism as a purely political or economic 
doctrine can be opposed to a well harmonised purely political 
religious creed as Berydaiev suggests, but to the new revolu- 
tionary Russians there can be no contradictions between 
Socialism and religion, or one's social and personal creed. To 



RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

iivtue Life into science and matters of the soul is for the Russians 
:>l vj-oay as much crime as it was to Rousseau or his followers 
in z'sm great revolution of France, who lived and breathed their 
subaL raith before they preached it to mankind. 

in 

One oi Russia's brilliant political writers, Bulgakov, demands 
in the name of Russian public opinion that the political party 
of the future should be a religious party in the broadest meaning 
of the term, including even a certain kind of atheism as a 
religious force. 

In the true conception he claims every political party should 
constitute a single spiritual whole, should have a common 
soul, a common thought, a common will, should be literally a 
collective organism. The object of the religious political party 
he says should be "to participate in social and political life 
with the object of transforming it in equal spirit of love, liberty, 
equality, and fraternity. Sooner or later there must arise in 
our midst a purely Christian party absolutely alien to clericalism, 
obscurantism, and other spectres of the past, but inspired by 
great faith and in the name of this faith by ideals of democracy 
and Socialism." In these terms a devoted Christian is express- 
ing a feeling that is common to all parts of the Russian people. 
Whether we hear speaking the radical Petrov or the conservative 
Bulgakov, the Christian anarchist Tolstoi or the communist 
anarchist Kxopotkin, we have a common instance of the fusion 
of social aad religious faith. Among the political Socialists and 
the tfreat popular and Socialistic parties that are taking hold 
of the masses, we hoar often the same cry, or still more often 
the simple demand, that Socialism raised to the height of a 
religious conception should become the faith of mankind. 

These individuals and parties say that faith like this is not 
mystic; that their religion is no theological abstraction; it 
resembles rather the high rationalistic faith of Tolstoi. In 
Tolstoi's creed religion must inspire all individual and social 
morality, but this religion we find is based on a simple and 
visual conception of brotherly love, the desire to do to others 
,. we would have others do unto us. Even the philosophy of 



RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 4 49 

Comte, Tolstoi classes with religions which he defines as efforts 
to establish the relation of man to the world and its principle. 
God is the principle of the world, but the will of God is to bring 
about the welfare of man, the end of religion is social service. 
The end of society, on the other hand, is God. "For man, 
through man, to God," is Tolstoi's latest formulation of his 
social creed. But God's will is the spiritual welfare of mankind. 

The religion of all who make their individual belief also a 
social faith is necessarily of a highly revolutionary order. 
Tolstoi's religion, for instance, teaches above all independence, 
it leads to both a spiritual and practical anarchism. So clearly 
is this true that we doubt if under our anarchist law, Tolstoi, 
any more than his friend, Prince Kropotkin, could be admitted 
into the United States, for Tolstoi not only speaks of the sub- 
mission to human power as a sin, but preaches openly and 
clearly, like our great Thoreau, that nobody ought to submit 
to any government. He says repeatedly, as he also made clear 
in our personal talk, that he agrees in large part with the leading 
anarchists, Thoreau, Bakounin, Kropotkin, Proudhon and 
the rest. 

But the social faith of the majority of Russians has no direct 
relation with any religious creed; it is inspired with the depth 
of feeling and faith that characterises religious thought, rather 
than with its intellectual formulation. Tolstoi and most of 
the revolutionists who have received their inspiration rather 
from religion than from the social situation itself, are inclined 
to favour a non-political and inactive verbal attack on 
the existing regime; whereas the revolutionists who have 
obtained their ideas largely from the struggle itself, believe not 
only in a militant activity but in martyrdom for the cause. 
Both are equally revolutionary in what they teach, but it is 
only the political Socialists that are revolutionary in action. 

There are only two courses to humanity in the minds of 
most honest and intelligent Russians. We must either defend 
our principles against the universe to the last drop of our blood, 
as the majority of the Socialists demand, or with Tolstoi we 
must abandon social as opposed to individual progress, surren- 
der all claims to the exercise of our physical energy in behalf 
of our principles, and become with him non-resistant to evil. 



*_".3I--- : 



V- =-=_-r 



- i_— ■ aTTj- ^^ *t * '• P**" 






. ■ - ~~ " z.— .6£~ I- -^ = i c . t* if*ii" 



. :j..~ — 






RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 451 

this respite. Man must fulfil his organic duty, he says; he 
must play the rdle written for him by nature. He writes: 

Humanity has appointed us to gather that which stands on the horizon. 
It has given us instructions which it does not behoove us to discuss. It 
distributes its forces as it thinks right. At every crossway on the road 
that leads to the future, it has placed, against each of us, ten thousand 
men to guard the past ; let us therefore have no fear lest the fairest towers 
of former days be insufficiently defended. We are only too naturally 
inclined to temporise, to shed tears over inevitable ruins; this is the 
greatest of our trespasses . . . 

Let us not say to ourselves that the best truth always lies in moderation, 
in the fair average. This would perhaps be so if the majority of men did 
not think, did not hope, upon a much lower plane than is needful. That 
is why it behooves the others to think and hope upon a higher plane 
than seems reasonable. The average, the fair moderation of to-day, 
will be the least human of things to-morrow. At the time of the Spanish 
Inquisition, the opinion of good sense and of the just medium was cer- 
tainly that people ought not to burn too large a number of heretics; 
extreme and unreasonable opinion obviously demanded that they should 
burn none at all. It is the same to-day with the question of marriage, 
of love, of religion, of criminal justice, and so on. Has not mankind yet 
lived long enough to realise that it is always the extreme idea, that is 
the highest idea, the idea at the summit of thought, that is right? At 
the present moment, the most reasonable opinion on the subject of our 
social question invites us to do all that we can gradually to diminish 
inevitable inequalities and distribute happiness more equitably. Extreme 
opinion demands instantly integral division, the suppression of property, 
obligatory labour, and the rest. We do not yet know how these demands 
will be realised; but it is already quite certain that very simple circum- 
stances will one day make them appear as natural as the suppression of 
the right of primogeniture or of the privileges of the nobility. It is 
important, in these questions of the duration of a species and not of a 
people or an individual, that we should not limit ourselves to the experi- 
ence of history. What it confirms and what it denies moves in an 
insignificant circle. The truth, in this case, lies much less in our reason, 
which is always turned toward the past, than in our imagination, which 
sees further than the future . . . 

Let us listen only to the experience that urges us on: it is always 
higher than that which throws or keeps us back. Let us reject all the 
counsels of the past that do not turn us toward the future. This is 
what was admirably understood, perhaps for the first time in history, 
by certain men of the French Revolution; and that is why this revolution 
is the one that did the greatest and the most lasting things. Here, this 
experience teaches us that, contrary to all that occurs in the affairs of 
daily life, it is above all important to destroy. In every social progress 
the great and the only difficult work is the destruction of the past 



452 RUSSIA'S MESSAGE 

And let us not fear that we may go too fast. If, at certain hours, we 
seem to be rushing at a headlong and dangerous pace, this is to counter- 
balance unjustifiable delays and to make up for time lost during centuries 
of inactivity. 

We are certain that almost to a man all the great parties 
and individuals that are driving forward Russia's great revolu- 
tionary movement could sign this confession of faith. Nearly 
all have seen in the life around them not only the evolutionary, 
but the revolutionary, truths ; nearly all value the life of the com- 
ing generations more than they do that of the months and years 
in which they happen to be living; nearly all are listening only to 
the higher experience and are following the greater expediency. 
None have the belittling fear that society may go too fast. To 
them as to Maeterlinck social duty is a religious faith. 

The Russians have not an over-confident nature, and this 
is why in their great crisis they have studied so carefully, so 
sympathetically and profoundly the histories and literature of 
all other countries to find if there is not a great and helpful 
truth that can aid Russia now. They have found many such 
truths and made them their own, and it is because of their open- 
mindedness and sympathy that they have now rather to teach 
humanity than to learn from it, and that the world is listening 
for their message. For a generation and more, especially during 
the last few years, they have been hearing and assimilating the 
world's best thought and experience — as no people that ever 
went before them. Maeterlinck's stirring appeal to social revolu- 
tion is not received as it is in other countries as new, startling, 
and sensational, but rather as a perfectly accurate and true 
expression of what the Russians already feel. And this is 
Russia's message — not the words of any individual, not the 
principles of any party, but the daily thoughts and feelings and 
actions of a people ready to die for what they think and feel ; 
a message involved in every living speech or writing, in every 
great deed, a message that goes out from Russia to travel 
around the world, to become implanted and to take root among 
all peoples and individuals that deserve and will win a share in 
the new civilisation of which the Russian Revolution is perhaps 
the dawn. 



APPENDIX 
AND BIBLIOGRAPHICAL NOTE 



NOTE A 

THE BASIS FOR RUSSIA'S CONSTITUTIONAL ILLUSIONS 

THE CZAR'S MANIFESTO OF OCTOBER 17, 1905. (OCTOBER 30, 
I905 — WESTERN CALENDAR) 

We, Nicholas II., by God's Grace Emperor and Autocrat 
of all the Russias, Czar of Poland, Grand Duke of Finland, 
and so forth, announce to our loyal subjects: The disturbances 
and movements in our principal cities and numerous other 
places in our realm fill our heart with great and intense anguish. 
The happiness of the Russian Ruler is inseparably bound with the 
happiness of the people and the pain of the people is the pain of 
the Ruler. From the present conditions there may arise a deep 
national disturbance and danger for the integrity and unity 
of our empire. 

The high duty of our mission as Ruler compels us to bestir 
ourselves with our whole might and power to hasten the 
cessation of these disorders that are so dangerous for the State. 

While we have ordered the proper officials to take measures 
to allay the direct manifestations of disorder, riots and deeds 
of violence and for the protection of the peaceful population 
which is striving to quietly fulfil all of the duties imposed 
upon it, we have at the same time recognised it as indispensable 
in order to accomplish successfully the general measures for 
the calming of public life to give to the activity of the highest 
officials of the Government a unified direction. We obligate 
the Government to fulfil our unchangeable will as follows: 

1 . The population is to be given the inviolable foundation of 
civil rights based on the actual inviolability of the person, 
freedom of belief, of speech, of organisation, and meeting. 

2. Without interrupting the elections already ordered for the 
State Duma and as far as the shortness of the time at our 
disposition for the calling of the first Duma allows — such classes 

455 



RUSSIA'S KL5&A5Z 

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