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CHANGING
RUSSIA

BY STEPHEN GRAHAM

WITH 15 ILLUSTRATIONS & A MAP



LONDON : JOHN LANE, THE BODLEY HEAD
NEW YORK: JOHN LANE COMPANY
TORONTO : BELL & COCKBURN. MCMXIII



Printed by BALLANTYNE, HANSON 6* Co.
At the Ballantyne Press, Edinburgh



NOTE

"Ax the Seaside in Russia" appeared origi-
nally in the Evening Standard^ " One of the
Higher Intelligentia" in the Russian Review,
and " Among the Ural Gold-Diggers " in the
Spectator. I have to thank the Editors of
these journals for permission to republish.

S. G.



CONTENTS

PAGE

RUSSIA OF THE HOUR i

ROSTOF-ON-THE-DON 17

THE TRAMP TO BATUM :

I. AWAY TO THE COUNTRY . . . . -33

II. ON THE ROAD ....... 37

III. AT THE SEASIDE IN RUSSIA 41

IV. FLOWERS AND FRUIT ...... 46

V. ALONG THE TOBACCO PLANTATIONS ... 49

VI. COLONISATION AND POLITICS . . . . -59

VII. A COLONIST FAMILY ...... 65

VIII. TUAPSE 70

IX. THE OLD CRONE AND THE MOUNTAINS ... 74
X. MANY MEETINGS . . . . . . -77

XI. SOTCHI 87

XII. THE RUNAWAY SAILOR . . . . . 91

XIII. RUSSIAN JOURNALISM ...... 98

XIV. GAGRI , . . .112

XV. THE LOWER INTELLIGENT! A . , . . I 1 6

XVI. HOPE FOR A NEW NATIONAL ART . . . .124

XVII. WHAT THE MONKS THINK 130

XVIII. RUSSIAN IMPERIAL POLICY 138

XIX. ADVENTURES IN ABKHASIA 143

vii



viii CONTENTS

PACK

A TRAMP TO BATUM : continued.

XX. GUDAOUT 152

XXI. NOW AFON 158

XXII. SUKHUM 164

XXIII. ONE OF THE HIGHER INTELLIGENTSIA . . . 1 68

XXIV. FORDING A WIDE RIVER 180

XXV. OTCHEMCHIRI 188

XXVI. WHAT IS MALARIA? . . . . . 1 91

XXVII. THE ROAD TO POTI 195

XXVIII. POTI ......... 202

XXIX. REFLECTIONS AT BATUM 206

xxx. THE DEVIL'S CRADLE . . . . . .214

XXXI. LOOSHA 225

URAL SKETCHES:

I. TRAVELLING THIRD CLASS 237

II. BY THE SIDE OF A URAL LAKE . . . -254

III. THE BURDEN 260

IV. AMONG THE URAL GOLD-DIGGERS . . . .263
V. JOURNEY TO KISHTIM FACTORY . . . .271

VI. ELECTING THE FOURTH DUMA .... 281

VII. GOOD-BYE TO THE LAKE . . . . . 285

IN THE CRIMEA 289

POSTSCRIPT : THE BALKAN WAR . . . . 302
INDEX 305



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

PORTRAIT OF THE AUTHOR (from a pencil drawing by

VERNON HILL) Frontispiece

FACING PAGE

THE GREAT SOUTH ROAD (BETWEEN PILENKI AND GAGRl) . 34

(a) A TYPICAL DATCHA, GELENDZHIK. (<) THE SANDS OF

GELENDZHIK 44

THE ROAD ABOVE SOTCHI .... 90

(a) KRASNAYA POLYANA. (b} THE FERRY AT ADLER . . 96
THE SWALLOW'S NEST: A ROCK OF MANY PICNICS . .108

(a) THE DONKEY-TRAM WITH LETTER-BOX ATTACHED, (b) NEAR

PILENKI: A PLEASANT SPOT FOR REPOSING AND WRITING 114

THE CHURCH AT GAGRI 124

THE SOUTHERN NIGHT ..... .182

GAGRI ... 190

\

YALTA ........... 290

THE CRIMEAN COAST ... . . 298
MAP OF RUSSIA 240



THE RUSSIA OF THE HOUR



CHANGING RUSSIA



THE RUSSIA OF THE HOUR

RFSSIA is becoming more interesting to Eng-
land every day. I should like to point out
how and why.

We are interested in the mediaeval state of the
Russian civilisation and in the religious life of the
peasantry, in which it is possible to see something of
what we ourselves were like in the far past.

We are interested by Russian art, thought, and
action as compared with ours in the alluring contrast
of life as shown in Russian novels.

We look to the Russians for new sources of pleasure.
Their music and dancing, and to a certain extent their
literature, have gratified our aesthetic taste. We are
now beginning to look to the Russian theatre to infuse
new life into ours.

We are uninterested in Germany, as a schoolboy is
uninterested in the rod with which he may be chas-
tised uninterested in France, who is like a seedy old
partner whom we have grown up beside, and whom
we know in and out. So Russia waits to us with
all the freshness and allurement of newly discovered
country.

Russia puzzles us. In comparing ourselves with
other nations, we are trying to understand why we
British lost our self-esteem and self-sureness over the

3



4 CHANGING RUSSIA

South African War, whilst the Russians, so soundly
beaten by Japan, have emerged from their humiliation
as self-assertive and courageous as if they had become
thereby dictators of Europe.

We are wondering what Russia will do next in
China, Persia, and Turkey, especially in Turkey and
in support of the Slav nations.

We think that Russia is the new America which we
propose to develop with our capital, becoming million-
aires thereby. It is for some, even for many, the land
where money is invested, the place where the treasure
is. This perhaps is the most important reason of all.

There have been several happenings in the past
year of great international interest. More has been
written about Russia than ever before, especially in
the Liberal press.

There has been the Persia trouble ; the agree-
ments of diplomatists, not finding favour in the public
eye, have only leaked out as secrecy became some-
thing that must be broken by material results. We
have felt that Persia had really been partitioned
between Britain and Russia by the diplomatists acting
for these countries, and that only on the agitation in
the press depended the suspension of unpopular action.
Mr. Morgan Shuster, a picturesque figure, stood for a
moment thwarting the whole desire of the Tsar, and
if he had remained he would have been backed by an
immense amount of sympathy. It was, however, too
uneven a game of chess white playing with a few
pawns against black's full board. Shuster was beaten,
and retired to England and America to help agitators
and to write. Russia does not seem to have been
retarded much by agitation.

There arose the question of the Trans- Persian



THE RUSSIA OF THE HOUR 5

Railway to India. By accounts in the press, it seemed
to be taken as a settled affair, a common-sense project
of the modern commercial world, shortening the jour-
ney to India by ten days. Persia's right not to have
a railway if she didn't want it, wasn't even mentioned.
But after the last German scare the idea was put into
the air that the railway was only useful to Russia as a
base from which to conquer India a deplorable idea,
considering that Russia is our friend, a cowardly one
considering the weakness of Russia as a military
power.

After the wild excitement of the German scare,
the mad funk of German arms, many cried out, " What
is the use of our unnatural entente with France and
Russia ? Let us desert them, and make strong Ger-
many our friend. Then we can face the world equal
to all comers."

Scarcely had this doctrine been promulgated when
Russia was suspected of being secretly the friend of
Germany all the while, of " having a look-in at Pots-
dam " whenever she pleased. We were told that
Russia had a compact with Germany never to take
the field against her which is possibly true. The
Tsar has undoubtedly said to the Kaiser, as absolute
monarch to absolute monarch, " Whatever happens,
we will never fight against you." When the English
delegation of M.P.'s and others was being entertained
at St. Petersburg one dear old military-minded
Englishman proposed the toast of the Russian army,
saying he looked forward to the day when Briton and
Russ would be fighting shoulder to shoulder against the
common foe, and his speech was received with blank
silence. He had made an unfortunate blunder.

There was that delegation of M.P.'s and others



6 CHANGING RUSSIA

received with extraordinary brilliancy in St. Petersburg
and Moscow. The delegation, though not representa-
tive, was extremely influential. It was taken merely as
a matter of an exchange of hospitality in England, and
though some words were said grudgingly about arrang-
ing for the Trans-Persian Railway, it was generally
felt that the visit was only one for the promotion of
friendship. The pretext of the proposed unification
of English and Russian Churches was not taken seri-
ously by the authorities in either country. But of
course many things happened as a result of the visit
if we could but know.

To return to our chronicle ; there was the Male9ka
case. An English subject was charged, according to
the Daily News, with holding a revolutionary opinion,
but in reality, as far as can be made out, for aiding
and abetting the escape of the revolutionary Filipovitz
no one can possibly be tried for holding a revolu-
tionary opinion. The case was certainly very im-
portant, as it was likely to form a precedent for the
treatment of English people in Russia. Anyone is
liable to arrest in Russia at any moment of the day or
night at the instance of a corrupt or stupid police.
An Englishman is entitled to the protection of his
Government, and it is very important to all of us that
the Minister of Foreign Affairs act boldly and clearly
in any case of arrest. Rather than allow a British
subject, even the meanest, to be imprisoned by a
foreign power unjustly or without trial, the Govern-
ment ought to be prepared even to go to war. In
this case it was asserted far and wide that Miss
Male$ka was a British subject arrested in Russia
merely for holding an opinion and condemned to
many years' penal servitude. It took weeks of agita-



THE RUSSIA OF THE HOUR 7

tion by Miss Male9ka's influential friends before any
serious attention was given to the question.

Miss Maleka was pardoned, and the affair was
mysteriously hushed up. At the height of the agita-
tion an article appeared in the Westminster Gazette
from the mysterious hand of Mme. Novikof, plainly
hinting that the best course for Miss Male9ka's
advisers was to present a petition to the Tsar for a
reprieve. This was done, and international interfer-
ence was foregone. In the words of Mme. Novikof,
the Tsar received the petition, and he said : " Otpravte
yeo of Anglii" ("Dispatch her to England"). Miss
Male9ka came back, and not a word more was said.
But Englishmen need to know something more, and
for their own personal protection in the future they
have a right to know it.

" For what crime was she tried ? "

If she was really guilty of a crime as we under-
stand it, then her complete pardon is an absurdity.
Certainly we do not ask of Russia the forgiveness of
a real criminal any more than Russia could possibly
ask us to forgive her "Peter the Painter" of Sidney
Street memory. The facts of the affair ought to have
been laid before the House of Commons ; they were
worth more to us than the remission of the sentence.
If the facts had not warranted the sentence, we could
have obtained its remission through our national right,
enforced by the power of our strong right arm : if they
did warrant it, then why did we insult Russia, and
why was the lady pardoned ?

Another event of considerable interest was the
massacre of the workmen on strike at the Lena gold-
fields in Siberia. An English company, taking the
usual advantage of the cheap labour available in



8 CHANGING RUSSIA

Russia, got on to bad terms with its workmen, most
of whom were already somewhat debauched through
the evil results of a gold-mining life. When the
workmen went on strike for better conditions of em-
ployment and came in procession to the works, the
manager allowed the settlement to rest in the hands
of the typical Russian bully who had charge of the
soldiery on guard. The result was the decimation
of the peaceful crowd of peasants and workmen by
several volleys fired into them at the orders of the
bully. There was an uproar in Russia. The English
company was blamed ; the Government was blamed.
Many people demanded that no more commercial
concessions be given to foreign companies. The
officer who gave the order to fire was arrested, and is
to be brought to trial, and the whole affair is to be
thrashed out by a Commission.

All these questions and events, and more besides,
have interested both nations, and they have their
significances for those who can read the signs of the
times. But probably one feature of international
interest that has escaped the attention of most people
during the past year is more important than all. I
refer to the steady flow of British capital into Russia.
I had almost said the great rush of British capital
thither.

The benefits of the entente cordiale seem to be
shared in this way military and diplomatic con-
cessions for Russia ; financial and commercial con-
cessions for Britain.

Money has been forthcoming from Britain for all
manner of projects for Caucasian oil, Ural gold,
copper and platinum, new railways, old railways,
for making harbours and reconstructing towns, for



THE RUSSIA OF THE HOUR 9

trams, &c. &c. One of the tangible results of the
visit of the English delegates was the purchase of the
whole stock of two Russian home railways. Various
other schemes were promoted. Moscow, Nikolaef,
and Baku have raised money in London. Money has
been found for the new railway along the Black Sea
shore, and for the railway from Vladikavkaz to
Tiflis.

It is not simply a political party-cry that capital is
being "driven" out of England. Capital goes to the
land that makes biggest return for it ; and Russia,
with its undeveloped wealth, its cheap labour market,
and timber, has great advantages over Great Britain
as a field of investment.

All the while the English labourers were winning
their victories by going on strike and ceasing work,
the Russians were developing and working, and taking
without ever a set-back. People with money to invest
fought shy of British industrial concerns, and more
gladly gave their money to Russian enterprises where
the workmen take but a shilling or eighteenpence a
day, and are content with any conditions. Again, the
onslaught on landed property in the political campaign
of the Budget, and in the propagandism of the Land
League, the scaring talk of the "single tax," has all
been a warning to those who have large holdings of
land. Land is selling freely for gold, and the gold is
going into something safer Russian industrialism.

England is no longer an island, land surrounded
by water, for our solid substance is ceasing to be land,
and is becoming gold.

Where a man's treasure is, there will his heart be
also. Where his treasure is, there is his dearest in-
terest, there is his country, I am afraid. There is



io CHANGING RUSSIA

therefore a danger in the air through the shifting of
the centre of attraction.

One thing is certain. The victories of the English
working-man tend to develop Russian commerce, and
indeed commerce in every other country where labour
is cheap and Governmental requirements low. If
English labour is going to defend itself permanently,
it must develop a virile foreign policy. It must be
ready to interfere in the domestic affairs of other
countries, and impose its laws not only on the em-
ployer in England but on the employer throughout
the world. Or the workman with his barren victories
will go to the wall. For there are "blackleg " nations
as well as "blackleg" workmen; strike-breaking
nations that are far more dangerous than private
strike-breakers. I am speaking for the moment from
the English workman's point of view. It would be
unjust and unkind to call the Russians a " blackleg "
nation, for they act with no malice prepense ; they don't
understand the situation, and they stand as a people
to lose spiritually even more than we do.

To the man who knows the Russian peasantry in
its simplicity and purity far away from commercial
regions, there can be but one thought at the prospect
of its life when it is called into a fierce industrialism,
illiterate, unprotected. The story of Yourghis 1 going
with his family to Chicago may be the story of Ivan
Ivanovitch in the next hundred years only Chicago
will not be across the ocean, it will be at his own
door.

In Undiscovered Russia I tried to give an ac-
count of this peasantry, and the idea underlying its

1 Vide The Jungle, by Upton Sinclair.



THE RUSSIA OF THE HOUR n

simple religious life. I feel now that the book is like
a timely painting made of some one we love, not long
before death. When next the painter offers to paint
her, the time will be past, and the loved one be departed.
Often I am tempted to imagine that I shall come back
to Russia some day after ten years' absence, and find
there nothing that I knew before the whole tone and
aspect of the country changed.

The hope lies in the Tsar and his advisers, who
are all Conservatives, that they truly conserve and
keep the peasantry living simply and sweetly on the
land, that they will not make any more commercial
concessions when once the present pecuniary needs
are satisfied.

Of course if the Tsar and his advisers are not wise
enough to save their people from commercialism, they
will certainly bring ruin on their own heads. Every
peasant brought into a factory or a mine or a railway
is one man subtracted from the forces of the Tsar, and
one added to the social revolutionary party. Condi-
tions of the employment of labour are so bad that they
preach in themselves without books and pamphlets.
Not all the skill and courage, brutality and diplomacy
of the officials will stem the flood. Russian workmen
combine more readily than English, have less care of
their skins, less regard of consequences. They are
only kept in check by the tremendous odds at present
against them. Once they gain a numerical superiority,
they will carry all before them and perhaps drown the
throne in blood. There is a lust for blood in Russia
that must make all Europe stand aghast when it finds
expression.

I might say a word of the intellectual movement,
and the revolutionary movement just past, but it is



12 CHANGING RUSSIA

quelled, discredited, and forgotten. When next there
is an outbreak against the Tsardom, it will wear a
different complexion. Intellectualism will have dis-
appeared, and the passions of the mob will guide all
as far as there can be guidance. The commercial
centres of Russia are already infested with drunken
hooligan mobs only waiting for a chance to murder
and pillage. They are to a certain extent the old
abettors of the police, the touch-paper of the pogrom ;
when next they get a-going not even the soldiery will
stop them.

What of the Church? In the past it has been
powerful to hold and restrain. The Church is pre-
paring to enter upon an immense political campaign ;
it reckoned to obtain a bloc of one hundred sub-
missive members in the new Duma, it is running
its own candidates and feels very confident of
success. The Church will thereby coin its peasant
adherents into political power. It is, however, a
questionable policy, being in opposition to the
traditional ideas of the Church. The priests have
been opposed to Parliament from the beginning,
and their attitude was explicable ; they believed that
they themselves were the representatives of the people.
But what do they believe now ? Formerly they took
it for granted. They preached the doctrine, and do
still, that the peasants' world is in his own village, and
that the government of his land is well entrusted to
the hands of his little-father the Tsar and his eternal
Father, God. But now the priests have gone to the
country to preach Western ideas, asking for votes,
and the peasant who reminds the priest of the early
traditions of the Church is to be told that " they didn't
know everything down in Judee." This is perhaps



THE RUSSIA OF THE HOUR 13

one of the most astonishing phenomena of the Russia
of to-day.

This book, Changing Russia, I have written with
an eye to the ways and thoughts of the Intelligentia.
It is a journal of a tramp along the way where the
new Black Sea Railway is to be built, of a vaga-
bondage in the Urals, and a walk in the Crimea. I
have ruled out of the account of my experiences much
that was personal, and much that related to Holy
Russia, as not of interest here. The study is therefore
of the Russia of the hour, that which changes even as
I write ; of a land about to receive commercial develop-
ment ; of the educated and moneyed Russians who are
to be seen at the resorts of the Caucasian shore ; and
of the miscellaneous literary, artistic, and social issues
which show the present state and direction of Russian
culture. It is hoped that it will help the reader to fill
in the picture of the Russia of to-day. It seems I
have said enough to show that a knowledge of the
Russian situation is of vital importance to us all.



ROSTOF-ON-THE-DON



ROSTOF-ON-THE-DON

I

THE autumn breezes rushing over five hundred
miles of parched steppe come puffing in my
face with their welcome messages of change.
The aspen leaves are wilted and heavy, the acacias
are all yellow, and the thousands of hollyhocks that
grow wild on every bank are fading and shrinking.
Clouds of dust rush along the roadway "where it all
comes from, God only knows," as the peasant would
say, though perhaps its quantity is little marvel when
the grass of the plains is so burned and brittle that
when you tread upon it, it turns to powder and beats
up like smoke at each turn of the foot. It is impos-
sible to sleep with an open window at night for
the dirt that would be blown in, and occasionally the
dust storm drives us in even from the verandah. It
is not cold : there will not be frost for two months.
Indeed it is very hot, and each day the sun shines out
of the broad blank sky of the steppes. I am sitting
on the broad, sheltered, green-painted verandah of a
white house at Nakhitchevan on the Don, two miles
from Rostof. I arrived here some days ago after a
thousand-mile train journey in Russia. Olga Mat-
vievna is my hostess ; I became acquainted with her
and her family in another town some years back, and
her house is one of those in Russia where I can
always reckon on a room if I want it. To stay in
Nakhitchevan and not at Olga's would be something

17 B



1 8 CHANGING RUSSIA

like an insult. Even to use my own sheets and my
own towels would be considered not in good part. It
is difficult for an English person who has not been in
Russia to understand that Russian hospitality is such.
I, for my part, know now that to deny a Russian the
chance to be hospitable to you is to deny him a place
in your heart ; to refuse from him tremendous helpings
at his table, to expostulate over the broaching of a
new bottle of wine, to say you can't receive his gifts, is
actually like saying, "I'm sorry to hurt you, but you
aren't really worthy to do me this honour."

Perhaps there is no need to protest so much here.
I have only come for a few days before taking to the
road to make a long tramp south to the Turkish
frontier. It is certain I shall go. Even Olga knows
that, for she knows the English temperament. "The
English," she often says, "always know in advance
what they are going to do, and they do it." The
Russian never knows. He makes his plans, but he
never obeys them. Nothing in Russia is ever done
by cold design, unless it be by Jews and Germans.
The whole of Russian history is a story of accidents.
That is perhaps an exaggeration, but it points to the
truth. Often a young man comes a-visiting in Russia
for a few days, and he stays twenty years. Anyone
who has read Turgenev's Rudin knows the type.

I am accommodated in George's room he is a
rheumatic cripple now away in the country over my
head at night gleams the ikon of St. George the
Victory-bringer. Opposite me on the wall hangs a
life-size enlarged portrait of his father and mother, a
simple couple, and they look down on me benevolently
and sweetly as if I were their own child. The good
old pair are still alive, but they also are away in the



ROSTOF-ON-THE-DON 1 9

country at one of their little cottages. Every morning
the samovar is set up in the verandah ; we have tea or
coffee and hot boobliks, and we talk, talk endlessly.

Yesterday I remarked to Olga how well the boob-
liks were made here, and it caused her to tell me an
interesting tale. The booblik is a ring-shaped roll
no fatter than a middle finger ; it is slightly sweet, is
crusty, and turns soft, and may be buttered after it has
stood five minutes on the chimney of the samovar.
I should add, it is no bigger round than a muffin. This
is the tale.

The rather sweet-looking plump Marfa, wife of
clumsy Dmitri the door-keeper, lately brought a baby
into the world, her fifth the other four all died
successively about a week after birth. The woman is
a rather feckless creature ; she loves her child and
wants him to live, but apparently her maternal instinct
is slight. When she went to the hospital no one
knew what was the matter with her, and when she
returned in a cab the day after the baby was born and
brought the child with her, there was general astonish-


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