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still confined to a few towns. Russia to-day is in spirit what Europe was
in the Middle Ages.[1] The revolutionaries offered her Western civilisation
and Western philosophy, and she rejected the gift with horror.

[Footnote 1: This, of course, by no means implies that she is _behind_ the
West, or that she is of necessity bound to pass through the same process of
development. The problem of modern Russia is not to imitate the West but
to discover some way of coming to terms with Western ideals without
surrendering her own.]

Will she continue to maintain this attitude? "The Russian peasant," says
Mr. Maurice Baring, "as long as he tills the ground will never abandon his
religion or the observance of it.... Because the religion of the peasant is
the working hypothesis taught him by life; and by his observance of it he
follows what he conceives to be the dictates of common sense consecrated by
immemorial custom." The crucial point of this passage is the conditional
clause: "as long as he tills the ground." Of course, Russia, the granary of
Europe, must always be predominantly an agricultural country; yet she is at
the present moment threatened in many parts with an Industrial Revolution,
the ultimate effects of which may prove far more subversive than the
attempted revolution of 1905. For beneath her soil lie explosive materials
more deadly than any dynamite manufactured by _intelligentsia_. Her mineral
wealth, at present almost untouched, is incalculable in quantity and
amazing in variety. When her mines are opened up Russia will become,
according to the judgment of Dr. Kennard, editor of _The Russian
Year-Book,_ "without a doubt the richest Empire the world has ever seen."
Attracted by her vast mining possibilities, by her enormous virgin forests,
by her practically unlimited capacity for grain-production, the capital
of Europe is knocking at the doors of Russia. Factories are rising, mines
being started all over the country. Russia is about to be exploited by
European business enterprise, just as America and Africa have been. The
world has need of her raw materials, and is only interested in her people
as potential cheap labour. Thus within the last few years something
analogous to the proletariat and the bourgeoisie of Europe has come into
existence in Russia. We may catch a glimpse of what these new classes are
like from a recent book by Mr. Stephen Graham, called _Changing Russia_. He
writes:

"The Russian bourgeois is of this sort; he wants to know the price of
everything. Of things which are independent of price he knows nothing,
or, if he knows of them, he sneers at them and hates them. Talk to him of
religion, and show that you believe the mystery of Christ; talk to him
of life, and show that you believe in love and happiness; talk to him of
woman, and show that you understand anything about her unsexually; talk
to him of work, and show that though you are poor you have no regard for
money - and the bourgeois is uneasy.... Instead of opera, the gramophone;
instead of the theatre, the kinematograph; instead of national literature,
the cheap translation; instead of national life, a miserable imitation of
modern English life.... It may be thought that there is little harm in the
commercialisation of the Russian, the secularising of his life; and that
after all the bourgeois population of England, France, and Germany is not
so bad as not to be on the way to something better. But that would be a
mistake; if once the Russian nation becomes thoroughly perverted, it will
be the most treacherous, most vile, most dangerous in Europe. For the
perverted Russian all is possible; it is indeed his favourite maxim,
borrowed, he thinks, from Nietzsche, that 'all is permitted,' and by 'all'
he means all abomination, all fearful and unheard-of bestiality, all
cruelty, all falsity, all debauch.... Selfish as it is possible to be,
crass, heavy, ugly, unfaithful in marriage, unclean, impure, incapable
apparently of understanding the good and the true in their neighbours and
in life - such is the Russian bourgeois."

Mr. Graham's picture of the new proletariat in the Ural mines is an equally
horrible one:

"Gold mining is a sort of rape and incest, a crime by which earth and man
are made viler. If I had doubted of its influence on man I needed but to
go to the Ural goldfields. A more drunken, murderous, brother-hating
population than that of this district I have not seen in all Russia. It was
a great sorrow to see such a delightful peasantry all in debauchery....
The miner has no culture, no taste, not even a taste for property and
squiredom, so that when at a stroke he gains a hundred or a thousand
pounds, it is rather difficult to know how to spend it. His ideal of
happiness has been vodka, and all the bliss that money can obtain for him
lies in that.... Mias is a gold-mining village of twenty-five thousand
inhabitants. It has two churches, four electric theatres, fifteen vodka
shops, a score of beer-houses, and many dens where cards are played and
women bought and sold to the strains of the gramophone. It is situated in a
most lovely hollow among the hills, and, seen from the distance, it is one
of the most beautiful villages of North Russia; but seen from within, it is
a veritable inferno."

Mr. Graham writes as a poet rather than as an economist or a sociologist,
but there is no doubt a grave danger to Russia in a sudden adoption of
industrial life.

_Intelligentsia_, bourgeoisie, and proletariate are all products of the
same forces, all belong to the same family; they are westernised Russians;
they have passed from the fourteenth to the twentieth century at one
stride, and the violent transition has cut them completely adrift from
tradition and from all moral and religious standards; books, commerce,
and industry, the three boasted instruments of our civilisation, have
not civilised such Russians, they have _de-civilised_ them. But, as yet,
Russians of this character form only a tiny fraction of the nation; and
there are happily signs that the dangers of an exotic culture are being
realised even by the _intelligentsia_ themselves. Since the failure of the
revolution there has been a remarkable revival of interest among Russian
thinkers in the native institutions, habits, and even the religion of the
country; and it may be that in time there will emerge from this chaos of
ideals a culture and a civilisation which will "make the best of both
worlds" by adopting Western methods without surrendering an inch of the
nation's spiritual territory, above which floats the standard of religion,
simplicity, and brotherly love. The present war, terrible as it is, may do
something towards bringing this about, for the Russian people, faced by a
common danger and united in a common purpose, are now of one mind and one
heart, in a way that they have not been since a century ago Napoleon was
thundering at the gates of Moscow.

And let this be said: if Russia should ever cease to be Russia, if she ever
loses those grand national characteristics which make her so different from
the West, and therefore so difficult for us Westerns to understand, the
world as a whole will be infinitely the poorer for that loss. We need
Russia even more than Russia needs us; for, while we have grasped the
trappings, she possesses the real spirit of democracy. Of the three
democratic ideals, proclaimed by France in 1789, the mystical trinity:
Liberty, Fraternity, Equality, how much has yet been realised by the
peoples of the West? And Russia is in the way of realising them all!
Fraternity and equality are, as we have seen, the distinctive features of
her national spirit and social structure, and, if her liberty is as yet
imperfect on the political side, it is far more complete than ours on the
side of moral tolerance and respect for the sanctity of human personality.
After all, the reason why Russia has not got complete political freedom is
because, as a nation, she has hitherto taken no interest in politics; for
the first time in 1905 she discovered the use of political action, and she
got out of it a solution of the agrarian distress and a representative
assembly; when she _wants_ more liberty in this direction, she will have no
difficulty in securing it.


¬І4. _The Subject Nationalities_. - It may fairly be objected at this
point that while Russia may possess these excellent qualities, she has
consistently refused to allow liberty to other peoples, to the Jews,
for example, the Poles, and the Finns. It is necessary therefore to say
something on the matter of Russia's subject nationalities before bringing
these remarks to a conclusion.

Out of the six or seven million Jews in the world, over five million live
within the boundaries of the Russian Empire. Russia is therefore the
motherland of the Children of Israel; though, perhaps, the phrase
step-motherland would express more truly the actual relationship, both
in its origin and its character. Russia has inherited her tremendous
responsibilities towards the Hebrew race from Poland, and her vexed "Jewish
question" is in part a just punishment for her complicity in the wicked
partitions of that country in the eighteenth century. The matter, however,
goes back much farther than the eighteenth century. In the Middle Ages
Poland was a more powerful state than Russia, and comprised territory
stretching from the Gulf of Riga to the Black Sea and from the Oder to the
Dnieper. She was also the one country in Europe which offered to the Jews
security from persecution and an opportunity of developing the commercial
instincts of the race without interference. The result was that Jews
settled in large numbers all over the King of Poland's possessions, and the
presence of Jews in any part of modern Russia is almost a sure sign that
that particular town or province has been Polish territory in former times.
The Russian Government has never, except for a short period, allowed the
Jews to live in Russia proper, and it is very rare to find Jews in north
or central Russia. Even in large cities like Petrograd and Moscow their
numbers are small, while it is interesting to note that the Finns have
copied the rest of Russia in this respect at least that they have always
resolutely refused to admit the Hebrew. Where Russia found Jews among the
new subjects which she acquired by her gradual encroachments upon Poland,
she had of course to let them remain, but she has confined them strictly to
these districts. The existence of this Jewish pale is one of the grievances
of the Jews of Russia, but it is not the heaviest. The liberal-minded
Alexander II. had shown himself lenient to them; but his assassination
in 1881 at the hands of terrorists and the accession of the reactionary
Alexander III. began a period of persecution which has continued until the
present day.

Alexander III. was much influenced by his tutor, Pobiedonostsev, who for
the next thirty years was the most prominent exponent of the philosophy of
Slavophilism. This, which in its modern form may be traced back to 1835,
was in fact nothing else than a perverted glorification of the Russian
national characteristics which have been dwelt upon above. The Slavophils
declared not only that the Russians were a great and admirable nation,
which few who really know them will be disposed to deny, but that their
institutions - and in particular, of course, autocracy and bureaucracy - were
a perfect expression of the national genius which could hardly be improved
upon. Furthermore, it was maintained that, since all other countries but
Russia had taken a wrong turn and fallen into decadence and libertinism, it
was Russia's mission to bring the world back into the paths of rectitude
and virtue by extending the influence of her peculiar culture - and in
particular again, of course, its special manifestations, autocracy
and bureaucracy - as widely as possible. A variant of Slavophilism is
Panslavism, which works for the day when all members of one great Slav race
will be united in one nation, presumably under the Russian crown. Both
these movements are examples of that nationalism run mad to which reference
has been made in the second chapter.[1] But the Slavophils, who are of
course ardent supporters of the Orthodox Church, were faced at the outset
with a great difficulty; the western provinces of Russia, from the Arctic
to the Black Sea, contained masses of population which were neither Russian
nor Orthodox. The Finns in the north were Lutherans; the Poles in the
centre, though Slavs, were Roman Catholic in religion and anti-Russian in
sentiment; and the Jews in the centre and south were - Jews. The first
step, therefore, towards the Slavophil goal was the "Russification" of the
subject peoples of Russia. In theory "Russification" means conferring the
benefits of Russian customs, speech, and culture upon those who do not
already possess them; in practice it amounts to the suppression of local
liberties and traditions.

[Footnote 1: See p. 57.]

It is obvious that it is no easier to make a Jew into a Russian by force
than to change the skin of the proverbial Ethiopian; nor is it likely that
the Russian Government ever entertained the idea of making such an
attempt. If it had any definite plan at all, it was to render things so
uncomfortable to the unfortunate Hebrews that they would gradually leave
the country. Real persecution began at the accession of Alexander III. in
1881, when it spread into Russia, significantly enough, from Germany, where
a violent anti-Semite agitation had sprung up at the beginning of the year.
Riots directed against the Jews, and winked at if not encouraged by the
authorities, broke out in the towns of Southern Russia. Edicts followed
which excluded the Jews from all direct share in local government, refused
to allow more than a small percentage of Jews to attend the schools and
universities, forbade them to acquire property outside the towns, laid
special taxes upon their backs, and so on. This attitude of the Government
encouraged the populace of the towns to believe that they might attack the
Jews with impunity. The Jews are regarded in modern Russia in much the same
light as they were regarded by our forefathers in the Middle Ages. They are
hated, that is to say, on two counts: as unbelievers and as usurers. The
condition of affairs in a township where the population is half-Jewish,
half-Christian, and where the Christians are financially and commercially
in the hands of the Jews, and the Jews are politically and administratively
in the hands of the Christians, is obviously an extremely dangerous one.
Add to this the presence of a large hooligan section which is found in
almost every Russian town of any size, the open disfavour shown towards
the Jews by the Government, and the secret intrigues and incitement of the
police, and you get a train of circumstances which lead inevitably to those
violent anti-Semitic explosions, known as _pogroms_, which have stained the
pages of modern Russian history. The revolutionary movement has complicated
matters still further; for Jews are naturally to be found in the
revolutionary ranks, and the bureaucracy and its hooligan supporters have
tended to identify the Jewish race with the Revolutionary Party. Nothing
can excuse the treatment of the Jews in Russia during the last thirty-five
years, and the guilt lies almost entirely upon the Government, which,
instead of leading the people and educating them by initiating an
enlightened policy towards the Jews, a policy which might in fact have done
more than anything else to "Russify" the latter, has persistently aided and
abetted the worst elements of the population in their acts of violence.
It has reaped its reward in the rise of one of the most formidable of the
revolutionary parties in modern Russia, the so-called Jewish "Bund." The
Governor of Vilna, in a confidential report written in 1903, declared that
"this political movement is undoubtedly a result of the abnormal position
of the Jews, legal and economic, which has been created by our legislation.
A revision of the laws concerning the Jews is absolutely urgent, and every
postponement of it is pregnant with the most dangerous consequences."

Yet when we condemn Russia for her _pogroms_ and her Jew-baitings, we must
not forget two facts: first, that these occurrences are the work, not of
the real Russian people, the peasantry which has been described above, but
of the dregs of the population which are to be found at the base of the
social structure in the towns of Russia as in towns nearer home; second,
that Russia is not the only country in the world that has these racial
problems to face. I once heard a Russian and an American discussing the
comparative demerits of their respective lands, and I am bound to say that
the former held his own very well. When, for example, the American said,
"What about the Jews?" the other answered, "Well, what about the negroes?"
and he parried the further question, "What about _pogroms_?" with another
of his own, "What about lynching?" The problems are not, of course, quite
on all fours, nor do two wrongs make a right, but a reminder that similar
problems exist in other parts of the world will perhaps be enough to show
that the Jewish question in Russia is neither unique nor at all easy to
solve. Let us, instead of visiting the sins of a few townships upon the
heads of the entire Russian nation, be thankful that we have no such
problems in our own islands. Recent riots outside the shops of German
pork-butchers in different parts of the country do not, it must be
confessed, lead one to hope that our people would behave much more calmly
and discreetly than the Whites of the Southern States or the Christians of
South-West Russia, were they placed in the same circumstances.

The Polish question is at once simpler and its story less damaging to the
Russian Government than that of the Jews. The partitions, an account of
which has already been given,[1] were of course iniquitous, but, as we have
seen, Prussia must bear the chief blame for them. In any case, the Tsar
Alexander I. did his utmost for Poland at the Congress of Vienna in 1815.
He pleaded eloquently for a reunited Poland, and he almost won over Prussia
by making arrangements to compensate her for her Polish territory at the
expense of Saxony. But France, England, and Austria opposed his project,
and he was obliged to yield to the combined pressure of these powers.
Russia is, therefore, not more but less guilty of the present dismembered
state of Poland than her Western neighbours, among whom we must not forget
ourselves;[2] and she is to-day only attempting to carry out the promise
which she made, but was not allowed to fulfill, a century ago. Disappointed
as he was, Alexander I. made the best of a bad job by granting a liberal
constitution to that part of Poland which the Congress assigned to
Russia. Indeed he did everything possible, short of a grant of absolute
independence, which at that time would have been absurd, to conciliate
public opinion in the Grand-Duchy of Warsaw. Unfortunately the experiment
proved a complete failure, largely owing to the factious and self-seeking
Polish nobility who have always been the worst enemy of their country.
Alexander after a time lost patience, and in 1820 he felt compelled to
withdraw some of the liberties which he had conferred in 1815. After this
the breach between the Russian Government and the Polish people began to
widen, partly owing to stupid and clumsy actions on the side of Russia,
partly to the incurable lack of political common-sense on the side of the
upper classes in Poland, partly to the fact that the country could never
be anything but restless and unsatisfied while it remained divided. The
history of Russian Poland since the time of Alexander is the history of two
great failures to throw off the Russian yoke, the failure of 1830 and of
1863. These risings were marked by heroism, disunion, and incapacity on the
one side, and by relentless repression on the other. The upshot was that
Poland was deprived of her constitutional rights one by one, until finally
she became nothing more than so many provinces of Russia itself. To some
extent, however, the failure of 1863 proved a blessing in disguise. The
rising had been almost entirely confined to the nobility; Russia therefore
turned to the peasants of Poland, released them from all obligations to
work upon the estates of the large landowners, and handed over to them at
least half the land of the country as freehold property. The result of
this measure, and of the removal of the customs barrier between the two
countries in 1877, was twofold: the power of the factious nobility was
shattered for ever, and a marvellous development of industry took place in
Poland which has united her to Russia "with chains of self-interest
likely to prove a serious obstacle to the realisation of Polish hopes of
independence."[3] It is indeed doubtful whether at this date the
Poles cherish any such hopes. What they desire is national unity and
self-government rather than sovereign independence, and they know that they
are at least as likely to receive these from Russia as from Prussia.

[Footnote 1: Pp. 24-27.]

[Footnote 2: As a matter of fact our representative, Lord Castlereagh, was
Alexander's chief opponent at the Congress in the question of Poland. See
_Camb. Mod. Hist._ vol. x. p. 445.]

[Footnote 1: _Camb. Mod. Hist._ vol. xi. p. 629.]

While of late years the relations between Russia and Poland have steadily
improved, those between Russia and Finland, on the contrary, have grown
rapidly worse. Until 1809 Finland was a Grand-Duchy under the Swedish
crown, but in that year, owing to a war which had broken out between Russia
and Sweden, she passed into the control of the nearer and more powerful
State, after putting up a stubborn resistance to annexation which will
always figure as the most glorious episode in the annals of the country.
Alexander I., who was at that time Tsar, adopted the same policy towards
Finland as he did towards Poland. He refused to incorporate the new
province into the Russian State-system, he took the title of Grand-Duke
of Finland (thereby implying that she lay outside the Empire), and he
confirmed the ancient liberties of the Finns. Later on they even secured
greater liberty than they had possessed under Sweden by the grant of a
Finnish Diet, on the lines of the Swedish Diet in Stockholm, which should
have full control of all internal Finnish affairs. Finland, therefore,
gained much from the transfer; she possessed for the first time in her
history complete internal autonomy. This state of things lasted for
practically ninety years, during which period Finland made wonderful
progress both economic and intellectual, so that by the end of the
nineteenth century she was one of the happiest, most enlightened, and most
prosperous countries in Northern Europe. "As regards the condition of
Finland," Alexander I. had declared, "my intention has been to give
this people a political existence, so that they may not feel themselves
conquered by Russia, but united to her for their own clear advantage;
therefore, not only their civil but their political laws have been
maintained." This liberal policy was continued by the various Tsars
throughout the century, the reformer Alexander II. taking particular
interest in the development of the Grand-Duchy, which he evidently regarded
as a place where experiments in political liberty were being worked
out that might later be applied to the rest of Russia. The weakness of
Finland's position lay in the fact that her liberties really depended upon
the personal whim of the Grand-Duke: in theory her constitutional laws were
only alterable by the joint sanction of monarch and people; in practice the
small but courageous nation had no means of redress should the Tsar,
swayed by bureaucratic reaction, choose to go back upon the policy of his
ancestors. And in 1894 a Tsar mounted the throne, Nicholas II., who did so
choose.

The word went forth for the "Russification" of Finland. After picking a
quarrel with the Diet on the military question, the Tsar on February 18,
1899, issued a manifesto suspending the Finnish Constitution and abolishing
the Diet. Finland became with a stroke of the pen a department of the
Russian Empire. A rigorous Press censorship was established, the hated
governor-general Bobrikoff filled the country with gendarmes and spies,
native officials were dismissed or driven to resign, an attempt was made
to introduce the Russian language into the schools, and, though the Finns



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