V. O. (Vasilii Osipovich) Kliuchevskii.

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their own countrymen, and fed a sense of national self-reliance. During
the sixteenth century the Russian community also conceived a belief that
the Moscow which had unified the Russian land was the centre and
bulwark of the whole of the Orthodox East : and this belief continued
until the seventeenth century, when the situation changed. The complete
break-down of the existing order of things, the failure of all attempts to
right it, led to a notion that the very bases of that order were at fault, and
forced many persons to think that the nation's creative forces and innate
intellect had reached the point of exhaustion — that, antiquity being no
valid guide for the present, it ought to be dropped, since now there was
no good reason for maintaining it. Then there began a profound break
in men's minds. Both among Muscovite administrative circles and in the
community at large men became oppressed with doubts as to whether anti-
quity had bequeathed a sufficient measure of resources for successful exist-
ence in the future ; men began to lose their old national self-complacency,
and to look around them, and to seek guidance and instruction at the hands
of the alien of the West, and to feel more and more persuaded both of his
superiority and of their own inefficiency. Thus a declining faith in native
antiquity and the forces of the people gave way to a despondency,


a distrust of the national capacity, which opened wide the door to foreign

It is not easy to say whence this difference in the sequence of pheno-
mena between the sixteenth and the seventeenth centuries arose, nor why
the inhabitants of Russia did not earlier recognise their inefficiency, nor
why they found themselves unable to repeat the creative efforts of their
immediate predecessors. Was it that the Russian of the seventeenth cen-
tury was weaker in nerve-power, and more deficient in spiritual force, than
his grandfather, the Russian of the sixteenth century ? Or was it that the
religious assurance of the father had shattered the spiritual energy of the
son ? Most probably the difference arose from the fact that a change had
taken place in the relation of Russia to the world of Western Europe. In
Western Europe of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries the ruins of the
feudal system gave birth to certain great centralised States ; while, simul-
taneously, popular labour emerged from the confined sphere of feudal
agricultural industry to which it had been confined by force, and, taking
advantage of the geographical discoveries and technical inventions
by which a wide field became opened to its activity, began to work
vigorously in new directions, and with new urban or commercial-indus-
trial capital, which, in its turn, entered into successful rivalry with capital
of the feudal, seigniorial order. Again, these two factors — i.e. political
centralisation and urban, bourgeois industrialism — led, on the one hand,
to great progress in the development of administrative, financial, and
military technique, in the organisation of standing armies, in the redistri-
bution of taxation, and in the growth of the theory of national and State
stewardship, and, on the other hand, to great progress in the development
of economic technique, in the creation of mercantile marines, in the
growth of factorial industry, and in the organisation of commercial routine
and credit. Russia, however, took no part in this progress, but spent the
whole of her strength and resources in external defence, and in the up-
keep of a Court, a Government, and various privileged classes which,
including the clergy, did nothing, and could do nothing, for the spiritual
and economic growth of the people. For this reason Russia was, during
the seventeenth century, more remote from the West even than she had
been at the beginning of the sixteenth. Thus the influx of Western influ-
ence into Russia arose from a feeling of Russian national impotence ; the
source of which feeling was a lack of native spiritual and material resources
as compared with those of Western Europe — a lack which continued to
reveal itself with ever-increasing clearness in Russia's wars, diplomatic


relations, and commercial trafific. This had the effect of rendering her
painfully conscious of her own inefficiency.

Western influence, in penetrating into Russia, came into contact with
the hitherto all-prevalent influence of the East, of Byzantium. Yet
between the two we can remark an essential difference, and I will proceed
to compare them, with a view to seeing what the one left behind it in
Russia, and what the other one brought thither in its train. Greek or Byzan-
tine influence was brought to, and diffused through, Russia by the Church,
which directed it to moral and religious ends. Western influence, how-
ever, was introduced into Russia by the State, which invoked it to satisfy
its material needs, yet did not confine it solely to the sphere of the State,
as the Church confined Greek influence to the sphere of religion. Indeed,
the latter did not embrace by any means every aspect of Russian life ; for,
though it ruled the moral and religious life of the nation, and helped to
adorn and to support the native State power, it gave little guidance in the
matter of Slate organisation ; it introduced few norms into civic right
(especially as regards family relations) ; it found little expression in
the daily routine of existence, and still less in popular industry; and it
regulated the holiday conduct of the people, and the spending of their
leisure time, only until Mass on festival days was ended. Also, it did little
to increase the stock of positive knowledge. On the contrary, leaving no
visible traces upon the weekday ideas and customs of the nation, it left a
free hand in such matters to the nation's own initiative and innate gross-
ness of conduct. Yet, while taking no cognisance of the individual, nor
yet depriving him of his native and national peculiarities, of his originality,
it embraced within its scope the whole of the community, and penetrated
with equal force into all classes. That is to say, it communicated to the
ancient Russian community a complete spiritual wholeness. On the
other hand, Western influence penetrated into all spheres of life through
the method of modifying certain notions and relations; of pressing with
equal force upon the State order and the social and weekday routine ; of
introducing new political ideas, new civic requirements, new forms of
associated life, and new provinces of knowledge ; of bringing about vari-
ous changes in costume, manners, customs, and beliefs ; and of renovating
the outward appearance, while reconstructing the inward mental attitude,
of the Russian of that day. Yet, though affecting every man, both in his
personality and as a citizen, it had (as yet, at all events) failed to embrace
the community as a whole — its absorbent force had scarcely begun to act
upon the subtle, the ceaselessly mobile and sensitive, stratum which lay


superimposed upon the surface of the Russian community. Thus Greek
influence was ecclesiastical, and Western influence was of the State.
Greek influence embraced the whole community, but did not aff*ect the
individual, and Western influence affected the individual, but did not
embrace the community as a whole.

From the encounter and the struggle between these two influences there
issued two tendencies in the intellectual life of the Russian community,
two views of the cultural position of the Russian nation. Developing and
growing more and more complicated, changing their colour, their appella-
tion, and their conditions of action, these two tendencies pass through
our history in two parallel streams which, at one time hidden, at another
time bursting into the open, refresh, like rivulets in a sandy desert, the
arid social life of the people, which, with a few bright intervals, was ruled,
up to the middle of the nineteenth century, by a State policy at once vague,
futile, and oppressive. We see them first undergo demarcation during
the latter half of the seventeenth century, in connection with the question
of Transubstantiation of the Elements and the closely allied question of
the comparative utility of the Greek and the Latin tongues (in which
polemic we may divide the disputants respectively into Hellenists and
Latinists). Next, during the latter half of the eighteenth century a
second apple of discord was thrown into the Russian community by
French progressive literature, as connected with the question of Peter's
reforms and the allied question of independent national growth. At first
the nationalist upholders of native independence of thought called them-
selves "Russophils," and dubbed their opponents "Semi-Franks," "Gauls,"
" Freethinkers," and " Voltairians " ; but seventy years ago the adherents
of the one view became known as "Westerners," and the supporters of the
other as " Slavophils " ; and in this latter stage of their development the
essence of the two views in question might be expressed as follows : — The
" Westerners " taught that though, in the basis of our civilisation, we are
European, we are Junior European by historical growth, and there-
fore bound to traverse the same road as has been traversed by our elder
brethren in culture, the Western Europeans, and also to adopt the fruits
of their civilisation ; whereas the Slavophils taught that we are European,
but also Eastern — that we have native principles of life of our own which
we must work out through efforts of our own, without entering into any
ties with Western Europe. Russia, these Slavophils said, is not the
teacher, nor the satellite, nor even the rival, of Europe : she is, rather,
its successor. Russia and Europe are two contiguous cosmopolitan-


historical stages, two successive phases, in the cultural growth of
humanity. Sown with monuments (I am permitting myself faintly to
parody the customary, rather stilted style of the Slavophils), — sown with
monuments, they say, Western Europe is a vast burying-ground where,
sleeping under stately marble memorials, there lie the great dead who
are gone ; whereas Russia of the Forest and the Steppe is a rough wooden
cradle wherein the world's future lies uneasily tossing and impotently
weeping. Europe has nearly lived her life, whereas Russia is only beginning
to live hers ; and, since she is fated to live when Europe has altogether
passed away, she ought to be able to live 7Vitho2ft Europe — to live by her
own wits, by her own principles, and with them eventually to supplant the
outworn principles of European life, and to flood the world with a new
light. Hence, though in our historical youth, we are under an obligation
not to imitate, nor yet to borrow, the fruits of alien cultural effort, but
to elaborate those principles of our own historical life which lie hidden
within the depths of the national soul — principles which have never yet
been put into effect by humanity. Thus the two views of which I am
speaking not only regard Russia's position in Europe with different eyes,
but also point out to her different roads for her future historical progress.
However, at this juncture we need not enter into an exact appraisement
of these views, nor debate what Russia's historical destiny may be, nor
whether she is fated ever to become the light of the East, or only to
remain a mere shadow of the West. In passing, it will be sufficient to
refer to the more noticeable peculiarities of the two trends of opinion.
The " Westerners " were remarkable for discipline of thought, love of
exact study, and respect for scientific learning; whereas the Slavophils
went in for a spreading floridity of ideas, a firm belief in the forces
of the nation, and an undulating sort of lyrical dialectic which served as
a welcome cover both to the mistakes in their logic and to the gaps in
their erudition. Now, though I have outlined the two views in their
final form, as complicated by various native and extraneous alloys of the
previous two centuries, my real task is to note the moment of their birth
and their original, unaffected form. To derive them from Peter's reforms
is useless : they sprang to birth in men's minds during the seventeenth
century, but more particularly in the minds of men who had lived through
the Period of Troubles. Possibly it was the diak Ivan Timotheiev who
noted the exact moment of their birth when, at the beginning of Michael's
reign, he wrote his Vremennik, or " Chronicle of the Times," and began
it with the reign of Ivan the Terrible. Timotheiev was an exceedingly


sagacious observer, for he possessed both principles and ideas. In
politics a Conservative, he explained the unhappiness of his age by the
abrogation of antiquity and the disruption of the old legal ordinances —
a process which, he said, had had the effect of causing men to turn round
and round like wheels. Bitterly he laments the absence from the Russian
community of any manly determination, as well as the inability of that
community to offer to any tentative or illegal innovation a certain friendly
resistance. The Russians, he declares, have no confidence in, and turn
their backs upon, one another. Some look to the East, and some to
the West. Whether this last ought to be taken as a happy chance
expression, or whether it ought to be looked upon as a well-aimed
remark, I cannot say. At all events, during the second decade of the
seventeenth century — the period when Timotheiev wrote — Westernism was
a refuge for such individual oddities as Prince Chvorostinin rather than
a deliberate public movement. Every community includes within itself
certain eccentric persons who, earlier than their fellows, begin to think
and to do what, later, will be thought and done by everyone else, yet who
fail to recognise the true reason why they have begun so to think and
to do ; just as there exist certain persons who, in a given stage of mental
weakness, are able to detect a coming change of weather sooner than its
approach could possibly have been remarked by a healthy person.

Next, let us familiarise ourselves with the earliest manifestations of
Western influence. In so far as it was adopted and utilised by the Govern-
ment, it developed very consecutively, and with a gradual extension of its
field of action ; such consecutiveness being due to the Government's desire
— in fact, to its obligation — to make the State's requirements (which con-
duced towards that influence) harmonise at once with the popular psycho-
logy and with the Government's inertia (both of which factors were
adverse to the said influence). Beginning by turning to the foreigner for
help in the matter of satisfying its most urgent material need — namely, the
defence of the country (a point wherein the existing inefficiency was
gradually coming to be felt with particular keenness), the Government
borrowed, first military, and then other technical, improvements from
abroad — yet reluctantly, and without ever looking forward to the possible
consequences of its own beginnings, or making any inquiry either as to
how the Western European mind had attained its achievements in tech-
nique or as to the outlook upon the world and the problems of life which
had served to direct the efforts necessary to attain those achievements.
The Muscovite State needed guns, muskets, machinery, ships, and skilled


labour; wherefore Moscow decided that the articles in question consti-
tuted no danger to spiritual salvation, but that even the study of cunning
devices of this kind was a harmless, negligible matter from the moral point
of view, seeing that, if need be, the ordinances of the Church permitted de-
partures to be made from canonical precepts — at all events as regards the
petty details of the daily round. In matters of conscience^ however — in
matters relating to feelings, ideas, and beliefs, where the higher, the domi-
nant, interests of life prevail — it decided not to yield an iota to foreign

To the above cautious concession the Russian army of the seventeenth
century was beholden for some important innovations, and Russian manu-
facturing industry for its first successes. More than once bitter experi-
ence had revealed the inefficiency of our ancient dvorianin militia when
encountering the regular, the properly trained, troops of the West — troops
furnished with fire-arms ; wherefore, with the close of the sixteenth cen-
tury, the Muscovite Government began to supplement its military forces
with foreign contingents. At first the idea was to use the military science
of the West independently, by hiring alien warriors, and obtaining military
equipment from abroad. Early in Michael's reign the Government took
to sending out armies which were made up of native and of mercenary
troops ; and on one occasion the officer in supreme command was an
English lord, named Aston. Next, on the supposition that it would be
better to learn the military art of foreigners than simply to hire them, the
Government began to place its native troops under the instruction of
foreign officers, and to raise properly trained and equipped regiments of
its own. This passage of the Russian army to a system of regular forma-
tion was a passage of great difficulty, and one undertaken about the year
1630, just before the second war with Poland. For the struggle long and
anxious preparations were made — made with the care of men who had
once been beaten. Of Western volunteers there was, at that time, an
ample supply, for those countries which had become directly or indirectly
involved in the Thirty Years' War were filled with wandering soldiers of
fortune who not only had swords to employ, but also were well aware that
the Treaty of Deulino^ was on the point of expiring, and that war would
follow. In 1 631 a hired general named Leslie undertook to raise in
Sweden a force of 5000 volunteer infantrymen, ^ to purchase for them arms,

1 By this treaty, in 1618, a ourteen years' truce was concluded between Moscow and

2 At that period Scotch military adventurers swarmed in Russia.



and to engage German artificers to work the force of artillery which had
just been organised in Moscow by a Dutchman named Koet. At about
the same time another officer-contractor named Vendome undertook both
to hire, in foreign countries, a regiment of 1760 good and trained soldiers
and to import some German gunners and experienced instructors to train
the Russian men-at-arms in the military art. Yet these foreign military
experts cost Moscow a great deal of money. At the outset, Vendome's
force cost, in arms and annual upkeep, 1,500,000 roubles in modern cur-
rency ; while the commander of Leslie's contingent had guaranteed to
him a yearly salary of 22,000 roubles (in the same currency). Lastly, in
1632 the force which moved against Smolensk numbered 32,000 men,
with 158 guns, and among that force were six foreign infantry regiments
which, under the command of hired colonels, comprised 1,500 German
mercenaries and nearly 13,000 soldiers of the Russian foreign estab-
lishment. Indeed, a Russian chonicler of the period notes with
surprise that never before had a Russian army included in its ranks so
many infantrymen armed with firearms — more especially Russian infantry-
men who had been trained to drill and the art of fighting. Even
the failure of the attempt upon Smolensk did not stop that reorganisation
of the army of which we know the further course : and for its further
consolidation there was composed, in the reign of Michael, an edict by
which, in future, Russian soldiers were to be drilled by the foreign mili-
tary element. Finally, in 1647, when Alexis was Tsar, this document
was printed, under the title of " The Teaching and Craft of Our Warlike
Establishment of Foot Soldiers."

Naturally the maintenance of a semi-regular army raised also the
question of the means for arming it. Armament and artillery equipment
were invariably procured from abroad, and before the war of 1634 Colonel
Leslie was ordered to purchase, in Sweden, 10,000 muskets, together with
the requisite ammunition and 5,000 swords; and after the war had begun,
10,000 additional poods of powder and iron cannon balls were ordered
(subject to a high tariff) from Holland. All this, however, was expensive
and tiresome, and Moscow soon began to think of manufacturing her own
munitions of war ; which, in turn, led her to bethink herself of the
mineral wealth of the country. In those days iron could be procured only
from mines in the neighbourhood of Tula and Ustruzhna, where, in local
furnaces, it was smelted into nails and other objects of domestic use.
Also cannons and matchlocks were manufactured in Tula. Inasmuch,
however, as this was not sufficient for tiie needs of the War Department,


and thousands oi poods of iron had also to be procured from Sweden, it
was decided to develop the metallurgical industry on broader lines, and to
invoke the aid of foreign experts and capitalists. Next, a vigorous search
was begun for mines, and men " skilled in metal " were invited from
abroad to act as furnace engineers and artificers. Thus, in 1626, a free
passage to Russia was accorded to an English engineer named Bulmer,
who "of his craft and of his wisdom did know where to find ores of gold
and silver and copper, and likewise precious stones, in that he had good
knowledge of those places." Next, with the help of these imported ex-
perts, expeditions were fitted out for the purpose of discovering and work-
ing mineral veins at Solikamsk, throughout the region of the Northern
Dvina, and elsewhere. Again, in 1634, Moscow hired copper smelters
from Saxony and Brunswick, on the promise that " in the State of Moscow
they should be able to fashion much copper " ; which makes it clear that
already rich seams of the metal in question had been discovered in Russia.
Also, manufacturers were procured, and foreign capitalists. In 1632, just
before the war with Poland, a Dutch merchant named Andrew Vinnius
was granted a concession to build factories for the making of cast and other
iron near Tula, on the understanding that, at the cheapest rates possible,
he should manufacture cannons, cannon-balls, musket-barrels, and other
articles of the given metal for the Treasury. At Tula, therefore, there
arose our first ordnance works — works which subsequently became acquired
by the Treasury. Also, to guarantee these works a sufficiency of hands,
a Court volost was made over to them en bloc ; and in this manner there
became founded the class of factorial peasantry. In 1644 another com-
mercial company of foreigners, headed by a Hamburg merchant named
Marselis, was granted a twenty years' concession to build factories along
the rivers Vaga, Kostroma, and Sheksna, in addition to factories in other
localities, on the same terms. As for Moscow itself, there had been
established there, as early as Michael's reign, a factory near the river Neg-
linna, whereat foreign artisans cast numbers of cannons and church bells
and many Russians received an excellent education in the science of metal-
founding. Manufacturers had a perpetual obligation laid upon them to
teach those Russian subjects who were apprenticed to their works every
one of their manufacturing processes, and to conceal from them no single
detail of their art. Also, potash, glass, and other factories first became
established, and the advent of these metallurgical experts to Moscow
attracted thither foreign furriers, weavers of velvet, spinners of wire, clock-
makers, water-raisers, lapidaries, iron-casters, and portrait painters. In-


deed, it would be difficult to say what artisans Moscow did not send for, and
always on the condition that " they do teach the men of our State their
craft." Even the Western European savant was needed, and in 1639
Adam Olearius — a professor of the University of Leipzig who more than
once visited Moscow in the capacity of Secretary to the Holsteiner Em-
bassy, and wrote a remarkable account of the Muscovite Empire — received,
in the following terms, an invitation to enter the Imperial service : " Unto
Us, the Great Tsar, is it known that thou art exceeding learned and
skilled in astrology, and in geography, and in the heavenly courses, and in
the measuring of the earth, and in many other like masteries and subtle-

Online LibraryV. O. (Vasilii Osipovich) KliuchevskiiA history of Russia (Volume 3) → online text (page 31 of 43)