Westel Woodbury Willoughby.

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accompUshed, and most of the constitutional questions are con-
stantly discussed in Russia, all the main questions of principle
will have to be decided exclusively by a national assembly.
Such a body alone can represent the will of the people, and be
the sole lawful master of Russia. It is in a national assembly
that the real sovereignty of the people finds its best expression.



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212 THE AMEBICAN POLITICAL SCIENCE BEYIEW

For many generations the educated Russians were hoping for
such an assembly to meet for the enunciation of the main con-
stitutional principles, embodying the will of the nation. It was
a tremendous mistake of the Bolsheviki to have dismissed by
force the first national assembly which met in January, 1918;
the Russian people felt extremely disappointed and are still
bitter against the Bolshevik government for having done this.
The explanation of this foolish act is simple: The Bolsheviki
were forced to do this by their own principles and by their whole
conception of government. Their main principle is the dic-
tatorship of the proletariat, a hopeless minority of the Russian
people. It was only too natural that they were afraid of the
majority of the national assembly, which never would have
acquiesced in their policy and with their program. They had
to get rid of the assembly, which they did in their usual drastic
way. The only good consequence of this act was that it increased
the prestige of the national assembly, and made the nation
long for a new one as soon as possible.

Questions of principles that will have to be settled by the
national assembly all belong to the fundamental essence of con-
stitution-making, with one possible exception, the land question.
These fundamental questions are: the form of government;
the distribution, balance and inner organization of the powers
of state; the form of relations of Russia proper to the non-Rus-
sian nationalities, which once were a part of the empire of the
Tsars; the rights and privileges of the church; and the national
defense. To these we must add, as mentioned, the land question ;
it is so very important and involves so many serious problems,
that nobody, except the national assembly, could solve it.

During the Bolshevik regime the peasants seized the land
belonging to local landlords, as well as all the crown and state
property. For many years previously there existed a great
dearth of land among the peasants, which the old government
hardly ever tried to satisfy, and certainly never succeeded in
satisfying. As soon as the Bolsheviki came into power they
redeemed their promise of land for the peasants, and complacently
looked on while the latter took possession of all the land they



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THE FUTURE RUSSIAN CONSTITUTION 213

could get; incidentally burning down the landlords' houses,
destroying the property they had no use for and often murdering
the lawful owners. There cannot be any doubt, however, that
a need of land really existed, and that it ought not to be taken
away in the future from the peasants; otherwise, we can be
quite sure, that in a decade or even sooner we shall witness a
new revolution. The peasants at present have no legal right
or title to their newly acquired land; it is only the national
assembly representing the whole nation that can sanction such
possessions. A complementary question is that of compensa-
tion due to the former landlords. In that case, too, only the
national assembly has the right to decide if any compensation
is due (personally, I think it is fair and necessary), in what
form it could be paid (for instance by means of a government
loan), and what the amotmt ought to be (per capita or per acre).
The question does not belong to the domain of constitutional
law, but can be settled only by the national assembly.

However, this ought to be the only exception. The assembly
should devote all its time to working out a constitution, and as
soon as the latter is ready it ought to dissolve and transfer all
further legislative activity to the new parliament. If this pro-
cedure is not followed, the assembly will never be able to finish
its work, because as soon as nonconstitutional questions begin
to be discussed there will never be an end to it; gradually the
assembly will drift into the work of a parliament and perhaps
even substitute itself for parliament.

The fimdamental constitutional questions can be divided into
two groups: in the first one we find the three most important
matters, concerning the form of government, the powers of the
state, and the question of nationalities.; in the second group
belong the additional questions, for example, concerning the
church and the national defense.

Many Russians consider now the question of the form of gov-
ernment of minor importance. We all know examples of mon-
archies which are much more democratic than many republics;
for example, England. There are a number of republics which
are less democratic than the British monarchy. The modem



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214 THE AMERICAN POLITICAL SCIENCE REVIEW

development of England is quite astounding; the English people
now accept with equanimity things which some four or five
years ago would have seemed absolutely inadmissible even for
a republic. It is not the head of state who in our day directs
the policy of his country, but a responsible ministry, and the
majority of the people do not pay any attention to his limited
powers. It is more a question of psychology or of feeling of the
nation.

At present in Russia just this feeling is absolutely imcertain;
no one can ascertain how the Russian people, as a whole, will
decide to solve it. The educated classes, without any doubt,
whatever their personal preferences might be, will willingly abide
by the desire of the nation; the will of the people will be fonnu-
lated by the national assembly. This, possibly, will be the best
example of the functioning of such an assembly. In either
case, however, in choosing a monarchical or a republican form of
government the assembly will have to decide not only on the
question of principle, but simultaneously also on the method
of selecting the head of state. If Russia is to be a republic, the
assembly will have an easy task, simply choosing among the
many examples of western republics. One may only suggest
in this respect, that just as in the time of primitive American
conditions of the eighteenth century a graded election was
preferable, especially because of the illiteracy of the Russian
people and the recent social unrest, so for a time, at least, a
graded election of the Russian president would seem the better
choice. Much more difficult will be the task of the assembly
if it decides on the monarchical form of government for Russia.
The finding of a candidate and the foimding of a dynasty will
be anything but easy. This can also be done only by the assem-
bly, as the new monarch must receive the sanction of the nation.

After having settled this important matter the assembly will
have to start to work on the future constitution, the organiza-
tion of the legislative power, the reconstruction of the executive
power and the revision of the judicial power. The two latter
require less attention, as many of the old institutions could



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THE FUTURE RUSSIAN CONSTITUTION 215

remain, with some additional changes. The legislative power
on the other hand, will have to be entirely reconstructed. The
former Imperial Dmna, especially after the reform of June, 1907,
did not represent the people at all, and ought not to be revived
in its old form, though the name ''Dmna'' will certainly remain.
It seems that a single Russian chamber would be most appro-
priate, especially if we consider the possibility of a future Russian
federation, which will have to have a two house federal parlia-
ment. Under these circumstances one chamber for Russia
proper will be entirely sufficient. Moscow is preferable for the
seat of the chamber; the national assembly will certainly meet
at Moscow. As to the future parliament there can be a choice
between Moscow and Petrograd. One consideration, however,
is most important: the parliament must be in the same city
with the government, for there must exist the closest contact
between them all the time.

Universal suffrage, woman suffrage included, is now generally
accepted by Russian public opinion. Until recently there was
some opposition to it, founded on the argument that imiversal
suffrage would work badly in Russia considering the great num-
ber of illiterates; these latter, it has been pointed out, would be
tools in the hands of corrupt politicians and political machines.
This argument does not seem to hold, however, for two reasons:
Limited or restricted suffrage does not eo ipso do away with cor-
rupt practices; there exist many guaranties and institutions for
the prevention of corruption at elections, direct primaries and
publicity are, for example, the best of such means. Then, too,
it would seem that Russian public opinion and educated people
have for so many years stood for universal suffrage that they will
not give it up at present. The conditions of illiteracy were
worse in former days; every decade brings us a little betterment
in this respect, and I do not see any reason to change our ideals
now. Suffrage must be universal, equal, secret and direct.

Another question is, does this suffice or are new institutions
also necessary, for instance, the popular initiative or referendum?
Is there any need of introducing them also into the constitution.



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216 THE AMERICAN POLITICAL SCIENCE REVIEW

and would not the illiteracy of the people prove in this case
harmful? Opinion in Russia seems to be very much divided,
and it is doubtful if these institutions will find a sufficient num-
ber of supporters. It may be pointed out that they belong to
more firmly established and more developed constitutional sys-
tems than the Russian, and that a certain time ought to elapse
before their introduction. The referendum is needed most on
questions of principle, for ascertaining the will of the people;
it is not often that such matters arise. There is also another
important requirement for the good working of a referendum,
namely, the relatively small size of the voting community; the
larger the community is, the more uncertain results are pro-
duced by the referendum. In Russia the area will alwajrs be
tremendous, no matter how the voting system is arranged.
There is a much more important consideration, however, which
would seem to point against the necessity of including this
institution in the constitution: the national assembly will solve
all the important questions of principle, and for some time there
will not be anything left for a referendum. The constitution
must be so constructed, that, though not including the referen-
dum or the direct legislative initiative, it would leave open the
possibility of their future introduction, when the nation will
find it necessary. The other details of organization of the legis-
lative chamber are the usual ones foimd in all modem constitu-
tions, and do not necessitate special mention.

The constitution, most decidedly, ought to be of the rigid
American type, and not easily amendable; this must be the case
especially because there is every reason to believe that it will
be a federal constitution. The more difficult the process of
amendment is the more stable a constitution always is, pro-
vided that it is from the beginning well adapted to the social and
economic surroundings. In that case, however, as in the United
States, the courts ought surely to receive the power of deciding
on the constitutionality of laws; this is a most important cor-
rective and will work well in Russia.

At the head of the executive power there will be either a
president or a monarch; but the real power will be in the hands of



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THE FUTURE RUSSIAN CONSTITUTION 217

a responsible ministry, composed of men who will have the
confidence of the legislative chamber and will belong to the
majority of the house. This is parliamentarism, pm-e and
simple, as it exists at present in most European comitries^ Eng-
land is certainly om* best example. It is interesting to note in
this respect that the socialists and radicals in many countries
are now deadly opposed to parliamentary rule. The reason is
easily found: this S3rstem of government is based on majority
rule; whereas the socialists want a minority rule, the dictator-
ship of the proletariat, which is everywhere in the minority;
and with the parliamentary S3rstem, they have no chance
of establishing their selfish rule. This is also the case in Russia.
There is no doubt that parliamentarism has many faults and
drawbacks, but a modern state can hardly do without it and
must only establish sufficient safeguards and checks to counter-
balance such deficiencies.

The system of the Russian ministries, their inner organiza-
tion and work will probably remain as of old. Even the Bol-
sheviki did not change much in this respect, trying to adapt
themselves to the old machine. A single exception, however,
must be noted here: some ministries (foreign affairs, war, navy
and others) will have to become federal institutions, whereas
others will be purely Russian. The different administrative
branches developed historically and were well adapted for their
respective purposes. The Russian civil service S3rstem worked
on the whole also very well, with one exception, namely, the
question of responsibility, which either was entirely absent or
not sufficient. This great evil, however, was already remedied
in 1917 by the provisional government, which introduced an
elaborate sjrstem of administrative courts and started to revise
the laws concerning the civil service. The new government
will have only to take up the work where it was stopped by the
Bolshevik uprising.

There might be a question, further, of introducing the modem
idea of recall. This would concern, naturally, only the elective
administrative officers, as Russians never applied this principle,
even in theory, to the judges or courts of law. I do not think
that this institution will find many supporters in Russia.



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218 THE AMERICAN POLITICAL SCIENCE REVIEW

By far the most difficult problem, however, will certainly be
the establishment of the future relations with non-Slavic nation-
alities, which once were a part of the empire of the Tsars, and
have separated themselves from Russia under the Bolshevik
regime.

There will be a most decided clash of principles and possibly
an intense feeling of national suspicion, if not of antagonism.
The small nationalities, bordering on the Russian state, have
developed recently a very strong feeling of independence and all
stand for national self-determination. There cannot be any
doubt that much of this is due to the mistaken policy of the
former autocratic government, which never wanted to concede
self-government to the different nationalities. Then came the
German propaganda. Germany very cleverly made use of the
already existing animosity; in order to weaken the Russian
Empire the Germans diligently spread a poisonous propaganda,
and helped to fan the flames of national conceit. Finally in
addition to these two factors came the Bolshevik upheaval,
with its devastation and plunder, which totally estranged the
small nationalities from the Russians; the non-Slavic peoples
did not see much difference between the Bolsheviki and the
Russian people at large, and accused the whole nation of the
misdeeds of the Bolshevik government.

All this has helped to create a strong movement of disinte-
gration, which ruined the Russian Empire. In addition, we
must mention the faulty policy of the Allies and especially of
England, towards the peoples bordering the Baltic Sea, which
helped to foster unreasonable hopes among these nationalities.
One must keep in mind that Russia has some very vital interests
involved in the question; for example, there is the question of
Russia's national defense and strategic fortification of her fron-
tiers; then, too, Russia's Baltic fleet cannot exist without having
at its disposal well protected harbors; further, there is the ques-
tion of protecting Russia's frontiers against any enemy attack,
and against the enemy's using some of the territory belonging
to the small nationalities for deployment of an army against
Russia; Russia must have, too, a free access to the sea for her



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THE PUTUBB BU88IAN CONSTITUTION 219

export trade; and, finally, she must have sufficient guaranties
that the foreign policy and diplomacy of the smaller nationali-
ties would not in any way harm Russia, in concluding, for in-
stance, some offensive and defensive alliance, and so forth.

The difficulties of the situation are further increased by the
tremendous development everywhere, I might say all over the
world, of national self-consciousness, which in our day seems
not to know any limits, and in so many places has developed
harmful consequences. The greatest evil of our times is this
perverted, thwarted and unsatisfied nationalism, which has
cropped up in so many coimtries as one of the most pernicious
consequences of this terrible war. There certainly will be much
suffering, quarreling and bickering before things settle down in
this domain; the greatest sufferers will unfortunately be the
smaller peoples, whose size and weakness will always be their
greatest handicap.

There is no doubt whatever that the best outcome for Russia
is a federation. The establishment of this, however, will not be
an easy task. Such work will be far more difficult and compli-
cated than that performed by the fathers of the American Con-
stitution, and this for two main reasons : first, because the social,
economic and political conditions of the present day are much
more complex and involved; and, secondly, because Russia evi-
dently cannot be satisfied with a federation of the American
type. The non-Russian nationalities, which might join such a
federation, all have very different requirements and are not
at all homogeneous; equal conditions for all of them will be
quite impossible to establish. Just as in the British Empire,
some of them will ask for nearly full independence, Russia only
protecting her strategic and diplomatic interests; whereas in
other cases simple self-government will be entirely sufficient.
Thus, the only possible chance of success lies in the adoption of
a plan of federation of the British type, where the scale goes all
the way from practical independence (Canada or Australia) to
protectorates (Egypt or the Crown colonies).

With each of these nationalities, Russia will have to conclude
a separate agreement or imderstanding, safeguarding the inter-



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220 THE AMERICAN POLITICAL SCIENCE BEYIEW

ests of both sides. On the Russian side, this can be achieved
only by the national assembly, for no other body will be able
to speak in the nation's name and bind the latter to such an
agreement.

The skeleton of such a federation will be as follows: There
should be a federal parliament, parallel to the Russian chamber,
composed of two houses of the American type, a lower chamber,
representing the people, and an upper house, representing the
states. The competence of this parliament will be strictly
limited to federal questions, enumerated in the constitution.

The head of the state or chief executive will be either elected
(if president) or chosen (if monarch) by the people of the whole
federation; he ought to be simultaneously the chief executive of
Russia proper, and will have also powers strictly limited by an
enumeration in the constitution. The federal executive power
will comprise the following branches: The foreign office, the war
and navy departments, the treasury and commerce depart-
ments (these two latter branches will direct the federal fiscal and
economic policies, including federal taxation, federal customs
and federal currency), and a department of justice, with an
attorney-general at its head. The latter will be the govern-
ment's law expert and also handle all federal matters arising
between the states; the federal interests will be looked after by
special representatives (for example, governors-general) subor-
dinate to the attorney-general. The federal ministers and the
attorney-general will be the cabinet, responsible to the federal
parliament.

Finally, there will exist federal courts, which will have the
right to examine the constitutionality of all legislation, federal
as well as local.

In conclusion must be mentioned a few questions, less impor-
tant from the point of view of principle, which the national
assembly will also have to settle. First, the question of the
relations of the church to the state; a well drawn line of separa-
tion between the two seems most likely and best suited for
Russia, though the orthodox church might receive some form of
support from the state. Secondly, the question of the army;
namely, must there exist a volimteer militia or a regular army



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THE FUTURE RUSSIAN CONSTITUTION 221

composed on the principle of general service of all citizens? The
latter seems much more appropriate to Russian conditions.
Finally, there might arise the question of nationalization of
certain industries and railroads; in that case, also, the national
assembly certainly will be the only judge. Personally I think
that such nationalization is quite out of the question at the
present moment. If such coimtries as England or the United
States, with their highly developed industries, are still in doubt
as to the feasibility of their nationalization, there cannot be any
doubt at all in Russia, whose industrial development is yet so
primitive. The Russian state is much too young, unstable and
unorganized to be able to undertake such a huge task as the
running of national industries. With the railroads the case
might be a trifle easier, because in former times the Russian
state owned many of the railroads; the latter will probably
remain in the hands of the government, but this ought not to
mean the nationalization of all the railroads and the cessation
of private enterprise.



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SOME PHASES OF THE FEDERAL PERSONNEL
PROBLEM

LEWIS MAYERS

An observer who had much to do with the departments at
Washington once remarked that the whole philosophy of rank
in the government service was unsound. Anyone, he reasoned,
could be the head of a department; to be the head of a division
was much more difficult; while the office boy must be a real
diplomat. There is doubtless much of truth in this view; and
it may perhaps be pleaded in excuse of the habit which dis-
cussions of the federal personnel problem seem to have devel-
oped, of beginning (and, not infrequently, also ending) with the
case of the government clerk.

Nevertheless, it is to be questioned whether the government
clerk, or the subordinate personnel of the administrative serv-
ices of the government generally, presents nearly so difficult a
question as does the directing personnel. By and large, doubt-
less the most immediate problem of the federal personnel system
today is to secure in the posts of responsibility and discretion a
capable type of administrator.

In this view, logically the first item to be considered in a dis-
cussion of the federal personnel problem is the method of select-
ing the chief of the administration — the President; and, next in
order, the method of selecting the chiefs of the executive depart-
ments — ^particularly, the chiefs of the predominantly adminis-
trative departments — ^post office, war and navy. Since the
President must necessarily be chosen on political and not admin-
istrative grounds, and give his main attention to political and
not administrative mattei*s, assurance of the capable discharge
of his administrative functions can obviously be had only by
the creation of a central organ of administration to act in his
name on all but the most important of administrative matters;

222



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THE FEDERAL PERSONNEL PROBLEM 223

and if the members of the cabmet are to continue to be chosen
primarily as political advisers, assm'ance of the proper discharge
of their administrative responsibility can likewise be had only
by the creation in each of the departments of a nonpolitical
administrative deputy of experience and proved capacity. To



Online LibraryWestel Woodbury WilloughbyThe American political science review → online text (page 22 of 77)