CZARISM AND REVOLUTION
CZARISM AND REVOLUTION
By A. Goulevitch
Translated from the French by N. J. Couriss
OMNI PUBLICATIONS Hawthorne, California
© Copyright 1962 By Omni Publications All Rights Reserved
Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 61-11562
Printed in the United States of America
TRANSLATOR'S NOTE 2
I A General Outline of the Development of the State 19
II The Foundation of Czarism 34
III Agriculture 60
IV Industry 90
V Trade and the Markets 125
VI Transport 132
VII Finance 144
VIII The International Role of Russia 161
IX The Military Contribution of Russia to the Great
World War, 1914-1918 182
X The Insurrectionary Movement and its Resources 200
XI The Revolution 235
XII Reflections 259
At the present time, when Bolshevism has ceased to be the immediate concern of Russia alone and the fatal misreading of the real nature and implications of Soviet communism has brought the whole world to the brink of disaster, dividing it into two distinct and ideologically opposed hemispheres, a study of the past history of Russia, based on precise facts and figures, should commend itself to the interest of the public.
On the whole Russian history is not well known abroad. A vague form of semi-Asiatic despotism, which from time to time intruded itself upon the West, especially in moments of crisis, or constituted a source of permanent annoyance in less turbulent times, is the picture of Russia that most people abroad have in their minds.
The primary object of Mr. Goulevitch's book is to destroy and allay the gross misconceptions and prejudices regarding the Russian monarchy, which are as deep-seated as they are profoundly incorrect.
The author vindicates Czarism, analyzes it and presents it to us in its proper perspective. The opinion has been expressed that this book somewhat resembles a speech by defending counsel. This, in a measure, is true, but it is difficult to see how otherwise it could attain its goal.
Here are some of the universally accepted and mistaken ideas about Russia under the Czars which the author sets out to rectify.
Russia was immensely wealthy in arable land; there was no excuse for any land shortage among the peasants, except the greed of large estate owners. The peasantry was browbeaten, destitute and underfed. The monarchy was an instrument of despotism and ruled the country by means of a corrupt and incompetent administration. The upper classes were effete, de-
b CZARISM AND REVOLUTION
generate and retrograde. Education and any form of progress was opposed, as a matter of principle, by the government. Industry and trade were permitted to lag a score of decades behind the West and were given no encouragement. A venal police rode roughshod over the lives of the population and the individual. Liberty was a thing unknown to the average Russian. Siberia was a vast concentration camp of convicts and wretched political deportees. The external policy of Russia was expressed by imperialism in its crudest form. This policy was pursued by the maintenance of an unnecessarily large army and by the domination of unfortunate minorities, always oppressed and generally exploited.
Mr. Goulevitch's book gives us an objective study, in proper historical perspective, of various aspects of Russian life in the past. These he examines one by one: geographical and racial; the real meaning of Czarism to Russia and the principles on which the body politic was founded: education; agriculture; self-government; mining and metals; finance; trade; commerce and transport. Each chapter consists of two parts, one topical and of general interest, the other factual, supported by statistical data.
We are shown the way in which the monarchy, democratic in origin and Russian in essence, shared in every manifestation of the nation's life; how it was identified with the political, economic and spiritual development of the nation and how it pointed the way to progress and enlightenment.
The concluding chapters contain a brief summary of the part played by Russia in international politics, her contribution to the First World War and a condensed history of the revolutionary movement in Russia. Special stress is laid on the socially disruptive and international character of all left wing forms of Russian political thought and activity. A few brief notes on the sequence of events, which actually brought about the downfall of the monarchy, are also given.
A great amount of propaganda is now directed at the Russian people in the hope of bringing to their knowledge true
TRANSLATORS NOTE 9
facts about the Western way of life and demonstrating the iniquities of the monstrous tyranny under which they are compelled to live. Efforts of this kind are doomed to failure unless they are of a nature which appeals to the population and can touch the innermost chords of the national character. Success must obviously be based on an unprejudiced and fair appreciation of Russia's historical background. Mr. Goulevitch offers his book as a contribution to this end.
Since 1789 there has been a popular tendency to interpret any revolution as a direct consequence of the "ancien regime." This term, moreover, is often no longer used to refer to a preceding political order, but rather to describe an order which, of itself, is obsolete and undesirable. The object in putting forward this interpretation is to establish a connection of cause and effect between the former order and a revolution.
The explanation thus provided for the crimes and destructions brought about by any political or social upheaval remains inevitably the same: the wider the extent of the upheaval, the further advanced the decadence of the "ancien regime."
A conception of this nature easily answers the demands of a theory of simple causation in the march of events: "Post hoc, ergo propter hoc," the preceding predetermining the subsequent, and maintains the principles of "logic" to the satisfaction of everyone concerned. To understand this theory no critical effort of mind, for which the masses have a deep aversion, is required. Further, this conception, so easily assimilated by the masses, provides those by whom it is advanced with an undoubted advantage in allowing them to justify and sanctify any revolution as a begetter of future wellbeing. The conditions under which it takes place, or the country of its occurrence, are of little importance. In this way the ground is prepared for the capture of new "Bastilles" and new emancipations.
These theories on revolutions and their origin, these oversimplified generalizations, nowadays confront civilization itself with a danger graver than ever before. This is amply proved by the events which took place in Russia in 1917 and which are now forcefully brought to the attention of the whole world.
This danger is further emphasized by the subsequent course of these events which, from the outset of the Russian catas-
12 CZARISM AND REVOLUTION
trophe, spread outside the framework of a national and Russian setting.
The interpretation given abroad would appear to sustain the theory mentioned above. Far from contradicting it, it seems, on the contrary, to confirm it. The reason for this apparent paradox lies in the all but unanimously unfavourable opinion of Czarism held by Western Europe. Indeed, has not Czarism been for ages synonymous with tyranny, unenlightenment, cruelty and stupidity?
The reason for this view is not difficult to find. At present, suffice it to keep in mind that the Soviets and their friends are fostering and spreading it by using the most modern methods of "scientific propaganda." It has, in the past, rendered them invaluable service, the consequences of which are not generally appreciated.
The contention that most of the trials that have faced humanity are due to simple errors of judgement has never been better vindicated than by the generally accepted opinion on the character, role and nature of Czarism.
Further, it seems likely that a way out of the impasse in which the world lies today, could more readily be found, if this mistaken view of the Russian "ancien regime" were amended.
The difficulty, of course, lies in altering it not among the few, who do not share it, but among the broad masses of the West.
The importance and the magnitude of our subject are thus obvious and it is plain, why it transcends individual effort.
If the following pages could but give rise to a new current of public opinion, if they would lead to further research, the purpose of this book would largely be achieved.
Is there any real justification for this rooted hostility to Czarism? Objective facts, statistical data and documents of unimpeachable authenticity point to an emphatic denial. The source is either calumny, or ignorance. The main object of this
book consists in setting things in their proper focus; in telling the truth about Russia under the Czars, thus enabling the reader to judge whether, or not, Czarism stands condemned. An effort is made to contradict some of the preconceived ideas on the State and the people, so often mistakenly characterised as passive, indolent and docile.
I took no part in the public life of former Russia. I do not belong, nor have I belonged, to any party, neither is it my intention to support this, or that political group, or coterie. I do not wish to proselytize in favour of any particular party. My only aim is to draw a soberly impartial picture of Russia's past.
Foreigners of all times have described faraway Russia, where there was so much to astound them, as a land of mystery, a kind of "Sphynx." It is only fair to add that a fair dose of "metaphysics" has been contributed by our own authors to what has been published abroad about Russia. Those of my readers, who will accompany me along the path which I intend to follow, unrewarding as it may appear, will find less difficult than generally supposed, to decipher the past, read the present or even to forecast the future of the "Sphynx," provided one is acquainted with the essential facts of Russian history and psychology.
When I commenced writing this book there were many who tried to dissuade me and numerous objections were raised. I was told that to attack Bolshevism and to reveal some of its hideous aspects was an excellent thing. On the other hand, it was pointed out, that if no criticism of Czarism were offered in a comprehensive work on Russia, it would merely challenge public opinion, certain convictions being too firmly rooted in people's minds.
I took a different point of view. In my opinion the practical struggle against Bolshevism is intimately linked with Czarism.
Up to the present day only two voices have been heard abroad, which proclaim the truth about former Russia against the slander of some and the silence of others.
Paradoxical, as it may seem, it was in England that these
14 CZARISM AND REVOLUTION
voices were raised; a country, where, scarcely eighty years ago, an anonymous publication, entitled "The Hideous Empire," i.e. Russia, was extensively circulated. The title leaves small doubt as to its trend. Needless to say it was followed by other efforts of a similar nature.
Sir Winston Churchill and the late Professor Charles Sarolea, the statesman in his memoirs and the scholar in his studies, both make a definite stand in the defense of historic Russia. Others, I hope, will follow and, in spite of a conspiracy of falsehood, truth at last will prevail.
What was the meaning of Czarism to Russia, the spirit by which it was moved? What did it do for Moscovy, small, feeble and inhabited by nomads, under the Tartar yoke? What were the lines along which the Empire of the Czars eventually developed and what were the branches, taken individually, of Russian national activity? What was the international role of the Empire and what were the results of its downfall? What caused it to fall and why were the consequences of this collapse so immense and without precedent in history? What was the true nature of the Russian revolution and what are the lessons it can teach us?
Such then, are the questions which I have set out to answer in a spirit of impartiality.
The name of "Russia" has now been deleted from the map of the world and her enslaved people are being sacrificed in millions. (1) Historic Russia, with a population verging on 200,000,000, her culture, her genius, her brilliant past are in mortal danger of being obliterated to the greater glory of world revolution.
Economic problems are of great importance today and I have treated them with the consideration they deserve. Statistics are often worth more than abstract expositions and, in dealing with these problems, I have drawn up tables which may be of use to the reader. At the end of each chapter conclusions, based on these tables, are suggested for those who are not in-
terested in figures; while, on the other hand, the tables will furnish the more literally minded with the information they may desire.
For further study references and documents are quoted at the end of the chapters.
I have not touched on Russian culture, as an aspect of national life. It is well known and appreciated abroad. Russia's contribution to science, literature and art is uncontested. Lomonosov, Lobachevsky, Mendeleev, Sechnev, Pavlov, Tem-eriasev, Mechnikov, Soloviev, Chicherin, Kliuchevsky, Konda-kov, Vinogradov, Berdiaev, etc., these names are universally known and respected.
There is no need to mention Russian sculptors and composers, or to extol the superb qualities of the Russian theatre, opera and ballet. Even the enemies of Russia have withheld criticism to suit their ends. (2)
An effort has sometimes been made to differentiate between the cultural level of the nation and the state, in the pretense that the latter did not truly interpret the national genius. It is, however, improbable that a people, allegedly misgoverned for generations, could have created and developed a brilliant culture. In examining the past of Russia there is another factor we must bear in mind: without the creative genius of the Czars she could never have freely developed either her culture, or her civilization.
In Europe, in the 18th century, the prestige of Russia was very high. Peter the Great, Catherine the Great, these names prove what the West thought of these masters of Russia. Their apologists were numerous and eloquent: Voltaire, d'Alembert, Grimm and many others. Why then, did the prestige of Russia progressively decline in the following century? I think this is not a difficult question to answer: the history of most nations is written by their friends, that of Russia, abroad, mainly by her enemies and detractors.
In the 19th century hostile nations surrounded Russia. Out-
16 CZARISM AND REVOLUTION
side her frontiers she had earned the hatred of the Scandinavians, whom she had steadily pushed back in the course of long wars; the Prussians were spreading tales of a non existent Slav peril, so as to conceal a very real Prussian-German one; Britain, haunted by the alleged threat of Russia to India, was one of her most implacable and active enemies.
At home she was faced by the Polish and Jewish problems, which I shall examine later. Both these problems were largely European, not solely confined to Russia, and Czarism, at the time, could not solve them to the satisfaction of all concerned. Some of the greatest falsehoods about Russia were spread by influential Polish emigres and I need not remind my readers of the amazing ability of the Jews for propaganda.
The malevolent and skilful activity of Russian political exiles abroad should also be taken into account. In the second half of the 19th century small, but extremely active groups of Russian revolutionaries, collectively known as Nihilists, attached themselves to sundry political centres of the West; they concentrated on vilifying the Czarist regime by all the means at their disposal. Their aim was first to discredit, then to undermine and finally to overthrow the monarchy. Most of these Nihilists were intellectuals and belonged to the famous "Intelligentsia". As such, they were afforded a ready hearing and the desired conclusion that Czarism was reactionary, unenlightened and cruel was easily drawn.
Curiously enough, the Nihilists, by design or fortuitously, were given asylum and encouragement by conservative countries. Their tales about Russia were accepted at their face value, though the overthrow of the Russian government was but a stepping stone in their program of ultimate world revolution. Their primary task was to earn the goodwill of their protectors against whom they intended to turn at a later date, when the downfall of Russia had been achieved. Today, their successors are no longer proscribed political refugees, but the willing, or paid, agents of Moscow, still assiduously pursuing the ultimate goal of world revolution. The political road of the
past eighty years has been long and tortuous; indeed, it is only now that the eyes of the West are at last being opened.
Our own authors contributed not a little to the false picture of Russia so many people believe to be the true one. One cannot blame the foreigner for taking the stories written by Russians about Russia at their face value, or for failing to see that they were meant as a bitter satire and often depicted the ugly side of life as it had been in the distant past. For more than any other people, we take a malign delight in hearing ourselves and our forbears ridiculed, or criticized—a trait underlined by Dostoyevsky and so many of our writers.
History has sometimes been defined as a permanent conspiracy against the truth: the findings of a commission of enquiry into distortions in the accepted history of France do little to contradict this definition. (a)
It is my fervent hope that the following chapters will shed new light on Russian life and institutions, as they were before the great catastrophe of 1917 and help my readers to approach the evaluation of Russia's past with an open and unbiased mind.
(a) G. Champenois. "Le Sabotage Officiel de l'Histoire de la France." Paris. Bossard. 1930
Special Note: The letters in brackets refer to the works mentioned at the bottom of the pages, and the numbers to the notes which follow each chapter.
CZARISM AND REVOLUTION
(1) The toll of human life under Soviet dictatorship.
Civil War, 1917 4,500,000
Famine, 1921-1923 6,000,000
Red Terror, 1917-1923
Professional classes: scientists, authors, scholars,
artists, university students, et al. 160,000
Civil and Public Servants, Civilians,
Officers, other ranks 740,000
Priests and members of religious bodies 40,000
Peasants and Workmen 1,300,000
Massacred by the Che-Ka and G.P.U., 1923-1930 2,050,000
Famine, 1930-1933 7,000,000
Executed during the collectivization 750,000
Executed by the G.P.U. and N.K.V.D., 1933-1937 1,600,000
Massacred during the period of Intensification of the Red Terror,"1937 -1938.
Intellectuals, peasants and workmen 635,000
Members of the Communist party 340,000
Political Cadres and Higher Command
of the Red Army
Executed by the N.K.V.D., 1938-1947
Sundry classes of the population 2,720,000
Priests and members of religious bodies 5,000
Officers and soldiers 23,000
Perished in Concentration camps and prisons,
The original heading proposed for Note 1 was "Total killed, massacred and destroyed." The above figures, however, do not include losses sustained in wars: against Finland, 1918; the Baltic States, 1918-1919; Poland, 1920; Georgia, 1921-1922; China, 1925-1931; Spain, 1936-1939; Finland, 1939; Poland, 1939; Second World War, 1941-1945. To these losses, totalling many millions, we should add reprisals against individuals, villages, and whole peoples, like the Kalmuks, the Tartars and thousands of inhabitants of the Baltic States, removed and deported wholesale to other parts of the Soviet Union. ("Exil et Liberte." No. 22. 1955. Paris.)
(2) A typical example of an exception to the general rule: The Paris organ of the Georgian Separatists "Tetri Guiorgui" (No. 25, 1930) in an article by Georgiadze describes the Russian language, as "a tongue of dogs," Russian literature, as "the ravings of a madman" and Russian music, as "poison."
A GENERAL OUTLINE OF THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE STATE
Let us begin by examining certain basic facts about the geography, history and ethnology of Russia. It is difficult to discuss the past, the present, or even the future of the country without a sound appreciation of these facts.
No country in Europe was ever confronted with greater obstacles to the development of civilization and, consequently, none was more difficult to govern.
Nations, like individuals, are born either in poverty or wealth and fate is kind to some and harsh to others. Some have seen the light of day in happy, sunny lands, where the climate is mild and open seas promote trade, or are sheltered by protecting mountains from invasion. In such countries civilization wells up and flowers spontaneously and with no effort.
In other lands geography and history combine in retarding the development of culture and hindering the pursuit of peace and security. Among such dispossessed nations we find the ancient Russia of Kiev and Moscow. It lay in the centre of a vast plain, composed to a great extent of sand, marshes, meagre forests and steppes. The climate was harsh, the winters long, the summers arid, the distances enormous, the roads impassable. The towns, built entirely of timber, were constantly destroyed by fire.
These unfavourable conditions were further aggravated by successive waves of Asiatic hordes, which from time immemorial, had invaded the country that stood in their path. S. Soloviev, the famous historian, tells us that between 1240 and 1460 there were two hundred invasions, an average of one a
20 CZARISM AND REVOLUTION
year, (a) It was during this period that the Tartars, after laying waste the entire country, subjugated Russia.
The early history of Russia may thus be summarized as a gigantic struggle to master rebellious nature and simultaneously to repulse the invader. She could either linger for a while and then cease to exist as a nation, or expand and eventually become the largest continental empire in the world.
Only great monarchs at the head of a great people could create a powerful and disciplined state in this limitless plain, permanently threatened by formidable enemies.
"The Arabian desert," says Renan, "is monotheistic." Russia's answer to the challenge of her plain was monarchy. The continent of Russia was fated to become the seat of a powerful empire. Her Czars (1) laid down the foundations and gathered into one its scattered territories, unified one hundred and forty races (2) and gave them civilization, justice and peace.
The Czars were the embodiment of the highest expression of the Russian genius; the Orthodox Church, the old nobility and the mass of the people had first to be disciplined, but later became the staunch upholders of the monarchy. During the long years of struggle against the Tartars, the Church identified itself with the nation, thus becoming the symbol of patriotism. The nobility, endowed with a sense of statesmanship and devotion to the public welfare was a permanent mainstay of the Empire. Lastly, the amazing tenacity and initiative of the Russian people strengthened and upheld the Imperial crown.
Foreign opinion has been misled into thinking that the vastness of the Russian Empire is due to a spirit of annexation (3). Russia has often been pointed to as the archetype of an aggressive and imperialistic power.
(a) S. Soloviev. "History of Russia From Earliest Times." Moscow. In Russian.
OUTLINE OF THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE STATE 21
For a thousand years Russia was on the defensive and fought continuously to preserve her "place in the sun." It was only at the end of the 18th century that she finally conquered the southern steppes and the Russian people, no longer exposed to the inroads of pillaging nomads, could at last plan their future in safety and peace.
According to S. Soloviev, "the enormous size of Russia's territory might lead one to compare it to ancient Assyria and Persia. A study of Russian development proves the error of this conclusion."
The expansion of Russia was organic, i.e., logical and natural, not fortuitous; her history is that of a country, which was fated, first to fight for its very existence and then develop into a colonizing power. Two eminent historians, Soloviev and Kliuchevsky, both hold that colonization was the primary factor in the history of Russia. (a)
The acquisition of the territories of Louisiana, Texas, New Mexico, Oregon and California does not turn the United States into a robber state. Why should Russia's expansion be held against her? It was but the peaceful penetration of an entire continent. The colonization of the southern steppes, of Siberia, Trans-Caucasia and the Turkistan is a victory of civilization, just as the American penetration of the West and Far West. I would add that during our eastward march the peoples we conquered were neither molested, nor, like the Red Indians, exterminated. Our Russian settlers, so often scornfully branded as "Semi-Asiatics," were, in fact, a rampart of Europe against Asia.
Russian colonization, though it took place in conditions far more harsh and less rewarding than those in the United States, developed quite as rapidly. Within two or three generations law and order were brought to the wild tribesmen of the Turkistan and nomads of Siberia.
The Russian people who, with the help of their Czars over-
(a) Kliuchevsky. "A Course of Russian History." Vol. I. In Russian.
22 CZARISM AND REVOLUTION
came untold hardship and spread from the Volga to the Pacific and the mountains of the Pamir, are inferior to no people in the world. It is unfair to call the Russians passive and devoid of initiative. It is equally unfair to say that the Czars were prompted solely by a lust for domination.
Imperial Russia never owned any colonies, in the accepted sense of the word, though the cultural level of some of her territories would justify this definition, a fact often forgotten when comparing the former regime with that of other states.
The term "British Rule," as interpreting the democratic form of government in the United Kingdom, was not applicable to the former British Empire as a whole. The administrative systems in many parts of the Empire, the "Different Rights," the "Juridical Restrictions," "Riot Acts" and "Governors General," endowed with semi-dictatorial powers, differed considerably from the mother country. In Russia identical laws applied to the whole of the Empire from end to end. The problem of integrating colonial peoples was brilliantly solved by Czarist Russia. Alone among the great powers Russia had granted her Muslim subjects total equality of status: in the First World War we saw Russian Corps commanded by Muslim generals. The fact that many Oriental peoples, formerly under Russian domination, have shared the same hardships as their Russian brothers through war and revolution, amply proves that their destinies are inseparably linked with that of Russia, one and indivisible, while the separatist movements, which have now come to the fore, have been manifest only since the Revolution and are a direct result of Soviet misrule. (a)
Parallel with this civilizing mission in Asia, Russia was forced to defend her frontiers in Europe against repeated
(a) See my book "L'Islam et l'U.R.S.S." Preface by Jerome et Jean Tharaud of l'Academie Franchise. (In French, sold out.) Paris, 1947.
"The Russian Riddle", pamphlet by representatives of non-Russian peoples of the U.S.S.R. New York, 1957.
OUTLINE OF THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE STATE 23
invasion. To assure these frontiers the Order of Teutonic Knights had to be driven out of the Baltic Provinces; the Swedes, who as far back as 1611 had devastated the entire North West of Russia and even claimed Novgorod, one of the oldest Russian cities, had to be forced to evacuate Finland.
The vital necessity for Russia of defending these frontiers and, besides, her only outlet to an open sea (the Baltic) is obvious.
Finland enjoyed a privileged position under Russian rule, verging on the paradoxical, for over 100 years: thus, Finnish citizens, in Russia, were entitled to all the rights of Russian subjects, whereas the latter were qualified as aliens in Finland.
The Baltic Provinces were originally allowed a considerable measure of autonomy, but the Teutonic policy of the Germans gradually compelled the government to restrict some of the liberties they had been granted. The native population, composed of Latvians and Esthonians, far from being hostile to Russia, looked to her for support against the local nobility of German origin. During the 1914 war they fought valiantly in the ranks of the Russian Armies and the Latvians, whose country was threatened with invasion by the troops of the Kaiser, provided quite a considerable contingent of volunteers.
In defence of the Baltic aristocracy of German origin it must be said that, though pro-German in feeling, they were perfectly loyal to the Crown and served their Russian sovereigns with honour and great distinction at court, in the army and administration.
The problem of Poland stood before Russia in all its complexity, more tragic and more difficult to solve than the problem of Ireland, which England could treat as a matter of internal policy. Any alteration in the status of Poland affected Russia, Austria and Prussia collectively.
It is certainly a matter of regret that, in the past, the Kingdom of Poland should have disappeared from the historical scene. However, history cannot be entirely overlooked.
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At the beginning of the 17th century, during those terrible years which we call the "Troubled Time" and long before the final blow was dealt to Poland, Russia was all but destroyed by the Poles. By "Troubled Time" we refer to a period of our history when, with a vacant throne, our country was in a state of turmoil and the Poles seized and pillaged Moscow. They then tried to foist upon Russia their royal Prince and later their King. In 1613 a patriotic rising mercifully saved the country and placed the first Romanov on the throne.
Nevertheless great stretches of Russian territory still remained under Polish domination for many years.
It was only in the 18th century that Russia undertook a vigorous counteroffensive and succeeded in liberating her peoples. In the 17th century a general rising of "Little Russia" allowed the Czar of Moscow to free the southern part of Russia, together with Kiev, the capital and "Mother of all Russian Cities," and later to reintegrate the large province of Smolensk.
The Lithuanian and White Russian provinces were liberated under Catherine the Great.
During the three partitions of Poland no Polish territory proper was annexed and only those lands were claimed which had earlier been seized by the Poles.
Responsibility for the annexation of essentially Polish territories rests solely with Austria and Prussia.
"In 1796, after the third partition of Poland, lands formerly Russian, reverted to her, with the exception of Kholm and Eastern Galicia, which were taken by Austria," says M. E. Haumant. (a) This eminent authority on East European problems, brings strong evidence in support of what has just been said and it would be useful if this book were more widely known and read.
In the Lithuanian and White Russian provinces the living conditions of the peasantry, reduced to a state of slavery by the
(a) E. Haumant. "Le Probleme de l'Unite Russe." Bossard. Paris. 1922. p. 69.
OUTLINE OF THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE STATE 25
Polish landowners, were improved. As a result the peasant population remained loyal to Russia and took no part in the rebellions of the 19th century.
The Congress of Vienna attached "The Grand Duchy of Warsaw," later to become the "Kingdom of Poland," to Russia. Alexander I endowed the Kingdom with a liberal constitution, perhaps the most liberal of any of the then existing constitutions, and very extensive rights.
The attitude of the Russian sovereign was in striking contrast to the treatment meted out to the Poles by Prussia and Austria, (a)
Poland was allowed a Parliament, permitted to conserve her own legislation and maintain her army, etc. This liberal status was unfortunately upset by the rebellion of 1831.
In spite of this Poland still retained many privileges and was administered by a Polish Civil Service. It is worth noting that the Code Napoleon remained in force right up to the First World War and that the Russian Civil Code was never introduced into Poland; another contrast between the rule of Russia and that of her neighbours.
The Russian Army and Civil Service were open to Poles and many of our distinguished soldiers and statesmen were of Polish origin.
During the reign of Alexander II (1856-1881) we might, perhaps have witnessed a final reconciliation between Russia and Poland, so longed for by outstanding men of both nations, like the great Russian poet Pushkin and the great Polish poet Mickiewicz. (4)
Toward 1860 Marquess Wielepolsky, a remarkable statesman endeavoured to bring about a rapprochement between Poland and Russia, but was actively opposed by Bismarck, then Prussian Minister in St. Petersburg.
In 1863 a rebellion broke out in Poland. From the very start it was doomed to failure. The support, strictly verbal, given to
(a) P. Rain. "Un Tsar Ideologue, 1777-1825," Paris. 1913. pp. 289-327.
26 CZARISM AND REVOLUTION
it by Napoleon III, alienated Russian public opinion and influenced the attitude of Russia in the Franco-Prussian war of 1870-1871.
The consequences of this rebellion were tragic for France, as well as for the rest of Europe and profited only Prussia and Austria. It brought about a change in the status of Poland, for she lost the privileges she had previously been allowed to retain.
Nevertheless, prior to the First World War Russian Poland enjoyed an era of prosperity thanks to the immense Russian market open to Polish industries, while the Russian policy of assimilation was never as harsh as that of Germany in Posen.
At the outbreak of hostilities, in 1914, Russia announced, as one of her war aims, the reestablishment of Polish unity by creating a new Kingdom of Poland out of all Polish territories to be reassembled. On August 14, 1914, Grand Duke Nicholas, Commander in Chief of the Russian Armies, issued a proclamation to this effect, addressed to the Poles of Russia, Austria and Prussia. This proclamation was warmly received at home, in Poland and by the Allies.
It here seems appropriate to quote as a matter of recorded history three authoritative opinions on the Polish question expressed soon after the First World War.
"The situation of Poland is as tragic today, as it was yesterday," writes E. Haumant, "for precisely identical reasons: not the absence of natural boundaries, or the temperamental character of the people, in spite of what our schoolbooks tell us. The main reason lies in the fact that the correct balance between Germany and Poland was upset when the latter gave up Slav lands along the Elbe in the early days of history. The other is this: time has transformed the Holy Roman Empire into a compact Germany and—Moscovy into a world. Of these two neighbors, the one in the West has grown at the expense of the Poles and will never forgive them their modest gains of today;
OUTLINE OF THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE STATE 27
whereas Poland aspires to greatness at the expense of the other neighbor and it, too, will not forgive . . .
"As, in the past, any kind of accomodation with Prussia is out of the question; it would only lead to dismemberment, vassalage and final destruction. An understanding with a future Russia is, a priori, more attainable, as Russia lays no claims to any national Polish territory. The bitter memories of the past might, on the whole, prove no un-surmountable obstacle." (a)
Mr. Haumant further underlines that, in fact, there is no hatred of Poland in Russia and any animosity against the Poles that exists is confined to the "Ukranians." (b)
The late President Massaryk, on his return from Russia in March, 1918, submitted a confidential memorandum to President Wilson, at the latter's request. Here are the concluding words of this document:
"All the small peoples of Western Europe—Finns, Poles, Esthonians, Latvians, Lithuanians, Czecks, Rumanians, etc., stand in need of a powerful Russia; they will otherwise all fall into the hands of the Germans. The Allies should support Russia at all cost and by all the means at their disposal." (c)
Lastly, Professor Ch. Sarolea in an article published by "The English Review" in June, 1925, expressed the view that:
(a) E. Haumant. Ibid.
(b) For further details on the Ukranian question see my articles in "La
Nouvelle Revue," May 1931, "La Revue Beige," June 1931, "Revue des
Ambassades," January 1938, "Revue Politique et Parlementaire," October 1952
and article by Henry Lemery, former Vice-President of the French Council of
Ministers, "Exil et Liberte, February, 1955.
(c) "Sovremennia Zapiski." Russian Review, Vol. XLII, p. 411.
28 CZARISM AND REVOLUTION
"If Russia is not promptly restored and made capable of keeping Germany in her place, the newly created states, and Poland in particular, are bound to perish. A super German State will in the near future threaten the peace of the World."
In the 19th century half the Jewish population of the entire world lived within the boundaries of Russia. At the time, the State lacked the means of assimilating these millions of people and, as a measure of self-protection, had recourse to restrictive legislation concerning the Jews. The following are the principal measures to which they were subjected (5):
A special ban prohibited the Jews from settling anywhere in Russia, except in the west and south-west, where they had long been concentrated. These regions included some of the wealthiest provinces and were twice the size of France. However, the Jewish colonies of St. Petersburg, numbering well over 60,000, of Moscow and Rostov, only slightly less numerous, show how liberally this ban was interpreted.
Another restriction debarred the Jews from government service. In this respect Russia was not alone, as a similar law existed in Germany up to 1914; besides, until quite recently, in a country as democratic as Switzerland, a Jewish officer, or civil servant was an exception.
Lastly, the number of Jewish pupils admitted to state schools was limited to 10% of the total, an exception being made for more able scholars. On the other hand the Jews had many schools of their own, where instruction was in Yiddish and Russian was taught as a compulsory language.
Strange as this may appear, the most important Jewish theological college in the world was situated in Russia.
Politically the Jews were considered disloyal. Many young Jews joined the revolutionary movement and were active members of proscribed political groups and societies. Whether they outnumbered the Russian members is beside the point. The authorities regarded them as representative of the Jewish race
OUTLINE OF THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE STATE 29
and reacted accordingly, while the loyal subjects used this fact as a pretext for openly demonstrating their dislike for the Jews, as a whole.
The Jews were subject to Russian Common Law, possessed complete franchise and were eligible to both legislative chambers, the Duma and the Council of Empire.
One is entitled to ask, whether the Jews were unhappy in Russia? An honest and convincing answer is given by an outstanding Russian Jew, the late Dr. Pasmanik; (a) He writes that, before the revolution the economic status of Russian Jews was not only satisfactory, but really good. The continued improvement in the economic life of Russia could but contribute to the wellbeing of the Jews. Discussing the intellectual and moral level of Russian Jewry, Dr. Pasmanik says: "The artistic, intellectual and spiritual expansion of the Jews in Russia during the last decades of the Empire can be compared with the renaissance of the Jews in Spain in the 12th and 13th centuries." He continues: "In the normal course of events the Jews had every reason to hope that the restrictive measures to which they were subjected would be soon abolished. As it was, most of them had been greatly relaxed during the war years."
Another eminent Jew, Mr. J. Bickerman, agrees with Dr. Pasmanik and says that the Russian Jews were prospering, increasing in numbers and consolidating their material and moral status in step with the cultural and economic development of the country. (b)
And what of the pogroms?
The old and often quoted legend that these hideous episodes were provoked and organized by the government has time and again been disproved. When they occurred the authorities immediately took the most drastic steps to curb the rioting and safeguard the life and property of the Jews. Po-
(a) "Ten years of Bolshevik Domination." Collection of articles published
in English by "The Patriotic Union of Russian Jews abroad."
(b) "Russia and the Jews," pp. 84-85. In Russian and German.