The New York Times
CURRENT HISTORY: THE EUROPEAN WAR
The New Russia Speaks
An Appeal by Russian Authors, Artists, and Actors
[From the Russkia Vedomosti, No. 223, Sept. 28, (Oct. 11,) 1914, P. 6.]
We appeal to our country, we appeal to the whole civilized world.
What our heart and our reason refused to believe has come indisputably true, to the greatest shame of humanity. Every new day brings new horrible proofs of the cruelty and the vandalism of the Germans in the bloody clash of nations which we are witnessing, in that neutral slaughtering of brothers provoked by the madness of these same Germans; in their vainglorious ambition to rule the world with violence, they are throwing upon the scales of the world's justice nothing but the sword. We fancy that Germany, oblivious of her past fame, has turned to the altars of her cruel national gods whose defeat has been accomplished by the incarnation of the one gracious god upon earth. Her warriors seem to have assumed the miserable duty of reminding humanity of the latent vigor of the aboriginal beast within man, of the fact that even the leading nations of civilization, by letting loose their ill-will, may easily fall back on an equal footing with their forefathers—those half naked bands that fifteen centuries ago trampled under their heavy feet the ancient inheritance of civilization. As in the days of yore, again priceless productions of art, temples, and libraries perish in conflagration, whole cities and towns are wiped off the face of the earth, rivers are overflowing with blood, through heaps of cadavers savage men are hewing their path, and those whose lips are shouting in honor of their criminal supreme commander are inflicting untold tortures and infamies upon defenseless people, upon aged men and women, upon captives and wounded.
Let these horrible crimes be entered upon the Book of Fate with eternal letters! These crimes shall awake within us one sole burning wish—to wrest the arms from the barbarous hands, to deprive Germany forever of that brutal power upon whose achievement she has concentrated all her thoughts. Already the seed of national pride and of hatred, widely sown by her, has awakened a magnificent growth. This hatred may spread like wildfire among other nations, and then will resound the voice of those blinded by wrath, the voice of those demanding vengeance, the voice of those repudiating everything great and beautiful among the creations of the German genius to the rejoicing and for the benefit of all mankind.
But let us remember the disastrous results of such a course—for the black crimes thrust by Germany upon herself by drawing the sword, and the outrages in which she has indulged herself while drunk with victory are the inevitable fruits of the darkness which she has voluntarily entered. At present she is pursuing this course, encouraged even by her poets, scientists, and social and political leaders.
Her adversaries, carrying peace and victory to their peoples, shall indeed be inspired solely by holy motives.
K. ARSENIEV, I. BUNIN, A. VESSELOVSKI, NESTOR KOTLIAREVSKI, and D. OVSIANIKO-KULIKOVSKI, Honorary Members of the Academy.
F. KORSCH, Regular Member of the Academy.
A. GRUZINSKI, President of the Society of the Amateurs of Russian Literature.
Prof. P. SAKULIN, Vice President.
Prof. L. LOPATIN, President of the Moscow Psychological Association.
N. DAVYDOV, President of the Tolstoy League of Moscow.
Prince V. GOLYTZIN, President of the Literary, Dramatic and Musical Society of A.N. Ostrovski.
S. SHPAZINSKI, President of the League of Russian Authors and Composers.
I. KONDRATIEV, Secretary.
I. POPOV, President of the Literary-Artistic Circle.
S. IVANTZOV, Vice President.
V. FRITSCHE, President of the Council of the Newspaper Writers and Authors' Association.
V. ANZIMIROV, Chairman of the Board.
JULIUS BUNIN, President of the Literary Circle "Sreda" and the Vice President of the Moscow Society for Aid to Authors and Newspaper Writers.
N. TELESHEV, Chairman of the Moscow Board of the Mutual Aid Fund for Authors and Scientists.
A. BAKHRUSHIN, Chairman of the Board of the Literary-Theatrical Museum of the Academy of Sciences in Moscow.
JOANN BRUSSOV, Member of the Committee of the Society of Free Esthetics.
P. STRUVE, editor of the magazine, Russkaia Mysl.
N. MIKHAILOV, editor of the magazine, Vestnik Vospitania, (Educational Messenger.)
D. TIKHOMIROV, editor of the magazine, Yunaia Rossiia, (Young Russia.)
S. MAKHALOV RAZUMOVSKI, and D. GOLUBEV. TH. ARNOLD, Prof. N. BAZHENOV, Y. BALTRUSHAITIS, A. BIBIKOV, BOGDANOVITSCH, I. BELORUSSOV, Lecturer D. GENKIN, SERGIUS GLAGOL, MAXIME GORKY, V. YERMILOV, V. KALLASH, Prof. A. KIESEVETTER, E. KURTSCH-EK, V. LADYSHENSKI, A. LEDNITZKI, SERGIUS NAIDENOV, Prof. M. ROZANOV, Prof. M. ROSTOVTZEV, A. SERAFIMOVICH, SKITALETS, (S. PETROV,) I. SURGUTSCHEV, Lecturer K. USPENSKI, L. KHITROVO, A. TZATURIAN, Prof. A. TZINGER, I. TSHEKHOV, Lecturer S. SHAMBINAGO, N. SHKLIAR, and I. SHMELEV, the representatives of the Publishing House of the Authors in Moscow.
RUSSIAN PAINTERS.—A. ARKHIPOV, Member of Academy; A. ALADZHALOV, V. BKSHEIEV, V. BYTSCHKOV, A. VASNETZOV, Member of Academy; VICTOR VASNETZOV, S. VINOGRADOV, Member of Academy; S. ZHUKOVSKI, M. ZAITZEV, P. KELIN, A. KORIN, K. KOROVIN, S. KONENKOV, K. LEBEDEV, S. MALIUTIN, S. MERKULOV, sculptor; S. MILORADOVITCH, Y. MINTSCHENKO, L. PASTERNAK, V. PEREPLETTSCHIKOV, K. PERVUKHIN, A. STEPANOV, Member of Academy; A. SREDIN, E. SHANKS, and M. SHEMIAKIN.
F.O. SHEICHTEL, the President of the Association of the Moscow Architects, Member of the Academy.
REPRESENTING THE GREAT IMPERIAL THEATRE.—U. AVRANEK, Ancient Artist; K. ANTAROVA, L. BALANOVSKAIA, A. BOGDANOVICH, A. BONATCHITCH, N. BAKALEINIKOV, K. VALTZ, R. VASILEVSKI, P. VASILIEV, S. GARDENIN, A. GERASIMENKO, E. GREMINA, E. DAVYDOVA, A. DOBROVOLSKAIA, N. DOCTOR, E. KUPER, M. KUZHIAMSKI, A. LABINSKI, V. LOSSKI, E. LUTSCHEZARSKAIA, N. MAMONTOV, S. MIGDI, A. NEZHDANOVA, S. OLSHANSKI, V. OSIPOV, N. OSTROGRADSKAIA, V. OBTSCHINIKOV, F. ORESHKEVITCH, O. PABLOVA, TH. PAVLOVSKI, A. PRAVDINA, V. PETROV, G. PIROGOV, E. PODOLSKAIA, L. SAVRANSKI, M. SEMENOVA, S. SINITZYNA, LEONID SOBINOV, E. STEPANOVA, V. SUK, TOLKATCHEV, TRIANDOPHILION, P. TIKHONOV, A. USPENSKI, N. THEODOROV, P. FIGUROV, R. FIDELMAN, L. FILSHIN, TH. SHALIAPIN, V. SHKAFER, and F. ZRIST.
SMALL IMPERIAL THEATRE.—S. AIDAROV, &c., altogether the signatures of forty artists.
ARTISTIC THEATRE.—N. ALEXANDROV, &c., altogether the signatures of forty-nine artists.
THEATRE OF KORSCH.—Director, Mr. TH. KORSH; regisseur, A. LIAROV; representatives of the artists, A. TSCHARIN and G. MARTYNOVA.
THEATRE OF NEZLOBIN.—A. ALIABIEVA-NEZLOBINA; regisseur, N. ZVANTZEV; representatives of the artists, V. NERONOV, E. LILINA, and A. TRETIAKOVA.
MOSCOW DRAMATIC THEATRE.—Director, I. DUVAN; the regisseurs, A. SANIN and I. SCHMIDT; artists, B. BORISOV and M. BLUMENTHAL-TAMARINA.
THEATRE OF MR. P. STRUISKI.—Director, P. STRUISKI; regisseur, V. VISKOVSKI; M. MORAVSKAIA.
CHAMBER THEATRE.—A. KOONEN, N. ASLANOV, A. ZONOV, and A. TAIROV.
OPERA OF S.I. ZIMIN.—Director, S. ZIMIN; the regisseurs, PETER OLENIN and A. IVANOVSKI; conductor, E. PLOTNIKOV; representatives of the artists, M. BOTCHAROV, P. VOLGAR, V. DAMAIEV, S. DRUZIAKINA, M. ZAKREVSKAIA, V. PETROVA-ZVANTZEVA, V. TZIKOK, A. KHOKHLOV, N. SHEVELIEV, M. SHUVANOV, and the whole orchestra and the chorus.
M. IPPOLITOV-IVANOV, Director of the Moscow Conservatory; ancient professor, I. GRZHIMALI; professor, A. ILIINSKI.
P. KOTSCHETOV, Director of the Musical and Dramatical School of the Philharmonic Society; A. BRANDUKOV, Inspector of same school; professor, A. KORESHTSCHENKO.
Y. VASILIEVA, President of the Actors' Aid Society.
Russia in Literature
By British Men of Letters.
The following address, signed by a number of distinguished writers in Great Britain, and intended for publication in Russia, appeared in The London Times on Dec. 23, 1914.
To Our Colleagues in Russia:
At this moment, when your countrymen and ours are alike facing death for the deliverance of Europe, we Englishmen of letters take the opportunity of uttering to you feelings which have been in our hearts for many years. You yourselves perhaps hardly realize what an inspiration Englishmen of the last two generations have found in your literature.
Many a writer among us can still call back, from ten or twenty or thirty years ago, the feeling of delight and almost of bewilderment with which he read his first Russian novel. Perhaps it was "Virgin Soil" or "Fathers and Sons," perhaps "War and Peace," or "Anna Karenina"; perhaps "Crime and Punishment" or "The Idiot"; perhaps, again, it was the work of some author still living. But many of us then felt, as our poet Keats felt on first reading Homer,
"like some watcher of the skies When a new planet swims into his ken."
It was a strange world that opened before us, a world full of foreign names which we could neither pronounce nor remember, of foreign customs and articles of daily life which we could not understand. Yet beneath all the strangeness there was a deep sense of having discovered a new home, of meeting our unknown kindred, of finding expressed great burdens of thought which had lain unspoken and half-realized at the depths of our own minds. The books were very different one from another, sometimes they were mutually hostile; yet we found in all some quality which made them one, and made us at one with them. We will not attempt to analyze that quality. It was, perhaps, in part, that deep Russian tenderness, which never derides but only pities and respects the unfortunate; in part that simple Russian sincerity which never fears to see the truth and to express it; but most of all it was that ever-present sense of spiritual values, behind the material and utterly transcending the material, which enables Russian literature to move so naturally in a world of the spirit, where there are no barriers between the ages and the nations, but all mankind is one.
And they call you "barbarians"! The fact should make us ask again what we mean by the words "culture" and "civilization." Critics used once to call our Shakespeare a barbarian, and might equally well give the same name to Aeschylus or Isaiah. All poets and prophets are in this sense barbarians, that they will not measure life by the standards of external "culture." And it is at a time like this, when the material civilization of Europe seems to have betrayed us and shown the lie at its heart, that we realize that the poets and prophets are right, and that we must, like them and like your great writers, once more see life with the simplicity of the barbarian or the child, if we are to regain our peace and freedom and build up a better civilization on the ruins of this that is crumbling.
That task, we trust, will some day lie before us. When at last our victorious fleets and armies meet together, and the allied nations of East and West set themselves to restore the well-being of many millions of ruined homes, France and Great Britain will assuredly bring their large contributions of good-will and wisdom, but your country will have something to contribute which is all its own. It is not only because of your valor in war and your achievements in art, science, and letters that we rejoice to have you for allies and friends; it is for some quality in Russia herself, something both profound and humane, of which these achievements are the outcome and the expression.
You, like us, entered upon this war to defend a weak and threatened nation, which trusted you, against the lawless aggression of a strong military power; you, like us, have continued it as a war of self-defense and self-emancipation. When the end comes and we can breathe again, we will help one another to remember the spirit in which our allied nations took up arms, and thus work together in a changed Europe to protect the weak, to liberate the oppressed, and to bring eventual healing to the wounds inflicted on suffering mankind both by ourselves and our enemies.
With assurances of our friendship and gratitude, we sign ourselves,
WILLIAM ARCHER, J.W. MACKAIL, MAURICE BARING, JOHN MASEFIELD, J.M. BARRIE, A.E.W. MASON, ARNOLD BENNETT, AYLMER MAUDE, A.C. BRADLEY, ALICE MEYNELL, ROBERT BRIDGES, GILBERT MURRAY, HALL CAINE, HENRY NEWBOLT, G.K. CHESTERTON, GILBERT PARKER, ARTHUR CONAN DOYLE, ERNEST DE SELINCOURT, NEVILL FORBES, MAY SINCLAIR, JOHN GALSWORTHY, D. MACKENZIE WALLACE, CONSTANCE GARNETT, MARY A. WARD, EDWARD GARNETT, WILLIAM WATSON, A.P. GOUDY, H.G. WELLS, THOMAS HARDY, MARGARET L. WOODS, JANE HARRISON, C. HAGBERG WRIGHT. ANTHONY HOPE, HENRY JAMES,
Russia and Europe's War
By Paul Vinogradoff.
The following letter to The London Times by Paul Vinogradoff, Corpus Professor of Jurisprudence at Oxford University, appeared on Sept. 14, 1914. Prof. Vinogradoff was invited to return to Russia a few years ago to become a Minister of State, but on going there he found the Ministry not liberal enough for him, and returned to Oxford.
To the Editor of The Times:
SIR: I hope you may see your way to publish the following somewhat lengthy statement on one of the burning questions of the day.
In this time of crisis, when the clash of ideas seems as fierce as the struggle of the hosts, it is the duty of those who possess authentic information on one or the other point in dispute to speak out firmly and clearly. I should like to contribute some observations on German and Russian conceptions in matters of culture. I base my claim to be heard on the fact that I have had the privilege of being closely connected with Russian, German, and English life. As a Russian Liberal, who had to give up an honorable position at home for the sake of his opinions, I can hardly be suspected of subserviency to the Russian bureaucracy.
I am struck by the insistence with which the Germans represent their cause in this worldwide struggle as the cause of civilization as opposed to Muscovite barbarism; and I am not sure that some of my English friends do not feel reluctant to side with the subjects of the Czar against the countrymen of Harnack and Eucken. One would like to know, however, since when did the Germans take up this attitude? They were not so squeamish during the "war of emancipation," which gave birth to modern Germany. At that time the people of Eastern Prussia were anxiously waiting for the appearance of Cossacks as heralds of the Russian hosts who were to emancipate them from the yoke of Napoleon. Did the Prussians and Austrians reflect on the humiliation of an alliance with the Muscovites, and on the superiority of the code civil when the Russian Guard at Kulm stood like a rock against the desperate onslaughts of Vandamme? Perhaps by this time the inhabitants of Berlin have obliterated the bas-relief in the Alley of Victories, representing Prince William of Prussia, the future victor of Sedan, seeking safety within the square of the Kaluga regiment! Russian blood has flowed in numberless battles in the cause of the Germans and Austrians. The present Armageddon might perhaps have been avoided if Emperor Nicholas I. had left the Hapsburg monarchy to its own resources in 1849, and had not unwisely crushed the independence of Hungary. Within our memory, the benevolent neutrality of Russia guarded Germany in 1870 from an attack in the rear by its opponents of Sadowa. Are all such facts to be explained away on the ground that the despised Muscovites may be occasionally useful as "gun meat," but are guilty of sacrilege if they take up a stand against German taskmasters in "shining armor"? The older generations of Germany had not yet reached that comfortable conclusion. The last recommendation which the founder of the German Empire made on his deathbed to his grandson was to keep on good terms with that Russia which is now proclaimed to be a debased mixture of Byzantine, Tartar, and Muscovite abominations.
Fortunately, the course of history does not depend on the frantic exaggerations of partisans. The world is not a classroom in which docile nations are distributed according to the arbitrary standards of German pedagogues. Europe has admired the patriotic resistance of the Spanish, Tyrolese, and Russian peasants to the enlightened tyranny of Napoleon. There are other standards of culture besides proficiency in research and aptitude for systematic work. The massacre of Louvain, the hideous brutality of the Germans—as regards non-combatants—to mention only one or two of the appalling occurrences of these last weeks—have thrown a lurid light on the real character of twentieth-century German culture. "By their fruits ye shall know them," said our Lord, and the saying which He aimed at the Scribes and Pharisees of His time is indeed applicable to the proud votaries of German civilization today. Nobody wishes to underestimate the services rendered by the German people to the cause of European progress, but those who have known Germany during the years following on the achievements of 1870 have watched with dismay the growth of that arrogant conceit which the Greeks called ubris. The cold-blooded barbarity advocated by Bernhardi, the cynical view taken of international treaties and of the obligations of honor by the German Chancellor—these things reveal a spirit which it would be difficult indeed to describe as a sign of progress.
One of the effects of such a frame of mind is to strike the victim of it with blindness. This symptom has been manifest in the stupendous blunders of German diplomacy. The successors of Bismarck have alienated their natural allies, such as Italy and Rumania, and have driven England into this war against the evident intentions of English Radicals. But the Germans have misconceived even more important things—they set out on their adventure in the belief that England would be embarrassed by civil war and unable to take any effective part in the fray; and they had to learn something which all their writers had not taught them—that there is a nation's spirit watching over England's safety and greatness, a spirit at whose mighty call all party differences and racial strifes fade into insignificance. In the same way they had reckoned on the unpreparedness of Russia, in consequence of internal dissensions and administrative weakness, without taking heed of the love of all Russians for Russia, of their devotion to the long-suffering giant whose life is throbbing in their veins. The Germans expected to encounter raw and sluggish troops under intriguing time-servers and military Hamlets whose "native hue of resolution" had been "sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought." Instead of that they were confronted with soldiers of the same type as those whom Frederick the Great and Napoleon admired, led at last by chiefs worthy of their men. And behind these soldiers they discovered a nation. Do they realize now what a force they have awakened? Do they understand that a steadfast, indomitable resolution, despising all theatrical display, is moving Russia's hosts? Even if the Russian Generals had proved mediocre, even if many disappointing days had been in store, the nation would not belie its history. It has seen more than one conquering army go down before it—the Tartars and the Poles, the Swedes of Charles XII., the Prussians of Frederick the Great, the Grand Army of Napoleon were not less formidable than the Kaiser's army, but the task of mastering a united Russia proved too much for each one of them. The Germans counted on the fratricidal feud between Poles and Russians, on the resentment of the Jews, on the Mohammedan sympathies with Turkey, and so forth. They had to learn too late that the Jews had rallied around the country of their hearths, and that the best of them cannot believe that Russia will continue to deny them the measure of justice and humanity which the leaders of Russian thought have long acknowledged to be due to them. More important still, the Germans have read the Grand Duke's appeal to the Poles and must have heard of the manner in which it was received in Poland, of the enthusiastic support offered to the Russian cause. If nothing else came of this great historical upheaval but the reconciliation of the Russians and their noble kinsmen the Poles, the sacrifices which this crisis demands would not be too great a price to pay for the result.
But the hour of trial has revealed other things. It has appealed to the best feelings and the best elements of the Russian Nation. It has brought out in a striking manner the fundamental tendency of Russian political life and the essence of Russian culture, which so many people have been unable to perceive on account of the chaff on the surface. Russia has been going through a painful crisis. In the words of the Manifesto of Oct. 17, (30,) 1905, the outward casing of her administration had become too narrow and oppressive for the development of society with its growing needs, its altered perceptions of rights and duties, its changed relations between Government and people. The result was that deep-seated political malaise which made itself felt during the Japanese war, when society at large refused to take any interest in the fate of the army; the feverish rush for "liberties" after the defeat; the subsequent reign of reaction and repression, which has cast such a gloom over Russian life during these last years. But the effort of the national struggle had dwarfed all these misunderstandings and misfortunes as in Great Britain the call of the common fatherland has dwarfed the dispute between Unionists and Home Rulers. Russian parties have not renounced their aspirations; Russian Liberals in particular believe in self-government and the rule of law as firmly as ever. But they have realized as one man that this war is not an adventure engineered by unscrupulous ambition, but a decisive struggle for independence and existence; and they are glad to be arrayed in close ranks with their opponents from the Conservative side. A friend, a Liberal like myself, writes to me from Moscow: "It is a great, unforgettable time; we are happy to be all at one!" And from the ranks of the most unfortunate of Russia's children, from the haunts of the political exiles in Paris, comes the news that Bourtzeff, one of the most prominent among the revolutionary leaders, has addressed an appeal to his comrades urging them to stand by their country to the utmost of their power.
I may add that whatever may have been the shortcomings and the blunders of the Russian Government, it is a blessing in this decisive crisis that Russians should have a firmly knit organization and a traditional centre of authority in the power of the Czar. The present Emperor stands as the national leader, not in the histrionic attitude of a war lord but in the quiet dignity of his office. He has said and done the right thing, and his subjects will follow him to a man. We are sure he will remember in the hour of victory the unstinted devotion and sacrifices of all the nationalities and parties of his vast empire. It is our firm conviction that the sad tale of reaction and oppression is at an end in Russia, and that our country will issue from this momentous crisis with the insight and strength required for the constructive and progressive statesmanship of which it stands in need.
Apart from the details of political and social reform, is the regeneration of Russia a boon or a peril to European civilization? The declamations of the Germans have been as misleading in this respect as in all others. The masterworks of Russian literature are accessible in translation nowadays, and the cheap taunts of men like Bernhardi recoil on their own heads. A nation represented by Pushkin, Turgeneff, Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky in literature, by Kramskoy, Verestchagin, Repin, Glinka, Moussorgsky, Tchaikovsky in art, by Mendeleiff, Metchnikoff, Pavloff in science, by Kluchevsky and Solovieff in history, need not be ashamed to enter the lists in an international competition for the prizes of culture. But the German historians ought to have taught their pupils that in the world of ideas it is not such competitions that are important. A nation handicapped by its geography may have to start later in the field, and yet her performance may be relatively better than that of her more favored neighbors. It is astonishing to read German diatribes about Russian backwardness when one remembers that as recently as fifty years ago Austria and Prussia were living under a regime which can hardly be considered more enlightened than the present rule in Russia. The Italians in Lombardy and Venice have still a vivid recollection of Austrian jails; and, as for Prussian militarism, one need not go further than the exploits of the Zabern garrisons to illustrate its meaning. This being so, it is not particularly to be wondered at that the eastern neighbor of Austria and Prussia has followed to some extent on the same lines.
But the general direction of Russia's evolution is not doubtful. Western students of her history might do well, instead of sedulously collecting damaging evidence, to pay some attention to the building up of Russia's universities, the persistent efforts of the Zemstvos, the independence and the zeal of the press. German scholars should read Hertzen's vivid description of the "idealists of the forties." And what about the history of the emancipation of the serfs, or of the regeneration of the judicature? The "reforms of the sixties" are a household word in Russia, and surely they are one of the noblest efforts ever made by a nation in the direction of moral improvement.
Looking somewhat deeper, what right have the Germans to speak of their cultural ideals as superior to those of the Russian people? They deride the superstitions of the mujikh as if tapers and genuflexions were the principal matters of popular religion. Those who have studied the Russian people without prejudice know better than that. Read Selma Lagerloef's touching description of Russian pilgrims in Palestine. She, the Protestant, has understood the true significance of the religious impulse which leads these poor men to the Holy Land, and which draws them to the numberless churches of the vast country. These simple people cling to the belief that there is something else in God's world besides toil and greed; they flock toward the light, and find in it the justification of their human craving for peace and mercy. For the Russian people have the Christian virtues of patience in suffering; their pity for the poor and oppressed are more than occasional manifestations of individual feeling—they are deeply rooted in national psychology. This frame of mind has been scorned as fit for slaves! It is indeed a case where the learning of philosophers is put to shame by the insight of the simple-minded. Conquerors should remember that the greatest victories in history have been won by the unarmed—by the Christian confessors whom the Emperors sent to the lions, by the "old believers" of Russia who went to Siberia and to the flames for their unyielding faith, by the Russian serfs who preserved their human dignity and social cohesion in spite of the exactions of their masters, by the Italians, Poles, and Jews, when they were trampled under foot by their rulers. It is such a victory of the spirit that Tolstoy had in mind when he preached his gospel of non-resistance, and I do not think even a German on the war path would be blind enough to suppose that Tolstoy's message came from a craven soul. The orientation of the so-called "intelligent" class in Russia—that is, the educated middle class, which is much more numerous and influential than people suppose—is somewhat different, of course. It is "Western" in this sense, that it is imbued with current European ideas as to politics, economics, and law.
It has to a certain extent lost the simple faith and religious fervor of the peasants, but the keynote of popular ideals has been faithfully preserved by this class. It is still characteristically humanitarian in its view of the world and in its aims. A book like that of Gen. von Bernhardi would be impossible in Russia. If anybody were to publish it it would not only fall flat, but earn for its author the reputation of a bloodhound. Many deeds of cruelty and brutality happen, of course, in Russia, but no writer of any standing would dream of building up a theory of violence in vindication of a claim to culture. It may be said, in fact, that the leaders of Russian public opinion are pacific, cosmopolitan, and humanitarian to a fault. The mystic philosopher Vladimir Solovieff used to dream of the union of the churches with the Pope as the spiritual head, and democracy in the Russian sense as the broad basis of the rejuvenated Christendom. Dostoyevsky, a writer most sensitive to the claims of nationality in Russia, defined the ideal of the Russians in a celebrated speech as the embodiment of a universally humanitarian type. These are extremes, but characteristic extremes pointing to the trend of national thought. Russia is so huge and so strong that material power has ceased to be attractive to her thinkers. But we need not yet retire into the desert and deliver ourselves to be bound hand and foot by civilized Germans. Russia also wields a sword—a charmed sword, blunt in an unrighteous cause, but sharp enough in the defense of right and freedom. And this war is indeed our "Befreiungskrieg." The Slavs must have their chance in the history of the world, and the date of their coming of age will mark a new departure in the growth of civilization.
Court Place, Iffley, Oxford.
Russian Appeal for the Poles
By A. Konovalov of the Russian Duma.
[A Letter to the Russkia Vedomosti, No. 231, P. 2, Oct. 8, 1914.]
The population of Poland has been forced to experience the first horrible onslaught of the wrathful enemy. All points within the sphere of the German offensive offer a picture of utter desolation. The people are fleeing in horror before the advancing enemy, leaving their homes and their property to sure destruction. An uninterrupted line of arson fire shines on the sorrowful path of the exiles. Their fields have been devastated and furrowed by the trenches, their animals have been taken away, their savings have been wasted, and all their chattels destroyed. The prosperity of millions has been destroyed and men have been turned into homeless beggars without a morsel of bread.
The flight of these people is beyond description. One cannot fail to realize the stupefying horrors of such a deep and overwhelming national calamity. The strokes of fate have come down upon the people of Poland with a most merciless cruelty. Shall we gaze upon these horrors with indifference? Can the Russian people remain neutral witnesses of the sufferings and privations thrust upon the population of the devastated country?
The Russians are making heavy sacrifices for the war, but in these historic days we must speed up our energies still more, we must double and treble our sacrifices. Let us not forget that despite all our sacrifices, despite all our sorrow and alarm we are not deprived of peaceful work, we have not been drawn into destruction as the people of Poland have been. Without further delay we have to hasten to their aid.
A widely organized social aid must be brought to the fleeing people. We must provide them with shelter and food. These victims are flocking to the central provinces of Russia, to Moscow, and they must be assisted up to the time when they shall be able to return to their country. It is necessary to ascertain the degree of their distress and to help to provide them with the necessities of life in places already cleared from the enemy by the aggressiveness of the Russian Army.
Of course, the main duty in the regaining of the prosperity of Poland lies with the Government. Only the Government is able to stand the expense of millions required for this task, only the State through its legislative organs is capable of creating the social, economic, and political conditions making possible the reconstruction of the civilization of Poland. But we also owe a duty of help, a sacred duty of immediate sympathy to those stricken with disaster.
To carry out our task we need funds. In submitting this problem to the Russian people, in calling upon it for the solution of this tremendous and pressing issue, as far as possible, I herewith forward my little contribution of 10,000 rubles for aid to the people of Poland suffering from war.
Member of the Duma.
Moscow, Oct. 7, (20,) 1914.
Note.—Konovalov's appeal met with a most generous response. Not only individuals and charitable associations came forward with funds and food, but a large number of Russian cities organized permanent aid committees for the benefit of the war victims in Poland. Street and house-to-house collections were organized, and considerable funds have already been collected. Not only Russians, but also the Armenians, the Jews, and other nationalities of Russia have shown a deep and substantial sympathy for the Poles.
Prince Trubetskoi's appeal emphasized the political side of this campaign of succor, while Mr. Konovalov has given prominence to the human side of it. Prince Trubetskoi's appeal follows.
I AM FOR PEACE!
By LURANA SHELDON.
I am of New England! A daughter of mountains, Wide-stretching fields, broad rivers that smile With the sun on their breasts. I am of the hills— The great, bald hills where the cattle roam. The peace of the valleys still clings and thrills, And the joy of the tinkling fountains, Where the deep-creviced boulders pile. I am of it, New England, my home!
The tenure of conflicts, the feeble thriving, Are lore of the past. Now the giant peaks May sleep and sleep. Their watch is ended. The beacon towers may crumble and fall. So well have my people defended— So well have they prospered through striving— Today her triumph New England speaks In the mantling calm that envelops all.
They have come to New England, the woeful invaders. The hills attracted, the valleys lured; They have sowed their seeds of disturbance and fear. They wrought for destruction, but all in vain. They were told that order was master here. The hills turned censors, the streams, upbraiders. No war of men should be fought, endured! They need wage no battle for peace again!
Like my native hills, my strife is ended; Like my sleeping hills, I have earned life's calm. The sun that smiles on New England's streams Bids human conflicts forever cease. Let those who must, writhe in their dreams At thought of days with horror blended. For me, the meadow's gentle balm— I am of New England—where all is peace!
By Peter Struve.
[From The London Times.]
Prof. Peter Struve, editor of the monthly, Russian Thought, is recognized as one of the most acute political thinkers in Europe. He was one of the chief founders of the Constitutional Democratic Party (the Cadets) and was member for St. Petersburg in the Second Duma. He is also known as an economist of great erudition.
PETROGRAD, Sept. 16.
The future historian will note with astonishment that official Germany, when she declared war on Russia, was in no way informed of the state of public opinion in our country.
This is all the more astonishing because not a single country to the west of Russia maintains so close a communication with Russia as Germany. The Germans, better than other peoples, could and should have known Russia and her material resources, her internal state, and her moral condition. When she declared war on Russia, Germany evidently counted, above all, on the weakness of the Russian Army. There was nothing, however, to justify such an estimate of the armed forces of Russia. Certainly Russia had been beaten in the Japanese war, but in that war the decision was reached on the sea, and after the fall of Port Arthur the land war had no object. The Germans have probably convinced themselves already how superficial was such an estimate of the forces of Russia, but in reality their mistake was due to an entirely superficial view of the national culture of Russia and an extremely elementary idea of our internal development. The Germans did not believe that there is in Russia a genuine and growing national civilization, and did not understand that the liberation movement in Russia had not only not shaken the power of the Russian State, but had, on the contrary, increased it.
Not understanding this, they thought that any blow from outside would tumble over the Russian State like a rotten tree. German aggression, on the contrary, united the whole population of Russia, and by this alone strengthened a hundredfold her external power. This, of course, would have been the natural effect of any attack from without upon any sound people or any State that was not in decomposition. But in this case there was something else. Such a war as this could not fail to take on at once the character both of a world war and of a national war. That is why in this struggle with Germany and Austria-Hungary, elemental forces united in one impulse and spirit both the Russian Radicals, with their tendency to cosmopolitanism, and the extreme Nationalist Conservatives. Nay, more than that, all the races of Russia understood that a challenge had been thrown out to Russia by Germany that morally compelled her, in the interests of the whole and of the various parts, to forget for the time all quarrels and grievances.
This showed itself in the most natural and inevitable way with the Poles, of whose national culture Germanism is the sworn foe. The well-known manifesto of the Commander in Chief did not awake this feeling among the Poles of Russia, but simply met it and gave it support. Equally natural and elemental was the patriotic outburst that spread among the Jews of Russia. In their case the political and social Radicalism which we always find in the Jews turned by some sound instinct against German militarism, which had shown itself the chief cause and occasion of a world catastrophe.
The German declaration of war on Russia at once dispersed all doubts and hesitations in the many millions of the population of the Russian Empire. Some may put in the forefront of this war the struggle with the uncivilizing militarism of Prussia. Others may see in it, above all things, a struggle for the national principle and for the inured rights of nationalities—Serbians, Poles, and Belgians. Others, again, see in the war the only means of securing the peaceful future of Russia and her allies from the extravagant pretensions of Germany. But all alike feel that this war is a great, popular, liberating work, which starts a new epoch in the history of the world. Thus the war against united Germany and Austria-Hungary has become in Russia a truly national war. That is the enormous difference between it and the war with Japan, whose political grounds and objects, apart from self-defense against a hostile attack, were alien to the public conscience.
There is one other consideration which cannot be passed over in silence. In Russia many are convinced, and others instinctively feel, that a victorious war will contribute to the internal recovery and regeneration of the State. Many barriers have already fallen, national and political feuds have been softened, new conditions are being created for the mutual relations of the people and the Government. There is every reason to think that some members of the Government—unfortunately, it is true, not all—have understood that at the present time of complete national union many of the old methods of administration and all the old Government psychology are not only out of place, but simply impossible. In one question, the Polish, this conviction has received the supreme sanction of the sovereign and of the Commander in Chief, and a striking expression in the latter's manifesto to the Poles. Further than this, the actual attitude of Russian Liberals and Radicals toward a whole series of problems and relations cannot fail to be changed. Thus the war will help to reconcile and soften many internal contradictions in Russia.
How far we are, with this state of public opinion and these perspectives of the internal development of Russia, from those fantastic pictures of civil disunion and revolutionary conflagration which were anticipated before the war and have sometimes been, even since the war, portrayed in the German and Austro-Hungarian press! Our enemies counted on these domestic divisions, and they have made a bitter mistake. Constitutional Russia, precisely because of the radical internal transformation which it has experienced in the period that began with the Japanese war, has proved to be fully equal to the immense universal and national task that has devolved upon it. The national and political consciousness of Russia not only has not weakened, but has wonderfully strengthened and taken shape. As one who has had a close and constant share in the struggle for the Russian Constitution, I can only note with the greatest satisfaction the striking result of Russia's entry into the number of constitutional States, a result which has so plainly showed itself in the tremendous part that Russia is playing in the great world-crisis of 1914.
Prince Trubetskoi's Appeal to Russians to Help the Polish Victims of War
[Russkia Vedomosti, No. 231, Oct. 8, (21,) 1914, P. 2.]
A new era of Russian-Polish relations has begun, and the noble initiative of A.J. Konovalov, who has donated 10,000 rubles for the needs of the war victims of Poland, offers a shining testimony.
Up to the present the Polish people have had relations with official Russia only. The war has brought them for the first time into immediate touch with the Russian people. Thousands of Polish exiles have gone forth to our central provinces. In Moscow alone there are not less than 1,000 former inhabitants of Kalisz, to say nothing of fleeing people from other provinces. Moscow, of course, attracts the largest number of these unfortunates. Some particular instinctive faith draws the Poles to Moscow, to the centre of popular Russia. To my query why she had chosen Moscow among all Russian cities, a poor Polish woman, the wife of a reservist, said:
"I was sent here by the military chief. 'Go to Moscow,' said he. 'You won't perish there.'"
And indeed in Moscow the Polish exiles have not perished. They have found here brotherly love, shelter, and food. The municipality of Moscow, numerous philanthropists, both Polish and Russian, are rendering them assistance.
It is needless to describe the impression made upon the Poles by this attitude of the people of Russia. A prominent municipal worker of the City of Kalisz, with tears in his eyes, told me: "Up to the present moment Poland has been segregated from Russia by a wall of officialdom erected by the Germans; now for the first time this wall has been broken down, two peoples are seeing each other and feeling each other."
A tremendous process of mutual understanding has begun before our eyes! It has barely begun as yet; for what has been accomplished by Russia for Poland is but a drop as compared with what still remains to be done. It is not enough to help the Polish immigrants in our central provinces. Our help must be carried to the provinces devastated by the German and Austrian hordes. Right there the scenes of misery make the hair stand upon our heads.
Let us realize that the City of Kalisz alone has suffered not less than 40,000,000 rubles in loss of property. Representatives of Polish municipalities with whom I had opportunity to discuss the situation told me that in the City of Kalisz there is no longer a single drug store, nor a grocery store, and there were about three thousand of them before.
There are numerous cities and villages where everything has been pillaged by the German requisitions. Horses, cows, food, even mattresses, have been taken away, and for all these ironical receipts have been tendered: "So much worth of goods have been taken; the payment for same will be made by the Russian Government."
Owing to the destruction of the inventory and the stock in the villages, there is nothing to till the soil with, and the fields have to remain unseeded.
Poland is indeed the Belgium of Russia. Belgium is aided by England and France, but there is nobody to help Poland except us. The appeal of the Commander in Chief has promised, in case of Russian victory, the political regeneration of Poland, with her own religion, with her own language, and with her own self-government. But before the political regeneration we have to think of the saving of the unfortunate country from starvation.
This must be above all our national, Russian affair. Let the exhausted, suffering people of Poland feel that the people of Russia are their real brothers; let them see that our words are backed up by deeds. Perhaps in this way we shall forever clear away their ancient distrust toward us, a distrust which unfortunately had ground in the past relations between Russia and Poland.
We are not speaking of a commonplace charity at the present moment. There is need for a help which should mark the beginning of a historical change in the lives of both peoples. Both peoples should not only silence their material sufferings, but they should draw a spiritual comfort from this great historical trial and make it a source of their moral vigor.
They should feel that their sufferings and their sacrifices have not been in vain, that no matter what their further resolutions might be the popular affair should by all means be carried on right now, and that irrespective of the outcome of the present war one tremendous result has already been accomplished. The Polish affair has already become a Russian national affair. And this means that henceforth there shall be no discrepancy between words and deeds in the relations of both peoples.
The whole might of the people of Russia and their ideals, expressed by the Supreme Commander in Chief, shall be the bond for the Poles, guaranteeing them the realization of the dreams of their forefathers for the resurrection of Poland.
Let us Russians prepare this resurrection and help it by all means within our power. Now or never the aid to the suffering people of Poland shall grow into a national Russian demonstration. Let all Russian papers throw open their columns for subscriptions for aid to the people of Poland suffering from war, without prejudice to their religion and race. As the funds will be forthcoming, a national Russian committee shall be organized to take charge of their distribution.
Let us not fear for the modest beginnings. The tremendous wave of sympathy and love which has now swept over the Russian people can create wonders, if need be, for the success of the Russian national issue.
Let us hope that wonders will happen even now. I myself witnessed in our neighborhood the following dramatic scene: The small provincial City of Kaluga was getting ready in August to receive the wounded. Unexpectedly it got many times more than at first had been contemplated. The wounded had to be placed on the floor, without straw, without linen, without food. But within two days all were comfortably placed, fed, and clothed. Unknown persons secured straw, other unknown persons sent mattresses, linens, and pillows, unknown peasants brought food from their villages.
All this was done as a matter of course, without a previous concert, without any organization, through an elementary popular movement.
This elementary movement which can heal the wounds is needed at this moment in most tremendous proportions. It is not a question of a few wounded individuals, not even a question of thousands of wounded, but the problem of a whole wounded Polish nation.
Let the great Russian tide of sympathy rise to its aid, without a previous agreement, without a previous organization. Let this impulse show Poland her protector—Russia, the liberator of nations.
This movement of sympathy for a brotherly people shall be our guarantee that our coming victory over Germany will call forth the triumph of light in Russian herself.
Prince EUGENE TRUBETSKOI.
Moscow, October 7, (20,) 1914.
How Prohibition Came to Russia
Interview with the Peasant-Born Millionaire Reformer, Tchelisheff.
[By the Associated Press.]
PETROGRAD, Nov. 18.—There is prohibition in Russia today, prohibition which means that not a drop of vodka, whisky, brandy, gin, or any other strong liquor is obtainable from one end to the other of a territory populated by 130,000,000 people and covering one-sixth of the habitable globe.
The story of how strong drink has been utterly banished from the Russian Empire was related by Michael Demitrovitch Tchelisheff, the man directly responsible for putting an end to Russia's great vice, the vodka habit.
It should be said in the beginning that the word prohibition in Russia must be taken literally. Its use does not imply a partially successful attempt to curtail the consumption of liquor resulting in drinking in secret places, the abuse of medical licenses and general evasion and subterfuge. It does mean that a vast population who consumed $1,000,000,000 worth of vodka a year; whose ordinary condition has been described by Russians themselves as ranging from a slight degree of stimulation upward, has been lifted almost in one day from a drunken inertia to sobriety.
On that day when the mobilization of the Russian Army began, special policemen visited every public place where vodka is sold, locked up the supply of the liquor, and placed on the shop the imperial seal. Since the manufacture and sale of vodka is a Government monopoly in Russia, it is not a difficult thing to enforce prohibition.
From the day this step was taken drunkenness vanished in Russia. The results are seen at once in the peasantry; already they are beginning to look like a different race. The marks of suffering, the pinched looks of illness and improper nourishment have gone from their faces. There has been also a remarkable change in the appearance of their clothes. Their clothes are cleaner, and both the men and women appear more neatly and better dressed. The destitute character of the homes of the poor has been replaced with something like order and thrift.
In Petrograd and Moscow the effect of these improved conditions is fairly startling. On holidays in these two cities inebriates always filled the police stations and often lay about on the sidewalks and even in the streets. Things are so different today that unattended women may now pass at night through portions of these cities where it was formerly dangerous even for men. Minor crimes and misdemeanors have almost vanished.
Tchelisheff, the man who virtually accomplished this miracle, was a peasant by birth, originally a house painter by profession, then Mayor of the city of Samara, and now a millionaire. Physically he is a giant, standing over 6 feet 4 inches in his stocking feet, and of powerful build. Although he is 55 years old, he looks much younger. His movements display the energy of youth, his eyes are animated, and his black hair is not tinged by gray.
In Petrograd Mr. Tchelisheff is generally found in a luxurious suite of rooms in one of the best hotels. He goes about clad in a blue blouse with a tasseled girdle, and baggy black breeches tucked into heavy boots. He offers his visitors tea from a samovar and fruit from the Crimea. Speaking of what he had accomplished for the cause of sobriety in Russia, Mr. Tchelisheff said:
"I was reared in a small Russian village. There were no schools or hospitals, or any of the improvements we are accustomed to in civilized communities. I picked up an education from old newspapers and stray books. One day I chanced upon a book in the hands of a moujik, which treated of the harmfulness of alcohol. It stated among other things that vodka was a poison.
"I was so impressed with this, knowing that everybody drank vodka, that I asked the first physician I met if the statement were true. He said yes. Men drank it, he explained, because momentarily it gave them a sensation of pleasant dizziness. From that time I decided to take every opportunity to discover more about the use of vodka.
"At the end of the eighties there came famine in Russia, followed by agrarian troubles. I saw a crowd of peasants demand from a local landlord all the grain and foodstuffs in his granary. This puzzled me; I could not understand how honest men were indulging in what seemed to be highway robbery. But I noted at the time that every man who was taking part in this incident was a drinking man, while their fellow villagers, who were abstemious, had sufficient provisions in their own homes. Thus it was that I observed the industrial effects of vodka drinking.
"At Samara I decided to do more than passively disapprove of vodka. At this time I was an Alderman, and many of the tenants living in my houses were workingmen. One night a drunken father in one of my houses killed his wife. This incident made such a terrible impression on me that I decided to fight vodka with all my strength.
"On the supposition that the Government was selling vodka for the revenue, I calculated the revenue received from its consumption in Samara. I then introduced a bill in the City Council providing that the city give this sum of money to the imperial treasury, requesting at the same time that the sale of vodka be prohibited. This bill passed, and the money was appropriated. It was offered to the Government, but the Government promptly refused it.
"It then dawned upon me that Russian bureaucracy did not want the people to become sober, for the reason that it was easier to rule autocratically a drunken mob than a sober people.
"This was seven years ago. Later I was elected Mayor of Samara, capital of the Volga district, a district with over a quarter of a million inhabitants. Subsequently I was elected to the Duma on an anti-vodka platform. In the Duma I proposed a bill permitting the inhabitants of any town to close the local vodka shops, and providing also that every bottle of vodka should bear a label with the word poison. At my request the wording of this label, in which the evils of vodka were set forth, was done by the late Count Leo Tolstoy. This bill passed the Duma and went to the Imperial Council, where it was amended and finally tabled.
"I then begged an audience of Emperor Nicholas. He received me with great kindness in his castle in the Crimea, not far from the scene of the recent Turkish bombardment. He listened to me patiently. He was impressed with my recital that most of the revolutionary and Socialist excesses were committed by drunkards, and that the Svesborg, Kronstadt, and Sebastopol navy revolts and the Petrograd and other mutinous military movements were all caused by inebriates. Having heard me out his Majesty promised at once to speak to his Minister of Finance concerning the prohibition of vodka.
"Disappointed at not having been able to get through a Government bill regulating this evil, I had abandoned my seat in the Duma. It was evident that the bureaucracy had been able to obstruct the measure. Minister of Finance Kokovsoff regarded it as a dangerous innovation, depriving the Government of 1,000,000,000 rubles ($500,000,000) yearly, without any method of replacing this revenue.
"While I lobbied in Petrograd the Emperor visited the country around Moscow and saw the havoc of vodka. He then dismissed Kokovsoff, and appointed the present Minister of Finance, M. Bark.
"Mobilization precipitated the anti-vodka measure. The Grand Duke, remembering the disorganization due to drunkenness during the mobilization of 1904, ordered the prohibition of all alcoholic drinks except in clubs and first-class restaurants. This order, enforced for one month, showed the Russian authorities the value of abstinence.
"In spite of the general depression caused by the war, the paralysis of business, the closing of factories, and the interruption of railroad traffic, the people felt no depression. Savings banks showed an increase in deposits over the preceding month, and over the corresponding month of the preceding year. At the same there was a boom in the sale of meats, groceries, clothing, dry goods, and housefurnishings. The 30,000,000 rubles a day that had been paid for vodka were now being spent for the necessities of life.
"The average working week increased from three and four days to six, the numerous holiday [Transcriber's Note: so in original] of the drinker having been eliminated. The working day also became longer, and the efficiency of the worker was perhaps doubled. Women and children, who seldom were without marks showing the physical violence of the husband and father, suddenly found themselves in an undreamed-of paradise. There were no blows, no insults, and no rough treatment. There was bread on the table, milk for the babies, and a fire in the kitchen.
"I decided to seize this occasion for a press campaign, so far as this is a possible thing in Russia. I organized delegations to present petitions to the proper authorities for the prolonging of this new sobriety for the duration of the war. This step found favor with his Imperial Majesty, and an order was issued to that effect. Another similar campaign to remove the licenses from privileged restaurants and clubs was successful, and strong liquor is no longer available anywhere in Russia.
"The second month of abstinence made the manifold advantages so clear to everybody that when we called upon his Majesty to thank him for his orders, he promised that the vodka business of the Government would be given up forever. This promise was promulgated in a telegram to the Grand Duke Constantine.
"There remains only now to find elsewhere the revenue which up to the present time has been contributed by vodka. There has been introduced in the Duma a bill offering a solution of this question. The aim of this bill is not the creation of new taxes or an increase in the present taxes, but an effort to render the Government domains and possessions more productive."
Influence of the War Upon Russian Industry
[From Russkia Vedomosti, No. 260, Nov. 11, (Nov. 24,) 1914, P. 3.]
The Russian Ministry of Commerce and Industry has lately published the preliminary results of an inquiry into the changes in industry which have occurred during the first two and one-half months of the war, Aug. 1 to Oct. 14, 1914.
Altogether 8,550 of the largest industrial establishments, excepting those of Poland, have been investigated. These employ 1,602,000 workers. Of those investigated 502 factories employing 46,586 employes had to be closed down entirely, while 1,034 establishments with 435,000 wage-earners have cut down their working force to 319,000. Thus about one-third of the total industrial wage-earning force has felt the effects of the war either through total discharge or through diminished output.
The lack of trained labor power and the failure to obtain funds have affected 222 establishments with 58,000 workers. Lack of funds has been very severely felt in the Baltic provinces, (there, especially, in the chemical industry,) affecting fourteen establishments with 15,701 workers. Altogether 132 establishments with 50,000 employes have cut down their operations, and of these 30 per cent. employing 15,000 workers belonged to the chemical industry. Also twenty establishments of the metal working (fine machinery) industry with 11,000 employes had to curtail their volume of business. In other industries the lack of labor supply has not been felt. Evidently only the industries requiring highly qualified labor have suffered from this cause. The shortage of fuel forced 108 establishments with 49,000 workers to diminish their output, and eleven establishments with 3,000 workers had to close down altogether.
The lack of fuel was very severely felt in the provinces of Petrograd and in the Baltic, owing to the stoppage of the importation of British coal. Of all establishments closed down for this reason, about 60 per cent. belong to the provinces of Petrograd, Livland, and Estland.
In other regions this want was felt less severely. The output of coal in the Donetz basin and of naphtha in the Baku region has increased, and the decreased demand for fuel owing to the diminished production has somewhat lowered the prices of naphtha. Thus in 1913 the average monthly price of light naphtha in Balakhany was 42 copecks per pood, (two-thirds of a cent per pound,) but in September, 1914, it was 36, and on Nov. 5 it fell to 25-26 copecks per pood, (13 cents per thirty-six pounds—a little over 1-3 cent per pound.)
The main difficulty in the fuel supply lies, however, in the inadequate transportation facilities.
The next obstacle in the way of normal development of industry is the lack of transportation facilities. This cause alone forced 223 factories with 128,000 workers to curtail their output, and fifty-six factories with 5,300 workers stopped production.
But the most disastrous effect upon the Russian industry has been produced by the diminished demand and by the lack of raw materials. For lack of market, 671 establishments with 219,000 workers reduced their output. The greatest sufferers have been the building trades and the industries connected therewith—structural iron, cement, (concrete,) brickmaking, &c.
The railroads have suffered greatly through the cancellation of registered orders and by the stoppage of further orders from Poland, also by the military mobilization.
During the month of August, 1914, the gross earnings of the Russian railroads, both State and private, were only half of their gross earnings for August the year before.
The unexpected prohibition of alcoholic beverages has almost ruined the liquor industry.
For lack of demand 83 textile factories with 95,000 employes have reduced their output. The lack of raw material forced 103 cotton mills with 188,000 weavers to cut down their output. This makes 40 per cent. of the total cotton mills of Russia. Similar reductions have occurred in the silk, woolen, linen, and hemp industries.
The Ministry has withheld the data as to the exact nature of the raw materials wanting, but it may be surmised that raw cotton and dyestuffs are among the chief items.
Among the remedies suggested are better credit facilities and the resumption of interrupted intercourse with friendly and neutral powers for the securing of raw material.
Declaration of the Russian Industrial Interests
[Russkia Vedomosti, No. 217, Sept. 21, (Oct. 4,) 1914, P. 5.]
Referring to the abundance of donations forthcoming from the industrial interests for the victims of war, the Council of the Conventions of the industrial interests declares its confidence in the ability of Russian industry to bear the burden of war cheerfully and whole-heartedly.
The Council finds the proposed measures of the Government for its financing of the campaign insufficient, and promises to come forward with its own project of a special single property and personal war tax.
Then the causes of the war are summed up and the importance of the war for the industrial interests is outlined. The chief cause of the war is assigned to the irreconcilable economic conflict between the German and Russian interests created by commercial treaties favorable to Germany.
Victorious Russia should dictate her own economic programme to the defeated enemy. Without such a result all sacrifices made will be in vain, and will fall as a heavy and unbearable burden upon the shattered economic organization of the country.
The industrial interests desire a war to the finish, and they say:
"Let the Government know how to cultivate in the future among the people the conviction that the war will be brought to an end, then the task of finding the means for carrying on the campaign will be greatly facilitated; for no sacrifice is too great for us for the overthrow of the economic yoke of Germany and for the conquest of economic independence. Nothing but strong will and determination are needed."
The Council of Industrial Conventions is a permanent organization corresponding roughly to the executive board of the National Manufacturers' Association of the United States. All big industrial interests, like the mining companies, the textile manufacturers, iron manufacturers, are represented in the council.—Translator.
A Russian Financial Authority on the War
[Russkia Vedomosti, No. 167, July 22, (Aug. 4,) 1914, P. 4.]
Prof. Migoulin, member of the Council of the Russian Ministry of Finance and the author of several works on Russian indebtedness, in his article, published immediately after the beginning of the war and evidently written before the position of Italy had become known, thus sums up the war situation:
The moment for the declaration of war has been well chosen and carefully planned by Germany and Austria. Russia had her hands full with the numerous labor strikes and poor crops in certain parts of the country.
England had her troubles with the Ulsterites, and the President of France was absent from his country when the Austrian ultimatum was handed to Servia.
Austria had already mobilized large numbers of her troops in Bosnia under the pretext of manoeuvres, Italy had a partial mobilization, and Germany was preparing herself for a grand army show.
The German strategists are looking for a brief campaign. But they are mistaken. Even with the capture of Petrograd the war will have barely begun, for Petrograd is only the frontier of Russia.
Our troops are numerous and well equipped. The vastness of our country, her poor roads, and her severe climate are her defenses. The French frontier is strongly fortified. A quick surrender is unthinkable, and there is no reason for surrender, for the war will continue to the bitter end.
But a long campaign threatens Germany. She is a country with highly developed industry and with a tremendous foreign commerce, the breakdown of which cannot be compensated by any territorial conquest. A war of Germany against England, France, and Russia will stop her commerce entirely. It will be impossible for her to export her goods and to import foodstuffs. Her manufactures and her commerce will come to a deadlock, and unemployment will threaten her cities. All the victories of her army will be of no avail. If her enemies draw out the war for a year or two Germany will be exhausted. We are not talking of the possibility of a German defeat, although Germany is not invincible.
The gold reserve of Russia, France, and England amount to about 350,000,000 rubles, ($155,000,000,) while the gold reserve of Germany, Austria, and Italy is only about 160,000,000 rubles.
The gold currency of the first three countries amounts to about 7,000,000,000 rubles, ($3,500,000,000,) while the gold currency of the other three is only $1,500,000,000.
The food supply of Russia is inexhaustible. Her industries are working chiefly for the home market. They can only win by the campaign. The curtailing of food and raw material exports may benefit her home industries by cheapening production.
In case of a shortage of war supplies Russia will be able to get them from neutral countries—for example, from the United States. But where will Germany get them? What shall she do when her stock of saltpetre runs out? For the time being saltpetre is obtained by all countries from Chile only.
France is an agricultural country which has large supplies of food. Her manufactures are poorly developed, and they are working for a foreign market which will not be closed. Her resources are so large that she will be able to stand the campaign with comparative ease.
Owing to her insular position, England will lose but very little through this war, provided she is able to maintain the supremacy of her navy over the German fleet. The British merchant marine and her manufactures will gain quite considerably.
The public credit of France and Great Britain is inexhaustible, and it will not be restricted to Russia, while she is an ally of these countries.
Proposed Internal Loans of Russia
[Russkia Vedomosti, No. 222, Sept. 27, (Oct. 3,) 1914, P. 3.]
Prof. Migoulin has submitted to the Russian Minister of Finance a scheme for new internal loans to meet the extraordinary expenditures caused by the present war.
It is proposed to enlist the support of various groups of capitalists and of small property holders and to obtain from them about 2,500,000,000 rubles, ($1,500,000,000.)
Four different loans are contemplated. Persons desiring to invest their savings at a small but sure interest rate will be able to buy the certificates at a 5 per cent. loan. These certificates will have a face value of 100 rubles, and they will sell at $90. The interest rate will not be changed within the next fifteen or twenty years. Therefore, the actual interest rate will be 5.56 per cent. on the original investment.
A 6 per cent. loan will cater to those investors who like to place their loans at shorter terms. The certificates of this loan will be sold at premiums. Five-year certificates will be sold at ninety-six for a hundred rubles face value, four-year certificates at ninety-seven, three-year certificates at ninety-eight, two-year certificates at ninety-nine, and one-year certificates at par. This loan will be free from the interest (coupon) tax, but not from the income and inheritance taxes. In case of success one billion worth of these certificates will be issued.
For persons interested in the changes of values upon Stock Exchange different loans will be issued. In the first place, no interest-bearing ten-ruble certificates with a large number of winners will be issued. A considerable number of these certificates will be redeemed each year. It is proposed to have one winner of 200,000 rubles, one of 100,000, two of 50,000, one of 25,000, about fifty of 10,000 rubles each, some 3,950 "chances" of from 100 to 500 rubles each. The whole loan may amount to 100,000,000 rubles. It is to be redeemed within fifty years.
Should this loan prove a success it will be followed by another of equal amount.
Finally, Prof. Migoulin proposes to obtain about 200,000,000 rubles by selling 4 per cent. Government bonds in fifty-ruble denominations. This loan, too, will be equipped with the winners at the annual draw for the redemption.
The first of the proposed loans will be realized soon. The Government has decided to obtain 500,000,000 rubles at 5 per cent. This new loan will increase the present debt of the Russian Government of 8,838,000,000 rubles ($4,500,000,000) to 9,338,000,000 rubles. Russia has to pay 370,000,000 rubles annually for the interest on her debts. About one-half of her indebtedness is due to railroad building and to other more or less productive expenditures. But the other half of her indebtedness has been spent on armaments, wars, and other unproductive items.
Russia's new budget is about 3,500,000,000 rubles ($1,800,000,000.) The interest on the new loan will increase this budget only 6 per cent. But this new loan increases again her unproductive debt and places a heavy burden upon the taxpayer for whom the Government has prepared many "surprises" this year.
The possibilities of internal loans are not very great. During the first month of the war about 380,000,000 rubles of savings were withdrawn from the banks. Of this sum only 76,000,000 were redeposited later when the first excitement had passed. The rest of the money evidently was either used up for production, for consumption, or for private storing of ready cash. How much of this money will come forth to buy the various short-time loans no one is able to tell beforehand. But the big manufacturing interests are craving for foreign gold loans, not for internal paper money loans.
How Russian Manufacturers Feel
[Digested from Russkia Vedomosti, No. 266, Nov. 18, (Dec. 1,) 1914, P. 6.]
The manufacturers of war supplies are making large profits through the war. All they need is Government advances to buy their raw material. The Government permits them to borrow from the State bank upon Government orders for war supplies. The only difficulty lies in the extent of the credit. The Government would not permit borrowing more than one-third of the amount of its orders, while the manufacturers are asking for two-fifths.
The manufacturers who are using imported raw material and are working for the private consumer are suffering heavily from the war. The lack of coal, of hides, of wool and of cotton is threatening Russian industry with a crisis. There is a great want of hydroscopic (absorbent) cotton, since the only factory for this product was in Poland (City of Zgerzc) and has been destroyed. Lack of dyestuffs and other chemicals is hampering many other industries. The importation of tea and coffee has been curtailed considerably.
Russian cotton mills used to get 45 per cent. of their raw material from the United States, since only 55 per cent. of their demand can be supplied by Central Asia.
Furthermore, this Asiatic cotton can be used for the coarser grades of manufacturing only.
The war has cut off the American supply altogether.
Moreover, the manufacturers need cash to buy the cotton available. But they have none. They have already applied for some hundred million rubles gold loan from the Treasury, but the Government has promised them only about eight million from the new loan.
The wool manufacturers are faring no better than the cotton interests. The only way to get raw wool seems to be to ship it from Australia via Vladivostok. But the lack of foreign exchange prevents them from using this source.
The tea trade of Russia will be paralyzed soon for the same reason.
The big manufacturers see only three possibilities of remedying this situation. The first would be to export gold, the other to export Russian commodities on a large scale, and the third—to get a gold loan from Great Britain.
The first proposition is impossible, since the Government will not permit any exportation of gold at this moment. The second proposition won't work owing to the demoralized transportation. Thus the only escape from a serious national crisis seems to lie in a large foreign gold loan.
This idea is favored by such prominent manufacturers as S.I. Tschetverikov, G.M. Mark, and A.E. Vladimirov of Moscow, the first speaking for the wool interests, and other two for the tea wholesalers. Mr. N.A. Vtovov voices the same sentiments on behalf of the Russian cotton mill owners.
New Sources of Revenue Needed
By A. Sokolov.
[From Russkia Vedomosti, No. 171, July 26 (Aug. 8), 1914.]
Russia entered upon the present war better equipped financially than ever before in her history. But it is evident that her ordinary resources will not suffice, and the Ministry of Finance will have to find new sources of revenue to meet the gigantic expenditures. The Ministry of Finance has begun the usual banking and credit operations—the supervision of specie payments, the issuance of paper money, and the discounting of the Treasury notes in the State Bank. In addition to these the Ministry is ready to turn to new taxes.
It proposes to increase the tax on tobacco and to raise the price of whisky. Both are desirable objects of taxation. The tobacco tax has been relatively low in Russia. Only the poorer grades of tobacco have been taxed 100 per cent. ad valorem, while the higher grades have been taxed at a lower rate.
Any increase of indirect taxation can be justified only by the present emergency. We should bear in mind that already three-fourths of the Russian revenue raised by taxation comes through indirect taxes. Further increase of these taxes will inflict new heavy burdens upon the poorer classes, who in any case will have to bear the heaviest burden of the war.
The present historical moment is of such magnitude that it can be compared only with the Napoleonic wars. But at that time also the higher classes had to contribute to the war expenditures. In 1810 an income tax was put upon the landed nobility. Wishing to make it appear that the war tax is a voluntary contribution, the Government levied it according to the declarations of the taxpayers and refused to listen to informers as to tax-dodging. The tax rate was progressive, with a maximum of 10 per cent. All incomes below 500 rubles ($250) were exempt.
It is to be hoped that the great memory of the year 1812 will induce the well-to-do classes to contribute their share to the expenditures inflicted upon us by the war. An income tax and possibly a temporary property tax should be accepted by them.
[Footnote 1: It should be noted that the purchasing power of money was then approximately four times higher than at present.]
Our Russian Ally
By Sir Donald Mackenzie Wallace.
LAIDLAWSTIEL, Oct. 5, 1914.
The Publications Committee of the Victoria League, which is endeavoring to enlighten the general public on the origin and issues of the war, has suggested to me that, as Russia is now in alliance with us, I might write an article on her recent advance in civilization and the ideals of her people. To condense satisfactorily such a big subject into a few pages seems to me hardly possible; but, considering that we are embarked on a great national undertaking in which it is the sacred duty of every loyal subject to lend a hand according to his abilities, I cannot refuse to comply with the committee's suggestion.
To many thoughtful observers of current events it must seem strange that in the present worldwide convulsion we should be fighting vigorously on the same side as Russia, who has long been regarded as one of our natural enemies. Some worthy people may even feel qualms of conscience at finding themselves in such questionable company, and may be disposed to inquire how far we are politically and morally justified in thus putting aside, even for a time, our traditional convictions. It is mainly for the benefit of such conscientious doubters, who deserve sympathy, that I have undertaken my present task; and I propose to place before them certain facts and considerations which may help them in their difficulties. For this purpose, I begin by examining the grounds on which the traditional conceptions are founded.
If we were to question a dozen fairly intelligent, educated Englishmen why Russia has usually been regarded as a hereditary enemy and an impossible ally, they would probably give two main reasons: First, that she is the modern stronghold of barbarism, ignorance and tyrannical government, and, secondly, that she threatens our interests in Southeastern Europe and Central Asia. Let us examine dispassionately these two contentions.
As to barbarism, there is no doubt that in the general march of civilization Russia long remained far behind her West European sisters and that she has not yet quite overtaken them, but it should be remembered—and here I appeal to the Englishman's proverbial love of fair play—that she did not get a fair start. Living on an immense plain which stretches far into Asia, her population was for centuries constantly exposed to the incursions of lawless, predatory hordes, and this life-and-death struggle culminated in the so-called Mongol domination, during which her native princes were tributary vassals of the great Tartar Khan. Under such circumstances she could hardly be expected to make much social progress, and she was further impeded by difficulties of intercourse with the more favored nations of the West, from whom she was separated by differences of language, customs and religious beliefs. It was as if Europe had been divided into two halves by a formidable barrier, which condemned the unfortunate Russians to isolation. The herculean task of demolishing this barrier was, as we all know, begun by Peter the Great. He built for himself a new capital on the northwest frontier of his dominions—the beautiful city on the Neva, recently christened Petrograd—in order to have, as he expressed it, a window through which he might look into Europe. He looked into Europe with very good results, and his successors have done likewise; but the demolition of the barrier proved a very tedious undertaking, and it was not completed till comparatively recent times.
The laudable efforts of the Russians to make up for lost time have been particularly successful during the last fifty years. Immediately after the Crimean War, which some of us are old enough to remember distinctly, a new era of progress began. The Czar of that time, Nicholas I., whose name is still familiar to the present generation, was a patriotic, chivalrous, well-intentioned man, but unfortunately, as a ruler, he belonged to the mailed-fist school, delighted in shining armor, and put his faith largely in drill sergeants. Even in the civil administration he fostered the spirit of military discipline, and he was at no pains to conceal his contemptuous dislike of the self-government and constitutional liberties of other countries. By unsympathetic critics he has been not inaptly described as "the Don Quixote of Autocracy," and for thirty years he remained faithful to his principles; but toward the close of his reign, in his struggle with England and France, he learned by bitter experience that true national greatness is not to be found in militarism. This salutary lesson was happily laid to heart by his son and successor, Alexander II., and the more enlightened of his subjects. The period of triumphant militarism was accordingly followed by a period of national repentance, which was also a memorable epoch of beneficent reforms and genuine progress.
No sooner was peace concluded in 1856 than premonitory symptoms of the new order of things became apparent in St. Petersburg, in Moscow, and throughout the country generally. To all who had eyes to see and ears to hear, the war had proved that if their country was to compete successfully with its rivals, it must adopt a whole series of administrative and economic reforms; and there was a general desire that those reforms should be undertaken as speedily as possible. The young Czar took the lead in the work of national regeneration, and he had the good fortune to find sympathy and co-operation among the educated classes. For the first time in Russian history—for on previous occasions the efforts of reforming Czars had always encountered a good deal of passive resistance—the Government and the people were anxious to aid each other, and the main results may be described as eminently satisfactory. Three great reforms deserve special mention—the emancipation of the serfs, the radical reorganization of the civil and criminal courts, and a great extension of local self-government.
By the emancipation decree of 1861, which had been carefully prepared by liberal-minded officials in conjunction with local committees of the landed proprietors, the millions of serfs, who had been habitually bought and sold with the estates on which they were settled, and who had known no law except the arbitrary will of their masters, were transformed suddenly into a class of free and independent citizens! Next came the reorganization of the judicial administration, by which a similar beneficent change was effected. In the old times the civil and criminal tribunals had been hotbeds of bribery and corruption to such an extent that a satirical author had once ventured to write a comedy with the significant title, "An Unheard-of Wonder; or, The Honest Clerk of Court!" Now they were thoroughly cleansed, and during some half a dozen years, when I traveled about the country in search of information, I never heard of a Judge suspected of taking bribes. The lawsuits, which were previously liable to be prolonged for a lifetime, were curtailed by simplifying the procedure; trial by jury was introduced for criminal cases; and the condition of the prisoners was greatly improved both materially and morally. Some of the new prisons were quite excellent. A big reformatory, for example, founded by a benevolent society in Moscow and largely supported by voluntary contributions, seemed to me the best institution of the kind I had ever seen.