Abbildungen der Seite



a Governor-Generalship, and put on a and ideals they despise, save only as war footing instead of in a state of a means to quite other ends. siege; the state of extraordinary protec- It is a mere truism, of course, that tion was applied to Yalta, town and

can safely be trusted undistrict; that of increased protection checked with arbitrary power-witness was prolonged for a year in the prov- recent experience in Africa, where repinces of Penza and Koursk, and ex- resentatives of the most civilized Powtended to the province of Samara. ers (England, Germany, Belgium) have The Imperial manifesto of August 11, proved it over and over again. What, 1904-a year before the granting of a then, can be expected of comparatively Constitution-abolished corporal pun- barbarous Russia ? The secret history ishment where it still existed-i.e. in of “justice" by administrative order the army, the navy, and amongst the will never see the light in its entirety, peasants, whether Russian or alien. for the records must necessarily fail; Yet in the middle of November 1906 but enough is known to make us shudwe read that General Meller-Zakomel- der at the hideous cruelty of a system ski, the new Governor-General of the that puts the liberty, the lives, the Baltic Provinces, has abolished the cor- honor of thousands of men and women poral punishment hitherto administered in the hands of their fellow-creatures by the “punitive" expeditions. Com- in circumstances that tempt them conment, surely, is needless. Now, this tinually to the abuse, whether to serve arbitrary, extra-legal procedure, by “ad- public aims or gratify private passions, ministrative order or otherwise, calls of the power thus wickedly conferred. for special attention, for it has always How pitia ble it is to recall the humane existed in Russia alongside the estab- wish of Alexander II., expressed on lished law of the land, and has been, granting the judicial reforms of 1864. with a few notable exceptions, such as "My desire," said he, “is to establish a the trial of the regicides in 1881, the justice that shall be swift, righteous, rule in all political cases since the merciful, and equal to all!" Had that abortive trial of Vera Zasoolitch in wish been fulfilled, it can be no exag1878, for the attempted assassination geration to say that Russian history of General Trepoff. It cannot be gain. would read very differently, and if, said that this abominable system is re- fourteen months ago even, Nicholas II. sponsible to a vast extent for the ex- had given justice such as this, instead asperation that has culminated in the of only promising it once again, the present crisis. As Joubert pointed out wild struggle for liberty that has since long ago, the natural demand of man shaken the fabric of the Empire to its is not liberty but justice, and it is only foundations would not have taken when justice is denied that liberty as- place; or, at worst, would have assumes in his eyes the position of su- sumed a much milder form. It is lampreme importance. The Russian So- entable that not one of the many cialists-or a large section of them- counsellors who in turn have swayed avowedly turned the current of their the Emperor's mind had the sense and activity to political channels only be- courage to urge so obvious, so righteous cause they found by experience that a means of conciliating public opinion; political revolution was the indispensa- or, possessing these qualities--of which ble preliminary to the success of their however, there is no hint-lacked the social and economical propaganda. persuasive power to ensure its acceptHence their partial alliance with the ance. Radicals, whose political aspirations It is evident from the above that the


improvement claimed by the Govern- social classes. Equally naturally, the ment and its adherents is at best only landed proprietors, alarmed at the incomparative; that lawlessness still pre- clusion of expropriation in the provails; that the spirit of rezolt is by gramme even of the

m04no means quelled. On tl

jer hand erate Left, have repented by no there are very definit, signs, and even means leisurely of the Liberal attiproofs, of reaction in certain direc- tude they assumed in such baste. It tions; while in others, more doubtfully, is admitted by the organs of the antiits existence is eagerly claimed by the Government parties that the Zemstros Government and the Right. Reaction, have gone over to the Right, and partly indeed, amongst those of naturally even to the Extreme Right. The adConservative tendencies who were led mission, indeed, was made already on away by enthusiasm at the first cry of November 6 last, on the second anni“liberty,” but have since taken fright versary, that is, of the famous Zemat the red spectre they helped to evoke, stvo Session of 1904, when the demand is so natural as to need no confirma- for a Constitution was first publicis tion. We know that it could not be formulated. Loyal addresses are now otherwise,

the order of the day, and the Zemstros Such bloody deeds as the murder of recently set about the expulsion from the Grand Duke Serge, of M. Plehve, their ranks of all former members of of General Minn-the individual assas- the Dooma who had shown themselves sination, that is, of highly unpopular partisans of the Left, or simply unimen-met with general approval, and sound on the question of land; the doubtless drew many to the ranks of process being carried out, according to the revolutionary parties. Rightly or a writer in the “Tovarishtch," in the wrongly, it was held that they de- most systematic and ruthless manner. served their fate. The assassins, how- The nobility of Toola, for example, erever misguided, displayed a heroism cluded M. Mooromtseff, late President and self-devotion worthy in itself of of the Dooma, and when another of the highest praise, and no one suffered their members, M. Levitsky, protested, but the appointed victim. But terror- applied to him the same drastic treatist acts such as the throwing of bombs ment.


the so-called "frontier" in crowded streets, on the railways, at provinces no such exclusion was neces. M. Stoleepin's residence, in many cases sary or possible, for the simple reason with only robbery in view and quite that no such democratic elements er. regardless of how many innocent peo- isted-in the Zemstvos, that is-a fact ple-men, women and children-might due to the totally different conditions suffer, have, coupled with the alarm- there obtaining; landowner and peasing increase of mere hooliganism, had ant being of different nationality. This the opposite effect, driving back hun- local peculiarity gives the former a dreds and thousands to the Conserva- great advantage, for, being thus tive, or at least to the mildly Liberal sharply divided from the peasant by fold. Such recusants belong mostly to race as well as by class, there is no the bourgeoisie-the shopkeepers, clerks question for him of compromise, and petty employees, &c., who in Russia, no complication of issues can arise. however, are far fewer in number, Thus in the Baltic Provinces the Gerproportionately to the total population, man Baron, formerly the bête noire of than in any other civilized country

2 Prince Dolgorookof was in like madder but they include, too, a goodly contin

expelled by the nobuity of Koursk on the degent of representatives of the higher mand of Count Dorrer.


the Russian Chauvinist, finds

sense of humor, they must be hugely adays his best friends in the Russian tickled by the turn of affairs. Their authorities, his zealous protector in the castles-such of them as are not burnt Russian commander of some “punitive -are garrisoned by Russian soliliers; expedition." And so the whirligig of they and the Lutheran pastors protime brings about its revenges. The tected by them against the insurgent : Teutonic knights and their descendants peasants, who are being “repressed” in lorded it over the Lettish and Estho- most merciless fashion by their quonnian peasantry from the first year of dam friends and would-be converters! the thirteenth century until quite re- Whatever happens, it will be long incently, and all the time the Church, deed before Lett, Livonian, or Esthoboth before and after the Lutheran nian recalls the anathema he now Reformation, was likewise wholly in breathes against Russian and German the hands of the Germans. It was a alike. favorite

of the Muscovite party It seems, then, that the reaction so during the last reign to egg on the far affects mainly two classes only, the peasant of the three provinces against bourgeoisie and the larger landed prohis alien landlord and alien pastor, and prietors, both of which are naturally favor him in every way possible at Conservative. Their defection, theretheir expense. It was their hope, if the fore, can hardly be looked upon as seripun may be forgiven, that, in case of ously altering the situation. It weakGerman invasion, every Lett would ens to an unknown extent the Kadets, prove a hindrance. An Orthodox prop

but can make little difference to the aganda was inaugurated by M. Po- Extremists, who despise the one class biedonostseff, who realized fully the as much as they hate the other. And prime importance of religion in cases it is doubtful to what extent the "Libof the kind. Nor had he far to seek for eral" Government of M. Stoleepin, the aptest of illustrations. The Finns standing as it does in “splendid isolaof Finland proper were converted to tion"—the butt of all parties and the Christianity by the Swedes, and in due friend of none-will benefit by the time adopted Lutheranism. Their change. In any case the Government

brothers of the regions to the is not so foolish as to rely upon it for north of Moscow were Christianized success in the electoral campaign, and by the Orthodox Church. The former this brings us to the measures taken have proved themselves absolutely im- by the Premier-in spite of his declarapervious to Russian influences; the lat- tion that the Government is outside all. ter have been, or are being, Russian- parties and that the elections will be ized; slowly, indeed, but surely and allowed to proceed according to lawcompletely, as anyone who has trav- to secure, if possible, a preponderating elled in the provinces of Novgorod and “Right” in the new Dooma and to proOlónetz can hardly have failed to ob- pitiate the great mass of the people. serye.

It cannot be said that the In accordance with the Fundamental above-mentioned efforts of Russia in Law's promulgated at the time that the Baltic Provinces met with much the first Dooma

summoned, success, for the inhabitants are a stiff- new legislation take place necked generation, and, cordially as without the consent of that body, they hated their former masters, they and M. Stoleepin poses had no inind to abandon their faith, or strictly Constitutional Minister it is change one yoke for another. And impossible for him to contravene so now, if the Baltic nobility have any elementary a principle of Constitution







[ocr errors]

alism, even were the Emperor willing year. The effect of this in reality is to go back on his word. But the to rob their vote of all significance; for Electoral Law, as read and acted upon it will, in most cases, only go to swell last year, resulted, as we know, in quite uselessly the presumably Liberal the return of a large majority of most majorities by which members will be undesirable persons Constitutional elected to the Volostnoi Skhod. It is Democrats, Labor representatives, So- computed that as compared with last cial Democrats, and worse, The new year this will lessen by 52,000 the Dooma must, if possible, be very dif- number of voters, mostly Liberal, in ferently constituted. The anti-Gov- the said assemblies. The same interernmental Left must be reduced to pretation applies to the Cossacks, a more modest dimensions; the Right large and important element in the must, if possible, secure a preponder- rural population. Further, only actual ance of voting power. Yet the law- peasants, tillers of the soil, may yote M. Stoleepin professes a mighty re- in the village meetings, the "Explanaspect for the law-must be observed. tions" being directed against those The problem, on the face of it, looks very numerous absentee members of difficult enough, but the Ministry, with the commune who, though they pay that ingenuity which in Russia so often their share of the taxes, work at trades takes the place of statesmanship, or industries in towns, and are natusolved it at the first attempt in a sim- rally more enlightened and therefore ple and, as it believed, most efficacious more liberally inclined than their staymanner. Amongst the paraphernalia at-home fellows. Again, by a slight of Government in Russia there exists change in a single word, the Senate a Senate, whose main function is that has made a disability, applicable, it of a Court of Cassation, but which also was held last year, only to the lowest acts as interpreter of the law to the na- class of State, municipal, railway, and tion. It occurred, or was suggested, Zemstvo employees and servants, to to M. Stoleepin that here was a way all railway men in general-a highly out of the difficulty. The Senate was intelligent class, responsible for the set to work to “interpret” the Electoral great General Strike of 1905. And in Law, and with highly gratifying re- other directions the "Explanations" sults. A series of "Explanations,” tend to diminish the number of predated October 20, 1906, with later ad- sumably Liberal voters. ditions, deprived by a few strokes of Another measure is the order conthe pen whole classes and categories tained in a circular of the Committee of of the population of their suffrage, and Ministers forbidding whole categories of needless to say almost entirely to the people to belong to or take any part in detriment of the Left. Thus the peas- political organizations stigmatized as ants who had acquired land through anti-Governmental, including, of course, the intermediary of the Peasants the Kadets or Constitutional DemoBank, whether as members of the com- crats. This prohibition has been apmune or as individual owners, were plied amongst others to the employees declared incompetent to vote as dis. of the Zemstvo of Moscow, who have trict landed proprietors. They are put entered a vigorous protest and declared on a level with the ordinary members their intention of appealing to law. It of the village commune, and can there has been applied to the Ksends, or fore only vote at the village meetings Polish priests, as servants of the Mininstead of both there and at the land- istry of Foreigu Cults, and, it is said. owners' district assemblies, last to the whole Russian clergy, as



rants of the Holy Synod. On the for conscience' sake, for the most part strength of this circular, too, pro- honest, industrious, and peaceable peonounced by eminent jurists to be il- ple, sure to prove, now that nonconlegal, all employees and servants on formity is no longer a crime, an elethe network of railways having their ment of strength and stability in the centre in St. Petersburg have been for- country. bidden to take part in any political or- An Old Believers' church-we retain ganizations, and the Governor of Mos- regretfully the clumsy appellationcow in his zeal has gone further still, built in commemoration of the act of applying the same prohibition to all grace above-mentioned, was opened at elected members of the Zemstvo and Moscow, on October 29, 1906, in presmunicipality.

ence of several high officials of the As the Fundamental Laws gave the Government, and it is not to be anticiright of verifying and deciding as to pated that the persecution of the past the legality of any doubtful elections two and a half centuries will ever be reto that body, it would seem strange newed. Rather, indeed, may we look that the Senate should be called in to with confidence for reform in the interpret beforehand the Electoral Law. Orthodox Church itself, whose adhewere not the reason sufficiently ob- rents are already lamenting that the vious.

sectarians now have more liberty than Still further measures having the themselves, and that in the struggle same end in view-to put it plainly, against nonconformity, being deprived the packing of the Dooma-are the re- henceforth of Government support, fusal to recognize any longer, or per- they must rely entirely upon spiritual mit meetings of, the Kadet party, and and moral influences! A more desirathe prosecution of those of its leaders ble consummation, surely, could hardly who signed the Vuiborg Manifesto with be hoped for! The Old Believers are its misguided appeal to quasi-passive- now at liberty to form communities of resistance, a tactical blunder of the not less than fifty members, build first magnitude. Many of these same churches, and serve God in their own leaders have determined not to offer fashion, without interference from any themselves as candidates for election one. The Orthodox White clergy, to the new Dooma lest they should be which includes the whole of the parishi afterwards declared disqualified, and priests, are, on the other hand, abjectly the representation of the party suffer dependent on the Consistory, composed, thereby. But the new men, whoever as is the whole hierarchy of the Esthey may be, will bardly speak with tablished Church, exclusively of the the same authority as the old.

Black or Monkish clergy, the legal in the second category, measures de- rights of lay-parishioners to interfere signed to propitiate the masses, we in Church matters being in practice a have the ukase of October last giving dead letter. The parish priests in all actuality to the liberty of conscience the tens of thousands of villages in the and of public worship, conferred on empire are little above the peasants the Old Believers on Easter Sunday, themselves in social class or education; April 17, 1905, which should go far to marriage for them is compulsory; their convert these long-suffering sectarians families are naturally large; and they into strong supporters of any reasona- are dependent for their living on the ble Government. They number over fees they have the right to exact from 11,000,000, and are undoubtedly, as is their parishioners for the performance asually the case with the persecuted of the rites of baptism, marriage,

« ZurückWeiter »