The Revolution in Russia – National Geographic Magazine – Vol. XVIII No.5 MAY 1907

 This article has a bias against the Czar, and surely also against Russians in general, if one considers conditions in British and American cities and industry at the turn of the 20th century. But it is nevertheless a good witness as to the treachery of the jews in Russia. Links to the original page images are found at the end of the article. Thanks to Jerel Mosley, who has supplied us with this article from his library.- WRF


National Geographic Magazine – The Revolution in Russia – Vol. XVIII No.5 MAY 1907



By William Eleroy Curtis

An address to the National Geographic Society, December I4, 1906.

IN order to understand the significance of events in the revolution that is now going on in Russia, it is necessary to recall what you learned in your school days, that it has the largest area of any nation and a population of one hundred and forty million souls, including eighty million peasants. The illiterate classes constitute at least three-fourths of the population-one hundred and twelve millions who cannot read or write. During the last few years there has been a very rapid improvement in this respect by reason of the establishment of village schools, but a wise man once said that "a little learning is a dangerous thing," and his wisdom has been demonstrated in Russia. 

The introduction of a school system accounts for the remarkable spread of socialistic ideas among the working classes of that Empire. Kipling once said that as long as a Russian muzhik wore his shirt outside his trousers he was a safe citizen; when he tucked it in, he became dangerous to the state. The truth of that quaint remark has been forcibly demonstrated within the last eighteen months. The Russian workmen, in the cities and factory towns and the peasants in the fields, who constitute four-fifths of the vast population, have vague and fantastic ideas of government and of the meaning of the word "liberty." They will follow anybody who promises to improve their condition, and are merciless and vindictive toward everyone they distrust. For that reason they are more dangerous and destructive than the corresponding class in France.


The peasants were formerly serfs, and were emancipated by the grandfather of the present Czar, who is known as Alexander the Good. When they were given their freedom the government applied the socialistic principle that the soil belongs to the men who till it, and each family was given an average of six and a quarter acres of cultivated land, which was then sufficient to supply their wants. The increase of population has cut down this average to three and a half acres, which is not sufficient to support a family. According to experts, at least seven acres is necessary to sustain an average family; so that the peasant has only about half the land he needs. The remainder of the Empire is held in vast estates belonging to the government, the crown, the monasteries, the grand dukes, the nobility, and the boyars or gentry, and only part of it is under cultivation. The peasants need the idle land and they demand it. They have emphasized their demands with the torch and the bludgeon, and during the last eighteen months have destroyed several hundred million dollars' worth of property, including some of the finest estates in the Empire, under the leadership of demagogues, who have aroused their passions and have made them insane with drink. In his natural state the Russian peasant is honest, stupid, superstitious, and stubborn; when he is excited he becomes a savage. He has no ideals; he has no comprehension of politics; he does not comprehend the word "constitution," but he knows that he needs more land. There is not enough vodka in all the Empire to quench his thirst, and his vision is limited to his own local interests.

The greater part of the peasants' land is held in common and the fields are alloted by the village elders, who are elected by the heads of families and exercise a tyrannical authority over the communities. No peasant can sell his land or borrow money upon it; he cannot leave his native place without the consent of the elders. His condition of serfdom has been continuous; only his master has been changed.

The provincial government is administered by "zemstovs," which enact and enforce laws for local purposes, assess and collect taxes, provide schools, build roads, look after the poor and the afflicted, and, under the censorship of a governor-general appointed by the Throne, perform the functions of our state officials.


The imperial government is administered by the Czar with the assistance of a council of state corresponding to our Cabinet,and a Senate, which corresponds to our Supreme Court, with some additional jurisdiction. The Czar issues edicts which have the force of law, upon the recommendation of his ministers; the Senate formulates the imperial will into statutes and promulgates them. The Czar seldom sees his advisers together, but confers with them separately; so that there is no unity, no cooperation, no team-work, and continual friction, intrigue, misrepresentation, and misunderstanding.

The Prime Minister is nominally at the head of the government and is supposed to frame and direct its policy, leaving the details to his associates and subordinates, but in the past they have often tried to undermine and betray him and counteract his influence with the sovereign. Thus there is always a struggle going - on around the Throne between conflicting interests in the cabinet, the members of the imperial household, and the Czar's own family, his mother and his wife taking an active part. His Majesty is pulled and hauled this way and that by the various factions that are able to reach him, and the person who has exercised the most powerful influence over him is his former tutor and the tutor of his father, an aged lawyer named Pobiedonostseff, for many years the actual head of the Russian church. He is the most reactionary man in Russia, a type of the fifteenth century statesman, the most conservative of conservatives, who resists all [innovations and believes that progress is contrary] to the well-being of man. He is convinced that the best form of government is an absolute despotism, and continually admonishes the Czar that he has no right to share the government with the representatives of the people, because God has conferred the duties and responsibilities of an autocrat upon him and he must retain them or offend God.

[The words in bold and brackets here and below contain text which was clearly out-of-place in the typesetting, and was moved by the editor. - WRF]


The Czarina was formerly very. liberal, but since the birth of her boy, two years ago, her opinions have been reversed, and she is now quite as determined as the Czar's old tutor in support of the autocracy, because she desires to hand down to her son all the prerogatives and power his ancestors have exercised.

Nicholas II has a gentle disposition, a kind heart, and a desire to promote the welfare of his subjects. We have been told that a certain place is [paved with good intentions]; and he has an abundance of that material, but has no fixed purpose. He is a timid opportunist and usually acts too late. He vacillates as different people talk to him, and the last person he sees usually controls his actions. Instead of strengthening himself by attracting the support of the liberal elements, he has continually discredited his own sincerity and has placed himself in antagonism to the interests he promises to serve. He excites the distrust of his ministers and his supporters, instead of winning their confidence. Every concession He has made has been wrung from him by fear, He formally declared it to be his "inflexible will" that Russia should have a constitution and a parliament, but as soon as the words were uttered he began to devise means to prevent himself from carrying out his own promises or limiting their fulfillment as much as possible. Concessions that would have been received with universal gratitude at the beginning of the present year would now be rejected with contempt.

Naturally he is inclined to be liberal and tolerant. At the same time he is devotedly attached to the traditions of the autocracy, and has a profound sense of his obligations to the memory of his father and to the founders of the Romanoff dynasty, which makes him hesitate about departing from the policies they pursued. He has a deep vein of religious sentiment and is intensely superstitious. He believes in miracles and omens; he wears amulets. In order to secure an heir to the throne, he made a pilgrimage incognito to the shrine of Saint Seraphim, where women who have no children are accustomed to go. He surrounds himself with clairvoyants and often communicates with the spirit of his father through spiritualistic mediums. Charlatans impose upon his credulity and occupy time which should be given to matters of state. His ministers complain that he insists upon discussing trifles when momentous problems require his attention. He is devoted to his family; he is the first Czar that anyone can remember who lived a moral life and his ministers complain that he is playing with his children when he should be in the council chamber.

He is a voluntary prisoner, guarded by an army of 6,000 men, and no one can see him except in the presence of his guards. He knows only as much about events and affairs as his attendants think expedient. They prepare a summary of the contents of the newspapers for him every morning and naturally do not include anything that might interfere with their own plans or weaken their own influence. He does not comprehend the situation in Russia. He has been the continual victim of misrepresentation and bad advice. If he would break away from the influences that surround him; if he would talk with well-informed and disinterested men, he might adopt a different policy.


The fundamental error in the Russian system of government is that the officials are in no way responsible to the people or the courts. If an official offends his neighbor, if he commits a crime, if he robs the treasury or murders an innocent citizen, he is tried by his superior officers in secret and not by a court. "The prosecuting witness is not permitted to confront him or to be represented by counsel, and neither he nor the public are permitted to know what has occurred at the trial or what punishment has been imposed. That is the reason why no one is punished for the Jewish massacres. Everybody knows that they were planned and carried out by the police in retaliation for the activity of the Jewish revolutionists. This has been admitted over and over again, but no one has ever been punished. Members of the recent ministry were guilty of revolting cruelties and acts of barbarism, but they were allowed to go without even a reprimand. When I asked why this was permitted, a prominent minister replied that it was impossible to fix the responsibility under the present system of government.

[So “revolutionary activity” is legitimate activity in the first place? Or is the jew taking advantage of Christian law in order to overthrow Christendom, as has been his pattern throughout history? - WRF]

At present any official knows that he will be protected in anything he does, provided his act does not offend the men above him, and can defy the public and the courts. Mr Herzenstein, one of the ablest men in the Empire, the highest authority on financial and economic questions, and of unimpeachable integrity and patriotism, was assassinated last August by a policeman under the orders of his superior officer. It was a deliberate murder, and one of the government organs at Moscow published the news twelve hours before the deed was committed. The assassin's name was Nishikin; he was absolutely identified, but he was never punished, because he was responsible to no court and to no authority except the men who directed him to commit the crime.

It is easily understood why such a condition has not been corrected. The entire bureaucracy of the Empire has been united in defense of their most important prerogative. But until the officials are made responsible to the courts like ordinary citizens, there can be no genuine reform in the Russian civil service.

In the third section of a famous manifesto of October, 1905, the Czar promised "to make all classes equal before the law and assure the independence of the courts." In the first paragraph he says: "It is the first duty of all authorities in all places to fix the legal responsibility for every arbitrary act, in order that sufferers through such acts shall have legal redress."

To this the douma responded: "The whole Russian people welcomed this message with an impassioned cry, but the very first days of liberty were darkened by heavy afflictions laid upon the land by those who still bar the way of the people to the Czar and trample under foot all the principles of the manifesto; by those who cover the land with sufferings and executions without judicial sentence; with atrocities, fusillades, and with imprisonment."

As I have said already, the spread of socialism among the peasants during the last few years has been going on with amazing rapidity as they learn to read and write and tuck their shirts into their trousers, while a passive revolution under unconscious leaders has transformed almost the entire population of the Russian Empire from submissive subjects to discontented critics of the ministry and the court.

Dissatisfaction with the autocracy has penetrated every stratum of society in every part of the Empire, because of the appalling corruption of the court and the government; the tyranny of the police. the scandalous behavior of the grand dukes, and the general recognition that an autocracy is not consistent with modern civilization. When the armies of Russia were defeated in Manchuria and its navy was destroyed, this universal dissatisfaction was manifested in various forms. The labor unions furnished the motive power, as you might say, and gave an impetus to an irresistible movement, while the "Intellectuals" and the "Intelligencia," as the educated classes are called, followed their lead.

The great strike which stopped every wheel and paralyzed every industry in the entire Empire convinced the Czar that he must do something to satisfy public clamor, and he promised his people a constitution and a parliament. Twenty-three years before his grandfather prepared a plan of limited representation in the government for the people. It was lying on his desk awaiting his signature when he was assassinated, and the. clock was turned back twenty-five years. When the time came when something must be done to save the dynasty, in a rescript dated March 3, 1905, Nicholas II said:

"I am resolved henceforth, with the help of God, to convene the worthiest men possessing the confidence of the people, and elected by them to take part in the elaboration and consideration of legislative measures, and with the examination of a state budget."


A commission under the Minister of the Interior prepared a plan, an awkward and complicated system, which was almost equivalent to universal suffrage; an election was held in March, 1906, and a fairly representative parliament was chosen. There was an upper house composed of ninety-eight members, one-half of whom were appointed by the Czar and the other half chosen by the commercial, industrial, and professional organizations, the faculties of the universities, and the church. The lower house, called the douma, consisted of 440 members, of whom, according to a canvass, 276 were in favor of a reorganization of the government from an autocracy into a limited monarchy, and 164 were in favor of a republic, to be secured by armed revolution if necessary. There was not one supporter of the autocracy in the entire body, and only five of the members refused to vote for the radical and Impossible program adopted as a reply to the first speech from the Throne. Those five conservatives did not vote against the address, but left the chamber in order that it might be adopted unanimously.

Twenty-three races were represented in the douma, as follows:

Russians............... 265

Little Russians …. 62

Poles.................... 5I

Jews..................... 13

White Russians... 12

Cossacks............. 12

Lithuanians......... 10

Tartars................ 8

Letts................... 6

Georgians.......... 5

Germans............ 4

Vashkirs............. 4

Armenians......... 4

Buriats.............. 2

Mordvanians..... 2

Votiaks.............. 2

Kirghis............. 1

Circassians....... 1

Bulgarians........ 1

Roumanians …. 1

Kalmuks........... 1

Chuvas............. 1

Ossetines.......... 1

Almost every occupation was represented, as follows:

Peasant farmers........................... 56

Boyars, or large land-owners....... 46

Lawyers........................................ 39

College professors........................ 37

Clergymen.................................... 27

Managers of large estates............. 26

Merchants..................................... 24

Government officials.................... 24

Capitalists..................................... 22

Village officials............................. 21

Factory workmen........................... 17

Physicians...................................... 16

Commission men........................... 15

School teachers.............................. 14

Army officers................................. 13

Engineers........................................ 11

Newspaper men.............................. 11

Contractors..................................... 9

Bankers........................................... 7

Rai1way men.................................. 4

Scientists......................................... 3

Every religion in Russia had its representatives upon the floor, as follows:

Orthodox Greeks............................ 322

Roman Catholics............................ 30

Old Believers................................. 20

Jews................................................ 12

Mohammedans............................... 12

Protestants....................................... 11

Armenians....................................... 9

Buddhists........................................ 2

One of the most striking figures in the entire assembly was a Roman Catholic . archbishop, Monsignor Roop, of Wilna, whose serene face, stately presence, and purple robes made him conspicuous. Seven Mohammedan mullahs, sent up by the Tartars of the Caspian provinces, appeared in their conventional robes and turbans and sat beside several priests of the Orthodox Greek Church wearing long hair and beards and the. peculiar hat and veil of their profession. It was therefore a most interesting assembly. It probably contained a greater variety of elements, conflicting and rival, than any other legislative body that ever met - all grades of society, education, and intelligence. Princes sat beside peasants, and mingling with the thirty-seven college professors were six shaggy muzhiks who could not read nor write. The ablest theorists of the Empire and some of the most profound scholars of Europe were sent by the different universities, and the man who controlled the action of the douma, as completely as Speaker Cannon controls the present House of Representatives in Washington, was a member of the faculty of the university of Chicago, Professor Milukoff, a charming gentleman of great learning, of lofty ideals and unlimited benevolence, but entirely without experience in politics or legislative affairs, or practical knowledge of administration.

There were twenty-seven different political organizations, representing every phase of opinion from the ultra-conservative to the red radical; socialists, trades unionists, and other men of fixed purposes and extreme views. The most noisy and conspicuous were professional agitators, socialists and labor reformers, most of whom, although they call themselves "the party of toil," had never earned a dollar by manual labor in their lives. They professed to represent the views of honest farmers and mechanics and had been elected by them, but accomplished nothing and only injured the interests of their constituents.


The members of the douma might be divided into three groups, as follows:

Conservatives................................. 60

Moderates...................................... 250

Radicals......................................... 150


The principal parties were, first, the Octoberists, so called because they were elected upon pledges to support the manifesto issued by Nicholas II in October, 1905, in which he promised his people a constitution, a parliament, free religion, free speech, and all that is meant by civil and political liberty. This party was composed chiefly of business and professional. men from the great cities, land-owners, and men of large affairs. Their numbers were limited, and they came nearer than any other class to support the government. Stolypin, the present Prime Minister, was one of the leaders of the Octoberist party. His brother is still the secretary of its executive committee and one of the editors of its newspaper organ. Generally speaking, the Octoberists advocated a limited monarchy similar to Germany, and a broad, liberal system of education. They demanded a reorganization of the entire government, the reform of the judiciary, and almost universal suffrage.

The Constitutional Democrats in their platform demanded all this and more, including a ministry responsible to the parliament rather than to the Czar. They would be satisfied with a government like that of Great Britain.

The Constitutional Democrats controlled the douma because they had a majority of its members, and if they had adopted a rational and practical program and carried it through, they would have accomplished great things for Russia; but, from the beginning, they committed blunder after blunder and threw away everyone of the many golden opportunities that were offered them. They should have shown some gratitude to the Czar for the constitution he had given them and for other concessions he had made, and encouraged him to make more; but, instead of adopting a conciliatory policy, they bullied his ministers and accused him of insincerity. In order to avoid controversies among themselves they made concessions to the socialists and revolutionists and allowed the most radical members of those parties to control the proceedings of the douma. Their generosity was suicidal. They seemed to think that they must present a solid front to the autocracy. They sacrificed everything for the sake of unanimity and loaded down their program with wild and impracticable propositions. It was a pitiful display of incapacity. When the leaders were criticised for yielding to the radicals, they would explain that the fundamental principles of their doctrine was freedom of thought and freedom of speech, and what right had they to object to the opinions of a fellow-being? No such Utopian policy was ever known in a legislative body before. No such generosity was ever extended before by one -political party to another, and it not only impaired the usefulness of the "Cadets," as the Constitutional Democrats were called, for short, but proved their destruction.

The Social Democrats were next in numbers, and their platform was purely socialistic, based upon the theory that differences in wealth and station are wrong, and that all authority and all law are violations of the rights of man. They want a republic in Russia. So do the Social Revolutionists, who would accomplish the same thing by violence and are responsible for the bomb-throwing, the assassinations, the mutinies, the destruction of property valued at hundreds of millions of dollars, and other crimes against individuals and society in carrying on their propaganda. The members of this party defy all law ; they trample upon all rights. They are vindictive, cruel, and merciless. They are anarchists, nihilists, and terrorists, but are always willing to die with their victims. The nerve and stolidity of the Russian revolutionists were never surpassed by any human beings. They do not seem to have the slightest feat of death and are utterly indifferent to danger. Their boldness is amazing. Very few bomb-throwers have escaped alive, and no member of the fighting group of the Social Revolutionist party has broken down or even faltered in the presence of the hangman. 


Considering the material of which it was composed, the douma displayed a remarkable amount of patience and self-control, although its time was wasted in unprofitable discussions and its demands upon its sovereign were unreasonable and impossible to grant. But that was perfectly natural. A dozen or more of the leaders had suffered banishment to Siberia; as many more had been imprisoned in dungeons for conscience's sake; two-thirds of the entire body had suffered injury or humiliation in - one form or another from the government because of their political views. One of the peasant members had been beaten almost to death, as his maimed and crippled body bore witness, because he had been brave enough to present the complaints of his village to the governor of his province.

The douma was in session 119 days and it passed two bills, both of them of the greatest significance. One abolished the death penalty, and every member on the floor felt a vivid personal interest in that legislation; the other provided for the appointment of a commission to supervise the expenditure of the famine relief fund, which was a fortunate thing, because the Assistant Secretary of the Interior, one of the 'worst men in Russia, is now under investigation for pilfering from that fund.

Until the douma met, the people of Russia had never been allowed to express their opinions, and the repression of a thousand years was relieved at its sessions. Speech is a safety-valve for an overcharged mind, elsewhere as in Russia, and the outbreaks of enthusiasm and indignation were no more boisterous than I have seen in our own Hall of Representatives, and, compared with other legislative assemblies of Europe, the proceedings of the douma were orderly and decorous. But, unfortunately, instead of protecting its own rights and insuring its own existence; instead of passing laws to gratify the land-hungry peasants; to provide election machinery; to make government officials responsible to the courts; to reorganize the judiciary and the police; to establish a system of education and other important measures, the time was wasted in abusing and baiting the ministers and in high flights of oratory. The Extremists ruled because they were the most aggressive; the Conservatives submitted in order to promote harmony and present an unbroken front of opposition to the autocracy. Finally a minority, under the lead of the Radicals, overstepped the bounds of decency and passed a resolution false in statement, wrong in spirit, intemperate in terms, warning the people that they could not trust the Czar or his officials. Only about one-third of the members voted for it, the Radicals and the Revolutionists; but the Conservatives and moderate members would not vote against it, because they were afraid of the Extremists. They retired from the chamber; but the effect was the same, and the Czar exercised his right to dissolve a mutinous and disloyal parliament, just as the German Emperor, for even less reason, dissolved the Reichstag December 12. 


But there had been no sympathy between the two powers from the first, and if the douma was guilty of many blunders, he was guilty of more. His list of lost opportunities is longer than that of any ruler in modern times. If he had received the members of the douma with kind words and a conciliatory disposition, he might have won over a large number of them to the support of his own policy or program without relinquishing a particle of his dignity or authority; but on the day it met he practically repudiated the body he had himself created. Hence the Czar had no friends or supporters in the lower house, and the upper house, composed one-half of men of his own choice, was also against him.

Unfortunately for himself and for his country, Nicholas II is always wavering between right and wrong. If he goes wrong, he acts promptly; if he does right, he delays his action so long that he loses all the credit he deserves. On the 3d of March, 1905, he promised his people a constitution, but it was not until the loth of May, 1906, that the promise was fulfilled. In the meantime revolutionary horrors increased, deputations came to beseech him to carry his purpose into effect; but he would do nothing until the creditors of the Empire compelled him to act, in order that he might obtain a loan of four hundred million dollars to settle the accounts of the war and bring the army back from Manchuria. The creditors .of the Empire compelled him to keep his pledge and refused to advance another dollar until a parliament had been elected and the draft of a constitution or fundamental law was submitted for their approval.

It was not a liberal constitution, but was more than might have been expected. It was a long step in advance, and it gives as much self-government as the people of Russia are capable of exercising; perhaps more. They have had no experience; the masses are densely ignorant; only one out of four can read and write; 70 per cent of the population do not have the slightest comprehension of what self-government means. The Emperor of Japan voluntarily relinquished the autocratic power that had been exercised by his ancestors for more than 2,500 years; the Empress of China has recently taken the first step toward a similar concession; the Shah of Persia has conceded a parliament which will share with him the responsibility of government, and, as long as Nicholas II was compelled to give his people a constitution in order to save his throne, one might suppose that he would have made a virtue of necessity and gained as much credit as possible for the act; but he lost all that he might have gained, and what is even worse and more lamentable, he has destroyed the faith of the people in his sincerity and has forfeited their respect by permitting the letter and the spirit of his constitution to be violated by his own officials almost every day since it was proclaimed.

The Czar has many good impulses; he has frequent lucid intervals; sometimes he shows a wise and generous spirit. Three times during the douma he offered the Liberals an opportunity to form a ministry, and if the leaders of the Constitutional Democratic party had possessed a particle of common sense, they would have met him half way and accepted his olive branches. The first time he offered them the administration of the government they rejected his overtures in the most contemptuous manner they could devise. The second time they gave the matter serious reflection and discussed it for several days. Finally they agreed to accept, but adopted a program so preposterous and absurd that their reply was not worthy of attention. They would not be content with gradual reform; they insisted that everything should be done in an instant. They were so foolish as to attempt to transform an absolute despotism into a liberal monarchy by the stroke of a pen.

James Russell Lowell, writing of Spain, said:

"Institutions grow and cannot be made to order; they grow out of an actual past and are not to be conspired out of a conjectural future. Human nature is stronger than any invention of man. When party leaders learn that an ounce of patience is worth a pound of passion. Spain may at length count on that duration of tranquillity, the want of which has been the chief obstacle to her material development."

Elihu Root, in his address to the third Conference of American Republics, at Rio de Janeiro, July 31, 1906, said:

"Not in one generation, nor in one century can the effective control of a superior sovereign, so long deemed necessary to government, be rejected, and effective self-control by the governed be perfected in its place. The first-fruits of democracy are many of them crude and unlovely; its mistakes are many; its partial failures many, its sins not few. Capacity for self-government does not come to man by nature. It is an art to be learned, and it is also an expression of character to be developed among all the thousands of men who exercise popular sovereignty."

If the leaders of the first Russian parliament could have realized the profound truth of those axioms, and had they been willing to allow a gradual development of democratic ideas and liberal forms of administration, they might have had the opportunity to guide and control the regeneration of Russia; but they would not listen to reason; they demanded all or nothing. When I asked Professor Milukoff, their leader, why they did not accept what they could get and wait in patience for more, he replied:

"Would you have insulted your revolutionary fathers with such a cowardly suggestion?"


For several weeks after the dissolution of' the' douma last August, Russia saw a carnival of crime, assassination, and violence such as never occurred before, even in the bloody history of that empire. The week I spent in Warsaw twenty-two policemen were killed on their beats, and not one of the assassins was detected. There were mutinies in the army and the navy. You will remember how the fortresses at Cronstadt and Helsingfors were seized and the terrible slaughter that attended those incidents. One of the Petersburg papers, edited by Professor Kovaleski, enumerated the assassinations and gave an amazing estimate of the mortality. It declares that 7,300 persons were killed and more than 9,000 were wounded by bombs in massacres and mutinies. Among the killed were 123 governors, generals, chiefs of police, and other high officials. Thirty thousand revolutionists were arrested and most of them were sent to Siberia, while 221 persons were executed. Twelve railway trains containing government treasure were held up and successfully robbed, 400 government liquor stores were robbed and destroyed, and $630,000 of government money was stolen by burglars and highwaymen. All of this was done by the revolutionists.

According to the authority of the "Retch" newspaper, the organ of the Constitutional Democratic party, one member of the late douma has been assassinated, one has become insane, two of the peasant members (Mr Stevanduk and Mr Grevoff) have been beaten nearly to death because they did not accomplish anything for their constituents. Onipko, a most repulsive person and the leader of the terrorists in the douma, has been sent to Siberia. He was captured red-handed, leading the mutiny at Cronstadt. Five members of the douma have been banished; the houses of thirty-three have been searched; twenty-four have been imprisoned for political reasons; 182 have been deprived of civil rights and are under indictment for having conspired to induce the people to disobey the law. These were the members of the douma who signed what is known as the "Protest of Viborg" against the dissolution of the douma and appealing to the people not to pay taxes or to serve in the army. This was a very foolish procedure, because there are no direct imperial taxes in Russia. The revenues of the government come from indirect duties paid upon liquor, from duties on imported goods, from monopolies, and similar sources. The manifesto, therefore, did not injure the general government, but only the local "zemstovs" and "mirs," who collect taxes for schools, roads, and other purposes. The men who signed that protest, 218 in number, might have been held for treason, but the government merely indicted them for conspiracy, and thus made them ineligible for re-election to the douma. About one-half of them belonged to the Constitutional Democratic party and the remainder to the Social Democrats, Social Revolutionists, and other radical organizations. The Constitutional Democratic party, however, is held responsible for the manifesto; its meetings are prohibited notwithstanding the guarantee of free speech in the constitution, and the Emperor's October manifesto. It has been practically dissolved by proclamation, but has nominated candidates against whom the government can find no objection and is carrying on an active campaign.

The more conservative element have organized what they call the "Party of Peaceful Regeneration." It consists of those who refused to sign the Viborg protest, and their platform condemns their former associates for their uncompromising opposition to the government and their alliance with the revolutionists.

Another new party is called the "Progressive Reformers," but its platform differs little from that of the Octoberists. It advocates a form of government similar to that of Germany, with a ministry responsible to the sovereign, but in harmony with the parliament. Mr Stolypin is a member of the Octoberist party and a sincere believer in parliamentary government, but has never declared himself on the question of ministerial responsibility.


The first douma was elected by practically universal suffrage. Almost every man in Russia twenty-four years of age and older was able to participate, which was a mistake, because the illiterate and ignorant millions by the volume of their votes controlled the result. This time Stolypin is determined to get a practical and reasonable douma, and in order to do so is using arbitrary measures. He is fighting fire with fire and force with force. He is disfranchising the revolutionary forces wherever he has an excuse. This is not done directly, but by the Senate, which corresponds to the Supreme Court of the United States and whose duty is to interpret the laws. He has stated frankly that if he does not succeed in getting a douma that will cooperate with him in the reorganization of the government and the reforms he is now carrying out, it will be dissolved and another election will be ordered with still greater restrictions.

Stolypin has instructed all provincial officials to use their best efforts in support of the Octoberist candidates, and in districts where they have no chance, to help the "Peaceful Regenerationists" or other conservatives. The result depends upon the votes of the peasants, who have always been loyal to "The Little Father," as they affectionately call the Czar. At the previous election they were controlled by socialistic agitators, itinerant apostles of anarchy and violence, most of whom were non-residents and were elected to the douma because they promised to accomplish all sorts ·of impossible reforms. Stolypin is trying to eliminate such leaders from the campaign and to keep professional agitators like Alladin out of parliament. To do this the Senate has construed the election law so that only persons with fixed h~es can vote or be voted for, and non-residents are prohibited from taking part in the campaign.

This disfranchises several hundred thousand workmen who participated in the last election because they have mi-' grated from the country to the manufacturing centers. The Senate has also debarred 278,000 employees of the government railways, postal service, and workmen in the government shops, including the most skilled and highest-paid labor in Russia, such as locomotive engineers, stationary engineers, machinists, and draftsmen. The reason, frankly given, is that these classes of workmen are too easily influenced by agitators. It is a wonder that the order was not followed by strikes.

Another edict, issued November II: forbids officers and soldiers of whatever rank to join political parties, or to attend political meetings or to discuss political questions, and disfranchises every man in the military service.

Civil employees of the government who join or assist either of the revolutionary parties forfeit their positions and all claims to pensions. This includes school-teachers and university professors, nearly all of whom belong to the liberal or revolutionary parties.

The students in the universities are debarred because they are all revolutionists. A recent canvass of the University of Odessa illustrates the political sentiments of the students:

Social Democrats............... 777

Social Revolutionists......... 712

Octoberists......................... 317

Constitutional Democrats... 167

Labor Reformers................. 167

Total against government.... 1,823

Total for government........... 317

In some of the universities the students are unanimous against the government. Everyone of them is a revolutionist, and because they insist upon holding revolutionary meetings, making revolutionary speeches, and singing revolutionary songs in the buildings and on the campus, the government has closed all of the nine universities in Russia and scattered between fifteen and twenty thousand agitators throughout the land, when it might have kept them segregated, where they would do no harm.

Although the October manifesto of the Emperor and the constitution of Russia guarantee free speech, free press, and the right to hold political meetings, the government has suppressed a large number of newspapers and has compelled the publishers of those which are allowed to exist to sign an agreement not to advocate revolutionary doctrines, nor excite the people by attacking the arrangements for the approaching elections, or criticising the acts of the ministry. Mr Stolypin considers it his duty to preserve the peace and suppress opinions and utterances that are likely to cause disturbances. He has announced that the government will not hesitate "to demand that its officials employ all legal measures to prevent the transformation of instruments of progress and peace into instruments of violence and destruction." He has adopted the same restrictive measures toward the reactionaries and is quite as unpopular with them as with the revolutionists. He treats both alike. All extreme opinions or measures are offensive to him. When "The League of Russian Men," an organization supporting the autocracy, asked him for 100,000 roubles to pay the expense of carrying on a propaganda in support of the Czar and the ministry, he refused to give them a kopeck; whereupon they passed a series of resolutions denouncing him as a usurper of authority, as a traitor to his sovereign, and declared that his program of reforms was treasonable and an infraction of the divine right of the autocrat. Apparently the Czar, to whom these resolutions were addressed, has taken no notice of them.

Mr Stolypin justifies his vigorous campaign of restriction, in suppressing revolutionary newspapers and shipping rev­olutionists to Siberia by regiments, on the ground that all enemies of the state should be prevented from accomplishing their designs by any measures that may prove effective; that the revolutionary organizations, by inciting mutinies in the army and navy and disturbances among the peasants; by robbery, assassination, and other crimes and violence, have placed themselves beyond the protection of the constitution and the October manifesto, and are ordinary criminals; that as long as revolutionary leaders are admitted to the douma they will destroy the usefulness of that body. Therefore it is his duty to keep them out and secure the election of practical, honest, and patriotic men. He contends that there can be no genuine reforms so long as the revolutionary element are allowed a free hand in politics. They are responsible for the industrial and financial depression in the Empire by disturbing public tranquillity. They desire to destroy. They do not want to build up. They are men of no character, no property, no interest at stake; the enemies of society, anarchists, adventurers, fanatics, without the slightest comprehension of the science of government or the meaning of the word "liberty."


Although public meetings are broken up by the police every day, newspapers are suppressed, and innocent people as well as wicked conspirators are arrested for political reasons, there has been a remarkable change in Russia, and especially in Saint Petersburg, within the last few months. Formerly every printed book and manuscript found in the baggage of a traveler was closely examined and usually seized, in the effort to prevent the dissemination of revolutionary literature. Nowadays manuscripts, books. and pamphlets are passed without question. You can buy revolutionary music, photographs, and post-cards on the streets and at the news-stands. You can find all kinds of newspapers, including the most radical organs of the socialists, upon the files in the reading-rooms of the hotels. and cartoonists are taking amazing liberties with public men and public questions in the comic papers. If such caricatures had been printed two years ago both the artist and the publisher would have gone to a dungeon. Boys on the street are selling photographs of "Martyrs for Liberty"-Polish Jews who have thrown bombs and assassinated officials, revolutionists who have been killed' by the police or executed for political offenses, and the leader of the mutinies at Cronstadt, Helsingfors, and Sevastopol. One of the most popular and profitable photographs represents William Jennings Bryan sitting in the center of a group of the reddest socialists and anarchists in Russia. It was taken on the steps of Tauride Palace during a session of the douma and has done incalculable harm, because it has convinced many honest workingmen that Mr Bryan and. the people of the United States sympathize with the bomb-throwers and anarchists.

The mails are no longer interfered with; the censors have been discharged. Foreign newspaper correspondents can criticise the government as much as they like and send their dispatches over the official telegraph lines.


Russia has been more tranquil during the last three months than for three years previous. The great strike that was arranged by the socialists as a protest against the dissolution of the douma did not come off, because the workingmen would not obey the instructions of the politicians. The uprising of the peasants which was to occur after the crops had been gathered was indefinitely postponed and few estates have been destroyed recently. No more massacres will be permitted, because Mr Stolypin knows how to prevent them and is determined to do so. There was no unfriendly demonstration toward the government on October 30, the first anniversary of the manifesto which offered liberty to the people and promised many blessings that have not been bestowed. Robberies and murders in Poland have not been so frequent of late. Mr Stolypin has introduced more reforms during the last three months than were ever known in any previous administration. He has taken a sensible view of the situation. He recognizes that the people have been wronged and have grievances that should be redressed. He has tried to see both sides of the situation, and not long ago declared the opinion that "men who are compelled to live on one herring and three potatoes a day cannot be expected to understand the benefits of an autocracy or the obligations of citizenship." He referred to· the starving Jews, and while he did not feel at liberty to grant them the full rights enjoyed by other subjects without the concurrence of the douma, he has relieved them from the most severe of the restrictions under' which they have been suffering, and now they can go about Russia with an ordinary passport. They may engage in any business, but are not yet allowed to buy land outside the pale of settlement. Jewish children are now admitted to all the schools and universities of Russia without condition. The members of that race are now enjoying nearly all the liberties of those of other races and religions, except that there has been no change in passport regulations, which has been promised from year to year. Foreign Jews are still compelled to explain the object of their visit before they are permitted to pass the boundary. Mr Stolypin will undoubtedly remove that humiliation in due time.


Perhaps these reforms are the cause of the present tranquillity, because the revolutionary leaders nearly all belong to the Jewish race and the most effective revolutionary agency is the Jewish Blind. which has its headquarters at Bialvstok, where the massacre occurred last J line. The government has suffered more from that race than from all of its other subjects combined. Whenever a desperate deed is committed it is always done by a Jew, and there is scarcely one loyal member of that race in the entire Empire. The great strike which paralyzed the Empire and compelled the Czar to grant a constitution and a parliament was ordered and managed by a Jew named Krustaleff, president of the workingmen's council, a young man only thirty years old. He was sent to the penitentiary for life, and had not been behind the bars more than three weeks when he organized and conducted a successful strike of the prison employees.

Maxim, who organized and conducted the revolution in the Baltic provinces. is a Jew of marvelous ability. Last fall he came over here lecturing and collecting money to carry on the revolutionary campaign, but for some reason has van­ished and nobody seems to know what has become of him.

Gerschunin, the most resourceful leader of the terrorists, who was condemned to life imprisonment in the silver mines on the Mongolian frontier, has recently escaped in a water cask, and is supposed to be in San Francisco. He is a Polish Jew only twenty-seven years old. T might enumerate a hundred other revolutionary leaders and everyone of them would be a Jew. Wherever you read of an assassination or of the explosion of a bomb you will notice in the newspaper dispatches that the man was a Jew. The most sensational and dramatic episode that has occurred since the mutinies was on October 27, when, in the very center of Saint Petersburg, at the entrance of Kazan Cathedral, four Jews held up a treasury wagon and captured $270,000. They passed the package to a woman, who instantly vanished, and no trace of her has ever been found; but they were all arrested and were promptly punished. On the 8th of November a few Jewish revolutionaries entered a treasury car near Ragow, in Poland, got $850,000. and disappeared.

Every deed of that kind is done by Jews, and the massacres that have shocked the uni verse, and occurred so frequently that the name "pogrom" was invented to describe them, were organized and managed by the exasperated police authorities in retaliation for crimes committed by the Jewish revolutionists.


But Mr Stolypin has evidently arranged a truce. He has crushed out the conspirators in the police department who organized and directed the "pogroms" and has given the Jews more liberty and more justice than they ever enjoyed before. He has appointed a commission to prepare a law placing them upon the same footing as Protestants, Roman Catholics, and members of other religious faiths.

Mr Stolypin is an able, honest, and grave man, of broad horizon and liberal views and a high sense of justice. He has already done wonders. Every week some important reform is ordered, some tyrannical regulation revoked, some liberty conferred, some concession granted. He has emancipated the heretical sect of the Orthodox Greek Church known as the "Old Believers," who have been persecuted almost as cruelly as the Jews. They are now allowed to own property and build schools and publish books containing their doctrines; they are allowed to marry without the sanction of the Orthodox Church; their sons are admitted into the military schools and are eligible to positions in the civil service.

Stolypin has also removed the ban which prevented peasants from entering the civil service, which is one of the most striking departures from the traditional regulations of the autocratic regime. He has removed all distinctions concerning appointments under the state.

He has endeavored to bring the peasants to the support of his administration by hastening the distribution of land which they have so long and so earnestly demanded, He has appointed a commission to survey, appraise, and allot the crown and state lands as fast as leases expire or can be canceled. He has purchased a number of large estates from private proprietors who were willing to sell and is trying to settle the land question himself before the new douma can take it out of his hands. 

He has remitted to the peasants their arrears in payment for lands now occupied and for back taxes to the amount of $37,500,000. He has issued a law permitting peasants to mortgage their lands to obtain money for improvements, for the purchase of implements, and for obtaining additional land. To prevent extortion, the transaction must be conducted with government banks and the rate of interest is fixed.

After January 1 peasants may select their own residences, which has never been permitted before. They can live where they like and move about the Empire at pleasure. Heretofore they could not leave their birthplaces without the permission of the elders. He has released them from the communal system, which was tyrannical, and has relieved individuals from responsibilities for the debts of the community. Peasants may now enter educational institutions and obtain civil employment without presenting discharge papers to show that they have done military service. In other words, all Russian subjects of whatever rank or station, of whatever religion or race, have been placed upon an equality.

Stolypin has reduced the working day of employees in government shops from twelve to ten hours; he has a commission engaged in drawing up a broad system for universal primary education which will involve an expenditure of $103,000,000 annually. He has made a grant of five million roubles, chargeable to next year's budget, for the erection of school-houses in the rural districts, and has issued an order to the education department to increase the salaries of school-teachers.

In addition to these reforms already granted, Mr Stolypin is preparing a number of important measures which will be laid before the douma when it meets. Many of them are intended to specify the rights, liberties, and privileges granted by the Czar in the fundamental law or constitution proclaimed on the loth of May last. These concern politics, the press, public meetings, and are generally liberal, but prohibit personal abuse and intemperate criticism of the government. There are several laws in preparation for the benefit of the working classes, including state insurance, the liability of employers for accidents, and other measures borrowed from Germany. It is proposed to increase the revenues by an income tax on the same basis as that of England, and by making the importation and sale of tea a government monopoly, like the manufacture and sale of liquor. In case a moderate and conservative douma is elected Mr Stolypin will submit the draft of a law bringing the officials of the government within the jurisdiction of the courts, which will destroy the most vital prerogative of the bureaucracy.


There is no evidence that the grand dukes or other reactionaries are interfering with these reforms; I have the highest authority for saying that the Empress Dowager and the Grand Duke Vladimir approve them, and if the Czar permits them to be carried out he may recover the confidence and the loyalty of his subjects. When a ruler has lost his faith in his people, and a people have lost faith in their ruler, the case is almost hopeless. Everybody in Russia agrees that the autocracy must go; even the imperial family admit that it is out of fashion and inconsistent with modern civilization. However, it is perfectly natural that the Czar of all the Russias should object to the surrender of his power and prerogatives, inherited from a long line of autocrats. But sooner or later he will be divested of them. Already, as you have seen, many of them have been stripped off. His weakness, however, is the safety of the Empire. Every thoughtful man among the Liberal party prays, if he prays at all, that the life of Nicholas II may be preserved, for his vacillation and indecision furnish an elasticity that is like a spring in the bumpers of a railway car to soften the shock of frequent collisions between the people and the autocracy. In other words, the Liberal leaders believe that it is much better for the present peace and the future welfare of Russia to have a weak man rather than a strong man to deal with, and that his frequent changes of policy and his infirmity of purpose will serve them better than the stubborn resistance of a stern and determined sovereign, as his father was.

Although the Czar is a voluntary prisoner, his life is not in danger, except from some insane assassin. Nevertheless there is an always-present apprehension of danger.

His Majesty's proclamation dissolving the douma was pasted upon the door of the Tauride Palace, in which the parlia­ment met, and was signed in large letters with His Majesty's name. Some irreverent person, with the spirit of prophecy, erased the signature "Nicholas II" and inserted "Nicholas the Last."


The second douma was elected in February, 1907, and organized in the month following. By the arbitrary restriction of the right of suffrage to certain classes, the government reduced the Radical majority considerably, and secured the election of about thirty reactionaries or absolute monarchists. During the first month of the session the proceedings were much more moderate and businesslike than those of the first douma, and, on the other hand, Mr Stolypin and his associates showed a .conciliatory disposition toward that body in striking contrast with the attitude of the previous ministry. The Constitutional Democrats, however, who, with the assistance of the Radicals, have an overwhelming majority, are inclined to insist upon the same sweeping reforms that were demanded by the first douma, and at this writing do not promise any practical or useful legislation.

It is useless to predict what will happen in Russia: but the autocracy is ended. A constitution and a parliament have been given to the people and cannot be recalled. It is one of the great mysteries of Providence, which our feeble minds have never been able to solve, that human liberty must be bought with suffering and blood; but it would seem as if we were entering upon a new period. There has been comparatively little bloodshed in Russia, and in China and Persia a peaceful regeneration of their governments is going on. The year 1906 will ever be memorable in the history of civilization because it has seen the dissolution of three despotisms and the establishment of representative governments upon their ruins. Only two despotisms still remain among the nations of the earth-Siam and Turkey; but the King of Siam has an American adviser, and the Great Turk dare not go outside the walls that inclose his palace.