RUSSIA (Rossiya), the general name for the European and Asiatic dominions of the “Tsar of All the Russias.” Although the name is thus correctly applied, both in English and Russian, to the whole area of the Russian empire, its application is often limited, no less correctly, to European Russia, or even to European Russia exclusive of Finland and Poland. The use of the name in its most comprehensive sense dates only from the expansion of the empire in the 19th century; to the historian who writes of the earlier growth of the empire, Russia means, at most, Russia in Europe, or Muscovy, as it was usually called until the 18th century, from Moscow, its ancient capital. The origin of the term “Russia” has been much disputed. It is certainly derived, through Rossiya, from Slavonic Rus or Ros (Byzantine ‛Ρῶς or ‛Ρώσοι), a name first given to the Scandinavians who founded a principality on the Dnieper in the 9th century; and afterwards extended to the collection of Russian states of which this principality formed the nucleus. The word Rus, in former times wrongly connected with the tribal name Rhoxolani, is more probably derived from Ruotsi, a Finnish name for the Swedes, which seems to be a corruption of the Swedish rothsmenn, “rowers” or “seafarers.”
I. The Russian Empire
The Russian empire stretches over a vast territory in E. Europe and N. Asia, with an area exceeding 8,660,000 sq. m., or one-sixth of the land surface of the globe (one twenty-third of its whole superficies). It is, however, but thinly peopled on the average, including only one-twelfth of the inhabitants of the earth. It is almost entirely confined to the cold and temperate zones. In Novaya Zemlya and the Taimyr peninsula, it projects within the Arctic Circle as far as 77° 6′ and 77° 40′ N. respectively; while its S. extremities reach 38° 50′ in Armenia, 35° on the Afghan frontier, and 42° 30′ on the coasts of the Pacific. To the W. it advances as far as 20° 40′ E. in Lapland, 17° in Poland, and 29° 42′ on the Black Sea; and its E. limit—East Cape on the Bering Strait—is in 191° E.
The White, Barents and Kara Seas of the Arctic bound it on the N., and the northern Pacific—that is, the Seas of Boundaries. Bering, Okhotsk and Japan—bounds it on the E. The Baltic, with the Gulfs of Bothnia and Finland, limits it on the N.W.; and two sinuous lines of land frontier separate it respectively from Sweden and Norway on the N.W. and from Prussia, Austria and Rumania on the W. On the S. and E. the frontier has changed frequently according to the expansion and contraction of the empire under the pressure of political exigency and expedience. The Black Sea is the principal demarcating feature on the S. of European Russia. On the W. side of that sea the S. frontier touches the Danube for some 120 m.; on the E. side of the same sea it zigzags from the Black Sea to the Caspian, utilizing the river Aras (Araxes) for part of the distance. As the Caspian is virtually a Russian sea, Persia may be said to form the next link in the S. boundary of the Russian empire, followed by Afghanistan. On the Pamirs Russia has since 1885 been conterminous with British India (Kashmir), but the boundary then swings away N. round Chinese Turkestan and the N. side of Mongolia, and, since 1904-5, it has skirted the N. of Manchuria, being separated from it by the river Amur. As thus traced, the boundary in Central Asia includes the two khanates of Bokhara and Khiva, which, though nominally protected states, are to all intents and purposes integral parts of the Russian empire. But it excludes Manchuria, with the Liao-tung peninsula and Port Arthur, upon which Russia only placed her grasp in 1898-99, a grasp which she was compelled by Japan to release after the war of 1904-5. The total length of the frontier line of the Russian empire by land is 2800 m. in Europe, and nearly 10,000 m. in Asia, and by sea over 11,000 m. in Europe and between 19,000 and 20,000 m. in Asia.
Russia has no oceanic possessions; her islands are all appendages of the mainland to which they belong. Such Islands. are Karlo, East Kvarken, the Åland archipelago, Dagö, and Ösel or Oesel in the Baltic Sea; Novaya Zemlya, with Kolguyev and Vaigach, in the Barents Sea; the Solovetski Islands in the White Sea; the New Siberian archipelago, Wrangel Land and Bear Islands, off the Siberian coast; the Commander Islands off Kamchatka; the Shantar Islands and the N. of Sakhalin in the Sea of Okhotsk. The Aleutian archipelago was sold to the United States in 1867, together with Alaska, and in 1875 the Kurile Islands were ceded to Japan.
If the border regions, that is, two narrow belts, on the N. and S., be left out of account, a striking uniformity of physical Leading physical features. feature prevails throughout the whole vast extent of the Russian empire. High plateaus like that of Pamir (the “Roof of the World”) and Armenia, and lofty mountain chains like the snow-clad Caucasus, the Alai, the Tian-shan, the Sayan Mountains, exist only on the outskirts of the empire.
Viewed broadly, the Russian empire may be said to occupy the territories to the N.W. of the great plateau formation Plateau formation of Asia. of the old continent—the backbone of Asia—which formation stretches with decreasing altitude and width from the high tableland of Tibet and Pamir to the lower plateaus of Mongolia, and thence N.E. through the Vitim region to the farthest extremity of Asia. Thus it consists of the immense plains and flat lands which extend between the plateau formation and the Arctic Ocean, including the series of parallel chains and hilly spurs which skirt the former region on the N.W. And it is only to the E. of Lake Baikal that it climbs up on to the plateau, from which it descends again before it reaches the Pacific.
This plateau formation—the oldest geological continent of Asia—being unfit for agriculture and for the most part unsuited for permanent settlement, while its oceanic slopes have from the dawn of history been occupied by a relatively dense population, long prevented Slav colonization from reaching the Pacific. The Russians chanced to cross it in the 17th century at its narrowest and most N. part, and thus struck the Pacific on the foggy and frozen shores of the Sea of Okhotsk; but two centuries elapsed ere, after colonizing the depressions around Lake Baikal, they crossed over the plateau in a more genial zone and descended to the Pacific by the Amur. After that they spread rapidly S., up to the nearly uninhabited valley of the Usuri, to what is now the Gulf of Peter the Great. In the S.W. higher portions of the plateau formation the empire has only comparatively recently planted its foot on the Pamir, and it was only a few years earlier that it established itself firmly on the highlands of Armenia.
A broad belt of hilly tracts—in every respect alpine in character, and displaying the same variety of climate and organic life as alpine The alpine belt. tracts usually do—skirts the plateau formation throughout its entire length on the N. and N.W., forming an intermediate region between the plateau and the plains. The Caucasus, the Elburz, the Kopet-dagh and Paropamisus, the intricate and imperfectly known network of mountains W. of the Pamir, the Tian-shan and the Ala-tau mountain regions, and farther N.E. the Altai, the still unnamed complex of the Minusinsk Mountains, the intricate mountain-chains of Sayan, with those of the Olekma, Vitim and Aldan all arranged en échelon—the former from N.W. to S.E., and the others from S.W. to N.E.—all these belong to the same alpine belt that borders the plateau from end to end of the series.
The flat lands which extend from the base of the Alpine foothills to the shores of the Arctic Ocean, assume the character either of The flat lands. dry deserts, as in the Aral-Caspian depression, or of low tablelands, as in central Russia and E. Siberia, of lacustrine regions in N.W. Russia and Finland, or of marshy prairies in W. Siberia, and of tundras in the far N. Throughout the whole of this vast area, their monotonous surfaces are diversified by only a few, and, for the most part, low, hilly tracts. Recently emerged from the Post-Pliocene sea, or freed from their mantle of ice, they persistently maintain the self-same features over immense areas; and the few portions that rise above the general elevation have more the character of broad and gentle swellings than of mountain-chains. Of this class are the swampy plateaus of the Kola peninsula, sloping gently S. to the lacustrine region of Finland and N.W. Russia; the Valdai tablelands, where all the great rivers of Russia take their rise; the broad and gently sloping meridional belt of the Ural Mountains; and lastly the Taimyr, Tunguzka and Verkhoyansk ranges in Siberia, which, notwithstanding their sub-Arctic position, do not reach the snow-line. The picturesque Bureya Mountains above the Amur, the forest-clad Sikhota-alin on the Pacific, and the volcanic chains of Kamchatka belong, however, to quite another orographical construction, being the border-ridges of the terraces by which the great plateau formation descends to the depths of the Pacific Ocean.
It is owing to these leading orographical features—divined by Carl Ritter, but only recently ascertained and established as fact Rivers. by geographical research—that so many of the great rivers of the old continent are comprised within the limits of the Russian empire. Taking their rise on the plateau formation, or in its outskirts, they flow first along lofty longitudinal valleys formerly filled with great lakes, next they cleave their way through the rocky barriers, and finally they enter the lowlands, where they become navigable, and, describing wide curves to avoid here and there the minor plateaus and hilly tracts, they bring into water-communication with one another places thousands of miles apart. The double river-systems of the Volga and Kama, the Ob and Irtysh, the Angara and Yenisei, the Lena and Vitim on the Arctic slope, and the Amur and Sungari on the Pacific slope, are instances. These were the obvious channels of Russian colonization.
A broad depression—the Aral-Caspian desert—has arisen where the plateau formation reaches its greatest altitude, and at the same time suddenly changes its direction from N.W. to N.E. This desert is now filled to only a small extent by the salt waters of the Caspian, Aral and Balkash inland seas; but it bears unmistakable traces of having been during Post-Pliocene times an immense inland basin. There the Volga, the Ural, the Syr-darya and the Amu-darya discharge their waters without reaching the ocean, but they bring life to the rapidly desiccating Transcaspian steppes, and link together the most remote parts of Russia.
Geology.—The most striking feature in the geology of Russia is its remarkable freedom from disturbances, either in the form of mountain folding or of igneous intrusions. Over the greater part of the country the strata are still nearly as flat as when they were first laid down, and the deposits, even of the Cambrian period, are as soft as those of the Mesozoic and Tertiary formations in England. Only in the Urals, the Caucasus, the Timan Mountains, the region of the Donets coalfield, and the Kielce Hills is there any sign of the great folding from which nearly the whole of the rest of Europe has suffered at one time or another.
In the early part of the Palaeozoic era only the gneissic region of Finland and Olonets and probably the Archean mass of S. Russia remained constantly above the sea; but there were several oscillations. Gradually, however, the sea retreated from W. Russia and in the Upper Carboniferous and Permian periods it was confined to the E.
At the beginning of the Mesozoic era the whole country became land, bearing upon its surface the salt lakes in which the Trias was laid down. During the Jurassic period the sea again invaded the region, both from the N. and from the S., but still the W. of Russia rose above the waves. In the Cretaceous period the waters withdrew from the N.E., but in the S. they spread W., covering the whole of Poland and finally uniting with the ocean in which the chalk of W. Europe was deposited. The Tertiary era was marked by a gradual extension S. of the N. land-mass. In the later stages arms of the sea were cut off and were converted at first into lagoons and then into brackish or fresh-water lakes which continued to occupy much of S. Russia until the beginning of the Quaternary period.
During the first part of the Glacial period Russia seems to have been covered by an immense ice-sheet, which extended also over central Germany, and of which the E. limits cannot yet be determined.
The Archean rocks have a broad extension in Finland, N. Russia, the Ural Mountains and the Caucasus. In S. Russia they form the floor upon which lies a thin covering of Tertiary beds, and they are exposed to view in the valleys of the Dnieper and the Bug. They consist for the most part of red and grey gneisses and granulates, with subordinate layers of granite and granitite. The Finland rappa-kivi, the Serdobol gneiss, and the Pargas and Rustiala marble (with the so-called Eozoon canadense) yield good building stone; while iron, copper and zinc-ore are common in Finland and in the Urals. Rocks regarded as representing the Huronian system appear also in Finland, in N.W. Russia, as a narrow strip on the Urals, and in the Dnieper ridge. They consist of a series of unfossiliferous crystalline slates.
The Cambrian is represented by blue clays, ungulite sandstones and bituminous slates in Esthonia and St Petersburg. The Ordovician and Silurian systems are widely developed, and it is most probable that, with the exception of the Archean continents of Finland and the S., the sea covered the whole of Russia. Being concealed, however, by more recent deposits, the deposits appear on the surface only in N.W. Russia (Esthonia, Livonia, St Petersburg and on the Volkhov), where all the subdivisions of the system have been found; in the Timan ridge; on the W. slope of the Urals; in the Pai-kho ridge; and in the islands of the Arctic Ocean. In Poland the rocks of these periods are met with in the Kielce Mountains, and in Podolia in the deeper ravines.
The Devonian dolomites, limestones and red sandstones cover immense tracts and appear on the surface over a much wider area. From Esthonia these rocks extend N.E. to Lake Onega, and S.E. to Mogilev; they form the central plateau, as also the slopes of the Urals and the Petchora region. In N.W. and middle Russia they contain a special fauna, and it appears that the Lower Devonian series of W. Europe, represented in Poland and in the Urals, is missing in N.W. and central Russia, where only the Middle and Upper Devonian divisions are found.
Carboniferous deposits occur over nearly the whole of E. Russia, their W. boundary being a line drawn from Archangel to the upper Dnieper, thence to the upper Don, and S. to the mouth of the last-named river, with a long narrow gulf extending W. to encircle the plateau of the Donets. They are visible, however, only on the W. borders of this region, being covered towards the E. by thick Permian and Triassic strata. Russia has three large coal bearing regions—the Moscow basin, the Donets region and the Urals. In the Valdai plateau there are only a few beds of mediocre coal. In the Moscow basin, which was a broad gulf of the Carboniferous sea, coal appears as isolated inconstant seams amidst littoral deposits, the formation of which was favoured by frequent minor subsidences of the seacoast. The coal is here confined to the lower division of the system; the Upper Carboniferous (corresponding with the English Coal-Measures) is exclusively marine, consisting chiefly of Fusulina limestone. The Donets Coal-Measures, containing abundant remains of a rich land-flora, cover nearly 16,000 sq. m., and comprise a valuable stock of excellent anthracite and coal, together with iron-mines. In this basin, as in W. Europe generally, the principal coal seams occur in the Upper Carboniferous, while the Lower Carboniferous is mainly composed of marine deposits, with, however, the first bed of coal near its summit. Several smaller coalfields on the slopes of the Urals and on the Timan ridge may be added to the above. The Polish coalfields belong to another Carboniferous area of deposit, which extended over Silesia.
The Permian limestones and marls occupy a strip in E. Russia of much less extent than that assigned to them by Murchison. The variegated marls of E. Russia, rich in salt-springs, but very poor in fossils, are now held by most Russian geologists to be Triassic. The Permian deposits contain marine shells and also remains of plants similar to those of England and Germany. But in the government of Vologda, on the rivers Sukhona and N. Dvina, Glossopteris, Noeggerathiopsis and other ferns characteristic of the Indian Gondwana beds have been found; and with these are numerous remains of reptiles similar to those which occur in the Indian deposits. In the Urals the marine facies is more fully developed and the fauna shows affinities with that of the Productus limestone of the Central Asian mountain belt.
During the Jurassic period the sea began again to invade Russia from S.E. and N.W. The limits of the Russian Jurassic system may be represented by a line drawn from the double valley of the Sukhona and Vytchegda to that of the upper Volga, and thence to Kieff, with a wide gulf penetrating towards the N.W. Within this space three depressions, all running S.W. to N.E., are filled up with Upper Jurassic deposits. They are much denuded in the higher parts of this region, and appear but as isolated islands in central Russia. In the S.E. all the older subdivisions are represented, the deposits having the characters of a deep-sea formation in the Aral-Caspian region and on the Caucasus.
Cretaceous beds—sands, loose sandstones, marls and white chalk—occupy nearly the whole of the region S. of a line drawn from the Niemen to the upper Oka and Don, and thence N.E. to Simbirsk. Over a large part of this area, however, they are concealed by the later Tertiary deposits, and they are absent over the Dnieper and Don ridge in the Yaila Mountains and in the higher parts of the Caucasus. They are rich in grinding stone, and in phosphatic deposits.
The Tertiary formations occupy large areas in S. Russia. The Eocene covers wide tracts from Lithuania to Tsaritsyn, and is represented in the Crimea and Caucasus by thick deposits belonging to the same ocean which left its deposits on the Alps and the Himalayas. Oligocene, quite similar to that of N. Germany, and contain in brown coal and amber, has been met with only in Poland, Courland and Lithuania. The Miocene (Sarmatian stage) occupies extensive tracts in S. Russia, S. of a line drawn through Lublin to Ekaterinoslav and Saratov. Not only the higher chains of Caucasus and Yaila, but also the Donets ridge, rose above the level of the Miocene sea, which was very shallow to the N. of this last ridge, while farther S. it was connected both with the Vienna basin and with the Aral-Caspian. The Pliocene appears only in the coast region of the Black and Azov Seas, but it is widely developed in the Aral-Caspian region, where, however, the Ust-Urt and the Obshchiy Syrt rose above the sea.
The thick Quaternary, or Post-Pliocene, deposits which cover nearly all Russia were for a long time a puzzle to geologists. They consist of a boulder clay in the N. and of loess in the S. The former presents an intimate mixture of boulders brought from Finland and Olonets (with an addition of local boulders) with small gravel, coarse sand and the finest glacial mud,—the whole bearing no trace of ever having been washed up and sorted by water in motion, except in subordinate layers of glacial sand and gravel; the size of the boulders decreases on the whole from N. to S., and the boulder clay, especially in N. and central Russia, often takes the shape of ridges parallel to the direction of the motion of the boulders. Its S. limits, roughly corresponding with those established by Murchison, but not yet settled in the S.E. and E., are, according to M. Nikitin, the following:—from the S. frontier of Poland to Ovrutch, Umañ, Kremenchug, Poltava and Razdornaya (50° N. latitude), with a curve N. to Kozelsk (?); thence due N. to Vetluga (58° N. latitude), E. to Glazova in Vyatka, and from this place towards the N. and W. along the watershed of the Volga and Pechora (?). S. of the 50th parallel appears the loess, with all its usual characters (land fossils, want of stratification, &c.), showing a remarkable uniformity of composition over very large surfaces; it covers both watersheds and valleys, but chiefly the former. Such being the characters of the Quaternary deposits in Russia, the majority of Russian geologists now adopt the opinion that Russia was covered, as far as the above limits, with an immense ice-sheet which crept over central Russia and central Germany from Scandinavia and N. Russia. Another ice-covering was probably advancing at the same time from the N.E., that is, from the N. of the Urals, but the question as to the glaciation of the Urals still remains open. As to the loess, the usual view is that it was a steppe-deposit due to the drifting of fine sand and dust during a dry episode in the Pleistocene period.
The deposits of the Post-Glacial period are represented throughout Russia, Poland and Finland, as also throughout Siberia and Central Asia, by very thick lacustrine deposits, which show that, after the melting of the ice-sheet, the country was covered with immense lakes, connected by broad channels (the fjärden of the Swedes), which later on gave rise to the actual rivers. On the outskirts of the lacustrine region, traces of marine deposits, not higher than 200 or perhaps even 150 ft. above present sea-level, are found alike on the Arctic Sea and on the Baltic and Black Sea coasts. A deep gulf of the Arctic Sea advanced up the valley of the Dvina; and the Caspian, connected by the Manych with the Black Sea, and by the Uzboy valley with Lake Aral, penetrated N. up the Volga valley, as far as its Samara bend. Unmistakable traces show that, while during the Glacial period Russia had an arctic flora and fauna, the climate of the Lacustrine period was more genial than it is now, and a dense human population at that time peopled the shores of the numberless lakes.
The Lacustrine period has not yet reached its close in Russia. Finland and the N.W. hilly plateaus are still in the same geological phase, and are dotted with numberless lakes and ponds, while the rivers continue to dig out their yet undetermined channels. But the great lakes which covered the country during the Lacustrine period have disappeared, leaving behind them immense marshes like those of the Pripet and in the N.E. The disappearance of what still remains of them is accelerated not only by the general decrease of moisture, but also perhaps by the gradual upheaval of N. Russia, which is going on from Esthonia and Finland to the Kola peninsula and Novaya Zemlya, at an average rate of about two feet per century. This upheaval—the consequences of which have been felt even within the historic period, by the drainage of the formerly impracticable marshes of Novgorod and at the head of the Gulf of Finland—together with the destruction of forests (which must be considered, however, as a quite subordinate cause), contributes towards a decrease of precipitation over Russia and towards increased shallowness of her rivers. At the same time, as the gradients are gradually increasing on account of the upheaval of the continent, the rivers dig their channels deeper and deeper. Consequently central and especially S. Russia witness the formation of numerous miniature cañons, or ovraghi (deep ravines), the summits of which rapidly advance and ramify in the loose surface deposits. As for the S. steppes, their desiccation, the consequence of the above causes, is in rapid progress.
Population.—The population of the empire, which was estimated at 74,000,000 in 1859, was found to be over 129,200,000 at the census of 1897, taken over all the empire except Finland. In 1904 it was estimated to be 143,000,000, and in 1906, according to a detailed estimate of the Central Statistical Committee, it was 149,299,300. Thus from 1860 to 1897 the population increased 74½%, and from 1897 to 1904 26.3, an average annual increase of about 3½% as compared with an average annual increase of 2¾% during the period 1860-97. The increase took place chiefly in the large cities, in Siberia, Poland, Lithuania, S. Russia and Caucasia. The official divisions of the empire are given here, and details are given in separate articles.
Province or Government
|Don Cossacks' territory||Novgorod||Tula|
|Grand-Duchy of Finland—|
|Black Sea territory||Erivan||Tiflis with Zakataly|
|Russia in Asia—|
It has been found, from a comparison of the densities of population of the various provinces in 1859 with the distribution in 1897, that the centre of density has distinctly moved S., towards the shores of the Black Sea, and W., the greatest increase having taken place in the E. Polish and in the Lithuanian provinces, along the S.W. border, in the prairie belt beside the Black Sea, and in Orenburg. N. Caucasia and S.W. Siberia likewise show a considerable increase. The census of 1897 revealed in several provinces a remarkably low proportion of men to women. This was owing to the fact that large numbers of the men engaged in agricultural pursuits during the summer temporarily move every year into the large industrial centres for the winter. Consequently there were only 87.4 and 89.8 women to every 100 men in the governments of St Petersburg and Taurida respectively, but as many as 133.8 in Yaroslavl, 119 in Tver and 117 in Kostroma. The average number of women to every 100 men in the Russian governments proper was 102.9; in Poland, 98.6; in Finland, 102.2; in Caucasia, 88.9; in Siberia, 93.7; and in Turkestan and Transcaspia, 83.0.
The effects of emigration and immigration cannot be estimated with accuracy, because only those who cross the frontier with passports are taken account of. The statistics of these show that there was during the thirty-two years, 1856–88, an excess of emigration over immigration of 1,146,052 in the case of Russians, and a surplus of immigration of 2,304,717 foreigners. On the other hand, in the six years, 1892–97, the excess of Russian emigration over immigration was 207,353, as compared with an excess of foreign immigration over emigration of only 136,740. During the years 1900–4 inclusive the total emigrants from Russia numbered 2,358,539, of whom 1,144,246 were Russians; while the immigrants numbered 2,333,053, of whom 1,432,057 were foreigners. It is also known that the number of Russian immigrants into the United States in 1891–1902 was 742,869, as compared with 313,469 in 1873–90, or a grand total since 1873 of 1,056,338. By far the greater part of these were Jews. The emigration to Siberia varies much from year to year. It was 26,129 in 1888, and 60,000 in 1898. During the two following years it amounted to an average of over 160,000, but in the years 1901–3 to an average of 84,638 per annum. Altogether some 800,000 peasants are estimated to have settled in Siberia during the period 1886–96, but during the years 1893–1905 no less than four millions in all. There is also some emigration from central Russia to the S. Urals, as well as to some of the steppe governments.
Within the empire a very great diversity of nationalities is
comprised, due to the amalgamation or absorption by the Slav race of a
variety of Ural-Altaic stocks, of Turko-Tatars, Turko-Mongols and
various Caucasian races. In some cases their ethnical relations have
not yet been completely determined. According to the results
obtained by the census committee of 1897, working on a linguistic
basis, the distribution of races was as given in the table
Table Showing Distribution of Races
| Russia in
Taken as a whole, only 13% of the population of Russia lived in towns in 1897, but in the years 1857–60 less than 10% was urban. In Russia proper less than 2% emigrated from the villages to the towns during the forty years ending 1897. The following table shows the urban population in the various Cities. divisions of the empire in 1897:—
| Percentage |
There were in European Russia and Poland only twelve cities with more than 100,000 inhabitants in 1884; in 1900 there were sixteen, namely, St Petersburg, Moscow, Warsaw, Odessa, Lódz, Riga, Kiev, Kharkov, Vilna, Saratov, Kazañ, Ekaterinoslav, Rostov-on-the-Don, Astrakhan, Tula and Kishinev. In other parts of the empire there were four cities each having over 100,000 inhabitants in that year, namely, Baku, Tiflis, Tashkent and Helsingfors. While only three of these are in middle Russia (Moscow, Tula and Kazañ), eight are in S. Russia. There are thirty-four cities in European Russia and Poland, and forty in the entire empire, with from 50,000 to 100,000 inhabitants each. The rural population live for the most part in villages, not as a rule scattered about the country. In the inclement regions of the N. and in the N. parts of the forest zone the villages are very small. They are larger, but still small, in White Russia, Lithuania and the region of the lakes; but in the steppe governments they are very appreciably bigger, some of the Cossack stanitsas or settlements exceeding 20,000, and many of them numbering more than 10,000 inhabitants each. The houses are generally built of wood and wear a poverty-stricken aspect. Owing to the great risks from fire the villages usually cover a large area of ground, and the houses are scattered and straggling. The mortality in most towns is so great that during the last ten years of the 19th century, in a very great number of cities, the deaths exceeded the births by 1 to 4 in the thousand. (P. A. K.; J. T. Be.)
Government and Administration.—Russia was described in the Almanack de Gotha for 1910 as “a constitutional monarchy under an autocratic tsar.” This obvious contradiction in terms well illustrates the difficulty of denning in a single formula the system, essentially transitional and meanwhile sui generis, established in the Russian empire since October 1905. Before this date the fundamental laws of Russia described the power of the emperor as “autocratic and unlimited.” The imperial style is still “Emperor and Autocrat of All the Russias”; but in the fundamental laws as remodelled between the imperial manifesto of 17/30 October and the opening of the first Duma on the 27th of April 1906, while the name and principle of autocracy was jealously preserved, the word “unlimited” vanished. Not that the régime in Russia had become in any true sense constitutional, far less parliamentary; but the “unlimited autocracy” had given place to a “self-limited autocracy,” whether permanently so limited, or only at the discretion of the autocrat, remaining a subject of heated controversy between conflicting parties in the state. Provisionally, then, the Russian governmental system may perhaps be best defined—as M. Chasles suggests—as “a limited monarchy under an autocratic emperor.”
At the head of the government is the emperor, whose power is limited only by the provisions of the fundamental laws of the empire. Of these some are ancient and undisputed: the empire may not be partitioned, but descends entire in order of primogeniture, and by The emperor. preference to the male heir; the emperor and his consort must belong to the Eastern Orthodox Church; the emperor can wear no crown that entails residence abroad. By the manifesto of the 17/30th of October 1905 the emperor voluntarily limited his legislative power by decreeing that no measure was to become law without the consent of the Imperial Duma, a freely elected national assembly. By the law of the 20th of February 1906 the Council of the Empire was associated with the Duma as a legislative Upper House; and from this time the legislative power has been exercised normally by the emperor only in concert with the two chambers.
The Council of the Empire, or Imperial Council (Gosudarstvenniy
Sovyet), as reconstituted for this purpose, consists of 196
members, of whom 98 are nominated by the emperor,
while 98 are elective. The ministers, also nominated,
are ex officio members. Of the elected members
The Council of
the Empire. 3 are returned by the “black” clergy (the monks), 3 by the “white” clergy (seculars), 18 by the corporations of nobles, 6 by the academy of sciences and the universities, 6 by the chambers of commerce, 6 by the industrial councils, 34 by the governments having zemstvos, 16 by those having no zemstvos, and 6 by Poland. As a legislative body the powers of the Council are co-ordinate with those of the Duma; in practice, however, it has seldom if ever initiated legislation.
The Duma of the Empire or Imperial Duma (Gosudarstvennaya
Duma), which forms the Lower House of the Russian parliament,
consists (since the ukaz of the 2nd of June 1907)
of 442 members, elected by an exceedingly complicated
process, so manipulated as to secure an overwhelming
Electoral system.} preponderance for the wealthy, and especially the landed classes, and also for the representatives of the Russian as opposed to the subject peoples. Each province of the empire, except the now disfranchised steppes of Central Asia, returns a certain proportion of members (fixed in each case by law in such a way as to give a preponderance to the Russian element), in addition to those returned by certain of the great cities. The members of the Duma are elected by electoral colleges in each government, and these in their turn are elected, like the zemstvos (see below), by electoral assemblies chosen by the three classes of landed proprietors, citizens and peasants. In these assemblies the large proprietors sit in person, being thus electors in the second degree; the lesser proprietors are represented by delegates, and therefore elect in the third degree. The urban population, divided into two categories according to their taxable wealth, elects delegates direct to the college of the government (Guberniya), and is thus represented in the second degree; but the system of division into categories, according not to the number of taxpayers but to the amount they pay, gives a great preponderance to the richer classes. The peasants are represented only in the fourth degree, since the delegates to the electoral college are elected by the volosts (see below). The workmen, finally, are specially treated. Every industrial concern employing fifty hands or over elects one or more delegates to the electoral college of the government, in which, like the others, they form a separate curia.
In the college itself the voting—secret and by ballot throughout—is by majority; and since this majority consists, under the actual system, of very conservative elements (the landowners and urban delegates having ⅝ths of the votes), the progressive elements—however much they might preponderate in the country—would have no chance of representation at all save for the curious provision that one member at least in each government must be chosen from each of the five classes represented in the college. For example, were there no reactionary peasant among the delegates, a reactionary majority might be forced to return a Social Democrat to the Duma. As it is, though a fixed minimum of peasant delegates must be returned, they by no means probably represent the opinion of the peasantry. That in the Duma any Radical elements survive at all is mainly due to the peculiar franchise enjoyed by the seven largest towns—St Petersburg, Moscow, Kiev, Odessa, Riga and the Polish cities of Warsaw and Lodz. These elect their delegates to the Duma direct, and though their votes are divided into two curias (on the basis of taxable property) in such a way as to give the advantage to wealth, each returning the same number of delegates, the democratic colleges can at least return members of their own complexion.
The competence of the Russian parliament thus constituted Powers of the Duma. is strictly limited. It shares with the emperor the legislative power, including the discussion and sanctioning of the budget. But, so far as the parliament is concerned, this power is subject to numerous and important exceptions. All measures, e.g. dealing with the organization of the army and navy are outside its competence; these are no longer called “laws” but “ordinary administrative rules.” Moreover, the procedure of the Houses practically places the control of legislation in the hands of ministers. Any member may bring in a “project of law,” but it has to be submitted to the minister of the department concerned, who is allowed a month to consider it, and himself prepares the final draft laid on the table of the House. Amendments, however, may be and have been carried against the government. Ministers are responsible, moreover, not to parliament but to the emperor. They may be interpellated, but only on the legality, not the policy, of their acts. In the words of M. Stolypin, there is no intention of converting the ministerial bench into a prisoners dock. If by a two-thirds majority the action of a minister be arraigned, the president of the Imperial Council lays the case before the emperor, who decides. The powers of the parliament over the budget are even more limited, though not altogether illusory. No legislation by means of the budget is allowed, i.e. no alteration may be made in credits necessary for carrying out a law. This deprives parliament of control over the administrative departments, all the ministries being thus “armour-plated”—to use the cant phrase current in Russia—except that of ways and communications (railways). The sum of 700,000,000 roubles per annum is thus excepted from the control of the chambers. Other exceptions are the “Institutions of the Empress Marie,” which absorb, inter alia, the duties on playing-cards and the taxes on places of public entertainment; the imperial civil list, so far as this does not exceed the sum fixed in 1906 (16,359,595 roubles!); the expenses of the two imperial chanceries, 10,000,000 roubles per annum, which constitute in effect a secret service fund. Altogether, half the annual expenditure of the country is outside the control of parliament. Nor is this all. If the budget be not sanctioned by the emperor, that of the previous year remains in force, and the government has power, motu proprio, to impose the extra taxes necessary to carry out new laws. In certain circumstances, too, the emperor reserves the right to raise fresh loans.
Further, the emperor has the power to issue ordinances having the force of law, i.e. under extraordinary circumstances when the Duma is not sitting. These ordinances must, however, be of a temporary nature, must not infringe the fundamental laws or statutes passed by the two chambers, or change the electoral system, and must be laid upon the table of the Duma at the first opportunity. Since, however, the emperor has the power of proroguing or dissolving the Duma as often as he pleases, it is clear that these temporary ordinances might in effect be made permanent. Finally, the emperor has the right to proclaim anywhere and at any time a state of siege. In this way the fundamental laws were suspended not only in Poland but in St Petersburg and other parts of the empire during the greater part of the four years succeeding the grant of the constitution.
It should be noted, none the less, that the third Duma succeeded in establishing its position, and that in view of its useful activities even the extreme Right came to realize that there could be no return to the old undisguised absolutist régime (see History, below, ad fin).
By the law of the 18th of October (November 1) 1905, to assist the emperor in the supreme administration a Council Council of Ministers of Ministers (Sovyet Ministrov) was created, under a minister president, the first appearance of a prime minister in Russia. This council consists of all the ministers and of the heads of the principal administrations. The ministries are as follows: (1) of the Imperial Court, to which the administration of the apanages, the chapter of the imperial orders, the imperial palaces and theatres, and the Academy of Fine Arts are subordinated; (2) Foreign Affairs; (3) War and Marine; (4) Finance; (5) Commerce and Industry (created in 1905); (6) Interior (including police, health, censorship and press, posts and telegraphs, foreign religions, statistics); (7) Agriculture; (8) Ways and Communications; (9) Justice; (10) Public Instruction. Dependent on the Council of Ministers are two other councils: the Holy Synod and the Senate.
The Holy Synod (established in 1721) is the supreme organ of government of the Orthodox Church in Russia. It is Holy Synod. presided over by a lay procurator, representing the emperor, and consists, for the rest, of the three metropolitans of Moscow, St Petersburg and Kiev, the archbishop of Georgia, and a number of bishops sitting in rotation.
The Senate (Pravitelstvuyushchi Senat, i.e. directing or governing senate), originally established by Peter the Great, The Senate. consists of members nominated by the emperor. Its functions, which are exceedingly various, are carried out by the different departments into which it is divided. It is the supreme court of causation (see Judicial System, below); an audit office, a high court of justice for all political offences; one of its departments fulfils the functions of a heralds' college. It also has supreme jurisdiction in all disputes arising out of the administration of the empire, notably differences between the representatives of the central power and the elected organs of local self-government. Lastly, it examines into registers and promulgates new laws, a function which, in theory, gives it a power, akin to that of the Supreme Court of the United States, of rejecting measures not in accordance with the fundamental laws.
For purposes of provincial administration Russia is divided into 78 governments (guberniya), 18 provinces (oblast) and Provincial administration. 1 district (okrug). Of these 11 governments, 17 provinces and 1 district (Sakhalin) belong to Asiatic Russia. Of the rest 8 governments are in Finland, 10 in Poland. European Russia thus embraces 59 governments and 1 province (that of the Don). The Don province is under the direct jurisdiction of the ministry of war; the rest have each a governor and deputy-governor, the latter presiding over the administrative council. In addition there are governors-general, generally placed over several governments and armed with more extensive powers, usually including the command of the troops within the limits of their jurisdiction. In 1906 there were governors-general in Finland, Warsaw, Vilna, Kiev, Moscow and Riga. The larger cities (St Petersburg, Moscow, Odessa, Sevastopol, Kertch-Yenikala, Nikolayev, Rostov) have an administrative system of their own, independent of the governments; in these the Police. chief of police acts as governor. As organs of the central government there are further, the ispravniki, chiefs of police in the districts into which the governments are divided. These are nominated by the governors, and have under their orders in the principal localities commissaries (stanovoï pristav). Ispravniki and stanovoï alike are armed with large and ill-defined powers; and, since they are for the most part illiterate and wholly ignorant of the law, they have proved exasperating engines of oppression. Towards the end of the reign of Alexander II., the government, in order to preserve order in the country districts, also created a special class of mounted rural policemen (uryadniki, from uriad, order), who, armed with power to arrest all suspects on the spot, rapidly became the terror of the countryside. Finally, in the towns every house is provided with a detective policeman in the person of the porter (dvornik), who is charged with the duty of reporting to the police the presence of any suspicious characters or anything else that may interest them.
In addition to the above there is also a police organization, in direct subordination to the ministry of the interior, of Secret police. which the principal function is the discovery, prevention and extirpation of political sedition. A secret police, armed with inquisitorial and arbitrary powers, has always existed in autocratic Russia. Its most famous development was the so-called “Third Section” (of the imperial chancery) instituted by the emperor Nicholas I. in 1826. This was entirely independent of the ordinary police, but was associated with the previously existing corps of gendarmes (Korpus Zhandarmov), whose chief was placed at its head. Its object had originally been to keep the emperor in closing touch with all the branches of the administration and to bring to his notice any abuses and irregularities (see Nicholas I.), and for this purpose its chief was in constant personal intercourse with the sovereign. Actually, however, its activity, directed mainly to the discovery of political offences, degenerated into a hideous reign of terror. Its organization was spread all over Russia; its procedure was secret and summary (transportation by administrative order); and, its instruments being for the most part ignorant and largely corrupt, its victims were counted by thousands.
The “Third Section” was suppressed by Alexander II. in 1880, but only in name. In fact it was transformed into a separate department of the ministry of the interior, and, provided with an enormous secret service fund, soon dominated the whole ministry. The corps of gendarmes was also incorporated in this department, the under-secretary of the interior being placed at its head and at that of the police generally, with practically unlimited jurisdiction in all cases which, in the judgment of the minister of the interior, required to be dealt with by processes outside the ordinary law. In 1896 the powers of the minister were extended at the expense of those of the under-secretary, who remained only at the head of the corps of gendarmes; but by a law of the 24th of September 1904 this was again reversed, and the under-secretary was again placed at the head of all the police with the title of under-secretary for the administration of the police.
Local Elected Administrative Bodies.—Alongside the local organs of the central government in Russia there are three classes of local elected bodies charged with administrative functions: (1) the peasant assemblies in the mir and the volost, (2) the zemstvos in the 34 governments of Russia proper, (3) the municipal dumas. Of these the peasant assemblies are the most interesting and in some respects the most important, since the peasants (i.e. three-quarters of the population of The mir. Russia) form a class apart, largely excepted from the incidence of the ordinary law, and governed in accordance with their local customs. The mir itself, with its customs, is of immemorial antiquity (see Village Communities); it was not, however, till the emancipation of the serfs in 1861 that the village community was withdrawn from the patrimonial jurisdiction of the landowning nobility and endowed with self-government. The assembly of the mir consists of all the peasant householders of the village. These elect a head-man (starosta) and a collector of taxes, who was responsible, at least until the ukaz of October 1906, which abolished communal responsibility for the payment of taxes, for the repartition among individuals of the taxes imposed on the The volost. commune. A number of mirs are united into a volost, or canton, which has an assembly consisting of elected delegates from the mirs. These elect an elder (starshina) and, , hitherto, a court of justice (volostnye sud). See Judicial System, below. The self-government of the mirs and volosts is, however, tempered by the authority of the police commissaries (stanovoï) and by the power of general oversight given to the nominated “district committees for the affairs of the peasants.”
The system of local self-government is continued, so far as the 34 governments of old Russia are concerned, in the The zemstvos. elective district and provincial assemblies (zemstvos). These bodies, one for each district and another for each province or government, were created by Alexander II. in 1864. They consist of a representative council (zemskoye sobranye) and of an executive board (zemskaya uprava) nominated by the former. The board consists of five classes of members: (1) large landed proprietors (nobles owning 590 acres and over), who sit in person; (2) delegates of the small landowners, including the clergy in their capacity of landed proprietors; (3) delegates of the wealthier townsmen; (4) delegates of the less wealthy urban classes; (5) delegates of the peasants, elected by the volosts. The rules governing elections to the zemstvos were taken as a model for the electoral law of 1906 and are sufficiently indicated by the account of this given below. The zemstvos were originally given large powers in relation to the incidence of taxation, and such questions as education, public health, roads and the like. These powers were, however, severely restricted by the emperor Alexander III. (law of 12/25 June 1890), the zemstvos being absolutely subordinated to the governors, whose consent was necessary to the validity of all their decisions, and who received drastic powers of discipline over the members. It was not till 1905 that the zemstvos regained, at least de facto, some of their independent initiative. The part played by the congress of zemstvos in the earlier stages of the Russian revolution is outlined below (see History: § 2. Development of the Russian Constitution).
Since 1870 the municipalities in European Russia have had institutions like those of the zemstvos. All owners of houses, Municipal dumas. and tax-paying merchants, artisans and workmen are enrolled on lists in a descending order according to their assessed wealth. The total valuation is then divided into three equal parts, representing three groups of electors very unequal in number, each of which elects an equal number of delegates to the municipal duma. The executive is in the hands of an elective mayor and an uprava, which consists of several members elected by the duma. Under Alexander III., however, by laws promulgated in 1892 and 1894, the municipal dumas were subordinated to the governors in the same way as the zemstvos. In 1894 municipal institutions, with still more restricted powers, were granted to several towns in Siberia, and in 1895 to some in Caucasia.
In the Baltic provinces (Courland, Livonia and Esthonia) the landowning classes formerly enjoyed considerable powers Baltic provinces. of self-government and numerous privileges in matters affecting education, police and the administration of local justice. But by laws promulgated in 1888 and 1889 the rights of police and manorial justice were transferred from the landlords to officials of the central government. Since about the same time a process of rigorous Russification has been carried through in the same provinces, in all departments of administration, in the higher schools and in the university of Dorpat, the name of which was altered to Yuriev. In 1893 district committees for the management of the peasants' affairs, similar to those in the purely Russian governments, were introduced into this part of the empire.
Judicial System.—Not the least valuable of the gifts of the “tsar emancipator,” Alexander II., to Russia was the judicial System before 1864. system established by the statute (Sudebni Ustav) of the 20th of November 1864. The system which this superseded was not indigenous to Russia, but had been set up by Peter the Great, who had taken as his model the inquisitorial procedure at that time in vogue on the continent of western Europe. Both civil and criminal procedure were secret. All the proceedings were conducted in writing, and the judges were not confronted with either the parties or the witnesses until they emerged to deliver judgment. This secrecy, combined with the fact that the judges were very ill paid, led to universal bribery and corruption. To check this courts were multiplied (there were five, six or more instances), which only multiplied the evil. Documents accumulated from court to court, till none but the clerks who had written them could tell their gist; costs were piled up; and all this, combined with the confusion caused by the chaotic mass of imperial ukazes, ordinances and ancient laws—often inconsistent or flatly contradictory—made the administration of justice, if possible, more dilatory and capricious than in the old, unreformed English court of chancery. Above all, there was no dividing line between the judiciary and the administrative functions. The judges were not so by profession; they were merely members of the official class (chinovniks), the prejudices and vices of which they shared.
Of this system—except so far as the confusion of the laws is concerned—the reform of 1864 made a clean sweep. The new Law of 1864. system established—based partly on English, partly on French models—was built up on certain broad principles: the separation of the judicial and administrative functions, the independence of the judges and courts, the publicity of trials and oral procedure, the equality of all classes before the law. Moreover, a democratic element was introduced by the adoption of the jury system and—so far as one order of tribunal was concerned—the election of judges. The establishment of a judicial system on these principles constituted, as M. Leroy-Beaulieu justly observes, a fundamental change in the conception of the Russian state, which, by placing the administration of justice outside the sphere of the executive power, ceased to be a despotism. This fact made the new system especially obnoxious to the bureaucracy, and during the latter years of Alexander II. and the reign of Alexander III. there was a piecemeal taking back of what had been given. It was reserved for the third Duma, after the revolution, to begin the reversal of this process.
The system established by the law of 1864 is remarkable in that it set up two wholly separate orders of tribunals, each having their own courts of appeal and coming in contact only in the senate, as the supreme court of causation. The first of these, based on the English model, are the courts of the elected justices of the peace, with jurisdiction over petty causes, whether civil or criminal; the second, based on the French model, are the ordinary tribunals of nominated judges, sitting with or without a jury to hear important cases.
The justices of the peace, who must be landowners or (in towns) persons of moderate property, are elected by the Justices of the peace. municipal dumas in the towns, and by the zemstvos in the country districts, for a term of three years. They are of two classes: (1) acting justices (uchastokvye mirovye sudi); (2) honorary justices (pochetnye mirovye sudi). The acting justice sits normally alone to hear, causes in his canton of the peace (uchastok), but, at the request of both parties to a suit, he may call in an honorary justice as assessor or substitute. In all civil cases involving less than 30 roubles, and in criminal cases punishable by no more than three days' arrest, his judgment is final. In other cases appeal can be made to the “assize of the peace” (mirovye syezd), consisting of three or more justices of the peace meeting monthly (cf. the English quarter sessions), which acts both as a court of appeal and of causation. From this again appeal can be made on points of law or disputed procedure to the senate, which may send the case back for retrial by an assize of the peace in another district.
The ordinary tribunals, in their organization, personnel and procedure, are modelled very closely on those of France (see The ordinary tribunals. France, Law and Institutions). From the town judge (ispravnik), who, in spite of the principle laid down in 1864, combines judicial and administrative functions, an appeal lies (as in the case of the justices of the peace) to an assembly of such judges; from these again there is an appeal to the district court (okrugniya sud), consisting of three judges; from this to the court of appeal (sudebniya palata); while over this again is the senate, which, as the supreme court of causation, can send a case for retrial for reason shown. The district court, sitting with a jury, can try criminal cases without appeal, but only by special leave in each case of the court of appeal. The senate, as supreme court of cassation, has two departments, one for civil and one for criminal cases. As a court of justice its main drawback is that it is wholly unable to cope with the vast mass of documents representing appeals from all parts of the empire.
Two important classes in Russia stood more or less outside the competence of the above systems: the clergy and the Ecclesiastical courts. peasants. The ecclesiastical courts still retain a jurisdiction over the clergy which they have lost elsewhere in Europe; and in them the old secret written procedure survives. Their interest for the laity lies mainly in the fact that marriage and divorce fall within their competence; and their reform has been postponed largely because the wealthy and corrupt society of the Russian capital preferred a system which makes divorce easily purchasable and avoids at the same time the scandal of publicity. The case of the peasants is more interesting, and deserves a somewhat more detailed notice.
The peasants, as already stated, form a class apart, untouched by the influence of Western civilization, the principles of which Volost courts. they are quite incapable of understanding or appreciating. This fact was recognized by the legislators of 1864, and beneath the statutory tribunals created in that year the special courts of the peasants were suffered to survive. These were indeed but a few years older. Up to 1861, the date of the emancipation, the peasant serfs had been under the patrimonial jurisdiction of their lords. The edict of emancipation abolished this jurisdiction, and set up instead in each volost a court particular to the peasants (volostnye sud), of which the judges and jury, themselves peasants, were elected by the assembly of the volost (volostnye skhod) each year. In these courts the ordinary written law had little to say; the decisions of the volost courts were based on the local customary law, which alone the peasants, and the peasants alone, understand. The justice administered in them was patriarchal and rough, but not ineffective. All civil cases involving less than 100 roubles value were within their competence, and more important cases by consent of the parties. They acted also as police courts in the case of petty thefts, breaches of the peace and the like. They were also charged with the maintenance of order in the mir and the family, punishing infractions of the religious law, husbands who beat their wives, and parents who ill-treated their children. The penalty of flogging, preferred by the peasants to fine or imprisonment, was not unknown. The judges were, of course, wholly illiterate, and this tended to throw the ultimate power into the hands of the clerk (pisar) of the court, who was rarely above corruption.
In 1880, according to the observations of M. Leroy-Beaulieu, the fines inflicted by the court were commonly paid in vodka, which was consumed on the premises by the judges and the parties to the suit; there is no reason to suppose that this amiable custom has been abandoned.
The peasants are not compelled to go to the volost court. They can apply to the police commissaries (stanovoï) or to the justices of the peace; but the great distances to be traversed in a country so sparsely populated makes this course highly inconvenient. On the other hand, from the volost court there is no appeal, unless it has acted ultra vires or illegally. In the latter case a court of causation is provided in the district committee for the affairs of the peasants (Uyezdnoe po krestianskim dolam prisutstviye), which has superseded the assembly of arbiters of the peace (mirovye posredniki) established in 1866. (W. A. P.)
Previous to the revolution of 1905 but little progress had been made Education. in Russia as regards education. Distrust of the natural sciences, even in their technical applications, and of Western ideas of free government; desire to make university education, and even secondary education, a privilege of the wealthier classes; neglect of primary education, coupled with suppression by the ministry of public instruction of all initiative, private and public, in the matter of disseminating education among the illiterate classes—these were the distinctive features of the educational policy of the last twenty years of the 19th century. It was only towards its close that a change took place in the attitude of the government towards technical education, and a few high and middle technical schools were opened. It was only then, too, that a reform was started in secondary education, with the object of revising the so-called “classical” system favoured in the lyceums since the 'seventies, the complete failure of which has been demonstrated after nearly thirty years of experiment. Apart from the schools under the ministry of war (Cossack voiskos and schools at the barracks), the great bulk of the primary schools are either under the ministry of public instruction or of the Holy Synod. Those under the latter body are of recent growth, the policy of the last twenty years of the 19th century having been to hand over the budget allowances for primary instruction to the Holy Synod, which opened parish schools under the local priests. The schools under the Synod are themselves divided into two categories: parish schools and reading schools of an inferior grade. No teaching certificate is required by the teachers in either class of school, the permission of the bishop (like the French lettre d'obédience of 1849) being sufficient. The consequence is, that the village priests, being too much occupied with their parochial duties, cannot give more than casual or perfunctory attention to the schools, and the numerous pupils either exist on paper only, or are handed over to half-educated cantors, deacons or hired teachers. One good feature of the Russian primary school system, however, is that in many villages there are school gardens or fields; in nearly 1000 schools, bee-keeping, and in 300 silkworm culture is taught; while in some 900 schools the children receive instruction in various trades; and in 300 schools in slöjd (a system of manual training originated in Finland). Girls are taught handwork in many schools. Nearly 50% of the teachers are women. The total expenditure on primary schools in 1900 was £5,300,000 (about the average in recent years), of which 20% was supplied by the state, 23% by the zemstvos, 35½% by the village communities and the municipalities and 11½% by private persons. The middle schools are maintained by the state, which contributes 25% of the expenditure of the classical and technical schools, by the fees of the pupils (30%), and by donations from the zemstvos and municipalities. The total grants from the state exchequer for education of all grades in all parts of the empire amounted in 1906 to £8,107,000. The progress of primary education is illustrated by the fact that, while in 1885 there was one school for every 2665 inhabitants and one pupil for every 48 inhabitants, in 1898 the figures were 1643 and 31 inhabitants respectively. According to the census of 1897 the number of illiterates varied from 89.2 to 44.9% of the population in the rural districts, and from 63.6 to 37.2% in the urban.
For higher education there were in 1904 only 9 universities (Yuriev or Dorpat, Kazañ, Kharkov, Kiev, Moscow, Odessa, St Petersburg, Warsaw and Tomsk), with 19,400 students, 6 medical academies (one for women), 6 theological academies, 6 military academies, 5 philological institutes, 3 Eastern languages institutes, 3 law schools, 4 veterinary institutes, 4 agricultural colleges, 2 mining institutes, 4 engineering institutes, 2 universities for women (930 students at St Petersburg), 3 technical pedagogic schools, 10 technical institutes, 1 forestry and 1 topographical school. There has, however, been much activity since 1905 in the establishment of new educational institutions, notably technical and commercial schools, which are placed under the new minister of commerce and industry. Finland has a university of its own at Helsingfors.
The standard of teaching in the universities is on the whole very high, and may be compared to that of the German universities. The students are hard working, and generally very intelligent. Mostly sons of poor parents, they live in extreme poverty, supporting themselves chiefly by translating and by tutorial work. The state of secondary education still leaves much to be desired. The steady tendency of Russian society towards increasing the number of secondary schools, where instruction would be based on the study of the natural sciences, is checked by the government in favour of the classical gymnasiums. Sunday schools and public lectures are virtually prohibited.
A characteristic feature of the intellectual movement in Russia is its tendency to extend to women the means of higher instruction. The gymnasiums for girls are both numerous and good. In addition to these, notwithstanding government opposition, a series of higher schools, in which careful instruction is given in natural and social sciences, have been opened in the chief cities under the name of “pedagogical courses.” At St Petersburg a women's medical academy, the examinations of which were even more searching than those of the ordinary academy (especially as regards diseases of women and children), was opened, but after about one hundred women had received the degree of M.D. it was suppressed by government. In several university towns there are free teaching establishments for women, supported by subscription, with programmes and examinations equal to those of the universities.
The natural sciences are much cultivated in Russia. Besides the Academy of Science, the Moscow Society of Naturalists, the Scientific societies. Mineralogical Society, the Geographical Society, with its Caucasian and Siberian branches, the archaeological societies and the scientific societies of the Baltic provinces, all of which are of old and recognized standing, there have lately sprung up a series of new societies in connexion with each university, and their serials are yearly growing in importance, as, too, are those of the Moscow Society of Friends of Natural Science, the Chemico-Physical Society, and various medical, educational and other associations. The work achieved by Russian savants, especially in biology, physiology and chemistry, and in the sciences descriptive of the vast territory of Russia, is well known to Europe.
The ordinary revenue of the empire is in excess of the ordinary expenditure, but the extraordinary expenditure not only swallows Finance. up this surplus, but necessitates the raising of fresh loans every year. On the other hand, there is a good deal to show for this extraordinary expenditure. A considerable number of new railways, including the Siberian, have been built with money obtained from that source. But since 1894 all extraordinary items of expenditure, with the exception of those for the construction of new lines of railway, have been defrayed out of ordinary revenue. The only sources of extraordinary revenue still remaining under that head are the money derived from loans and the perpetual deposits in the Imperial Bank. The ordinary revenue, obtained principally from the sale of spirits (28%), which is a state monopoly, from state railways (23½%) and customs (10½%), steadily rose from a total of £132,750,000 in 1895 to a total of £214,360,000 in 1905. Other noteworthy sources of revenue are trade licences, direct taxes on lands and forests, stamp duties, posts and telegraphs, indirect taxes on tobacco, sugar and other commodities, the crown forests, and land redemption payable annually by the peasants since 1861. At the same time the total ordinary expenditure has increased at a similarly steady rate, namely, from £119,391,000 in 1895 to £202,544,000 in 1905. In 1904, 81½% of the extraordinary expenditure, namely, £71,550,000, was incurred in consequence of the war with Japan, and to this must be added in 1906 a further expenditure of £42,085,000. The total national debt of Russia nearly trebled between 1852 (£57,038,600) and 1862 (£145,500,000), and again between 1872 (£242,277,000) and 1892 (£526,109,000) it more than doubled, while by 1906 it amounted altogether to £812,040,000. Of the total, 77% stands at 4% and 17 at less than 4%.
The system of obligatory military service for all, introduced in 1874, has been maintained, but the six years' term of service has Army. been reduced to five, while the privileges granted to young men who have received various degrees of education have been slightly extended. During the reign of Alexander III. efforts were mainly directed towards—(1) reducing the time required for the mobilization of the army; (2) increasing the immediate readiness of cavalry for war and its fitness for serving as mounted infantry (dragoon regiments taking the place of hussars and lancers); (3) strengthening the W. frontier by fortresses and railways; and (4) increasing the artillery, siege and train reserves. Further, the age releasing from service was raised from 40 to 43 years and the militia (landsturm) was reorganized. The measures taken during the reign of Nicholas II. have been chiefly directed towards increasing the fighting capacity and readiness for immediate service of the troops in Asia, and towards the better reorganization of the local irregular militia forces. Broadly speaking, the army is divided into regulars, Cossacks and militia. The peace strength of the army is estimated at 42,000 officers and 1,100,000 men (about 950,000 combatants), while the war strength is approximately 75,000 officers and 4,500,000 men. However, this latter figure is merely nominal, the available artillery and train service being much below the strength which would be required for such an army; estimates which put the military forces of Russia in time of war at 2,750,000—irrespective of the armies which may be levied during the war itself—seem to approach more nearly the strength of the forces which could actually be mustered. The infantry and rifles are armed with small-bore magazine rifles, and the active artillery have steel breech-loaders with extreme ranges of 4150 to 4700 yds.
Before the Japanese war Russia maintained four separate squadrons: the Baltic, the Black Sea, the Pacific and the Caspian. Navy. But in the operations before Port Arthur and in the disastrous battle of Tsushima the Russian fleets were almost completely annihilated. The bulk of the Black Sea fleet and a few other battleships were, however, still left, and since 1904 steps have been taken to build new ships, both battleships and powerful cruisers. Kronstadt is the naval headquarters in the Baltic, Sevastopol in the Black Sea and Vladivostok on the Pacific.
Fortresses.—The chief first-class fortresses of Russia are Warsaw and Novogeorgievsk in Poland, and Brest-Litovsk and Kovno in Lithuania. The second-class fortresses are Kronstadt and Sveaborg in the Gulf of Finland, Ivangorod in Poland, Libau on the Baltic Sea, Kerch on the Black Sea and Vladivostok on the Pacific. In the third class are Viborg in Finland, Ossovets and Ust Dvinsk (or Dünamünde) in Lithuania, Sevastopol and Ochakov on the Black Sea, and Kars and Batum in Caucasia. There are, moreover, 46 forts and fortresses unclassed, of which 6 are in Poland, 8 in W. and S.W. Russia, and the remainder (mere fortified posts) in the Asiatic dominions.
II. European Russia
Geography.—The administrative boundaries of European Russia, apart from Finland, coincide broadly with the natural Boundaries. limits of the East-European plains. In the N. it is bounded by the Arctic Ocean; the islands of Novaya-Zemlya, Kolguyev and Vaigach also belong to it, but the Kara Sea is reckoned to Siberia. To the E. it has the Asiatic dominions of the empire, Siberia and the Kirghiz steppes, from both of which it is separated by the Ural Mountains, the Ural river and the Caspian—the administrative boundary, however, partly extending into Asia on the Siberian slope of the Urals. To the S. it has the Black Sea and Caucasia, being separated from the latter by the Manych depression, which in Post-Pliocene times connected the Sea of Azov with the Caspian. The W. boundary is purely conventional: it crosses the peninsula of Kola from the Varanger Fjord to the Gulf of Bothnia; thence it runs to the Kurisches Haff in the southern Baltic, and thence to the mouth of the Danube, taking a great circular sweep to the W. to embrace Poland, and separating Russia from Prussia, Austrian Galicia and Rumania.
It is a special feature of Russia that she has no free outlet to the open sea except on the ice-bound shores of the Arctic Ocean. Even the White Sea is merely a gulf of that ocean. The deep indentations of the gulfs of Bothnia and Finland are surrounded by what is ethnologically Finnish territory, and it is only at the very head of the latter gulf that the Russians have taken firm foothold by erecting their capital at the mouth of the Neva. The Gulf of Riga and the Baltic belong also to territory which is not inhabited by Slavs, but by Finnish races and by Germans. It is only within the last hundred and thirty years that the Russians have definitely taken possession of the N. shores of the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov. The E. coast of the Black Sea belongs properly to Transcaucasia, a great chain of mountains separating it from Russia. But even this sheet of water is an inland sea, the only outlet of which, the Bosphorus, is in foreign hands, while the Caspian, an immense shallow lake, mostly bordered by deserts, possesses more importance as a link between Russia and her Asiatic settlements than as a channel for intercourse with other countries.
The great territory occupied by European Russia—1600 m. in length from N. to S., and nearly as much from E. to W.—is on the whole a broad elevated plain, ranging between 500 and Configuration. 900 ft. above sea-level, deeply cut into by river-valleys, and bounded on all sides by broad swellings or low mountain-ranges: the lake plateaus of Finland and the Maanselkä heights in the N.W.; the Baltic coast-ridge and spurs of the Carpathians in the W., with a broad depression between the two, occupied by Poland; the Crimean and Caucasian mountains in the S.; and the broad but moderately high swelling of the Ural Mountains in the E.
From a central plateau, which comprises the governments of Tver, Moscow, Smolensk and Kursk, and projects E. towards Samara, attaining an average elevation of 800 to 900 ft. above the sea, the surface slopes gently in all directions to a level of 300 to 500 ft. Then it again rises gradually as it approaches the hilly tracts which enclose the great plain. This central swelling may be considered a continuation towards the E.N.E. of the great line of upheavals of N.W. Europe; the elevated grounds of Finland would then represent a continuation of the Scanian plateaus of S. Sweden, and the northern mountains of Finland a continuation of Kjölen (the Keel) which separate Sweden from Norway, while the other great line of upheaval of the old continent, which runs N.W. to S.E., would be represented in Russia by the Caucasus in the S. and by the Timan ridge of the Pechora basin in the N.
The hilly aspect of several parts of the central plateau is not due to foldings of the strata, which for the most part appear to be horizontal, but chiefly to the excavating action of the rivers, whose valleys are deeply eroded in the plateau, especially on its borders. The round flattened summits of the Valdai plateau do not rise above 1100 ft., and they present the appearance of mountains only in consequence of the depths of the valleys—the rivers which flow towards the depression of Lake Peipus being only 200 to 250 ft. above the sea. The same is true of the plateaus of Livonia, “Wendish Switzerland,” and the government of Kovno, which do not exceed 1000 ft. at their highest points; and again of the E. spurs of the Baltic coast-ridge between the governments of Grodno and Minsk. The same elevation is reached by a very few flat summits of the plateau about Kursk, and farther E. on the Volga about Kamyshin, where the valleys are excavated to a depth of 800 or 900 ft., giving quite a hilly aspect to the country. It is only in the S.W., where spurs of the Carpathians enter the governments of Volhynia, Podolia and Bessarabia, that ridges reaching 1100 ft. are met with, these again intersected by deep ravines.
The depressions which gap the borders of the central plateau thus acquire a greater importance than the small differences in its vertical elevation. Such is the broad depression of the middle Volga and lower Kama, bounded on the N. by the faint swelling of the Uvaly, the watershed between the Arctic Ocean and the Volga basin. Another broad depression, 250 to 500 ft. above the sea, still filled by Lakes Peipus, Ladoga, Onega, Byelo-ozero, Lacha, Vozhe, and many thousands of smaller lakes, skirts the central plateau on the N., and follows the same E.N.E. direction. Only a few low swellings penetrate into it from the N.W., about Lake Onega, and reach 900 ft., while in the N.E. it is enclosed by the Timan ridge (1000 ft.). A third depression, traversed by the Pripet and the middle Dnieper, extends to the W. and penetrates into Poland. This immense lacustrine basin is now broken up into numberless ponds, lakes and marshes (see Minsk). It is bounded on the S. by the broad plateaus which spread out E. of the Carpathians. S. of 50° N. the central plateau slopes gently towards the S., and we find there a fourth depression stretching W. and E. through Poltava and Kharkov, but still reaching in its higher parts 500 to 700 ft. It is separated from the Black Sea by a gentle swelling which may be traced from Kremenets in Volhynia to the lower Don, and perhaps farther S.E. This swelling includes the Donets coal-measures and the middle granitic ridges which give rise to the rapids of the Dnieper. Finally a fifth depression, which descends below the level of the ocean, extends for more than 200 m. to the N. of the Caspian, comprising the lower Volga and the Ural and Emba rivers, and establishing a link between Russia and the Aral-Caspian region. It is continued farther N. by plains below 300 ft., which join the depression of the middle Volga, and extend as far as the mouth of the Oka. The Ural Mountains present the aspect of a broad swelling whose strata no longer exhibit the horizontality which is characteristic of central Russia, and moreover are deeply cut into by rivers. They are connected in the W. with broad plateaus which join those of central Russia, but their orographical relations to other upheavals must be more closely studied before they can be definitely pronounced on.
The rhomboidal peninsula of the Crimea, connected by only a narrow isthmus with the continent, is occupied by an arid plateau sloping gently N. and E., and bordered on the S.E. by the Yaila Mountains, the summits of which range between 4000 and 5000 ft.
Owing to the orographical structure of the East-European plains, the river systems have become more than usually prominent and Rivers. important features of the configuration. Taking their origin from a series of lacustrine basins scattered over the plateaus and differing slightly in elevation, the Russian rivers describe immense curves before reaching the sea, and flow with a very gentle gradient, while numerous large tributaries collect their waters from over vast areas. Thus the Volga, the Dnieper and the Don attain respectively lengths of 2325, 1410 and 1325 m., and their basins run to 563,300, 202,140 and 166,000 sq. m. respectively. Moreover, the chief rivers, the Volga, the W. Dvina, the Dnieper, and even the Lovat and the Oka, take their rise (in the N.W. of the central plateau) so close to one another that they may be said to radiate from the same centre. The sources of the Don interlace with the tributaries of the Oka, while the upper tributaries of the Kama join those of the N. Dvina and Pechora. In consequence of this, the rivers of Russia have been from remote antiquity the principal channels of trade and migration, and have contributed much more to the elaboration of national unity than any political institutions. Boats could be conveyed over flat and easy portages from one river-basin to another, and these portages were subsequently transformed with a relatively small amount of labour into navigable canals, and even at the present day the canals have more importance for the traffic of the country than have most of the railways. By their means the plains of the central plateau—the very heart of Russia, whose natural outlet was the Caspian—were brought into water-communication with the Baltic, and the Volga basin was connected with the Gulf of Finland. The White Sea has also been brought into connexion with the central Volga basin while the sister-river of the Volga—the Kama—became the main artery of communication with Siberia.
But although the rivers of Russia rank before the rivers of W. Europe in respect of length, they are far behind them as regards the volumes of water which they discharge. They freeze in winter and dry up in summer, and most of them are navigable only during the spring floods; even the Volga becomes so shallow during the hot season that none but boats of light draught can pass over its shoals.
Arctic Ocean Basin.—The Pechora rises in the N. Urals, and enters the ocean by a large estuary at the Gulf of Pechora. Its basin, thinly-peopled and available only for cattle-breeding and for hunting, is quite isolated from Russia by the Timan ridge. The river is navigable for 770 m.; grain and a variety of goods conveyed from the upper Kama are floated down, while furs, fish and other products of the sea are shipped up the river to be transported to Cherdyn on the Kama. The Mezeñ enters the Bay of Mezeñ; it is navigable for 450 m., and is the channel of a considerable export of timber. The N. Dvina is formed by the union of the Yug and the Sukhona. The latter, although it flows over a great number of rapids, is navigable throughout its length (330 m.); it is connected by canal with the Caspian and the Baltic. The Vychegda, which flows W.S.W. to join the Sukhona, through a woody region, thinly peopled, is navigable for 500 m. and in its upper portion is connected by a canal with the upper Kama. The N. Dvina flows with a very slight gradient through a broad valley, and reaches the White Sea at Archangel. Notwithstanding serious obstacles offered by shallows, corn, fish, salt and timber are largely shipped to and from Archangel. The Omega, which flows into Onega Bay, has rapids; but timber is floated down in spring, and fishing and some navigation are carried on in the lower portion.
Baltic Basin.—The Neva (40 m.) flows from Lake Ladoga into the Gulf of Finland. The Volkhov, discharging into Lake Ladoga, and forming part of the Vyshniy-Volochok system of canals, is an important channel for navigation; it flows from Lake Ilmen, which receives the Msta, connected with the Volga, and the Lovat. The Svir, also discharging into Lake Ladoga, flows from Lake Onega, and, being part of the Mariinsk canal system, is of great importance for navigation. The Narova flows out of Lake Peipus into the Gulf of Finland at Narva; it has remarkable rapids, which are used to generate power for cotton-mills; in spite of this, the river is navigated. Lake Peipus, or Chudskoye, receives the Velikaya, a channel of traffic with S. Russia front a remote antiquity, but now navigable Only in its lower portion, and the Embach, navigated by steamers to Dorpat (Yuryev). The S. Dvina, which falls into the sea below Riga, is shallow above the rapids of jacobstadt, but navigation is carried on as far as Vitebsk—corn, timber, potash, flax, &c., being the principal shipments of its navigable tributaries (the Obsha, Ulla and Kasplya). The Ulla is connected by the Berezina canals with the Dnieper. The Memel (Niemen), with a course of 470 m. in Russia, rises in the N. of Minsk, leaves Russia at Yurburg, and enters the Kurisches Haff; rafts are floated upon it almost from its source, and steamers ply as far as Kovno; it is connected by the Oginsky canal with the Dnieper. For the Vistula, with the Bug and Narew, see Poland.
Black Sea Basin.—The Pruth rises in Austrian Bukovina, and separates Russia from Rumania; it enters the Danube, which flows along the Russian frontier for 100 m. below Reni, touching it with its Kilia branch. The Dniester (530 m. in Russia) rises in Galicia. Light boats and rafts are floated at all points, and steamers ply on its lower portion; its estuary has important fisheries. The Dnieper, with a basin of 202,140 sq. m., drains 13 governments, the aggregate population of which numbers over 28,000,000. It also originates in the N.W. parts of the central plateau, in the same marshy lakes which give rise to the Volga and the W. Dvina, and enters the Black Sea. In the middle navigable part of its course, from Dorogobuzh to Ekaterinoslav, it is an active channel for traffic. It receives several large tributaries:—on the right, the Berezina, connected with the W. Dvina, and the Pripet, both very important for navigation—as well as several smaller tributaries on which rafts are floated; on the left the Sozh, the Desna, one of the most important rivers of Russia, navigated by steamers as far as Bryansk; the Suła, the Psioł and the Vorskła. Below Ekaterinoslav the Dnieper flows for 46 m. over a series of rapids. At Kherson it enters its long (40 m.) but shallow estuary, which receives the S. Bug and the Inguł. The Don, with a basin of 166,000 sq. m., and navigable for 880 m., rises in the government of Tula and enters the Sea of Azov at Rostov, after describing a great curve to the E. at Tsaritsyn, approaching the Volga, with which it is connected by a railway (45 m.). Its navigation is of great importance, especially for goods brought from the Volga, and its fisheries are extensive. The chief tributaries are the Sosna and North Donets on the right, and the Voronezh, Khoper, Medvyeditsa and Manych on the left. The Ylya, the Kubañ and the Rion belong tolCaucasia.
The Caspian Basin.—The Volga, the chief river of Russia, has a length of 2325 m., and its basin, about 563,300 sq. m. in area, contains a population of nearly 40,000,000. It is connected w1th the Baltic by three systems of canals (see Volga). The Ural, in its lower part, constitutes the frontier between European Russia and the Kirghiz steppe; it receives the Sakmara on the right and the Ilek on the left. The Kuma, the Terek and the Kura, with the Aras, which receives the waters of Lake Gok-cha, belong to Caucasia.
The soil of Russia depends chiefly on the distribution of the boulder-clay and loess, on the degree to which the rivers have Soil. severally excavated their valleys, and on the moistness of the climate. Vast areas in Russia are quite unfit for cultivation, 19% of the aggregate surface of European Russia (apart from Poland and Finland) being occupied by lakes, marshes, sand, &c., 39% by, forests, 16% by prairies, and only 26% being under cultivation. The distribution of all these is, however, very unequal, and the five following subdivisions may be established:—(1) the tundras; (2) the forest region; (3) the middle region, comprising the surface available for agriculture and partly covered with forests; (4) the black-earth (chernozyom) region; and (5) the steppes. Of these the black-earth region—about 150,000,000 acres—which reaches from the Carpathians to the Urals, from the Pinsk marshes in the S.W. to the upper Oka in the N.E., is the most important. It is covered with a thick sheet of black earth, a kind of loess, mixed with 5 to 15% of humus, due to the decomposition of an herbaceous vegetation, which developed luxuriantly during the Lacustrine period on a continent relatively dry even at that epoch. On the three-fields system corn has been grown upon it for fifty to seventy consecutive years without manure. Isolated black-earth islands, though less fertile, occur also in Courland and Kovno, in the Oka-Volga-Kama depression, on the slopes of the Urals, and in a few patches in the N. Towards the Black Sea coast its thickness diminishes, and it disappears in the valleys. In the extensive region covered with boulder-clay the black earth appears only in isolated places, and the soil consists for the most part of a sandy clay, containing a much smaller admixture of humus. There cultivation is possible only with the aid of a considerable quantity of manure. Drainage finding no outlet through the thick clay, the soil of the forest region is often hidden beneath extensive marshes, and the forests themselves are often mere thickets choking marshy ground; large tracts of sand appear in the W., and the admixture of boulders with the clay in the N.W. renders agriculture difficult. On the Arctic coast the forests disappear, giving place to the tundras. Finally, in the S.E., towards the Caspian, on the slopes of the southern Urals and the plateau of Obshchiy Syrt, as also in the interior of the Crimea, and in several parts of Bessarabia, there are large tracts of real desert, buried under coarse sand and devoid of vegetation.
Notwithstanding the fact that Russia extends from N. to S. through 30° of latitude, the climate of its different portions, apart Climate. from the Crimea and Caucasia, presents a striking uniformity. The aerial currents—cyclones, anti-cyclones and dry S.E. winds—prevail over extensive areas, and sweep across the flat plains without hindrance. Everywhere the winter is cold and the summer hot, both varying in their duration, but differing relatively little in the extremes of temperature recorded. There is no place in Russia, Archangel and Astrakhan included, where the thermometer does not rise in summer nearly to 86° Fahr. and descend in winter to -13° and -22°. It is only on the Black Sea coast that the absolute range of temperature does not exceed 108°, while in the remainder of Russia it reaches 126° to 144°, the oscillations being between -22° and -31°, occasionally going down as low as -54°, and rising as high as 86° to 104°, or even 109°. Everywhere the rainfall is small: if Finland and Poland on the one hand and Caucasia with the Caspian depression on the other be excluded, the average yearly rainfall varies between 16 and 28 in. Nowhere does the maximum rainfall take place in winter (as in W. Europe), but it occurs in summer, and everywhere the months of advanced spring are warmer than the corresponding months of autumn.
Though thus exhibiting the distinctive features of a continental climate, Russia does not lie altogether outside the reach of the moderating influence of the ocean. The Atlantic cyclones penetrate to the Russian plains, mitigating to some extent the cold of winter, and in summer bringing with them their moist winds and thunderstorms. Their influence is chiefly felt in W. Russia, though it does reach as far as the Urals and beyond. They thus check the extension and limit the duration of the cold anticyclones.
Throughout Russia the winter is of long duration. The last days of frost are experienced for the most part in April, but as late as May to the N. of 55° N. The spring is exceptionally beautiful in central Russia; late as it usually is, it sets in with vigour, and vegetation develops with a rapidity which gives to this season in Russia a special charm, unknown in warmer climates. The rapid melting of the snow at the same time causes the rivers to swell, and renders a great many minor streams navigable for a few weeks. But a return of cold weather, injurious to vegetation, is very frequently observed in central and E. Russia between May the 18th and the 24th, so that it is only in June that warm weather sets in definitely, and it reaches its maximum in the first half of July (or of August on the Black Sea coast). In S.E. Russia the summer is much warmer than in the corresponding latitudes of France, and really hot weather is experienced everywhere. It does not, however, prevail for long, and in the first half of September frosts begin on the middle Urals. They descend upon W. and S. Russia in the beginning of October, and are felt on the Caucasus about the middle of November. The temperature drops so rapidly that a month later, about October the 10th on the middle Urals and November the 15th throughout Russia, the thermometer ceases to rise above the freezing-point. The rivers freeze rapidly; towards November 20th all the streams of the White Sea basin are ice-bound, and so remain for an average of 167 days; those of the Baltic, Black Sea and Caspian basins freeze later, but about December the 20th nearly all the rivers of the country are highways for sledges. The Volga remains frozen for a period varying between 150 days in the N. and 90 days at Astrakhan, the Don for 100 to 110 days, and the Dnieper for 83 to 122 days. On the W. Dvina ice prevents navigation for 125 days, and even the Vistula at Warsaw remains frozen for 77 days. The lowest temperatures are experienced in January, the average being as low as 20° to 5° Fahr. throughout ussia; in the, west only does it rise above 22°. On the whole, February and March continue to be cold, and their average temperatures rise above zero nowhere except on the Black Sea coast. Even at Kiev and Lugañsk the average of March is below 30°, while in central Russia it is 25° to 22°, and as low as 20° and 16° at Samara and Orenburg.
All Russia is comprised between the isotherms of 32° and 54°. On the whole, they are more remote from one another than even on the plains of N. America, those of 46° to 32° being distributed over twenty degrees of latitude. They are, on the whole, inclined towards the S. in E. Russia; thus the isotherm of 39° runs from St Petersburg to Orenburg, and that of 35° from Torneå in Finland to Uralsk. The inflexion is still greater for the winter isotherms. Closely following one another, they run almost N. and S.; thus Odessa and Königsberg are situated on the same winter isotherm of 28°; St Petersburg, Orel and the mouth of the Ural river on about 20°; and Mezeñ and Ufa on 9°. The summer isotherms cross the winter isotherms nearly at right angles, so that Kiev and Ufa, Warsaw and Tobolsk, Riga and the upper Kama have the same average summer temperatures of 64°, 62½° and 61° respectively.
The laws and relations of the cyclones and anti-cyclones in Russia are not yet thoroughly understood. It appears, however, that in January the cyclones mostly travel across N.W. Russia (N. of 55° and W. of 40° E.), following directions which vary between N.E. and S.E. In July they are pushed farther towards the N., and cross the Gulf of Bothnia, while another series of cyclones sweep across middle Russia, between 50° and 55° N. Nor are the laws of the anti-cyclones established. The winds closely depend on the routes followed by both. Generally, however, it may be said that alike in January and in July W. and S.W. winds prevail in W. Russia, while E. winds are most common in S.E. Russia. N. winds are predominant on the Black Sea coast. The strength of the wind is greater, on the whole, than in the continental parts of W. Europe, and it attains its maximum velocity in winter. Terrible tempests blow from October to March, especially on the S. steppes and on the tundras. Hurricanes accompanied with snow (burans, myatels), and lasting from two to three days, or N. blizzards without snow, are especially dangerous to man and beast. The average relative moisture reaches 80 to 85% in the N., and only 70 to 81% in S. and E. Russia. In the steppes it is only 60% during summer, and still less (57) at Astrakhan. The average amount of cloud is 73 to 75% on the White Sea and in Lithuania, 68 to 64 in central Russia, and only 59 to 53 in the S. and S.E. The amount of rainfall is shown in the Table on next page.
The flora of Russia, which represents an intermediate link between the flora of Germany and the flora of Siberia, is strikingly uniform Flora. over a very large area. Though not poor at any given place, it appears so if the space occupied by Russia be taken into account, only 3300 species of phanerogams and ferns being known. Four regions may be distinguished: the Arctic, the Forest, the Steppe and the Circum-Mediterranean.
|Average Temperatures.||Average Rainfall|
|Year.||January.||July.||Year.|| November |
|St Petersburg||59 57||20||38.4||15.0||64.0||18.3||5.3|
The Arctic Region comprises the tundras of the Arctic littoral beyond the N. limit of the forests, which closely follows the coastline, with deviations towards the N. in the river valleys (70° N. in Finland and on the Arctic Circle about Archangel, 68° N. on the Urals, 71° in W. Siberia). The shortness of the summer, the deficiency of drainage and the depth to which the soil freezes in winter, are the circumstances which determine the characteristic features of the vegetation of the tundras. Their flora is far closer akin to the floras of N. Siberia and N. America than to that of central Europe. Mosses and lichens are distinctive, as also are the birch, the dwarf willow and several shrubs; but where the soil is drier, and humus has been able to accumulate, a variety of herbaceous flowering plants, some of them familiar in W. Europe, make their appearance. Only 275 to 280 phanerogams are found within this region.
The Forest Region of the Russian botanists includes the greater part of the country, from the Arctic tundras to the steppes, and over this immense expanse it maintains a remarkable uniformity of character. Beketov subdivides it into two portions—the forest region proper and the “Ante-Steppe” (predstepie). The N. limit of the ante-steppe is represented by a line drawn from the Pruth through Zhitomir, Kursk, Tambov and Stavropol-on-Volga to the sources of the Ural river. But the forest region proper presents a different aspect in the N. from that in the S., and must in turn be subdivided into two parts—the coniferous region and the region of the oak forests—these being separated by a line drawn through Pskov, Kostroma, Kazañ and Ufa. Of course the oak occurs farther N. than this, and coniferous forests extend farther S., advancing even to the border-region of the steppes. To the N. of this line the forests are of great extent and densely grown, more frequently diversified by marshes than by meadows or cultivated fields. Vast and impenetrable forests, impassable marches and thickets, numerous lakes, swampy meadows, with cleared and dry spaces here and there occupied by villages, are the leading features of this region. Fishing and hunting are the most important sources of livelihood. The characteristics of the oak region, which comprises all central Russia, are totally different. The surface is undulatory; marshy meadow lands no longer exist on the flat watersheds, and only a few in the deeper and broader river valleys. Forests are still numerous where they have not been destroyed by the hand of man, but their character has changed. Conifers are rare, and the Scotch pine, which is abundant on the sandy plains, takes the place of the Abies. The forests are composed of the birch, oak and other deciduous trees, the soil is dry, and the woodlands are divided by green prairies. Viewed from rising ground, the landscape presents a pleasing variety of cornfield and forest, while the horizon is broken by the bell-towers of the numerous villages strung along the banks of the streams.
Viewed as a whole, the flora of the forest region is to be regarded as European-Siberian; and, though certain species disappear towards the E., while new ones make their appearance, it maintains, on the whole, the same features throughout from Poland to Kamchatka. Thus the beech (Fagus sylvatica) is unable to survive the continental climate of Russia, and does not penetrate beyond Poland and the S.W. provinces, reappearing again in the Crimea. The silver fir does not extend over Russia, and the oak does not cross the Urals. On the other hand, several Asiatic species (Siberian pine, larch, cedar) grow freely in the N.E., while numerous shrubs and herbaceous plants, originally from the Asiatic steppes, have found their way into the S.E. But all these do not greatly alter the general character of the vegetation. The coniferous forests of the north contain, besides conifers, the birch (Betula alba, B. pubescent, B. fruticosa and B. verrucosa), which extends from the Pechora to the Caucasus, the aspen, two species of alder, the mountain-ash (Sorbus aucuparia), the wild cherry and three species of willow. S. of 62°-64° N. appears the lime tree, which multiplies rapidly and, notwithstanding the rapidity with which it is being exterminated, constitutes entire forests in the east (central Volga, Ufa). Farther S. the ash (Fraxinus excelsior) and the oak make their appearance, the latter (Quercus pedunculata) reaching in isolated groups and single trees as far N. as St Petersburg and South Finland (Q. Robur appears only in the S.W.). The hornbeam is prevalent in the Ukraine, and the maple begins to appear in the S. of the coniferous region. In the forest region no fewer than 772 flowering species are found, of which 568 dicotyledons occur in the Archangel government (only 436 to the E. of the White Sea, which is a botanical limit for many species). In central Russia the species become still more numerous, and, though the local floras are not yet complete, they number 850 to 1050 species in the separate governments, and about 1600 in the best explored parts of the S.W. Corn is cultivated throughout this region. Its N. limits advance almost to the Arctic coast at Varanger Fjord, farther E. they hardly reach N. of Archangel, and the limit is still lower towards the Urals. The N. boundary of rye closely corresponds to that of barley. Wheat is cultivated in S. Finland, but in W. Russia it hardly gets N. of 58° N. Its true domains are the oak region and the steppes. Fruit trees are cultivated as far as 62° N. in Finland, and as far as 58° in the E. Apricots and walnuts flourish at Warsaw, but in Russia they do not thrive beyond 50°. Apples, pears and cherries are grown throughout the oak region.
The Region of the Steppes, which is coincident with the whole of S. Russia, may be subdivided into two zones—an intermediate zone and that of the steppes proper. The ante-steppe of the preceding region and the intermediate zone of the steppes include those tracts in which the W. European climate contends against the Asiatic, and where a struggle is carried on between the forest and the steppe. It is comprised between the summer isotherms of 59° and 63°, being bounded on the S. by a line which runs through Ekaterinoslav and Lugañsk. S. of this line begin the steppes proper, which extend to the sea and penetrate to the foot of the Caucasus.
The steppes proper are very fertile, elevated plains, slightly undulating, and intersected by numerous ravines which are dry in summer. The undulations are scarcely apparent. Not a tree is to be seen, the few woods and thickets being hidden in the depressions and deep valleys of the rivers. On the thick layer of black earth by which the steppe is covered a luxuriant vegetation develops in spring; after the old grass has been burned a bright green prevails over immense stretches, but this rapidly disappears under the burning rays of the sun and the hot E. winds. The colouring of the steppe changes as if by magic, and only the silvery plumes of the steppe-grass (Stipa pennata) wave in the wind, tinting the steppe a bright yellow. For days together the traveller sees no other vegetation; even this, however, disappears as he approaches the regions recently left dry by the Caspian, where saline clays, bearing a few Salsolaceae, or mere sand, take the place of the black earth. Here begins the Aral-Caspian desert. The steppe, however, is not so devoid of trees as at first sight appears. Innumerable clusters of wild cherries (Prunus Chamaecerasus), wild apricots (Amygdalus nana), the Siberian pea-tree (Caragana frutescens), and other deep-rooted shrubs grow at the bottoms of the depressions and on the slopes of the ravines, imparting to the steppe that charm which manifests itself in the popular poetry. Unfortunately the spread of cultivation is fatal to these oases (they are often called “islands” by the inhabitants); the axe and the plough ruthlessly destroy them.
The vegetation in the marshy bottoms of the ravines and in the valleys of the streams and rivers is totally different. The moist soil encourages luxuriant thickets of willows (Salicineae), surrounded by dense chevaux-de-frise of wormwood and thorn-bearing Compositae, and interspersed with rich but not extensive prairies, harbouring a great variety of herbaceous plants; while in the deltas of the Black Sea rivers impenetrable beds of reeds (Arundo phragmites) shelter a forest fauna. But cultivation rapidly changes the physiognomy of the steppe. The prairies are superseded by wheat-fields, and flocks of sheep destroy the true steppe-grass (Stipa pennata).
A great many species unknown in the forest region make their appearance in the steppes. The Scotch pine still grows on all sandy spaces, and the maple (Acer tatarica and A. campestre), the hornbeam and the black and white poplar are very common. The number of species of herbaceous plants rapidly increases, while beyond the Volga a variety of Asiatic species are added to the W. European flora.
The Circum-Mediterranean Region is represented by a narrow strip on the S. coast of the Crimea, where a climate similar to that of the Mediterranean coast has permitted the development of a flora closely resembling that of the valley of the Arno in Italy. Human cultivation has destroyed the abundant forests which sixty years ago made deer-hunting possible at Khersones. The olive and the chestnut are rare; but the beech reappears, and the Pinus pinaster recalls the Italian pines. At a few points, such as Nikita near Livadia and Alupka, where plants have been acclimatized by human agency, the Californian Wellingtonia, the Lebanon cedar, many evergreen trees, the laurel, the cypress, and even the Anatolian palm (Chamaerops excelsa) flourish. The grass vegetation is very rich, and, according to lists still incomplete, no fewer than 1654 flowering plants are known. But on the whole, the Crimean flora has little in common with that of the Caucasus.
Russia belongs to the same zoo-geographical region as central Europe and N. Asia, the same fauna extending in Siberia as far Fauna. as the Yenisei and the Lena. In the forests not many animals which have disappeared from W. Europe have held their ground; while in the Urals only a few—now Siberian, but formerly also European—are met with. In S.E. Russia, however, towards the Caspian, there is a notable admixture of Asiatic species. Three separate sub-regions may, however, be distinguished on the E. European plains—the tundras, including the Arctic islands, the forest region, especially the coniferous part of it, and the ante-steppe and steppes of the black earth region. The Ural Mountains might be distinguished as a fourth sub-region, while the S. coast of the Crimea and Caucasia, as well as the Caspian deserts, have each their own individuality.
The fauna of the Arctic Ocean off the Norwegian coast corresponds, in its W. parts at least, to that of the N. Atlantic Gulf Stream. The White Sea and the Arctic Ocean to the E. of Svyatoi Nos on the Kola peninsula belong to a separate zoological region, connected with, and hardly separable from, that part of the Arctic Ocean which washes the Siberian coast as far as the mouth of the Lena. The Black Sea, the fauna of which appears to be very rich, belongs to the Mediterranean region, slightly modified, while the Caspian partakes of the characteristic fauna inhabiting the lakes and seas of the Aral-Caspian depression.
In the region of the tundras life has to contend with such unfavourable conditions that it cannot be abundant. Still, the reindeer frequents it for its lichens, and on the drier slopes of the moraine deposits there occur four species of lemming, hunted by the Arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus). The willow-grouse (Lagopus albus), the ptarmigan (L. alpinus or mutus), the lark, the snow-bunting (Plectrophanes nivalis), two or three species of Sylvia, one Phylloscopus and a Motacilla must be added. Numberless aquatic birds visit it for breeding purposes. Ducks, divers, geese, gulls, all the Russian species of snipes and sandpipers (Limicolae, Tringae), &c., swarm on the marshes of the tundras and on the crags of the Lapland coast.
The forest region, and especially its coniferous portion, though it has lost some of its representatives within historic times, still possesses an abundant fauna. The reindeer, rapidly disappearing, is now met with only in the governments of Olonets and Vologda; Cervus pygargus is found everywhere, and reaches Novgorod. The weasel, the fox and the hare are exceedingly common, as also are the wolf and the bear in the N., but the glutton (Gulo borealis), the lynx and the elk (C. alces) are rapidly disappearing. The wild boar is confined to the basin of the W. Dvina, and the Bison europea to the Byelovyezh forest in Grodno. The sable has quite disappeared, being found only on the Urals; the beaver may be trapped at a few places in Minsk, and the otter is very rare. On the other hand, the hare, grey partridge (Perdix cinerea), hedgehog, quail, lark, rook and stork find their way into the coniferous region as the forests are cleared. The avifauna of this region is very rich; it includes all the forest and garden birds known in W. Europe, as well as a very great variety of aquatic birds. A list, still incomplete, of the birds of St Petersburg runs to 251 species. Hunting and shooting give occupation to a great number of persons. The reptiles are few. As for fishes, all those of W. Europe, except the carp, are met with in the lakes and rivers in immense quantities, the characteristic feature of the region being its wealth in Coregoni and in Salmonidae generally.
In the ante-steppe the forest species proper, such as Pteromys valans and Tamias striatus, disappear, but common squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris), weasel and bear are still met with in the forests. The hare is increasing rapidly, as well as the fox. The avifauna, of course, becomes poorer; nevertheless, the woods of the steppe, and still more the forests of the ante-steppe, give refuge to many birds, even to hazel-hen (Tetrao bonasa), capercailzie (T. tetrix) and woodcock (T. urogallus). The fauna of the scrub in the river valleys is decidedly rich, and includes aquatic birds. The destruction of the forests and the advance of wheat into the prairies are rapidly thinning the steppe fauna. The various species of rapacious animals are disappearing, together with the colonies of marmots; the insectivores are also becoming scarce in consequence of the destruction of insects; while vermin, such as the suslik, or pouched marmot (Spermophilus), and the destructive insects which are a scourge to agriculture, become a real plague. The absence of Coregoni is a characteristic feature of the fish-fauna of the steppes; the carp, on the contrary, reappears, and the rivers abound in sturgeon (Acipenseridae). In the Volga below Nizhniy-Novgorod the sturgeon (Acipenser ruthenus), and others of the same family, as well as a very great variety of ganoids and Teleostei, appear in such quantities that they give occupation to nearly 100,000 people. The mouths of the Caspian rivers are especially celebrated for their wealth of fish.
Ethnography.—Remains of Palaeolithic man, contemporary with the large Quaternary mammals, are few in Russia; they have been discovered only in Poland, Poltava and Voronezh, and perhaps also on the Oka. Those of the later Lacustrine period, on the contrary, are so numerous that there is scarcely one lacustrine basin in the regions of the Oka, the Kama, the Dnieper, not to speak of the lake-region itself, and even the White Sea coasts, where remains of, Neolithic man have not been discovered. The Russian plains have been, however, the scene of so many migrations of successive races, that at many places a series of deposits belonging to widely distant epochs are found one upon another. Settlements belonging to the Stone age, and manufactories of stone implements, burial-grounds of the Bronze epoch, earthen forts and burial-mounds (kurgans)—of this last four different types are known, the earliest belonging to the Bronze period—are superposed, rendering the task of unravelling their several relations one of great difficulty.
Two different races—a brachycephalic and a dolichocephalic—can be distinguished among the remains of the earlier Stone period (Lacustrine period) as having inhabited the plains of E. Europe. But they are separated by so many generations from the earliest historic times that sure conclusions regarding them are impossible; at all events, as yet Russian archaeologists are not agreed as to whether the ancestors of the Slavs were Sarmatians only or Scythians also, whose skulls have nothing in common with those of the Mongol race. The earliest data which may be regarded as established belong to the 1st century, when the Finns migrated from the N. Dvina region towards the W., and the Sarmatians were compelled to abandon the region of the Don, and cross the Russian steppes from E. to W., under the pressure of the Aorzes (the Mordvinian Erzya) and Siraks, who in their turn were soon followed by the Huns and Uigur-Turkish Avars.
In the 7th century S. Russia was the seat of the empire of the Khazars, who drove the Bulgarians, descendants of the Huns, from the Don, one section of them migrating up the Volga to found there the Bulgarian empire, and the remainder travelling towards the Danube. This migration compelled the N. Finns to advance farther W., and a body of intermingled Tavasts and Karelians penetrated to the S. of the Gulf of Finland.
As early as the 8th century, and probably still earlier, a stream of Slav colonization, advancing E. from the Danube, poured over the plains of S.W. Russia. It is also most probable that another similar stream—the N., coming from the Elbe, through the basin of the Vistula—ought to be distinguished. In the 9th century the Slavs occupied the upper Vistula, the S. of the Russian lacustrine region, and the W. of the central plateau. They had Lithuanians to the W.; various Finnish tribes, intermingled towards the S.E. with Turkish (the present Bashkirs); the Bulgars, whose origin still remains doubtful, on the middle Volga and Kama; and to the S.E. the Turkish-Mongol races of the Pechenegs, Polovtsi, Uzes, &c., while in the S., along the Black Sea, was the empire of the Khazars, who had under their rule several Slav tribes, and perhaps also some of Finnish origin. In the 9th century also the Ugrians are supposed to have left their Ural abodes and to have traversed S.E. and S. Russia on their way to the basin of the Danube. If the Slavs be subdivided into three branches—the W. (Poles, Czechs and Wends), the S. (Servians, Bulgarians, Croatians, &c.), and the E. (Great, Little and White Russians), it will be seen that, with the exception of some 3,000,000 Little Russians, now settled in East Galicia and in Poland, and of a few on the southern slope of the Carpathians, the whole of the E. Slavs occupy, as a compact body, W., central and S. Russia.
Like other races of mankind, the Russian race is not pure. The Russians have absorbed and assimilated in the course of their history a variety of Finnish and Turko-Finnish elements. Still, craniological researches show that, notwithstanding this fact, the Slav type has been maintained with remarkable persistency: Slav skulls ten and thirteen centuries old exhibit the same anthropological features as those which characterize the Slavs of our own day. This may be explained by a variety of causes, of which the chief is the maintenance by the Slavs down to a very late period of gentile or tribal organization and gentile marriages, a fact vouched for, not only in the pages of the Russian chronicler Nestor, but still more by visible social evidences, the gens later developing into the village community, and the colonization being carried on by large co-ordinated bodies of people. The Russians do not emigrate as isolated individuals; they migrate in whole villages. The overwhelming numerical superiority of the Slavs, and the very great differences in ethnical type, belief and mythology between the Indo-European and the Ural-Altaic races, may have contributed to the same end. Moreover, while a Russian man, far away from home among Siberians, readily marries a native, the Russian woman seldom does the like. All these causes, and especially the first-mentioned, have enabled the Slavs to maintain their ethnical purity in a relatively high degree, whereby they have been enabled to assimilate foreign elements and make them intensify or improve the ethnical type, without giving rise to half-breed races. The very same N. Russian type has thus been maintained from Novgorod to the Pacific, with but minor differentiations on the outskirts—and this notwithstanding the great variety of races with which the Russians have come into contact. But a closer observation of what is going on in the recently colonized confines of the empire—where whole villages live without mixing with the natives, but slowly bringing them over to the Russian manner of life, and then slowly taking in a few female elements from them—gives the key to this feature of Russian life.
Not so with the national customs. There are features—the wooden house, the oven, the bath—which the Russian never abandons, even when swamped in an alien population. But when settled among these the Russian—the N. Russian—readily adapts himself to many other differences. He speaks Finnish with Finns, Mongolian with Buriats, Ostiak with Ostiaks; he shows remarkable facility in adapting his agricultural practices to new conditions, without, however, abandoning the village community; he becomes hunter, cattle-breeder or fisherman, and carries on these occupations according to local usage; he modifies his dress and adapts his religious beliefs to the locality he inhabits. In consequence of all this, the Russian peasant (not, be it noted, the trader) proves himself to be an excellent colonist.
Three different branches can be distinguished among the Russians from the dawn of their history:—the Great Russians, the Little Subdivisions of Russians. Russians (Malorusses or Ukrainians), and the White Russians (the Byelorusses). These correspond to the two currents of immigration mentioned above—the N. and S., with perhaps an intermediate stream, the proper place of of the White Russians not having been as yet exactly determined. The primary distinctions between these branches have been increased during the last nine centuries by their contact with different nationalities—the Great Russians absorbing Finnish elements, the Little Russians undergoing an admixture of Turkish blood, and the White Russians submitting to Lithuanian influence. Moreover, notwithstanding the unity of language, it is easy to detect among the Great Russians themselves two separate branches, differing from one another by slight divergences of language and type and deep diversities of national character—the Central Russians and the Novgorodians. The latter extend throughout N. Russia into Siberia. Many minor anthropological differentiae can be distinguished among both the Great and the Little Russians, depending probably on the assimilation of various minor subdivisions of the Ural-Altaians.
The Great Russians occupy in one compact mass the space enclosed by a line drawn from the White Sea to Lake Pskov, the upper courses of the W. Dvina and the Donets, and thence, through the mouth of the Sura, by the Vetluga, to the Mezeñ. To the E. of this boundary they are intermingled with Turko-Finns, but in the Ural mountains they reappear in a second compact body, and thence extend through S. Siberia and along the courses of the Lena and the Amur. Great Russian Nonconformists are disseminated among Little Russians in the governments of Chernigov and Mogilev, and they reappear in greater masses in Novoroissa (i.e. S. Russia), as also in N. Caucasia.
The Little Russians occupy the steppes of S. Russia, the S.W. slopes of the central plateau and those of the Carpathian and Lublin mountains, and the Carpathian plateau, that is, the governments of Podolia, Volhynia, Poltava, and Kiev. The Zaporozhian Cossacks colonized the steppes farther E., towards the Don, where they met with a large population of Great Russian runaways, constituting the present Don Cossacks. The Zaporozhian Cossacks, sent by Catherine II. to colonize the E. coast of the Sea of Azov, constituted there the Black Sea and later the Kubañ Cossacks (part of whom, the Nekrasovsty, migrated to Turkey). They have also peopled large parts of the government of Stavropol and of N. Caucasia.
The White Russians, intermingled to some extent with Great and Little Russians, Poles and Lithuanians, occupy the upper parts of the W. slope of the central plateau.
The Finnish races, which in prehistoric times extended from the Ob all over N. Russia, even then were subdivided into Ugrians, Permyaks, Bulgarians and Finns proper, who drove back the previous Lapp population from what is now Finland, and about the 7th century, penetrated to the S. of the Gulf of Finland, in the region of the Livs and Kurs, where they fused to some extent with the Lithuanians and the Letts. At present the races of Finnish origin are represented in Russia by the following: (a) the W. Finns; the Tavasts, in central Finland; the Kvaens, in N.W. Finland; the Karelians, in the E., who also occupy the lake regions of Olonets and Archangel, and have settlements in Novgorod and Tver; the Izhores, on the Neva and the S.E. coast of the Gulf of Finland; the Esths, in Esthonia and the N. of Livonia; the Livs, on the Gulf of Riga; and the Kurs, intermingled with the Letts; (b) the N. Finns, or Lapps, in N. Finland and on the Kola peninsula, and the Samoyedes in Archangel and W. Siberia; (c) the Volga Finns, or rather the old Bulgarian branch, to which belong the Mordvinians, and the Cheremisses in Kazañ, Kostroma and Vyatka, though they are classified by some authors with the following: (d) the Permyaks, or Cis-Uralian Finns, including the Votiaks on the E. of Vyatka, the Permyaks in Perm, the Syryenians or Zyryans in Vologda, Archangel, Vyatka and Perm; (e) the Ugrians, or Trans-Uralian Finns, including the Voguls on both slopes of the Urals, the Ostiaks in Tobolsk and partly in Tomsk, and the Magyars, or Ugrians.
The following are the chief subdivisions of the Turko-Tatars in European Russia:—(1) The Tatars, of whom three different branches must be distinguished: (a) the Kazañ Tatars on both banks of the Volga, below the mouth of the Oka, and on the lower Kama, but penetrating farther S. in Ryazañ, Tambov, Samara, Simbirsk and Penza; (b) the Tatars of Astrakhan at the mouth of the Volga; and (c) those of the Crimea, a great many of whom emigrated to Turkey after the Crimean War (1854-56). There are, besides, a certain number of Tatars in the S.E. in Minsk, Grodno and Vilna. (2) The Bashkirs, who inhabit the slopes of the S. Urals, that is, the steppes of Ufa and Orenburg, extend also into Perm and Samara. (3) The Chuvashes, on the right bank of the Volga, in Kazañ and Simbirsk. (4) The Meshcheryaks, a tribe of Finnish origin who formerly inhabited the basin of the Oka, and, driven thence during the 15th century by the Russian colonists, immigrated into Ufa and Perm, where they now live among the Baskhirs, having adopted their religion and customs. (5) The Teptyars, also of Finnish origin, It is this political rather than religious spirit which also underlies the repressive attitude of the government, and of the The Raskolniki. Orthodox Church as the organ of the government, towards the various dissident sects (Raskolniki, from raskol, schism), which for more than two centuries past have played an important part in the popular life of Russia, and, since the political developments of the end of the 19th and early years of the 20th century, have tended to do so more and more. To understand the problem of the Raskolniki it is necessary to bear two things in mind: the fundamental principle of Eastern Orthodoxy as distinct from Western Catholicism, and the practical identification in Russia of the National Church with the National State. The very basis of Orthodoxy is that the Church is by Christ's ordinance unalterable, that its traditional forms, every one of which is a vehicle of saving grace, were established in the beginning by Christ and his apostles, and that consequently nothing may be added or altered. The trouble began early in the 17th century with the attempt, made in connexion with the printing of the liturgical books, to emend certain ritual details in which there was proved to have been a departure from primitive usage; it came to a head under the patriarch Nikon (q.v.). Under his influence a synod endorsed the changes in 1654; one bishop alone, Paul, of Colomna, dissented, and he was deposed, knouted and kept in prison till he died mad. In 1656 the synod anathematized the adherents of the old forms, and the anathema was confirmed by those of 1666 and 1667. To the conservatives, known subsequently as Old Ritualists or Old Believers, this marked the beginning of the reign of Antichrist (was not 666 the number of the Beast?); but they continued the struggle, conservative opposition to the Westernizing policy of the tsars, which was held responsible for the introduction of Polish luxury and Latin heresy, giving it a political as well as a religious character. The rising of the Strelitsi in 1682 all but gave them the victory; the crushing of the rising relegated them definitely to the status of schismatics. They were placed in still completer antagonism to the established Orthodox Church by the innovations of Peter the Great. The Muscovite tsars had pursued them with fire and sword. The Russian emperors, having established themselves as heads of the Church and the Holy Synod as a state department, were not likely willingly to tolerate their existence.
The Raskol was threatened with extinction by the gradual dying out of its priests, which led to a further schism, within itself, into the Popovshchina (with priests) and the Bezpopovshchina (without priests). The Popovsti, who were served by priests converted from the Orthodox Church, made their headquarters in the island of Werka, in a tributary of the Dnieper, in Poland (1695), and after its destruction by the government in 1735 and again in 1764, at Starodubye in the government of Chernigov, whence their doctrine spread in the country of the Don. In 1771 their headquarters were fixed at Moscow, in the Rogoshkiy cemetery assigned to them during the plague; here they had a monastery, seminary and consistory, until they were ejected by the emperor Nicholas I. In 1832 priests were forbidden to join them, and they had to apply to a deposed Bosnian metropolitan, who became their chief bishop, establishing his see in the monastery of Belokrinitsa in Bukovina. In 1862 the synod of the Popovshchina passed a circular letter making advances to the government with a view to a compromise, which was arranged on the basis of the Old Believers consenting to accept the ministrations of Orthodox priests on condition that they should use the unrevised books. This led to a further schism into three sections: those who recognize the metropolitan and the compromise (Edinovyertsi), those who recognize the metropolitan but repudiate the compromise, those who repudiate both (Bieglopopovtsi). There had already been other schisms on such questions as the right way to swing a censer and the legality of self-immolation for the Lord's sake.
The Bezpopovtsi, known also as Pomoranye, because they are mainly found in the sparsely populated country near the White Sea, are in some ways more remarkable. They reject the ministration of priests altogether, since in the time of Antichrist (i.e. the heretic tsar) the only sacrament that remains is baptism. They therefore elect elders, who expound the Scriptures, baptize and hear confessions. They are, however, in no sense evangelicals in the Western sense; for they observe rigorous fasts, reverence icons, and believe implicitly in the efficacy of the multiplication of crossings, bowings and prostrations. They have, moreover, thrown off from time to time a number of extravagant offshoots. Such are the Philippovsti, founded by one Philip (who burned himself alive for Christ's sake in 1743), who have exalted self-immolation into a principle; the Stranniki (pilgrims) and Byeguni (runners), who interpret Matt. x. 37 ff. literally, and reject legal marriage; the Nyetovsti (denyers), who deny the necessity for common worship, since there are no priests; the Molchalyniki (mutes), whom no torture can persuade to utter a word.
Closely akin to these, though not derived from the Old Believers, are certain mystic sects which deny the efficacy of the sacraments altogether. Of these the most remarkable are the so-called Klilysti (“flagellants,” from klyesat, “to strike, lash,” but possibly a corruption of Khristi, “Christs”). They originated in 1645, when, according to their belief, God the Father descended in a chariot of fire on Mount Gorodim, in the province of Vladimir, and took up his abode in a peasant named Daniel Philippov, who chose another peasant, named Ivan Suslov, for his son, the Christ. Suslov selected a “mother of God” and twelve apostles. Though twice crucified and once flayed by order of the tsar, he always rose again, and did not die till 1716. Suslov chose a successor in one Prokopiy Lupkin, and since then—in the belief of the sect—every generation, even every community, has had its Christ and its “mother of God,” who are worshipped by reason of the Divine Spirit dwelling in them. It is the duty of all believers to strive to become one or other of these by subduing the flesh, which is the product of Evil, and all motions of the will. Each community is presided over by an “angel,” or prophet, and a prophetess, whose word is law. All alike are subject to the twelve commandments issued by the “Sabaoth,” that is to say Daniel Philippov. These include the prohibition of alcoholic drink, of fleshly sins and of marriage, and the inculcation of faith in the Holy Ghost and complete surrender to his influence. At their prayer meetings the Khlysti dance to the accompaniment of hymns, the dance gradually developing into a wild dervish-like spinning which is kept up till they drop, foaming at the mouth and prophesying. Perhaps the most remarkable fact about this sect is that it is secret, and that its members ostensibly belong to the Orthodox Church.
An offshoot of the Khlysti is the more celebrated secret sect of the Skoptsi (skopets, a eunuch), which represents an extreme ascetic reaction from the promiscuous immorality of some (by no means all) of the Khlysti. Their idea of attaining salvation is self-mutilation according to the counsel of perfection implied in Matt. xix. 12 and xviii. 8, 9. The “royal seal” is complete self-castration; partial mutilation is known as the “second purity.” In the case of women the mutilation usually takes the form of amputation of the breasts. This horrible sect, which was founded by one Selivanov in the last quarter of the 18th century, seems to have a morbid attraction for people of all classes in Russia, and all the efforts of the government have not succeeded in stamping it out (see Skoptsi).
Closer akin to certain Western forms of dissidence from traditional Catholicism, though of native growth, are the Molokani, so called popularly because they continue to drink milk (moloko) during fasts. Their origin is unknown, but they are officially mentioned as early as 1765. They style themselves “truly spiritual Christians,” and in their rejection of the sacraments, their indifference to outward forms, and their insistence on the spiritual interpretation of the Bible (“the letter killeth”), they are closely akin to the Quakers, whom they resemble also in their inoffensive mode of life and the practice of mutual help. From the Molokani the Dukhobortsi, in England better known as Doukhobors (q.v.), are distinguished by their subordination of the Scriptures to the authority of the “inner light.” They are dualists, like the Bogomils (q.v.), ascribing the body to a fall from a state when the soul was on the same plane as God. The Incarnation was no isolated historical occurrence, but it is repeated over and over again in the faithful, each one of whom is in a certain sense God, by virtue of the indwelling Spirit. Both the Molokani and the Dukhobortsi deny the authority of the civil government as such, and object on principle to military service. The former, however, give little trouble; on the other hand, the government has from time to time proceeded with extreme severity against the Dukhobortsi, whose refusal to serve in the army, if allowed to go unpunished, would have set a contagious example.
Dissidence of all kinds has made a considerable advance since the emancipation of the serfs in 1861, the increase—as might be expected in a wholly illiterate population—being greatest in the more extravagant sects. On the other hand, Western Protestantism has also made great headway, notably the Stundists, whose rationalistic-Protestant teaching has gained a firm foothold especially in Little Russia, where the Raskol never penetrated. The Baptists have also made considerable progress, notably among the Molokani.
Social Conditions.—The old subdivisions of the population into orders possessed of unequal rights is still maintained. The great mass of the people, 81.6%, belong to the peasant order, the others being: nobility, 1.3%; clergy, 0.9; the burghers and merchants, 9.3; and military, 6.1. Thus more than 88 millions of the Russians are peasants. Half of them were formerly serfs (10,447,149 males in 1858)—the remainder being “state peasants” (9,194,891 males in 1858, exclusive of the Archangel government) and “domain peasants” (842,740 males the same year).
The serfdom which had sprung up in Russia in the 16th century, and became consecrated by law in 1609, taking, however, nearly one hundred and fifty years to attain its full growth, was abolished in 1861. This act liberated the serfs from a yoke which was really terrible, even under the best landlords, and from this point of view it was obviously an immense benefit. But it was far from securing corresponding economic results.
The household servants or dependents attached to the personal service of their masters were merely set free; and they entirely went to reinforce the town proletariat. The peasants proper received their houses and orchards, and allotments of arable land. These allotments were given over to the rural commune (mir), which was made responsible, as a whole, for the payment of taxes for the allotments. For these allotments the peasants had to pay, as before, either by personal labour or by a fixed rent. The allotments could be redeemed by them with the help of the crown, and then they were freed from all obligations to the landlord. The crown paid the landlord in obligations representing the capitalized rent, and the peasants had to pay the crown, for forty-nine years, 6% interest on this capital. The redemption was not calculated on the value of the allotments of land, but was considered as a compensation for the loss of the compulsory labour of the serfs; so that throughout Russia, with the exception of a few provinces in the S.E., it was—and still remains, notwithstanding a very great increase in the value of land—much higher than the market value of the allotment. Moreover, many proprietors contrived to curtail seriously the allotments which the peasants had possessed under serfdom, and frequently they deprived them of precisely the parts which they were most in need of, namely, pasture lands around their houses, and forests. The effect of this, craftily calculated beforehand, was to compel the peasants to rent pasture lands from the landlord at any price.
The present condition of the peasants—according to official documents—appears to be as follows. In the twelve central governments they grow, on the average, sufficient rye-bread for only 200 days in the year—often for only 180 and 100 days. One quarter of them have received allotments of only 2.9 acres per male, and one-half less than 8.5 to 11.4 acres—the normal size of the allotment necessary to the subsistence of a family under the three-fields system being estimated at 28 to 42 acres. Land must thus of necessity be rented from the landlords at fabulous prices. The aggregate value of the redemption and land taxes often reaches 185 to 275% of the normal rental value of the allotments, not to speak of taxes for recruiting purposes, the church, roads, local administration and so on, chiefly levied from the peasants. The arrears increase every year; one-fifth of the inhabitants have left their houses; cattle are disappearing. Every year more than half the adult males (in some districts three-fourths of the men and one-third of the women) quit their homes and wander throughout Russia in search of labour. In the governments of the black-earth region the state of matters is hardly better. Many peasants took the “gratuitous allotments,” whose amount was about one-eighth of the normal allotments.
The average allotment in Kherson is only 0.90 acre, and for allotments from 2.9 to 5.8 acres the peasants pay 5 to 10 roubles of redemption tax. The state peasants are better off, but still they are emigrating in masses. It is only in the steppe governments that the situation is more hopeful. In Little Russia, where the allotments were personal (the mir existing only among state peasants), the state of affairs does not differ for the better, on account of the high redemption taxes. In the W. provinces, where the land was valued cheaper and the allotments somewhat increased after the Polish insurrection, the general situation might be better were it not for the former misery of the peasants. Finally, in the Baltic provinces nearly all the land belongs to the German landlords, who either farm the land themselves, with hired labourers, or let it in small farms. Only one-fourth of the peasants are farmers, the remainder being mere labourers, who are emigrating in great numbers.
The situation of the former serf-proprietors is also unsatisfactory. Accustomed to the use of compulsory labour, they have failed to accommodate themselves to the new conditions. The millions of roubles of redemption money received from the crown have been spent without any real or lasting agricultural improvements having been affected. The forests have been sold, and only those landlords are prospering who exact rack-rents for the land without which the peasants could not live upon their allotments. During the years 1861 to 1892 the land owned by the nobles decreased 30%, or from 210,000,000 to 150,000,000 acres; during the following four years an additional 2,119,500 acres were sold; and since then the sales have gone on at an accelerated rate, until in 1903 alone close upon 2,000,000 acres passed out of their hands. On the other hand, since 1861, and more especially since 1882, when the Peasant Land Bank was founded for making advances to peasants who were desirous of purchasing land, the former serfs, or rather their descendants, have between 1883 and 1904 bought about 19,500,000 acres from their former masters. There has been an increase of wealth among the few, but along with this a general impoverishment of the mass of the people, and the peculiar institution of the mir, framed on the principle of community of ownership and occupation of the land, was not conducive to the growth of individual effort. In November 1906, however, the emperor Nicholas II. promulgated a provisional ukaz permitting the peasants to become freeholders of allotments made at the time of emancipation, all redemption dues being remitted. This measure, which was endorsed by the third Duma in an act passed on the 21st of December 1908, is calculated to have far-reaching and profound effects upon the rural economy of Russia. Thirteen years previously the government had endeavoured to secure greater fixity and permanence of tenure by providing that at least twelve years must elapse between every two redistributions of the land belonging to a mir amongst those entitled to share in it. The ukaz of November 1906 had provided that the various strips of land held by each peasant should be merged into a single holding; the Duma, however, on the advice of the government, left this to the future, as an ideal that could only gradually be realized.
The co-operative spirit of the Great Russians shows itself in another sphere in the artel, which has been a prominent feature “Artels.” of Russian life since the dawn of history. The artel very much resembles the co-operative society of W. Europe, with this difference that it makes its appearance without any impulse from theory, simply as a spontaneous outgrowth of popular life. When workmen from any province come, for instance, to St Petersburg to engage in the textile industries, or to work as carpenters, masons, &c., they immediately unite in groups of ten to fifty persons, settle in a house together, keep a common table and pay each his part of the expense to the elected elder of the artel. All over Russia there is a network of such artels—in the cities, in the forests, on the banks of the rivers, on journeys and even in the prisons.
The industrial artel is almost as frequent as the preceding, in all those trades which admit of it. Artels of one or two hundred carpenters, bricklayers, &c., are common wherever new buildings have to be erected, or railways or bridges constructed; the contractors always prefer to deal with an artel, rather than with separate workmen. It is needless to add that the wages divided by the artels are higher than those earned by isolated workmen.
Finally, a great number of artels on the stock exchange, in the seaports, in the great cities, during the great fairs and on railways have grown up, and have acquired the confidence of tradespeople to such an extent that considerable sums of money and complicated banking operations are frequently handed over to an artelshik (member of an artel) without any receipt, his number or his name being accepted as sufficient guarantee. These artels are recruited only on personal acquaintance with the candidates for membership. Co-operative societies have also been organized by several zemstvos. They have achieved good results, but do not exhibit, on the whole, the same unity of organization as those which have arisen in a natural way among the peasants and artisans.
The chief occupation of approximately seven-eighths of the population of European Russia is agriculture, but its character Agriculture. varies considerably according to the soil, the climate and the geographical position of the different regions. A sinuous line drawn from Zhitomir via Kiev, Tula and Kazañ to Ufa—that is, from W.S.W. to E.N.E. separates the “northern soils” from the “southern soils.” To the S. of this line, as far as the sandy deserts of Astrakhan and the steppes of N. Caucasia, lies the black earth region. Broadly speaking, the forests here yield to steppes, and the soil is very fertile; but the whole region suffers periodically from drought. The “northern soils,” which are glacial deposits more or less redistributed by water, are much less fertile as a rule, and consist of all possible varieties from a tough boulder clay to loose sand. Both N. and S. of this line it is customary to distinguish several zones, lying, generally, parallel to it, and differentiated chiefly by climatic differences. In the tundras of the extreme N. agriculture does not exist; the reindeer constitutes the principal wealth of the nomad Samoyedes and Lapps. In the forest region S. of the tundras, which extends over an area of more than 500,000 sq. m., agriculture is carried on with great difficulty, not only because of the infertility of the soil, but also because of the severity of the climate and the fact that there are only three to four months in the year during which agriculture can be carried on. Apart from hunting and fishing, the exploitation of the forests provides the principal occupation of the inhabitants. Crops, chiefly barley, rye, oats, turnips and green crops, are, however, grown on clearings in the forest, though the yield is poor. S. of 60° N. agriculture becomes the predominant industry, while the exploitation of the forests plays only a secondary part. In this zone, which extends over an area of nearly 600,000 sq. m., and on the S. touches the agrarian line already mentioned, the principal crops are rye and oats, with barley and wheat coming next, though flax and green crops are also grown. Cattle have to be housed for the winter. In the W. of this zone, that is in the Baltic provinces, the climate is less severe as well as moister. Agriculture is carried on in a more intelligent manner, and the yield is higher. Flax is almost of as much importance as wheat, and the potato is more cultivated than in any other part of Russia. Hardy fruit thrives, and live-stock breeding prospers. In the W. governments of Kovno, Vitebsk, Vilna, Mogilev, Minsk and Grodno the climate is more temperate, but agriculture is more backward than in the Baltic provinces. The three-field system of cropping a patch of land until its fertility is exhausted, and then allowing it to revert to the primeval condition, is still pursued, and both landowners and peasantry suffer from want of capital and lack of agricultural training. Flax is one of the principal exports of this region, timber being another.
In middle Russia the winters are both longer and harder, and agriculture is consequently carried on under greater difficulties. One of the most serious of these is caused not by the unfavourable character of the climate but by the shortness of labour. Since their emancipation in 1861, the peasants of the central governments of Russia have in large numbers drifted away into the black earth zone, or have gone to the factories. The methods of agriculture are still unscientific and unprogressive. Rye is the staple crop, though buckwheat, flax, green crops and the potato are cultivated in considerable quantities.
Agriculture is most advanced in the W. of the black earth zone, that is in the governments of Kiev, Podolia, Poltava and in part of Kharkov. The winters are less severe, and modern agricultural machinery is generally employed, at all events on the larger estates. In consequence of these more favourable conditions there is greater variety in the cropping; a good deal of wheat is grown, as well as beetroot for sugar, fibre plants and oleaginous plants, fruit, and even (W. of the Dnieper) the vine. Live-stock breeding is likewise in a more prosperous condition. The rest of the black earth zone, which stretches from these governments N.E. to the Volga, is less favoured by nature; the winters are longer and more inclement, and droughts are not uncommon. When this happens there is great suffering from famine, for wheat is the crop upon which the people principally depend, though rye, buckwheat and oats are also cultivated. But a long course of continuous cropping with these grain crops, without affording compensation to the soil in the form of manure or deep cultivation, has so exhausted it that its productiveness has sadly deteriorated. The consequence is that the peasantry are constantly in a state bordering on destitution, and exposed to the horrors of famine, like those which visited them in 1890 and 1898, and threatened in 1907.
S. of the above zone come the S. steppes. In the W., in Bessarabia, the three chief products are maize, wine and hardy fruit, especially plums. Here the climate is temperate and fairly moist, but farther E. it is distinctly more arid. Wheat is the principal crop, with barley second. Water-melons, sun-flowers and flax, both the last two for oil, are usual crops. But the breeding of horses and sheep is of equal importance with agriculture. Here again both capital and labour are short, and the cultivation of the soil suffers from the fact that, owing to the absence of timber, dry dung is used for fuel instead of being employed as manure. The steppe conditions extend over the greater part of the Crimea and up to the foothills of the Caucasus. The actual distribution of arable land, forests and meadows, in European Russia and Poland is shown in the following table:—
|Meadows and pasturages||185,498,000||16||6,059,000||19|
The land in European Russia and Poland (Caucasia being excluded) is divided amongst the different classes of owners as follows:—
|State and imperial family||400,816,000||35||1,808,000||5½|
|Private owners, towns, &c.||245,835,000||21||15,106,000||47½|
|Unfit for cultivation||66,056,000||5½||1,389,000||4½|
Down to January 1st 1903, the peasants had actually redeemed out of the land allotted to them in 1861 a total of 280,530,516 acres. In Poland the peasants as a body have, in addition to the land thus assigned to them by the government, bought some 2½ million acres since 1863, and of this quantity they purchased no less than 1,600,000 acres, or 64% of the whole, between 1893 and 1905.
Taking the whole of European Russia and Poland, almost exactly two-thirds of the total area is sown every year with cereals. But generally in from 18 to 33 out of the 72 governments in European Russia (including Caucasia) and Poland the yield of cereals is not sufficient for the wants of the people. In 30 to 40 governments, however, there is in most years a surplus available for export. Out of the total acreage under cereals 34% is generally sown with rye, 26% with wheat, 20% with oats and 10½% with barley. Beetroot (6-8 million tons annually) for sugar is especially cultivated in Poland, the governments of Kiev, Podolia, Volhynia, Kharkov, Bessarabia and Kherson. About 100,000 tons of tobacco are grown annually in the S. Flax and hemp occupy considerable acreages in central and N.W. Russia. The vine is cultivated as far N. as 49° N. (in Bessarabia, Crimea, Don Cossacks territory and Caucasia), the annual production of wine amounting to 35-50 million gallons, three-fifths in Caucasia. Market-gardening and fruit-growing are profitable occupations in certain parts of S. and central Russia, and have led recently to the establishment of factories for canning fruit and for making jam and pickles. Transcaucasia supplies, chiefly from the government of Erivan, some 12,000 tons of raw cotton annually. The tea plant thrives and is being planted fairly rapidly on the Black Sea littoral in Transcaucasia.
Live-stock are diminishing in numbers all round: in the case of horses, from 21 per 100 inhabitants in 1882 to 11 per 100 inhabitants in 1904; of cattle, from 31 in 1851 to 23 in 1882 and 27 in 1904; sheep, from 56 to 46 and 41 in the years named respectively; and pigs, from 13 to 9 and 10 respectively. Recent investigations in the government of Moscow have revealed that 40% of the peasant households possessed no horses, and similar inquiries in 41 governments elicited the fact that 28% of the peasant households were without horses, although of the total number of horses in the country 82% belong to the peasantry. The animal commonly met with is small and possessed of very little strength; the best are those of Poland, the W. governments and the S. steppe country. Both the horses of the Cossacks and the bityug race of S. Russia are fine animals, and those of the Kirghiz, though not big, are famous for their endurance. Finland ponies are exported in large numbers. The best bred races of cattle are those of Poland, the W. provinces, Little Russia and the far N. (Kholmogory). Of the 55 million sheep kept in Russia only about 15 millions belong to the fine merino breed, and these are pastured chiefly on the Black Sea steppes. Modern dairy-farming is only just beginning in Russia, but butter is being exported in increasing quantities to W. Europe, including Great Britain. Poultry-farming is being more extensively engaged in, and vast numbers of eggs are exported.
Agriculture stands at a low level in Russia. The landowners are often poor, and suffer from want of capital and lack of enterprise. The peasantry are impoverished, and in many parts live on the verge of starvation for the greater part of the year. While the methods of agriculture have generally shown little, if any, advance, the population is increasing rapidly; and although since the emancipation of the peasants the average annual export of cereals has increased from less than 1½ million tons in 1860 to over 6 million tons in 1900, this result has been attained largely by the repeated cropping to exhaustion of the soil. Thus the cultivators, whether noble or peasant, have not profited much from the change in their economic circumstances brought about by the social emancipation of 1861. Agriculture suffers from the widespread poverty of the agricultural classes, from the taxation which weighs unjustly upon the peasantry, from their lack of education, their technical ignorance and national indolence, and from the absence of those progressive institutions (e.g. co-operative buying) by means of which the peasantry of Denmark have so wonderfully improved their position. As illustrating the general impoverishment of the Russian peasantry, it may be stated that the arrears of taxation owed by them have increased enormously since 1882, when they amounted to £2,854,000, until in 1900 the total amount was put at £15,222,000. And, strange to say, the heaviest arrears are due from the fertile black earth region of S. Russia, namely, 80% of their total indebtedness. Within recent years, however, some efforts have been made both by the Ministry of Agriculture and by the more enlightened of the zemstvos to improve the education of the peasantry, but the progress achieved has been small. The methods adopted by the zemstvos for improving the condition of agriculture have included the formation of agricultural councils, the appointment of inspectors, and the founding of museums, meteorological stations and depots for the sale of agricultural machinery. Measures are being taken by the zemstvos to increase the very low productivity of the forests. These cover a considerable area, as may be seen by the following table for 1904:—
|Region.||Square Miles.|| Percentage of |
The distribution of forests is very unequal, the area covered by them in the various governments varying from 70% of the total area in the Ural governments of Perm and Ufa, and 68% in Olonets and Archangel, down to 2% in the S.E. The state is the chief owner of forests (almost exclusive owner in Archangel), and owns no less than 289,226,000 acres in European Russia and Poland (235,000,000 acres of good forests), while private persons own 171,800,000 acres, the peasant communities 67,250,000 and the imperial family 22,400,000 acres.
Sericulture, which was in a flourishing condition in the 'sixties both in Caucasia and in S. Russia, was reduced to a very low ebb, in consequence of the silkworm disease, and was only renewed with any vigour towards the end of the 'eighties. At the beginning of the 20th century it was most developed in Transcaucasia (Kutais, Elisavetpol), and extended into N. Caucasia. Sericulture is taught in a number of special schools and in a great number of village schools. Attempts are being made to re-establish the silkworm industry in S. Russia and in Poland. Altogether raw silk and silk yarn to an annual value exceeding 1½ millions sterling are exported from Russia.
Notwithstanding the wealth of the country in minerals and metals of all kinds, and the endeavours made by government to Mining and related industries. encourage mining, including the imposition of protective tariffs even against Finland (in 1885), this and the related industries are still at a low stage of development. The remoteness of the mining from the industrial centres, the want of technical instruction and of capital, and the existence of vexatious regulations, aggravated by the disturbed condition of the country, which hinder credit, confidence and enterprise, are amongst the chief reasons for this. The imports of foreign metals in the rough and of coal are steadily increasing, while the exports, never otherwise than insignificant, show no advance. As a producer of iron Russia nevertheless runs France neck and neck for the fourth place amongst the iron-producing countries of the world, her annual output having increased from 1,004,800 metric tons in 1891 to 2,808,000 in 1901 and to 2,900,000 in 1904. The two principal mining centres of European Russia are the Urals, Ekaterinoslav, Kharkov and the Don Cossacks territory. The Ural industry is the older, and is still conducted on primitive methods, wood being largely used for fuel, and the ore and metals being transported by water down the Kama and other rivers. The minerals chiefly produced in the Urals are iron, coal, gold, platinum, copper, salt and precious stones. The production of pig-iron nearly doubled between 1890 and 1900, increasing from 446,800 tons in the former year to 801,600 in the latter; but since 1900 the output has declined, the total for 1904 (inclusive of Siberia) being 644,000 tons. The amount of iron and steel produced in the Urals is not quite 20% of the total in all European Russia and Poland. The output of coal in the Urals is, altogether, less than 3% of the total for all the empire and 4% of the output of European Russia (exclusive of Poland) alone. The annual increase is but small, 261,300 tons having been the total in 1891, and 517,000 tons the total in 1904. Gold has been mined in the Urals since 1820; but since 1892 the output has fallen off very considerably. Whereas in the latter year the yield amounted to 395,500 oz., in 1900 it was only 291,250 oz. No less than 96% of the world's supply of platinum comes from the Urals; but the total output only ranges between 10,000 and 16,000 ℔ annually. The copper industry has greatly declined since the 18th century; whereas then it kept 20 smelting works employed, now one-tenth of that number can hardly be kept going. The output for the year is less than 4000 tons. At one time all Russia was supplied with salt from the Urals, but at the present time the output is extremely small, less than 350 tons annually. Salt has been mined there since the 16th century.
The mining region of S. Russia is much more important. It is of comparatively recent foundation (1860), and is carried on largely with French and Belgian capital, with modern appliances and with modern scientific knowledge. Out of an average of some 2,700,000 tons of pig-iron produced annually in the whole of the Russian empire, 61.5% is produced in the basin of the Donets, and out of an average of 2,160,500 tons of worked iron and steel 48.7% are prepared in the same region. The principal consumer of this iron and steel is the government, for its railways, locomotives, wagons, arsenals, artillery, &c. The output of coal in the Russian empire has increased from a total of less than 300,000 tons in 1860 to 3,280,000 in 1880, 15,878,200 in 1900, and 18,620,000 tons in 1904. Of these totals something like 70% is produced in the S. coal-field. Coal takes, however, an altogether secondary place as a fuel in Russia; wood is much more extensively used, not only for domestic, but also for industrial purposes. It is estimated that for domestic purposes nearly 150,000,000 tons of wood are consumed every year, while the steamships, railways and factories consume another 20 or 25 million tons. At the same time large quantities of petroleum refuse are used as fuel in the railways of S.E. Russia and Caucasia, and on the steamboats of the Volga system. For the petroleum industry and the mining of the Caucasus region, see Caucasia. Mining in Poland and Siberia are more fully discussed under those headings.
Since the time of Peter the Great, the Russian government has been unceasing in its efforts for the creation and development of Manufactures and petty industries. home manufactures. Important monopolies in the 18th century, and prohibitive import duties, as well as large money bounties, in the 19th, contributed towards the accumulation of immense private fortunes, but manufactures have on the whole developed but slowly. A great upward movement has, however, been observable since 1863. About that time a thorough reform of the machinery in use was effected whereby the number of hands employed was reduced, but the yearly production doubled or trebled. Manufacturing industry in the modern sense can hardly be said to have existed in Russia before the 19th century, that is to say, industries carried on with capital and machinery in large factories. Industry of this character was first established in Poland in 1820, and it has grown there rapidly, though never so rapidly as during the last few years of the 19th century. The principal centre is Lodz in the government of Piotrkow, the staple industry being cottons. A good many factories have sprung up also in Warsaw and at Sosnowice and Bendzin in the extreme S.W. corner of Poland. Besides cottons the products include woollens and cloth, silks, chemicals, machinery, ironware, beer and flour. At Lodz alone the workmen, in great part Germans and Jews, number between 50,000 and 60,000, and the total output of the factories is estimated at £9,000,000 to £10,500,000 annually. Similar industries, carried on by similar methods, exist at St Petersburg, Riga, Narva and Odessa. In S. Russia, more particularly at Ekaterinoslav, a very vigorous metallurgical industry has grown up since 1860 in conjunction with the iron and coal mining.
The peculiar feature of Russian industry is the development out of the domestic petty handicrafts of central Russia of a semi-factory on a large scale. Owing to the forced abstention from agricultural labour in the winter months the peasants of central Russia, more especially those of the governments of Moscow, Vladimir, Yaroslavl, Kostroma, Tver, Smolensk and Ryazañ have for centuries carried on a variety of domestic handicrafts during the period of compulsory leisure. The usual practice was for the whole of the people in one village to devote themselves to one special occupation. Thus, while one village would produce nothing but felt shoes, another would carve sacred images (ikons), and a third spin flax only, a fourth make wooden spoons, a fifth nails, a sixth iron chains, and so on. In the same way certain governments become famous for certain commodities, as Moscow for osier baskets, flower baskets, wicker furniture and lace; Kostroma for lace, wooden utensils, toys, wooden spoons, cups and bowls, bast sacks and mats, bast boots and garden products; Yaroslavl for furniture, brass samovars, saucepans, spurs, rings, &c.; Vladimir for furniture, osier baskets and flower-stands and sickles; Nizhniy-Novgorod for bast mats and sacks, knives, forks and scissors; Tver for lace, nails, sieves, anchors, fish-hooks, locks, coarse clay pottery, saddlery and harness, boots and shoes, and so on. Out of these have grown large factories, employing as many as 10,000 to 12,000 men each; but when harvest comes round, these men leave the factories and repair to their fields, and meantime the factories stand still for two or three months. Nor do the people work on the holidays of the church, the number of days they lose in this way amounting to nearly one-third of the whole year. Hence, although wages are painfully low, the cost of production to the manufacturer is relatively high; and it is still further increased by the cost of the raw materials, by the heavy rates of transport owing to the distance from the sea, by the dearness of capital and by the scarcity of fuel. As a consequence this central Russian industry, even when supported by very high protective duties, is only able to produce for the home market and the markets of the adjacent territories in Asia which are under Russian political control. Here again cotton is the principal product; and the remarkable growth of the industry is illustrated by the fact that, whereas in 1843 there were only 350,000 spindles at work, fifty years later there were 4,332,000 so employed, and in 1900, 6,554,600. The number of looms increased from 87,190 in 1890 to 154,600 in 1900. Next after cottons come woollens, silk, cloth, chemicals, machinery, paper, furniture, hats, cement, leather, glass and china and other products. From the governments of Vyatka and Vladimir large numbers of bricklayers, carpenters and other handicraftsmen migrate temporarily to the S. governments every year, and similarly plasterers and painters from the government of Moscow.
The growth of Russian industry is set forth in the following table, which compares the number of workers for 1887, 1897 and 1902, of all factories throughout the empire of which the annual production was valued at more than £210:—
|Branch of Industry.||Number of Workers.|
|Mining and metals||390,915||544,333||549,000|
With regard to Russian industry generally, the extravagant prices which have to be paid for iron and all iron goods, owing to the prohibitive tariffs, combined with the obstacles put in the way of education, hamper the development of all industries. The cotton factories excel chiefly in the production of red and printed cottons. In the flax-mills the tendency is to produce the finest tissues as well as the coarser. The silk-mills employ silk obtained from the Caucasus, Italy and France. The growth of the sugar industry is shown by the fact that in 1888-93 the average annual production of sugar was 444,520 tons, in 1902-3 it was 1,180,293 tons. Since 1894 the government has had a monopoly in retailing spirituous liquors, but not wine or beer; but distilling, a very widespread industry, is left in private hands. Beer is chiefly brewed in Poland and the Baltic provinces. Tanneries exist in nearly every government, but it is especially at Warsaw and St Petersburg, and after these at Moscow, that the largest and best modern tanneries and shoe and glove factories are established. The governments of Orel (shoe factories), Kherson, Vyatka, Nizhniy-Novgorod, Perm, Kiev and Kazañ rank next in this respect. Furniture factories are developing greatly, as is the paper industry. Flour-mills play an important part in the general industry of Russia, and there are several tobacco and hemp factories.
Far from being destroyed by the competition of the “modern” factories, domestic industries have well maintained their ground, new branches of petty trade having sprung up in some districts, among them the manufacture of agricultural machinery (thrashing machines in Ryazañ, Vyatka and Perm; ploughs in Smolensk, &c.) deserves notice.
The wealth of Russia consisting mainly of raw produce, the trade of the country turns chiefly on the purchase of this for export, Inland trade. and on the sale of manufactured and imported goods in exchange. This traffic is in the hands of a great trade number of middlemen,—in the W. Jews, and elsewhere Russians,—to whom the peasants are for the most part in debt, as they purchase in advance on security of subsequent payments in corn, tar, wooden wares, &c. A good deal of the internal trade is carried on by travelling merchants.
The fairs are very numerous. Those of Nizhniy-Novgorod, with a return of 20 millions sterling, of Irbit and Kharkov, of Menzelinsk in Ufa, and Omsk and Ishim in Siberia, have considerable importance both for trade and for home manufactures. Altogether, no fewer than 16,600 fairs are held in Russia, 85% of them in European Russia. Of these, 30 show returns of goods imported to the value of over £100,000 each, 41 from £50,000 to £100,000, and 437 from £10,000 to £50,000 each.
The external trade of the Russian empire (bullion and the external trade of Finland not included) since the year 1886 is shown in the following table:—
The exports rank in the following order:—cereals (wheat, barley, rye, oats, maize, buckwheat) and flour, 49.2%; timber and wooden wares, 7.2; petroleum, 5.8; eggs, 5.4; flax, 5; butter, 3; sugar, 2.4; cottons and oilcake, 2 each; oleaginous seeds, &c., 1.5; with hemp, spirits, poultry, game, bristles, hair, furs, leather, manganese ore, wool, caviare, live-stock, gutta-percha, vegetables and fruit, and tobacco. The two best customers of Russia are Germany, which takes 23.3% of her total exports, and the United Kingdom, which takes 22.9%. Then follow the Netherlands (9.8%), France, Italy, Finland, Belgium, Austria-Hungary, Denmark, Turkey and Sweden. The commodities which the United Kingdom principally takes are wheat, wool, barley, eggs, oats and flax. With regard to the imports into Russia they consist mainly of raw materials and machinery for the manufactures, and of provisions, the principal items being raw cotton, 17% of the aggregate; machinery and metal goods, 13%; tea, 5%; mineral ores, 5%; gums and resins, 4%; wool and woollen yarns, 3½%; textiles, 3%; fish, 3%; with leather and hides, chemicals, silks, wine and spirits, colours, fruits, coffee, tobacco and rice. The countries from which Russia buys most extensively are Germany (34%), the United Kingdom (15½) and the United States (9½). Machinery, coal, iron, woollens, ships, lead and copper are the commodities supplied by the United Kingdom.
The total mercantile marine of Russia does not aggregate 700,000 tons; and it is distributed in the following proportions: Shipping. 35.4% in the Caspian Sea, 34.7% in the Black Sea and Sea of Azov, 24.7% in the Baltic Sea and 5.2% in the White Sea. And these proportions represent fairly well the tonnages entering and clearing at the ports of these respective seas. But of the vessels that visit the Russian ports in the way of trade every year only 8.3% are Russian, the rest being of course foreign. Russian craft play, however, a much more important part on the internal waterways, the traffic on which increases rapidly, e.g. whilst in 1894 it amounted to an aggregate of 23,293,400 tons, in 1904 it reached a total of 38,720,240, or an increase of over 66% in the ten years. During the same period the tonnage of the craft themselves more than doubled, while the crews increased 19½%, the number of men employed in the latter year being approximately 150,000.
In 1860 Russia possessed less than 1000 m. of railways; by 1885 this had increased to 16,155 m., and by the middle of 1905 there Railways. were open for traffic over 40,500 m. of railway, of which 34,150 m. or 84.3% were in European Russia and nearly 6400 m. (15.7%) in Asiatic Russia. Between 1895 and 1905 the building of railways proceeded at a rapid rate, the total length nearly doubling within the ten years, namely, from 22,600 to 40,500 m. The European railways cost on an average £10,465 per mile to construct, and the Asiatic railways £5092 per mile.
A considerable number of new railways, some of great strategic as well as commercial importance, were built during the last twenty years of the 19th century. At the same time the chief lines of railway which had been built by public companies with a state guarantee, and which represented a loss to the empire of £3,171,250 per annum, as well as a growing indebtedness, were bought by the state. On the whole, the state derives profit from its railways, although several of the later lines, while imperative for state purposes, must necessarily yield but a very small revenue, or be worked at a loss. The most important of the new railways is the Siberian, of which the first section, Chelyabinsk to Omsk, was opened in December 1895, and which, except for a short section round Lake Baikal, in 1901 was completed right through to Stryetensk, on the Shilka, the head of navigation on the Shilka and the Amur, 2710 m. from Chelyabinsk and 4076 miles from Moscow, via Samara and Chelyabinsk. The section round the S. end of Lake Baikal was completed in 1905. At the Pacific end of the Siberian railway a line connecting Vladivostok with Khabarovsk (479 m.) at the junction of the Amur and the Usuri, was first of all built, following the valley of the Usuri. But it was soon found that the cost of the section required to complete the railway between Stryetensk and Khabarovsk, along the Shilka (246 m.) and the Amur (1160 m.), would be enormous, while neither the wild mountainous tracts of the lower Shilka and upper Amur, nor the marshy, often inundated region between Khabarovsk and the Little Khingan mountains, could ever be the seat of a numerous population. Consequently a company was formed by the Russian government in 1896 to construct, with the consent of the Chinese government, a railway from Vladivostok across Manchuria to Karymskaya near Chita in Transbaikalia. This runs for 222 m. on Russian territory and for 1080 m. on Manchurian territory, and from Kharbin sends off a branch to Dalny near Port Arthur on the Liao-tung peninsula. The first portion of the Manchurian railway, built by Russian engineers, with Chinese labour, was finished in 1902. At the same time several secondary lines were built in connexion with the Siberian line. Chelyabinsk was linked by a transverse line with the middle Urals railway, which connects Perm, the head of navigation in the Volga basin, with Tyumen, the head of navigation on the Ob and Irtysh, passing through Ekaterinburg and other mining centres of the middle Urals. Tomsk is now connected with the main line by a short side branch. A railway has also been built to connect Perm with Kotlas, near the confidence of the Sukhona with the Yug, at the head of the N. Dvina. This N. portion of the Russian railway system was further completed by the opening in 1906 of a line from St Petersburg via Vologda to Vyatka, intersecting the Moscow-Archangel line at Vologda.
Another line of great strategic importance was built across the Transcaspian territory to Ferghana. Starting from Krasnovodsk, it runs S.E. to Merv (560 m.), with a branch line (194 m.) to Kushk, near Herat, then N.E. across the desert to Charjui, on the Amur river, Bokhara and the Russian fort Katta-kurgan, and then to Samarkand, Kokand and Andijan in Ferghana, 710 m. from Merv, with a branch to Tashkent (220 m.). This railway has become important for the export of raw cotton from Central Asia to Russia. In 1905 a second totally independent line was opened from Tashkent down the Syr-darya to Kazalinsk, and thence to Orenburg.
A third line of great importance is the junction line between the Transcaucasian railway—which runs from Batum and Poti to Baku, via Tiflis, with a branch line to Kars—and the railway system of Russia proper. This junction has been effected not across the main Caucasus range, but at its E. extremity, that is, via the Caspian ports of Baku and Petrovsk, which are connected with Vladikavkaz (Beslan junction). The Black Sea port of Novorossiysk, in W. Caucasia, having been connected with the Rostov-Vladikavkaz line, has consequently also been brought into touch with the Russian railways. The Volga is reached from central Russia by seven lines of railways, including one to Kazañ, and three main lines radiate from the Volga E. (one to Siberia and two to the Ural river), while the upper Volga (Yaroslavl) is connected with Archangel by a line 523 m. long. A zone tariff was introduced on the Russian railways in 1894, and the cost of long journeys was considerably reduced; a journey of 623 m. can be made third class at a cost of only about 17 shillings, while for less than twice as much 1990 m. can be covered.
Fish form an important article of national food. The numerous fasts of the national church prescribe a fish diet on many days in the Fishing. year, and the continuous frost of winter is favourable to the transportation of fish for great distances. Along the Murman coast of the Arctic Ocean and in the White Sea, where many millions of herrings are caught annually by some 3000 persons, the yearly produce is estimated at the value of £140,000. In the Baltic Sea, as well as in the lakes of its basin (Ladoga, Onega, Ilmeñ, &c.), the yearly value is estimated at £200,000. Of anchovies alone, 10,000,000 jars are prepared annually, while salted fish is, next after bread, the staple food of large masses of the population. The Black Sea fisheries, in which about 4000 men are engaged, yield fish valued at £300,000 per annum. The value of the fish has much increased owing to the introduction of cold storage; as a result of the employment of this method of packing, fish is now exported in a fresh state from the Black Sea to all parts of S.W. Russia, and even to Moscow. The annual yield of the Azov Sea fisheries, occupying 15,000 men, is valued at £600,000 In the Volga section of the Caspian Sea fish are caught to the value of about £1,000,000 annually; in the Ural section over 40,000 tons of fish and nearly 1500 tons of caviare are obtained. The total value of the Caspian fisheries is estimated at £3,000,000 per annum. Taking the Lake Aral and Siberian river fisheries into account, it is estimated that altogether the fishing industries yield a revenue to the state of £330,000 annually. In addition from 13,000 to 60,000 seals and about 200 whales are killed annually off the Murman coast. Hunting is an occupation of considerable importance in N. and N.E. Russia, and along the shores of the Arctic Ocean.
Authorities.—The Russkiy Encyclopedicheskiy Slovar, edited by Brockhaus and Efron, was begun in 1890, with the idea of giving a Russian version of Brockhaus's Conversations Lexikon, but from the very first volumes it became a monumental encyclopedia, and is, indeed, an inexhaustible source of information on everything Russian. A general popular description of Russia entitled Rossiya, containing excellent geographical, geological and other descriptions of separate regions, and very well-chosen illustrations, was begun in 1899 under the editorship of V. P. Semenov. La Russie à la fin du xixe siècle, under the editorship of W. W. Kovalevsky, is especially worthy of notice. See also H. Norman, All the Russias (London, 1902); Sir D. Mackenzie Wallace, Russia (2 vols., new ed., 1905, London); A. Leroy-Beaulieu, L'Empire des tsars (3 vols., 1882-88; Eng. trans., London, 1893-96); A. Hettner, Das europäische Russland (Leipzig, 1905); R. Martin, The Future of Russia (Eng. trans., London, 1906); .M. Kovalevsky, Russian Political Institutions (Chicago, 1902), Modern Customs and Ancient Laws of Russia (London, 1891), Le Régime économique de la Russie (Paris, 1898), and Die produktiven Knäfte Russlands (Paris, 1896); A. M. B. Meakin, Russia (London, 1906); G. von Schulze-Gävernitz, Volkswirthschaftliche Studien aus Russland (Leipzig, 1899); J. Machat, La Développement économique de la Russie (Paris, 1902); Industries of Russia, by the Department of Trade and Manufactures (English by J. M. Crawford, 5 vols., St Petersburg, 1893); A. F. Rittich, “Die Ethnographie Russlands” in Petermanns Mitteilungen, Ergänzungsheft 54 (Gotha, 1878); C. Joubert, Russia as it really is (London, 1904). (P. A. K.; J. T. Be.)
The history of Russia may be conveniently divided into four consecutive periods: (1) the period of Independent Principalities; (2) the Mongol Domination; (3) the Tsardom of Muscovy; and (4) the Modern Empire.
1. A Conglomeration of Independent Principalities.—The first period, like the early history of many other countries, begins Origin of the Russians. with a legend. Nestor, an old monkish chronicler of Kiev, relates that in the middle of the 9th century the Slav and Finnish tribes inhabiting the forest region around Lake Ilmen, between Lake Ladoga and the upper waters of the Dnieper, paid tribute to military adventurers from the land of Rūs, which is commonly supposed to have been a part of Sweden. In the year 859 these tribes expelled the Northmen, but finding that they quarrelled among themselves, they invited them, three years later, to return. Our land, said the deputation sent to Rūs for this purpose, is great and fertile, but there is no order in it; come and reign and rule over us. Three brothers, princes of Rūs, called respectively Rurik, Sineus and Truvor, accepted the invitation and founded a dynasty, from which many of the Russian princes of the present day claim descent.
Who were those warlike men of Rūs who are universally recognized as the founders of the Russian Empire? This question has given rise to an enormous amount of discussion among learned men, and some of the disputants have not yet laid down their arms; but for impartial outsiders who have carefully studied the evidence there can be little doubt that the men of Rūs, or Variags, as they were sometimes called, were simply the hardy Norsemen or Normans who at that time, in various countries of Europe, appeared first as armed marauders and then lived in the invaded territory as a dominant military caste until they were gradually absorbed by the native population. Lake Ilmen and the river Volkhov, on which stands Novgorod, Rurik's capital, formed part of the great waterway from the Baltic to the Black Sea, and we know that by this route travelled from Scandinavia to Constantinople the tall fair-haired Northmen who composed the famous Varangian bodyguard of the Byzantine emperors.
The new rulers did not long confine their attention to the tribes who had invited them. They at once began to conquer Early conditions. The grand-princes. the surrounding country in all directions, and before two centuries had passed they had established themselves firmly at Kiev on the Dnieper, invaded Byzantine territory, threatened Constantinople with a fleet of small craft, obtained as consort for one of their princes, Vladimir I., (q.v.), a sister of the Byzantine emperor on condition of the prince becoming a Christian, adopted Christianity for themselves and their subjects, learned to hold in check the nomadic hordes of the steppe, and formed matrimonial alliances with the reigning families of Poland, Hungary, Norway and France. In short, they became a considerable power in eastern Europe, and might be regarded as one of the claimants for the inheritance of the decrepit East Roman Empire. Unfortunately for the political future of this new state, its internal consolidation did not keep pace with its territorial expansion. In theory the whole Russian land was a gigantic family estate belonging to the Rurik dynasty, and each member of that great family considered himself entitled to a share of it. It had to be divided, therefore, into a number of independent principalities, but it continued to be loosely held together by the dynastic sentiment of the descendants of Rurik and by the patriarchal authority—a sort of patria potestas—of the senior member of the family, called the grand-prince, who-ruled in Kiev, “the mother of Russian cities.” His administrative authority was confined to his own principality, but when territorial disputes arose between two or more of his relations, his paternal influence was exercised in the interests of peace and justice. What added to the practical difficulties of this arrangement was that the post of grand-prince was not an hereditary dignity in the sense of descending from father to son, but was always to be held by the senior member of the dynasty; and in the subordinate principalities the same principle of succession was applied, so that reigning princes had to be frequently shifted about from one district to another, according as they could establish the strongest claim to vacant principalities. What constituted in this primitive system of inheritance the strength of a claim was often not easily determined, and even when the legal question was clear enough the law was not always respected by the contending parties. Hence family quarrels became very frequent. These princes were, in fact, men of like passions with ourselves, and acted as powerful men generally do in a rude state of society. Instead of conforming to abstract principles of public law and hereditary succession, they strove to enlarge their territories at the expense of their rivals, and to leave them at their death to their sons rather than to their brothers, nephews and more distant relations. In these circumstances, the traditional authority of the grand-prince, never very great, rapidly declined, and the complicated law of succession, never scrupulously respected, was gradually replaced by “the good old rule, the simple plan, that he should take who has the power, and he should keep who can.” Yaroslav, surnamed the Great, a man of commanding personality, was the last grand-prince who upheld vigorously the old system. After his death in 1054 the process of disintegration went on apace and the family feuds multiplied at an alarming rate. During the next 170 years (1054-1224) no less than 64 principalities had a more or less ephemeral existence, 293 princes put forward succession-claims, and their disputes led to 83 civil wars.
During these interminable struggles of rival princes, Kiev, which had been so long the residence of the grand-prince and of the metropolitan, was repeatedly taken by storm and ruthlessly pillaged, and finally the whole valley of the Dnieper fell a prey to the marauding tribes of the steppe. Thereupon Russian colonization and political influence retreated northwards, and from that time the continuous stream of Russian history is to be sought in the land where the Vikings first settled and in the adjoining basin of the upper Volga. Here new principalities were founded and new agglomerations of principalities came into existence, some of them having a grand prince who no longer professed allegiance to Kiev. Thus appeared the grand-prince of Suzdal or Vladimir, of Tver, of Ryazan and of Moscow—all irreconcilable rivals with little or no feeling of blood-relationship. The more ambitious and powerful among them aspired not to succeed but to subdue the others and to take possession of their territory, and the armed retainers, who were wont formerly to wander about as free lances, gave up their roving mode of life, settled down permanently in one principality, became landed proprietors, and sought to share as boyars the princes' authority.
Among the principalities of that northern region the first place was long held by Novgorod. Since the days when Rurik Republic of Novgorod. had first chosen it as his headquarters, the little town on the Volkhov had grown into a great commercial city and a member of the Hanseatic league, and it had brought under subjection a vast expanse of territory, stretching from the shores of the Baltic to the Ural Mountains, and containing several subordinate towns, of which the principal were Pskov, Nizhniy-Novgorod and Vyatka. Unlike the ordinary Russian principalities, it had a republican rather than a monarchical form of government. Indeed, it was not so much a principality as a municipal republic of the Venetian type. It always had a prince, no doubt, but he was engaged by formal contract without much attention being paid to hereditary rights, and he was merely leader of the troops, while all the political power remained in the hands of the civil officials and the Vetche, a popular assembly which was called together in the market-place, as occasion required, by the tolling of the great bell. Descendants of Rurik, impregnated with the pride of a dominant military caste, did not much like serving those truculent, wilful burghers, and some of them, after a time, voluntarily laid down their office and retired to more congenial surroundings. Those of them who tried to have their own way and came into conflict with the authorities had always to yield in the long run, and they were liable to be treated very unceremoniously, so that the vulgar adage, “If the prince is bad, into the mud with him!” became a maxim of state policy.
There was here in the Russian land the germ of republicanism or constitutional monarchy, but it was not destined to be developed. The principality which was to become the nucleus of the future Russian empire was not Novgorod with its democratic institutions, but its eastern neighbour Moscow, in which the popular assembly played a very insignificant part, and the supreme law was the will of the prince. The opposition which he encountered came not from the burghers but from the boyars and the nobles.
II. The Mongol or Tatar Domination, 1238-1462.—Between Moscow and Novgorod there was a long and bitter rivalry, Mongol and Tatar invasions. breaking out occasionally into armed conflicts, and among the princes of the other principalities the old struggle for precedence and territory went on unceasingly until it was suddenly interrupted, in the first half of the thirteenth century, by the unexpected irruption of an irresistible foreign foe coming from the mysterious regions of the Far East. “For our sins,” says the Russian chronicler of the time, “unknown nations arrived. No one knew their origin or whence they came, or what religion they practised. That is known only to God, and perhaps to wise men learned in books.” The Russian princes first heard of them from the wild nomadic Polovtsi, who usually pillaged the Russian settlers on the frontier but who now preferred friendship and said: “These terrible strangers have taken our country, and to-morrow they will take yours if you do not come and help us.” In response to this call some Russian princes formed a league and went out eastward to meet the foe, but they were utterly defeated in a great battle on the banks of the Kalka (1224), which has remained to this day in the memory of the Russian common people. Now the country was at the mercy of the invaders, but, instead of advancing, they suddenly retreated and did not reappear for thirteen years, during which the princes went on quarrelling and fighting as before, till they were startled by a new invasion much more formidable than its predecessor. This time the invaders came to stay, and they built for themselves a capital, called Sarai, on the lower Volga. Here the commander of “the Golden Horde,” as the western The Golden Horde. section of the Mongol empire was called, fixed his headquarters and represented the majesty of his sovereign the grand khan who lived with the Great Horde in the valley of the Amur. About the origin and character of these terrible invaders we are much better informed than the early Russian chroniclers. The nucleus of the invading horde was a small pastoral tribe in Mongolia, the chief of which, known subsequently to Europe as Jenghiz Khan (q.v.), became a mighty conqueror and created a vast empire stretching from China, across northern and central Asia, to the shores of the Baltic and the valley of the Danube—a heterogeneous state containing many nationalities held together by purely administrative ties and by an enormously military force. For forty years after the death of its founder it remained united under the authority of a series of grand khans chosen from among his descendants, and then it began to fall to pieces till the various fractions of it became independent khanates.
The khanate closely connected with the history of Russia was that of Kipchak or the Golden Horde, the khans of which settled, as we have seen, on the lower Volga and built for themselves a capital called Sarai. Here they had their headquarters and held Russia in subjection for nearly three centuries.
The term by which this subjection is commonly designated, the Mongol or Tatar yoke, suggests ideas of terrible oppression, Character of Tatar rule. but in reality these barbarous invaders from the Far East were not such cruel, oppressive taskmasters as is generally supposed. In the first place, they never settled in the country, and they had not much direct dealings with the inhabitants. In accordance with the admonitions of Jenghiz to his children and grandchildren, they retained their pastoral mode of life, so that the subject races, agriculturists and dwellers in towns, were not disturbed in their ordinary avocations. In religious matters they were extremely tolerant. When they first appeared in Europe they were idolaters or Shamanists, and as such they had naturally no religious fanaticism; but even when they adopted Islam they remained as tolerant as before, and the khan of the Golden Horde (Berkai) who first became a Mussulman allowed the Russians to found a Christian bishopric in his capital. One of his successors, half a century later, married a daughter of the Byzantine emperor, and gave his own daughter in marriage to a Russian prince, These represent the bright side of Tatar rule. It had its dark side also. So long as a great horde of nomads was encamped on the frontier the country was liable to be invaded by an overwhelming force of ruthless marauders. These invasions were fortunately not frequent, but when they occurred they caused an incalculable amount of devastation and suffering, In the intervals the people had to pay a fixed tribute. At first it was collected in a rough-and-ready fashion by a swarm of Tatar tax-gatherers, but about 1259 it was regulated by a census of the population, and, finally, the collection of it was entrusted to the native princes, so that the people were no longer brought into direct contact with the Tatar officials.
By the princes the “yoke” was felt more keenly, and it was very galling. In order to reply to accusations brought against them, or in order to be confirmed, in their functions, they had to travel to the Golden Horde on the Volga or even to the camp of the grand khan in some distant part of Siberia, and the journey was considered so perilous that many of them, before setting out, made their last will and testament and wrote a parental admonition for the guidance of their children. Nor were these precautions by any means superfluous, for not a few princes died on the journey or were condemned to death and executed for real or imaginary offences. Even when the visit to the Horde did not end so tragically, it involved a great deal of anxiety and expense, for the Mongol dignitaries had to be conciliated very liberally, and it was commonly believed that the judges were more influenced by the amount of the bribes than by the force of the arguments. The grand khan was the lord paramount or suzerain of the Russian princes, and he had the force required for making his authority respected. Ambitious members of the Rurik dynasty, instead of seeking to acquire territory by conquest in the field, now sought to attain their ends by intrigue and bribery at the Mongol court.
Of all the princes who sought to advance their fortunes in this way the most dexterous and successful were those of Moscow. The princes of Moscow. Dimitri Donskoi, 1362-1389. They made themselves responsible for the tribute of The other principalities as well as of their own, and gradually they became lieutenants-general of their Mongol suzerain. So long as the Mongol empire remained united and strong, they were most submissive and obsequious, but as soon as it was weakened by internal dissensions and began to fall to pieces, they assumed airs of independence, intrigued with the insubordinate Tatar generals, retained for their own use the tribute collected for the grand khan, and finally put themselves at the head of the patriotic movement which aimed at throwing off completely the hated Mongol yoke. For this purpose Dimitri Donskoi formed in 1380 a coalition of Russian princes, and gained a great victory over Khan Mamai of the Golden Horde on the famous battlefield of Kulikovo, the memory of which still lives in the popular legends. For some time longer the Tatars remained troublesome neighbours, capable of invading and devastating large tracts of Russian territory and of threatening even the city of Moscow, but the Horde was now broken up into independent and mutually hostile khanates, and the Moscow diplomatists could generally play off one khanate against the other, so that there was no danger of the old political domination being re-established.
Having thus freed themselves from Tatar control, the Moscow princes continued to carry out energetically their traditional policy of extending and consolidating their dominions at the expense of their less powerful relations. Already Dimitri of the Don was called the grand-prince of all Russia, but the assumption of such an ambitious title was hardly justified by facts, because there were still in his time principalities with grand princes who claimed to be independent. The complete suppression of these small moribund states and the creation of the autocratic tsardom of Muscovy were the work of Ivan III., surnamed the Great, his son Basil and his grandson Ivan IV., commonly known as Ivan the Terrible, whose united reigns cover a period of 122 years (1462-1584).
III. The Tsardom of Muscovy.—What may be called the home
policy of these three remarkable rulers consisted in absorbing
Ivan III. 1462-1505.
the few principalities which still remained independent,
and in creating for themselves an uncontrolled
monarchical authority. In the pursuit of both of these
objects they were completely successful. When Ivan III.
came to the throne the remaining independent principalities
were Great Novgorod, Pskov, Tver, Ryazan and Novgorod-Seversk.
He first directed his attention to Novgorod, and by
gradually undermining and then destroying the ancient republican
liberties he reduced the haughty city, which had long
styled itself Lord Novgorod the Great, to the rank of a provincial
town. Then he annexed its colonies and thereby extended his
dominions to the Polar Ocean and the Ural Mountains. At the
same time he took possession of Tver, on the ground that the
Basil III. 1505-1533.
prince had allied himself with Lithuania. His
successor Basil followed in his footsteps, and dealt with the municipal republic of Pskov
was Ivan had dealt
with Novgorod. Finding the inhabitants too much attached to
their ancient liberties, he abolished the popular assembly,
removed the great bell to Novgorod, installed his own boyars in
the administration, transported 300 of the leading families to
other localities, replaced them by 300 families from Moscow, and
left in the town a strong garrison of his own troops. Ryazan
shared the same fate. In 1521 the prince, being suspected of
forming an alliance with the Crimean Tatars, was summoned to
Moscow and arrested. Two years later the prince of Novgorod-Seversk
was accused of intriguing with the Poles and imprisoned
for the rest of his life. Thus all the principalities were brought
under the power of Moscow, and in that respect there remained
nothing for Ivan the Terrible to do. He took precautions,
however, against any of the dead or moribund principalities
being resuscitated, and punished with merciless severity any
attempt to resist or undermine his authority.
With the suppression and absorption of the independent principalities the problem was only half solved. The tsars of Character of the tsardom. Muscovy meant to be autocratic rulers alike in their old and in their new territories. Their forefathers had been trained in the Tatar school of politics and administration, and in their ideas of government they had come to resemble Tatar khans much more than grand-princes of the old patriarchal type. Their autocratic tendencies were fostered also by the Church. As Christianity was brought into Russia from Constantinople it was only natural that the ecclesiastics, many of whom were Greeks, should admire Byzantine ideals and recommend them as models to be imitated. For the ambitious Moscow princes many of the Byzantine ideas were very acceptable. They liked to consider themselves as the Lord's anointed, placed high above all ordinary mortals even of the most exalted rank; and when Constantinople fell into the hands of the infidel they began to imagine that, as the most powerful potentates of the Eastern Orthodox world they were the protectors of the Orthodox faith and the political heirs of the East Roman emperors. With a view to strengthen this claim Ivan III. married a niece of the emperor Constantine Palaeologus, who had fallen fighting when his capital was taken by the Turks (1453). From that moment Ivan's subjects noticed a change in his attitude towards them, and attributed it to the evil influence of the Greek princess. In the old times the grand-prince was simply primus inter pares among the minor princes, and these lived with their boyars almost on a footing of equality. Now the tsar of Muscovy and of all Russia adopted the airs and methods of a Tatar khan and surrounded himself with the pomp and splendours of a Byzantine emperor. Ivan III., notwithstanding the influence of his Greek consort, showed some respect for the ancient traditions and the susceptibilities of those around him, but his successor Basil did not follow his father's example. All through his reign he preferred to employ as officials men of humble origin, and habitually treated the boyars and great nobles very unceremoniously. For disobedience to his orders he imprisoned a boyar who was his own brother-in-law, and he caused another to be beheaded for complaining that the boyar-council was not consulted in important affairs of state. A boyar of Nizhniy-Novgorod who allowed himself to criticize the new order of things, and attributed the change to the influence of the Greek princess, had his tongue cut out. From the ecclesiastics Basil likewise insisted on unquestioning obedience, and he did not hesitate to depose by his own authority a metropolitan who was at that time the highest dignitary of the Russian Church. According to Siegmund von Herberstein (1486-1566), an Austrian envoy who visited Moscow at that period, no sovereign in Europe was obeyed like the grand-prince of Muscovy, and his court was remarkable for barbaric luxury. In his palace were numerous equerries, chamberlains and other court dignitaries, and when he went out he was attended by a guard of young nobles dressed in gaudy costumes and armed with silver halberds.
Such radical changes naturally produced a great deal of dissatisfaction among men of Slavonic temperament, whose grandfathers had been independent princes, boyars or free lances, and the malcontents could not adopt the old practice of emigrating to some other principality. There was no longer within the Russian land any independent principality in which an asylum could be found, and emigration to a principality beyond the frontier, such as Lithuania, was regarded as treason, for which the property of the fugitive would be confiscated and his family might be punished. In these circumstances the only outlet for discontent was sedition, and the malcontents awaited impatiently a favourable opportunity for an attempt to curb or overthrow the autocratic power. That opportunity came when Basil died in 1533, leaving as successor a child only three years old, and the chances seemed all on the side of the nobles; but the result belied the current expectations, for the child came to be known in history as Ivan the Terrible, and died half a century later in the full enjoyment of unlimited autocratic power. The fierce struggle between autocratic tyranny and oligarchic disorder, which went on in intermittent fashion during the whole of his reign, cannot be here described in detail, but the chief incidents may be mentioned.
During Ivan's minority the country was governed, or rather misgoverned, first by his mother, and then by rival factions Ivan the Terrible, 1533-84. led by great nobles such as the princes Shuiski and Bêlski. Only once during this period did the young tsar come forward and assert his authority. Having convoked his boyars he reproached them collectively with robbing the treasury and committing acts of injustice, and he caused one of them, a Prince Shuiski who happened to be in power at the moment, to be seized by his huntsmen and torn in pieces by a pack of hounds, as a warning to others. Thus apparently he asserted his authority, but in reality, being only thirteen years old, he was a mere puppet in the hands of one of the opposition factions, who wished to oust their rivals, and for the next four years the misgovernment of the nobles went on as before. It was not till he was about seventeen that he took an active part in the administration, and one of his first acts foreshadowed his future policy: he insisted on the metropolitan crowning him, not as grand-prince of Muscovy, but as tsar of all Russia (1547). From the earliest times the term tsar—a contraction of the word Caesar—had been applied to the kings in Biblical history and the Byzantine emperors, and Ivan III. had already been described in the Church service as “the ruler and autocrat of all Russia, the new Tsar Constantine in the new city of Constantine Moscow,” but on no previous occasion had a grand-prince been crowned under that title. A few months later occurred in Moscow a great fire, which destroyed nearly the whole of the city, and a serious popular tumult, in which the tsar's uncle was murdered by the populace. Ivan regarded these events as a punishment from Heaven for the neglect of his duties, and he began to attend to public affairs under the influence of an enlightened priest called Sylvester and an official of humble origin called Adashev. With the assistance of these two counsellors he held in check the lawless, turbulent nobles, and ruled justly, to the satisfaction of the people, for fourteen years. Then suddenly, for reasons which cannot easily be explained, he inaugurated a reign of terror which lasted for twenty-four years and earned for him the epithet of “the Terrible.” Though there had been no open insurrection, he caused many boyars and humbler persons to be executed, and when some of the great nobles, fearing a similar fate, fled across the frontier and tendered their allegiance to the prince of Lithuania, his suspicion and indignation increased and he determined to adopt still more drastic measures. For this purpose he organized, outside the regular administration, a large corps of civil officials and armed retainers, whose duty it was to obey him implicitly in all things; and with this force, which rose rapidly from 1000 to 6000 men, he acted like a savage invader in a conquered country. Accompanied by these so-called Oprichniki, who have been compared to the Turkish Janissaries of the worst period, he ruthlessly devastated large districts—with no other object apparently than that of terrorizing the population and rewarding his myrmidons—and during a residence of six weeks in Novgorod, lest the old turbulent spirit of the municipal republic should revive, he massacred, it is said, no less than 60,000 of the inhabitants, including many women and children. It is quite possible, as some apologists suggest, that the number of his victims may have been exaggerated, but that they are to be counted by thousands there can be no doubt. In the monastery of St Cyril has been preserved a list of those for whom he requested the prayers of the Church, the total being 3470. The only reference to Novgorod in this curious document is: “Remember, O Lord, the souls of thy Novgorodian servants to the number of 1505 persons.” According to the Novgorodian annalists as many as 1500 persons were sometimes put to death in a single day. Perhaps the discrepancy is to be explained by supposing that the pious tsar did not consider all his victims as servants of the Lord, whose souls deserved the prayers of the faithful.
While thus uniting under their vigorous autocratic rule the small rival principalities, the Moscow princes had to keep a watchful eye on their eastern neighbours. The Golden Horde, long weakened by internal dissensions, had now fallen into several khanates, the chief of which were Kazan, Astrakhan and the Crimea. As these independent Tatar states were always jealous of each other, and their jealousy often broke out in open hostility, it was easy to prevent any combined action on their part; and as in each khanate there were always several pretenders and contending factions, Muscovite diplomacy had little difficulty in weakening them individually and preparing for their annexation. In the case of Kazan and Astrakhan the annexation was effected without any great effort in 1552-54, and two years later the Bashkirs, who had likewise formed part of the great Mongol empire, consented to pay tribute. On the other hand, the khans of the Crimea were able, partly from their geographical position and partly from having placed themselves under the protection of the sultans of Turkey, to resist annexation for more than two centuries and to give the Muscovites a great deal of trouble, not only by frequent raids and occasional invasions, but also by allying themselves with the Western enemies of the tsars. As late as 1571 Moscow was pillaged by a Tatar horde; but there was no longer any question of permanent political subjection to the Asiatics, and the Russian frontier was being gradually pushed forward at the expense of the nomads of the steppe by the constant advance of the agricultural population in quest of virgin soil. These latter, like the colonists in the American Far West, had to be constantly on the alert against the attacks of their troublesome neighbours, and they accordingly organized themselves in semi-military fashion. Those of them who lived on the outskirts of the pacified territory adopted a mode of life similar to that of their hereditary opponents, and constituted a peculiar The Cossacks. class known as Cossacks, living more by flocks and herds and by marauding expeditions than by agriculture. In the basins of the southern rivers they formed semi-independent military communities. Those of the Volga and the Don professed allegiance to the tsar of Muscovy, whilst those of the Dnieper recognized at first as their suzerain the king of Poland. In neither case did the allegiance involve strict obedience to orders from the superior, and their loyalty was always in danger of being troubled by their love of independence and equality and their desire for loot. More than once they raided and pillaged in wholesale fashion the territory they were supposed to protect. On the whole, however, at that period as in more recent times, they contributed largely to the process of territorial expansion. (See also Poland: History.)
Before the Eastern menace had been entirely removed the ambitious Relations with Poland and Lithuania. Moscow princes had begun to look with envious eyes beyond their western frontier. Here lay the principality of Lithuania and beyond it the kingdom of and Poland, two loosely conglomerated states which had been created by the Piast and Gedymin dynasties in pretty much the same way as the tsardom of Muscovy had been created by the descendants of Rurik. When the two became united under one ruler towards the end of the 14th century they formed abroad strip of territory stretching from the Baltic to the Black Sea and separating Russia from central Europe. For Russian ambition the barrier was a formidable one, but it did not entirely preclude possibilities of expansion in a more or less remote future. When examined closely it was found to contain many internal flaws. In no sense could it be considered a homogeneous political unit, for in Lithuania the majority of the population were Russian in nationality, language and religion, whereas in Poland the great majority of the inhabitants were Polish and Roman Catholic. Gradually, it is true, the Lithuanian nobles, who possessed all the land and held the peasantry in a state of serfage, adopted Polish nationality and culture, but this change did not secure homogeneity, because the masses clung obstinately to their old nationality and religion, and all the efforts of the Church of Rome to bring them under papal authority proved fruitless. A further source of weakness was the political organization. Nominally it was an hereditary monarchy, but the warlike, turbulent nobles systematically encroached on the sovereign power till they reduced it to a mere shadow and made it elective, with the result that the kingdom of Poland, including the principality of Lithuania, was at last, politically speaking, the most anarchical country in Europe.
As the Muscovite and the Lithuano-Polish princes were equally ambitious and equally anxious to widen their borders, they naturally came into conflict. At first the Muscovite was decidedly the aggressor. On the death of Casimir, king of Poland and grand-prince of Lithuania, in 1492, the kingdom and the principality ceased to be united and Ivan III. considered he had a good opportunity for attacking the latter. After a short campaign a peace was concluded and Ivan's daughter was given in marriage to the Lithuanian grand-prince, but the matrimonial alliance did not improve the relations between the two countries. On the contrary it served as a pretext for Ivan to interfere in Lithuanian affairs. He not only insisted that his daughter's religion should be duly respected, but he constituted himself the protector of the Orthodox population and this led to a new war in 1499, which went on till 1503, when it was concluded by the cession to Russia of Chernigov, Starodub and 17 other towns. His successor, Basil, tried to get himself elected grand-prince of Lithuania when the throne became vacant by the death of his brother-in-law in 1506, but the choice fell on the late prince's brother Sigismund, who was likewise elected king of Poland. The two countries were thus once more united and better able to resist aggression, but some of the great nobles were discontented and Basil hoped with their assistance to attain his ends. He began war therefore in 1514 and at once captured Smolensk, but in the following year he was defeated, and the war dragged on during more than seven years, with varying successes and without any important result. In the negotiations for peace the inordinate pretensions of the Muscovite prince were put forward boldly: he not only refused to restore Smolensk, but claimed Kiev and a number of other towns on the ground that in the old time of the independent principalities they had belonged to descendants of Rurik.
The policy of expansion westwards, inaugurated by Ivan III., was modified and enlarged by Ivan the Terrible. The former Ivan IV. and western Europe. had aimed simply at making annexations in Lithuania; the latter aspired to obtaining a firm footing on the Baltic coast and establishing direct relations, diplomatic and commercial, with the Western Powers. In this respect he was a precursor of Peter the Great, but he greatly underestimated the difficulties of the task. To reach the Baltic he had to overcome the resistance, not only of the Lithuanians and the Poles, but also of the Teutonic and Livonian military orders, the Swedes and the Danes, who all had possessions in the intervening territory and who all objected to the barbarous Muscovites, already sufficiently formidable, strengthening themselves by direct foreign trade with western Europe and especially by the importation of arms and cunning foreign artificers. Like the European settlers on the coast of Africa in more recent times, they wished the barbarians of the interior to be restricted to the use of their primitive weapons. One of the Polish kings, for example, threatened with death the English sailors who should attempt to carry on the illicit trade in arms, on the ground that “the Muscovite, who is not only our opponent of to-day but the eternal enemy of all free nations, should not be allowed to supply himself with cannons, bullets and munitions or with artisans who manufacture arms hitherto unknown to those barbarians.” This was precisely the reason why Ivan IV. was so anxious to force his way to the coast. His grandfather had obtained from Venice an “artist” who undertook “to build churches and palaces, to cast big bells and cannons, to fire off the said cannons and to make every sort of castings very cunningly”; and with the aid of that clever Venetian he had become the proud possessor of a “cannon-house,” subsequently dignified with the name of “arsenal” In imitation of the grandfather the grandson gave a commission to a Saxon, in whom he had confidence, to collect artists and artisans in Germany and bring them to Moscow, but he was prevented from carrying out his scheme by the Livonian Order (1547). A few years later (1553) he found unexpectedly a different route for communication with the West. A ship of an English squadron which was trying First relations with England. to reach China by the North-East passage, entered the northern Dvina, and her captain, Richard Chancellor, journeyed to Moscow in quest of opportunities for trade. He met with such a favourable reception from the tsar that on his return to England a special envoy was sent to Moscow by Queen Mary, and he succeeded in obtaining for his countrymen the privilege of trading freely in Russian towns. In return the Russians were allowed to trade freely in England. This afforded great satisfaction to Ivan, but it did not entirely satisfy his requirements, because the new route by the White Sea and North Cape was long and uncertain and for a great part of the year communications were stopped by the ice. He continued, therefore, his efforts to reach the Baltic coast, and he soon came into collision with the Swedes. After a dilatory war of three years he concluded a peace on the ground of free commercial relations, and then he attacked the Livonian Order, on the pretext that the Livonian town of Dorpat had not paid tribute according to ancient treaties. Finding himself unable to resist the Muscovites, the grand master of the Order put himself under Polish protection, and this led to a seven years war (1563-70) with Poland, during which the Swedes and Danes intervened on their own account. Ivan did not display much military talent, but he showed a remarkable amount of tenacity. No sooner had he made peace with the Poles and failed to get himself elected as their king, than he began a war with the Swedes which dragged on for more than a decade (1572-1583), and before it was ended he was again at war with Poland (1579-81). Though severely tried by disappointments and defeats he never lost hope, and when he died in 1584 he was preparing to renew the struggle and endeavouring to form for that purpose an alliance with England; his great idea, however, was not to be realized till more than a century later, and meanwhile the tsardom of Muscovy had to pass through a severe internal crisis in which its existence was seriously endangered.
Ivan the Terrible had succeeded in stamping out ruthlessly all open resistance to his will, and had created an autocratic Theodore I., 1584-1598. government of the Oriental type; but the elements of disorder were still lying beneath the surface, and as soon as the cunning, energetic despot died they reappeared. His son and successor, Theodore (Feodor), was a weak man of saintly character, very ill fitted to consolidate his father's work and maintain order among the ambitious, turbulent nobles; but he had the good fortune to have an energetic brother-in-law, with no pretensions to sanctity, called Boris Godunov, who was able, with the tsar's moral support, to keep his fellow-boyars in order. This he did during fourteen years, and his administration was signalized by two important innovations—the attaching of the peasants to the land (adscriptio glebae) and the creation of the patriarchate—both of which deserve a passing notice.
Boris has often been called the creator of serfage in Russia, but in reality he merely accelerated a process which was the natural result of economic conditions. In a primitive, Beginnings of serfdom. thinly populated, agricultural country, in which the demand for agricultural labour greatly exceeds the supply, the value of land is in proportion to the number of permanent labourers settled on it, and the landed proprietors naturally try to attract to their estates as many peasants as possible; and in this competition the large proprietors have evidently an advantage over their humbler and weaker rivals. Such had been for a considerable time the condition of Russia, and the small proprietors were now becoming so impoverished that they could no longer fulfil their duties to the state. The remedy they proposed was that the labourers should be prohibited from migrating from one estate to another, and an order to that effect was issued, with the result that the peasants, being no longer able to change their domicile and seek new employers, fell practically under the unlimited power of the proprietors on whose land they resided. This change was, of course, popular among the lower and middle ranks of the landlord class, but was very displeasing to the great nobles.
The second of the two innovations above mentioned was popular among all classes. Hitherto the highest authority in The patriarchate. the Russian Church was the metropolitan, who was nominally under the jurisdiction of the patriarch of Constantinople, and as soon as Constantinople fell into the hands of the infidel, and the tsars of Muscovy claimed to be the successors of the Byzantine emperors, it seemed right and proper that the Russian Church should become autocephalous and be governed by an independent Russian patriarch. The change was very dexterously effected by Godunov, with the formal assent of the Eastern Orthodox Church as a whole, and one of his adherents was placed on the patriarchal throne.
Having thus gained the support of a large majority of the landed proprietors and the ecclesiastics, Boris Godunov increased Boris Godunov, 1598-1605. his influence to such an extent that on the death of Tsar Feodor without male issue in 1598 he was elected his successor by a Great National Assembly. His short reign was not so successful as his administration under the weak Feodor. The oligarchical party considered it a disgrace to obey a simple boyar; conspiracies were frequent, the rural districts were desolated by famine and plague, great bands of armed brigands roamed about the country committing all manner of atrocities, the Cossacks on the frontier were restless, and the government showed itself incapable of maintaining order. Under the influence of the great nobles who had unsuccessfully opposed the election of Godunov, the general discontent took the form of hostility to him as a usurper, and rumours were heard that the late The pseudo-Demetrius. tsar's younger brother Dimitri (Demetrius), supposed to be dead, was still alive and in hiding. In 1603 man calling himself Dimitri, and professing to be the rightful heir to the throne, appeared in Poland, and a few months later he crossed the frontier with a large force of Poles, Russian exiles, German mercenaries and Cossacks from the Dnieper and the Don. In reality the younger son of Ivan the Terrible had been strangled before his brother's death—by orders, it was said, of Godunov—and the mysterious individual who was impersonating him was an impostor; but he was regarded as the rightful heir by a large section of the population, and immediately after Boris's death in 1605 he made his triumphal entry into Moscow. Thus began a period of Russian history commonly called “the Troublous Times,” which lasted until 1613. (See Demetrius, Pseudo-.)
The reign of Dimitri was short and uneventful. Before a year had passed a conspiracy was formed against him by Basil Shuiski, 1606-10. an ambitious noble called Basil (Vassili) Shuiski, and he was assassinated in the Kremlin. The chief conspirator, Shuiski, seized the power and was elected tsar by an Assembly composed of his faction, but neither the ambitious boyars, nor the pillaging Cossacks, nor the German mercenaries were satisfied with the change, and soon a new impostor, likewise calling himself Dimitri, son of Tsar Ivan, came forward as the rightful heir. Like his predecessor, Pseudo-Demetrius II., 1608-10. he enjoyed the protection and support of the Polish king, Sigismund III., and was strong enough to compel Shuiski to abdicate; but as soon as the throne was vacant Sigismund put forward as a candidate his own son, Wladislaus. To this latter the people of Moscow swore allegiance on condition of his maintaining Orthodoxy and granting certain rights, and on this understanding the Polish troops were allowed to occupy the city and the Kremlin. Then Sigismund unveiled his real plan, which was to obtain the throne not for his son but for himself. This scheme did not please any of the contending factions and it roused the anti-Catholic fanaticism of the masses. At the same time it was displeasing to the Swedes, who had become rivals of the Poles on the Baltic coast, and they started a false Dimitri of their own in Novgorod.
Russia was thus in a very critical condition. The throne was vacant, the great nobles quarrelling among themselves, Accession of the house of Románov. the Catholic Poles in the Kremlin of Moscow, the Protestant Swedes in Novgorod, and enormous bands of brigands everywhere. The severity of the crisis produced a remedy, in the form of a patriotic rising of the masses under the leadership of a butcher called Minin and a Prince Pozharski. In a short time the invaders were expelled, and a Grand National Assembly elected as tsar Michael Románov, the young son of the metropolitan Philaret, who was connected by marriage with the late dynasty.
During the reign of Michael (1613-45) the new dynasty came to be accepted by all classes, and the country recovered Michael, 1613-45. to some extent from the disorders and exhaustion from which it had suffered so severely; but it was not strong enough to pursue at once an aggressive foreign policy, and the tsar prudently determined to make peace with Sweden and conclude an armistice of fourteen years with Poland. At the conclusion of the armistice in 1632, during a short interregnum in Poland, he attempted to avenge past injuries and recover lost territory; but the campaign was not successful, and in 1634 he signed a definitive treaty by no means favourable to Russia. That lesson was laid to heart, and he subsequently maintained a purely defensive attitude. As a precaution against Tatar invasions he founded fortified towns on his southern frontiers—Tambov, Kozlov, Penza and Simbirsk; but when the Don Cossacks offered him Azov, which they had captured from the Turks, and a National Assembly, convoked for the purpose of considering the question, were in favour of accepting it as a means of increasing Russian influence on the Black Sea, he decided that the town should be restored to the sultan, much to the disappointment of its captors.
In the reign of Michael's successor, Alexius (1645-76), the country recovered its strength so rapidly that the tsar was Alexius, 1645-76. tempted to revive the energetic aggressive policy and put forward claims to Livonia, Lithuania and Little Russia, but he was obliged to moderate his pretensions. Livonia continued to be under Swedish rule, and Lithuania remained united with Poland. Some advantages, however, were obtained. Smolensk and Chernigov were definitely incorporated in the tsardom of Muscovy, and great progress was made towards the absorption of Little Russia.
Roughly speaking, Little Russia, otherwise called the Ukraine, may be described as the basin of the Dnieper southward The Ukraine. of the 51st parallel of latitude. In the 16th century it was a thinly populated region inhabited chiefly by Cossacks, speaking the so-called Little Russian dialect, and until 1569 it formed nominally part of Lithuania, but was practically independent. In that year, when Lithuania and Poland were permanently united, it fell under Polish rule, and the Polish government considered it necessary to tame the wild inhabitants and bring them under regular administration. For this decision there were good reasons, for those turbulent sons of the steppe paid no taxes and were much given to brigandage, and their raiding propensities occasionally created international difficulties with the khan of the Crimea and the sultan of Turkey. It was proposed, therefore, in 1576, that 6000 families should be registered as a militia under a Polish Hetman for the protection of the country against Tatar raids, and that the remainder of the inhabitants should be assimilated to the ordinary peasants of Poland. This arrangement was very distasteful to all classes. The registered Cossacks objected to being placed under a Hetman not freely chosen by themselves, and those who were not included in the militia objected still more strongly to the prospect of being reduced to the miserable condition of Polish serfs. To escape this danger many of them moved down the river and settled on the waste lands beyond the rapids. Here, about 1590, was founded an independent military colony called the Setch, the members of which, recognizing no authority but that of their own elected officers, lived by fishing, hunting and making raids on the Tatars, and were always ready to assist their less fortunate countrymen in resisting Polish aggression. For half a century the struggle between the two races went on with varying success, but on the whole the Polish government proved stronger than its insubordinate subjects, and about 1638 it seemed to have attained its object. Polish proprietors settled in large numbers on the Cossack territory, and great efforts were made, with the assistance of the Jesuits, to bring the Orthodox population under papal authority. But for both proprietors and Jesuits a surprise was in store. Threatened seriously in their liberty and their faith, the people rose with greater enthusiasm than before, and a general insurrection, in which the peasants joined, spread over the whole country under the leadership of Bogdan Chmielnicki or Khmelnitski (q.v.), whose name is still remembered in the Ukraine. As in all previous insurrections the Poles proved stronger in the field, and Khmelnitski in desperation sought foreign assistance, first in Constantinople and then in Moscow. For some time Tsar Alexius hesitated, because he knew that intervention could entail a war with Poland, but after consulting a National Assembly on the subject, he decided to take Little Russia under his protection, and in January 1654 a great Cossack assembly ratified the arrangement, on the understanding that a large part of the old local autonomy should be preserved. In the expected war with Poland, which followed quickly, the Russians were so successful that the arrangement was upheld; but it was soon found that the Cossacks, though they professed unbounded devotion to the Orthodox tsar, disliked Muscovite, quite as much as Polish, interference in their internal affairs, and some of their leaders were in favour of substituting federation with Poland for annexation by Russia. In these circumstances the tsar was induced to accept a compromise, and signed in 1667 the treaty of Andrussovo, by which the territory in dispute was partitioned and the middle course of the Dnieper became the frontier between Russia and Poland.
In the reign of Alexius a conflict took place between the tsar and the patriarch, which is often described as a conflict The tsar and the patriarch. between Church and State, and which illustrates the relations between the temporal and the spiritual power in Russian state-organization. Until the beginning of the 17th century the Byzantine tradition that in all matters outside the sphere of dogma the ecclesiastical is subordinate to the civil power had been observed in Russia; but the traditional conceptions had been to some extent undermined during the reign of Michael, when the metropolitan Philaret, who was the tsar's father (vide supra), became patriarch and was associated with this son in the government on a footing of equality. Like the tsar, he had the official title of “Great Lord” (veliki gosudár), and he had his palace, his court-dignitaries, his retinue, his boyars and his officials all organized on the model of those of the sovereign. Without his assent and blessing no important decisions were taken, all state documents emanating from the highest authority bore his signature, and he was regarded, both in the official world and by the public generally, as the tsar's equal in rank and dignity. His immediate successors, being men of humble origin and submissive character, made no pretensions to such an exalted position, but when the haughty, ambitious and energetic Nikon, who enjoyed in large measure the affection and favour of the devout Tsar Alexius, became patriarch, he took Philaret as his model, and propounded, like the popes in western Europe, the doctrine that the spiritual is higher than the temporal power, the former corresponding to the sun and the latter to the moon in the firmament. In accordance with this view he declared that the patriarch was the image of Christ, the head of the Church, and was therefore subject to no earthly authority, and he complained of the tsar's interference in ecclesiastical affairs. His pretensions and his haughty dictatorial manner at last exhausted the tsar's patience, and he was formally deposed and exiled to a monastery. As no voice was raised in his defence and the decision of the ecclesiastical council which condemned him was universally accepted without protest, we must conclude that the conflict was not really between Church and State but simply between the haughty, ambitious Patriarch Nikon and the devout, long-suffering Tsar Alexius. The incident afforded a new proof, where no proof was required, that the autocratic power in Russia was supreme. In order to prevent such incidents in future, Peter the Great abolished the patriarchate altogether, and entrusted the administration of the Church to a synod entirely dependent on the government.
Much more important in its consequences was Nikon's activity as an ecclesiastical reformer. During the Russian Dark Ages Reforms of Nikon. certain clerical errors had crept into the liturgical books and certain peculiarities had been adopted in the ritual. These had been detected and pointed out by learned ecclesiastics of Kiev, where some of the ancient learning of Byzantium had been preserved, and Nikon determined to make the necessary corrections. He determined also to introduce into the Church many desirable reforms. His project was approved by an ecclesiastical council and was supported by the tsar, but it met with violent opposition from a large section of the clergy, and it alarmed the ignorant masses, who regarded any alterations in the ritual, however insignificant they might be, as heretical and very dangerous to salvation. When put into execution the project produced in the Russian Church a great schism and numerous fantastic sects. The cruel persecutions instituted by the authorities with a view to securing conformity increased the number and fanaticism of the schismatics and heretics, and created among them a widespread belief that the reign of Antichrist, foretold in the Apocalypse, was at hand. In support of this idea, independently of the ecclesiastical innovations, many significant facts could be adduced. Numerous foreigners had been allowed to settle in Moscow and to build for themselves a heretical church, and their strange unholy customs had been adopted by not a few courtiers and great dignitaries. Matveyev, the most influential of the boyars, had married a foreigner who conversed freely with her husband's male friends, contrary to the Muscovite notions of respectability and decorum, and his house, in which the tsar was a frequent visitor, was furnished and decorated in foreign fashion. Books on mundane subjects, not at all conducive to the spiritual edification of the faithful, were read by the tsar's counsellors, and a theatre had been erected, in which the tsar often witnessed very unedifying dramas and ballets. Worst of all, the Orthodox tsar occasionally abandoned the decorous flowing robes of his venerated ancestors, and appeared publicly in the unseemly costume of heretical foreigners, whilst his consort, when carried through the streets in a litter, did not conceal her face from the public gaze. Such innovations troubled deeply the pious souls of the conservative Muscovites, and confirmed them in their repugnance to accept the ecclesiastical reforms. Though this original fanaticism gradually cooled and the rigorists had to make many concessions to the exigencies of practical life, a large section of the Russian people remained outside the official fold, so that at the present day, if we may credit the most competent authorities, the schismatics and heretics number more than twelve millions.
While the Muscovites of the upper classes were thus beginning to abandon their old oriental habits, their government was Foreign relations. preparing to make a political evolution of a similar kind. Notwithstanding the efforts of the Poles and the Military Orders to exclude Russia from the shores of the Baltic and keep her in a state of isolation, she was coming slowly into closer relations with central and western Europe. The emperor, the governments of England, Holland, France and Sweden, and even the Grand Turk made advances to the tsar. Some of them wished to gain him as an ally against their rivals, whilst others hoped to obtain from him commercial privileges and permission to trade directly with Persia. The political and the commercial proposals were alike received with coldness, because the native diplomatists had aims which could not be reconciled completely with the policy of any other country, and the native merchants were afraid of foreign competition. The negotiations gave, therefore, little tangible result, but they helped to prepare the way for the new order of things which was soon to be introduced by Alexius's son, Peter the Great.
Before reaching the new order of things, the country had to pass through an internal crisis similar to that which followed the death of Ivan the Terrible, but not nearly so severe. Alexius had been twice married and had left several children by each of his wives, and, as generally happened in such cases, a struggle for power ensued between the two rival families. The late tsar's Theodore III., 1676-82. eldest son, Theodore, was weak in health and died without male issue after an uneventful reign of six years (1676-82). As the second son, Ivan, next in the order of succession, was almost an imbecile, the third son, Peter, born of the second marriage, was proclaimed tsar, and his maternal relations became the dominant faction but their triumph was of very short duration. An ambitious, energetic sister of Ivan, well known in Russian history as Sophia Sophia Alexeyevna. Alexeyevna, instigated the stryeltsi (strelitz), as the troops of the unreformed standing army were called, to upset the arrangement. After making a tumult in the Kremlin and assassinating several of the men in power, they insisted Ivan V. (II.), 1682-89. that Ivan should be proclaimed tsar conjointly with Peter, and that Sophia should act as regent during the minority of the two young sovereigns. She accepted unhesitatingly the difficult and dangerous post, and ruled autocratically for seven years (1682-89), but this did not satisfy her ambition. Having discovered that Peter, who had reached the age of seventeen, was thinking of taking the administration into his own hands, she conspired against him with the commander of the stryeltsi and some of his maternal relations; but she was circumvented by the rival faction and interned in a convent, and Peter's mother was put in her place. The importance of these incidents, which are very characteristic of political life in the tsardom of Muscovy, will appear in the sequel.
If Peter really thought of taking the administration into his own hands, he very soon abandoned the idea and returned to Peter the Great, 1689-1725. the irregular suburban life he had led during his half-sister's regency—associating with foreigners who could teach him the mechanical arts of the West, drilling troops, building and sailing boats, forming projects for the creation of a great navy, indulging publicly in Bacchanalian revels and boisterous amusements not at all to the taste of his pious countrymen, and appearing in Moscow as Orthodox tsar only on great ceremonial occasions. Already the desire to make his country a great naval power was becoming his ruling passion, and when he found by experience that the White Sea, Russia's sole maritime outlet, had great practical inconveniences as a naval base, he revived the project of getting a firm footing on the shores of the Black Sea or the Baltic. At first he gave the preference to the former, and with the aid of a flotilla of small craft, constructed on a tributary of the Don, he succeeded in capturing Azov from the Turks. Greatly elated by this success, he recommended to the council of boyars the construction of a powerful fleet for carrying on war with the infidel, and he himself went abroad to learn more about shipbuilding and useful foreign inventions, and to prepare diplomatically the projected crusade. His foreign tour, during which he visited Germany, Holland, England, France and Austria, lasted nearly a year and a half, and was suddenly interrupted, when on his way from Vienna to Venice to study the construction of war-galleys, by the alarming news that the turbulent stryeltsi of Moscow had mutinied anew with the intention of placing Sophia on the throne. On arriving in Moscow he found that the mutiny had been suppressed and the ringleaders punished, but he considered it necessary to reopen the investigation and act with exemplary severity. Of the surviving mutineers over twelve hundred were executed, some of them by his own hand, and the entire corps was disbanded.
From this moment may be dated the personal reign of Peter, for he now began to direct personally all branches of the administration, and governed with indefatigable vigour for twenty-seven years, during which he greatly increased the area and profoundly modified the internal condition of his country. At first he concentrated his attention on foreign affairs. During his foreign tour he had discovered that the idea of a grand crusade against the infidel was irrealizable, for France was, according to her traditional policy, the ally of the sultan, Austria wished to avoid trouble on her eastern frontier in order to devote her energies to the question of the Spanish succession, and all the other countries which he wished to draw into the coalition had good reasons of their own for desiring the maintenance of peace in eastern Europe. For his Baltic schemes, on the contrary, he had found the ground well prepared. During a halt of a few days in Poland on his way back from Vienna, King Augustus had explained to him a project for partitioning the trans-Baltic provinces of Sweden, by which Poland should recover Livonia and annex Esthonia, Russia should obtain Ingria and Karelia, and Denmark should take possession of Holstein. As Sweden was known to be exhausted by the long wars of Gustavus Adolphus and his successors, and weakened by internal dissensions, the dismemberment seemed an easy matter, and Peter embarked on the scheme with a light heart; but his illusions were quickly dispelled by the eccentric young Swedish king, Charles XII., who arrived suddenly in Esthonia and completely routed the Russian army before Narva. Thus began the so-called Northern War, which lasted intermittently for more than twenty years, and was terminated by the treaty of Nystad (Sept. 10, 1721). By that treaty Peter acquired not only Ingria and Karelia, as originally contemplated, but also Livonia, Esthonia and part of Finland. The problem of obtaining a firm footing on the Baltic coast, on which Ivan the Terrible had squandered his resources to no purpose, was now solved satisfactorily.
Peter's other favourite scheme, that of acquiring the command of the Black Sea, was as far from realization as ever. In the midst of the Northern War, shortly after the great Russian victory of Poltava (1709), the sultan, at the instigation of Swedish and French agents, determined to recover Azov, and made great military preparations for that purpose. Having annihilated at Poltava the army of Charles XII., Peter was not at all indisposed to renew the struggle with Turkey, and began the campaign in the confident hope of making extensive conquests; but he had only got as far as the Pruth when he found himself surrounded by a great Turkish army, and, in order to extricate himself from his critical position, he had to sign a humiliating treaty by which Azov and other conquests were restored to the sultan. His dreams of freeing the Christians from the yoke of the infidel had to be abandoned, and the conquest of the northern shores of the Black Sea was postponed till the reign of Catherine II.
Those tedious and exhausting wars did not prevent Peter from attending to internal affairs, and he displayed as a reformer Peter the Great's reforms. even more vigour and tenacity than as a general in the field. His first reforms were connected with the army. Several of his immediate predecessors had come to recognize that Russia, with her antiquated military organization, was unable to cope with her Western neighbours, and had begun to organize, with the help of foreigners, a military force more in accordance with modern requirements; but the progress made in that direction had been slow and unsatisfactory. Unlike his predecessors, Peter was in a hurry to realize his plans, and he set to work at once. In less than two years from the time of disbanding the stryeltsi he contrived to create an army of 40,000 men. This army, it is true, was so inefficient that it was completely routed by the Swedish king with a most inferior force, but it was improved gradually until it learned to conquer its Swedish opponents. To accomplish such a feat it was necessary, of course, to expend large sums of money; and as the country could ill bear an increase of taxation, the whole financial system had to be improved and the natural resources of the country had to be developed. At the same time the military and financial requirements dislocated the local and central administration, and consequently a series of radical administrative reforms had to be undertaken. Thus one reform led to another; but Peter was not dismayed by the magnitude of the task, and worked vigorously in all departments with a sublime disregard for the clamour of reactionary opponents and for the feelings and prejudices of his subjects in general. A prudent ruler in his position would have sought to preserve the outward forms while changing the inner substance, but Peter was not at all prudent in that sense. Very often he wantonly provoked opposition, as when he shaved off his beard and compelled his chief officials to do likewise, though he well knew that the operation was regarded by the ignorant masses and the pious of all ranks as a sinful defacing of the image of God. In his eyes the beard was a symbol of the old régime, and as such it must be removed. Reckless of consequences, he swept away the venerated ceremonial formalities which his ancestors had scrupulously observed, openly scoffed at ancient usage, habitually dressed in foreign costume, and generally chose foreign heretics as his boon companions. In adopting foreign innovations, he showed, like the Japanese of the present day, no sentimental preference for any particular nation, and was ready to borrow from the Germans, Dutch, English, Swedes or French whatever seemed best suited for his purpose. The innovations, it must be admitted, did not prove so efficient as he expected, because human nature and traditional habits cannot be changed as quickly as institutions. When the Boyar Duma became the Senate, and the Prikazi or administrative departments were organized under the name of Colleges, and when every important town was endowed with a Rathhaus, a Polizeimeister, gilds, aldermen, and all the municipal paraphernalia of western Europe, the vices of the old institutions survived in the new. Notwithstanding the changes in organization and terminology, the officials remained ignorant, indolent, careless, indifferent to the public welfare, high-handed and extortionate, and the local self-government which was intended to enlighten and control them proved sadly wanting in vitality and practically worthless. So inefficient, indeed, were the reforms as a whole, and so unsuited to the national character and customs, that the Slavophil critics of a later date could maintain plausibly the paradoxical thesis that in regard to internal administration Peter was anything but a national benefactor. However that may be, it must be confessed even by Slavophils that he dragged his countrymen, more by force than by persuasion, from the paths of traditional routine and pushed them along with all his might on the broad road of progress in the modern sense of the term. Abandoning the ancient Muscovite capital, where many influential personages were fanatically hostile to his innovations and not a few of the superstitious inhabitants regarded him with horror as Antichrist, he built at the mouth of the Neva a new capital which Foundation of St Petersburg. was to serve as “a window through which his people might look into Europe”; and laying aside the national title of tsar he proclaimed himself (1711) emperor (Imperator) of all Russia—much to the surprise and indignation of foreign diplomatic chancelleries, which resented the audacity of a semi-barbarous potentate in claiming to be equal in rank with the head of the Holy Roman Empire. Gradually, however, the chancelleries had to withdraw their protests, for it came to be generally recognized that the semi-barbarian, who died at the early age of fifty-three, had transformed the oriental tsardom of Muscovy into a state of the Western type and had made it a powerful member of the European family of nations (see Peter I.).
IV. The Modern Empire.—On the death of Peter (1725) the internal tranquillity and progress of the empire were again seriously threatened by the uncertainty of the order of succession, and the autocratic power which he had wielded so vigorously passed into the hands of a series of weak, indolent sovereigns who were habitually guided by personal caprice and the advice of intriguing favourites rather than by serious political considerations. During this period, which lasted from 1725 to 1762, the male line of the Romanov dynasty became extinct, and the succession passed to various members of the female line, which intermarried with German princes. In this way German influence was enormously increased, and was represented by men of considerable capacity holding the highest official positions, such as Biren, Münnich and Ostermann. The main events of the period may be summarized very briefly. Peter, by his first marriage, had a son, the unhappy cesarevich Alexius (q.v.), who figures more largely in imaginative literature than in history—a narrow-minded, obstinate, pious youth, who had no sympathy with his father's violent innovations, and was completely under the influence of the old Muscovite reactionary faction. Intimidated by the paternal anger and threats he took refuge in Austria, and when he had been induced by illusory promises to return to Russia he was tried for high treason by a special tribunal, and after being subjected to torture died in prison (1718). To avert the danger of a man of this type succeeding to the throne Peter made a law by which the reigning sovereign might choose his successor according to his own judgment, and two years later he caused his second wife, Catherine I., 1725-27. Catherine, the daughter of a Lithuanian peasant, to be crowned with all due solemnity, “in recognition of the courageous services rendered by her to the Russian Empire.” This gave Catherine a certain right to the throne at her husband's death, and her claims were supported by Peter's most influential coadjutors, especially by Prince Menshikov, an ambitious man of humble origin who had been raised by his patron to the highest offices of state. On the other hand the great nobles of more conservative tendencies wished to get the young son of the cesarevich Alexius made emperor under their own control. The former faction triumphed, and Catherine reigned for about a year and a half, after which the son of the cesarevich Alexius, Peter II., Peter II., 1727-30. occupied the throne from 1727 to 1730. At first he was under the tutelage of Menshikov, who wished him to marry his daughter, but he soon contrived, with the aid of the Dolgorukis and other old families, to get his imperious tutor arrested and exiled to Siberia. The Dolgorukis and their friends thus came into power, and on the death of Peter II. in 1750 they offered the throne to Anne, duchess of Courland, a daughter of Ivan V., elder brother of Peter the Great, on condition of her signing a formal document by which the seat of government should be transferred from St Petersburg to Moscow, and the autocratic power should be limited and controlled by a grand council composed of their Anne, 1730-40. own faction. Anne accepted the condition and became empress, but when she discovered that the attempt to limit her powers in favour of a small conservative oligarchy was extremely unpopular among all classes, she submitted the question to an assembly of 800 ecclesiastical and lay dignitaries, and at their request the unlimited autocratic rule was re-established. Her reign (1730-40) was a régime of methodical German despotism on the lines laid down by her uncle, Peter the Great, and as she was naturally indolent and much addicted to frivolous amusements, the administration was directed by her favourite Biren (q.v.) and other men of German origin. Having no male issue, she chose as her successor the infant son of her niece, Anna Leopoldovna, duchess of Brunswick, and at her death the child was duly proclaimed emperor, under the name of Ivan VI., but in little more than a year he was dethroned by the partisans of the Princess Elizabeth, a daughter of Peter the Great and Elizabeth, 1741-61. Catherine I. As a true daughter of the great Russian reformer, Elizabeth (1741-61) relegated the German element to a subordinate position in the administration and gave her confidence to genuine Russians like Bestuzhev, Vorontsov, Razumovski (her morganatic husband) and the Shuvalovs. Her hatred of Germans showed itself likewise in her persistent struggle with Frederick the Great, which cost Russia 300,000 men and 30 millions of roubles—an enormous sum for those days—but in the choice of a successor she could not follow her natural inclinations, for among the few descendants of Michael Romanov there was no one, even in the female line, who could be called a genuine Russian. She proclaimed, therefore, as heir-apparent the son of her deceased elder sister Anna, Charles Peter Ulrich, duke of Holstein-Gottorp, a German in character, habits and religion, and tried to Russianize him by making him adopt the Eastern Orthodox faith and live in St Petersburg during the whole of her reign; but her well-meant efforts were singularly unsuccessful. Impervious to Russian influence, he remained true to his original nationality, and by his undisguised aversion to everything in his adopted country and his passionate, childish admiration of Frederick the Great, he made himself so unpopular that within a few months of his accession, in December 1761, he was dethroned and assassinated by the partisans of his ambitious and able consort, the famous Catherine II.
During the long reign of Catherine II. (1762-96) Russia made rapid progress in civilization, and came to be fully recognized Catherine II., 1762-96. as one of the Great Powers. Coming after a series of incompetent rulers, the German princess proved herself a worthy successor to Peter the Great both in home and in foreign affairs; but she was not a mere imitator. Peter had endeavoured to import from western Europe the essentials of good government and such of the useful arts as were required for the development of the natural resources of the country; Catherine did likewise, but she did not restrict herself to purely utilitarian aims in the narrower sense of the term. She strove to impart also something of the refinement and ornamental attributes of Western civilization, and aspired to raise her adopted fatherland intellectually and artistically to the west-European level. This new departure she lost no time in proclaiming to the world. Within a few months of her accession, having heard that the publication of the famous French Encyclopédie was in danger of being stopped by the French government on account of its irreligious spirit, she proposed to Diderot that he should complete his great work in Russia under her protection. Four years later she endeavoured to embody in a legislative form the principles of enlightenment which she had imbibed from the study of the French philosophers. A Grand Commission, which might be called a consultative parliament, composed of 652 members of all classes—officials, nobles, burghers and peasants—and of various nationalities, was called together at Moscow to consider the needs of the empire and the means of satisfying them. The instructions for the guidance of the Assembly were prepared by the empress herself and were, as she frankly admitted, the result of “pillaging the philosophers of the West,” especially Montesquieu and Beccaria. As many of the democratic principles frightened her more moderate and experienced advisers, she wisely refrained from immediately putting them into execution. After holding more than 200 sittings the so-called Commission was dissolved without getting beyond the realm of theory and pia desideria. Subsequently very important reforms were introduced, not by the vote of an assembly, but by the fiat of the autocratic power. The large Administrative reforms. territorial units of administration created by Peter the Great were broken up into so-called “governments” (gubernii) and further subdivided into districts (uyezdy), and each government was confided to the care of a governor and a vice-governor assisted by a council. A certain amount of local self-government was entrusted to the nobles and the burghers, and the judicial administration was thoroughly reorganized in an enlightened and humane spirit. The great estates of the Church, on which were settled about a million serfs, were secularized and assimilated with the state-domains. At one moment the idea of emancipating all the serfs was entertained, but the project was speedily abandoned, because it would have alienated the nobles—the only class on which Catherine could rely for support. To conciliate them she greatly extended the area of serfage by making large grants of land and serfs to courtiers and public servants who had specially distinguished themselves. About education a great deal was spoken and written, and a certain amount of progress was effected. Whilst primary education was neglected, secondary schools were created in the principal towns and a Russian Academy was founded in St Petersburg. In the imperial court, so far as outward decorum and refinement were concerned, there was an immense improvement, and the upper section of the old Russian Dvorianstvo became a noblesse with French aristocratic conceptions and ideals. A taste for French literature spread rapidly, and the poets and dramatists of Paris found clever imitators in St Petersburg.
By such means Catherine made herself very popular in the upper ranks of society, but as a woman and a usurper who did little or nothing to lighten the burdens of the people she failed to gain the loyalty and devotion of the masses. In the first part of her reign popular discontent found expression in various forms, and on one occasion it produced a serious insurrection. In 1773 a Don Cossack called Pugachev, who was so uneducated that he could not even sign the manifestoes written for him, declared himself to be Peter III., and announced that he was going to St Petersburg to punish his faithless wife and place his son Paul on the throne. Many believed, or affected to believe, in the pretender, and in a short time he gathered around him a large force of Cossacks, peasants, Tatars and Tchuvash, swept over the basin of the lower Volga, executed mercilessly the landed proprietors, seized and pillaged the town of Kazan, and kept the whole country in a state of alarm for more than a year. Finally, after a crushing defeat in which 2000 of the insurgents were killed and 6000 taken prisoners, he was betrayed by some of his followers and executed in Moscow. His name and exploits still live in the popular legends, and the insurrection is often referred to in revolutionary pamphlets as a laudable popular protest against tyrannical autocracy.
In foreign affairs Catherine devoted her attention mainly to pushing forward the Russian frontier westwards and southwards, Foreign policy of Catherine. and as France was the traditional ally of policy of Sweden, Poland and Turkey, she adopted at first the so-called système du Nord, that is to say, a close alliance with Prussia, England and Denmark against France and Austria, who had buried their traditional enmity in the famous alliance of 1756. The first step westwards was taken in Courland, which lay between Russian territory and the Baltic coast. At the time of her accession the duchy was ruled by a son of the Polish king Augustus III., and he gave a pretext for aggression by refusing to allow Russian troops returning from the Seven Years' War to pass through his territory. For this unfriendly act he was deposed and replaced by Biren, who had previously been duke of Courland (1737-40) and had since been an exile in Siberia and Yaroslav. Under Biren (1763-69) and his son and successor (1769-95), as nominees of Catherine, Courland was completely under Russian influence until 1795, when it was formally incorporated with the empire. The next country to feel the expansive tendencies Poland. of Russia was Poland, which had now very little power of resistance. Whilst Russia, Austria, Prussia and France were becoming powerful monarchies with centralized administration, Poland had remained a weak feudal republic with an elected king chosen under foreign influence and fettered by constitutional restrictions. All political authority was in the hands of turbulent nobles who quarrelled among themselves, who were always inclined to submit the questions at issue to the arbitrament of arms, and who did not scruple to invite foreign powers to intervene on their behalf. The middle classes, which were making other countries rich and powerful, existed only in an embryonic condition. Instead of a well-organized army of the modern type there was merely an undisciplined militia composed almost exclusively of irregular cavalry; and the national defences as a whole were so weak that, in the opinion of such a competent authority as Maurice of Saxony, the country might easily be conquered by a regular army of 48,000 men. Here was a tempting field for the application of Catherine's aggressive policy, and if she had had to deal merely with the Poles she would have had an easy task. Unfortunately for the success of her schemes she had to reckon with stronger states which were anxious to check the Russian advance, and which were determined, in the event of aggression, to have a share of the plunder. Frederick the Great was at that moment impatient to extend and consolidate his kingdom by getting possession of the basin of the lower Vistula, which separated eastern Prussia from the rest of his dominions, while Austria had also claims on Polish territory and would certainly not submit to be excluded by her two rivals. In these circumstances Catherine hesitated to bring matters to a crisis, but her hand was forced by Frederick, and in 1772 the first partition of Poland took place without any very strenuous resistance on the part of the victim. This national disaster opened the eyes of many Polish patriots to the necessity of changing radically the old order of things, and an attempt was made by them to remove some of the more glaring absurdities of the existing constitution: the throne was declared to be hereditary, the liberum veto by which any petty noble could annul the most important decision of the national assembly was abolished, the royal authority was greatly strengthened, and the towns were empowered to send deputies to the Diet (1791). Such salutary reforms were naturally unwelcome to the aggressive neighbours who wished to preserve the traditional anarchy in order to have new facilities for intervention, and as Russia had signed with the puppet-king in 1768 a treaty by which the constitution could not be modified without her consent, she had a plausible ground for protest. She waited, however, until a deputation of the malcontents, who regretted the loss of liberum veto and who were afraid that the party of reform might undertake the emancipation of the serfs, came to St Petersburg and asked for support in defence of the ancient liberties. Then an imperial manifesto reminding the Poles of the treaty of 1768 was issued and a large Russian force entered the Ukraine. This led to the second partition (1793), by which Russia obtained the eastern provinces with three millions of inhabitants. Even now the work of spoliation was not complete. When the patriots under Koscziusko made a desperate effort to recover the national independence the struggle produced a third partition (1795), by which the remainder of the kingdom was again divided between Russia, Prussia and Austria. Thus Poland disappeared for a time from the map of Europe.
Russia's advance westward raised indirectly the Eastern Question, because it threatened two of France's traditional Treaty of Kuchuk-Kainarji, 1774. allies, Sweden and Poland, and Choiseul considered that the best means of checkmating Catherine's aggressive schemes was to incite France's third traditional ally, Turkey, to attack her. This was not a difficult matter, because the Sublime Porte had many things to complain of in the past and had good reason to fear aggression in the near future. War was accordingly declared in 1768, but it proved disastrous for the sultan; and he had to sign in 1774 the treaty of Kuchuk-Kainarji, which gave Russia a firm hold on the Black Sea and the lower Danube (see Turkey: History). The Tatars of the Bug, of the Crimea and of the Kuban were liberated from the suzerainty of the Porte; Azov, Kinburn and all the fortified places of the Crimea were ceded to Russia; the Bosphorus and Dardanelles were opened to Russian merchant vessels; and Russian ambassadors obtained the right to intervene in favour of the inhabitants of the Danubian principalities. Ten years later the semblance of independence which was left to the khans of the Crimea was destroyed and the peninsula formally annexed to the empire.
The peace concluded at Kuchuk-Kainarji was not of long duration. Catherine had conceived an ambitious plan of solving radically the Eastern Question by partitioning Turkey as she and her allies had partitioned Poland, and she had persuaded the emperor Joseph II. to take part in the scheme. It was intended that Russia should take what remained of the northern coast of the Black Sea, Austria should annex the Turkish provinces contiguous to her territory, the Danubian principalities and Bessarabia should be formed into an independent kingdom called Dacia, the Turks should be expelled from Europe, the Byzantine empire should be resuscitated, and the grand-duke Constantine, second son of the Russian heir-apparent, should be placed on the throne of the Palaeologi. Rumours of this gigantic scheme reached Constantinople, and as Catherine's menacing attitude left little doubt as to her aggressive intentions the Porte presented an ultimatum and finally declared war (1787). Fortune again favoured the Russian arms, but as Austria was less successful and signed a separate peace at Sistova in 1791, Catherine did not obtain much material advantage from the campaign. By the peace of Jassy, signed in January 1792, she retained Ochakov and the coast between the Bug and the Dniester, and she secured certain privileges for the Danubian principalities, but the Turks remained in Constantinople, and the realization of the famous Greek project, as it was termed, had to be indefinitely postponed.
During the first years of the French Revolution Catherine's sympathy with philosophic liberalism rapidly evaporated, and Catherine and the Revolution. she did all in her power to stimulate the hostility of the European sovereigns to the democratic movement; but she carefully abstained from joining the Coalition, and waited patiently for the moment when the complications in western Europe would give her an opportunity of solving independently the Eastern Question in accordance with Russian interests. That moment never came. In November 1796, when the country was not yet prepared to enter on a decisive struggle with Turkey, Catherine died at the age of sixty-six, and was succeeded by her son Paul, whom she had kept during her long reign in a state of semi-captivity.
The short reign of Paul (1796-1801) resembled in many points the still shorter one of his father, Peter III. Both sovereigns Paul. were childishly wayward and capriciously autocratic; both were recklessly indifferent to the feelings, convictions and wishes of those around them; both took a passionate interest in the minutiae of military affairs; as Peter had conceived a boundless admiration for Frederick the Great, so Paul conceived a similar admiration for Napoleon, and both suddenly reversed the national policy to suit this feeling; both were singularly blind to the consequences of their foolish conduct; and both fell victims to court conspiracies which could be in some measure justified, or at least excused, on patriotic grounds.
Paul left no deep, permanent mark on Russian history. In internal affairs he wished to undo what his mother had done, but his impulsive, incoherent efforts in that, direction merely dislocated the administrative mechanism without producing any tangible results. In foreign affairs he displayed the same capriciousness and want of perseverance. After proclaiming his intention of conferring on his subjects the blessings of peace, he joined in 1798 an Anglo-Austrian coalition against France; but when Austria paid more attention to her own interests than to the interests of monarchical institutions in general, and when England did not respect the independence of Malta, which he had taken under his protection, he succumbed to the artful blandishments of Napoleon and formed with him a plan for ruining the British empire by the conquest of India. Having roused, by what ought perhaps to be called his insanity, the enmity, distrust and fear of all around him, including some members of his own family, he was assassinated on the night of the 23rd to 24th of March 1801, and was succeeded by his son Alexander I.
The early part of Alexander's reign (1801-25) was a period of generous ideas and liberal reforms. Under the influence Alexander I., 1801-25. of his Swiss tutor, Frederick César de Laharpe, he had imbibed many of the democratic ideas of the time, and he aspired to put them in practice, with the assistance at first of three young friends, Novosiltsov, Adam Czartoryski and Strogonov, who were his intimate counsellors and were popularly known as the Triumvirate, and later of Mikhail Speranski (q.v.). Some of the more oppressive measures of the previous reign were abolished; the clergy, the nobles and the merchants were exempted from corporal punishment; the central organs of administration were modernized and the Council of the Empire was created; the idea of granting a constitution was academically discussed; great schemes for educating the people were entertained; parish schools, gymnasia, training colleges and ecclesiastical seminaries were founded; the existing universities of Moscow, Vilna and Dorpat were reorganized and new ones founded in Kazan and Kharkov; the great work of serf-emancipation was begun in the Baltic provinces. In all these schemes Alexander took a keen personal interest; but his enthusiasm was soon cooled by practical difficulties, and his attention became more and more engrossed by foreign affairs.
At that time, in respect of foreign affairs, Russia was entering on a new phase of her history. Hitherto she had confined her efforts to territorial expansion in eastern Europe and in Asia, and she had sought foreign alliances merely as temporary expedients to facilitate the attainment of that object. Now she was beginning to consider herself a powerful member of the European family of nations, and she aspired to exercise a predominant influence in all European questions. This tendency was already shown by Catherine when she created the League of Neutrals as an arm against the naval supremacy of England, and by Paul when he insisted that his peace negotiations with Bonaparte should be regarded as part of a general European pacification, in which he must be consulted. Alexander insisted still more strongly on this claim, and in the convention Alexander and Napoleon. which he concluded with the First Consul in October 1801 it was agreed that the maintenance of a just equilibrium between Austria and Prussia should be taken as an invariable principle in the plans of both parties, that the integrity of the kingdom of the Two Sicilies should be respected, that the duke of Württemberg should receive in Germany an indemnity proportionate to his losses, that the dominions of the elector of Bavaria should be preserved intact, and that the independence of the Ionian Islands should not be violated. Having obtained these important concessions the tsar imagined for a moment that in any further territorial changes he would be consulted and his advice allowed due weight, and he seems even to have indulged in the hope that the affairs of Europe might be directed by himself and his new ally. His illusion was soon dispelled, because the aims and policy of the two potentates were utterly irreconcilable. Whilst the one strove to erect bulwarks against French aggression, the other was preparing the ground for fresh annexations. During 1803-4 the breach between the two rivals widened, because Napoleon became more and more aggressive and unceremonious in Italy and Germany. Before the end of 1803 Alexander had come to perceive the necessity of resisting him energetically in order to save Europe from complete subjection, and in August 1804 he recognized that an armed conflict was inevitable. It broke out in the following year, and after the battles of Austerlitz (December 1805) and Friedland (June 1807), in which the Russians were completely defeated, the two sovereigns had their famous interviews at Tilsit, at which they not only made peace but agreed to divide the world between them, with a sublime indifference to the interests of other states. The grandiose project was at once vaguely outlined in three formal documents, to the intense satisfaction of both parties, and on both sides there was much rejoicing at the conclusion of such an auspicious alliance; but the diplomatic honeymoon was not of long duration. The mutual assurances of unbounded confidence, admiration and sympathy, if there was any genuine sincerity in them, represented merely a transient state of feeling. Napoleon, who could brook no equal, was nourishing the secret hope that his confederate might be used as a docile subordinate in the realization of his own plans, and the confederate soon came to suspect that he was being duped. His suspicions were intensified by the hostile criticisms of the Tilsit arrangement among his own subjects and by the arbitrary conduct of his ally, who continued his aggressions in reckless fashion as if he were sole master of Europe. The sovereigns of Sardinia, Naples, Portugal and Spain were dethroned, the pope was driven from Rome, the Rhine Confederation was extended till France obtained a footing on the Baltic, the grand-duchy of Warsaw was reorganized and strengthened, the promised evacuation of Prussia was indefinitely postponed, an armistice between Russia and Turkey was negotiated by French diplomacy in such a way that the Russian troops should evacuate the Danubian principalities, which Alexander intended to annex to his empire, and the scheme for breaking up the Ottoman empire and ruining England by the conquest of India, which had been one of the most attractive baits in the Tilsit negotiations, but which had not been formulated in the treaty, was no longer spoken of. At the same time Napoleon threatened openly to crush Austria, and in 1809 he carried out his threat by defeating the Austrian armies at Wagram and elsewhere, and dictating the treaty of Schönbrunn (October 14).
Russia now remained the only unconquered power on the continent, and it was evident that the final struggle with her could not be long delayed. It began in 1812 by the advance Of the Grande Armée on Moscow, and it ended in 1815 at Waterloo. During those three years Alexander was the chief antagonist of Napoleon, and it was largely due to his skill and persistency that the allies held together and freed Europe permanently from the Napoleonic domination. When peace was finally concluded, he had obtained that predominant position in European politics which had been the object of his ambition since the commencement of his reign, and he now believed firmly that he had been chosen by Providence to secure the happiness of the world in general and of the European nations in particular. In the fulfilment of this supposed mission he was not very successful, Alexander and the reaction in Europe. because his conception of national happiness and the means of obtaining it differed widely from that of the peoples whom he wished to benefit. They had fought for freedom in order to liberate themselves not only from the yoke of Napoleon but also from the tyranny of their own governments, whereas he expected them to remain submissively under the patriarchal institutions which their native rulers imposed on them. Thus, in spite of his academic sympathy with liberal ideas, he became, together with Metternich, a champion of political stagnation, and co-operated willingly in the reactionary measures against the revolutionary movements in Germany, Italy and Spain. In the affairs, of his own country he refrained from developing and extending the liberal institutions which he had created immediately after his accession, and he finally adopted in all departments of administration a strongly reactionary policy. This naturally caused profound disappointment and dissatisfaction in the liberal section of the educated classes and especially among the young officers of the regiments which had spent some years in western Europe. Some of these officers had been in touch with the revolutionary movements, and had adopted the idea then prevalent in France, Germany and Italy that the best instrument for assuring political progress was to be found in secret societies. In Russia such societies began to be formed about 1816. The tsar, though he came to know of their existence, refrained from taking repressive measures against them, and when he died suddenly at Taganrog on the 1st of December 1825, two of them made an attempt to realize their political aspirations. The heir to the throne was the late tsar's eldest brother, Constantine, but he Nicholas I., 1825-55. declined, for private reasons, to accept the succession, and a few days elapsed before the second brother, Nicholas, was proclaimed emperor. Taking advantage of this short interregnum, some members of the secret societies, mostly officers of the Guards, organized a mutiny among the troops quartered in St Petersburg and in Podolia, with a view to effecting a political revolution, but the movement was easily suppressed, and the ringleaders, known subsequently as the Decembrists, were severely punished (see Nicholas I.).
Nicholas was a blunt soldier incapable of comprehending his brother's sentimental sympathy with liberalism. The Decembrists' abortive attempt at revolution and the Polish insurrection of 1831, which he crushed with great severity, confirmed him in his conviction that Russia must be ruled with a strong hand. That conviction he put into practice with extreme rigour during the thirty years, of his reign (1825-55), endeavouring by every means at his disposal to prevent revolutionary ideas from germinating spontaneously among his subjects and from being imported from abroad. For this purpose he created a very severe press-censorship and an expensive system of passports, which made it more difficult for Russians to visit foreign countries. It would be unjust, however, to say that he was the determined enemy of all progress. Progress was to be made in certain directions and in a certain way. Not only was the army to be well drilled and the fleet to be carefully equipped, but railways were to be constructed, river-navigation was to be facilitated, manufacturing industry was to be developed, commerce was to be encouraged, the administration was to be improved, the laws were to be codified and the tribunals were to be reorganized. All this was to be done, however, under the strict supervision and guidance of the autocratic power, with as little aid as possible from private initiative and with no control whatever of public opinion, because influential public opinion is apt to produce insubordination. When the results proved unsatisfactory, remedies were sought in increased administrative supervision, draconian legislation and severe punishment, and no attempt was made to get out of the vicious circle. In the last months of his life, under the influence of a great national disaster, the conscientious, persistent autocrat began to suspect that his system was a mistake, but he still clung to it obstinately. “My successor,” he is reported to have said on his death-bed, “may do as he pleases, but I cannot change!”
This steadfast faith in autocratic methods and the exaggerated fear of revolutionary principles were shown in foreign as well as in home affairs. Like Alexander in the last period of his reign, Nicholas considered himself the supreme guardian of European order, and was ever on the watch to oppose revolution in all its forms. Hence he was generally in strained relations with France, especially in the time of Louis Philippe, who became king not by the grace of God but by the will of the people. During the revolutionary ferment of 1848-49 he urged the Prussian king to refuse the imperial crown, co-operated with the Austrian emperor in suppressing the Hungarian insurrection, and compelled the Prussians to withdraw their support from the insurgents in Schleswig-Holstein. Unfortunately for the peace of the world his habitual policy of maintaining the existing state of things was frequently obscured and disturbed by his desire to maintain and increase his own and his country's prestige, influence and territory. By the Persian War, which broke out in 1826, in consequence of frontier disputes, he annexed the provinces of Erivan and Nakhichevan, and during the whole of his reign the conquest of the Caucasus was systematically carried on. With regard also to the Ottoman empire his policy cannot be said to have been strictly conservative. As protector Nicholas I. and the Ottoman empire. of the Orthodox Christians he espoused the cause of the rayahs in Greece, Servia and Rumania. Under a threat of war he obtained in 1826 the Convention of Akerman, by which the autonomy of Moldavia, Walachia and Servia was confirmed, free passage of the straits was secured for merchant ships and disputed territory on the Asiatic frontier was annexed, and in July 1827 he signed with England and France the treaty of London for the solution of the Greek question by the mediation of the Powers. As the sultan rejected the mediation, his fleet was destroyed by the combined squadrons of the three Powers at Navarino; and as this “untoward event” did not suffice to overcome his resistance, a Russian army crossed the Danube and after two hard-fought campaigns advanced to Adrianople. Here, on the 14th of September 1829, was signed a treaty by which the Porte ceded to Russia the islands at the mouth of the Danube and several districts on the Asiatic frontier, granted full liberty to Russian navigation and commerce in the Black Sea, and guaranteed the autonomous rights previously accorded to Moldavia, Walachia and Servia. By the 10th article of the treaty, moreover, Turkey acceded to the protocol of the 22nd of March 1829, by which the Powers had agreed to the erection of Greece into a tributary principality. This attempt of Russia to secure the sole prestige of liberating Greece was, however, frustrated by the action of the other Powers in putting forward the principle of the independence of the new Greek state, with a further extension of frontiers.
The result of the war was to make Russia supreme at Constantinople; and before long an opportunity of further increasing her influence was created by Mehemet Ali, the ambitious pasha of Egypt, who in November 1831 began a war with his sovereign in Syria, gained a series of victories over the Turkish forces in Asia Minor and threatened Constantinople. Sultan Madmud II. after appealing in vain to Great Britain for active assistance turned in despair to Russia. Nicholas immediately sent his Black Sea fleet into the Bosphorus, landed on the Asiatic shore a force of 10,000 men, and advanced another large force towards the Turkish frontier in Bessarabia. Under pressure from Treaty of Unkiar-Skelessi, 1833. England and France the Egyptians retreated and the Russian forces were withdrawn, but the tsar had meanwhile (July 8, 1833) concluded with the sultan the treaty of Unkiar-Skelessi, which constituted ostensibly a defensive and offensive alliance between the two Powers and established virtually a Russian protectorate over Turkey. In a secret article of the treaty the sultan undertook in the event of a casus foederis arising, and in consideration of being relieved of his obligations under the articles of the public treaty, to close the Dardanelles to the warships of all nations “au besoin,” which meant in effect that in the event of Russia being threatened with an attack from the Mediterranean he would close the Dardanelles against the invader. England and France protested energetically and the treaty remained a dead letter, but the question came up again in 1840, after Mahmud's renewed attempt to crush Mehemet Ali had ended in the utter defeat of the Turks by Ibrahim at Nezib (June 24, 1839). This time Mehemet Ali was supported by the French government, which aimed at establishing predominant influence in Egypt, but he was successfully opposed by a coalition of Great Britain, Russia, Austria and Prussia, which checkmated the aggressive designs of France by the convention of London (July 15, 1840) (see Mehemet Ali and Turkey). In this way the development of Russian policy with regard to Turkey was checked for some years, but the project of confirming and extending the Russian protectorate over the Orthodox Christians was revived in 1852, The Holy Places. when Napoleon III. obtained for the Roman Catholics certain privileges with regard to the Holy Places in Palestine. At the same time Austria intervened in Montenegrin affairs and induced the sultan to withdraw his troops from the principality. In these two incidents the tsar perceived a diminution of Russian prestige and influence in Turkey, and Prince Menshikov was sent on a special mission to Constantinople to obtain reparation in the form of a treaty which should guarantee the rights of the Orthodox Church with regard to the Holy Places and confirm the protectorate of Russia over the Orthodox rayahs, established by the treaties of Kainarji, Bucharest and Adrianople. The resistance of the sultan, supported by Great Britain and France, led to the The Crimean War. Crimean War, which was terminated by the taking of Sevastopol (September 1855) and the treaty of Paris (March 30, 1856). By that important document Russia reluctantly consented to a strict limitation of her armaments in the Black Sea, to withdrawal from the mouths of the Danube by the retrocession of Bessarabia which she had annexed in 1812, and finally to a renunciation of all special rights of intervention between the sultan and his Christian subjects. Nicholas did not live to experience this humiliation. He had died at St Petersburg on the 2nd of March 1855 and had been succeeded by his eldest son, Alexander II.
The first decade of Alexander's reign is commonly known in Russia as “the epoch of the great reforms,” and may be described Alexander II., 1855-81. as a violent reaction against the political and intellectual stagnation of the preceding period. The repressive system of Nicholas, in which all other public interests were sacrificed to that of making Russia a great military power, the guardian of order in Europe and the predominant factor in the Eastern Question, had been tried and found wanting. Ending in a military disaster and a diplomatic humiliation, it had failed to attain even the narrow object for which it had been created. This was clearly perceived and keenly felt by the educated classes, and as soon as the strong hand of the uncompromising autocrat was withdrawn, they clamoured loudly for radical changes in the aims and methods of their rulers. Russia must adopt, it was said, those enlightened principles and liberal institutions which made the Western nations superior to her not only in the arts of peace but even in the art of War; only by imitating her rivals could she hope to overtake and surpass them in the race of progress. On that subject there was wonderful unanimity, and the few persons who could not join in the chorus had the prudence to remain silent. For the first time in the history of Russia public opinion in the modern sense became a power in the state and influenced strongly the policy of the government. Though the young emperor was of too phlegmatic a temperament to be carried away by the prevailing excitement and of too practical a turn of mind to adopt wholesale the doctrinaire theories of his self-constituted, irresponsible advisers, he recognized that great administrative and economic changes were required, and after a short period of hesitation he entered on a series of drastic reforms, of which the most important were the emancipation of the serfs, the thorough reorganization of the judicial administration and the development of local self-government. All these undertakings, in which the humane, liberal-minded autocrat received the sympathy, support and co-operation of the more enlightened of his subjects, were successfully accomplished. The serfs were liberated entirely from the arbitrary rule of the landowners and became proprietors of the communal land; the old tribunals which could be justly described as “dens of iniquity and incompetence,” were replaced by civil and criminal law courts of the French type, in which justice was dispensed by trained jurists according to codified legislation, and from which the traditional bribery and corruption were rigidly excluded; and the administration of local affairs—roads, schools, hospitals, &c.—was entrusted to provincial and district councils freely elected by all classes of the population. In addition to these great and beneficent changes, means were taken for developing more rapidly the vast natural resources of the country, public instruction received an unprecedented impetus, a considerable amount of liberty was accorded to the press, a strong spirit of liberalism pervaded rapidly all sections of the educated classes, a new imaginative and critical literature dealing with economic, philosophical and political questions sprang into existence, and for a time the young generation fondly imagined that Russia, awakening from her traditional lethargy, was about to overtake, and soon to surpass, on the path of national progress, the older nations of western Europe.
These sanguine expectations were not fully realized. The economic and moral condition of the peasantry was little improved by freedom, and in many districts there were signs of positive impoverishment and demoralization. The local self-government institutions after a short period of feverish and not always well-directed activity, showed symptoms of organic exhaustion. The reformed tribunals, though incomparably better than their predecessors, did not give universal satisfaction. In the imperial administration, the corruption and long-established abuses which had momentarily vanished, began to reappear. Industrial enterprises did not always succeed. Education produced many unforeseen and undesirable practical results. The liberty of the press not infrequently degenerated into licence, and sane liberalism was often replaced by socialistic dreaming. In short, it became only too evident that there was no royal road to national prosperity, and that Russia, like other nations, must be content to advance slowly and laboriously along the rough path of painful experience. In these circumstances sanguine enthusiasm naturally gave way to despondency, and the reforming zeal of the government was replaced by tendencies of a decidedly reactionary kind. Partly from disappointment and nervous exhaustion, and partly from a conviction that the country required rest in order to judge the practical results of the reforms already accomplished, the tsar refrained from further initiating new legislation, and the government gave it to be understood that the epoch of the great reforms was closed.
In the younger ranks of the educated classes this state of things produced keen dissatisfaction, which soon found vent Revolutionary propaganda. in revolutionary agitation. At first the agitation was of an academic character and was dealt with by the press-censure; but it gradually took the form of secret associations, and the police had to interfere. There were no great, well-organized secret societies, but there were many small groups, composed chiefly of male and female students of the universities and technical schools, which worked independently for a common purpose. Finding that the walls of autocracy could not be overturned by blasts of revolutionary trumpets in the periodical press and in clandestinely printed seditious proclamations, the young enthusiasts determined to seek the support of the masses, or, as they termed it, “to go in among the people” (idti v naròd). Under the disguise of doctors, midwives, school teachers, governesses, factory hands or common labourers, they sought to make proselytes among the peasantry and the workmen in the industrial centres by revolutionary pamphlets and oral explanations. For a time the propaganda had very little success, because the uneducated peasants and factory workers could not understand the phraseology and abstract principles of socialism; but when the propagandists descended to a lower platform and spread rumours that the tsar had given all the land to the peasants, and was prevented by the proprietors and officials from carrying out his benevolent intentions, there was a serious danger of agrarian disorders, and energetic measures were adopted by the authorities. Wholesale arrests were made by the police, and many of the accused were imprisoned or exiled to distant provinces, some by the regular tribunals, and others by so-called “administrative procedure” without a formal trial. The activity of the police and the sufferings of the victims naturally produced intense excitement and bitterness among those who escaped arrest, and a secret organization calling itself the Executive Committee announced in its clandestinely printed organs that the functionaries who distinguished themselves in the suppression of the propaganda would be “removed.” A number of prominent officials were accordingly condemned to death by this secret terrorist tribunal, and in some cases the sentences were carried out. General Mezentsov, the head of the political police, was assassinated in broad daylight in one of the principal streets of St Petersburg, and in the provinces a good many officials of various grades shared the same fate. As these acts of terrorism had quite the opposite of the desired effect, repeated attempts were made on the life of the emperor, and at last the carefully laid plans of the conspirators were successful. On the 13th of March 1881, when returning from a military parade to the Winter Palace, Alexander II. was terribly wounded by the explosion of a bomb, and died shortly afterwards. (For details of this revolutionary movement, see Nihilism.)
In respect of foreign policy the reign of Alexander II. differed widely from that of Nicholas. The Eastern Colossus no longer Foreign policy. inspired respect and fear in Europe. Until the country had completely recovered from the exhaustion of the Crimean War the government remained in the background of European politics. Its attitude was graphically described in the famous declaration of Prince Gorchakov: “La Russie ne boude pas; elle se recueille.” On one point, however, this description was not accurate; Russia sulked so far as Austria was concerned, for she could not forget that the emperor Francis Joseph, by his wavering and unfriendly conduct towards her during the Crimean War, had ill repaid her assistance to the Habsburg Monarchy in 1849, and had fulfilled the cynical prediction of Prince Schwarzenberg that his country would astonish the world by her ingratitude. It was not without secret satisfaction, therefore, that Prince Gorchakov watched the repeated defeats of the Austrian army in the Italian campaign of 1859, and he felt inclined to respond to the advances made to him by Napoleon III.; but the germs of a Russo-French alliance, which had come into existence immediately after the Crimean War, ripened very slowly, and they were completely destroyed in 1863 when the French emperor wounded Russian sensibilities deeply by giving moral and diplomatic support to the Polish insurrection. On that occasion Bismarck helped Gorchakov to ward off the threatened intervention of France and England, and he thereby founded the cordial relations which subsisted between the cabinets of Berlin and St Petersburg down to 1878, and which contributed powerfully to the creation of the German empire by defending the Prussian cabinet against the jealousy and enmity of Austria and France. In return for these services Bismarck helped Russia to recover a portion of what she had lost by the Crimean War, for it was thanks to his connivance and diplomatic support that she was able in 1871 to denounce with impunity the clauses of the treaty of Paris which limited Russian armament in the Black Sea. Had the tsar been satisfied with this important success, which enabled him to rebuild Sevastopol and construct a Black Sea fleet, his reign might have been a peaceful and prosperous Russo-Turkish War of 1877-78. one, but he tried to recover the remainder of what had been lost by the Crimean War, the province of Bessarabia and predominant influence in Turkey. To effect this, he embarked on the Turkish War of 1877-78, which ended in disappointment. Though the campaign enabled him to recover Bessarabia at the expense of his Rumanian ally, it did not increase Russian prestige in the East, because the Russian army was repeatedly repulsed by the Turks, and when at last it reached Constantinople, it was prevented from entering the city by the threatening attitude of England and Austria. In the field of diplomacy there was likewise disappointment. The concessions extorted from the Porte in the preliminary treaty of San Stefano (March 3, 1878) were revived and considerably modified in favour of Turkey by the congress of Berlin (June 13-July 13, 1878); see Europe: history.
Much greater success attended the efforts of Russian diplomacy and Russian arms in Asia. By the treaty of Aigun (May 28, Russian expansion in Asia. 1858), and without any military operations, the cession of a great part of the basin of the Amur was obtained from China. Six years later began the rapid expansion of Russia in Central Asia, and at the end of Alexander II.'s reign her domination had been firmly established throughout nearly the whole of the vast expanse of territory lying between Siberia on the north and Persia and Afghanistan on the south, and stretching without interruption from the eastern coast of the Caspian to the Chinese frontier. The greater part of the territory was formally incorporated into the empire, and the petty potentates, such as the khan of Khiva and the amir of Bokhara, who were allowed to retain a semblance of their former sovereignty, became obsequious vassals of the White Tsar.
The assassination of Alexander II. by the terrorists made a profound impression on his son and successor, and determined Alexander III., 1881-94. the general character of his rule. Alexander III. (1881-94), who had never sympathized with liberalism in any form, entered frankly on a reactionary policy, which was pursued consistently during the whole of his reign. He could not, of course, undo the great reforms of Reaction under Alexander III. his predecessor, but he amended them in such a way as to counteract what he considered the exaggerations of liberalism. Local self-government in the village communes, the rural districts and the towns was carefully restricted, and placed to a greater extent under the control of the regular officials. The reformers of the previous reign had endeavoured to make the emancipated peasantry administratively and economically independent of the landed proprietors; the conservatives of this later era, proceeding on the assumption that the peasants did not know how to make a proper use of the liberty prematurely conferred upon them, endeavoured to re-establish the influence of the landed proprietors by appointing from amongst them “land-chiefs, ” who were to exercise over the peasants of their district a certain amount of patriarchal jurisdiction. The reformers of the previous reign had sought to make the new local administration (zemstvo) a system of genuine rural self-government and a basis for future parliamentary institutions; these later conservatives transformed it into a mere branch of the ordinary state administration, and took precautions against its ever assuming a political character. Even municipal institutions, which had never shown much vitality, were subjected to similar restrictions. In short, the various forms of local self-government, which were intended to raise the nation gradually to the higher political level of western Europe, were condemned as unsuited to the national character and traditions, and as productive of disorder and demoralization. They were accordingly replaced, in great measure by the old autocratic methods of administration, and much of the administrative corruption which had been cured, or at least repressed, by the reform enthusiasm again flourished luxuriantly.
In a small but influential section of the educated classes there was a conviction that the revolutionary tendencies, which culminated in Nihilism and Anarchism, proceeded from the adoption of cosmopolitan rather than national principles in all spheres of educational and administrative activity, and that the best remedy for the evils from which the country was suffering was to be found in a return to the three great principles of Nationality, Orthodoxy and Autocracy. This doctrine, which had been invented by the Slavophils of a previous generation, was early instilled into the mind of Alexander III. by Pobêdonostsev (q.v.), who was one of his teachers, and later his most trusted adviser, and its influence can be traced in all the more important acts of the government during that monarch's reign. His determination to maintain autocracy was officially proclaimed a few days after his accession. Nationality and Eastern Orthodoxy, which are so closely connected as to be almost blended together in the Russian mind, received not less attention. Even in European Russia the regions near the frontier contain a great variety of nationalities, languages and religions. In Finland the population is composed of Finnish-speaking and Swedish-speaking Protestants; the Baltic provinces are inhabited by German-speaking, Lett-speaking and Esth-speaking Lutherans; the inhabitants of the south-western provinces are chiefly Polish-speaking Roman Catholics and Yiddish-speaking Jews; in the Crimea and on the Middle Volga there are a considerable number of Tatar-speaking Mahommedans; and in the Caucasus there is a conglomeration of races and languages such as is to be found on no other portion of the earth's surface. Until recent times these various nationalities were allowed to retain unmolested the language, religion and peculiar local administration of their ancestors; but when the new nationality doctrine came into fashion, attempts were made to spread among them the language, religion and administrative institutions of the dominant race. In the reigns of Nicholas I. and Alexander II. these attempts were merely occasional and intermittent; under Alexander III. they were made systematically and with very little consideration for the feelings, wishes and interests of the people concerned. The local institutions were assimilated to those of the purely Russian provinces; the use of the Russian language was made obligatory in the administration, in the tribunals and to some extent in the schools; the spread of Eastern Orthodoxy was encouraged by the authorities, whilst the other confessions were placed under severe restrictions; foreigners were prohibited from possessing landed property; and in some provinces administrative measures were taken for making the land pass into the hands of Orthodox Russians. In this process some of the local officials displayed probably an amount of zeal beyond the intentions of the government, but any attempt to oppose the movement was rigorously punished. Of all the various races the Jews were the most severely treated. The great majority of them had long been confined to the western and south-western provinces. In the rest of the country they had not been allowed to reside in the villages, because their habits of keeping vodka-shops and lending money at usurious interest were found to demoralize the peasantry, and even in the towns their numbers and occupations had been restricted by the authorities. But, partly from the usual laxity of the administration and partly from the readiness of the Jews to conciliate the needy officials, the rules had been by no means strictly applied. As soon as this fact became known to Alexander III. he ordered the rules to be strictly carried out, without considering what an enormous amount of hardship and suffering such an order entailed. He also caused new rules to be enacted by which his Jewish subjects were heavily handicapped in education and professional advancement. In short, complete Russification of all non-Russian populations and institutions was the chief aim of the government in home affairs.
In the foreign policy of the empire Alexander III. likewise introduced considerable changes. During his father's reign Foreign policy. its main objects were: in the west, the maintenance of the alliance with Germany; in south-eastern Europe, the recovery of what had been lost by the Crimean War, the gradual weakening of the Sultan's authority, and the increase of Russian influence among the minor Slav nationalities; in Asia, the gradual but cautious expansion of Russian domination. In the reign of Alexander III. the first of these objects was abandoned. Already, before his accession, the bonds of friendship which united Russia to Germany had been weakened by the action of Bismarck in giving to the cabinet of St Petersburg at the Berlin congress less diplomatic support than was expected, and by the Austro-German treaty of alliance (October 1879), concluded avowedly for the purpose of opposing Russian aggression; but the old relations were partly re-established by secret negotiations in 1880, by a meeting of the young tsar and the old emperor at Danzig in 1881, and by the meeting of the three emperors at Skierniewice in 1884, by which the Three Emperors' League was reconstituted for a term of three years (see Europe: History). Gradually, however, a great change took place in the tsar's views with regard to the German alliance. He suspected Bismarck of harbouring hostile designs against Russia, and he came to recognize that the permanent weakening of France was not in accordance with Russian political interests. He determined, therefore, to oppose any further disturbance of the balance of power in favour of Germany, and when the treaty of Skierniewice expired in 1887 he declined to renew it. From that time Russia gravitated slowly towards an alliance with France, and sought to create a counterpoise against the Triple Alliance of Germany, Austria and Italy. The tsar was reluctant to bind himself by a formal treaty, because the French government did not offer the requisite guarantees of stability, and because he feared that it might be induced, by the prospect of Russian support, to assume an aggressive attitude towards Germany. He recognized, however, that in the event of a great European war the two nations would in all probability be found fighting on the same side, and that if they made no preparations for concerted military action they would be placed at a grave disadvantage in comparison with their opponents of the Triple Alliance, who were believed to have already worked out an elaborate plan of campaign. In view of this contingency the Russian and French military authorities studied the military questions in common, and the result of their labours was the preparation of a military convention, which was finally ratified in 1894. During this period the relations between the two governments and the two countries became much more cordial. In the summer of 1891 the visit to Kronstadt of a French squadron under Admiral Gervais was made the occasion for an enthusiastic demonstration in favour of a Franco-Russian alliance; and two years later (October 1893) a still more enthusiastic reception was given to the Russian Admiral Avelan and his officers when they visited Toulon and Paris. But it was not till after the death of Alexander III. that the word “alliance” was used publicly by official personages. In 1895 the term was first publicly employed by M. Ribot, then president of the council, in the Chamber of Deputies, but the expressions he used were so vague that they did not entirely remove the prevailing doubts as to the existence of a formal treaty. Two years later (August 1897), during the official visit of M. Félix Faure to St Petersburg, a little more light was thrown on the subject. In the complimentary speeches delivered by the president of the French Republic and the tsar, France and Russia were referred to as allies, and the term “nations alliées” was afterwards repeatedly used on occasions of a similar kind.
In south-eastern Europe Alexander III. adopted an attitude of reserve and expectancy. He greatly increased and strengthened his Black Sea fleet, so as to be ready for any emergency that might arise, and in June 1886, contrary to the declaration made in the Treaty of Berlin (Art. 59), he ordered Batum to be transformed into a fortified naval port, but in the Balkan Peninsula he persistently refrained, under a good deal of provocation, from any intervention that might lead to a European war. The Bulgarian government, first under Prince Alexander and afterwards under the direction of M. Stamboloff, pursued systematically an anti-Russian policy, but the cabinet of St Petersburg confined itself officially to breaking off diplomatic relations and making diplomatic protests, and unofficially to giving tacit encouragement to revolutionary agitation.
In Asia, during the reign of Alexander III. the expansion of Russian domination made considerable progress. A few weeks after his accession he sanctioned the annexation of the territory of the Tekke Turkomans, which had been conquered by General Skobelev, and in 1884 he formally annexed the Merv oasis without military operations. He then allowed the military authorities to push forward in the direction of Afghanistan, until in March 1885 an engagement took place between Russian and Afghan forces at Panjdeh. Thereupon the British government, which had been for some time carrying on negotiations with the cabinet of St Petersburg for a delimitation of the Russo-Afghan frontier, intervened energetically and prepared for war; but a compromise was effected, and after more than two years of negotiation a delimitation convention was signed at St Petersburg on 20th July 1887. The forward movement of Russia was thus stopped in the direction of Herat, but it continued with great activity farther east in the region of the Pamirs, until another Anglo-Russian convention was signed in 1895. During the whole reign of Alexander III. the increase of territory in Central Asia is calculated by Russian authorities at 429,895 square kilometres.
On 1st November 1894 Alexander III. died, and was succeeded by his son, Nicholas II., who, partly from similarity of character Death of Alexander III.; accession of Nicholas II. and partly from veneration for his father's memory, continued the existing lines of policy in home and foreign affairs. The expectation entertained in many quarters that great legislative changes would at once be made in a liberal sense was not realized. When an influential deputation from the province of Tver, which had long enjoyed a reputation for liberalism, ventured to hint in a loyal address that the time had come for changes in the existing autocratic régime, they received a reply which showed that the emperor had no intention of making any such changes. Private suggestions in the same sense, offered directly and respectfully, were no better received, and no important changes were made in the legislation of the preceding reign. But a great alteration took place noiselessly in the manner of carrying out the laws and ministerial circulars. Though resembling his father in the main points of his character, the young tsar was of a more humane disposition, and he was much less of a doctrinaire. With his father's aspiration of making Holy Russia a homogeneous empire he thoroughly sympathized in principle, but he disliked the systematic persecution of Jews, heretics and schismatics to which it gave rise, and he let it be understood, without any formal order or proclamation, that the severe measures hitherto employed would not meet with his approval. The officials were not slow to take the hint, and their undue zeal at once disappeared. Nicholas II. showed, however, that his father's policy of Russification was neither to be reversed nor to be abandoned. When an influential deputation was sent from Finland to St Petersburg to represent to him respectfully that the officials were infringing the local rights and privileges solemnly accorded at the time of the annexation, it was refused an audience, and the leaders of the movement were informed indirectly that local interests must be subordinated to the general welfare of the empire. In accordance with this declaration, the policy of Russification in Finland was steadily maintained, and caused much disappointment, not only to the Finlanders, but also to the other nationalities who desired the preservation of their ancient rights.
In foreign affairs Nicholas II. likewise continued the policy of his predecessor, with certain modifications suggested by the change of circumstances. He strengthened the cordial understanding with France by a formal agreement, the terms of which were not divulged, but he never encouraged the French government in any aggressive designs, and he maintained friendly relations with Germany. In the Balkan Peninsula a slight change of attitude took place. Alexander III., indignant at what he considered the ingratitude of the Slav nationalities, remained coldly aloof, as far as possible, from all intervention in their affairs. About three months after his death, de Giers, who thoroughly approved of this attitude, died (26th January 1895), and his successor, Prince Lobanov, minister of foreign affairs from 19th March 1895 to 30th August 1896, endeavoured to recover what he considered Russia's legitimate influence in the Slav world. For this purpose Russian diplomacy became more active in south-eastern Europe. The result was perceived first in Montenegro and Servia, and then in Bulgaria. Prince Ferdinand of Bulgaria had long been anxious to legalize his position by a reconciliation, and as soon as he got rid of Stamboloff he made advances to the Russian government. They were well received, and a reconciliation was effected on certain conditions, the first of which was that Prince Ferdinand's eldest son and heir should become a member of the Eastern Orthodox Church. As another means of opposing Western influence in south-eastern Europe, Prince Lobanov inclined to the policy of protecting rather than weakening the Ottoman empire. When the British government seemed disposed to use coercive measures for the protection of the Armenians, he gave it clearly to be understood that any such proceeding would be opposed by Russia. After Prince Lobanov's death and the appointment of Count Muraviev as his successor in January 1897, this tendency of Russian policy became less marked. In April 1897, it is true, when the Greeks provoked a war with Turkey, they received no support from St Petersburg, but at the close of the war the tsar showed himself more friendly to them; and afterwards, when it proved extremely difficult to find a suitable person as governor-general of Crete (see Crete), he recommended the appointment of his cousin, Prince George of Greece—a selection which was pretty sure to accelerate the union of the island with the Hellenic kingdom. How far the recommendation was due to personal feeling, as opposed to political considerations, it is impossible to say.
In Asia, after the accession of Nicholas II., the expansion of Russia, following the line of least resistance and stimulated Russia and Japan in the Far East. by the construction of the Trans-Siberian railway, took the direction of northern China and the effete little kingdom of Korea. A great part of the eastern section of the railway was constructed on Chinese territory, and elaborate preparations were made for bringing Manchuria within the sphere of Russian influence. With this view, the cabinet of St Petersburg, at the close of the Chino-Japanese War in 1895, objected to all annexations by Japan in that quarter, and insisted on having the treaty of Shimonoseki modified accordingly. Subsequently, by obtaining from the Tsungli-Yaman a long lease of Port Arthur and Talienwan and a concession to unite those ports with the Trans-Siberian by a branch line, she tightened her hold on that portion of the Chinese empire and prepared to complete the work of aggression by so-called “spontaneous infiltration.” From Manchuria, it was assumed, the political influence and spontaneous infiltration would naturally spread to Korea, and on the deeply indented coast of the Hermit Kingdom might be constructed new ports and arsenals more spacious and strategically more important than Port Arthur.
This grandiose project was unexpectedly destroyed by the energetic resistance of Japan, who had ear-marked the Hermit Kingdom for herself, and who declared plainly that she would never tolerate the exclusive influence of Russia in Manchuria. In vain the Russian diplomatists sought to overcome her opposition by dilatory negotiations, in the firm conviction that a small island kingdom in the Pacific would never have the audacity to attack a power which had conquered and absorbed the whole of Northern Asia. Their calculations proved erroneous. Convinced that the onward march of the Colossus could not be permanently arrested by mere diplomatic conventions, the cabinet of Tokio suddenly broke off diplomatic relations and commenced hostilities (February 8, 1904). For Russia the war proved a series of uninterrupted reverses both on land and on sea, until it was terminated by the treaty of Portsmouth in October 1905 (see Russo-Japanese War).
What contributed powerfully to the conclusion of peace was the fact that the Russian government was hampered by internal troubles. The old Liberal movement and the terrorist organizations which had been suppressed by Alexander III. were being resuscitated, and the liberal and revolutionary leaders, taking advantage of the unpopularity of the war, were agitating for the convocation of a Constituent Assembly, which should replace the hated bureaucratic régime by democratic institutions. With great reluctance the tsar consented to convoke a consultative chamber of deputies as a sop to public opinion, but that concession stimulated rather than calmed public opinion, and shortly after the conclusion of peace the Liberals and the Revolutionaries, combining their forces, brought about a general strike in St Petersburg together with the stoppage of railway communication all over the empire. Panic-stricken for a moment, the government issued a manifesto proclaiming Liberal principles and promising in vague language all manner of political reforms (October 30, 1905), and when the inordinate expectations created by this extraordinary document were not at once realized, preparations were made for overthrowing the existing régime by means of an armed insurrection. Many believed that the end of autocracy had come, and an extemporized Council of Labour Deputies, anxious to play the part of a Comité de Salut Public, was ready to take over the supreme power and exercise it in the interests of the proletariat. In reality the revolutionary movement was not so strong and the government not so weak as was generally supposed. Mutinies occurred, it is true, during the next few weeks in Kronstadt and Sevastopol, and in December there was street fighting for several days in Moscow, but such serious disorders were speedily suppressed, and thereafter the revolutionary manifestations were confined to mass meetings, processions with red flags, attempts on the lives of officials and policemen, robberies under arms and agrarian disturbances.
Notwithstanding the unsatisfactory results of the October manifesto the tsar kept his promise of convoking a legislative assembly, and on the 10th of May 1906 the first Duma was opened by his majesty in person; but it was so systematically and violently hostile to the government and so determined to obtain executive, in addition to its legislative, functions, that it was dissolved on the 23rd of July without any legislative work being accomplished. The second Duma, which met on the 5th of March 1907, avoided some of the mistakes. of its predecessor, but as a legislative assembly it showed itself equally incompetent, and a large section of its members were implicated in a well-organized attempt to spread sedition in the army by revolutionary propaganda. It was dissolved, therefore, on the 16th of June 1907, and the electoral law which had given such unsatisfactory results was modified by imperial ukase.
The third Duma was subsequently convoked for the 14th of November 1907. (D. M. W.)
Development of the Russian Constitution.—At the end of 1910 the Russian revolution, which seemed at one time to promise an overturn as complete as that of the ancien régime in France, would seem to have entered on a path of orderly and conservative development, and it is possible, now that the smoke of combat has cleared away, to form some estimate of the forces through the interplay of which this result has been achieved. At the outset the superficial resemblance between the revolutionary The Russian revolution. movement in Russia and that of 1789 in France was striking: there was the same breakdown of the Russian traditional machinery of government, the same general revaluation. outcry for control by a representative national assembly, the same gradual and reluctant concessions wrung from the crown under pressure of disaffection in the army, popular émeutes, the assassination of unpopular officials, and the burning of country houses by organized bands of peasants. Similar, too, was the revelation, when freedom of speech was at last allowed, of the unhappy effect of the long divorce of the intellect of the country from any experience of practical politics. But here the analogy breaks down. France in 1789, though its ancient provincial boundaries survived, had long since been welded into a nation conscious of its common interests; Russia remains a vast empire, composed of the most heterogeneous, sometimes even mutually hostile, elements, whose antagonisms were bound to be an element of weakness in any assembly truly representative of all sections of the people. In France the Revolution had been the work of the middle classes; in Russia an indigenous middle class has, comparatively speaking, no existence, the peasants forming the overwhelming majority of the population. The supreme peril to the autocracy in Russia lay in the genuine grievances of the peasants, less political than economic, which had opened their minds to revolutionary propaganda. These grievances once removed, and their legitimate land-hunger satisfied, the peasants would become a bulwark of the established order, whatever that might be, as had happened in similar circumstances in Austria in 1849. As for the revolutionary “intellectuals,” without the lever of agrarian discontent they were practically powerless, the more so as their political activity consisted mainly in “building theories for an imaginary world.” The bourgeois revolutionists of France had all been philosophes, but their philosophy had at least paid lip-service to “reason”; the Russian revolutionists who formed the majority of the first and second Dumas, as though inspired by the exalted nonsense preached by Tolstoi, subordinated reason to sentiment, until—their impracticable temper having been advertised to all the world—it became easy for the government to treat them as a mere excrescence on the national life, a malignant growth to be removed by a necessary operation. In 1909 the number of exiles for political reasons from Russia was reckoned at 180,000; but the third Duma, purged and packed by an ingenious franchise system, was in its third year passing measures of beneficent legislation, in complete harmony with the government. It is proposed to trace briefly the steps by which this result was obtained.
In order to explain the course of the revolution which came to a head in 1905 it is necessary to say a few words about constitutional Previous reforms. plans and liberal experiments, initiated from above, which had preceded it. Of the ancient zemski sobor (assembly of the country) it is unnecessary here to say much, though Nicholas II. was pressed by the more reactionary elements to model his parliament on this rough equivalent of the Western states-general. The zemski sobor, which had played a considerable part in the struggle of the tsars against the great boyars in the 17th century, had met but once since the days of Peter the Great. The origin of the present constitution of Russia must be sought, not in this ancient and obsolete institution, but in the artificial constitution elaborated by Mikhail Speranski (q.v.) in 1809 at the instance of the emperor Alexander I. Of Speranski's plan only the establishment of the Imperial Council (January 1st, 1810) was realized in his lifetime. In 1864, however, the emperor Alexander II. carried the scheme a step further by the creation of elected provincial assemblies (zemstvos), to which in 1870 elected municipal councils (dumas) were added. The opportunity thus given for debate naturally stimulated the movement in favour of constitutional government, which received new impulses from the sympathetic attitude of the emperor Alexander II., his grant in 1879 of a constitution to the liberated principality of Bulgaria, and the multiplication of Nihilist outrages which pointed to the necessity of conciliating Liberal opinion in order to present a united front against revolutionary agitation. In January 1881 Count Loris-Melikov, minister of the interior, proposed to convene a “general commission” to examine legislative proposals before these were laid before the Imperial Council; this commission was to consist of members elected by the zemstvos and the larger towns, and others nominated in the provinces having no zemstvos. The plan was approved by Alexander II. on the very morning of his assassination (February 17th, 1881), but it was never promulgated. The new tsar, Alexander III., was an apt pupil of his tutor Pobedonostsev (q.v.), the celebrated procurator of the Reaction under Alexander III. Holy Synod, for whom the representative system was “a modern lie,” and his reign covered a period of frank reaction, during which there was not only no question of granting any fresh liberties but those already conceded (e.g. the principle of the separation of the administrative and judicial functions) were largely curtailed. The result of this policy of repression, associated as it was with gross incompetence and corruption in the organs of the administration, was the rapid spread of the revolutionary movement, which gradually permeated the intelligent classes and ultimately affected even the stolid and apparently immovable masses of the peasantry.
The movement came to a head, as a result of the disasters of the war with Japan, in 1904. The assassination of the Influence of the Japanese War. minister of the interior Plehve, on the 14th of July, by the revolutionist Sazonov was remarkable as a symptom mainly owing to the widespread sympathy of the European press of all shades of opinion with the motives of the assassin. It was clear that the system with which the murdered minister's name had been associated stood all but universally condemned, and in the appointment of the conciliatory Prince Sviatopolk-Mirski as his successor the tsar himself seemed to concede the necessity for a change Meeting of zemstvos. of policy. In November, with the tacit consent of the police, a private assembly of eminent members local zemstvos and municipal dumas was held in St Petersburg to discuss the situation. The majority of this decided to approach the crown with a suggestion for a reform of the Russian system on the basis of a national representative assembly, an extension of local self-government, and wider guarantees for individual liberty. The day on which the deputation laid these views before Prince Mirski was hailed by public opinion as recalling the 5th of May 1789, the date of the meeting of the French states-general at Versailles. The emperor, however, whatever his own views, was surrounded by reactionary influences, of which the most powerful were the empress-mother, Pobedonostsev the procurator of the Holy Synod, Count Muraviev and the Grand-duke Sergius. The imperial ukaz of the 12th of December enunciating reforms affecting the peasants, workmen and local zemstvos failed to satisfy public opinion; for there was no word in it of constitutional government. Petitions continued to flow in to the emperor's cabinet, praying for a national Agitation and outrages. representation, from the zemstvos, from the nobles and from the professional classes, and their moral was enforced by general agitation, by partial strikes, and by outrages which culminated at Moscow in the murder of the Grand-duke Sergius (February 4th, 1905). In the imperial counsels the resisting forces still seemed to have the upper hand. Prince Mirski resigned, his resignation being immediately followed by a reactionary imperial manifesto reaffirming the principle of autocracy (February 18th). Bulygin, Mirski's successor, had no knowledge of this until after its publication; he hastened to the tsar and obtained the issue on the same day of a rescript which, while reserving the “fundamental laws of the empire” inviolate, stated the emperor's intention of summoning the representatives of the people to aid in “the preparation and examination of legislative proposals.” A commission of inquiry, under the emperor's presidency, was now established to elaborate the means for carrying this promise into effect. On the 6th of June, in reply to a deputation of the second congress of zemstvos headed by Prince Trubetzkoi, the emperor promised the speedy convocation of a National Assembly. When, however, on the 6th of August, the new law was promulgated, it was found that the “Imperial Duma” was to be no more than a consultative body, charged with the examination of legislative proposals before these came before the Imperial Council, the duty and right of passing them into law being still reserved for the autocrat alone. The members of the Duma, moreover, were placed at the mercy of the government by a clause empowering the Directing Senate to suspend or deprive them. The promulgation of this truncated constitution was greeted by a furious agitation, culminating in September in a general strike, rightly described as the most remarkable political phenomenon of modern times. For days the whole mechanism of civilized existence in Russia was at a standstill, all intercourse with the outside world cut off; until at last the government Constitutional mandate of October 17/30, 1905. was forced to yield, and on the 17/30th of October 1905 the tsar issued the famous manifesto manifesto promising to Russia a constitution based on the main principles of modern Liberalism: national representation, freedom of conscience and opinion, guarantees for individual liberty.
The enormous programme of constitutional reform foreshadowed in the manifesto had to be elaborated in haste by Count Witte, the minister of the interior, under circumstances by no means promising. The organs of government seemed paralysed by the repudiation of the principle on which their authority was based, and the empire to be in danger of falling into complete anarchy. The revolutionary terrorists took advantage of the situation to multiply outrages; popular agitation was fomented by a multitude of new journals preaching every kind of extravagant doctrine, now that the censor no The “Union of the Russian People.” longer dared to act; in December the trouble culminated in a formidable rising in Moscow. The revolutionary terrorists were countered by the terrorists of the reaction who, under the name of “the Union of the Russian People,” began an organized extermination of the elements supposed to be hostile to the traditional regime. The “black band” (chernaya sotnia), or “black hundreds,” as they were branded by public opinion, directed their attacks especially against the Jews, and pogroms, i.e. organized wholesale robbery and murder of Jews, occurred in many places, it was believed with the connivance of the police and veiled approval in exalted quarters.
Meanwhile the political parties which were to divide the new Duma had taken shape. Apart from the extremists on Development of political parties. one side or the other, frank reactionaries on the Right and Socialists on the Left, two main divisions of opinion revealed themselves in the congresses of the zemstvos that met at Moscow in September and November. In the former there had been a fusion between the Radicals, supporters of the autonomy of Poland and a federal constitution for the empire, and the Independence party (Osvobozhdenya) formed by political exiles at Paris in 1903, the fusion taking the name of Constitutional Democrats, known (from a word-play on the initials K.D.) as “Cadets.” The more moderate elements found a rallying cry in the manifesto of October, took the name of “the Party of 17 October,” and became known as “Octobrists” In the zemstvo congress of November the “Cadets” protested against the “grant” of a constitution already elaborated, and demanded the convocation of a Constituent Assembly. The Octobrists, on the other hand, supported Count Witte's moderate programme, the most important provisions of which were the extension (11 December 1905) of the suffrage under the stillborn constitution of August, and (20 February 1906) the reorganization of the Duma as the Lower House, and of the Imperial Council (half of which was to be elective) as the Upper House in the new parliament.
The elections were held in March 1906, and on the 27th of April the emperor Nicholas II. solemnly opened the first Duma The first Duma. of the Empire. The “Cadets” commanded an overwhelming majority in the Lower House, and their intractable temper and ignorance of affairs became at once apparent. The address in reply to the speech from the throne, voted after a debate in which abstract theories had triumphed over common sense, demanded universal suffrage, the establishment of pure parliamentary government, the abolition of capital punishment, the expropriation of the landlords, a political amnesty, and the suppression of the Imperial Council. When the minister of the interior, M. Goremykin, who had succeeded Witte at the head of the government, met these preposterous demands with a flat refusal, the House voted, on the motion of M. Kuzmin-Karaviev, for an appeal to the people (July 4). Four days later the government dissolved the Duma, M. Goremykin at the same time being replaced by M. Stolypin. The “Cadets” refused to accept this action and, in imitation of the famous meeting in the tennis-court at Versailles, The Vyborg manifesto. adjourned to Vyborg in Finland, where, under the ex-president of the Duma, M. Muromtsov, they drew up and issued a manifesto calling on the Russian people to refuse taxes and military service. Its sole result, apart from the punishment which afterwards fell on its authors, was to show how little the majority of the dissolved Duma had represented the Russian people. Isolated mutinies in the army followed, and terrorist outrages here and there—notably, in August, the dastardly bomb outrage in the Isle of Apothecaries at St Petersburg, which seriously injured one of M. Stolypin's little daughters; but the mass of the nation and of the army remained wholly unmoved, while the repetition of troubles was made more difficult by the establishment of field courts martial with summary powers.
The second Duma met on the 6th of March 1907. M. Stolypin had not ventured to alter the electoral law without parliamentary The second Duma. consent, but with the aid of a complaisant Senate the provisions of the existing law were interpreted in restrictive sense for the purpose of influencing the elections. The result was, however, hardly more satisfactory to the government. The “Cadets,” it is true, lost many seats both to the Socialists and to the extreme Right, but they held the balance of the House, of which the Octobrists and the Right together only constituted one-fifth, and their leader, M. Golovin, was elected president of the House. The temper of the second Duma, was, indeed, even more democratic than that of the first; but M. Stolypin did his best to work in harmony with it, realizing that under the existing law another dissolution could but lead to a like result, and shrinking from the only alternative—an alteration of the law by a coup d'état, a course which could only be justified on the plea of extreme necessity. On the 19th of March he laid before the House his programme of reforms, which included the emancipation of the peasants from the control of the communes and the handing over to them of the crown lands and imperial estates. The majority, however, refused to be reconciled. The abolition of the field courts martial was demanded; on the 13th of April a bill for the expropriation of landlords was carried by a two-thirds majority, and the 30th the Army Bill would have been lost but for the Polish vote. The crisis came with the discovery of a treasonable plot for the subornation of the army, in which many Socialist members of the Duma were involved. On the 14th of June Stolypin's proposal for the arrest of 16 members and the indictment of 55 was shelved by being referred to a committee. Alteration by ukaz of the electoral law. The excuse for which the government had been waiting was thus provided, and two days later the Duma was dissolved. An imperial ukaz fixed the new elections of the for the 14th of September, and the meeting of the third Duma for the 14th of November; at the same time, in violation of the October manifesto, the electoral law was altered, so as to secure a representation at once more Russian and more conservative. The non-Russian frontier provinces (okrainas) had even before been under-represented (one member for every 350,000 inhabitants, as against one for every 250,000 in the central provinces); the members returned by Poland, the Caucasus and Siberia were now reduced from 89 to 39, those from the Central Asian steppes (25) were swept away altogether; the total number of deputies was reduced from 524 to 442. Even more drastic were the changes in the electoral machinery, by far the most complicated in Europe, established by the law of 1905. This was based on the principle of indirect election, through a series of electoral colleges. It was a simple matter to manipulate these so as to throw the effective power into the hands of the propertied classes without ostensibly The third Duma. depriving any one of the vote. The result was that in the third Duma, which met on the 15th of November 1907, the conservative Right preponderated as much as the Left had done in its two predecessors. Its president, M. Khomiakov, had been one of the founders of the “Union of 17 October,” but even the Octobrists formed but a third of the House and were compelled to act with the reactionaries of the Right; and the vice-president, Prince Volkonsky, was a member of the Union of the Russian People.
On the whole, the new Duma was fairly representative of the changed temper of the Russian people, disillusioned and weary of anarchy. The government had done wisely in obscuring the passion for democratic ideals by an appeal to Russian chauvinism, an appeal soon to bear fruit in disuniting the revolutionary parties. The congress of zemstvos, hitherto the focus of Liberalism, had petitioned the government, before the opening of the third Duma, to take measures for the restoration of order. The authorities began to exhibit something of their old spirit. M. Dubrovin, president of the Union of the Russian People and organizer of pogroms, having written a letter of congratulation to the tsar on the occasion of the coup d'état, received a gracious reply; the hideous reign of terror of the “Black Hundred” in Odessa did not prevent the Grand-duke Constantine from accepting the badge of membership of the Union. The ordinary laws, too, had been suspended; the lining and confiscation of newspapers had been resumed, and the “Cadets” had been forbidden to hold a congress. All this, however, did not argue an intention on the part of the government to revert to the autocratic status quo. M. Stolypin indeed defended the coup d'état in the Duma on the ground that the autocrat had merely altered what the autocrat had originally granted; but, while laying stress on the necessity for restoring order in the body politic, he announced a long programme of reforms, including agrarian measures, reform of local government and its extension in the frontier provinces, and state insurance of workmen. The most far-reaching of these reforms, carried in the first session of the third Duma, was the partial abolition of the communal and family ownership of land, which involved the establishment of a class of true peasant-proprietors. Besides this, the Duma had passed before its adjournment on the 28th of October 1908 much useful legislation, some 300 bills in all, including two for the building of important railways on the Amur and in Siberia. Nor had it exhibited by any means a wholly docile spirit. On the 7th of June, for instance, M. Guchkov attacked the maladministration in the navy, pointing out that no reforms were possible so long as grand-dukes were at the head of its departments. The Duma endorsed this all but unanimously, and as the result the Grand-dukes Peter and Sergius resigned their posts of inspector-general of Engineers and Ordnance respectively, and the Grand-duke Nicholas his chairmanship of the Committee of National Defence. A year later the Duma again came into collision with the government in a matter highly illuminating of the struggle between the ancient traditions and the new ideas in Russia. On the 14th of June 1909 a bill was passed removing the disabilities hitherto attaching to some 15,000,000 of Old Believers. In spite of strenuous government opposition, inspired by the authorities of the Orthodox Church, amendments were carried allowing dissident ministers to assume ecclesiastical titles and to preach, and permitting Christians to join non-Christian religions or even to describe themselves as unbelievers. Thus a step forward was made in securing the freedom of conscience proclaimed in the October manifesto and denounced by a synod of Orthodox bishops at Kiev in 1908, though the rights granted by the Duma were seriously curtailed in the Imperial Council, and have been largely rendered a dead letter by the action of the administration.
Meanwhile the pan-Russian movement had been gaining apace. At first it had seemed that the new birth of Russia Neo-Slav and pan-Russian movements. would lead to a revival of pan-Slavism, directed not, as in the middle of the 19th century, against Austria but against Germany. In May 1908 a deputation of Russian the Slav members of the Austrian Reichsrat paid a ceremonial visit to the Duma at St Petersburg, and in this “neo-Slav” demonstration M. Dmowski, leader of the Polish party in the Duma, took part. In the following year, however, the situation was completely altered, a result due to the growing anti-Polish feeling in the Duma and, more especially, to the support given by the Austrian Slavs to the annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. This event caused the utmost excitement in Russia; the crown prince of Servia, who arrived in St Petersburg on the 28th of October to ask for the armed assistance of the tsar, was received with enthusiasm by all classes of the people; and, though armed intervention was impossible, M. Isvolsky took the lead in the abortive demand for a European conference (see Europe: History). Neo-Slav dreams were now replaced by a passionate desire to consolidate the Russian empire on a purely Russian basis. Even the remnant of the “Cadets” had by this time renounced their sympathy with Polish aspirations, and in the matter of Finland the Duma proved itself even more imperial than the emperor himself. The Finnish question is dealt with elsewhere (see Finland: History). Here it may suffice to mention, as illustrating the The Duma and Finland. changed temper of the Russian national assembly, that the Russian majority of the Duma included among the imperial questions in Finland which the Finnish diet ought to refer to the imperial legislature not only all military matters—as the tsar demanded (Rescript of October 14)—but the question of the use of the Russian language in the grand-duchy, the principles of the Finnish administration, police, justice, education, formation of business companies and of associations, public meetings, the press, the customs tariff, the monetary system, means of communication, and the pilot and lighthouse system. The old tendency illustrated by the outcome of the revolutionary movements of 1848 was once more in evidence—the tendency of merely artificial theories of democratic liberty to succumb to the immemorial instinct of race and race ascendancy.
As an international force Russia had been, of course, all but completely crippled by the outcome of the Japanese War and International position of Russia. the subsequent revolution. Her recovery, however, revealed the immense reserves of her strength. On the 30th of July 1907 she signed a convention with Japan of mutual respect for treaty and territorial rights, and guaranteeing the integrity of China. On the 31st of August of the same year the long period of mutual suspicion between Great Britain and Russia was closed by a convention for an amicable settlement of all questions likely to disturb the relations of the two Powers in Asia generally, including the demarcation of Persia into spheres of influence (see Persia: History). This new entente with Great Britain, cemented by a visit paid by King Edward VII. to the tsar at Reval on the 9th June 1908, helped to knit close once more the loosened alliance with France, and so to preserve the threatened balance of Europe. That in the work of restoring its military position the Russian government had the support of the Russian parliament was proved by a subsidy of £11,000,000 voted by the Duma, on the 30th of December 1909, for the special service of the reorganization and redistribution of the army. (W. A. P.)
Bibliography.—The history of Russia, especially that of the last few years, has formed the subject of a vast number of works, of very varying authority, in many languages. In Russia itself the first great history of the Russian empire was that of N. M. Karamzin (12 vols., St Petersburg, 1818-29; French translation, 11 vols., 1819-26), which, though reactionary in tone and largely superseded, remains a classic. The next monumental history of Russia, that of Sergei Mikhailovich Soloviev (29 vols., Moscow, 1863-75), marks the enormous advance made since Karamzin's day in historical method and research. Soloviev's history, from the earliest times to 1774, is based throughout on original investigation of sources, an therefore, though inferior to Karamzin's work as literature, is incomparably superior to it in authority. Of other works it is only possible to give a classified selection. In general, the reader must be warned that most Russian works on history, especially those dealing with recent years, are inspired by a violent party bias—the inevitable result of the conflict of diametrically opposed political ideals,—and this quality is shared by not a few foreign books about Russia.
Sources.—See Sienkiewicz, Recueil de documents relatifs à la Russie, 1502-1842 (1852); Soloviev, Russian Historical Writers (Pisateli russkoe ist. in collected works, vol. xviii. sqq.); Nikolai Ivanovich Kostomarov (1817-1885), professor of history at Kiev and St Petersburg, whose monographs and researches are collected in his Sobranye sochinenye (collected) works, 21 vols., St Petersburg, 1903-6); V. Burtsev and S. M. Kravchinski, Za sto lyet, 1800-1896. Documents relating to the political and social movements in Russia (London, 1897). There is a French translation by L. Leger (Paris, 1884), of the chronicle of Nestor, the main source for early Russian history. The publications of the Imperial Russian Historical Society of St Petersburg, amounting to upwards of 100 vols., are of great value. For diplomatic history, see F. F. de Martens, Recueil des traités conclus par la Russie avec les puissances étrangères (St Petersburg, from 1878 still incomplete), which contains valuable historical introductions based on unpublished sources; A. N. Rambaud, Recueil des instructions aux ambassadeurs de France, vols. viii. and ix., Russie, 1657-1793 (Paris, 1890).
General Works.—In addition to those of Karamzin and Soloviev, already mentioned, see R. Nisbet Bain, The Pupils of Peter the Great . . . 1697-1740 (Westminster, 1897); The Daughter of Peter the Great . . . A History of Russian Diplomacy under the Empress Elizabeth Petrovna, 1741-1762 (1899); The First Romanovs, 1613-1725 (1905); K. N. Bestuzhev-Riumin, Russkaya istoriya (2 vols., St Petersburg, 1872), especially for internal history and social life; A. Brückner, Gesch. Russlands . . . bis zum Tode Peters des Grossen (Gotha, 1896); Gaston Créhange, Histoire de la Russie depuis la mort de Paul I. (Paris, 1882; 2nd ed. extended to 1894, ibid. 1896); T. von Bernhardi, Geschichte Russlands . . . 1814-1831 (3 vols., Leipzig, 1868-78); J. W. A. von Eckardt, Russland vor und nach dem Kriege (1879; Eng. trans. 1880); N. Flerovski, Three Political Systems: Nicholas I., Alexander II., Alexander III. (Russ., Geneva, 1897; Germ. transl., Berlin, 1898); V. Kluchevski, Kurs russkoe istoriy (1904-8); A. Kleinschmidt, Drei Jahrhunderte russischer Geschichte, 1598-1898 (Berlin, 1898); A. Krausse, Russia in Asia, 1558-1899 (1899); W. R. Morfill, Russia (Story of the Nations Series, New York, 1891), History of Russia (New York, 1902); H. H. Munro, Rise of the Russian Empire (Boston, 1900); F. Neuburger, Russland unter Kaiser Alexander III. (Berlin, 1895); W. R. S. Ralston, Early Russian History—1613 (1874); A. N. Rambaud, Histoire de la Russie (Paris, 1878; new ed. 1900; Eng. transl. of 1st ed. by L. B. Lang, 2 vols., 1879); Theodor Schiemann, Russland, Polen und Livland bis im xvii. Jahrhundert (2 vols., in Oncken's Allgemeine Gesch., Berlin, 1886-87), Gesch. Russlands unter Kaiser Nikolaus I. (vol. i., “Kaiser Alexander I. und die Ergebnisse seiner Lebensarbeit,” Berlin, 1904, vol. ii. 1908), with appendices giving many unpublished documents; J. H. Schnitzler, Gesch. des Russischen Reichs (Leipzig, 1874); F. H. Skrine, The Expansion of Russia, 1815-1900 (Cambridge, 1903); V. L. P. Thomsen, The Relation between Ancient Russia and Scandinavia and the Origin of the Russian State (London, 1877); the series of works by K. Waliszewski under the general title of Les Origines de la Russie moderne: L'Héritage de Pierre le Grand, 1725-41 (Paris, 1900), La Dernière des Romanov (1902), La Crise révolutionnaire, 1584-1614 (1906), Le Berceau d'une dynastie. Les Premiers Romanov (1909). For the relations of Russia with the papacy, see T. Pierling, Russie et le Saint-Siège, 1417-1758 (4 vols., 1896-1907). The only history of Little Russia is that in Russian by D. N. Bantysh-Kamenski (Moscow, 1842). Of the numerous books on the Russian revolutionary movement, besides those of “Stepniak,” Kropotkin, and other revolutionary writers, the followin may be mentioned: C. A. de Arnaud, The New Era in Russia (Washington, 1890); E. von der Brüggen, Das heutige Russland (Eng. trans. “Russia of To-day,” 1904); G. Drage, Russian Affairs (New York, 1904); P. N. Miliukov, La Crise russe (Paris, 1907; an earlier English edition appeared in 1905); Bernard Pares, Russia and Reform (1907); A. Thun, Geschichte der revolutiondären Bewegungen in Russland (Leipzig, 1883); Konni Zilliacus, The Russian Revolutionary movement (London, 1905).
Economic Works.—Georges Alfassa, La Crise agraire en Russie (Paris, 1905); Anatole Leroy-Beaulieu, L'Empire des Tsars (3 vols., Paris, 1882-88; Eng. trans., 1896), an admirable account, partly historical, partly based on personal observation of the government, religion and the social and economic conditions of Russia; Combes de Lestrade, La Russie économique et sociale (Paris, 1896); “Nikolai” (pseudonym of Danielson), Histoire des développement économique de la Russie depuis l'abolition du servage (Paris, 1899).
Law and Constitution.—A. Chasles, Le Parlement russe (Paris, 1910); H. D. Edwards, Das Staatsrecht Russlands (vol. iv., of Marquardsen's Handbuch des öffentlichen Rechts, Freiburg, 1888); S. N. Harper, The New Electoral Law for the Russian Duma (Chicago, 1908); J. Kapnist, Code d'organisation judiciaire russe (Paris, 1893); V. Kluchovski, Boyarskaya Duma (1882), an account of the boyars' duma from the 10th to the 17th century; Maksim M, Kovalevsky, Modern Customs and Ancient Laws of Russia (London, 1891); Max von Öttingen, Abriss des russischen Staatsrechts (1899); F. de Rocca, Les Assemblés dans la Russie ancienne; Zemskié Sobors (1899); L. Z. Slonimsky, Polit. entsiklopyediya (t. 1, 1907), compiled from the Liberal standpoint.
There is a fuller bibliography of Russian history in vol. xvii. of the Historians' History of the World (“Times” ed., 1907), which also includes considerable extracts from Russian works not elsewhere translated. Many additional works will be found s.v. “Russia” in the Subject Index of the London Library (1909).
- (W. A. P.)
- Bibliography: Memoirs, Izvestia and Geological Maps of the Committee for the Geological Survey of Russia; Memoirs and Sborniks of the Mineralogical Society, of the Academy of Science and of the Societies of Naturalists at the Universities; Mining Journal; Murchison's Geology of Russia; Helmersen's and Möller's Geological Maps of Russia and the Urals; Inostrantsev in Appendix to Russian translation of Reclus's Géogr. Univ., and Manual of Geology (Russian).
- See A. Aïtoff, Peuples et langages de la Russie (Paris, 1906), based on the report of the Russian Census Committee of 1897.
- These totals include in some cases small linguistic groups not mentioned in the table.
- About 77% Bulgarians, the rest mostly Bohemians (Czechs).
- Inclusive of 448,022 Zhmuds.
- Principally Frenchmen, with Englishmen, Italians, Norwegians, Danes, Dutchmen and Spaniards.
- Ethnologically the Bulgarians ought perhaps to come here; but, as a large admixture of Slav blood flows in their veins and they speak a distinctly Slav language, they have in this table been grouped with the Slavs.
- Includes Georgians, Mingrelians, Imeretians, Lazes and Svanetians.
- For details, see table under the heading Caucasia. Of the total given here, 20% are Circassians.
- M. Stolypin defended the ukaz of the 2nd of June 1907, which in flat contradiction of the provisions of the fundamental laws altered the electoral law without the consent of the legislature, on the ground that what the autocrat had granted the autocrat could take away. The members of the Opposition, on the other hand, quoting Art. 84 of the fundamental laws (“The empire is governed on the immutable basis of laws issued according to the established order”), argued that the emperor himself could only act within the limits of the order established by those laws. It is noteworthy that even the third Duma in its address to the throne, if it avoided the tabooed word “Constitution,” avoided also all mention of autocracy.
- Le Parlement russe, p. 151.
- Imperator is the official style. The Russian translation is Gosudar. Popularly, however, the emperor is known by his old Russian title of tsar (q.v.).
- This is the first time since Peter the Great that the clergy have been given a voice in secular affairs in Russia.
- The number of the council was formerly not fixed, and there are still honorary councillors who have no right to sit. Thus in 1910 the honorary president of the council was the grand-duke Michael Nicolaievich, the actual president M. G. Akimov. The judicial and administrative work of the old council was in 1906 assigned to separate committees.
- These returned 23 members in the first and second Dumas.
- Thus M. Guchkov, leader of the Octobrists, and M. Miliukov, leader of the cadets, were both returned by the second Curia of St Petersburg to the third Duma.
- Strictly speaking, the title is inapplicable, there being no collective official name for the two chambers. The word parliament may, however, be used as a convenient term, failing a better.
- From Catherine II.'s time to that of Alexander II. they were elected by the nobles. This was changed in consequence of the emancipation of the serfs.
- They were soon nicknamed Kuryadniki, chicken-stealers (from Kura, hen). See Leroy-Beaulieu, L'Empire des tsars, ii. 134.
- The dvornik is on duty for sixteen hours at a stretch, during which he is not allowed to sleep or even to shelter in the porch.
- Until the ukaz of October 18, 1906, the peasant class was stereotyped under the electoral law. No peasant, however rich, could qualify for a vote in any but the peasants' electoral colleges. The ukaz allowed peasants with the requisite qualifications to vote as landowners. At the same time the Senate interpreted the law so as to exclude all but heads of families actually engaged in farming from the vote for the Duma.
- None but peasants—not even the noble-landowner—has a voice in the assembly of the mir.
- Sixteen provinces have no zemstvos, i.e. the three Baltic provinces, the nine western governments annexed from Poland by Catherine II., and the Cossack provinces of the Don, Astrakhan, Orenburg and Stavropol.
- By the law of the 12th (25th) of June 1890 the peasant members of the zemstvos were to be nominated by the governor of the government or province from a list elected by the volosts.
- In spite of these restrictions and of an electoral system which tended to make these assemblies as strait-laced and reactionary as any government bureau, the zemstvos did good work, notably educational, in those provinces where the proprietors were inspired with a more liberal spirit. Many zemstvos also made extensive and valuable inquiries into the condition of agriculture, industry and the like.
- An ukaz of 1879 gave the governors the right to report secretly on the qualifications of candidates for the office of justice of the peace. In 1889 Alexander III. abolished the election of justices of the peace, except in certain large towns and some outlying parts of the empire, and greatly restricted the right of trial by jury. The confusion of the judicial and administrative functions was introduced again by the appointment of officials as judges. In 1909 the third Duma restored the election of justices of the peace.
- The justices, though noble-landowners, are almost exclusively of very moderate means, and, though elected by the land-owning class, they are—according to M. Leroy-Beaulieu—prejudiced in favour of the poor mujik rather than of the wealthy landlord.
- These honorary justices are mainly recruited from the ranks of the higher bureaucracy and the army.
- This corresponds to the French cour d'arrondissement, but its jurisdiction is, territorially, much wider, often covering several districts or even a whole government.
- L'Empire des tsars, ii. p. 310.
- In the ordinary tribunals weight is given to the “customs” of the peasants, even when these conflict with the written law.
- The abolition of the special courts of the peasants was announced in the same imperial ukaz (18th of October 1906) which promised the relief of the peasants from the arbitrary control of the communes, and permission for them to migrate elsewhere without losing their communal rights. This was made part of the general reform of Russian local government, which in the autumn of 1910 was still under the consideration of the Duma.
- Of the effects of the political changes in Russia on the educational system of the country it was, even in the autumn of 1910, too early to say anything save that an undoubted impetus had been given to the effort for improvement, and that the question had been seriously taken in hand by the imperial administration and the Duma. What form it would ultimately take depended still on the balance between the forces of conservatism and change, the suspicious temper of the autocracy being revealed, during the years of unstable equilibrium, by the alternate concession and withdrawal of privileges, e.g. in the matter of the independence of the universities. Any account of the educational system cannot, therefore, be otherwise than historical and provisional [Ed.].
- An imperial rescript of 10th of June 1902 foreshadowed a reorganization of secondary education, and an imperial ukaz of 15th of March 1903 laid down the lines on which this was to proceed. The old curriculum of the Real schools is now superseded.
- Bibliography of Geography: see Tillo, in Izvestia of Russian Geogr. Soc. (1883); P. Semenov, Geogr. and Statist. Dictionary of the Russian Empire (in Russian, 5 vols., St Petersburg, 1863-84), the most trustworthy source for the georaphy of Russia; the official Svod Materialov, with regard to Russian rivers (1876); Statistical Sbornik of the Ministry of Communications, vol. x. (freezing of Russian rivers, and navigation). A great variety of monographs dealing with separate rivers and basins are available; e.g. S. Martynov, Dar Petschoragebiet (St Petersburg, 1905); G. von Helmersen, Das Olonezische Bergrevier (St Petersburg, 1860); Turbin, The Dnieper; Prasolenko, “The Dniester,” in Engin. Journ. (1881); Danilevsky, “Kubañ,” in Mem. Geogr. Soc. i.; K. E. von Baer, Kaspische Studien (St Petersburg, 1857-59); V. Ragozin, Volga (St Petersburg, 1890); Peretyatkovich, Volga; and Mikhailov, Kama. An orohydrographical map of Russia in four sheets was published in 1878.
- Bibliography of Meteorology: Memoirs of the Central Physical Observatory; Repertorium für Meteorologie and Meteorological Sbornik, published by the same body; Veselovsky, Climate of Russia (Russian); H. Wild, Temperatur-Verhältnisse des Russ. Reiches (1881); Voyeikov, The Climates of the Globe (Russ., 1884), containing the best general information about the climate of Russia.
- Bibliography of Flora: Beketov, Appendix to Russian translation of Griesebach and Reclus's Géogr. univ.; C. F. von Ledebour, Flora Rossica (Stuttgart, 1842-53); E. R. von Trautvetter, Rossiae Arcticae Plantae (1880), and Florae Rossicae Fontes (St Petersburg, 1880). For flora of the tundras, Beketov's “Flora of Archangel,” in Mem. Soc. Natur. of St Petersburg University, xv. (1884); Regel, Flora Rossica (1884); Brown, Forestry in the Mining Districts of the Urals (1885); Reports by Commissioners of Woods and Forests in Russia (1884).
- Bibliography of Fauna: see Pallas, Zoographia Rosso-Asiatica; Syevertsov for the birds of south-eastern Russia; M. A. Bogdanov, Birds and Mammals of the Black-Earth Region of the Volga Basin (in Russian, Kazan, 1871); Karelin for the southern Urals; Kessler for fishes; Strauch, Die Schlangen des Russ. Reiches, for reptiles generally; Rodoszkowski and the publications of the Entomological Society generally for insects; Czerniavsky for the marine fauna of the Black Sea; Kessler for that of Lakes Onega and Ladoga; Grimm for the Caspian. The fauna of the Baltic provinces is described in full in the Memoirs of the scientific bodies of these provinces. A. T. von Middendorf's Sibirische Reise, vol. iv., Zoology (St Petersburg, 1875), though dealing more especially with Siberia, is an invaluable source of information for the Russian fauna generally. A. E. Nordenskiöld's Vega-expeditionens Vetenskapliga Iakttagelser (5 vols., Stockholm, 1872-87) may be consulted for the mammals of the tundra region and marine fauna. For more detailed bibliographical information see Aperçu des travaux zoo-géographiques, published at St Petersburg in connexion with the Exhibition of 1878; and the index Ukazatel Russkoi Literatury for natural science, mathematics and medicine, published since 1872 by the Society of the Kiev University.
- The most important alterations were the repetition twice, instead of three times, of the “Alleluiah” at the Eucharist, and the making the sign of the cross with two fingers instead of three.
- See N. Tsakni, Russie sectaire (1888); A. Leroy-Beaulieu, L'Empire des Tsars, tome iii. (1889; trans. 1896); C. K. Grass, Russische Sekten (1907 sqq.). Further useful references are given in Bonwetsch's article, “Raskolniken,” in Herzog-Hauck, Realencyklop. (3rd ed., 1905), vol. xvi. p. 436.
- It was only as late as 1904, however, that the landed proprietors were forbidden by law to inflict corporal punishment upon the peasants.
- See Collection of Materials on the Village Community, vol. i.; Collection of Materials on Landholding, and Statistical Descriptions of Separate Governments, published by several zemstvos (Moscow, Tver, Nyzhniy-Novgorod, Tula, Ryazañ, Tambov, Poltava, Saratov, &c.); Kawelin, The Peasant Question; Vasilchikov, Land Property and Agriculture (2 vols.), and Village Life and Agriculture; Ivanukov, The Fall of Serfdom in Russia; Shashkov, “Peasantry in the Baltic Provinces,” in Russkaya Mysl. (1883), iii. and ix.; V. V., Agric. Sketches of Russia; Golovachov, Capital and Peasant Farming; Engelhardt's Letters from the Country.
- See Russian Journal of Financial Statistics, in English (2 vols., St Petersburg, 1901).
- See Researches into the State of Fisheries in Russia (9 vols.), edited by Minister of Finance (1896, Russian); Kusnetzow's Fischerei und Thiererbeutung in den Gewässern Russlands (1898).
- See Friedrich Adelung, Siegmund Freiherr von Herberstein, mit besonderer Rücksicht auf seine Reisen in Russland geschildert. (St Petersburg, 1818); autobiography of Herberstein in Fontes rerum Austriacarum, part i. vol. i. pp. 67-396.
- To assist the reader in threading the genealogical maze briefly described above, the following tabular statement is inserted:— (I.) Michael, founder of the Romanov dynasty (1613-45). (II.) Alexius (1645-76). (III.) Theodore (1676-82). (IV.) Ivan V. (1682-). Sophia (Regent 1682-89). (IV.) Peter I. (1682-1725). + (V.) Catherine I. (1725-27). Catherine, duchess of Mecklenburg. (VII.) Anne (1730-40). Cesarevich Alexius Anna, duchess of Holstein. (IX.) Elizabeth (1741-61). Anna Leopoldovna, duchess of Brunswick. (VI.) Peter II. (1727-30). (X.) Peter III. (1761-62). + (XI.) Catherine II. (1762-96). (VIII.) Ivan VI. (1740-4l).
- In 1897 only 15% of the population were engaged in commerce or industry, including the work-people. Of the middle class, moreover, a large proportion were Jews and Germans. The peasants numbered 75%.
- “Tolstoi observed that that was argument and reason, and that he paid no attention to them; he only guided himself (he said) by sentiment, which he felt sure told him what was good and right!”—Interview with Metchnikoff in Sir Ray Lankester's Science from an Easy Chair, p. 43.
- In 1767, when Catherine II.—in a mood of encyclopaedist enlightenment—summoned it. The meeting confined its attention to economic questions, and had no political character whatever.
- In his speech at the opening of the first Polish parliament at Warsaw in 1818, Alexander I. publicly announced his intention of granting free institutions to Russia.
- Sazonov's sentence of twenty years' hard labour was commuted by Nicholas II. to fourteen years.
- Duma = council, assembly (dumat, to think over, reflect upon). The name was first suggested by Speranski, under Alexander I., for the suggested parliament of delegates from the zemstvos and local dumas.
- Pogrom = pillage, destruction.
- See the section Government and Administration, above.
- Of this M. Chasles remarks that it would have been a revolutionary act even in republican France.
- They were condemned in 1907 to three months' imprisonment and loss of civil rights.
- This was reversed, on the 8th of June, by 238 votes to 191, after a patient exposition by M. Stolypin of the fact that there was plenty of land in Russia for the peasants without any attack on private property.
- The electoral law covers 107 octavo pages.
- See above, Government and Administration.
- The law establishing individual peasant-proprietorship was passed on December 21st.