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139
ANTI-SEMITISM

with this movement, and on the advice of Count Loris-Melikov and the council of ministers a rudimentary scheme of parliamentary government had been drafted and actually signed when the emperor was assassinated. Meanwhile a nationalist and reactionary agitation, originating like its German analogue in the Hegelianism of a section of the lettered public, had manifested itself in Moscow. After some early vicissitudes, it had been organized, under the auspices of Alexis Kireiev, Chomyakov, Aksakov and Kochelev, into the Slavophil party, with a Romanticist programme of reforms based on the old traditions of the pre-Petrine epoch. This party gave a great impetus to Slav nationalism. Its final possibilities were sanguinarily illustrated by Muraviev's campaign in Poland in 1863, and in the war against Turkey in 1877, which was exclusively its handiwork (Statement by General Kireiev: Schütz, Das heutige Russland, p. 104). After the assassination of Alexander II. the Slavophil teaching, as expounded by Ignatiev and Pobêdonostsev, became paramount in the government, and the new tsar was persuaded to cancel the constitutional project of his father. The more liberal views of a section of the Slavophils under Aksakov, who had been in favour of representative institutions on traditional lines, were displaced by the reactionary system of Pobêdonostsev, who took his stand on absolutism, orthodoxy and the racial unity of the Russian people. This was the situation on the eve of Easter 1881. The hardening nationalism above, the increasing discontent below, the economic activity of the Hebrew heretics and aliens, and the echoes of anti-Semitism from over the western border were combining for an explosion.

A scuffle in a tavern at Elisabethgrad in Kherson sufficed to ignite this combustible material. The scuffle grew into a riot, the tavern was sacked, and the drunken mob, hounded on by agitators who declared that the Jews were using Christian blood for the manufacture of their Easter bread, attacked and looted the Jewish quarter. The outbreak spread rapidly. On the 7th of May there was a similar riot at Smiela, near Cherkasy, and the following day there was a violent outbreak at Kiev, which left 2000 Jews homeless. Within a few weeks the whole of western Russia, from the Black Sea to the Baltic, was smoking with the ruins of Jewish homes. Scores of Jewish women were dishonoured, hundreds of men, women and children were slaughtered, and tens of thousands were reduced to beggary and left without a shelter. Murderous riots or incendiary outrages took place in no fewer than 167 towns and villages, including Warsaw, Odessa and Kiev. Europe had witnessed no such scenes of mob savagery since the Black Death massacres in the 14th century. As the facts gradually filtered through to the western capitals they caused a thrill of horror everywhere. An indignation meeting held at the Mansion House in London, under the presidency of the lord mayor, was the signal for a long series of popular demonstrations condemning the persecutions, held in most of the chief cities of England and the continent.

Except as stimulated by the Judeophobe revival in Germany the Russian outbreak in its earlier forms does not belong specifically to modern anti-Semitism. It was essentially a medieval uprising animated by the religious fanaticism, gross superstition and predatory instincts of a people still in the medieval stage of their development. This is proved by the fact that, although the Russian peasant was supposed to be a victim of unbearable Jewish "exploitation," he was not moved to riot until he had been brutalized by drink and excited by the old fable of the Blood Accusation. The modern anti-Semitic element came from above and followed closely on the heels of the riots. It has been freely charged against the Russian government that it promoted the riots in 1881 in order to distract popular attention from the Nihilist propaganda and from the political disappointments involved in the cancellation of the previous tsar's constitutional project (Lazare, L'Antisémitisme, p. 211). This seems to be true of General Ignatiev, then minister of the interior, and the secret police (Séménoff, The Russian Government and the Massacres, pp. 17, 32, 241). It is certain that the local authorities, both civil and military, favoured the outbreak, and took no steps to suppress it, and that the feudal bureaucracy who had just escaped a great danger were not sorry to see the discontented populace venting their passions on the Jews. In the higher circles of the government, however, other views prevailed. The tsar himself was at first persuaded that the riots were the work of Nihilists, and he publicly promised his protection to the Jews. On the other hand, his ministers, ardent Slavophils, thought they recognized in the outbreak an endorsement of the nationalist teaching of which they were the apostles, and, while reprobating the acts of violence, came to the conclusion that the most reasonable solution was to aggravate the legal disabilities of the persecuted aliens and heretics. To this view the tsar Was won over, partly by the clamorous indignation of western Europe, which had wounded his national amour propre to the quick, and partly by the strongly partisan report of a commission appointed to inquire, not into the administrative complaisance which had allowed riot to run loose over the Western and southern provinces, but into the "exploitation" alleged against the Jews, the reasons why "the former laws limiting the rights of the Jews" had been mitigated, and how these laws could be altered so as "to stop the pernicious conduct of the Jews" (Rescript of the 3rd of September 1881). The result of this report was the drafting of a "Temporary Order concerning the Jews" by the minister of the interior, which received the assent of the tsar on the 3rd of May 1882. This order, which was so little temporary that it has not yet been repealed, had the effect of creating a number of fresh ghettos within the pale of Jewish settlement. The Jews were cooped up within the towns, and their rural interests were arbitrarily confiscated. The doubtful incidence of the order gave rise to a number of judgments of the senate, by which all its persecuting possibilities were brought out, with the result that the activities of the Jews were completely paralysed, and they became a prey to unparalleled cruelty. As the gruesome effect of this legislation became known, a fresh outburst of horror and indignation swelled up from western Europe. It proved powerless. Count Ignatiev was dismissed owing to the protests of high-placed Russians, who were disgusted by the new Kulturkampf, but his work remained, and, under the influence of Pobêdonostsev, the procurator of the Holy Synod, the policy of the "May Laws," as they were significantly called, was applied to every aspect of Jewish life with pitiless rigour. The temper of the tsar may be judged by the fact that when an appeal for mercy from an illustrious personage in England was conveyed to him at Fredensborg through the gracious medium of the tsaritsa, he angrily exclaimed within the hearing of an Englishman in the ante-room who was the bearer of the message, "Never let me hear you mention the name of that people again!"

The Russian May Laws are the most conspicuous legislative monument achieved by modern anti-Semitism. It is true that they re-enacted regulations which resemble the oppressive statutes introduced into Poland through the influence of the Jesuits in the 16th century (Sternberg, Gesch. d. Juden in Polen, pp. 141 et seq.), but their Orthodox authors were as little conscious of this irony of history as they were of the Teutonic origins of the whole Slavophil movement. These laws are an experimental application of the political principles extracted by Marr and his German disciples from the metaphysics of Hegel, and as such they afford a valuable means of testing the practical operation of modern anti-Semitism. Their result was a widespread commercial depression which was felt all over the empire. Even before the May Laws were definitely promulgated the passport registers showed that the anti-Semitic movement had driven 67,900 Jews across the frontier, and it was estimated that they had taken with them 13,000,000 roubles, representing a minimum loss of 60,000,000 roubles to the annual turnover of the country's trade. Towards the end of 1882 it was calculated that the agitation had cost Russia as much as the whole Turkish war of 1877. Trade was everywhere paralysed. The enormous increase of bankruptcies, the transfer of investments to foreign funds, the consequent fall in the value of the rouble and the prices of Russian stocks, the suspension of farming operations owing to advances on growing crops being no longer available, the rise in the prices of the necessaries of life, and lastly, the