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and precisely the same thing takes place in the sphere of politics. When the human mind is subjected to oppression, it becomes peculiarly acute and receptive, catching quickly at the slightest hint and attaching significance to things which under other circumstances it would pass without attention. It is this which gives so much weight to the utterances of the "underground" press. Everybody knows how quickly the newspaper "Kolokol" and other similar publications lost their influence when Russian periodicals were given even comparative freedom of speech.*
In the present unfortunate state of affairs repression is incapable of attaining even the immediate results which are expected from it, because it cannot find objects upon which to exert itself. There can be no war unless there is an enemy in the field. In a situation like the present one, opposition to the Government does not manifest itself exclusively through the actions of a few known individuals; it hovers in the air, and lurks in the hearts of a multitude of people. Severe measures may crush a few of the Government's prominent opponents, but in their places discontent sets forth new champions.
Finally, repression, by keeping the country in a state of constant alarm with warnings of impending danger and with extraordinary and ever-changing methods of prevention, diverts attention from the real necessities of the time and baffles all attempts to anticipate the future. The country lives only from day to day, when it ought to proceed at once and with vigor to its work. Whether, therefore, we regard repression as a necessary and normal feature of national life or merely as a temporary expedient useful in periods of agitation, we find that it is powerless to attain the results that are expected from it.
THE most marked feature of the present situation in Russia is extreme dissatisfaction in urgent need of free expression. Educated society as a whole, irrespective of rank, position, or opinions, is intensely dissatisfied, and out of that dissatisfaction arises the existing agitation.
First. The first and most important of society's unsatisfied demands is the demand for an opportunity to act. This demand even a constantly growing bureaucracy has been unable to silence. It has been encouraged and stimulated by the intellectual movement which began in the last century and which has continued in this; and as early as the beginning of the present reign there had already taken form
The "Kolokol," or "Bell," was a radical journal published fortnightly in London by Herzen.-G. K.
in literature and in society an ideal of national life which demanded realization. That ideal was founded upon the inviolability of personal rights, freedom of thought, freedom of speech, and a system of government by which these things should be guaranteed. The reforms of the first half of the present reign gave completeness and permanence to this ideal and threw upon it the light of approval from above. At the same time, those reforms created social conditions which were so entirely new that the necessity for new national institutions to correspond with them became a necessity no longer theoretical but practical. The old mechanism of government proved to be incapable of directing the new and complex forces which were in operation. Only by the free and independent efforts of society itself could they be regulated and controlled. The striving of the people for an opportunity to act- to take part in the control of the national life - has therefore become a phenomenon which the ruling power must take into account. Unfortunately, however, it is a phenomenon which the Administration regards with hostility. At the very moment when society is aroused both by the nature of its own reflections and by the circumstances of the time and seeks to participate in the life of the State, the Administration throws obstacles in its way. If the ruling mechanism in its present form excludes from direct participation in the gov. ernment a majority of those who have the first right and the strongest desire to take part in it, then that mechanism stands in need of reformation. Instead, however, of reforming it, the Government is striving to crush and strangle the very institutions intended to bring about such reformation.†
The Russian people are becoming more and more impressed with the conviction that an empire so extensive and a social life so complicated as ours cannot be managed exclusively by chinovniks. The provincial assemblies are educating year after year a larger and larger number of men who are capable of taking part in political life, and yet these assemblies are constantly and systematically repressed. Their legislation is subjected to the censorship of the provincial governors; their right to impose taxes for their own needs is restricted; they assemble under presiding officers whose disciplinary power is increased; their right to manage their own schools is denied; their recommendations and petitions are wholly unheeded; jurisdiction over all important questions is taken away from them and given to administrative bureaus, and the provincial governors are allowed to pass judgment upon
The zemstvos, or provisional and cantonal assem
the character of officials duly elected by popular vote. As a consequence of all this, there is great danger that the provincial assemblies, which should be the independent organs of local self-government, will be transformed into mere subordinate bureaus of the local administration. This system of forcible repression cannot crush the desire of the people for independent political activity, but it is quite enough to produce chronic dissatisfaction and to put the Administration in the attitude of serving the interests of a bureaucracy rather than the interests of the people.
Second. Another demand of society which at the present time is even less satisfied than the desire for political activity is the demand for personal security. The indispensable conditions upon which the very existence of modern society depends are free courts, freedom from arrest and search without proper precautions and safeguards, responsibility of officials for illegal detention and imprisonment, and the due observance of all the legal formalities of public and controversial trial in cases involving the infliction of punishment. In administrative limitations of judicial procedure, whatever be their nature, society cannot acquiesce. Administrative interference always creates license; it shows that the ruling power is not willing to submit to the laws which it has itself ordained, and that it seeks an opportunity to attack both the freedom of the courts and the rights of the persons with whom it is dealing. Such administrative interference, whatever may be its motives, cannot justify itself in the eyes of the people, and only serves to weaken the authority of the ruling power. The importance of the first stage of judicial procedure in Russia is destroyed by the lack of independent examining magistrates. The law providing that judges shall not be removed from office is deprived of all its virtue by the practice of transferring them to distant posts or promoting them without reason. How little faith there is in the existing method of selecting judges, and how carelessly vacancies are filled by appointment, is shown by the fact that not long ago in Moscow people went to court as they would go to the theater, to be amused by the ignorance and clownishness of an associate judge, who had been appointed by the Minister of Justice instead of another candidate recommended by the court itself. People who take a superficial view of life are amused by such things; the more serious members of society are deeply pained by them; but in both classes there is a consequent loss of respect for the Government. Great numbers of cases are removed entirely from the jurisdiction even of such imperfect courts as we have. In the almost unlimited province of
political crime, where the features which distinguish the permissible from the forbidden are so changeable and so difficult of definition, and where, consequently, personal liberty should be surrounded by the greatest possible safeguards, there exists a state of things which is in violation of all the Russian people's ideas of judicial procedure, and in flagrant violation of the most elementary principles of justice. A robber or a murderer cannot be searched nor arrested without a warrant from an official who must answer for his acts upon complaint of the sufferer; but in cases involving political crime an entirely different order of things prevails. For the past ten years the police, upon trivial suspicion or upon a false accusation, have been allowed to break into houses, force their way into the sphere of private life, read private letters, throw the accused into prison, keep them there for months, and finally subject them to an inquisitorial examination without even informing them definitely of the nature of the charges made against them. Many persons arrested in this way by mistake, or under misapprehension, have lived through this experience and have afterward returned to their homes. In the eyes of certain people and of the Government these sufferers are not men justified by the courts and reëstablished in their rights in the face of the world; they are dangerous members of society marked with the brand of disloyalty. In the eyes of other people they are innocent martyrs, or even heroes. It often happens that the lives of such persons are wrecked forever. The dead secrecy of political trials, in contrast with the publicity of ordinary jurisprudence; the unlimited exercise of power by the secret prosecutors, in contrast with the strictly enforced legality of every step in ordinary judicial procedure, are undermining in society the sense of lawfulness, and adding fuel to the fire of exasperation which burns in the hearts not only of the persons who have the misfortune to be prosecuted for political offenses, but of a much wider circle of people. In the absence of any legislation defining political crime and limiting the power of the institutions which deal with it, not a single person belonging to the educated class can regard himself as safe from political prosecution, and consequently not one can escape from the ever-present, humiliating, and exasperating consciousness that he is entirely without rights.
Still more out of harmony with the views of the people is the system of administrative exile and banishment without examination or trial, which has been practiced upon a more extensive scale within the past five years than ever before. While the spirit of the law and the first principles of justice forbid the in
fliction of punishment without previous trial, hundreds and perhaps thousands of persons annually are subjected to the severest punishment that can be inflicted upon an educated man; namely, banishment from home and friends, and that by a mere administrative order based upon nothing. Persons exiled in this way have no means of knowing how long their punishment will continue. They are deprived even of the consolation which every common criminal has in knowing definitely the length of time he is to suffer. Moreover, the friends of a political exile have no means of knowing the nature of the offense with which he is charged; often he himself does not know; but they both have a right to suppose that the accusation cannot be proved, since if it could be the accused would be duly indicted and tried by a court. At the time when the law relating to administrative exile was promulgated, it was explained as an unusual measure of clemency, intended to lighten the punishment of young and misguided offenders by substituting banishment to distant provinces for the much severer penalties which would be inflicted by the courts if the accused should be brought to formal trial. When, however, the Moscow Assembly of Nobles asked that every person sentenced to exile should be given the right to demand a judicial investigation of his case, no attention whatever was paid to its petition.
Third. There is in the present condition of the courts and of local self-government another cause of irritation, arising out of the grievously illogical and inconsistent policy of the Government itself. In the early part of the present reign the political ideal of the Russian people was approved not only by the highest authorities of the State, but by the supreme ruler of the empire. At the very first step, however, toward the realization of that ideal, the Administration manifested a lack of confidence in the forces of society. Immediately after the promulgation of such laws, for example, as the act providing for the organization of cantonal and provincial assemblies [Zemskoe Polozhenia] and the act reforming the courts [Sudebni Ustavi], there began a series of withdrawals and restrictions. All the limitations of the powers of the provincial assemblies which have before been enumerated; the peculiar method of dealing with political of fenses; the system of administrative exile; the denial in certain cases of the right of trial by jury, and the relegation of political offenses to specially organized courts, all these were in the nature of withdrawals or restrictions of rights and privileges once granted. These recisions began almost as soon as the new laws went into operation, and they were made in a delicately graded series, which can hardly
be regarded as accidental. Take, for example, the series of steps by which we have come, from the order of things established by the new court laws, to the present method of conducting political trials. In the beginning the courts acted independently, and had exclusive jurisdiction; then the officers of the Third Section were appointed assistants of the courts; then the balance of power was transferred from the courts to the Third Section; and finally, all authority and responsibility were concentrated in the hands of the gendarmes. These and other similar facts show what attitude the Government took toward reform. They compelled society to stand forth in defense of the institutions which it held dear, and thus in the very beginning created an abnormal situation. The Government and the people, instead of coöperating fraternally in the work of reform, took an attitude of hostility toward each other. For this the people are often blamed, and to a certain extent they are perhaps blameworthy; but those who condemn the people forget that in a country where the Government is all-powerful the Government should show most selfpossession.
Fourth. That which happened to representative institutions and to the courts happened also to the press, and perhaps even in a worse form. The law of 1865 gave to our press certain rights by abolishing in specified cases preliminary censorial supervision, and by giving to the courts jurisdiction of cases where the freedom of the press was abused; but that law was soon made a dead letter by a whole series of restrictive measures. The existing system of censorial supervision which rests upon administrative discretion has one capital defect, and that is its failure to furnish any rule definitely fixing beforehand the cases in which and the extent to which an offending publication shall be proscribed. Of this defect the censors themselves complain, since they sometimes receive at the same time one reprimand for allowing the publication of books and articles manifestly innocent and another for not allowing the publication of books and articles which are as manifestly mischievous. Society is irritated by still another injustice. It often happens that even the withdrawal of a question by censorial prohibition from the field of literary discussion does not prevent the writers on one side [the Government side] from setting forth their opinions and sharply attacking their adversaries, while the latter, silenced by the prohibition, cannot reply even to the extent of explaining more clearly their own position. An illustration of this is furnished. by the question of classical instruction in our schools. Restrictions of the press and limitations of free speech in general might have some
raison d'être in a country where the governing power felt itself to be weak in comparison with the people; but it is well known that in Russia the power of the Government is enormous. Limitations of the right of free speech merely weaken that power. If the Government fears publicity, then it must have something to conceal from the people; - such is the inevitable conclusion to be drawn from the present condition of the press.
The need of free speech is never so deeply felt as in periods of discontent; and even apart from discontent, that need in Russian society is extremely urgent. The Russian people are passing through an important crisis in their history - a crisis which is economic, social, and political. Nothing but the free interchange of ideas can lessen the difficulties and embarrassments of this transition period. When in dealing with such difficulties and embarrassments the Government adopts a course which society does not approve, the press is the only medium through which the consequent alarm and excitement can be tranquilized. By refusing to listen to frankly expressed opinions, the Government not only gives another proof of its want of confidence in its own power, but deprives itself of an important means of knowing with whom it has to deal. There may exist in the social organism needs and forces of which the Government is entirely ignorant and by which it is liable at any moment to be taken unawares. Of this the present state of things is a proof. The Administration up to this very hour has not been able to find out definitely who the enemies of social order are, and it is doubtful whether it even knows their working methods, because by withdrawing the light of publicity it has enshrouded such methods in an atmosphere of secrecy and obscurity. In the absence of free speech the enemies of the Government must remain unknown even to society itself. The unsatisfied demand of the people for freedom of speech is one of the chief sources of the existing discontent. Every educated man, by virtue of a law of his intellectual being, seeks to exchange ideas with others to convince or be convinced. Conflict is the natural state of an idea, and it cannot be suppressed without a suppression of thought itself. Limiting the freedom of discussion does not weaken the energy of thought, it intensifies and concentrates it; and if there is no opportunity for an intellectual conflict, there arises a conflict which is social and political.
THE discontent which pervades Russian society, and which is the result of the mistaken policy of the Government in dealing with in
ternal affairs, can be removed only by measures in which society shall take part. The Government cannot accomplish the desired result alone. A mere cursory glance at the state of the country is enough to convince one that it is time to call into action all Russia's healthy powers. The demands of the empire are constantly increasing. The imperial budget has more than doubled in the last twenty years, and would have been still larger than it is if the satisfaction of important imperial needs had not been postponed. The last war necessitated an extraordinary expenditure, a large part of which has not even yet been permanently covered. It is absolutely impossible for the country, under the present revenue system, to sustain even for a few years the enormous and constantly increasing burden of imperial taxation. Although new issues of paper money and the temporary stimulation of business which followed the war have enabled the Government during the past two years to strike a balance without a deficit, that favorable result cannot be counted upon in future, nor even in the current fiscal year. It is plain to every one, and was long ago admitted by the Government, that Russia's internal revenue system stands in need of a reform — not a reform confined to the working-over of certain old taxes and the invention of a few new ones, but a systematic and fundamental reform of our whole system, with capital changes in the distribution of the burdens of taxation among the several classes of the people. Even this is not enough. No possible reform in the revenue system will be of any avail unless there is an increase in the people's wealth and producing power. All persons who have had an opportunity to observe closely the domestic life of our provinces agree in declaring that the people are constantly growing poorer instead of richer. At this very moment a third of the empire is suffering from insufficient food, and in some places there is actual famine. In southern Russia the grain beetle threatens renewed desolation, and in a whole series of provinces diphtheria and other epidemic diseases are raging unchecked.t
Our manufacturing industries, in the opinion of competent judges, are beginning to decline, and there is a prospect in the near future of another crisis. In foreign trade the competition of the United States closes to us every year more and more of our markets. Everywhere in all departments of economic life there is a morbid feeling of shaken confidence which saps the productive power of the coun
*The damage caused by the grain beetle in 1878 exceeded 15,000,000 roubles.-G. K.
Forty thousand persons had died of diphtheria in the two provinces of Kharkoff and Pultava.— G. K.
try. This feeling is not a mere transitory impression; it is a well-founded consciousness of the fact that our ruling mechanism does not answer to the mutability and the increasing complexity of a great empire's demands. Now, as in "the good old times," the central Government jealously excludes the people from participation in the national life and takes upon itself the difficult task of thinking and acting for them. This task was hard enough even when the life of the people went on in the long-established patriarchal way to which both society and the Government were accustomed, but that order of things has undergone in recent years more vital changes than perhaps ever came to a similar system in any country in the course of a single generation. The emancipation of the serfs has completely and radically transformed the whole economic life of the agricultural peasants and the landed proprietors as well as their relations to each other. Artificial methods of swift intercommunication and transportation have altered the time-honored routes and methods of trade and production, have created new industries and destroyed old ones, and have put the fortunes of whole provinces in the hands of the railroad authorities. Banks and financial institutions of various kinds have sprung up in great numbers and have bound widely separated regions together with meshes of mutual obligation and indebtedness. These changes, complicated and supplemented by others like them, have created everywhere a thousand questions and necessities which previously did not exist, and have so interwoven the interests of separate localities that delay or error in the settlement of a question at one point has a direct influence upon the fortunes of other places often very remote. Every local necessity or calamity, whether it be a drought, the grain beetle, the disorganization of a railroad, an epidemic disease, pleuro-pneumonia among cattle, or industrial stagnation, exerts, without losing its local significance, a wide-spread influence upon the well-being of the empire as a whole. In an economic life thus complicated, one central administration, even though it possess superhuman wisdom and energy, cannot pos
sibly deal with the innumerable questions and problems which, in the absence of popular self-government, necessarily devolve upon it. Whole classes of wants and demands either remain entirely unsatisfied, are inadequately appeased by methods which take no account of local interests, or are met by a series of unsystematic and mutually contradictory measures. Each of these ways of dealing with such wants and demands undermines respect for authority and inspires painful distrust.
The only way to extricate the country from its present position is to summon an independent parliament [Sobrania] consisting of representatives of the zemstvos, to give that parliament a share in the control of the national life, and to securely guarantee personal rights, freedom of thought, and freedom of speech. Such freedom will call into action the best capabilities of the people, will rouse the slumbering life of the nation, and will develop the abundant productive resources of the country. Liberty will do more than the severest repressive measures to crush anarchistic parties hostile to the State. Free discussion will show the error of their theories, and the substitution of vigorous healthful activity for epidemic discontent in the life of the people will deprive them of the field in which they carry on their propaganda.
The Russians are as fit for free institutions as the Bulgarians are, and they feel deep humiliation at being kept so long under guardianship. The desire for such institutions, although forced into concealment, and half stifled by repressive measures, finds expression, nevertheless, in the zemstvos, in the assemblies of the nobles, and in the press. The granting of such institutions, and the calling together of a representative body to preside over them, will give to the nation renewed strength, and renewed faith in the Government and in its own future. When the people of Russia made themselves ready for the recent war, it was with an instinctive feeling that in the great work of freeing kindred nations there was the promise of freedom for themselves. Are such expectations, hopes, and promises never to be realized?
THE above temperate, patriotic, and courageous address was laid before the Tsar, and he acted upon it; but, unfortunately, his action came too late. On the 12th of March, 1881, he signed a proclamation announcing to the people his intention to summon a national assembly and to grant a constitutional form of government. On the very next day, before this proclamation had been made public, he was assassinated.