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The Mission of Russia

(Extracts from "Studies On The Interior Of Russia" by Westphalian baron August von Haxthausen. The original German edition of the book appeared in 1847)

. . . [The Russians are] the most numerous and geographically largest Slavic tribe. We meet here all the prerequisites which lead us to the conclusion that, of all the Slavic peoples, the Russians alone seem to be destined to play a role of world historical significance at the present time . Favored by time, geography, and circumstances, Russia appears to be equal to her mission.

To formulate more precisely the mission which has devolved upon the Russians, we should like to maintain that Russia has been summoned as the mediator between Europe and Asia to transmit the civilization of the one society to the other. (On this point Haxthausen's Russian friend Petr Chaadaev wrote that Russians, "supporting [themselves] with one elbow on China and another on Germany, ought to have united within [them] the two great principles of intellectual nature imagination and reason.) In this regard, Russia is still in the ascendant stage of her history, and she can doubtless look forward to a long and glorious future.

The Russian Empire offers several points of comparison, contrast, and analogy with the ancient Roman Empire to which we shall make later reference. One point of comparison is appropriate at this time. Because it included all the civilized nations in the Mediterranean, the Roman Empire by virtue of its location as well as its ordered internal constitution made possible the rapid dissemination of Christianity and the establishment of a uniform ecclesiastical organism. Owing to its power, its extent, its position between Europe and Asia, and its European culture, the Russian Empire alone presents a vehicle for the penetration of this culture and hence Christianity to the interior of Asia.

The expressions "to conquer," "thirst for conquest," and "war" have an unpleasant ring. Basic ethics must designate the actions implicit in these terms as unjust and sinful, but they have a different value in world history. What would the human race be without wars and conquests? War necessitated the creation of national organisms, established communities, and the unity of monarchy - War aroused and stimulated all the intellectual and physical energies of nations; war alone made cultural progress possible. War and conquest had as their immediate result the disappearance of the smaller tribes, some of which bore the seeds of decline within and others of which were incapable of material and spiritual advancement because of their isolation. These smaller tribes were then incorporated into the larger and more powerful communities. it was in this way that states arose, in which the individual peoples came into close contact, taught each other, and exchanged their national cultures. Strengthened by mutual assistance, they made common cultural progress. Lastly, the great wars of conquest also established close ties with those peoples living in the most remote areas; they gave birth to the basic concept of all civilization, the idea of the oneness of humanity, which was ultimately perfected and sanctioned by Christianity in the idea of the brotherhood of all men and their equality before God.

It is far more often human passion than human reason that calls forth and guides the events and deeds of world history. The individual's thirst for conquest or the drive to conquer on the part of nations may be unjustified and may exact retribution for the individual in this life or in the next. But the end result, the conquest, is almost always a divine blessing for all mankind, in that it promotes human progress.

In examining the great peoples of history, as well as the deeds and their results, we have before us the most manifold diversity in the paths along which Providence has guided them. Nevertheless there are also many similarities and points of comparison. Developing slowly from humble beginnings, a few peoples gradually spread out over vast areas, absorbing foreign tribes and thus forming large nations which carried their civilization far beyond their original homes. . . In this regard, we should like to approach our objective by examining the position which Russia occupies with respect to Europe.

More than one hundred peoples speaking a hundred different languages live within the boundaries of the Russian Empire. However, almost all these peoples dwell on the periphery of this vast territory. The interior is inhabited by a very homogeneous people, the Russians, who number perhaps fifty million souls, whereas the total population of all the other peoples living in the empire does not exceed twelve to fifteen million.

No other European state possesses such a large population of the same nationality. France has only thirty-two million Frenchmen out of a population of thirty to thirty-six million, and Great Britain approximately nineteen million Englishmen among its thirty million inhabitants. Only the German-speaking peoples in central Europe, if we include the Low German dialects of the Dutch and the Belgians, may approach the number of Russians. The Germans, however, are not united into one body politic. . . .

A common tongue is a powerful bond in the internal solidarity of peoples, but a nationality must be home by a common history and a shared fate. The French and the Spanish can be cited as examples in this respect, but not the Germans. First of all, a true unity of language is lacking. Of what use is it for scholars to assure us daily that all the German dialects constitute a single language when the Flemings, the Swiss, the Swabians, the Mecklenburgians, and the Austrians cannot understand each other and consequently do not regard each other as compatriots? It is true that High German gives the educated a sense of linguistic unity, but the lower classes, the core of the population, cannot speak High German, although they understand it in part. . . . The various German peoples are divided even more by their history than by their dialects . For centuries, each small province followed its own individual development, a history which was often characterized by strife and war with its neighbors. As . a result, sympathies hardly exist, whereas antipathies abound. The Bavarian detests the Austrian, the Hanoverian the Prussian, etc. Only in the smaller territories has the old unity of Kaiser and empire sustained a feeling of solidarity, and this was the only positive aspect in the national movement of 1848. The tradition of an Austrian emperor was a reality, even though there was little emotional attachment to him; all the rest was scholarly ideology and professorial illusions. The experiences of the past two years have convinced us that those countries inhabited by Germans which have not shared a common history with Germany, such as the German-speaking parts of Switzerland and Alsace, do not have the slightest notion of German patriotism and unity. Schleswig sympathized with Holstein because for centuries they had had common institutions and history and had shared a common antipathy toward the Danes, but certainly no allegiance toward Germany. Lastly, an important cause of division must not be forgotten: namely, different confessions. Although the old struggles have generally ceased, in many regions the various religious parties continue to regard each other as foreigners and sometimes as enemies.

Russia presents a totally different picture. Here we encounter a highly compact nationality. Among the thirty-six million Great Russians, there exists a unity of idiom which is not to be found among any other people. The language of the upper, educated stratum of society is precisely the same as that of the multitude; the emperor and the muzhik speak the same language and even have the same style of speech.

The dialect of the White Russians and the seven million Little Russians is distinguished from the language spoken by the Great Russians, but the difference is not nearly as great as that between an inhabitant of the Harz Mountains and a native of Brunswick. The Ruthenian dialect is further removed from that of the Great Russians, but the Ruthenians have little difficulty understanding the Little Russians.

In addition to the total unity of language, we also find a remarkable uniformity in the habits, customs, and dress of the Great Russians. Whereas in this regard Germany displays the greatest variety, often differing from one village to the next, a diversity more poetic and picturesque than elsewhere, the most absolute uniformity prevails among the Great Russians. This monotony is not poetic, but it vastly enhances political vitality.

Of much greater consequence in respect to political power is the total unity of religion and the church in Russia. This unity is complete among the Little Russians as well as among the Ruthenians except for a small number of the latter who have loyally maintained their ties to Rome. The Great Russians are divided by a schism. The Old Believers dissociated themselves from the ruling church, not for reasons of dogma, which is absolutely the same, but because of divergent practices and ceremonies.

Although the ancient Russian Empire ruled by Riurik was established by Normans who most likely introduced the bases of Germanic institutions and hence the principles of the feudal system, the Normans appear to have been too few in number for these principles to penetrate deeply into the Slavic population. Only in ancient times does one find slight traces [of feudalism] which soon disappeared. On the other hand, the patriarchal character of all popular institutions, which is rooted more deeply in the Slavic and above all in the Russian peoples than in any other European nation, developed fully. In this respect, the Russians most closely resemble the ancient peoples of the Orient. The entire social order with all its relationships and authorities constitutes an unbroken hierarchical ladder, which from the lowest to the highest rung, reposes on patriarchal authority. The father is the absolute sovereign of the household and the children; the family cannot exist without him. . . .

The next rung above the family is the Russian commune, which is the fictive expanded family under its elected father, the elder, or the starosta. The starosta is generally elected for three years. He governs and one obeys him unconditionally. However, he does consult with the "white heads" on the more important community matters. In many villages it is still the custom for the starosta to terminate the functions of his office before the assembled commune by kneeling, laying down his mace, and imploring the forgiveness of the community if ever he should have wronged it! . . .

All of the communes taken together make up the nation, a nation of brothers, who, from the beginning, have enjoyed complete equality and equal rights and who are likewise subordinate to a father, the tribal chief and leader of the nation: the tsar. The authority of the tsar is absolute and the obedience [of his subjects] unconditional, In the eyes of a true Russian, a restriction on the tsar's authority appears utter nonsense. "Who can limit the power and rights of a father?" the Russian asks. "He does not derive his power from us, his children, or from any man, but from God, to Whom he must someday answer." The touching proverb cited by the Russian if he thinks he is being oppressed by his master or a government official, "God is on high and the tsar far away," best identifies the source of all power and expresses his submission to authority. . . .

The Russians are as patriotic as those most patriotic of peoples, the French, the English, and the Spanish. These strong national sentiments demonstrate above all that the Russians belong to the large European family of nations. They also distinguish the Russians from the Oriental peoples who are merely united by one spiritual force, the unity of religion, and to whom the concepts of country and nationality as well as those of political and national freedom, honor, and humanity sound empty. . . .

The unity of religion, language, customs, and dress greatly enhances the intensity of patriotic sentiment. The way of life adds to this. No people travels as widely within their country as the Russians . In almost all the villages there are several peasants who have been in Archangel, Odessa, Kiev, Kazan, and Moscow! More than a million Russians annually travel outside the borders of their own province. And the area of each of these provinces is comparable to that of a kingdom! There are fairs in Russia where hundreds of thousands gather. At the places of pilgrimage, such as the Trinity-Saint Sergei Monastery, one often finds two to three hundred thousand persons assembled to commemorate the anniversary of a saint. That such gatherings, where people get to know each other and exchange ideas and opinions, should arouse and sustain a feeling of national unity is natural. . . .

We have already described the Western conception of Christianity as being realized by the Romano-Germanic peoples in the social and political institutions of the feudal system. The Slavic peoples understood Christianity differently. The basis of the Germanic conception is the voluntary submission of the individual, in both the social and the political sphere, to an order designed or perhaps merely sanctioned by Providence. The Slavic conception is rooted in the childlike sense of obedience and dependence which God has instilled into human nature - It is the submission of children to the father, of the individual to the head of the tribe or community, of the entire nation to its leader or prince, and of everyone to the Heavenly Father, who ordained this family hierarchy... Among the Germanic peoples, religious cognition is the essence of Christianity, while among the Slavs it is religious feeling. That this striving for knowledge is fraught with danger has been demonstrated by the first fall of man it appears that this endeavor is now leading the Occident to a second fall, to the deification of man and the abandonment of Christianity! The Slavic masses are less susceptible to these perils, for emotion is much more difficult to extirpate and is less responsive to speculative reasoning. . .

At this point we should like to examine the position of Russia in the large European republic of nations as well as the policy which this position assigns to her with respect to the other states.

In her origin and growth, Russia offers several points of comparison with Rome. Like Rome, Russia arose from insignificant, almost obscure beginnings, expanding very slowly but steadily. The mythical history of Rome commences with two brothers who, together with their companions, built a small city and founded a petty kingdom, whereas Russian history speaks of a tribe which was no longer able to maintain order. Out of a need to be ruled, this tribe summoned a foreign leader and his retinue and submitted to his authority. Soon thereafter, all the other kindred tribes joined forces, and after 120 years their authority had spread over a vast, though thinly populated, area. Russia embraced Christianity and entered the large European family of Christian nations at the end of the tenth century. But divisions sapped the energy of the country, so that it soon succumbed to the attacks of the Mongols and Tartars. For more than 200 years the Russian people groaned under the yoke of their conquerors.

That Russia attained national and political unity in her hour of misery and foreign oppression instead of perishing as a state and a people and instead of dividing into factions is testimony to the indestructible vigor of the Russian people. Religion and church, to which the people clung with devotion, served as the common bond. Although the Tartars knew how to conquer, fortunately they were incapable of permanently organizing their conquests. They simply plundered the Russians but permitted them to keep their customs and practices; they did not intermarry with the Russians, and they aroused all the energies of the vanquished by their humiliating treatment. Instead of maintaining and encouraging division, they fortified the Russians' sense of national unity, by promoting the union of the smaller principalities under the scepter of the grand duke. The situation then reversed. The Russians not only cast off the Tartar yoke but gradually subdued almost all the Tartar territories. Immediately following the decline of the Eastern Roman Empire in 1453, Russia reentered the European family of nations as an autonomous Christian state (1472). From that time on, Russia slowly but steadily ascended to her present height. She now appears to have reached the summit of her external might but not nearly the peak of her internal greatness.

When the Roman Empire had reached its zenith, Roman customs and virtues were already in a state of decline; luxury and sensuous pleasure were rampant; religiosity and patriotism were fading. Nevertheless, the Romans continued to rule the world for centuries.

Hence Russia, too, can in all likelihood look with promise to the long continuance of her great power, even more so since the Russian people proper, in contrast to the Romans at the time of Augustus, still possess all the characteristics of an unspoiled nature and vigorous youth; a profound sense of attachment to the family and the commune, hospitality, generosity, compassion, a spirit of self-sacrifice, and patience. To these traits is added a physical constitution hardened by an inclement climate and privations of all kinds and capable of withstanding great fatigue. Lastly the Russians have an indestructible and almost naive faith in the unity of the church and state, an ardent patriotism, and an unshakable consciousness of their own grandeur and power.

One can divide Russia's conquests into three categories as well as three periods. The first category comprises those conquests which the principal tribe and its prince undertook in order to unify the nation and state. For the most part, these conquests fall into the oldest period, when the grand dukes of Kiev, and later the grand dukes of Moscow, gradually united all the territories inhabited by Russians, reincorporating the individual principalities into the main empire. Russia has also conquered or reconquered important territories in modem times, namely the Ukraine, White Russia, Kiev, Little Russia, and parts of Red Russia.

We would like to designate as the second category of conquests those which the Russian people undertook out of an instinctive but obscure sense of the mission with which world history had entrusted them. To this category belong the wars waged to realize the highest interests of humanity, that is, the wars which Charlemagne waged against the Saxons in order to convert them to Christianity, the Crusades, the wars of the Teutonic knights in Prussia, etc. In Russia's case this category includes those conquests undertaken to acquire seacoasts. They appear to have been absolutely necessary to Russia's existence as a world power.

Prior to these conquests Russia had been a huge, landlocked country, cut off from all the seas and consequently from all of Western civilization. Maritime routes provide the easiest and most comfortable means for the propagation of civilization, overland routes being too difficult and inconvenient. After having conquered the Baltic Sea coast, Peter I, like another Archimedes, sought a point there from which he could hoist ancient Russia out of her isolation, her prejudices, her provincialism, and put her on the same level as the rest of Europe. The conquest of the Black Sea coast and the Crimea was, moreover, an act of vengeance against the last empire of the Tartars, who had enslaved Russia for so long.

One can hardly call the occupation of Siberia a conquest, in that Russia simply took possession of a res nullius The semibarbarous hunting tribes which inhabited this region never formed political entities, nor did they consider themselves to be owners of the land. Even today Russia does not interfere with them, although she is gradually introducing Christianity and civilization into this wilderness.

The third category is comprised of conquests motivated by political interests. Poland was partitioned and for the most part subjugated because an autonomous and powerful Polish state was too dangerous a neighbor. Second, an impotent Poland in the hands of an enemy always served as a base for an invasion of Russia, as was learned from the bitter experience under Napoleon. Finland was conquered in order to safeguard Saint Petersburg and to dominate the Gulf of Finland in the interest of the fleet. The northernmost provinces of Turkey up to the mouths of the Danube were occupied so that no other power would be able to establish a position there and also to be in possession of the keys to the Porte if Osman's old, shaky edifice should someday collapse and the scramble for the skin of the lion begin. The proffered crown of Georgia was accepted and Dagestan and Armenia taken in order to gain control of the mountains which protect the frontiers of Russia proper and thereby to be in a position to menace Persia or Asia Minor at will. Lastly, from Siberia, Russia occupied several regions in America so as to secure a fin-n footing on the continent of the future.

Although we recognize the first two groups of conquests as being justified given the situation and the mission of Russia, we certainly do not intend to try to defend this third category. At most we can invite that people or state which is free of sin to cast the first stone at Russia!

The first two categories of conquest have proved beneficial in that they vastly enhanced Russia's power and greatly expanded her territory. With the exception of the German Baltic provinces, even the second category has been assimilated into Russia. The colonization movement rapidly settled a predominantly Russian population from the interior into these newly conquered territories. The regions around Petersburg and all of southern Russia, which was formerly inhabited or traversed by Tartars, has been transformed into essentially Russian land.

The third category of conquests presents a different case, and it is here that we see a fundamental contrast between the ancient, universal empire of Rome and the Russian Empire. Rome knew how to assimilate its conquests, often in a very short time. It adopted the foreign divinities and introduced its own gods into the land of the vanquished and, by identifying the two cults, established a religious unity. In a short time the language and the customs of the Romans became native to the provinces in a way which still puzzles historians. . . .

In every respect the opposite is true of Russia. Russia cannot transmit to her conquered territories her religion and her church, since both are too national. This national church can provide a homogeneous people with a strong common bond, but a foreign people would first have to surrender its national character and become completely Russified before they could be integrated into the Russian church. (A good example is offered by those Mordvines who, after having adopted the language and customs of the Russians, also embraced their religion.) Russian language and customs were not disseminated in any of the conquered territories, either in Finland, the Baltic provinces, Poland, or even in Georgia, although the latter has the same religion and church as Russia. . . . The countries subdued by Russia possess for the most part a culture which is superior to that of their conqueror. Consequently they have not become provinces of the Russian Empire in the Roman sense of the word but have remained foreign elements or dependencies. Hence only the land of the Russian people and the Russian church will constitute the true Russian empire. . . .

We must emphatically deny the assertion that Russia has been summoned to rule the world and to establish a universal monarchy. It is true that Russia has immense resources at her disposal and for the moment the most favorable chances to conquer the world, but victory would lead to her immediate downfall. With respect to Asia, for example, Russia would simply have to surmount the difficulties presented by the climate and terrain; nowhere would the peoples themselves offer serious resistance. Several isolated regions on this continent, such as Circassia, are of no importance to the conquest of Asia as a whole. In regard to Europe, Russia occupies a geographical position unusually favorable for waging war. She has the broadest base of operations for launching a surprise attack against Europe from all directions (after the necessary means of transportation has been completed, that is, the railroad from Petersburg to Odessa etc.) In addition, her hinterland is so immense that every invading army must of necessity be engulfed. The conquest of the entire country can thus be regarded as only a pipe dream, but even the subjugation of the smallest part of Russia could never be secured. It is not necessary to refer specifically to Napoleon's invasion, but at the present time anyone who is familiar with the country and the people knows that even without the Russian winter he would have been defeated. For war Russia possesses the most abundant resources and materials: iron and all the other metals, wool, leather, hemp, flax, wood (even for the construction of a fleet), etc. But does she possess the nervus rerum gerendarum, money? It is generally believed that no European state could presently wage a serious war without having to borrow the money. Russia, however, carried on a brief but very expensive war in Hungary without a loan. Of course, we do not believe that there are immense metal treasures in the vaults of Saint Petersburg; but the resources of the Russian Empire are inestimable and in case of need or simply upon the request of the emperor the people would eagerly sacrifice their property and blood. Lastly, as far as the army is concerned, no state has many troops as Russia.

Since the time of Catherine II, we have always observed that the armies which Russia initially sent across her borders were relatively small. But unlike the armies of other states, Russian troops became more numerous the longer the war lasted. In the War of 1812, when her very survival was at stake, Russia opposed the huge armies of Napoleon with scarcely 200,000 men, but, at the close of the war in 1815, 300,000 men were actually under arms on foreign soil.

In recent times a complete change has come about. Today Russia possesses in reality, and not simply on paper, a military force stronger than that of any other state, an army which is always prepared for battle and which can quickly be concentrated at a given location. When, in 1849, Russia responded to the Austrian plea for help and entered the war against Hungary, all of Europe believed, as the newspapers sarcastically remarked, that Russia would send at most 50,000 troops across the Hungarian frontier. Contrary to these estimates, Russia provided 120,000 front-line troops and 60,000 reservists, an army so completely and perfectly equipped as had hardly been seen in modem times! Moreover, the troops were, according to the unanimous testimony of all who had the opportunity to observe them, stalwart and hardy, perfectly disciplined, and eager for combat. And let it be noted that this was not a national but a purely political war, waged by order of the emperor. Although the Russians were in sympathy with the Magyars and opposed to the Germans, whose cause they were supposed to be supporting, this was the order and the army fought with distinction. . . .

We believe that the conquest of Europe [by Russia] will be easy in the future if the social order of Europe continues to deteriorate and if the governments continue to grow weaker, as unfortunately seems to be the case, and particularly if France, the second most powerful European state, is completely debilitated politically by an increasing republicanization or by socialisticcommunistic revolutions. But after Europe has been conquered, what then? We have already noted that Russia, in contrast to ancient Rome, has only been able to assimilate those peoples who are of the same blood, the same language family, and the same religion. All other conquests may have offered Russia material advantages, but with respect to her political might they were more of a burden. Russia, because of her very nature, cannot assimilate the defeated civilized countries of Europe simply because their culture is superior to hers. Can one seriously believe that it would be possible for Petersburg to rule Paris, Rome, Vienna, and Berlin, and for a sparsely settled country, a land of steppes, to govern an industrial and heavily populated continent, intersected by mighty mountain ranges and everywhere close to the seas? Russia would have to disarm these countries and, because she could never rely on the indigenous troops, she would have to station her national army there as an occupation force to quell every uprising. This would have a very adverse effect on the population balance in the Russian interior. Furthermore, there is the danger that the army could ultimately be infected by the poison of western European revolutionary fever!

The conquest of European Turkey would be of a different nature. In this region, the inhabitants are for the most part Slavs who are closely related both racially and linguistically to the Russians and, what is even more important, they belong to the same church. Without a doubt the Bulgarians, the Serbs, and the Bosnians would assimilate completely with the Russians within a short period following the conquest. Even the Christian Albanians and the Greeks in Turkey would probably establish close ties with Russia, since they are part of the same religious community.

But Russia cannot subdue Turkey before having conquered all of Europe. And since the conquest of Europe, as we have already demonstrated, could not be permanent, the conquest of Turkey is also merely a dream. As long as the present political system of Europe continues to exist (since 1849 Austria and Prussia have succeeded in lifting themselves somewhat out of a state of anarchy), the various powers cannot allow Russia to take sole possession of Turkey. To prevent this from happening, all of Europe, with England at the head, would join forces in battle. With the latter it would be a war to the death. Even if Russia were victorious for the moment, such a conquest would be precarious and continually challenged by the enemy as long as Europe exists. Common sense itself prevents Russia from playing for such high stakes. Moreover, the advantages to be gained would be very problematic, since the necessity of governing Constantinople from Petersburg would disturb the equilibrium of the empire. On the other hand, the preservation of Turkey offers Russia the most advantageous position. The identity of origin and the religious unity which join the majority of the subjects of the Porte to Russia enhance the latter's influence to such a degree that on every important question Turkey must follow Russia's counsel. All the existing treaties provide Russia with the greatest security and advantages for the development of her navy and trade. Turkey is also well aware that its preservation is of the greatest interest to Russia and that it thus has Russia as a loyal ally who will protect it not only against any foreign enemy but also against internal dissolution. We witnessed this when Mehemet Ali's army threatened Constantinople.' Only if Turkey were actually to disintegrate Completely from within, which event we do not consider to be likely in the near future, and if it were a question of dividing the remains, would Russia demand her share of the booty!

Since the time of Napoleonic conquest for the sake of conquest, the naked and insatiable passion to conquer is no longer in vogue. In the Russian people there is not a trace of this passion, and in the last twenty-five years at least the government has shown a moderation which Europe did not expect. Following the decisive victories won against Turkey and Persia, Russia modified her frontiers only slightly, returning all the conquered territory. In the matter of Cracow, she kept nothing for herself but on the contrary nearly forced Austria to take possession of the city and the province. When Turkey and Austria appealed to Russia for aid against Egypt and Hungary respectively, it was not only the armchair politicians who prophesied that Russia would occupy at least a part of these countries as footholds. Quod non! After having provided the requested aid, she immediately withdrew her army!

What is Russia's natural policy vis-a-vis Europe today? To be sure, it is of great concern to Russia that the revolution not gain too much ground and that it not come too near her borders. Even though there is little danger that revolutionary teachings will be adopted by the Russian populace, nevertheless the contagion has already infected Poland, and its spread to the other dependencies, such as Finland, is to be feared. Were a revolution completely victorious in Europe and all the monarchies and governments overthrown, the cry, "All the peoples have deposed their kings, let us do the same!" could lead to at least a temporary catastrophe, given the perverted education of Russia's upper classes.

Sound policy prevents Russia from embarking on a course of conquest and from intervening unbidden in the internal affairs of the European states. In this respect Russia has already learned a bitter lesson, which she has not yet forgotten. Napoleon was at the zenith of his power. Russia's efforts in 1805 and 1806 to check his triumphal course remained futile. She began to submit to the new order of things and even abandoned her alliance with England, the last anchor of old Europe. Russia had not yet understood that for a revolutionary power such as Napoleon's every standstill is a step backward. Thus, in spite of all her concessions, Russia was attacked by him. Only after Napoleon's defeat did Tsar Alexander resolve to reestablish the old monarchial order. He succeeded beyond expectation. Seduced by his success, he went one step further: instead of restricting himself to the restoration of the boundaries of the various states, he also meddled in their internal affairs and institutions The emperor forced upon the Bourbons the Charter of 1814 which was a misfortune for Europe and an offense for which even Russia has had to pay dearly.

The time may well arrive when Russia will march her armies into Europe for a second time in order to come to the aid of the monarchies in their struggle against revolution and anarchy. Will she make the same mistake again? Certainly not! Her conduct in the Hungarian matter proves that she has understood the principles of sound policy and also intends to practice them. Hence we should not be led to believe that Russia enjoys appearing on the field of battle out of any love of war or ambition or thirst for conquest. She will only intervene if absolutely necessary and never without being summoned. Her real power, her impressive position, offers the European monarchies moral support in the face of anarchy. But, as we have mentioned, only in case of extreme necessity will she provide a significant amount of material aid, for she can be certain that she is sacrificing her money and blood without hope of indemnity, to be paid only with ingratitude. Russia must also be careful not to station her armies for too long a time in anarchistic countries. In our opinion, it would be sheer folly if, after having suppressed anarchy, she were to meddle in the internal affairs and developments of the individual states.

We have not yet referred to Russia's present or future political position vis-a-vis England. It is different from her relationship to the rest of Europe, and we would like to touch upon it very briefly at this point. England is a state whose governmental institutions appear for the moment to be more secure than those of any other European state. At this time it may very well be that England is the only European state whose political power is equal to Russia's. For this reason each looks at the other with jealous eyes. They have innumerable contacts with each other, and their interests are nearly identical in every part of the world. And yet by virtue of their position they are kept so far apart that it would be difficult to say at which point they might come into serious conflict. Russia cannot conquer England, nor can England subdue Russia. They can harass each other and go to battle against each other, but neither can really do the other too much harm. But it is not at all necessary for them to assume a hostile attitude toward each other. On the contrary, Providence has entrusted both nations with the very same mission, namely, to disseminate Christianity and civilization throughout Asia, each in its. own way, Russia by way of land, England by way of the sea. There they will someday meet, but this encounter need not be hostile.

The Slavic conception of Christianity, as it is manifested in the Russian church, will never be able to incorporate either the Latin church or Protestantism, because they represent a spiritually superior force. The Russian church enjoys a different position, however, with respect to the Asian peoples. Not only are the Slavs both spiritually and culturally superior to the peoples of Asia, but Slavic religious sentiments must, in our opinion, have a greater chance of acceptance among the meditative and sensuous Asians than any other Christian rite. It is therefore likely that the Russian church will conquer large areas for the Christian faith in the Asian interior when it has developed missionary talents and zeal, which thus far has not been the case. In this regard the English have proved completely powerless. Their missionary societies have made great but totally fruitless efforts. Protestantism can be embraced by peoples who are already Christian but never by heathens or Mohammedans. Experience has shown this to be the case, particularly in Asia.

Both nations are introducing their industrial products into Asia and are in this way gradually disseminating the external forms of our modem civilization. The resulting transformation of the customs and habits of life is paving the way for the larger political and religious upheavals which the Asian interior will obviously undergo...

Culturally Russia leans toward Europe. The Russians are a European people and stand at the head of the powerful Slavic race which inhabits more than one-third of Europe. Russia is anchored in the great Christian family of European nations, which is the leader of the human race. Russia received civilization and political forms from the rest of Europe. But with respect to Europe she has no important economic interests to represent; she exports only her raw materials to the European market; her industry cannot compete with that of western Europe. Russia could only conquer, but her conquests would greatly weaken her. There is, however, one paramount interest which Russia must protect with respect to Europe; she must do everything in her power to support and to uphold the principles of law and order, for these are her very own moral foundations. If these foundations were to collapse in Europe, if anarchy were to erupt with full force, it could exercise an incalculable influence on Russia.

In 1830 the Holy Alliance collapsed; France overthrew the principle of legitimacy, the Netherlands followed her example, and Prussia and Austria made only a halfhearted attempt to defend it. Russia adhered strictly to the principle of legitimacy, which she had once accepted out of conviction and which had been sanctioned by oath and treaty. Russia did not want to recognize Louis Philippe and would even have risked a war to prevent the dismemberment of the Netherlands had Austria and Prussia been interested. She always remained aloof from the French king in spite of Louis Philippe's great efforts to draw near to Russia, in spite of the undeniable sympathies which exist between the Russians and the French, and in spite of the manifold material interests which join the two states. To this very day Russia does not have an ambassador in Spain, because the legitimacy of the throne has not been established. She recalled her ambassadors from Brussels and Turin because Polish officers, guilty of breaking their oath, had been accepted into the armies of both countries. Russia also broke off diplomatic relations with Switzerland when the old constitutions were overthrown and a radical government seized power. . . .

Who in 1848 could have prevented Russia from overrunning Europe, from incorporating the remnants of the Prussian and Austrian armies, from crushing the demagogues in Frankfurt and Turin, from coming to the aid of the French legitimists, and from dictating the peace in Paris as well as the new order of Europe? Militarily, this probably would not have been so difficult.

Or at this time when Europe was completely shattered, who would have hindered Russia from taking all the Polish provinces (indeed, with the enthusiastic approval of the Poles), from crushing Turkey and reorganizing the Ottoman Empire with Slavic interests in mind, in which case the realization of a Pan- Slavic universal empire would not have been at all remote. Russia would merely have had to agitate la Palmerston and then fish in troubled waters, to engage in double dealing here and there, to support a government in one place and demagoguery somewhere else. Had this been the case, Schleswig Holstein would have furnished the best occasion as well as a justifiable pretext!

Instead the emperor had in view only the most general and important interests of order, law and monarchy. In his eyes these interests outweigh at the present time the seemingly natural but selfish interests of Russia, Under the former political and legal system only some of the Austrian and Prussian provinces belonged to the German confederation. If Russia had been at odds with Austria, let us say, over the mouths of the Danube, she could have waged war and, if lucky, could have conquered Hungary, Galicia, etc., without embroiling the German confederation in the conflict. This would have also been true if Russia had been involved in a dispute with Prussia over Posen and Polish affairs (as was actually the case in 1848 when Russia declared that she would consider certain eventualities to be a casus belli). Nevertheless, in 1850 and 1851 the tsar approved almost without hesitation the plans for the entry of all the Austrian and Prussian provinces into the German confederation. Indeed, it is said that he supported the steps which Austria took in this respect, solely in the interest of the monarchial principle. For the strengthening of this principle he regards a powerful but, of course, not aggressive German confederation as desirable and even necessary in the common interest of all of Europe. The German confederation with its seventy million inhabitants would serve to check eventual territorial ambitions on the part of France as well as Russia. . . .

And what is Russia's policy vis-a-vis the rest of Europe? She is on friendly terms with her Swedish neighbors. She protected Denmark when an intoxicated Germany attacked in 1848 and wanted to wreak her anger on this small weak country. Russia maintains her old proven friendship with Holland. On principle she remains distant from Belgium, Spain, Sardinia, and Switzerland without harassing or insulting them. She holds a protective hand over the rest of Italy and Greece without demanding their subordination or anything in return. As for France, the tsar has openly declared that in his eyes a quasi-legitimate constitutional monarchy is a horror because it is based on an inherent lie. On the other hand, he could be on frank and even amicable terms with a republic. For this reason he lends moral support to every French government which endeavors to maintain order, such as the former government of Cavaignac and the present government under Bonaparte.

For a comparison, let us take a look at England's policy, in particular the newest course which she has been pursuing under Palmerston's leadership. Everywhere we encountered the noble lord fishing in troubled waters. He recognized only the basest interests of the shopkeeper policy to which he subordinated everything: rectitude, political principles, trustworthiness, and honor. It is said that in the deepest recesses of his mind he is devoted to the tenets of absolute radicalism. We do not even want to do him the honor of giving credence to this assertion. He loves radicalism but only abroad, since it leads to anarchy and completely paralyzes the political power of these countries. From the ensuing standstill of all industrial activity England can only profit; the finest pecuniary benefits will then accrue to her. The noble lord never questions the justice of his actions. Because of unimportant and often completely unjustified claims on the part of individual English businessmen and plutocrats he immediately employs brutal force but, nota bene, only against weak and defenseless countries. With respect to the United States, which always assumes a bold and defiant attitude toward England, he pulls back his claws at once and does nothing more than put forward moderate objections. But in Italy, that unfortunate country, tom by revolutionary fever and socialism, he exploits radical Sardinia in favor of the English manufacturers. For years he has been plotting and directing the most despicable intrigues and stirring up violent propaganda in Sicily, Naples, the Papal States, and Tuscany. In Hungary he intrigued to weaken Austria. He is offering Switzerland his lofty protection in order to keep the fires of anarchy burning for all of Europe. And finally, let us not forget the brutality with which he treated a weak and impoverished Greece! Should not a cry of indignation against such action have gone up throughout all of England, which has always prided herself on her noble sentiments? Instead, the City rubbed its hands with pleasure and the High Tories scarcely managed a weak attempt at censure, even after France and Russia had openly and vehemently denounced this policy.

Having indicated how Russia's cultural interests incline primarily toward Europe, we should now like to explain in what way her material interests are directed for the most part toward Asia. Russia's position on the border between Europe and Asia ought to be viewed as a true mission of Providence assigning her the task of first transmitting European culture to Asia, and subsequently perhaps Christianity. But this mission will not be accomplished by conquest, but by way of humanity, fellowship, and trade. More and more the empire's center of gravity is inclining toward the east and southeast. The colossal fair at Nizhnii Novgorod may soon become more important than all her commercial dealings with Europe .

For one hundred years the stream of a mighty colonization movement has been flowing from the west and northwest to eastern and southeastern Russia. Perhaps the time is not too far away when Petersburg will be only a large Russian port in northern Europe, just as Odessa is a harbor for southern Europe; both of them may simply be powerful commercial cities and European outposts.

Having maintained that Russia's policy with respect to Asia has been peaceful rather than aggressive, we would like to demonstrate this in detail. Let us begin at that point where Russia has continually waged war, namely, in the Caucasian provinces. The Caucasian mountain range in its entire length faces the Russian plains. The warlike and rapacious highlanders had always swooped down on the unprotected plains, pillaging and ravaging the countryside and then withdrawing unpunished to their safe mountain fortresses. It was nearly impossible to launch a frontal attack against them, because they had all of Asia behind them. Then Russia acquired Georgia. It was a great burden and embroiled Russia in sanguinary wars with Persia and Turkey, which led to the conquest of the entire region south of the Caucasus between the Black and Caspian seas. This conquest took place before the accession of the present emperor. He had to accept his inheritance. Should he have given up this entire conquered territory and abandoned to the detestable Mohammedan government of Persia or the despotism of the Turkish pashas a Christian people who had voluntarily submitted to the rule of his predecessor? That would have been a crime against humanity and against the true honor of Russia as a Christian state. But Nicholas I has done nothing there but make incredible efforts to pacify, organize, and civilize this region, as well as to wage defensive wars. . . .

For twenty-three years Russia has been at peace with Persia. Prior to this Abbas Mirza had attacked Russia in peacetime. The Russians were wholly unprepared and were forced to abandon several provinces temporarily. But after they had collected their forces, Nizhnii fair reached 57 million rubles and for all Moscow was only 60 million; both did approximately equal volume of trade with Europe.

Paskevich was victorious, and Persia had to cede to Russia the Tartar lands as well as Armenia. These territories were not inhabited by Persians, nor did they originally belong to Persia. Having been conquered at one time, they were now lost. The inhabitants, Armenian Christians and Shi'a Moslems, who were most cruelly tyrannized and oppressed by the Persian government, regarded the Russians as their liberators. The boundaries were delimited in such a way that Russia would be protected from future Persian attacks. From that time on, Russia has been a good and true friend of Persia; she has encouraged Persia's trade and sought to strengthen and to preserve its government.

Russia's treatment of the Turks in Asia Minor was even more lenient. Russia would have conquered Bayazid and undoubtedly could have advanced as far as Trabizond. In this region, too, the inhabitants were not Turks, but Armenian Christians and Kurds, who only reluctantly tolerated Turkish rule and who regarded the Russians as their liberators. Russia returned most of the conquered territory and merely sought to establish a strategically safe border along the ridge of the Anatolian mountains. She retained Akhaltsikhe, the ancient slave market, in order to check the traffic in Christian slaves, which could not have been eradicated in any other way. Perhaps Russia acted against the principles of humanity in permitting Christian Armenia to fall back under the Turkish yoke. She did not even keep Batum, the most important harbor on the Black Sea, which was actually indispensable to her.

Lastly, in the Far East, Russia's relations with the ancient Celestial Empire, China, are completely peaceful and upright. The borders have been fixed by treaties in which the Chinese duped the Russians everywhere." Trade is precisely regulated. The Russian government oversees the ethics of her merchants and shows consideration for the national practices of the Chinese. Russia exports woolen goods to China, the so-called Meseritz cloth which is now imitated in Moscow. England, on the other hand, ships opium to China in order to bring the population to physical and moral ruin. When the Chinese government wanted to stop the import of opium, England began the most unjustified of wars and forced the noble Celestial Empire to poison itself!

To foster her trade, Russia is seeking to open up routes leading to the heart of Asia, to Tibet, that curious land with an ancient culture. In the vast Mongolian steppes she has established Cossack communities which may someday become Europeanized cities connected by trade routes. Is one justified in calling this a conquest? We think not. The Mongols are a political but not a territorial entity. They do not consider the land to belong to them or to anyone but use the free pasture lands as nomads. Consequently, the Cossacks as well as every other people would have as much right to use the land as the Mongol nomads.

Russia will be wary of conquering territory in Asia. She now has safe frontiers and territories inhabited by her own people. Should she conquer regions by force which would constitute an uncertain possession, subject to attack and retainable only by a military presence and at a considerable expense? Russia is interested in seeing that peace prevails in Asia, that the Asian empires prosper and become somewhat civilized, and that they adopt European customs, since Russia's industry and trade will thrive as a result. In comparing the present condition of the Asian empires Turkey, Persia, China, Bukhara, and Tibet - with that of a hundred years ago, one cannot fail to recognize that their political and social contacts with Europe are more extensive than they were in the past. France contribute somewhat to this development, England played a greater role, and Russia can claim the most credit. In any case, Russia is doing the most to support and preserve the existing states of Asia.

Russia's thirst for conquest is decried throughout Europe. Yet in the past twenty years she has not conquered a single village. England's conquests seldom meet with protests or criticism in spite of the fact that she has been conquering territories and subjugating nations for a hundred years and has more than quadrupled the area of Old England and her population. And seldom does a year go by that she does not conquer new lands.

 

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