THE MEANING OF THE RUSSIAN REVOLUTION 21
debts, growing armaments, and cruel, stupid wars. More than that,
they would be deprived, like the Western nations, of their chief,
blessing—their accustomed, beloved, agricultural life, apd would
drift into hopeless dependence on foreign labour; and this under
the most disadvantageous conditions, carrying on an industrial and
commercial struggle with the Western nations, with the certainty
of being vanquished. Destruction awaits them on this path and
What, then, is the Russian nation to do ?
The natural and simple answer, the direct outcome of the facts
of the case, is to follow neither this path nor that.
To submit neither to the Government which has brought it to
its present wretched state; nor, imitating the West, to set up a
representative, force-using Government such as those which have
led those nations to a still worse condition.
This simplest and most natural answer is peculiarly suited to
the Russian people at all times, and especially at the present crisis-
For indeed, it is wonderful that a peasant husbandman of Tula,
Saratof, V61ogda,or Kharkof Province, without any profit to himself,
and suffering all sorts of misery, such as taxation, law-courts,
deprivation of land, conscription, etc., as a result of his submission
to Government, should till now, contrary to the demands of his
own conscience, have submitted, and should even have aided his
own enslavement: paying taxes, without knowing or asking how
they would be spent, giving his sons to be soldiers, knowing still
less for what the sufferings and death of these so painfully reared
and to him so necessary workers, were wanted.
It would be just as strange, or even stranger, if such
agricultural peasants, living their peaceful, independent life without
any need of a Government, and wishing to be rid of the burdens
they endure at the hands of a violent and to them unnecessary
power, instead of sjmply ceasing to submit to it, were, by qm-