plan of land settlement for the Jews, and we were informed that this
experiment is proving very successful.
When we were in Kislovodsk, we met a large number of Kerachais,
both men and women. They came specially to see us in their picturesque
national costumes. None of them hid their faces, but the older women,
particularly in the remote places of Eastern Russia, do still wear veils.
Some of them, though not all, could speak Russian, some spoke broken
Russian, but one and all in course of conversation emphasised their
satisfaction at their emancipation as a nation, and in the case of the women,
as a sex. Many stories they told us of the oppression to which they had
been formerly subjected by their Russian masters, and bytheir hirelings, the
Cossacks. A native man, for instance was not allowed to marry a Russian
girl, but the Russians claimed the right to carry off native girls. We asked
them how their people felt generally now towards the Russians, and they
told us that not quite all the accumulated hatred of past years had died
down, but it was diminishing very steadily, as their people saw how their
land was being restored to them, and that they now no longer had
anything to fear from the Russians.
On our way from Borzhom to Abas-Tuman (Georgia) we were met by a
mixed crowd of Armenians, Mussulmans, Osetins, and Georgians, who were
evidently on excellent terms with one another. We spoke to chance Osetins
and other native carmen and peasants on the road. In some cases, they
did not seem to understand much of what was going on—although even in
such cases, to a straight question on the land, they always replied that
they had more land now than they had ever had before the revolution.
In other cases we found them very intelligent, keenly interested in home and
even international affairs. They were invariably favourable, on the whole,
to their local soviet institutions, and to the Soviet Government. They
complained in some cases of dishonest or harsh officials, but they rarely
blamed their Government for it. It was a relic of the past, they said, which
would be stamped out in time.
We had similar talks with Armenians, Tartars, and other nationalities.
Had the Soviet Government done nothing else, the work they have done
in restoring peace and harmony amongst the hostile nationalities of Russians,
Jews, Georgians, Armenians, Osetins, Chechens, Kerachais and the host of
other tribes inhabiting the Caucasus and the Transcaucasian Republic,
would form a monument of lasting value.