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German militarism, which had shown itself the chief cause and occasion of a world catastrophe.
The German declaration of war on Russia at once dispersed all doubts and hesitations in the many millions of the population of the Russian Empire. Some may put in the forefront of this war the struggle with the uncivilizing militarism of Prussia. Others may see in it, above all things, a struggle for the national principle and for the inured rights of nationalities-Serbians, Poles, and Belgians. Others, again, see in the war the only means of securing the peaceful future of Russia and her allies from the extravagant pretensions of Germany. But all alike feel that this war is a great, popular, liberating work, which starts a new epoch in the history of the world. Thus the war against United Germany and Austria-Hungary has become in Russia a truly national war. That is the enormous difference between it and the war with Japan, whose political grounds and objects, apart from self-defense against a hostile attack, were alien to the public conscience.
There is one other consideration which cannot be passed over in silence. In Russia many are convinced, and others instinctively feel, that a victorious war will contribute to the internal recovery and regeneration of the State. Many barriers have already fallen, national and political feuds have been softened, new conditions are being created for the mutual relations of the people and the Government. There is every reason to think that some members of the Government-unfortunately, it is true, not all-have understood that at the present time of complete national
union many of the old methods of administration and all the old Government psychology are not only out of place, but simply impossible. In one question, the Polish, this conviction has received the supreme sanction of the sovereign and of the Commander in Chief, and a striking expression in the latter's manifesto to the Poles. Further than this, the actual attitude of Russian Liberals and Radicals toward a whole series of problems and relations cannot fail to be changed. Thus the war will help to reconcile and soften many internal contradictions in Russia.
How far we are, with this state of public opinion and these perspectives of the internal development of Russia, from those fantastic pictures of civil disunion and revolutionary conflagration which were anticipated before the war and have sometimes been, even since the war, portrayed in the German and Austro-Hungarian press! Our enemies counted on these domestic divisions, and they have made a bitter mistake. Constitutional Russia, precisely because of the radical internal transformation which it has experienced in the period that began with the Japanese war, has proved to be fully equal to the immense universal and national task that has devolved upon it. The national and political consciousness of Russia not only has not weakened, but has wonderfully strengthened and taken shape. As one who has had a close and constant share in the struggle for the Russian Constitution, I can only note with the greatest satisfaction the striking result of Russia's entry into the number of constitutional States, a result which has so plainly showed itself in the tremendous part that Russia is playing in the great world-crisis of 1914.
Prince Trubetskoï's Appeal to Russians to Help the Polish Victims of War
[Russkia Vedomosti, Oct. 8, (21,) 1914]
NEW era of Russian-Polish relations has begun, and the noble initiative of A. J. Konovalov, who has donated 10,000 rubles for the needs of the war victims of Poland, offers a shining testimony.
Up to the present the Polish people have had relations with official Russia only. The war has brought them for the first time into immediate touch with the Russian people. Thousands of Polish exiles have gone forth to our central provinces. In Moscow alone there are not less than 1,000 former inhabitants of Kalisz, to say nothing of fleeing people from other provinces. Moscow, of course, attracts the largest number of these unfortunates. Some particular instinctive faith draws the Poles to Moscow, to the centre of popular Russia. To my query why she had chosen Moscow among all Russian cities, a poor Polish woman, the wife of a reservist, said: "I was sent here by the military chief. 'Go to Moscow,' said he. 'You won't perish there.' ”
And indeed in Moscow the Polish exiles have not perished. They have found here brotherly love, shelter, and food. The municipality of Moscow, numerous philanthropists, both Polish and Russian, are rendering them assistance.
It is needless to describe the impression made upon the Poles by this attitude of the people of Russia. A prominent municipal worker of the City of Kalisz, with tears in his eyes, told me: "Up to the present moment Poland has been segregated from Russia by a wall of officialdom erected by the Germans;
now for the first time this wall has been broken down, two peoples are seeing each other and feeling each other." A tremendous process of mutual understanding has begun before our eyes! It has barely begun as yet; for what has been accomplished by Russia for Poland is but a drop as compared with what still remains to be done. It is not enough to help the Polish immigrants in our central provinces. Our help must be carried to the provinces devastated by the German and Austrian hordes. Right there the scenes of misery make the hair stand upon our heads.
Let us realize that the City of Kalisz alone has suffered not less than 40,000,000 rubles in loss of property. Representatives of Polish municipalities with whom I had opportunity to discuss the situation told me that in the City of Kalisz there is no longer a single drug store, nor a grocery store, and there were about three thousand of them before.
There are numerous cities and villages where everything has been pillaged by the German requisitions. Horses, cows, food, even mattresses, have been taken away, and for all these ironical receipts have been tendered: "So much worth of goods have been taken; the payment for same will be made by the Russian Government."
Owing to the destruction of the inventory and the stock in the villages, there is nothing to till the soil with, and the fields have to remain unseeded.
Poland is indeed the Belgium of Russia. Belgium is aided by England and France, but there is nobody to help Poland except us. The appeal of the
Commander in Chief has promised, in case of Russian victory, the political regeneration of Poland, with her own religion, with her own language, and with her own self-government. But before the political regeneration we have to think of the saving of the unfortunate country from starvation.
This must be above all our national, Russian affair. Let the exhausted, suffering people of Poland feel that the people of Russia are their real brothers; let them see that our words are backed up by deeds. Perhaps in this way we shall forever clear away their ancient distrust toward us, a distrust which unfortunately had ground in the past relations between Russia and Poland.
We are not speaking of a commonplace charity at the present moment. There is need for a help which should mark the beginning of a historical change in the lives of both peoples. Both peoples should not only silence their material sufferings, but they should draw a spiritual comfort from this great historical trial and make it a source of their moral vigor.
They should feel that their sufferings and their sacrifices have not been in vain, that no matter what their further resolutions might be the popular affair should by all means be carried on right now, and that irrespective of the outcome of the present war one tremendous result has already been accomplished. The Polish affair has already become a Russian national affair. And this means that henceforth there shall be no discrepancy between words and deeds in the relations of both peoples.
The whole might of the people of Russia and their ideals, expressed by the Supreme Commander in Chief, shall be the bond for the Poles, guaranteeing them the realization of the dreams of their forefathers for the resurrection of Poland.
Let us Russians prepare this resurrection and help it by all means within our power. Now or never the aid to the suffering people of Poland shall grow into a national Russian demonstration. Let all Russian papers throw open their col
umns for subscriptions for aid to the people of Poland suffering from war, without prejudice to their religion and race. As the funds will be forthcoming, a national Russian committee shall be organized to take charge of their distribution.
Let us not fear for the modest beginnings. The tremendous wave of sympathy and love which has now swept over the Russian people can create wonders, if need be, for the success of the Russian national issue.
Let us hope that wonders will happen even now. I myself witnessed in our neighborhood the following dramatic scene: The small provincial City of Kaluga was getting ready in August to receive the wounded. Unexpectedly it got many times more than at first had been contemplated. The wounded had to be placed on the floor, without straw, without linen, without food. But within two days all were comfortably placed, fed, and clothed. Unknown persons secured straw, other unknown persons sent mattresses, linens, and pillows, unknown peasants brought food from their villages.
All this was done as a matter of course, without a previous concert, without any organization, through an elementary popular movement.
This elementary movement which can heal the wounds is needed at this moment in most tremendous proportions. It is not a question of a few wounded individuals, not even a question of thousands of wounded, but the problem of a whole wounded Polish nation.
Let the great Russian tide of sympathy rise to its aid, without a previous agreement, without a previous organization. Let this impulse show Poland her protector-Russia, the liberator of na
This movement of sympathy for a brotherly people shall be our guarantee that our coming victory over Germany will call forth the triumph of light in Russia herself.
Prince EUGENE TRUBETSKOI. Moscow, October 7, (20,) 1914.
How Prohibition Came to Russia
Interview With the Peasant-Born Millionaire
Reformer, Michael Tchelisheff
ETROGRAD, Nov. 18, 1914.-There is prohibition in Russia today, prohibition which means that not a drop of vodka, whisky, brandy, gin, or any other strong liquor is obtainable from one end to the other of a territory populated by 130,000,000 people and covering one-sixth of the habitable globe.
The story of how strong drink has been utterly banished from the Russian Empire was related by Michael Demitrovitch Tchelisheff, the man directly responsible for putting an end to Russia's great vice, the vodka habit.
It should be said in the beginning that the word prohibition in Russia must be taken literally. Its use does not imply a partially successful attempt to curtail the consumption of liquor, resulting in drinking in secret places, the abuse of medical licenses and general evasion and subterfuge. It does mean that a vast population who consumed $1,000,000,000 worth of vodka a year, whose ordinary condition has been described by Russians themselves as ranging from a slight degree of stimulation upward, has been lifted almost in one day from a drunken inertia to sobriety.
On that day when the mobilization of the Russian Army began, special policemen visited every public place where vodka is sold, locked up the supply of the liquor, and placed on the shop the imperial seal. Since the manufacture and sale of vodka is a Government monoply in Russia, it is not a difficult thing to enforce prohibition.
From the day this step was taken drunkenness vanished in Russia. The results are seen at once in the peasantry;
already they are beginning to look like a different race. The marks of suffering, the pinched looks of illness and improper nourishment have gone from their faces. There has been also a remarkable change in the appearance of their clothes. Their clothes are cleaner, and both the men and women appear more neatly and better dressed. The destitute character of the homes of the poor has been replaced with something like order and thrift.
In Petrograd and Moscow the effect of these improved conditions is fairly startling. On holidays in these two cities inebriates always filled the police stations and often lay about on the sidewalks and even in the streets. Things are so different today that unattended women may now pass at night through portions of these cities where it was formerly dangerous even for men. Minor crimes and misdemeanors have almost vanished.
Tchelisheff, the man who virtually accomplished this miracle, was a peasant by birth, originally a house painter by profession, then Mayor of the city of Samara, and now a millionaire. Physically he is a giant, standing over 6 feet 4 inches in his stocking feet, and of powerful build. Although he is 55 years old, he looks much younger. His movements display the energy of youth, his eyes are animated, and his black hair is not tinged by gray.
In Petrograd Mr. Tchelisheff is generally found in a luxurious suite of rooms in one of the best hotels. He goes about clad in a blue blouse with a tasseled girdle, and baggy black breeches tucked into heavy boots. He offers his visitors tea from a samovar and fruit from the
Crimea. Speaking of what he had accomplished for the cause of sobriety in Russia, Mr. Tchelisheff said:
"I was reared in a small Russian village. There were no schools or hospitals or any of the improvements we are accustomed to in civilized communities. I picked up an education from old newspapers and stray books. One day I chanced upon a book in the hands of a moujik, which treated of the harmfulness of alcohol. It stated among other things that vodka was a poison.
"I was so impressed with this, knowing that everybody drank vodka, that I asked the first physician I met if the statement were true. He said yes. Men drank it, he explained, because momentarily it gave them a sensation of pleasant dizziness. From that time I decided to take every opportunity to discover more about the use of vodka.
At the end of the eighties there came famine in Russia, followed by agrarian troubles. I saw a crowd of peasants demand from a local landlord all the grain and foodstuffs in his granary. This puzzled me; I could not understand how honest men were indulging in what seemed to be highway robbery. But I noted at the time that every man who was taking part in this incident was a drinking man, while their fellow-villagers, who were abstemious, had sufficient provisions in their own homes. Thus it was that I observed the industrial effects of vodka drinking.
"At Samara I decided to do more than passively disapprove of vodka. At this time I was an Alderman, and many of the tenants living in my houses were workingmen. One night a drunken father in one of my houses killed his wife. This incident made such a terrible impression on me that I decided to fight vodka with all my strength.
"On the supposition that the Government was selling vodka for the revenue, I calculated the revenue received from its consumption in Samara. I then introduced a bill in the City Council providing that the city give this sum of money to the Imperial Treasury, requesting at the same time that the sale of vodka be
prohibited. This bill passed, and the money was appropriated. It was offered to the Government, but the Government promptly refused it.
"It then dawned upon me that Russian bureaucracy did not want the people to become sober, for the reason that it was easier to rule autocratically a drunken mob than a sober people.
"This was seven years ago. Later I was elected Mayor of Samara, capital of the Volga district, a district with over a quarter of a million inhabitants. Subsequently I was elected to the Duma on an anti-vodka platform. In the Duma I proposed a bill permitting the inhabitants of any town to close the local vodka shops, and providing also that every bottle of vodka should bear a labei with the word poison. At my request the wording of this label, in which the evils of vodka were set forth, was done by the late Count Leo Tolstoy. This bill passed the Duma and went to the Imperial Council, where it was amended and finally tabled.
"I then begged an audience of Emperor Nicholas. He received me with great kindness in his castle in the Crimea, not far from the scene of the recent Turkish bombardment. He listened to me patiently. He was impressed with my recital that most of the revolutionary and Socialist excesses were committed by drunkards, and that the Svesborg, Kronstadt, and Sebastopol navy revolts and the Petrograd and other mutinous military movements were all caused by inebriates. Having heard me out, his Majesty promised at once to speak to his Minister of Finance concerning the prohibition of vodka.
"Disappointed at not having been able to get through a Government bill regulating this evil, I had abandoned my seat in the Duma. It was evident that the bureaucracy had been able to obstruct the measure. Minister of Finance Kokovsoff regarded it as a dangerous innovation, depriving the Government of 1,000,000,000 rubles ($500,000,000) yearly without any method of replacing this
"While I lobbied in Petrograd the Emperor visited the country around Mos