Russia by donald mackenzie wallace


The first edition of this work, published early in January, 1877,
Contained the concentrated results of my studies during an
Uninterrupted residence of six years in Russia – from the beginning
Of 1870 to the end of 1875. Since that time I have spent in the
European and Central Asian provinces, at different periods, nearly
Two years more; and in the intervals I have endeavoured to keep in
Touch with the progress of events. My observations thus extend
Over a period of thirty-five years.

When I began, a few months ago, to prepare for publication the
Results of my more recent observations and researches, my intention
Was to write an entirely new work under the title of “Russia in the
Twentieth Century,” but I soon perceived that it would be
Impossible to explain clearly the present state of things without
Referring constantly to events of the past, and that I should be
Obliged to embody in the new work a large portion of the old one.
The portion to be embodied grew rapidly to such proportions that,
In the course of a few weeks, I began to ask myself whether it
Would not be better simply to recast and complete my old material.
With a view to deciding the question I prepared a list of the
Principal changes which had taken place during the last quarter of
A century, and when I had marshalled them in logical order, I
Recognised that they were neither so numerous nor so important as I
Had supposed. Certainly there had been much progress, but it had
Been nearly all on the old lines. Everywhere I perceived
Continuity and evolution; nowhere could I discover radical changes
And new departures. In the central and local administration the
Reactionary policy of the latter half of Alexander II.’s reign had
Been steadily maintained; the revolutionary movement had waxed and

but its aims were essentially the same as of old; the Church
Had remained in its usual somnolent condition; a grave agricultural
Crisis affecting landed proprietors and peasants had begun, but it
Was merely a development of a state of things which I had
Previously described; the manufacturing industry had made gigantic
Strides, but they were all in the direction which the most
Competent observers had predicted; in foreign policy the old
Principles of guiding the natural expansive forces along the lines
Of least resistance, seeking to reach warm-water ports, and pegging
Out territorial claims for the future were persistently followed.
No doubt there were pretty clear indications of more radical
Changes to come, but these changes must belong to the future, and
It is merely with the past and the present that a writer who has no
Pretensions to being a prophet has to deal.

Under these circumstances it seemed to me advisable to adopt a
Middle course. Instead of writing an entirely new work I
Determined to prepare a much extended and amplified edition of the
Old one, retaining such information about the past as seemed to me
Of permanent value, and at the same time meeting as far as possible
The requirements of those who wish to know the present condition of
The country.

In accordance with this view I have revised, rearranged, and
Supplemented the old material in the light of subsequent events,
And I have added five entirely new chapters – three on the
Revolutionary movement, which has come into prominence since 1877;
One on the industrial progress, with which the latest phase of the
Movement is closely connected; and one on the main lines of the
Present situation as it appears to me at the moment of going to

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Russia by donald mackenzie wallace