Russia and Its Crisis

Russia and Its Crisis

Russia and Its Crisis

Russia and Its Crisis

Excerpt

This book is not a political pamphlet written for the occasion, but a result of long years of study devoted to the explanation of the Russian present by the Russian past. The present crisis in Russia necessarily commands attention, and everything discussed in this work converges to the one aim of explaining this crisis. But the conditions which have brought on the crisis are so deeply rooted in the past, and are so closely interwoven with every aspect of Russian life, whether of religion or of politics, of doctrines or of institutions, of social forms or of the composition of society, that an explanation of the present situation, to be at all adequate, must necessarily be a general picture of Russia and a general description of the conditions under which its civilization has developed. The crisis will pass, but the conditions of civilization remain; and my ambition has been to explain, not the momentary and transient, but the permanent and lasting, elements in the political, social, and religious life of Russia.

The contents of the book are essentially the same as those of my lectures on "Russian Civilization" delivered during the summer of 1903 at the University of Chicago, on the Charles R. Crane Foundation. The first four chapters were put into type more than a year ago; the two following have since then been entirely recast, on a much larger scale; and chap. 7 is a new addition, reproducing the contents of my lectures on "The Russian Crisis" delivered at the Lowell Institute in Boston, in December, 1904, during my second visit to this country. In the last pages of that chapter the events occurring in Russia during the months of December, 1904, and January, 1905, have been considered. But it gives me satisfaction to state that I have had nothing to add to my conclusion, which is published just as it was written in 1903, with the addition only of a few lines mentioning the subject of chap. 7. The reader may find it advisable, before perusing the book, to make himself acquainted with this conclusion, as it contains a summary, and points out the main thread, of the argument.

I thought out and wrote this book in English, though I am fully aware how imperfect is my command of this beautiful . . .

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