Russia from the Varangians to the Bolsheviks

Russia from the Varangians to the Bolsheviks

Russia from the Varangians to the Bolsheviks

Russia from the Varangians to the Bolsheviks

Excerpt

War is a time of rapid vicissitudes. Among all the vicissitudes in the destinies of nations which this great war has caused or occasioned, none have been more rapid or more striking than those which we have seen in Russia. Failure has alternated with success: one figure after another has appeared, stood for a moment in the ascendant, and then passed away: parties, causes, political creeds have come and gone with an amazing velocity. From our thoughts and pictures of Holy Russia we have been swung to the spectacle of Russia secularized and socialist: we have seen the apparent unity of Russia dissolved, and Poland, Finland, and the Ukraine disengaged from the body of the Russian Empire; and while we recognize the depth and profundity of these changes, we dimly guess that the future may bring us changes still deeper and still more profound. Bewildered by all these revolutions of the wheel, we cannot but ask ourselves how and why they came--whence they sprang, and whither they tend.

If we are to answer such questions, we must turn to the story of Russian history. History cannot solve the riddle of humanity, but it can at any rate record the gradual accumulation of factors which have gone to produce the result by which we are confronted, and by breaking up the problem into its constituent elements and successive stages it may enable the student to find some reason and provide some answer for the whole. The stages of Russian history, as they appear in this volume, are sufficiently various. In the first book Professor Beazley paints the romantic epoch of mediaeval Russia--the epoch of vikings and traders, of Kiev and Nóvgorod: in the second Mr. Forbes . . .

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