THE ECLIPSE OF RUSSIA

CHAPTER I
THE RUSSIAN ENIGMA

THE misfortunes of Russia and the disillusions of the nations that trusted her promises and relied on her help are attributed to no one circumstance more markedly than the failure of the interested statesmen to grasp the purely predatory character of the Tsardom, its incompatibility with the politico-social ordering of latter-day Europe, the pressing necessity on the one hand and the almost insuperable difficulty on the other of remodelling and adapting it to its European environment. It is no exaggeration to affirm that the history of drifting Europe-excluding the Central Empires-during the past quarter of a century, and of the outbreak of the awful struggle at its close, is the story of a tissue of deplorable mistakes-a tragedy of errors culminating in a catastrophe. The delusion of statesmen about the Tsardom, its origins and its drift, are the least blameworthy. For Russia is a cryptic volume to Slav nations, and to Britons a book with seven seals. Her own ruling class constantly misread the workings of her peoples' mind. Even the close observer who classified the strange phenomena that unfolded themselves to his eye seldom traced them back to their causes or realised their various bearings. Between Slav and Saxon, in particular, there yawns a psychological abyss wide enough in places to sunder two different species of beings not merely two separate races. And of all Slav peoples the Russian is by far the most complex and puzzling. He often raises expectations which a supernatural entity could hardly fulfil, and awakens apprehensions which only a miracle could lay, yet somehow neither hopes nor fears are realised and, as they fade away, one wonders how they could ever have been entertained. In truth, Sarmatia is a

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