The Russian Character and the Struggle against the Climate--The North far from Being the Natural Cradle of Liberty--Resignation, Passiveness, and Hardening in Evil--Practical Spirit and Realistic Instincts--Impressions Received from Nature; her Sadness--Her Grandeur and Poverty-- Effects of these Contrasts--On the So-Called Nomadic Tendencies of the Russians--The Monotony of Great-Russia and the Lack of Originality.
THE direct influence of climate on the human organism and habits, on the physical and economical conditions of existence, is neither the only nor perhaps the deepest one. Nature indirectly exerts a considerable influence over the thoughts, the feelings, the entire character, by the passions she provokes and the faculties she calls into play. The first remark suggested by the physical formation of Great-Russia is that life there, more than anywhere else, is a strife against nature, a hand to hand combat against an ever-present and unvanquished foe. Under that sky man cannot, as in more temperate climes, forget his adversary; nor can he ever completely triumph over that foe, and even while struggling for the land foot for foot, he is often made to yield before a superior force. Hence several apparently incompatible traits of the Russian national character. This warfare is first of all a school of patience, resignation, submissiveness. Unable to slip his neck from under the yoke of nature, he has borne that of man more patiently; the one has bent and fashioned him for the other. The tyranny of climate prepared him for man's absolute power. The object of all his striving being bare existence, despotism weighed on him less. We should not indiscriminately