The Russian Character and Nihilism--Origin and Nature of Nihilism--Its Three Successive Phases--By What Sides it Belongs to the National Temperament--Combination of Realism and Mysticism--In What Sense Nihilism is a Sect--Manner of Nihilistic Propaganda--Radical Instincts of the Russian Mind--The Slav Woman and the "Woman Question" in Russia.
BY its rigor and demands the Russian climate inclines man to realism; by the vastness and sameness of her plains, by her immensity and poverty, nature predisposes him to mysticism and melancholy. Therein lies the key to many of the contrasts with which the Russian nature abounds. Of this conflict or this union of tendencies often opposed to one another or apparently irreconcilable, several illustrations might be found in the bulk of the people themselves, in the ignorant sects of Great-Russia. We will take instead as a specimen a phenomenon not less curious, although less spontaneous, less thoroughly native. This is the development called "nihilism," or, as the Russians pronounce it: nighilìsm.1
Like nearly all the theoretical conceptions of the Russians, "nihilism," in its principle, is simply an importation from the West. It was from Europe and especially from German philosophy that, under Nicolas, the first intellectual seeds came into Russia of that spirit of negation and revolt which, in the land of autocracy,____________________