THE SOCIAL HIERARCHY: THE TOWNS AND URBAN CLASSES.
Class Distinctions in Russia: In what Respects they are Superficial and External, in what Deep and Persistent--Blow Struck at the Old-Time Social Hierarchy by the Emancipation--All Subsequent Reforms Tending to the Lowering of Class Barriers--How, in this Respect, the Work Done by Alexander II. Resembles that Done by the French Revolution, and how it Differs Therefrom--Character and Origin of all these Social Distinctions--Privileged and Non-Privileged Classes--Lack of Solidarity between the Former; Lack of Homogeneousness in Each-- Accessory Classes.
THE Most salient fact presented to the French observer by Russia's social constitution is the division of the population into distinct groups, into classes neatly defined,--for a long time one might almost have said into castes. History and law have divided the Russian people into compartments, superposed like tiers which, from base to summit, would go tapering off abruptly. Russian society thus looks from a distance much like a pyramid in stages-- that of Saqqarah on the Nile, or the pseudo-Tatar four-tiers tower in Kazàn, each tier further subdivided into secondary steps. To look on the outside of it only, this society, elaborately partitioned, appears made for people who, in the classification of the various social layers, see the first condition of a nation's greatness. From afar, with all her denominations and official rubrics, Russia would seem to realize the dreams of the utopists of hierarchy; one seems