Partisans and Opponents of the Communal System --Frequent Exaggerations in Both Camps--Are the Faults most justly Imputed to the Mir All Inherent to Collective Tenure?--How Many are Due to Communal Solidarity and to the Fiscal System--Situation Created for the Communes by Emancipation and Redemption--The Extent of Peasant Lots --The Mir does not yet really Own the Land--The Village Communities will be in a Normal Condition only after they have done Paying the Redemption Annuities.
AT the present day, as in the days of serfdom, the Russian commune generally has two kinds of partisans: the Slavophils, defenders of the national traditions, and the radical democrats, more or less avowed followers of the West. The former see in it a Slavic and patriarchal institution, destined to preserve Russia from the revolutionary throes of the West; the latter insist on seeing in it a survival of the primeval joint land tenure, and a precious germ of the popular associations of the future. Between these two schools, so different in spirit, and starting from such different premises,--orthodox Slavophilism and cosmopolitan radicalism,--their common liking for the agrarian commune forms a connecting link. On this neutral ground many conservatives, with more or less national and sometimes aristocratic tendencies, are willing to make gracious advances to socialism and radicalism with their levelling propensities, and affect to deplore, as incurably tainted, the social conditions of the most thriving Western states, hinting that Russia is the only country where property is organized on rational principles, and, not content with proclaiming that landed property is the indispensable consummation and accompaniment of liberty, to indorse the