The only difference is that the Purishkeviches utter this word ferociously and menacingly, whereas the Trubetskois pronounce it in the dulcet and sugary Manilov manner, to the accompaniment of phrases about culture, disgustingly hypocritical exclamations about the "new peasant communities" and the "democratisation of the countryside", and pathetic speeches on things divine.
Owing to the new agrarian policy, the peasant bourgeoisie is growing much faster than before. There is no question about that. The peasant bourgeoisie in Russia cannot help growing whatever the political and agrarian system may be, because Russia is a capitalist country which has been completely drawn into the orbit of world capitalism. His
Liberal Highness would have known this had he possessed at least an elementary knowledge of the "fundamental principles of Marxism", of which he speaks with such boundless aplomb and with equally boundless ignorance. But His Highness exerts every effort to obscure the fundamental question of what the development of capitalism is like without any Purishkeviches, and what it is like with their class in complete power. His Highness goes into ecstasies over the progress of co-operation, fodder grass cultivation, and "growing prosperity"; but he does not say a word about the high cost of living, the mass pauperisation of the peasants, their desperate poverty and starvation, about labour rent, and so forth. His Highness sees that the "peasants are turning bourgeois", and goes into raptures over it, but our liberal landlord turns a blind eye to the fact that they are becoming wage-labourers under conditions in which the relations of feudal bondage are preserved.
"The intelligentsia's first contact with the broad masses of the peasantry," he writes, "took place as far back as 1905, but at that time it bore an altogether different character; it was destructive rather than constructive. At that time the affiliation was established solely for the purpose of destroying the old forms of life, and was therefore superficial. The demagogue intellectual did not imbue the peasants' minds and peasant life with his own independent ideas; if anything, he himself was guided by the instincts of the masses of the people. He flattered them and adapted his party programme and tactics to them."
Familiar Purishkevich-style talk! A little example: If eighty peasant homesteads of twenty-five dessiatines each are set up on 2,000 dessiatines of the Trubetskois' land, that will be "destructive"; but if a score or so of such homesteads are set up on the land of the pauperised village commune peasants, that will be "constructive". Is that not so, Your Highness? Don't you realise that in the first instance, Russia would really be "bourgeois-democratic", and in the second she would remain Purishkevichian for decades to come?
However, shying away from unpleasant questions, the highborn liberal assures his readers that the big landowners, who are selling their land,will "soon, very soon" disappear entirely.
"If, by its measures, the government does not accelerate the future revolution excessively, 'compulsory alienation' will no longer be a problem when that revolution does come, as there will be almost nothing left to alienate."
According to the latest statistics of the Ministry of the Interior, 30,000 landlords owned 70,000,000 dessiatines of land in 1905, while a similar area was owned by 10,000,000 peasants. But that does not concern the highborn liberal in the least! He assures his readers that the Purishkeviches will disappear very "soon", because he wishes to defend the Purishkeviches. The only thing that really interests him is that:
"there will be in the countryside enough people interested in private property to counter, not only Pugachov propaganda, but socialist propaganda in all its forms".
Thanks for being so candid!
"What will the result be?" the liberal prince asks. "Will the government, with the aid of the intelligentsia [who are joining co-operative societies, etc.], re-educate the peasants to become loyal petty landed proprietors, or, on the contrary, will the intelligentsia educate them with the aid of government loans?"
The prince anticipates neither of these alternatives. But that is merely a hypocritical turn of speech. Actually, as we have seen, he stands heart and soul for peasants being re-educated to become "loyal petty landed proprietors", and assures us that "the intelligentsia is coming down to earth", and that there will be no room for the "demagogic agrarian programme" of the socialists (which, in the opinion of His Highness, runs counter to the "fundamental principles of Marxism". Don't laugh, reader!).
That a landlord should entertain such views is not surprising. Neither is his indignation at the growth of atheism surprising, or his pious speeches. What is surprising is that there are still foolish people in Russia who do not understand that while such landlords and such politicians set the tone in the liberal party, including the Cadet Party, it is ridiculous to hope that the people's interests can be really defended "with the co-operation" of the liberals and the Cadets.