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that they were sustained by German funds. In the circumstances their release was not an act to be acclaimed. It is possible to acknowledge the fine idealism which prompted it, and to pay honor to such inflexible devotion to fundamental conceptions of right, while holding that greater good would have resulted from a policy less fine, from a more pragmatic mcrality and a greater regard for expediency.

From March 15 to November 7, the day upon which the Bolshevist coup d'etat occurred, the Provisonal Government, under different combinations of leadership, heroically, and against continuously increasing odds, strove to carry on the war and to create the forms and institutions necessary to give effect to the spirit of the Revolution. History will doubtless preserve the honorable record of those efforts, a record in which there is indeed much of error and vacillation and weakness, but all, amply outweighed by the generous sum of deeds and decisions which posterity will admiringly approve.


And yet, when all this has been said, the period of the Revolution under the Provisonal Government must always be looked upon as merely an episode. lasting practical importance can be attached to its efforts to carry out is constructive program. Its failure to crush the first Bolshevist revolt, when that might have been done with ease and with impunity,

will hold a far more important place in history than the social and political reforms it sought to initiate. In this brief summary of the great drama we can do no more than note the most important of the proposed reforms.

They declared at once that the monarchical system was ended forever. Russia was henceforth to be a Republic. They had no hesitation in declaring, from the very first, that it was to be a constitutional State based upon the completest democracy. imaginable. When we remember that in the first Provisional Government, under Prince Lvov, there was a majority of aristocrats and landowners, it is significant that no question of placing any properties or cultural limitation upon the suffrage was ever made. The new government was to be in all respects "a government of the people, by the people, for the people," based upon universal, direct, equal suffrage, for both sexes.

It was immediately proclaimed that a National Constituent Assembly-or, as we should say, Constitutional Convention-would be elected upon this broad democratic basis to formulate and adopt those constitutional provisions which the representatives of the people might deem best. In an incredibly short time, the machinery for holding the elections to this Constituent Assembly was devised, organized and set in motion. The efficiency with which this was done, in

the face of immense and complex difficulties, must always stand as a striking evidence of the capacity of the Russian people for self-government. On the side of economic and social reform the Provisional Government did not shirk the responsibility of facing and dealing with the greatest of all Russian problems (the land problem, the most baffling of the legacies inherited from the old order by the new,) a problem which Bolshevism has not solved, and which is now* its most formidable difficulty.

The Provisional Government, despite the fact that it contained so many landowners, declared that the Crown Lands, the large holdings of the Imperial family, and of the monasteries were confiscated, and would be divided among the peasants according to plans to be arranged. It declared, further, that all land was to be distributed among the peasants, the terms and conditions of the distribution to be determined by the Constituent Assembly. Here at last was an overwhelming reassuring response to the cry of land hunger by the peasants.

To make certain that this great reform, of such vital importance to the whole economic life of the nation, should be carried out with all the wisdom the country could command, and with undeviating fidelity to the interests of the peasants, the best-known Russian *January, 1924.

peasant leaders men like Chernov, Rakitnikov and Maslov with various noted agrarian authorities were assigned the task of preparing suitable Land Laws, which when drafted were approved by the National Soviet of Peasants and the Socialist Revolutionary Party, the party which represented the overwhelming majority of the peasants. It was the first time in Russian history, the first time in the history of any great nation, that such a well considered attempt had been made to find a proper solution of the problem of land ownership.

Of only one other action of the Provisional Government is there need to make mention here. Within two weeks from the time that it came into existence and the Romanoff dynasty was declared at an end, the Provisional Government had adopted a decree revoking "all existing restrictions upon the rights of Russian citizens, based upon faith, religious teaching, or nationality," whether these existed for Russia as a whole or only in certain localities. Thus all laws discriminating against the Jews were repealed. The Pale of Settlement was gone the way of absolutism. All the humiliating restrictions which had been imposed upon the Jewish people were swept away. The Jew in Russia was henceforth to be a human being and a citizen, free and equal in a land of free and equal citizenship. Had the Provisional Government

done nothing else than this, it would have justified its brief existence.


Early in April, 1917, a group of Russians left Switzerland, where they had been living in exile, for Russia. By special arrangment with the military authorities and high government officials of Germany, they were permitted to travel through that country, notwithstanding that they were enemy aliens. They travelled in a special car, provided by the German authorities. The expense of their transportation was furnished by the German authorities, according to the statements made by witnesses of the highest authority. Certainly, the Germans had every reason for giving support to the Russian exiles in question, as will appear from the account of their conduct upon their arrival in Russia.

Foremost among the group of Russians who were thus repatriated with the aid and connivance of the most powerful enemy of their country, was the remarkable man who remained until his death on January 21, 1924 at the head of the Soviet Government of Russia, better known to the world as Nicolai Lenin than by his real name, Vladimir Ulyanov. In returning to Russia, Lenin had two major objectives, both of which coincided with the most urgent desires

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