Page:The New Europe - Volume 4.djvu/148

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The New Europe]

[16 August 1917


elections to the Constituent Assembly will give them a large majority.

This means that the new Government is still controlled by Socialists, though, being more independent of the C.W.S.D., it will not be forced into carrying out an elaborate Socialist programme before the Constituent Assembly meets. There is more chance, therefore, of avoiding class bitterness which has a paralysing effect on the conduct of the war. Both Kerenski and Tsereteli recognise that the main task at present is the defence of the country and the restoration of the fighting qualities of the army. Such economic and financial reforms as are introduced will have this object in view. If full powers are given to General Kornilov it is only for special military objects, and he is to be a military dictator only at the front. There is much ignorant or malicious talk of the need of a military dictator who will assume the reins of government at Petrograd as well as at the front, as though politics were of no account during a war. What we understand by the agreement between Kerenski, the hero of the Revolution, and General Kornilov, the hero of the war, is that every political as well as military means will be employed for bringing the war to a successful end. One of the greatest victories of this war is the Russian Revolution, and unless the war ends with the triumph of Russian democracy one of the chief guarantees for the future peace of Europe will have been lost.

The Ukraine Problem

Apart from an infinity of contributory causes—economic, social, financial—there are five main political problems which lie at the root of the World War. Of these three—Anglo-German rivalry, the question of Alsace-Lorraine and the fate of Constantinople and the Straits—are fairly generally understood, or at least have from the first been recognisable in their main outlines: while the fourth, the Southern Slav question, though at first ignored or misconceived even by statesmen of the first rank, has gradually imposed itself upon the popular consciousness. Of the fifth—the problem of the Ukraine—it is true to say that after three years of war its very existence is still scarcely known to public opinion.