16 August 1917]
[The New Europe
THE UKRAINE PROBLEM
of peasants gathered in his honour and hailed him as the re-awakened soul of a great nation.
For the Ukraine, as for all the nationalities of the Russian Empire, the Revolution of 1905 was the bursting of a dam behind which had gathered the pent-up forces of many generations. In South Russia the democratic movement at once assumed a national Ukrainian form, and its swift progress surprised even its own adherents. After thirty years of utter suppression there suddenly sprang up a flourishing Ukrainian press at Kiev, Harkov, Odessa, Poltava, Yekaterinoslav, and Mohilev. In 1905 thirty-four newspapers were founded, and popular pamphlets and other literature were distributed in large masses through various new publishing houses. Even after the first check under Stolypin this continued, as is best shown by the fact that the number of copies of Ukrainian books printed rose from 191,000 in 1909 to 600,000 in 1911. Numerous educational and patriotic societies came into being, notably the Prosvita of Kiev; while the Zemstva and the co-operative unions devoted themselves with special energy to the neglected cause of national education.
In the first Duma the Ukraine Club consisted of 40 deputies. In the sphere of social politics their desires centred upon the land, for which every real peasantry has always hungered. But what lay behind was a programme of national autonomy within a federalised Russia—a reversion to the idea of contract between equal parties, which Drahomanov and other Ukraine historians read into the famous treaty of 1654. That such a programme was irreconcilable with Polish national claims—resting as they do upon a stubborn insistence on Poland’s extreme historic limits and a negation of the modern idea of nationality—served as an index of future conflicts, but was immaterial at a moment when the Polish State was still a distant dream. But, with Russian nationalism in the uncompromising form which dominated society in the last decade of Tsarism the conflict was immediate and fundamental. Not merely the extreme reactionaries in Church and State, but the whole political world which lay between them and the revolutionary parties of the Left, took alarm at a movement so antagonistic to the centralist régime. Under Stolypin’s “cooked” franchise (1907) the Ukrainian deputies vanished from the Duma, their Press and national organisations were subjected once more to