Image from page 74 of "All the Russias; travels and studies in contemporary European Russia, Finland, Siberia, the Caucasus, & Central Asia" (1902)
Subjects: Eastern question (Central Asia) Soviet Union -- Description and travel Siberia (Russia) -- Description and travel Caucasus -- Description and travel Soviet Union -- Economic conditions Finland -- Description and travel
Publisher: London : Heinemann
Contributing Library: University of California Libraries
Digitizing Sponsor: MSN
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enunciation levelled at it is,in my opinion, unjust.The vast void spacesof rural Russia, by theway, may be imaginedfrom the fact thatevery train carries aladder and tools andelectrical appliancesfor cutting the tele-graph wire and callingfor assistance in caseof accident or break-down. This happenedto me on one occa-sion. The lines are, ofcourse, nearly all singleones, so there is noopportunity to stop a train going in the opposite direction.Last winter successive trains were blocked by snow near Odessa,until several thousand passengers were snowed-up, almost with-out food, for three days, suffering terribly, and only released andprovisioned at last by the efforts of two regiments and a hastilyorganised service of sledges. Between the towns in Russia,even on the main lines of railway, you are in a country almostuntouched by the conveniences of modern civilisation. Personally, the Russian common people are attractive. Theyare simple, good-natured, kindly, very ready to be pleased or to
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BROKEN DOWN ON THE STEPPE—TAPPING THETELEGRAPH FOR HELP 44 ALL THE RUSSIAS laugh. Nobody can fail to like them. Their poverty does notprevent them from being happy in their melancholy Slav fashion.They live in dirt and are inexpressibly verminous, yet theyluxuriate regularly in the village vapour baths. Black rye bread,cabbage, buckwheat, mushrooms, eggs are the chief items of theiiiujiks fare. He is a fluent liar, generally from amiable motives.He is religious in every fibre of his being, but his religion iswhollyof the letter ; he is convinced that his priest has the evil eye ; hegets wildly drunk at Easter for joy to think that Christ is risen,and at other times for no reason at all. The soldier, typical ofhis class, is a great child, and is treated as such. Nothing is leftto his intelligence or his initiative. Of virtues he has many—heis brave, obedient, faithful; of wits he is not supposed or evendesired to show any sign. The very words he is to say are putinto his mouth. If
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