National Geographic : 1918 Oct
VOL. XXXIV, No. 4 WASHINGTON OCTOBER, 1918 THE GAEORA©HIAL JA AZlIIhiE RUSSIA'S ORPHAN RACES Picturesque Peoples Who Cluster on the Southeastern Borderland of the Vast Slav Dominions BY MAYNARD OWEN WILLIAMS AMONG conflicting details, coming principally from the two great Russian cities where food is scarce and humans and troubles are plenty, one fact sticks out like a church in a Russian landscape: The great empire of "one hundred and eighty million" which we' have learned to mention so glibly is no more. The old regime collected peoples like' curios-the more curious, the better and labeled them in Russian; but it never developed in these diverse and conquered peoples a spirit of nationalism. Pan Slavism it could not inculcate, for a large part of its border subjects were of Ural Altaic or Turanian stock. Russia under the Tsar was unified only by force-a triumph of centralized au tocracy over the "it doesn't matter, so never mind" spirit of subjects who in the mass were too indifferent and too lack ing in group consciousness to resent op pression. The mass must ever be eman cipated by the intellectuals, and by putting calloused hands above calloused brains and indomitable wills, Bolshevism is proving more reactionary than Tsardom in intimidating the individual without creating a State. Tsardom counted no cost too great and no sacrifice too heroic, if the dreaded steam-roller moved on or the glacier of Slavic domination crept slowly toward the Dardanelles, the Pamirs, or Man churia. A two-mile bridge spanning the distant Amur or a daring military road through the heart of the Caucasus; a trans-Siberian railway or an imposing ecclesiastical building in Jerusalem these were energetically supported by Tsardom and carried out with Russian funds, while Russians in the national capital were kept in unlettered ignorance and restricted to an economic condition little better than serfdom. The many races which once formed the Russian Empire include the intrepid Georgians and the politically sluggish Sarts; the Cossacks, to whom battle is more than food; and the great mass of mujiks, supine in the midst of govern mental chaos and wrongs perpetrated by a foreign signatory to a treaty of peace. RUSSIAN VENEER OVER A TURKISH CITY In December last, I visited Bayazid, the first Turkish city to be taken by the Russian army on the Caucasian front. The population was unmistakably Turk ish. The red fez was a common spot of color in a dusty old city that tries to hide from the radiant gaze of Mount Ararat amid tawny hills, and the inhabitants prayed from a kneeling position instead of standing with bowed head or crossing themselves (for map, see page 277).