Letters: Marx-Engels Correspondence 1870

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Marx-Engels Correspondence 1870

Marx to Engels
In Manchester


[London] 12 February, 1870

Your introduction is very good. [Intro to Engels' Peasant War in Germany, 1870.] I know of nothing which should be altered or added. With your treatment of 1866 I agree word for word. The double thrust at Wilhelm [Liebknecht] with the People's Party and Schweitzer with his bodyguard of ruffians is very pretty!...

The title of N. Flerovsky's book is The Condition of the Working Class in Russia, Publishers, N. P. Polyakov, St. Petersburg, 1869.

What amuses me very much among other things in Flerovsky is his polemic against the direct dues paid by the peasantry. It is a regular reproduction of Marshal Vauban and Boisguillebert. He feels too that the situation of the country people has its analogy in the period of the old French monarchy (after Louis XIV). Like Monteil, he has a great feeling for national characteristics--"the honest Kalmuck," "the Mordwin, poetical despite his dirt" (he compares him to the Irish), the "agile, lively, epicurean Tartar," "the talented Little Russian," etc. Like a good Russian he teaches his fellow countrymen what they should do to turn the hatred which all these races have for them into its opposite. As an example of this hatred he instances among other things a genuinely Russian colony which has emigrated from Poland to Siberia. These people only know Russian and not a word of Polish, but they regard themselves as Poles and devote a Polish hatred to the Russians, etc.

From his book it follows irrefutably that the present conditions in Russia can no longer be maintained, that the emancipation of the serfs only, of course, hastened the process of disintegration and that a fearful social revolution is approaching. Here too one sees the real basis of the schoolboy nihilism which is at present the fashion among Russian students, etc. In Geneva, by the by, a new colony of exiled Russian students has been formed whose programme proclaims opposition to Pan-Slavism, which is to be replaced by the International.

In a special section Flerovsky shows that the "Russification" of the alien races is a sheer optimistic delusion, even in the East.