Politically, Soviet Union has reached a state of equilibrium; internally; for the present at least.
I think the revolution there is ended; that it has run its course. There will be changes. There may be advances; there will surely be reactions, but these will be regular, I think; politically and economic, but parliamentary. A new centre of gravity seems to have been found.
Certainly, the destructive phase of the revolution in Russia is over. Constructive work has begun. We saw this everywhere. And we saw order, and though we inquired for them, we heard of no disorders. Prohibition is universal and absolute. Robberies have been reduced in Petrograd below normal of large cities. Warned, against danger before we went in, we felt safe. Prostitution has disappeared with its clientele, whb have beend driven out by the "no-work-no-food law," enforced by the general want and the labor-card system. Loafing on the job workers and sabotage by upper-class- directors, managers, experts and clerks have been overcome. Russia has settled down to work.
The soviet form of government, which sprang so spontaneously all over Russia, is established.
This is not a paper thing; not an invention. Never planned, it has not yet been written into the forms of law. It is not even uniform. It is full of faults and difficulties; clumsy, and in its final development it is not democratic. The present Russian Government is the most autocratic government I have ever seen. Lenin, head of the soviet government, is farther removed from the people than the Tsar was, than any actual ruler in Europe is.
The people in a shop or an industry are a soviet. These little informal soviets elect a local soviet; which elects delegates to the city or country (community) soviet; which elects delegates to the evernment (State) soviet. The government soviets together elect delegates to the All-Russian Soviet; which elects commissionaires (who correspond to our Cabinet, to a European minority). And these commissionaries finally elect Lenin. He is thus five or six removes from the people. To form an idea of his stability, independence, and power, think of the process that would have to be gone through with by the people toremove him and elect a successor. A majority of all the soviets in all Russia would have to be changed in personnel opinion, recalled, brought somehow torecognize and represent the altered will of the people.
No student of government likes the soviet as it has developed. Lenin himself doesn’t. He calls it a dictorship, and he opposed it at first. When I was in Russia in the days of Milyoukov and Kerensky, Lenin and the Bolsheviks were demanding the general election of the constituent assembly. But the soviets existed then; they had the power, and I saw foreign ambassadors blunder, and the world saw Milyoukov and Kerensky fall, partly because they would not, could not, comprehend the nature of the soviet; as Lenin did finally, when, against his theory, he joined in and expressed the popular repudiation of the constituent assembly and wentover to work with the soviet, the actual power in Russia. The constituent assembly, elected by the people, represented the upper class and the old system. The soviet was the lower class.