- Project Runeberg -  Through Siberia - the land of the future /
289

(1914) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen Translator: Arthur G. Chater - Tema: Russia
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COLONIZATION AND DEVELOPMENT
289
There is even a large party in Siberia which is in
favour of home rule, and thinks that in so extensive
a country as Russia, one central Government and one
Duma, which have to deal with all matters, great and
small, cannot have the necessary comprehensiveness of
view and cannot sufficiently identify itself with the
local interests of the various districts. They therefore
maintain that Siberia ought to have its own Duma
and its own local governments, the business of which
would be to deal with all matters that concerned Siberia
alone and were of no direct interest to Russia. To
this the Russian Government party makes much the
same objections as have been raised by English Unionists
to home rule for Ireland—that it might easily result in
Siberia feeling herself to be a separate country, whose
interests do not always entirely coincide with Russia’s,
and it might relax the sense of Russian unity and lead
to a want of cohesion within the Russian Empire.
To this the other side objects that it is impossible
to imagine that Siberia, either now or in the future,
can have interests which will conflict at any point with
those of the whole Russian Empire ; and that it must
be remembered that the present population of Siberia,
if the small fraction of natives be excluded, is not a
conquered people like the Irish, but is entirely Russian,
feels and will always feel itself to be Russian and an
inseparable part of the Russian Empire, and will always
be sharply antagonistic to the Asiatic peoples on the
south and east. Indeed, they go on to say that under
a system of self-government with more local interest,
more local knowledge and energy, the development of
Russia’s eastern provinces would be in a great degree
accelerated, and her power in the East would thereby
be considerably strengthened.
It is not likely that a political programme such as

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