Rumours from Russia

02 November 2006


April 7th, 1905.

A WEEK AGO the omens appeared to favour the chances of peace between Russia and Japan. There
is no question that the peace party in Russia is very numerous and is rapidly increasing; and this fact seemed to justify the belief that the Government was on the point of coming to terms with the enemy. The St Petersburg correspondent of the Matin has sent to that journal an account of the situation, which seems to discourage the hope of a speedy ending of the conflict. The autocracy, he says, knowing that a national conference of the people would at once insist upon the cessation of hostilities, proposed to leave the decision to an assembly of the Bishops, convened under the presidency of a Patriarch, whom the Tsar will appoint. It is taken for granted that this assembly would decide for the continuance of the war, and though the appointment of a Patriarch is a reversal of the policy of Peter the Great, it would be worth the Emperor’s while to throw the responsibility for an unpopular decision, which he would secretly like to see carried out, upon the ecclesiastical authorities. There is something horribly sinister in the plan, which, if executed as the autocracy is said to desire, will seriously discredit the cause of religion.

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