T HE understanding of the situation in present-dayRussia which one meets in Western Europe is innearly all cases of an extremely cramped and limited kind. Nor is this confined to those whose mental food consists of the scenario caption or of the Fleet Street aphorism: it is found among persons usually intelligent and well-informed upon social and economic affairs. Indeed, it is precisely this customarily well-informed person who appears most ready to apply uncritically categories which have done service for classification in other spheres to this strange new social experiment: a thing which he seems to do in defiance of every Baconian principle, so as to render the result generally useless even as a working hypothesis. When the facts are little known, this method becomes specially dangerous: the temptation to fit facts to a priori notions and to invest mere hypotheses with dogmatic finality meets less resistance. The fact that Moscow and Leningrad are on the surface so surprisingly similar to other capital cities might seem to give some sanction to this facile uncritical approach. Actually, under the skin they contain so many entirely new elements, that one cannot arrive at much that is satisfactory in the way of interpretation on the basis of a little journalistic chatter in reviews and a smattering of club-room gossip.