No student of economic developments in Russia could fail to be impressed by the profound influence exercised over these developments by theories and ideas concerning them. The explanation is to be sought in the peculiar conditions and characteristics of the Russian people. Although richly endowed mentally, they have not, as a whole, the practical sense which distinguishes in a greater or lesser degree the other nations of Western Europe. The typical Slav is a dreamer rather than a man of action, hence his tendency to indulge in lengthy discussions of some abstract subject, in preference to wrestling with any practical problem. Since the autocratic form of government cut off the majority of the thinking classes from any active participation in administrative affairs, they were driven to take refuge in theory, and find compensation in mental activity in that sphere for their impotence in the realm of politics and public affairs. The fact that the Government was very jealous of any infringement of its power, and that theories of social reform which met with its disapproval were liable to be mercilessly repressed, merely served to accentuate the fervour with which these ideas were upheld by their devotees. Tendencies to mysticism and to extreme views have also been noted by competent observers as typical characteristics of the Slav. Consequently the element of persecution served in many cases to exalt political theories to the level of religious faith, and to convert their followers into fanatics, whom no threat of punishment could deter 16from following what they conceived to be the path of duty. It even converted assassination into an act of social justice or necessity. The practical outcome of this devotion to theory has been of immense significance, not only to Russia, but to the rest of the world as well. Only a country where such an attitude existed could have become the scene of the daring social experiment initiated in 1917.