And you, brave warrior knights in the cold trenches, proudly bearing the standard of Russian imperialism, hearken to this national outburst. Your task is difficult. You are surrounded with trials and privations, but then you are Russian, for whom no obstacles exist.
A scene of indescribable enthusiasm ensued, the House rising and singing the national hymn.
The President’s peroration was in part as follows:
The Premier, in the opening sentences of the speech which followed, said: “Our heroic army, the flower and the pride of Russia, strong as never before in its might, notwithstanding all its losses, grows and strengthens.” He did not fail to remind his hearers that the war is yet far from ended, but he added that the Government, from the first, had soberly looked the danger in the face and frankly warned the country of the forthcoming sacrifices for the common cause and also for the strengthening of the mutual gravitation of the Slavonic races. He briefly referred to the Turkish defeat in the Caucasus as opening before the Russians a bright historical future on the shores of the Black Sea.
The Premier alluded to the tremendous change wrought in the national life by the abolition of the liquor traffic, which he designated a second serfdom vanishing at the behest of the Czar. After a few years of sober, persistent labor, we would no longer recognize Russia. The war had further raised the question of the creation in the world’s markets of favorable conditions to the export of our agricultural products, and a general revision of conditions calculated hereafter to guarantee to Russia a healthy development on the principle of entire independence of Germany in all branches of the national life. In this direction the Government had already drafted and was preparing a series of elaborate measures. He concluded with the expression of his conviction that, if all fulfilled their duty in the spirit of profound devotion to the Emperor and of deep faith in the triumph of the country, the near future would open before us perhaps the best pages in Russian history.
The speeches of a peasant Deputy and a Polish representative were particularly impressive and well received. The Socialist leader’s demand for peace called forth a smart rejoinder from a member of his own party.
This afternoon the session of the Duma was opened in the presence of the whole Cabinet, the members of the Council of the Empire, the Diplomatic Corps, and the Senators. The public galleries were filled.
M. Sazanof began his speech by recalling that six months ago in that place he had explained why Russia, in face of the brutal attempt by Germany and Austria upon the independence of Serbia and Belgium, had been able to adopt no other course than to take up arms in defense of the rights of nations. Russia, standing closely united and admirably unanimous in her enthusiasm against an enemy which had offered provocation, did not remain isolated, because she was immediately supported by France and Great Britain and, soon afterward, by Japan.