Poland played an important rôle in Bakunin’s career. The Polish cause had been the occasion of his first display of enthusiasm for national self-determination. In the autumn of 1847 it had inspired his first public speech and led to his expulsion from Paris. In the spring of 1848 it had guided his steps towards Eastern Europe. The Prague Congress had merged the Polish question in the wider issues of Slav brotherhood, and temporarily relegated it to the background of Michael’s thought. But Polish associations in Siberia and a Polish marriage (even though his wife cared nothing for Polish aspirations) had helped to keep it alive; and it held its place as one of the items in the triple programme of liberation announced in the manifesto To my Russian, Polish, and Other Slav Friends: Russia, the Slavs of Austria, Poland. The question of Russian Poland, the kernel of the Polish problem, had recently entered a new phase. Poland could not be kept in a water-tight compartment or preserved from the infection of those liberal aspirations which spread over Russia in the first years of Alexander II’s reign. Polish ambitions revived. The more enlightened of the Tsar’s advisers began to toy with the idea of “administrative autonomy” for the oppressed province.
KeywordsNational Committee Polish Question Polish Democrat Russian Authority Polish History
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