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Lower House, May 20, 1908, who said in the course of his speech that, "History cannot show the remotest analogy to it. The elections are only a shameless, brutal game played at the expense of a defenseless people by the nobility; a game that can be compared with Spanish bull-fights."
Until the year 1908, the following were the methods used in Galicia to destroy the influence of the Ukrainian vote: first of all, the list of voters was falsified. In districts where the administrators knew that their influence would extend to a large number of voters, the list would contain the names of those, who, under the law, were not entitled to vote. On the other hand, where this contingency did not exist, the list of voters would contain a number of voters substantially smaller than the number allowed by law. Thus in many localities thousands of citizens lost their vote.
The voters' lists were not exhibited for public inspection as the law required, and the inhabitants time and again threatened force to procure lists from village secretaries, only to learn that while some of them were not on the lists, others, who were not entitled to vote, were. When, on appeal to the Supreme Administration the lists were protested, the illegal list was sustained. On one occasion an appeal was taken to the Governor, who sent a delegate to correct the list; the correction resulted in retaining on the list the people who had no right to vote, while forty who were entitled to vote were taken off the register.
These abuses—this utter lack of political honor or democratic feeling—extended to the system of education also. The schools and universities in Galicia have always been managed in the interest of the small feudal class of Poles. In the public schools situated in the cities, controlled by the municipal governments, the matriculation of Ukrainians from village schools was forbidden. This, of course, created a gap between the grammar school and the University which could be bridged only by private study.
The University of Lemberg, established for the Eastern, or almost purely Ukrainian portion of Galicia, was allowed to have only ten chairs with instruction in Ukrainian. They would not have had even this small representation in Lemberg if it had not been for the fact that the universities were under the jurisdiction of the Austrian Parliament, a body composed not only of Poles, but of Czecho-Slovaks and Jugo-Slavs and other races as well.
Professor M. Hrushevsky, head of the historyfaculty at the University of Lemberg, cannot be quoted as a neutral observer, for he is Ukrainian born. But, as the greatest living authority on the Ukraine and the Ukrainians, and a distinguished scholar of intei national standing, excerpts from his account of Polish misrule are worth consideration. Of agricultural and industrial 'development' under the Polish regime, he says:
"Ruling without restriction, seizing all the land, which is the wealth of the country, the Polish nobility, who hold even now more than half the cultivated ground, have done nothing but pillage the natural resources of the country. They have all but exterminated the forests and greatly impoverished the soil; and it is hardly an overstatement to say that they have made a pauper of the peasant. They have introduced none of the progressive methods of agriculture, and, with the exception of distilling, have inaugurated no new industries. At the present time the country is without any kind of factory or mill industry, the development of which encounters immense difficulties—obstacles put in the way by the feudal classes which fear the democratizing influence of industrial development."
The long and the short of it is that the history of Polish rule in Galicia is a history of exploitation and revolt of Ukrainians. Since the first great revolt of Ukrainians in 1648, they have never been reconciled to being a part of the Polish political organism. The suppression of their spirit of independence has not tamed the hatred of historic Poland which they have felt from time immemorial. Today there is not a single political group of Ukrainians which will support Polish domination. Such extremes as the Socialist and Church parties unite in condemning and fighting the Polish claims to Eastern Galicia.
The Polish assertion that the new Poland should include Eastern Galicia because Poles own at least thirty-five per cent, of the land is one that does not carry much weight since the downfall of the Hapsburgs. The ownership of this land dates from feudal times, and continues into modern, something very like a state of feudalism. It is so obviously unjust, at the outset, that a landed aristocracy should own and control such a large proportion of the land where another people is preponderant, that there will be few moderns to sympathize with a vested right based on this fact.
With stubborn assurance, unmindful of the new era in which we are living, leaders of Polish political thought persist in refusing to recognize the Ukrainian or Lithuanian national movements. What has been positive and natural in their own revolt against the domination of Russian Slavs seems to them to be only the result of German intrigue in the case of the Ukrainians and Lithuanians. What were called revolutionary outbreaks in the Polish opposition to Russian rule are called anarchy when similarly occurring in Lithuania or Galicia to the discomfort of the local Polish nobility.
It does not occur to these Poles of the old school to view the loss of Polish minorities in Eastern Galicia as a necessary disadvantage which can be compensated by the acquisition of Ukrainian ethnographic islands in compact Polish territory. Not only are the motives of the Ukrainian renaissance suspected by the Poles— they are unwilling to recognize even the existence of national feeling in the Ukraine, although it has been manifested through centuries of adversity. They are still living in the conception of the absolute superiority of the Polish nation—a self-hypnosis not dissimilar to the state of public opinion in Germany during the war.
It is a great pity that this is the case, but the causes are deeply rooted in Polish history and in the present political fabric of that truly great country. National pride, heightened by centuries of suffering and oppression, is partially responsible for this blindness—and there are the economic causes, too.
In spite of all this—political traditions, nationalist feeling, historic misconceptions, and incongruity of temper—the Ukrainians believe that the age-old Polish-Ukrainian disputes can be settled for all time by the simple expedient of resorting to plebiscite. They have offered time and again to settle the dispute over Galicia in this democratic fashion. Their offers have been either ignored or met with bad faith, as in the case of the Paris Agreement of March, under which hostilities were to be suspended as a preparation for a plebiscite to be obtained under Entente control. Premier Paderewski was unable at that time to fulfil Poland's pledges that the armistice would be respected.
To quote, in conclusion, from an editorial published in The Evening Post of May 22, 1919, "Mere selfinterest would dictate to the leaders of Polish nationalism a policy of moderation at a moment when the Peace Conference is engaged in the delimitation of the country's national boundaries. It certainly does not help Poland's case against Germany . . . that doubts should arise concerning Polish policy towards other races. Things have reached a pretty pass if the Supreme Economic Council at Paris is discussing the advisability of withholding food from Poland as a means of enforcing the new Government's pledges regarding the cessation of war with the Ukrainians. . . . The world may have been prepared for an upflare of nationalist zeal in those countries which have won their independence after centuries of oppression; but a nationalism that runs riot is one that cannot be tolerated in the interests of permanent peace in Europe."