An appealing, but apocryphal tale

“So you see those fellows yonder?” said a man to me in a Russian village in 1871, pointing to a group of sallow, bearded, low-browed peasants, who were slouching past in their ragged frocks of sheepskin. “These are the men who carry all Russia on their backs, and the moment they find out how much they have to bear, down we all go together; but they endure it because they don’t know how ill off they are!” Few more striking truths have ever been uttered, and the utterer could hardly be accused of speaking without experience, for he was no other than Michael Bakunin, he greatest, if not the most renowned, of all the nihilist chiefs of Russia.


“Dark Russia” (excerpt) Troy Weekly Times (Troy, New York) 24 no. 51 (Thursday, June 24, 1880): 1.
[From the New York Times (June 14, 1880)]