In 1909, just like in the previous three years, Russian major cities, especially Moscow and St.Petersburg, awaited for the 22 January (9 January Old Style) with anxiety. Four years ago, in 1905, on this day, the first Russian revolution began. On the next day, 23 January (10 January Old Style), Golos Moskvy wrote:
This day, 9 January, was calm. Only some days earlier, the workers' groups discussed how they should commemorate the fourth anniversary of the Gapon's demonstration. The opinions split. A part of the workers proposed to stop working after dinner, but this proposal was rejected. The majority of the workers would rather forget Gapon then to commemorate him. Today, on 9 January, the life in the workers' quarters went on as usually. All plants worked full day, there were no demonstrations, nor even enforced police detachments.
The problems in Caucasus persisted:
From Vladikavkaz, 8 Jan 1909. Son of the sheep-farmer Koshel, kidnapped on 26 November, was released by the abreks without ransom. Earlier, his father refused to pay the 16,000 rubles ransom. Army was deployed in the Ingush villages. They threatened that the aborigines will carry the responsibility in case of the death of the victim of kidnapping. The released boy told that he was kept in the corn fields, than in the woods. Sometimes he was brought to villages with a bandage on his eyes and locked in barns.
However, not always the local population caused these problems:
From Rostov on Don, 9 Jan 1909. The persons guilty of numerous recent train robberies along the Vladikavkaz railroad were identified and detained. The culprits were railroad workers. To commit the crimes, they used to disguise as natives.
While we're talking about trains:
Today, on 9 January, at 10:15 a.m., the first express train will depart from Moscow to Berlin and Paris. The train will travel with the speed never heard of before, it will take only 54 hours to get to Paris. This is a train-de-luxe, it consists of only three first class carriages and a restaurant and it is modeled after the best European trains. It will depart once a week, on Fridays, and the arrival is scheduled on Wednesdays, to agree with the Siberian trains in Moscow and the St.Petersburg express in Warsaw.
An interesting news came from the governorate of Livonia:
From Mitau (modern Jelgava in Latvia), 9 Jan 1909. A whole eighth class of the aristocratic German gymnasium, the stronghold of the culture of the Baltic barons, decided to leave the gymansium and to pass the state exams in the Russian gymnasium. This decision produced a shocking impression in the German nationalist circles.
As for the other countries, the events were still moving incessantly toward the August of 1914:
From Sarajevo, 9 Jan 1909. The holiday of the saint Savva, the enlightener and the first apostle of the Serbs, will not be celebrated in this year in Bosnia and Herzegovina to mourn the current situation of the country. Of course, it is true only for schools. In churches, the St.Savva's day will be celebrated.
From Wien, 8 Jan 1909. The journalists in Constantinople report that on last Sunday large anti-Austrian manifestations took place in Tripoli. The crowd attacked the Austrian consul and vice consul. At the same time, pro-Italian demonstrations were held.
From Zemlin, 8 Jan 1909. A bloody conflict between Serbs and Hungarians took place in Southern Hungary. About 50 Hungarians attacked the Serbian monastery Raganica, planning to steal the shrine of Prince Lazarus. The monks defended the monastery. The peasants heard the sounds of shooting and hurried to the monastery. When the police and the army arrived, there were five people killed and about fifty wounded and the battlefield.
From Mostar, 8 Jan 1909. Famine in Herzegovina. Delegates from villages come to Mostar and ask the Austrian authorities for bread. The authorities reply that they will help if the villages sign the petition agreeing with the annexion of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The peasants refuse.
A year ago I wrote about the participation of Russian sailors in the rescue operations in Italy, after the earthquake in Messina. On 22 January 1909, the newspapers wrote:
From Odessa, 8 Jan 1909. The captain of the steamboat Catania that arrived from Messina to Odessa, reported that a group of Russian sailors who saved three little children, whose parents died in the earthquake, asked the Italian royal couple for the permission to adopt the children. Russian sailors promised to bring them to St.Petersburg, to educate them and to provide for them till the end of their lives. The permission was granted.
I assume these children were around 10 years old then. So, eight years later, in 1917, they would be no more than 18. I wonder what happened to them...