- Project Runeberg -  Through the Caucasus to the Volga /
108

(1931) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen Translator: Gerald C. Wheeler - Tema: Russia
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THROUGH THE CAUCASUS TO THE VOLGA
108
fish, salt, etc, in great quantities to Persia, and
getting other wares, which they seil to the Lesghis.
The main seat oftrade was Tarku, with the harbour
which is now Makhach Kala. They have the
aristocratic social system of the steppe-dwellers,
with rulers, nobles, commons, and slaves.
From the economic standpoint the Daghestan
peoples have great difficulties now to fight against.
The possibilities of the land have never been
developed to any satisfactory degree. For this
capital is needful, and so it cannot easily be done
without State help. The Tsarist government seems
to have been more concerned with russifying the
land than with helping on its industries and
developing its economic possibilities. Then came the
war and the civil war, and economic conditions
throughout the land were seriously affected; rail
ways, telegraphs, shipping, etc, were destroyed;
75 per cent. of the cattle disappeared; of the
vineyards three-fourths were destroyed ; the fisheries
suffered dreadfully; and there were other afflictions.
Then came the cattle pest in 1922, a plague of
field-mice in the same year which destroyed the
crops, bad crops in 1924, and so on. Altogether
there were 3,600,400 head of cattle in 191 1, but in
1923 only 1,480,000.
Added to these economic difficulties is the fact
that the health of the country is not good. Malaria
is widespread, especially in the lowland, where a
heavy percentage of the people suffers from it.
Venereal diseases are also rife; the workers bring
them from the towns when they come back to their

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