- Project Runeberg -  Through the Caucasus to the Volga /
203

(1931) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen Translator: Gerald C. Wheeler - Tema: Russia
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EXCURSIONS IN DAGHESTAN
203
of the men and women, and their plans and
dreams ?
Our friends, the two Presidents, had conceived the
curious idea that I might be of some use in advising
as to the working of Daghestan’s economic possi
bilities, of which I had now seen a great deal. My
objection that this lay somewhat outside my
experience was of no avail. Clearly, if the poten
tialities so far lying unworked could be turned into
money, best of all through concessions, it would be
a great help to this very poor people, whose whole
budget was about 10,000,000 roubles.
Next day (nth of July) there was, therefore, a
great meeting of the whole of the Daghestan com
missariat to discuss these questions. During our
excursions I had already more than once said that
I quite understood there might be valuable mineral
wealth such as oil, natural sulphur in great quan
tities, and perhaps metals also in the mountains;
but still it seemed to me that the land must always
find its incomparably greatest wealth in the broad
rich plain on which wc now were, and which runs
216 kilometres northwards by the delta of the
Terek to the frontier at the Kuma, covering over
25,000 square kilometres. It is true that there were
many salt steppes there in the north; but a great
part of this plain could surely be brought under
cultivation, so far as I could see. Once the hundreds
of thousands of dessyatins of fertile land lying here
more or less fallow had been drained and irrigated,
and brought under the plough, they could beyond

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