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(1923) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen - Tema: Russia
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Doubts may be entertained regarding the future
of Western Europe and West European civilisa
tion ; but there can hardly be room for doubt that
the Russian people has a great future before it, and
a great mission to fulfil in the further life of Europe
and the world.
Even as the expanse of Russian and Siberian
plains holds immense potentialities in its great
treasures of wholly virgin or only partially culti
vated land, so does the Russian people contain great
reserve forces of unused intellectual and moral
Russia’s civilisation has not yet burst forth into
blossom: it still belongs to the future.
The civilisation of Russia, as we have known it
hitherto under the Romanoffs, has certainly not
been Russian. It was a thin, West-European
veneer, imported and renewed from without, just
as its centre of culture, St. Petersburg, was merely
an extremely uninspired copy of Europe, executed
in stucco and plaster.
Only when one’s eyes catch a first glimpse of
Moscow, with the Kremlin’s wonderful walls and
towers, rising amid the surrounding plains, does
one feel oneself on the threshold of another civili
sation. This is no longer Europe, nor yet the
Orient ; it is Russia.
Again, Bolshevism cannot be said to be really
Russian. While its inner mechanism is more or less
a copy of Tsardom turned upside down, the revolu
tion itself was modelled, down to the smallest detail,
on Europe, just as its theory, Marxism, was almost

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