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(1923) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen - Tema: Russia
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Full resolution (JPEG) - On this page / på denna sida - I. Russia and the economic equilibrium of Europe

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we now seem to discern, and has caused Russia to
understand the necessity of abandoning political
in favour of economic methods.

In the course of the conversations which I had
in January and February of this year, in Moscow
with a number of leading men in the Russian
Government, I very strongly received the
impression that the question which exercised them more
than any other was the question of Russia’s
economic reconstruction and the restoration of
normal economic relations with foreign countries.

M. Trotzky, Peoples Commissary for Defence,
assured me of the Government’s genuine desire to
maintain peace and foster methodical work.

Russia wants peace (he said), she has too much to do at
home in restoring her own shattered finances to be able to
think of war. For this difficult work she needs the labour
of her whole population.

Russia would nothing rather than to be able to cut down
her army largely. She has proposed to reduce it to two
hundred thousand men on condition that the other countries
also effected a similar reduction. This proposal was not
accepted.

During these last weeks the events in the Ruhr have brought
in a new factor, making possible an invasion of Russia by
Poland and Roumania, as soon as they feel sure that they
will not be attacked in the rear. In spite of this danger
Russia has not delayed by one hour the carrying out of the
demobilisation which she had decided on, by which the army
was reduced from 800,000 to 600,000. The troops that
we have under the colours to-day are less than half of the
standing army in peace time under the regime of the Tsar.
Is not that a sufficiently clear proof of Russia’s desire for
peace?

Part of Russia’s programme is the formation of a force
of militia, something like what Switzerland has; but up
to the present the situation has not allowed this programme

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