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(1923) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen - Tema: Russia
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to be realised. Complete disarmament could not be
contemplated before the day when Europe united in a federation
of states, which offers the sole means of withstanding America’s
economic hegemony.

If general demobilisation can be carried out, Russia will
propose an international disarmament commission.

The Red Army was a heavy burden for the country at
the time when we had to fight on all fronts and when our
effective forces amounted to several million men (“Five
and a half millions in the time of our worst misery,” Trotzky
said).

To-day we only keep up the minimum number of troops
which are unavoidably necessary to maintain our independence.
On account of the heavy reduction of the army it is impossible
for the soldiers to take part in the important work of economic
reconstruction to the same extent as formerly when the army
was larger. Nevertheless all commanders of troops have
been given orders to help the peasants as far as they may
be able with men and horses, in the places where they
are stationed. In many cases regiments till their own fields
themselves, and that is also a way of assisting in the work
of general agricultural improvement.

Our great national effort aims at reconstructing the
agriculture, industry, and trade of Russia, and we are convinced
of the need of a peaceful economic renascence in all countries.
Unfortunately Europe really seems to be animated by less
peaceable tendencies.

I have quoted these observations by M. Trotzky
because they show that even the military Soviet
circles are aware of the fundamental importance
of the economic factor. And this view will
naturally prevail with far more cogent reason in the
departments of the Russian Government which are
responsible for the all-round reconstruction of the
country.

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