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36

(1923) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen - Tema: Russia
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significant that in all transactions with Russian
buyers the German merchants demand cash
payment. Notwithstanding the fact that Russia, in
the first nine months of 1921, bought German
goods to the value of 33 million gold roubles,
and in the corresponding period of 1922 to the
value of 102 millions, the German commercial
houses have not opened any credit worth
mentioning for the Russians.

This unfortunate result is to a large extent due,
no doubt, to a sense of the impermanency of the
Russian market; its purchasing-power appears
to lack a sound foundation. Moreover, there is
no denying that the circumstance that all business
was done through the clumsy machinery of the
Vnesjtorg (i.e. the Commissariat for Foreign
Trade) was not calculated to increase the
confidence of foreign capital.

The Governments and the business world also
found their attitude towards Russia much affected
and complicated by the famine, of unparalleled
severity, which devastated Russia after the harvest
of 1921 had failed in the most fertile regions,
especially in the Volga districts and in Southern
Ukraine.

After the International Conference at Geneva,
which opened on August 15, 1921, and was
composed of delegates from forty-eight Red Cross
and philanthropic associations and twelve
Governments, had requested me to put myself at the
head of the relief work for famine-stricken
Russia, I made an agreement in Moscow on

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