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38

(1923) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen - Tema: Russia
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was regarded as being of doubtful value; and
moreover, the unemployment in several of the
countries was so menacing that it was thought
that the money would be needed at home.

Another objection—and one which undoubtedly
carried much weight in the minds of many of
the politicians—was that which the Russian
emigrants in particular advanced, namely that to
relieve the starving and suffering Russian people
would be tantamount to supporting the Soviet
Government and the Bolsheviks, and that such
action would be indefensible. Many of the
emigrants confessed frankly that they would rather
sacrifice all these millions of their countrymen,
and leave guiltless men, women and children to
a certain and cruel death, than contemplate the
possibility of the Bolshevik Government receiving
any kind of help.

In my opinion it is a matter for sincere regret
that it proved impossible to grant the loan we
asked for. If the necessary money had been
forthcoming then—in September—there would still
have been time to get supplies to the stricken
districts in Russia. The starving millions of
peasants and their farm stock could have been
saved, and Russian agriculture raised again to
prosperity. The export of corn, and therewith
the country’s purchasing-power, could have been
restored, at any rate to a large extent.

Russia, as a factor in the economic life of
Europe, would in that case have been something
very different from what she is now, and Europe

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