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42

(1923) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen - Tema: Russia
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Portugal, and Greece, merely to mention some of
them—has been built up on revolutions. And if
we once admit their moral justification—not least
in a country like Russia, where the people had
practically no political franchise—it is arbitrary
to maintain that some revolutions, such as that
in 1905 or the Duma-revolution in March, 1917,
with Kerenski later on as its leader, were
justifiable because one agreed more or less with these
people, while on the contrary the Bolshevik
revolution was a crime committed by bandits and
murderers with whom we do not agree.

Even if, in the strongest terms, we condemn
persecution and cruelties inflicted on those who hold
different opinions, as being utterly atrocious, we
must also in all fairness remember that the Russian
people has been inured to this throughout its whole
history, and that cruelties and political persecution
were not unknown under the old administration
of Russia. Consider the hundreds and thousands
of imprisonments and cases of ill-treatment of
political opponents—not only in Finland and
Poland, but also in Russia itself; consider the
misdeeds of the Black Hundred under Tsarism;
think of the banishments to Siberia without trial,
not to mention the persecution of the Jews, the
“pogroms,” when thousands of innocent Jews were
killed, and which were sometimes even set on foot
when the authorities desired to divert attention
from other irregularities.

No, the Russian people has been through a
severe school; it is accustomed to ill-treatment.

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