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43

(1923) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen - Tema: Russia
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It should also be remembered that a number of
those who are now its rulers spent years of their
lives in prison and exile.

It is said that the present Government of Russia
is an oligarchy, only representative of a single
class. But the old Government was surely an
oligarchy to a still higher degree, representative
of a still smaller part of the Russian people. And
surely the oppression of the other classes was
bad in those days too, only that centuries had
habituated them to it.

This difference should also be borne in mind,
that whereas the former ruling class had nothing
to avenge—for it had always had the upper
hand—the class which is ruling now has much to avenge
in the way of oppression and partly also of
extortion, throughout a long period. And to these
formerly oppressed classes we must add the Jews,
who have always been hated, persecuted and in
humanly treated in Russia. Just think of the
law which forbade Jews to live in the capital of
the Empire; not to speak of the persecutions. Is
it strange that all this bred more hate, and that
the persecuted race joined in the revolution when
the opportunity came? We know that there
is—sometimes, at any rate—a nemesis in history, and
that the present must often suffer for the sins of
the past.

I think that one ought to remember all this
before pronouncing judgment on what is going
on in Russia now. Here, as ever, the old saying
applies, that tout comprendre, c’est tout pardonner.

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