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45

(1923) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen - Tema: Russia
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think that all this literature will help us much
to understand present-day Russia and what
Bolshevism really is at this moment, for the practical
application of genuine Communism is now extremely
rare.

It appears to me that the kernel of the teaching
of Bolshevism must—at any rate at first—have
been the assertion of work as the only thing which
justified a place in and right to enjoy the
advantages of the community; and it denied every
advantage conferred by birth and inheritance.

For work is necessary—at any rate in these
latitudes—in order to extort from our soil what
we need to sustain life. It is, therefore, and must
be unjust, that some should live as parasites on
the community without working, while others have
to work far too much. This inequitable
distribution was not least flagrant in Russia.

No doubt there was a tendency there, at an
earlier date, rather to look down upon work,
especially manual work, as something only fit for
a lower caste. Of course this is partly a survival
from the days of slavery which has persisted not
merely in Russia, but also to a certain extent in
other countries: manual labour was left to serfs;
it was not for free men.

That this social view of work aroused a violent
reaction as soon as the workmen got their chance,
is not unnatural, and that they chiefly thought of
work as being manual work is also comprehensible.
The Russian people had now to be taught to respect
work to the full.

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