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49

(1923) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen - Tema: Russia
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From first to last it was a vast experiment made
on the whole Russian population. It might seem
that as regards especially the Russian peasant
population, forming the great majority of the
Russian people, the Communist idea was not unfamiliar,
since the land in the Russian village (the mir)
belongs, according to ancient custom, to the village,
not to the individual peasants.

All the same, it soon appeared that the whole
system was impracticable, and that the experiment
could not possibly succeed. In the domain of
agriculture, which is, of course, the decisive and
all-dominating means of livelihood in Russia,
Communism was in reality never tried. The few
experiments made with Communist agriculture came
completely to grief.

The houses in the towns, having no owners
interested in keeping them in repair, quickly fell
into dilapidation; industry, without owners or
specially interested directors, declined disastrously,
and so on. And, meanwhile, the State’s employees
increased to veritable armies, who had to be
supported by the State. The whole thing threatened
to collapse.

Soon the leaders themselves saw that it would
not work, and “the new economic policy” (the
well-known N.E.P.) was inaugurated in the spring
of 1921, for the simple reason that there were no
longer means in the country to keep the Communist
experiment going.

They recognised—as it was said—that the
community was not yet ripe for the Communist form

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