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60

(1923) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen - Tema: Russia
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60 RUSSIA AND PEACE
all the lines had been rendered fit for traffic. It
is hoped that by 1926 the work of improving
the whole railway system will be finished.
Anyone who travelled in Russia in 1919, 1920,
or 1 92 1, and who travels over the same ground
to-day, is struck by the remarkable results that
have been achieved by the dreaded, but energetic
and methodical, Commissary of Traffic.
[It will be remembered that Dzershinsky was
president of the much feared Tsjeka, or revolu
tionary police.]
I am not now thinking of the fairly fast
passenger trains with sleeping and restaurant cars,
which were put on again on the main lines (Petro
grad-Moscow, Kharkov-Crimea or Tiflis, etc), for
the number of people who gain by this is pretty
limited; but I am thinking of the change which
may be observed in the whole administration of
the railways and of the orderliness and regular
work which have replaced the dangerous anarchy
at the beginning of the revolution and the dis
organisation of 1920 and 1921.
I had an interesting conversation with Dzer
shinsky about the transport problem.
The Russian railways [he said] are quite on a level with
the genuine requirements, and are capable of carrying all
the goods that Russian and foreign consignors can send by
them. The proof that the circulation is normal and can
easily be speeded up if the quantity of goods in transit increases
is that we have a reserve of 3,000 locomotives in perfect order
and of about 60,000 goods wagons.
Our capacity to repair the material made great strides
during the last months of 1922. In July of that year 65 per
cent. of the locomotive-park was out of order ; in December

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