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68

(1923) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen - Tema: Russia
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RUSSIA AND PEACE
68
soldiers have to a great extent guarded it, or to
the population having pious feelings with regard
to the relief work, or both together.
For the rest, I am convinced that the sharpest
measures to secure control and the most iron
severity in suppressing the misdemeanours will not
have so much effect as the raising of the railway
workers’ wages would have.
I hope that this study of the real state of the
Russian transport system, made in quite an objec
tive spirit, will be of some use to those who desire
without preconceived opinions to become acquainted
with the economic conditions of present-day Russia.
To those who speak of the " catastrophic con
dition " of the Russian railways I would answer
that, whereas the number of available locomotives
in 1 919 and 1920 had gone down to nearly 4,000,
the number of locomotives in use in September,
1922, was at least 6,700, while the number of
goods wagons in use was over 260,000.
If, however, one is inclined to infer from this
that all goes well in the land of the Soviet, it is well
to be reminded that these figures were respectively
at least 17,000 and 500,000 before the war.
The statistics quoted show at any rate that
Russia is an economic factor in Europe which
must be reckoned with, and that the restoration
of trade with foreign countries is not rendered
impossible by the condition of the railways.

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