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71

(1923) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen - Tema: Russia
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TRADE 71
and gradually increased, until, at the end of the World War
and the civil wars, our national economy lay in ruins.
The circulation of goods had been reduced to a minimum,
communication between the different parts of the country
had ceased, the consumers themselves were looking—often
in vain—for the producers, there was a shortage of foodstuffs,
prices were rising enormously.
The conclusion of the civil war liberated transport, harbours
and telegraphs, for the ordinary work of peace-time ; it has
become possible to replace the requisition of agricultural
produce by a tax in kind, and the peasant has been given
the right to seil his surplus foodstuffs freely on the market.
The State institutions, Co-operative Societies, and other
organisations which had stocks of nationalised goods at that
time, the nationalised industrial enterprises, and private
individuals, were given the right to realise their products on
the market.
This was the beginning of the new economic policy ; in
fact it was that policy already in practice.
M. Lejava has recently given me interesting
particulars regarding the progress of home trade in
Russia and the difficulties it has to face. He
observes that the goods which came on the market
when trade was resumed were partly foodstuffs
produced by the usual labour of the peasants, and
partly textiles from the existing stocks. It was
not until the latter months of 1922, he says, that
the products of the organised industries, especially
light industries, appeared on the market.
All this shows that the N.E.P
. (everybody in
Russia knows this abbreviation of the " New
Economic Policy ") was not due to a change of
view on the part of any members of the Soviet
Government, but was made inevitable by the force
of circumstances. The State machine they had

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