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72

(1923) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen - Tema: Russia
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72 RUSSIA AND PEACE
tried to construct would not work ; during the
winter 1 920-1 921 the inhabitants of the Russian
towns were threatened with extinction from hunger
and misery. The peasants, exasperated by the
system of requisition, hid their produce. The State
reserves were exhausted, and in spite of the most
thorough search it proved impossible to find all
the stocks in private hands.
N.E.P
. was a better means than armed force to
induce the peasants to put their produce on the
market, and at the same time to bring the hidden
stocks to the surface again. Private trading was
once more recognised by law.
It was on March 21, 1921, that requisitioning
was replaced by a tax in kind which varied accord
ing to the size of the farms and the harvest, but
which had no legal right to go much over 10 per
cent. of the latter. The peasants were allowed to
seil the surplus of their produce in exchange for
other goods in the local market, or through the
Co-operatives. It seems, however, that this tax
in kind has in some cases borne more heavily upon
the peasants than the requisitions did, inasmuch as
the tax (prodnalog) in 1922 realised about 5
million tons of corn, while the requisitions in 1920
only brought in 36 million tons.
The good effects of the changed system of col
lection have also been partly counteracted in some
districts by the irregular taxes which have been
imposed by all kinds of local institutions. Thus
it appears from a recent official report that during
1922, in the Altai Government, the district Soviets,

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