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76

(1923) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen - Tema: Russia
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76 RUSSIA AND PEACE
An objection made against Co-operation, no
doubt on good grounds, is that it can easily show
good results in times when prices are rising, as
it is in a position to seil its goods cheaper than the
private merchant who is obliged to think of what it
will cost him to buy in fresh stocks. But as it
has been necessary in Russia to discard the paper
rouble in account-keeping, and to take either the
" gold rouble " or the " goods rouble " as a basis,
the present period of falling prices is very un
favourable to the Co-operative Societies, and their
financial position must now be a difficult one.
The Co-operative Movement has really found a
peculiarly favourable soil in Russia. The old
peasant institution of the mir (village) makes
it easy to grasp the Co-operative principle, and
thus it happened that even before Communism the
really great value of partnership in work was very
widely recognised in Russia. One may, perhaps,
even say that a certain fear of individual respon
sibility, which is a characteristic Slav trait, has
facilitated the evolution of the Russian Co
operatives.
As it was impossible for the Co-operatives to
manage all that the Government wanted them to
undertake, many State organisations arranged for
the sale of their goods themselves. Many trusts,
for instance, seil their goods through commercial
syndicates, or establish their own stores, and try to
realise their products on the open market.
As private trade has gradually developed, on the
other hand, it has frequently happened that repre

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