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(1923) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen - Tema: Russia
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restrictions is so fatal for Russian industry, and
causes such wide disturbance in the economic life
of the country, that they cannot continue in force
longer than is absolutely necessary.
The Vnesjtorg seems thus to be gradually
developing into an instrument of control instead of
a clumsy State apparatus for direct trading.
It cannot, however, be denied that even the con
trol exercised by the Vnesjtorg over foreign trade
is liable to destroy confidence in Russian commerce.
Thus in Norway, for instance, we have cases such
as that which occurred as recently as in May of
this year, when the director of a branch of the
Economic Council in Russia opened negotiations,
from a large Russian port, with a Norwegian firm
concerning the sale of Russian wood in exchange
for Norwegian fish (" fat-herring "). In response
to an explicit inquiry the director gave an assur
ance that the necessary licence for this transaction
was guaranteed by the Russian authorities. The
contract was duly signed, and the Norwegian firm
made all its arrangements and re-sold the Russian
goods ; after which it received an intimation that
the Vnesjtorg had refused to grant a licence for
the transaction which had been effected, because
the price of the herring was considered too high.
This latter assertion is apparently due to the failure
of the Russian authorities to realise that there is
a considerable difference between the price of fat
herring and that of spring-herring or of large
The Norwegian firm lost money on the business,

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