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(1923) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen - Tema: Russia
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One objection frequently heard outside Russia
is that regular commercial relations with that
country cannot be developed as long as personal
security is so inadequately safeguarded by law
within her territories.
It cannot, I think, be denied, that all the
machinery of political activity, with its secret police
—the tcheka, or G.U.P., as it is now called—
has greatly undermined confidence in Russian
conditions generally. Many people, including
foreigners, have suddenly and unexpectedly been
arrested and kept in confinement for a long time,
without any proper legal inquiry and without any
satisfactory explanation of the cause of their arrest.
In the case of foreigners, " commercial espionage "
has frequently been given as the reason.
Very naturally this procedure has made an
extremely unfortunate impression outside Russia,
where personal liberty and legal security are
recognized as being the greatest and most
inalienable benefits.
On the other hand, it should be remembered
that the legal right of personal security has never
been strongly safeguarded in Russia. Even in
former times numbers of people were suddenly and
unexpectedly imprisoned merely on the charge of
so-called dangerous political opinions, or even on
account of so -called unorthodox religious views.
They were often ruthlessly incarcerated in the
fortress of Peter Paul, or were sent, without trial
or sentence, to Siberia.
This ancient system appears, however, to have

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