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86

(1923) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen - Tema: Russia
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86 RUSSIA AND PEACE
The Soviet Government, needing money to carry
on its foreign and civil wars, decided that a
largely inflated note-issue was very good business ;
for while it supplied the financial medium of
exchange that they needed at the moment, it
simultaneously brought about a gradual decline
in the value of the rouble, and so made it easy
to introduce the communist system, in which money
was no longer of any account.
This policy was only too successful in causing
the value of the rouble to fall with headlong < speed .
But in the spring of 1921, when the new economic
policy acknowledged the important part normally
played by money in economic life, the problem of
Russia’s financial reconstruction and the stabilisation
of the rouble appeared in all its terrible gravity.
The attempts made by means of decrees to
check the decline in the value of money were a
total fiasco. It was all very well for the Com
missariat of Finance to lay it down in 1921 that
the gold rouble (266 gold francs) was not worth
more than 30,000 Soviet roubles : in December
the State Bank’s official quotation was 58,000,
in March 1922, 260,000, and in April 500,000.
To-day a gold rouble is worth 25 or 30 million
paper roubles of 1921, according as one takes
the official exchange or that of the Black Bourse.
I may add that the Finance Commissariat, by
a remarkably simple regulation which has worked
very well, has partially counteracted the difficulties
naturally caused by the use of such " astronomical
numbers " in accountancy ; it decided that the

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