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106

(1923) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen - Tema: Russia
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RUSSIA AND PEACE
106
unfortunately not attained large dimensions ; it has chiefly
served as an example and encouragement to the peasants.
In spite of the great losses sustained by the population,
and in spite of the shortage of animals, eight million hectares
were nevertheless sown in the famine districts in the autumn
of 1922, which is 25 per cent. more than in 1921.
The Russian Government has just devoted 30 million
poods of corn (about 490,000 tons) to the fight against the
famine. In addition 30 per cent. of the civil tax, corre
sponding to very nearly one million gold roubles, has been
allotted for this national work. We count on being able
to feed ij million people until the next harvest, and that
represents an expenditure of 15 million gold roubles, if we
add the expenses we pay for the foreign relief organisations.
On the other hand the Russian Government has authorised
the formation of an agricultural committee, which is to have
a working capital amounting to 20 million gold roubles. This
committee, which has branches in twelve districts, aims
chiefly at giving the peasants credit, and helping them in
every possible way to improve their farming.
But the work that needs doing greatly exceeds these modest
credits. In the famine districts 1,600,000 peasants have no
live stock. It would be a great thing if they could be supplied
with stock, or if the draught animals could be replaced by
mechanical traction. The import of tractors would therefore
be extremely desirable.
If the foreign relief organisations, which have given us
such generous help in the fight against the famine, could
complete their work by providing the peasants with the
implements they so urgently stand in need of, this would
make it possible for them to work and manage by themselves.
After having endeavoured to restore economic
life in Russia by favouring industry, the Soviet
Government has now reached a full understanding
of the decisive importance of agriculture.
In 1 92 1 the Russian peasant was granted the
right to dispose of the fruits of his labour. But
the war, revolution, and famine have weakened
and impoverished him, and deprived him of the

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