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(1923) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen - Tema: Russia
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implements for his work, and of his live stock,
to a large extent, as well. His producing power,
and consequently his purchasing power also, have
largely diminished.
Among the real difficulties in the way of the
recovery of agriculture we may further note, on
the one hand, the fact that the peasants had again
last year to give away a disproportionately large
part of their crops, which cuts down their pur
chasing-power. On the other hand, the peasant
can only obtain preposterously low prices for his
produce on the home market, which likewise re
duces his purchasing-power seriously, and partially
neutralises the advantages of the right conferred
upon him to seil the surplus of what he produces.
These low prices are due to the State moncpoly
in foreign trade which prevents the peasant from
seiling his corn directly to the foreign buyer, from
whom he could get a price many times higher,
up to six times as much as he gets in Russia.
What this, in reality, comes to is that the State
not only imposes a heavy tax on the peasantry,
but also derives a large income at their expense by
buying their corn and seiling it abroad at a much
enhanced price.
Formerly, i pood (— 16*4 kilos) of good wheat
flour had a value (75 gold kopeks) equivalent to
about 6 arschins (4yds. 2 ft.) of good cotton
material, whereas the peasant can now only get 1
arschin for 1 pood of good wheat flour. That is
to say, he gets for his labour only one-sixth of
what he got before.

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