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(1923) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen - Tema: Russia
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the spot, and to this extent his liberty before the
war has been curtailed.

Moreover, the Land Law leaves the municipalities
the right to choose between the system of periodical
division of the land, which was formerly usual
in the villages, and the lasting right of cultivation
that I have just mentioned. My impression is
that the latter will probably be chosen nearly

In Siberia this system had also been introduced
to a large extent even under the Tsar, and when
travelling there in 1913 I became convinced of
its valuable effects, especially where the peasants
lived on the actual land they were farming, and
not in the villages. Here also the peasant was, as a
rule, denied the right to sell the land he farmed.

As regards European Russia, it was after 1907,
on the initiative of Stolypin, and as a result of
his agrarian laws, that vigorous measures were
taken to divide up the common lands of the
villages into separate farms, and in this way to
abolish the old system by which this common
land was periodically parcelled out into innumerable
patches among the village peasants. This system
had obviously been a paralysing one for all
reasonable development of the peasants’ primitive
agriculture. What was wanted was to gather each
peasant’s innumerable scattered patches of ground
into continuous areas, which he could have as his
permanent property; and also to get him to move
out of his village and settle down on his own land.
Gradually the peasants discovered the great

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