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(1923) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen - Tema: Russia
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gold roubles, which have enabled two million dessiatines
(about 5,000,000 acres) of cultivated land to be saved. Russia
also has to buy annually eighteen million gold roubles’ worth
of vegetable seeds, clover seed, etc. This seed renders possible
a harvest far exceeding in nutritive value that represented
by the corresponding value in corn. Even from the point
of view of the famine it is entirely in our interest to export
a limited quantity of corn, in order to import vegetable seeds.
It is a question of bartering corn for products which are in
the highest degree necessities. If our agriculture only had
gold, it would like nothing better than still to restrain the
export of corn this year.

From the point of view of the famine this
explanation is only valid so long as the Soviet
Government really cannot export gold without
seriously damaging the economic life of the
country. Personally I believe that Russia’s
financial position is in reality exceedingly difficult,
if not critical. In my opinion, therefore, the barter
in question ought not to stop philanthropic relief.

Looked at from the standpoint of Russia’s
economy, this shows plainly enough how much her
agriculture needs foreign help. It shows, more
over, that if normal co-operation is restored the
Russian peasant will not long remain a debtor to
foreign capital, and that it will not take long to set
going regular distribution with properly organised
channels of exchange.

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