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(1923) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen - Tema: Russia
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expect to increase the production by 30 per cent. 1 This
will allow us to export petroleum, the sale of which together
with timber will furnish us with capital. The requisite
efforts to increase the output of coal and metals cannot
succeed until we have secured the capital which it is un
avoidably necessary to put into these undertakings. We
cannot count on obtaining any large amount by exporting
coal ; the cost of production is too high, and moreover Russia
always imported coal before the war.
Our metallurgical industry has had to combat many diffi
culties, but one can already discern considerable improve
ment in some districts. The smelting-houses in Ural have
recently doubled their production. This is certainly due in
part to the circumstance that they use wood and not coal
in their high furnaces. Further, the population in this
district, where the famine has been raging, have come to get
work in the smelting houses and have been content to receive
minimal wages. The costs of production have thus been
reduced, and as is well known the iron smelted with wood
(i.e. charcoal) is of much higher quality.
The general increase in our production this year is due
to the fact that little by little the working has become more
rational and less expensive. Our workmen work better than
they used to do. We are advancing slowly towards the
rational organisation of all our industries. By beginning
with the regeneration of agriculture, and going on to the
industries which require the least capital put into them, we
count on being able gradually to amass the capital without
which the recovery of our heavy industry is impossible. Thus
we shall methodically raise the country’s whole economic
level. It is very clear that the help of foreign capital would
render it possible to hasten the process considerably.
1 A report just received from the representative of the
export department of the Russian Naphtha Syndicate states
that storage for 18,000 tons of petroleum has been hired in
Hamburg, and in Wilhelmshafen, near Hamburg, for 12,000
tons. The Naphtha Syndicate’s export department has also
made a contract in Brussels with the Belgian Caucasian
Company for the use of its installations for an annual quantity
of naphtha up to 34,000 tons.

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