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135

(1923) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen - Tema: Russia
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CHAPTER X
EDUGATION
Although the great universities were important
centres of culture before the revolution, it must
be admitted that intellectual life under the Tsar’9
regime was extremely artificial, and could not be
regarded as a normally developed sociological
phenomenoru
{While the masses were plunged in profound
ignorance, the aristocracy and the wealthy bour
geoisie, in touch with foreign countries, assumed
a borrowed culture, often very distinguished, but
as a rule extremely superficial. Russia gave to
the world great men of science and brilliant
authors, but her unbending and suspicious auto
cracy did not allow the intellectual life of the
nation to develop freely„
Only a small minority had access to the world
of ideas, and even then they became objects of
suspicion as soon as any independent spirit of
investigation prompted them to criticise the social
or religious organisation of the country.
The fierce longing for education and liberty
which tortured the country, induced thousands of
students to emigrate, in their thirst for learning ;
im

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