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138

(1923) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen - Tema: Russia
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138 RUSSIA AND PEACE
not least, the famine in 1921, left entirely to the
care of the State millions of orphan or abandoned
children : 1,500,000 in the famine-ravaged dis
tricts alone, Inadequately as these little creatures
were fed and clothed in the Soviet asylums, this
etill constituted a huge expense for the central
and local authorities, It is true, however, that
the foreign relief actions, especially the great
American organisation (ARA) under the direction
of Mr. Hoover, gave valuable help in this direction.
The truth is that the number of elemesntary
schools has decreased so greatly that there are
even fewer than under the Tsar’3 regime. I have
received desperate letters from Russian teachers,
whose schools had been closed for lack of funds.
I have helped in a few special cases, and my
relief organisation is, as a matter of fact, trying to
send to Russia a little of the sorely needed school
material, but it is necessary to dévote a consider
able amount of money to this work, which has
such an important bearing on the future of
Russia,
As a step in the direction of financial decentral*
isation, parallel with the general tendency of the
new economic policy, the organisation and working
of the schools have now been placed under the local
authorities, It was the only way to save some of
them ; but it does not prevent the closing of many.
The Russian universities are also in great
difficulties. The students were originally given
their lodging and subsistence by the State, but
now they have to keep themselves, except the

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