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142

(1923) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen - Tema: Russia
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RUSSIA AND PEACE
142
As a rule their books and laboratories have been
respected, and as regards public libraries and
museums, these have been considerably enriched
by the nationalisation of private collections. Very
little has been destroyed in this direction, and the
first foreigners who were admitted to the Soviet
museums were greatly surprised at the orderly
and good arrangement of Russia’s treasures of
art and learning.
Why does the Soviet Government protect and
even seek to develop public instruction?
To begin with, I think it was due to a serious
desire to raise the intellectual level of the Russian
people, and help it to rise above the condition of
ignorance and superstition.
Next, and perhaps most, it was a means to
convert the masses to the communist doctrines,
I might almost say " religion." It must really
be admitted that the Soviet Government has shown
great ability in organising extremely telling propa
ganda throughout Russia’s vast extent. By books,
pamphlets, placards of all sorts, meetihgs and
cinemas, it has sought to make " communist truth "
permeate the Russian people, which until now has
been less touched by modem ihtellectual move
ments than any other. The School naturally
formed a particularly suitable medium for dis
seminating the official doctrine, and this is the
reason why the Government would not allow any
private educational establishments to be opened.
But now the Russian authorities recognise that
the evolutibn of public instruction is closely

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