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(1923) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen - Tema: Russia
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agriculture develops so slowly, and for the exceed
ingly primitive conditions under which the peasantry
live. It would be a great thing to prpvide them1
with some winter occupation which would give
them an extra source of income. Their home
industries might be encouraged and developed.
In some districts, e.g. in Viatka and Vologda,
they are of a very high quality. If their pur
chasing power increased, they could improve their
farm equipment, and their wants would also
develop, to the advantage of Russian and foreign
industry. i !
I mentioned in the chapter on agriculture that
more than l| million peasants have lost their
animals in the famine districts. M. Kalinin,
President of the All-Russian Executive Committee,
told me in February that there were also in the
districts nearly 150,000 unemployed men (500,000
in all Russia). They were for the most part
officials, officers or landowners of the old boar
geoisie, who found it difficult to fit into Russia’is
present social organisation. As they have never
learnt any particular trade it is difficult to em
ploy them in positions of great responsibility,
M. Kalinin said, and still they must be given
occupations which will permit them to live in a
normal fashion.
The problem of unemployment is consequently
quite different from what it is in Western Europe.
The solution obviously lies in the reconstruction
of agriculture, which will bring an improvement
in economic conditions as a whole, whereas abroad

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