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157

(1923) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen - Tema: Russia
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CONCLUSION 157
suscitate this vast, unhappy country. On each
occasion that the repatriation of war prisoners
and the relief of the sufferers by famine have
taken me to Russia, I have been received with a
confidence and cordiality which have moved me
greatly. This seemed to me to be one reason the
more why I should say quite plainly what I thought
of the situation, in the conviction that this frank
ness was alike in the interests of Russia and of
Europe.
On my journeys in Russia and Siberia before
the war I was struck by the riches of these
enormous regions, by the important part they
already played in the economy of Europe, and by
their vast possibilities of development.
When I undertook the duties of High Com
missioner for the repatriation of war prisoners, at
the instance of the League of Nations, and assumed
the direction of the European famine relief, in
accordance with the proposal made at the Geneva
Conference in August, 1921, I was not only in
fluenced by the humanitarian aspect of this work,
which would restore approximately half a million
persons to their hornes, and which would make it
possible to save several million people from’ a cruel
death.
I also felt very strongly that Russia’s exclusion
was causing a fatal disturbance of the equilibrium
of Europe, and I gladly welcomed the opportunity
furnished me through these tasks, of studying quite
objectively, sirte ira et studio, the conditions in this
country, which the general public abroad only

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