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158

(1923) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen - Tema: Russia
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RUSSIA AND PEACE
158
knows from contradictory and often mendacious
reports. I must add, that I have not been able
to come in contact with the Russian people with
out feeling strong sympathy for their endurance
in suffering both before and after the revolution,
and without admiring the primitive fortitude with
which they have always taken fresh courage and
renewed their efforts to improve their position.,
The impression produced on me by my study
of the different departments of economic life in
Russia is that this great country has been suffering
from a grave sickness, from which it is only just
beginning to recover. Before 191 4 the social life
of Russia was not sound, and one cannot regard
the regime of the Tsars as a normal form of
Government. But the Great War quickly made
the national malady worse. The revolutions in
1 91 7, the foreign wars, and the civil wars between
191 8 and 1921 marked the crisis, followed by
convalescence, which, however, was greatly retarded
by the famine which devastated the most fertile
regions of the Volga and Southern Ukraine.
I ara convinced that Europe and the whole
world will gain by hastening and facilitating this
convalescence. I believe that even without help
from abroad the Russian Government is able,
though very slowly, to improve the country’s
position, if the harvest is normal for the next few
years. During several years Russia has vegetated,
as it were ; she will be obliged, so far as I can
see, to reduce her industry still further, and will
find great difficulty in coping with the deficit on

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