- Project Runeberg -  Through Siberia - the land of the future /
4

(1914) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen Translator: Arthur G. Chater - Tema: Russia
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THROUGH SIBERIA
successful, it would perhaps inaugurate a new line of
annual sailings to the mouth of the Yenisei. Con
siderable interests were therefore involved in this trip.
In Siberia itself the development of this sea route
has long been regarded as a vital question.
The future possibilities of Siberia may almost be
called unlimited ; but their development is attended
with difficulties, which are mainly due to the great
distances. In Central Siberia the railway route—
whether westward to the Baltic or eastward to the
Pacific—is so long as to render the freight on the chief
products of the country, such as grain, timber, &c,
prohibitive, since the cost of carriage to the markets
may easily equal the value of the goods.
But immense districts of this country, from Minu
sinsk, Northern Mongolia, eastward to beyond Lake
Baikål, possess in the Yenisei and its tributaries the
most excellent of waterways, which are available at
comparatively small cost northward to the mouth of
the Yenisei. These are fertile agricultural districts, far
larger than France and Germany together. But un
fortunately the Yenisei falls into the Arctic Ocean,
where all navigation has the ice to reckon with.
If regular annual sailings could be established, in
spite of the ice, between the Yenisei estuary and
Europe, so that in future the immense quantities of
produce could be sent by this cheaper route, it would
naturally be of the greatest importance to the future
development of the whole of Central Siberia. There
fore the people of that country are keenly interested in
anything that may promote this affair. And without
our being aware of it—speaking for myself, in any case
—many eyes were doubtless fixed upon our voyage and
what it might lead to.
As I have said, there were four of us who travelled
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