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

(1914) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen Translator: Arthur G. Chater - Tema: Russia
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pathy with such intellectual isolation, but at the same
time was bound to say that my own impression was
altogether different ; I had, in fact, met so many attrac
tive people. Oh, he said, you don’t know them ;
nothing but criminals, nothing but criminals, the whole
lot of them.
To be sure, criminals are not the element one would
choose for propagation, according to modern eugenic
principles ; but it must be remembered that a large
proportion of those who have been exiled to Siberia
were political prisoners, or religious sectarians whom
the Holy Russian Church did not want in Russia. In
other words they were people who had convictions,
and were moreover willing to suffer for them—they
were among the best elements of the Russian people,
and might well be regarded as desirable for the trans
mission of the race. Wc may therefore expect a
population which, while doubtless somewhat mixed,
may contain much ability. That this has not yet
manifested itself to any great extent, may be due to
external conditions ; to the dormant state in which,
to a certain degree, this country still lies. But one
day, when the nation is fully awake and the latent
forces are set free, we may perhaps hear new voices
even from Siberia ; for it has a future before it, of
that we may be sure.
Monday, September 22. There now awaited us a
festive reception in many forms. At 10 in the morning
we were invited to visit the higher school for boys.
We went into each class-room and saw all the boys, who
looked healthy and cheerful and active. Then they
were all mustered in the large hall of the school. The
little girls from the girls’ school also came in, and I
told them about the voyage of the Fram over the
Polar Sea from 1893 to 1896, and showed them on a

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