- Project Runeberg -  Through Siberia - the land of the future /
295

(1914) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen Translator: Arthur G. Chater - Tema: Russia
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COLONIZATION AND DEVELOPMENT
295
the provinces of Yeniseisk and Irkutsk in 1912. But
the cause of there being no diminution in the number
of returned emigrants from these districts is said to
have been the loss of seed-corn in that year owing to
spring rams and late spring frost, which reduced many
of the colonists to destitution.
To guard against families of settlers being given
land which does not suit them, the Government, as
early as 1887, enjoined that, the year before setting
out, the family should send a man, who is called a
khodok, to the district in which they intend to settle,
so that he may examine the land and choose a piece
that he thinks will be suitable. The best time for
examining the land is the spring, from April to June ;
many cautious people go out before the winter is over,
to acquaint themselves with the life of the colonists
and with the country ; but for fear the land might
be tåken by others, especially when too little land has
been surveyed for allotment, they often choose their
piece of land before the snow has disappeared, and
in such cases the yalue of their examination must be
doubtful.
Settlers can obtain a loan from the State, if their land
is not favourably situated near the railway but in such
regions as the taiga, where a great deal of clearing is
necessary, or in the steppes, where wells have to be
dug, or in the Far East. The condition for the granting
of these loans is that the family must have sent a
khodok in advance to choose their holding. This is
of course a provision against imprudent and badly
equipped settling. In difficult regions, and in the
provinces of the Far East, in the Amur District, the
Ussuri province and in Sakhalin, the loans may be
as much as 400 roubles. In Transbaikalia they may
be between 250 and 400 roubles, according to the

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