- Project Runeberg -  Through Siberia - the land of the future /
297

(1914) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen Translator: Arthur G. Chater - Tema: Russia
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COLONIZATION AND DEVELOPMENT
297
enormous increase in those few years. The greater
part of this machinery naturally goes to Western
Siberia, which still ranks first in agriculture, but a
considerable quantity goes even to the eastern provinces,
to the Amur and Ussuri Districts.
To illustrate the dimensions of this colonization of
Siberia, it may be mentioned that according to the
official reports the area of new land that has been
surveyed and parcelled out for colonization during the
last five years (1909-1913) amounts to eighteen million
dessiatines, or 75,850 square miles, and 350,000 families,
containing about two million souls, have settled. This
means about 15,000 square miles a year, or an agricul
tural district equal to the whole area of Norway in eight
years. But to this we have still to add six million dessia
tines, or about 25,000 square miles, of the land belonging
to the old villages or mirs, which was brought under
cultivation for the first time in the course of the same
five years. This is no small gain of land to mankind
every year, and in these five years it has provided
hornes for a population nearly as large as that of the
whole of Norway. During the same time 9500 versts,
or about 6300 miles, of roads have been constructed.
Formerly there was much extravagance inallotting
land to the colonists, but when it was seen that a great
part of this land was not cultivated, more economy
was practised in its distribution, and much of the older
land has been tåken back. According to a law of 1881,
all the older land in excess of fifteen dessiatines to each
male was to be tåken from the villages and used for new
colonization. And the usual scale of allotment is now
eight to fifteen dessiatines —i.e. 21*6 to 40*5 acres—of
land to each male member of the family.
New land for freehold farms is allotted in parcels of
twenty-five to fifty dessiatines (67*5 to 135 acres) of

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