- Project Runeberg -  Through Siberia - the land of the future /
303

(1914) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen Translator: Arthur G. Chater - Tema: Russia
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COLONIZATION AND DEVELOPMENT
303
the decline which results from the comparatively favour
able conditions of life in the colonies enticing away
many of the more efficient elements in the nation, while
the less efficient remain at home and continue the race,
the quality of which is thus gradually deteriorated.
This was in any case one of the causes of the decline
and fall of the mighty Roman Empire ; and we may
well suppose nations like the Spanish and Portuguese
to have been enfeebled in a similar way by their great
oversea colonies. That the colonies have not been
altogether an advantage to the British nation in this
respect, owing to the constant drain of valuable forces,
is also quite possible. But that anything similar should
be the case with the Russian nation is more doubtful.
In the first place its population is so vastly greater ;
and in the second, it is doubtful whether it is pre
cisely the best elements that have hitherto emigrated
to Siberia. But another consideration, perhaps of still
greater importance, is that the greater part of Siberia
cannot be regarded as a new country, but rather as an
eastern extension of Russia itself ; it is not a colony,
but a greater fatherland, which still has room for many
millions of the Slav people on its boundless plains.

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