- Project Runeberg -  Through Siberia - the land of the future /
359

(1914) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen Translator: Arthur G. Chater - Tema: Russia
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RUSSIA IN THE EAST
359
by little the Cossacks, who were in reality poor farmers,
had to take to the natives’ mode of life and support
themselves by fishing and hunting ; while the intention
was that they should be permanently settled along
the frontier of the Empire. Thus it was that the
army of Cossacks of the Ussuri was formed.
But by degrees Russian peasants began to immigrate
to the Ussuri country also, some from other parts of
Siberia, some from Russia. Some settled in the fertile
southern Ussuri country, to the south of the Cossacks’
territory, while others established themselves among
the Cossack stanitsas farther north ; but here the best
land had already been given to the Cossacks, although
they could only use a small part of it. The peasants
therefore had to be content with inferior land, or go
out into the taiga and clear new land. The adjustment
of these relations between the Cossacks’ land and the
peasants’ colonization has caused the authorities many
difficulties and has tåken many different turns. Even
if the Cossacks had been given too much land, it was an
awkward matter to take it from them again ; but in
1911, the Tsar decided that the Cossacks’ land along
the Amni and Ussiiri was to be allotted to colonists to a
reasonable extent.
These immigrant peasants were certainly better
farmers than the Cossacks, many of them, in any case ;
but they too were not always able to cope with the
difficulties which are inseparable from the settlement
of a wild, roadless country like this. When, therefore,
misfortunes and bad years occurred, the peasants
often enough fell into destitution and, like the Cossacks,
had to seek assistance from the Chinese (Manses)
on whom they too became dependent.
At so great a distance from Russia, colonization
naturally proceeded slowly in these eastern provinces,

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