- Project Runeberg -  Through Siberia - the land of the future /
435

(1914) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen Translator: Arthur G. Chater - Tema: Russia
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435
HOMEWARD THROUGH SIBERIA
Ural and back in Europe. In the morning wc arrived
at Perm and crossed the Kama, on which a great deal
of ice had formed. The " drift-ice " on the Kama
reminded me not a little of the newly formed ice, the
so-called pancake ice, up in the Arctic. It has a wintry
look. A hilly country with much spruce forest among
the fields and fences ; it is rather like Norway, only
the shape of the sledges is different, with their runners
raised high in front. The houses, too, have a turn that
is not altogether Norwegian ; and then, of course, these
haystacks standing unprotected everywhere and not a
hay-barn to be seen, though there is timber enough for
building. Winter has already begun, but the covering
of snow is not so very thick yet, only a few inches, but
still enough for sledging.
Towards midnight wc came to Viatka, which is a
well-known centre of the peasants’ home industry in
wooden articles. It is extraordinary what they can
make out of birch-wood and birch-bark, and at such
ridiculously low prices. There was a large selection of
these things on a stall at the station. Altogether they
are go-ahead, broad-minded people in the government
of Viatka, as in that of Perm. There are no great
landowners, but for all that they have zemstvos and
communal self-government ; and it is asserted that
these governments are better managed than the more
conservative and nationalist neighbouring governments,
such as that of Volugda, where the people are said not
to be so enterprising, at any rate as agriculturists.
It may be remarked that the population of these govern
ments of Viatka and Perm is probably, for the most
part, of Finno-Ugrian origin, and that the Slavs came
in somewhat later ; but now the peasants speak
Russian.
Sunday, October 26. Wc are now rapidly approaching

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