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Through the Caucasus to the Volga



The preface to Fridtjof Nansen's Gjennem Kaukasus til Volga (Oslo: Jacob Dybwads Forlag, 1929; translated by G.C. Wheeler, Through the Caucasus to the Volga, London: George Allen & Unwin Ltd., 1931), reads:

The journey described in this book was made in the summer of 1925, and was the continuation of the one described in an earlier book, Armenia and the Near East [Gjennem Armenia]. The author gladly uses this opportunity to express his gratitude to Presidents Samursky and Korkmazov in the Republic of Daghestan for the extraordinary hospitality shown to his fellow-traveller and himself during their interesting stay in this remarkable land.

[Nansen then recommends several books for readers wishing to find out more about the Caucasus, its peoples and its history, and the preface then ends with the following paragraph:]

These introductory words cannot be brought to an end without my hearty thanks to Captain Vidkum Quisling for his untiring kindness as a travelling companion, and for the valuable help he has given the author through his knowledge of Russian and his many-sided attainments.

FRIDTJOF NANSEN, Lysaker, November 1929.

"Captain Vidkum Quisling" is of course the Quisling—the man who, 8 years after Nansen's book on the Caucasus was published, would become leader of the Norwegian Nazi Party and later (1942-1945) Minister President of Nazi-occupied Norway. Executed by firing squad in 1945 following the return of the legitimate Norwegian government from exile in Britain, Quisling's name has become an international synonym for traitor. He appears to have travelled with Nansen as his secretary and Russian interpreter, and his name only pops up but very rarely and insignificantly in Nansen's book.