From the book
"Travelling to Onego region and Karelia"

1. Salt smuggling

Before salting the fish is slit along the backbone, drawn and slightly rinsed – not really washed – "even in that way there is a lot of work with it". After this preliminary procedure some salt is put inside the fish, but just a bit as this "people's sugar" is very expensive in the North to be used without a measure. There were a lot written on the subject, but without any real use. It seams that a ruble of the state income is more valuable than the well-being of a big region. At first we were quite surprised, because when we were in Karelia we sometimes we served the fish salted last year and it still had a perfect taste. "Why so?" we thought. Is this the notorious Russian unskilfulness? And only the right question put to the old-timers gave the answer. The Karelian townships are closer to Finland then Russian, and in Finland the salt is dirty cheap. So, the good horse, a capacious cart or sledges and precise rifle (told to exist only in the fairy tales, but existing here due to enormously dear powder) and the whole transports are coming from Finland to Karelia. Russians are again unlucky here – they live too far from the border. "Those who should know" learned about this Karelian fortune and set at the Finnish border the custom guard, but as the well-known rule says, "the guard strengthen smuggling". So the salt is still transported, but costs a bit dearer, because except the price in Finland and the cost of transportation there comer one more pricing coefficient – the price of the human lives – and this rises the price of the pud* of salt about full 10 kopecks.

  • Old Russian measure of wieght = 40 pounds (about 16 kilograms).

Part 2.