Russia 1855-1964 Urban workers

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  • Urban workers
    • Living conditions
      • End of 19th century about 15% of pop in towns/cities, only 19 cities had more than 100,000 inhabitants. St Petersburg (1.25 mill) and Moscow (1 mill)
      • By 1914 over 1,000 towns containing 2 mill buildings, over 50% housing was made from wood, prone to fire damage, most houses and streets lit by kerosene lamps. Only 74 towns had access to electricity and 35 to gas. 200 had access to piped water and 38 a sewage system
      • 100,000  cholera deaths in 1910 St Petersburg
      • Special workers' housing near industrial cities. These 'Barracks' hastily built, overcrowded and insanitary.
      • The Decree on Land 1917 partly focused on the parties intent for housing. Dwellings in towns and cities were to be taken from private ownership and handed to the proletariat
      • Improvements in housing made by Lenin were reversed by Stalin. Stalinist policy was to allocate spac not rooms to individuals and families, especially with new high rise tenements.
        • In Moscow mid 1930s different families had to share 1 room.
        • WWII led to 25 million homeless, not adressed until after Stalin's death
        • Housing stock doubled from 1955-1964 and principles of communal living abandoned
        • The introduction of housing co-ops tended to favour the professional classes, only ones who could afford a deposit
    • Urbanisation was a slow and gradual process, went hand in hand with industrialisation, came with associated public health problems of overcrowding, substandard housing, inadequate water supply and poor drainage. The end result was the outbreak of diseases such as cholera, thus urbanisation created new problems for russian leaders
    • Working conditions
        • Employed in service industries or manufacturing
        • Worst conditions in factories, mines, iron and steel plants and engineering works
        • No factory inspectorate until 1882 and working conditions for many remained dangerous and unhealthy, too few inspectors and limited power
        • Internal passports were a way of controlling migration to urban areas to alleviate some issue, in 1917 and 1932 revamped and imposed by communists
        • 1882- employment in factories of children under 12 banned, issues regarding inspectors
        • 1896- 11hr working day fixed by law, not obliged to work on sundays
        • 1903- worker's insurance scheme introduced, adapted in 1912
        • 1914- statutory holidays introduced and most employers operating a 9-10 hr day
        • Worsened, in short term
        • Hours extended, especially Stalin, low pay, 'new work discipline' enforced harshly
        • Stalinist regime imposed heavy fines for breaking work rules (10% of wage), threatened with being purged if they were wreckers
        • 1920- Rabkrin (workers and peasant inspectorate) established but a retrograde step, became a discussion group not law enforcing body
        • 1932 onwards- Stalin demanded a 10-12hr working day for the five year plans
        • 1939- a result of the success of five year plan the average working day went down to seven hours, bonus schemes organised and Stakhanovite movement popularised


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