How far did Russia change economically and politically between 1881 - 1904

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  • Created on: 25-03-14 13:40
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How far did Russia change economically and
politically between 1881-1904?
Following the assassination in 1881 of Alexander II, his son Alexander
III took over from his father in that same year. When Alexander III
took over from his father, he employed Ivan Vyshnegradsky as
Finance Minister. Vyshnegradsky strove to improve finances,
increase capital stock and build up gold reserves in the Russian
In order to this he imposed higher tariffs on exports as a method of
protection for Russian natural resources such as iron, coal and raw
cotton. This being imposed in 1891, prior to this he had increased
indirect taxes (ad valorem) to create a swell in grain exports at the
cost of his own people's hunger. Import duties in Russia had reached
33% by 1891, by this time also Russia's grain exports had increased
by 18% too.
By 1892, Vyshnegradsky's policies had seen the empire achieve a
budget surplus, although at the expense of the peasant class. This led
to a widespread famine in Russia by 1892; thousands of people were
starving to death, as a result of this he was dismissed by Alexander
Alexander III then employed Sergei Witte for the position of Finance
Minister. Witte's main objective was to develop Russian economically
for greater strength in the world. His aimed to; improve the military
strength of the Russian empire, develop the empire's industries,
exploit the cheap labour, utilise railways the railways for trade and
increase government revenue.

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The main issue facing him at that period was that Russia had
insufficient funds to do all this, so he would have to get help from
foreign investments.
Sergei Witte personally identified that the hindrances to Russia's
economic development existed in the form of; insufficient Capital,
Lack of technical and managerial expertise and insufficient labour.
He believed that `State Capitalism' was the overall solution to all
these issues. He believed that industrialisation needed to be controlled
from above.…read more

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Trans-Siberian railway was completed by 1902, linking
European Russian with Asian Russia.
Russian's rapid growth however led to an over population in cities,
the places to find work, many people's living standards were lowered,
the average number of inhabitants in a St. Petersburg apartment
was 16. Many peasants were encouraged to migrate to eastern
regions. The increase in the number of railways in Russia meant that
transport and good costs were falling, so prices were falling too. To
maximise revenue, the fares were increased.…read more

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Rents were usually half of a
worker's wage. Women were paid less than men and real wages
seemed to be shrinking.
This led to widespread discontent amongst the working class and
middle class. This in turn gave way to radicalism. The reactionary
policies of the Russia created a spring of radical groups such as the
Populists, who led by the intelligentsia.
The repressive policies of the Russian government increased the
autocratic power that Alexander III had over Russia.…read more

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The Russian government intent on preventing revolution
actually in fact changed this for the worse in the future.…read more


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