Russian economy for A2 History (OCR specific)

Russian Economy 1855-1964

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Alexander II

Alexander II

  • Mikhail Reutern minister of finance in charge of railway construction, attraction of foreign technical expertise and employment of foreign investment capital
  • Modernisation and expansion in Iron, coal and textiles and also oil
  • 1884 New Russian coal, iron and rail making company- largest producer of pig iron in empire, responsible for half the steel production in Russia
  • Emancipation to help agriculture and economy

Some small developments, nothing large that helps the economy hugely and is brought on by defeat in the Crimean war

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Alexander III

Alexander III

  • Peasant land bank
  • End of poll and salt tax
  • Greater state ownership of railways 
  • Fall in value of the rouble
  • Medele'ev tariff- exported grain when country in starvation which lead to famine and a worse economic situation
  • Start of Witte's great spurt but this carried on into the reign of Nicholas II

Also small developments, as using repression not enough economic developments.

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Nicholas II

Nicholas II

  • Witte's great spurt in full force
  • Previous achievements modest in comparison
  • Took out foreign loans, raised taxes and interest rates
  • Rouble on 'Gold standard'
  • Coal production doubled and that of iron and steel increased sevenfold
  • Development of specialist technologies in oil and chemicals
  • Railway went from 29,183KM 1891 to 52,612KM in 1901
  • Huge capital from abroad which increased 120% every year
  • Income from industry- 42 million to 161 million
  • Pushed France into 4th place from Iron production in Europe
  • 'Far exceeding Russian achievement for any comparable period before 1914 and establishing one of the most impressive performances in late 19th century.'

However, he only focused on heavy industry, loans were criticised, railway was costly, he didn't help agriculture. Was a dress rehearsal for industrialisation under Stalin in the 1930s

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Nicholas II during WW1

  • After Russo-Japanese war Stolypin and Witte worked together to help economy. 
  • 1909-1913 industrialisation output increased 7% a year and GNP by 3%
  • However starvation was high 
  • Russian economy fell apart during WW1
  • This was evidence Witte wasn't wholly successful
  • Not enough armaments
  • No more gold standard and inflation was high
  • Price of food and fuel went up x4
  • Wages didn't keep up
  • Starvation and riots
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War Communism

War Communism

  • Introduced state capitalism- control of economy
  • War ended which was beneficial
  • Land went back to the peasants
  • Worker's committee's power to run factories
  • Key industrial nationalised, 30,000 nationalised economic entities by 1920
  • Civil war worsened the economy- rouble now only worth 1% of it's value in 1917
  • 90% wages in kind
  • Partial militarisation of labour
  • Forced grain requisitioning- caused famine and starvation
  • Tambov uprising- red army sent to restore order
  • Kronstadt rebellion- killed or went to Gulags
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New Economic policy

  • Taking food from peasants abandoned- peasants could sell on an open market
  • Private trading allowed
  • Nepmen created, 3/4 all trade conducted by this group
  • 1922 New currency- end to inflation
  • Lenin gave economy 'breathing space'
  • Saw a tightening on political control when relax on economy to stop/ ban party factions
  • Food shortages disappeared 
  • Famine stopped
  • 85% firms private ownership
  • peasants cultivated more land, rising by half 1921-1927
  • Coal and textile production doubled same period
  • Caused 'scissor crisis' gap between agricultural and industrial prices
  • Only brought economy back to pre 1914 level
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  • Five year plans to industrialise Russia rapidly and get ready for a German invasion
  • Living standard rose and so did health care in 1930s
  • Rapid urbanisation across Russia
  • Steel, coal mining and heavy industry increased
  • New cities, dams, power, communications, transport (metro and railway), education
  • 110% coal production
  • 200% iron production
  • 335% electric production
  • 'Founded with wooden plough, left with nuclear reactor.'
  • Progress amazing (1930s America and Britain in depression)

Progress unmatched to this point, allowed Stalin to win WW2 and also begin the cold war- space race, arms race, nuclear weapons.

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  • More consumer goods
  • Relaxed controls on collective farms
  • 'Virgin lands campaign.'
  • Had to import grain as lack of success of Virgin lands
  • Relaxed 5 year plans
  • Height of cold war money went on competition

Still lagging behind the West despite the work of Stalin and Witte.

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Francesca Tittensor



Very useful, thanks!

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