chapter 2 the impact of dictatorial regimes on the economy and society

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the extent and reasons for economic change

industrialisation

  • industrialisation- the manufacture of goods in workshops and factories
  • 1855-1964 russian leaders were keen to accelerate the industrialising process
  • consistent emphasis on heavy industry
  • catch up with the west
  • the great western powers had seemingly based their economic progress on the devleopment of the iron and coal industries
  • russian leaders sought to emulate the industrial revolution that had occurred in these countries
  • believed this was the obvious way to increase and maintain world power status
  • the methods used to achieve this varied from leader to leader according to circumstance
  • russian industrialisation proceeded through different phases- differences in political leadership; changing world context
  • common thread that affected development- relationship with agricultural activity; peculiar nature of russian society

alexander II and the proto-management of the economy

  • before 1855 there had been a reluctance to engage in industrialisation- associated with the rise of an urban proletariat which displated a propensity to revolt
  • Alexander II recognised that the threat of peasant unrest was just as great
  • this could be dealt with by moving rural workers off the land and into industry
  • factories warranted a new work discipline
  • factory owners introduced strict rules and regulations that were required for employees to work safely and efficiently with machines
  • way of controlling the activities of the bulk of the population
  • more committed move towards state involvement in industry- appointment of Mikhail Reutern as minister of finance
  • mikhail reutern- helped to implement emancipation; minister of finance; introduced a unified state budget
  • adopted a sensible approach- continued railway construction, attracton of foreign technical expertise, employment of foreign investment capital
  • modernisation and expansion occurred within the staples and newer industries
  • Ludwig Loop from Manchester helped to develop the Russian textile industry
  • the Nobel brothers were responsible for the growth of the modern oil industry around Baku in the Caucasus
  • J.J. Hughes transformed iron and steel production at Ekaterinoslav
  • employed in 1871 by the Russian government as an expert in the manufacture of armour plate
  • 1884- New Russian Coal, Iron and Railmaking Company was the largest producers of pig iron in the whole of the empire
  • start of the 20th century- responsible for 1/2 of the steel production of Russia
  • accompanied by social investment- constructed a new town (Yuzovo)
  • had english schools, public houses and 32,000 welsh russians by 1904
  • clear demonstration of the value of employing foreign technical expertise to move Russia forwards 
  • trend that continued throughout the period

railway construction

  • use of foreign expertise was not entirely new
  • well illustrated in the field of railway construction
  • 1837- first railway in Russia completed during the reign of Nicholas I; work of Gerstner
  • 1851- St Petersburg to Moscow line opened
  • stimulated by the success of the Manchester to Liverpool railway
  • the final design and construction were mainly influenced the american engineers George Washington Whistler
  • built to a very high technical standard
  • illustrated that where there was a will there was a way for russia to keep up with its western counterparts
  • Reutern built…

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