Alexander III

History AS - Unit 1

Should Russia Industrialise?

What They Need

  • government backing + stability
  • entrepreneurs
  • space
  • infrastructure
  • tech
  • workers
  • natural resources/raw materials
  • capital: efficient agriculture, money + materials

YES

  • railway expansion - easier transport/communication
  • more modern banking system + emancipating serfs - social stability
  • general incentive + motivation
  • enormous population - big workforce (88.6%)
  • low-land plain -> place to build natural resources -> rivers, seas etc.
  • guaranteed annual dividend etc.
  • learn lessons from other countries


  • technological development -> ability to reconstruct weaponry
  • Crimean war defeat - awareness
  • import less/export more - strong economy
  • lots of production/capital
  • more efficient production + communication
  • great power -> virtuous cycle of growth
  • attracts foreign investment
  • less dependence on foreign goods/trade -> keep themselves up





NO

  • limited land for farming
  • Russia is VERY big -> scattered resources (difficult to claim)
  • lack of entrepreneurial middle-class -> not enough for great development
  • lots of bureaucracy/opposition
  • poor communication across country
  • people are not investing money + huge debt
  • restriction of market; surplus


  • 'Landless Proletariat' -> vulnerable - reliant on employer
  • cities can expand -> revolutionary
  • everyone working on industry; less on farming (+ military)
  • alienating slavs etc.
  • Europe might refuse to buy from Russia


Progress of Industrialisation

Agricultural

  • increased indirect taxes -> increased grain exports (1881 - 1891: < 18% SO bulk of export trade was in grain

Industrial

  • railway building programme: 632km (1881-85) --> 1292km (1891-95)
  • reduced imports (increased tariffs) - Tariff Act (1891) - iron/cotton etc. protected from competition
  • foreign exports/workers advised on planning + techniques
  • huge factories -> expanding industrial cities - railways helped iron + coal industries; 1887: 30, 888 factories + 1.3 million factory workers + 1908: 39, 856 factories + 2.6 million factory workers
  • Putilov works -> smaller quantity, larger profit
  • Russia's annual growth -> 8% per year
  • Gold Standard - 1897












Failures of Industrialisation

Agricultural

  • peasants -> heavy indirect taxes - forced to give grain to sell abroad
  • 1891: bad harvest - famine (1.5/2 million died)
  • neglect of agricultural modernisation - peasants could not be forced into producing more
  • protectionism - prices too high
  • inadequate land provision for serfs
  • rural population 'explosion' - doubled

Industrial

  • Trans-Siberian Railway -> drain on finances - Russia's dependence on foreign loans (had to be paid back with interest)
  • neglect of domestic/lighter industry


Social Impact on Industrialisation

Middle Class

  • small traders/workshops owners -> new opportunities - became greater (e.g. factory owners etc.)
  • bankers, doctors, lawyers etc. in higher demand
  • lived within zemstva councils (only 1/2 million middle-class)
Urban Working Class
  • v. high demand for work/accommodation - 3/4 ex-peasants worked in factories etc.
  • livestock roamed streets -> 'peasant markets'
  • workers ate/washed together - excreted outside -> a bed was a luxury (others slept outside/by their machine)
  • many moved to find work in cities - wages failed t keep up with pace of inflation
  • workers suffered brutish treatment during factory life
  • tsarist government - limited concern (often illegal strike activity (1904-5) - violent repression)
  • bad mistake for government to allow large + unhappy working class in cities - provoked overthrow (1917)










Witte's Social Policies

  • wanted to relieve distress + consequent process during harsh period of industrialisation
1882 - factory inspectorate + control of women + children in labour

1886 - laws to set up factory boards - help in industrial disputes

1897 - law that reduced hours of work to 11.5 hours

- Gold Standard - stabilise/encourage external trade + devalued the rouble by 1/3 -> fully convertible - increased inflow of foreign capital from 40 million (1893-6) -> 144 million (1897-1900)

BUT much debt: 1.25 billion (1861) -> 8 billion (1914) (20% of annual budget = 10x Ministry of Education)

Problems of the Rural Economy

  • peasants' income remained low during good harvest (bread prices kept down)
  • faced starvation during bad years (1891-91 + 1898 + 1901)
  • grain yields were poor compared to west; inefficient farming methods
  • averaging holding fell from 35 acres (1877) to 28 acres (1905)
  • soil deprived of manure - output from American farms was 1.5 times that of Russia + British farmland was 4 times as great
  • old methods used; solcha (wooden plough) + medieval rotation systems
  • large gap between richest + poorest sections - kulaks took advantage of less favoured + sometimes bought out impoverished neighbours (loans from peasant banks)
  • kulaks became a small 'capitalist peasant' class - employed labour + acted as 'pawnbrokers'; bought peasant grain in autumn (providing them with money to help them over winter BUT selling it back at inflated prices in spring