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"Alexander II's attempt to modernise Russia and compete with Western Europe were frustrated by the lack of foreign investment. Not until after his death did french money begin to pour into Russia."

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Introduction

"Alexander II's attempt to modernise Russia and compete with Western Europe were frustrated by the lack of foreign investment. Not until after his death did french money begin to pour into Russia." (Pierre Delgrange from his memoirs published in 1913, a French banker who spent many years in Russia) Using my own knowledge I believe the above statement to be partially true. I have looked at evidence that supports the statement and criticises it. Though first we must asses how valid is the interpretation made by Pierre Delgrange. After looking at the source there are a number of reasons why it is and isn't valid. Firstly seeing as Pierre Delgrange was a banker he should have known a lot about finance, he would have been an expert in his field. Being in his position he would have been a clever and intelligent man. Therefore he might have had some idea about the financial goings on in Russia. During the reign of Alexander II, Delgrange was an observer in Russia. ...read more.

Middle

He ended the wasteful amounts of money used by separate government departments, instead, the principle of overall control was given to a unified treasury. As well as this he also introduced a regular budget, which reduced corruption within the government. He westernised Russia by overhauling the tax system and publishing the countries accounts, this lifted the lid on any secrecy Basically he had modernised and improved how the organisation of Russia's finance system worked. By doing all of this Reutern provided capital to help with the construction of the railways. When Alexander ascended the throne there were less than 700 miles of track laid. By 1881 (the year of his death) over 14,000 miles of track had been laid. Reutern said this about the railways in 1870 "Without railways, Russia cannot be secured in her boundaries". From this quote it is clear that without a railway system Russia was vulnerably. All of this work demanded planning, a huge workforce, coal and iron, etc. The government encouraged big business and potential investors to build the lines, though not enough people were interested. ...read more.

Conclusion

So as well as the railways other reforms were benefiting the country. Not long after Alexander's assassination Western Europe began to see the potential in Russia. France particular helped out the country when it invested heavily into Russia. This was just what the country needed. This in one way also brought about the "dual entente" The dual entente was an alliance between France and Russia that lasted from 1893 until the Bolshevik revolution of 1917. Russia turned to France after they feared an attack by Germany. After looking at certain evidence I have come to a conclusion. The reforms made by Alexander II did aim to westernise Russia. He didn't have the amount of money needed to completely modernise Russia. There was foreign money there to build the railways but it came too late for him to see. After his death the French investment came in to the country and boosted Russia's economy. Going back to the source I can tell that that Delgrange wrote his memoirs in 1913, some time after the event. Even so the interpretation seems to relate to the facts in history. So in my opinion Delgrange made a well-informed opinion about Russia under Alexander. ...read more.

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