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Industrial revolution in Russia

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Milena Petkova European Industrial Revolutions Essay # 2 The industrial revolution in Russia Russia, which began its industrial revolution at least a half century behind most of the West European countries, had to meet a number of special challenges. Russia moved to industrialisation in stages. An uncertain experimental phase - which Russia had already experienced to an extent before 1870 - included larger reforms that helped free up economic change. This preliminary period was followed by more rapid growth in a society still overwhelming agricultural. Russia had well-developed industrial sectors by the early 20th century, but paused well behind the West. Russia became the only society to experience full-fledged political and social revolution after the industrialisation process was well under way. The reform period in the 1860s that brought limited freedom for the serfs also produced a host of other political changes, some of which involved economic policy. The Abolition of Serfdom in 1861, had slowed down the creation of a large workforce, and, as such, the Russian economy had been almost completely agrarian. ...read more.


A number of French and German firms set up Russian branches. Not only Western companies established branches but also individual entrepreneurs setting up Russian operations on their own, played a vital role in the expansion process. The growing foreign presence rapidly increased Russian technology levels. Failures and disputes were common in Russia, and some foreigners pulled out after extensive problems with their work force or clashes with local property owners. Foreign investments continued until 1914, and government encouragement continued as well. The process not only brought money and technology to Russia but also contributed to the expansion of a group of Russian managers and technical experts. Russian industrial growth increased steadily and then had its first extraordinary burst in the 1890s. Exploitation of Russia's iron and coal fields began slowly in the 1850s, found by individual Western industrialists. Coal deposits in the Donetz district of south Russia had been discovered late in the 18th century, but there was no widespread mining until after 1850. Heavy industry in general grew rapidly. ...read more.


Russian workers felt their isolation from urban society and from the state. A few factory laws were passed, one of them as early as 1845 limiting child labour, but they were not put into effect. These factors operated in combination. They reflected not only the conditions common to early industrialisation, but also the inflexibility of Russian politics. Finally, for Professor Gerschenkron Russia between 1885-1914, was the most backward of European countries, with a traditional agriculture and impoverished peasantry, an autocratic state and an inactive economy, which could only be pulled into the modern age during the 1890s by a state-induced industrial boom. From 1894-1900, with state support, heavy industry grew rapidly until the financial crisis of 1901 weakened government credit and ended the boom. During the years 1894-1900, however, backward linkages from the industrial sector were formed with the rest of the economy. Thereby, an infra-structure was created which, in the aftermath of the crisis of 1901-1905 and in the context of reforms initiated in 1906, allowed the Russian economy, for the first time to experience a phase of natural, balanced economic growth. By 1914, Russia, thanks to the state help of the 1890s, was well on the way to join the western European nations. ...read more.

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