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Critically evaluate/assess the achievements of Sergei Witte and their consequences for the social groups in Tsarist Russia up to 1906.

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Introduction

/ Critically evaluate/assess the achievements of Sergei Witte and their consequences for the social groups in Tsarist Russia up to 1906. In the late 1800s, Russia domestic backwardness and vulnerability in foreign affairs reached crisis proportions after famine claimed half a million life's in 1891 and activities by Japan and China near Russia's borders were perceived as threats from abroad. Reaction to this was adopting the ambitious but costly economic programs of Witte (the country's strong-willed minister of finance). He spent most of his time during the 1870s - 1880s involved in private enterprises, particularly the administration and management of various railroad lines in Russia. By 1893 he became minister of finance. Sergei Witte's memo to Nicholas I, "Russia's more than any other country needs a proper economic foundation for her national policy and culture. International competition does not wait . . . Our economic backwardness may lead to political and cultural backwardness as well."www.slu.edu/school.co.uk Witt championed foreign loans in particular from France who became Russia's main ally in Europe. The loan industrialized certain sectors of the industry mainly it was spent on the Railway, which of course took most of the heavy expenditure. This in turn allowed Russia to achieve some of its modernization of its 'backwards' economy. ...read more.

Middle

Another solution for Russia for its economical problem was gaining essential advice on industrial planning and techniques. With this Russia decided to invite skilled craftsmen from other industrial countries such as France, Germany, Sweden and Britain. Although thought as costly, Witte regarded this to be important but also it would have a direct impact on Russia industrial development. With this in mind, Russia's working class leant vital skilled jobs which infect created an improvement of skilled working class. During the 1890s, Russia's industrial development led to a significant increase in the size of the urban bourgeoisie and the working class, setting the stage for a more dynamic political atmosphere and the development of radical parties. Because the state and foreigners owned much of Russia's industry, the working class was comparatively stronger and the bourgeoisie comparatively weaker than in the West. The working class and peasants were the first to establish political parties because the nobility and the wealthy bourgeoisie were politically timid. During the 1890s and early 1900s, abysmal living and working conditions, high taxes, and land hunger gave rise to more frequent strikes and agrarian disorders. These activities prompted the bourgeoisie of various nationalities in the empire to develop a host of different parties, both liberal and conservative. ...read more.

Conclusion

He thought by giving ground to divide the opposition forces he could 'buy off' the middle classes it would take the added pressure off the government. Witte then bought off the peasantry with a promise to them to reduce their mortgage repayments as a prelude to their abolition and new land reforms. He also offered the right to vote in elections for the new Dumas. This ensured that the middle class liberal and radical element in any new parliament would be counter balanced by a more conservative peasant element. Many of his reforms were put into place, but they failed to end the unrest. This, and overwhelming victories by Political parties of Russian Revolution in Russia's first elected parliament, the State Dumas, forced Witte to resign as Chairman of the Council of Ministers (Prime Minister). The Czars had always feared their Ministers' desire for power, and therefore generally appointed incompetents to lead their government. Had the government and bureaucracy been willing to support Witte who in fact was deeply loyal, they might have prevented the build-up of social tensions which culminated in the 1917 Revolution.2 ; Memoirs of Count Witte translated and edited by Sidney Harcave M.E. Sharpe, Inc. Armonk, Newyork - London, England 1990 Chris Corin, (2002) "Communist Russia under Lenin and stalin" jm (London Macmillan) Hamish Macdonald, ((2001)"Russia and the Ussr Empire of Revolution" Pearson education limited (Essex) www.russianhistoryabroad.com www.wikipedia.org.com www.brainyhistory.com ...read more.

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