Why exactly didn't Russia pursue large-scale industrialization earlier?

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
21,022
SoCal
#1
Based on the data here, it appears that Russia's total industrial potential increased by almost 5 times between 1860 and 1913:

http://www.beaconschool.org/~bfaithfu/greatdivergencecharts.pdf

However, the data above also shows that Germany's total industrial potential increased by 12.5 times while the U.S.'s total industrial potential increased by 18.5 times during this very same time period. Indeed, it is worth noting that, as far as I know, Germany's population grew at a slower rate than Russia's population grew during this time period while the U.S.'s population probably grew at approximately the same rate that Russia's population grew during this time period. However, in spite of this, Russia's total industrial potential increased at a much slower rate between 1860 and 1913 than the rate at which both the U.S.'s and Germany's total industrial potential increased during this very same time period.

Now, my question here is this--why exactly did Russia industrialize at a much slower rate between 1860 and 1913 than both Germany and the U.S. did during this very same time period? After all, Russia's population during this time period probably grew at a faster rate than Germany's population grew during this time period; however, in spite of this, Germany industrialized at a rate that was about 2.5 times faster that Russia's rate of industrialization during this time period.

Anyway, any thoughts on this?
 
Nov 2015
1,921
Kyiv
#2
I do not think you choose a correct period for the industrialization in Russian Empire. The matter is that untill 1885 the Russian industry was in some slowdown - and a big growth started just after that.

Some figures in millions of tons for the 1887 - 1900 - 1913

Cast iron 36,1 - 176,8 - 283
Coal 276,2 - 986, 4 - 2215
Steel and iron 35,5 - 163 - 246,5
Oil 155 - 631,1- 561,3
Cotton (recycled) 11,5 - 16 - 25,9
Sugar 25,9 - 48,5 - 75,4
 
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rvsakhadeo

Ad Honorem
Sep 2012
9,167
India
#3
Based on the data here, it appears that Russia's total industrial potential increased by almost 5 times between 1860 and 1913:

http://www.beaconschool.org/~bfaithfu/greatdivergencecharts.pdf

However, the data above also shows that Germany's total industrial potential increased by 12.5 times while the U.S.'s total industrial potential increased by 18.5 times during this very same time period. Indeed, it is worth noting that, as far as I know, Germany's population grew at a slower rate than Russia's population grew during this time period while the U.S.'s population probably grew at approximately the same rate that Russia's population grew during this time period. However, in spite of this, Russia's total industrial potential increased at a much slower rate between 1860 and 1913 than the rate at which both the U.S.'s and Germany's total industrial potential increased during this very same time period.

Now, my question here is this--why exactly did Russia industrialize at a much slower rate between 1860 and 1913 than both Germany and the U.S. did during this very same time period? After all, Russia's population during this time period probably grew at a faster rate than Germany's population grew during this time period; however, in spite of this, Germany industrialized at a rate that was about 2.5 times faster that Russia's rate of industrialization during this time period.

Anyway, any thoughts on this?
But surely, Russia was far behind in terms of a literate part of the population and especially in terms of high school /college graduates who had received education in science and technology. More likely that an intelligent Russian youngster in those days opted for the Church or for Law, though surprisingly the individual Russian scientists were as brilliant as their western counterparts. So was an aristocratic culture, heavily leaning towards the careers in army or the govt. responsible ?
Dismal communications connecting coal mines to centers of industrial production might have been a cause, though the Volga probably did provide some kind of barge traffic from south towards north.
 
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rvsakhadeo

Ad Honorem
Sep 2012
9,167
India
#4
And yes, electrification was also a constraint. Russia must have been far behind the west in terms of production of Electricity. Lenin was right in emphasising this aspect of the Communist government.
 
Dec 2015
440
London München Budapest
#5
They had not enough engineers. The societal infrastructural level and education of Russian Empire did not make possible the earlier industrialization. However Russia did not become an industrialized country until the ww2, but it was an agricultural villager/rural society.
 
Nov 2015
1,921
Kyiv
#6
Soviet forced industrialization was a fact. Meanwhile I remember that in one of Stalin speeches in the 30s he said that the industrial power of Donbass - one of the major industrial areas of the land of soviets - was created by "Western capitalists".

In my Kiev I also know some big plants that started before the 1917 as a product of the Western investors and went under the names like "a plant of Greter and Krivanek", etc. By the end of the XIX century Russian industry grew rapidly under a flow of Western investments. In 1914 in France there were 1.6 million holders of Russian loans in the amount of 12 billion francs in gold.

After 1917 the term"emprunt russe" in France became an expression of an irrevocable debt

As to the engineers - in 1898 in Kiev was opened the largest politechnicum in Russian empire - the Kiev politechnical institute. Initially with 360 students. And by the 1917 their number increased to 2277. Famous helicopter builder Igor Sykorsky studied there.

Of course, the bolsheviks started a new big industrial jump in early 30s. But do not forget that they completely lost the previous decade. And forced Russia to move far-far back before that.
 
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Sep 2013
485
Colonia Iulia Augusta Faventia Barcino
#7
For development of heavy industry, the main problem was a geographical one. The main metal mines of the Russian empire were located in the Urals, while the main coal mines were in the Donbass. The distance between these two areas goes up to 1,800 km. And the traditional means of internal transportation in Tsarist Russia (rivers) was unusable in this case. Until railroads were built linking both areas (and with enough carrying capacity) mass scale production of steel could not really begin with a cost approaching that of western Europe and the USA. For example the Putilov Works in St. Petersburg burnt imported British coal because it was cheaper to bring it by sea than to carry it all the way across the vast expanses of Russia's interior.

The lack of mass production of steel at affordable prices put the development of Russian industry on a deadlock in many fields, especially in railroad building and all kind of mechanical production, locomotoves, shipbuilding, etc. For the last classes of battleships that were built or under building in Russian yards before 1917, practically all the specialized mechanical parts had to be imported. Even the Russian army discovered after July 1914 that Russian industry was unable to produce shells for its guns because the fuse mechanism was too complex for them, and of course imports from aboad were impossible because both the Baltic and Black seas were closed to Allies shipping (and French and British industries were busy producing shells for their own armies).
 
Nov 2015
1,921
Kyiv
#8
An alternative to Ural had to be Donbass.

Founded there by a British businessman John Hughes "The Novorossiysk Society of coal, iron and rail industries" in Donbass began production of first smelted iron in 1872. The plant operates at full metallurgical cycle, here for the first time in Russia started 8 coke oven, hot blast is being developed.

Founded by Hughes plant became one of the industrial centers of Russian Empire and later the Soviet Union.

By 1900, in the south of the Russian Empire were 25 steel companies, including 12 in the Donbass.

In honor of Hughes Donetsk was called Yuzovka in 1868-1924. Later - Stalino.

About Donetsk coal and iron complex before 1917 see http://ir.nmu.org.ua/bitstream/handle/123456789/627/Britan.pdf?sequence=1
 
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Dec 2015
440
London München Budapest
#9
Machine industry and electrotechnology were not developed in the Russian Empire, or they remained in embrional stage. They were heavily dependent on Western imports.
 
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Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
21,022
SoCal
#10
I do not think you choose a correct period for the industrialization in Russian Empire. The matter is that untill 1885 the Russian industry was in some slowdown - and a big growth started just after that.

Some figures in millions of tons for the 1887 - 1900 - 1913

Cast iron 36,1 - 176,8 - 283
Coal 276,2 - 986, 4 - 2215
Steel and iron 35,5 - 163 - 246,5
Oil 155 - 631,1- 561,3
Cotton (recycled) 11,5 - 16 - 25,9
Sugar 25,9 - 48,5 - 75,4
What exactly are the comparable data for Germany and for the U.S. during this same time period, though?