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

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
15,574
SoCal
#11
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.
Very interesting points and information! :) Also, it is certainly interesting that unlike the Soviet Union's industrialization, Imperial Russia's industrialization appears to have been heavily dependent on foreign loans and investments. Thus, I wonder if Imperial Russia would have been able to industrialize more and earlier if it would have began receiving large-scale Western loans and investments earlier.

Indeed, any thoughts on this?
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
15,574
SoCal
#12
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.
Why exactly were rivers unusable in this case, though?

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.
Here is a question, though--why exactly did Russia not try building more railroads earlier? After all, couldn't Russia's defeat in the Crimean War in the 1850s have served as a "wake-up call" in regards to Russia's backwardness?

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).
Very interesting points and information! :) Also, though, what about using the Trans-Siberian railroad to import shells from abroad? After all, the Trans-Siberian Railroad was already almost completed in 1914 and fully completed in 1916. :)
 

pugsville

Ad Honorem
Oct 2010
8,497
#13
The Crimean War was indeed a wake up call and it did lead to a massive reform of Russian society the emancipation of the serfs.

The emancipation of the serfs, though was done on the nobles terms, and the fredemption payments placed any peasant who received land heavily into debt

Russians industrial progress cannot be addressed without looking at the serfs. The emancipation of the serfs, and effect on the economy, the Nobles compensation rewarded bad management and crippled the new economy in paying non productive forced loans.
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
15,574
SoCal
#14
The Crimean War was indeed a wake up call and it did lead to a massive reform of Russian society the emancipation of the serfs.
Yes; correct! :) However, liberating the serfs in itself was certainly not enough reform for Russia during this time. :(

The emancipation of the serfs, though was done on the nobles terms, and the fredemption payments placed any peasant who received land heavily into debt
Why exactly did Russian Tsar Alexander II do it this way, though? Was it because the nobles had much more influence at the Russian court than the peasants had? Was it for another reason?

Russians industrial progress cannot be addressed without looking at the serfs. The emancipation of the serfs, and effect on the economy, the Nobles compensation rewarded bad management and crippled the new economy in paying non productive forced loans.
Out of curiosity--did some Russian peasants and/or their descendants continue paying these reparations to the Russian nobles all the way up to the Russian Revolutions of 1917? After all, I would think that heavy debts can sometimes take several decades or longer to fully pay off.
 

pugsville

Ad Honorem
Oct 2010
8,497
#15
The debt were to be paid off in 49 annual payments, so they should have been fully paid by 1900. However most of the peasants unable to keep making the payments and lost the land.

Alexander II went to the Nobles and said this emancipation is going to happen, so you tell me how. He let the Nobles design the program. The Nobles had close to 100% influence at court, there were no serfs at court. The Emancipation failed as social reform, the Serfs though 'free' rapidly lost most of the land, and were plunged into debt and economic oppression that meant in real terms they were no better off on the whole (though a tiny minority did ok) it handed lots of money to the Nobles (who were compensated for the loss of serfs in full, and land at double real prices) who had already shown themselves to be really bad economic managers. The Nobles were mostly badly in debt when the scheme came in and it paid their debts and then lost them live their uneconomic lifestyle for another few decades.

The surplus of the agricultural society was basically pissed up the wall rather than invested wisely in the development of Russia.

It was a tough problem, Alexander II chose to do it in a way to keep the Nobles happy, that part worked mostly but it meant the freeing the serfs only in a strict legal sense while nailing them to the bottom of the economic heap.
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
15,574
SoCal
#16
The debt were to be paid off in 49 annual payments, so they should have been fully paid by 1900. However most of the peasants unable to keep making the payments and lost the land.

Alexander II went to the Nobles and said this emancipation is going to happen, so you tell me how. He let the Nobles design the program. The Nobles had close to 100% influence at court, there were no serfs at court. The Emancipation failed as social reform, the Serfs though 'free' rapidly lost most of the land, and were plunged into debt and economic oppression that meant in real terms they were no better off on the whole (though a tiny minority did ok) it handed lots of money to the Nobles (who were compensated for the loss of serfs in full, and land at double real prices) who had already shown themselves to be really bad economic managers. The Nobles were mostly badly in debt when the scheme came in and it paid their debts and then lost them live their uneconomic lifestyle for another few decades.

The surplus of the agricultural society was basically pissed up the wall rather than invested wisely in the development of Russia.

It was a tough problem, Alexander II chose to do it in a way to keep the Nobles happy, that part worked mostly but it meant the freeing the serfs only in a strict legal sense while nailing them to the bottom of the economic heap.
Thank you very much for sharing all of this information, pugsville! :) Also, though, what exactly do you think would have occurred if Russian Tsar Alexander II would not have let the nobles design the serf emancipation program but would have instead let someone at the Russian court who is more serf-friendly design this program instead?

In addition to this, though, do you think that Pyotr Stolypin's reforms would have been likely to work if he would not have gotten assassinated and if World War I would have been either delayed or completely prevented?

Any thoughts on this?
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
15,574
SoCal
#17
Also, one more question--did other European countries likewise emancipate their serfs in the same noble-friendly way that Russia did or did other European countries actually implement (more) serf-friendly serf emancipation?

Any thoughts on this?