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Russia's Modernisation Success Between 1893 and 1903

  • Date Submitted: 10/29/2012 08:36 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 35.5 
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In what ways and with what success was Russia’s industrial economy modernised between 1893-1903?
1893, a year which ultimately highlighted just how backward Russia was in comparison to other great European nations. Not only was it suffering from an oppressive autocratic monarchy in which reform was discouraged but it had an increasingly failing economy. This economy was extremely underdeveloped and restricted with the absence of an effective banking system and where major industrial growth had taken place in Germany, Britain and USA, Russia’s low urban workers constrained similar growth, meaning Russia was no longer upheld the power it had prior to 1850. The call for economic change came from those striving to protect Tsarism from the disruptive forces in society, the plan being that a better economy would keep the peasants from political extremism, and it would seem the government agreed with this; however it is more likely that they supported it for military rather than financial reasons; the idea that a growing industry would provide the base for the production of better guns, equipment and navy ships at a faster rate.
The humongous task of modernising Russia fell to Sergei Witte, the minister of finance; a man often regarded as one of the finest individuals involved in Russia’s reform at the time. Witte was a man who believed that modernisation could only occur through state capitalism, and particularly through the expansion of the transport system in railways, which at the start of 1893 could only be described as inadequate. His intelligence was proven through this time, with his prestige being the trans-Siberian railway.
The transform that engulfed Russia at this time is known as the “great spurt”. Witte’s forte was his negotiations of large loans and investments from foreign countries, allowing capital to be poured into heavy industry, and the creation of protective tariffs imposed as a means of safeguarding Russia’s young domestic industries. Credit...

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