Nandini Maharaj is teaching live on Unacademy Plus
RUSSIAN INDUSTRIALISATION PART 4 BY NANDINI MAHARAJ
Contribution of Sergei Witte: The 1880s saw the emergency of Sergei Witte, a qualified mathematician with a proven track record of achievement, both in the tsarist bureaucracy and the private sector. -In 1889 Witte was placed in charge of the Russian railway system, where he oversaw the planning and construction of the Trans-Siberian Railway. By 1892 Witte was minister for transport, communication and finance. Identifying a need for capital investment, Witte made it easier for foreigners to invest in Russian industrial ventures.
Existing barriers were removed, while foreign individuals and companies were offered incentives if they invested in certain industrial and manufacturing sectors. The industries of coal, oil, iron, and textiles boomed once German and French backers began to invest in them. -Witte also undertook currency reform: in 1897 he moved the Russian rouble to the gold standard, strengthening and stabilising it and improving foreign exchange. -He also borrowed to fund public works and infrastructure programs including new railways, telegraph lines and electrical plants.
By the late 1890s, Witte's reforms had a visible impact on the Russian economy. Large amounts of foreign capital, mostly from France and Britain, had funded new plants and factories in St Petersburg, Moscow, Kiev and other cities. By 1900 around haitfof Russia's heavy industries were foreign-owned - but the Russian empire was the world's fourthlargest producer of steel and its second-largest source of petroleum. New railways allowed transport into remote parts of the empire, allowing the construction and operation of factories, mines, dams and other projects there.
Russia's industrial economy had progressed more in one decade than it had in the previous century -Its development was so rapid that the many historians later dubbed it "the great spurt 13
Problems of Industrialization in Russia and Revolution: But for all its advances, the economic transformation of Russia also delivered unforeseen consequences, some of them problematic for the regime. Political and social problems increased as a result of industrialization Government officials and business leaders applauded economic growth. Nobles and peasants opposed it, fearing the changes it brought.
-Industrialization also created new social ills as peasants flocked to cities to work in factories. -Instead of a better life, they found long hours and low pay in dangerous conditions. The construction of new factories drew thousands of landless peasants into the cities in search of work. In time they formed a rising social class: the industrial proletariat. -Russia's cities were not equipped for the rapid urban growth that accompanied industrialisation. -In the early 1800s only two Russian cities (St Petersburg and Moscow) contained more than 100,000 residents; by 1910 there were twelve cities of this size.
-In the decade between 1890 and 1900, St Petersburg swelled by around 250,000 people.
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