19th Century Russia Industrialization Analysis

Industrialisation in Russia during the late 19th century was one of the defining economic changes that the nation underwent. It altered Russian society to a holistic extent, having a multitude of direct and indirect economic, social, and political ramifications. Industrialisation expedited the dawn of economic, structural change, claimed responsibility for renewing Russia as a global and competitive power, and acted as a powerful catalyst for accelerating social evolution. The progression of Russia in the 19th century – in economic, social, and political contexts alike - can be much attributed to the developments facilitated by industrialisation.

Industrialisation completely reinvigorated the Russian economy and commercial pursuits in the
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Lacking competitiveness relative to Western European states and Slavophil oriented policy hindered Russia as an economic and political powerhouse in the 19th century. The main factor that maintained Russia’s international backwards was the government’s refusal to embrace industrialisation as a positive change. Prior to widespread industrialisation in the later decades of the 19th century, economic activity and success within and coming from Russia was falling behind that of the rest of Europe; Britain was producing 10 times the amount of iron as Russia in 1860 and a surprising defeat in the Crimean War (1854-56) only highlighted Russia’s weakness economically, militarily, and politically. To rectify the slow degradation of Russia’s reputation, the government openly accepted industrialisation on a holistic scale in the 1890’s. Previously only supporting railway construction, the government under the guidance of Minister of Finance Sergei Witte made massive progress in improving the Russian economy and political power through industrialisation. Exemplified in Sergei Witte’s Secret Memorandum to Tsar Nicholas II in 1899 – ‘Russia is an independent and strong power…’ To be militarily and politically influential, Russia implemented mass industrialisation in the late 19th century to foster overseas trade, foreign capital investment, and the export of Russian produce; this manifested in large scale manufacturing, exponential increase in the use of steam power, promotion of enterprise, and the development of better international relations – the France-Russian Military Convention of 1892 coincided perfectly with growing Russian economic strength. Compared to earlier in the century, when Western correspondence was shunned, exports were minimal, and animal labour was the main power source, industrialisation ignited a huge upswing in the position of Russia as a modern

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