Russian Industrialization, 1867-1927/8

The history of Russian industrialisation during the years 1867-1927/8 has been characterised by a series of typologies. Tugan-Baranovskii, writing in 1890, saw the origins of Industrialisation as rooted in the nation's kustari traditions, which were only destroyed and displaced in the 1890s by the growth of factory industry (1). This view was contemporaneously supplemented by Markist-Leninist writers who also saw the 'nineties as marking the beginnings of the Russian "Industrial Revolution" and of "Industrial Capitalism" in that nation, the focus of their attention shifting from light to heavy industry (2). Alexander Gershchenkron subsequently further extended this theme. He, in the context of a new international typology of "relative backwardness" and drawing on contemporary Rostovian growth theories and on the earlier writings of the Russian Minister of Finance, Sergei Witte (1892-1903), made State support the basis for the development of those heavy industries. This allegedly provided the basis Russian Industrialisation in the 1890s (3). Each of these typologies, whilst accurately describing the evolution of particular sectors of Russian industry during the years 1867-1927/8 and generalising therefrom, singularly ignored the development of other important sectors within the fabric of Russian industry. This has been made very clear by recent studies of Paul Gregory whose macro-economic studies of Russian National Income have provided sub-series of industrial output which reveal aggregate patterns of development which do not conform to any of the above typologies (4).

It is accordingly the purpose of this project, utilising the techniques pioneered by Berrick Saul in relation to British Industrialisation, to empirically explore and elucidate by a desegregative analysis, the processes underlying these observed patterns of aggregate Russian industrial change. To this end data contained in successive Russian industrial censuses- 1867, 1879, 1885, 1891, 1903, 1908, 1912- will initially be collated and analysed in what were, with the exeption of 1891, penultimate years to each successive trade-cyclical peak. To this data-base will be added data derived from company records. Information concerning large-scale joint-stock companies will also be used deriving from Thomas C Owen's "RUSCORP: A Database of Corporations in the Russian Empire, 1700-1914", from the corporations' balance sheets and profit and loss accounts published as appendices to the journal Promyshlennost' i Torgovlia, from 1896 and from recorded bourse quotations.

Photograph above: The shell-shop of the Putilov works, St Petersburg 1903

(1) M I Tugan-Baranovsky, The Russian Factory in the Nineteenth Century (Homewood, 1970)
(2) e.g P I Lyashchenko, History of the National Economy of Russia (New York, 1949) which is a translation of vols. 1-2 of his Istoriya Narodnogo Khozyaistva SSSR (3 vols. Moscow, 1949)
(3) A Gerschenkron, "The rate of industrial growth in Russia since 1885", Journal of Economic History, Supplement 1947, which provided the basis for his developmental typology elucidated in Economic Backwardness in Historical Perspective (1962)
(4) Paul R Gregory, Before Command. An Economic History of Russia from Emancipation to the First Five-Year Plan (Princeton: Princeton UP., 1994) and Russian National Income, 1885-1913 (Cambridge: Cambridge UP., 1982)


"Times of Feast, Times of Famine: A critical examination of recent British research concerning market structures and trends in the production of carboniferous fuels, 1450-1850" in Paul Benoit and Catherine Verna (eds.) Le charbon de terre en Europe avant l'usage industriel du coke (Turnhout: De Diversis Artibus t. 44 [ns.7]. Proceedings of the XX International Congress of the History of Science, Liège 20-26 July 1997, vol. IV. 1999), pp. 61-75.

"Russian railway construction and the Urals charcoal iron and steel industry, 1851-1914," Economic History Review, Second Series, 53/1 (2000), pp. 107-126.

"Water- and Steam Power: Complementary or Competitive Sources of Energy?" in Economia e Energia Secc. XIII-XVIII. Atti della "Trentaquattresima Settimana di Studi", 15-19 aprile 2002 (Florence: Instituto Internazionale di Storia Economica "F Datini, Prato, Serie II- Atti delle "Settimane di Studi" e altri Convegni, No 34. 2003), pp. 725-736

"Nineteenth-Century Russian and 'Western' Ferrous Metallurgy: Complementary or Competitive Technologies?" in Chris Evans and Göran Rydén. (eds.), Iron and Steel Making in Nineteenth-Century Europe (Aldershot, 2005.)

Theses and Dissertations

Maxim V. Oulassevich, Russian rubber goods industry, 1845-1917 (unpublished, Edinburgh MSc Dissertation, 1999)

Working Papers:

Russia and international iron markets, ca. 1740-1850. Paper presented at Conference on 'Trade, commodity markets and the mercantile contribution to industrialisation'. Session: "Commodity markets and industrialisation" held at The University of Glamorgan, 20-21 April 2001.

Whilst it is intended ultimately to publish the results of this research programme in a new book on Russian Industrialisation, in the interim whilst research is underway, detailed sectoral studies of specific industries will be produced as either post-graduate theses/dissertations or as independent research studies. Details of such studies will be posted on this site and will be made generally available on CD-ROMs. To order such CD-ROMS please e-mail to me at the following information



This will allow me to "burn" the appropriate CD-ROM, which will be dispatched on receipt of your Sterling, Euro or Dollar cheque made out to "Ian Blanchard". Sterling or Euro cheques should be sent to

Ian Blanchard
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and Dollar cheques to

Ian Blanchard
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