INTRODUCTION

 

How Socialism Emerged in Russia

  In the 19th century Czarist Russia was a multinational empire. Large contiguous territory extending from Europe across north Asia was dominated by Slavic population (Russians, Ukrainians, Belorussians) but contained numerous national, ethnic, racial and religious minorities.

There were large empires in other parts of Europe as well. England, Germany, Austro-Hungarian empire, however they  were much more developed. Czarist Russia was really backward. In the time when capitalism was thriving in the USA and the rest of Europe, Russian economy was still mostly feudal. Serfdom existed until 1861. There was very little industry, most of the economy was based on agriculture. Population was mostly illiterate. The political system was oppressive. Czar had 'absolute' power, there was no parliament and no constitution.

At the end of the 19th century industrialization finally started. Rapid growth continued until the World War I. Due to its enormous size, Russia's national income reached level comparable to England and Germany and larger than France, Italy and Austria, but in the per capita terms Russia was still very far behind the leading economic powers. This can be seen in the following table and graphs.   (For additional information see chapter I of Alec Nove's An  Economic History of USSR)

 

 

    POPULATION

 NATIONAL INCOME

  NATIONAL INCOME

   

  1913 rubles

    PER CAPITA

 

    (millions)

   (million)

   (1913 rubles)

 

1861

1913

1861

1913

1861

1913

Russia

74

171

5269

20266

71

119

U.K.

20

36

6469

20869

323

580

France

37

39

5554

11816

150

303

Germany

36

65

6313

24280

175

374

U.S.

32

93

14405

96030

450

1033

Italy

25

35

4570

9140

183

261

Austria

35

50

  n.a.

9500

    n.a.

190

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  The first attempt for revolution appeared in 1905. It failed but Czar allowed creation of parliament ('Duma'). The World War I aggravated the explosive situation further. The revolution in February 1917 forced the Czar out, and created the Provisional Government that started implementation of some progressive reforms. However this was not enough for the Bolshevik faction of Social Democratic Party of Russia led by Lenin. In November of the same year they seized power in the first successful socialist revolution in history.

 

 

Read more  about:
 

What is Eastern Europe (EE)
What is the Former Soviet Union (FSU)

The meanning of the term "Socialism"

How Socialism emerged in the FSU

How Socialism emerged in EE
Types of the economic systems

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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