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Russian financial policy and the gold standard at the end of the nineteenth century

  • Olga Crisp
Part of the Studies in Russian and East European History book series (SREEHS)

Abstract

Ever since Russia had attained the status of a great power in the eighteenth century the military requirements for the maintenance of that position imposed on the Russian treasury a task of a magnitude disproportionate to the largely natural economy of the country and the poverty of its people. This imbalance led to chronic budgetary deficits, despite increased taxation, and recourse to the printing press and foreign loans. It was no accident that both Russia’s foreign indebtedness and the regime of paper money had their beginnings under Catherine II, whose reign marked Russia’s advent as a great power.1 As foreign borrowing was not always possible, the financial strain imposed by an active foreign policy was frequently reflected in inflation and the squeezing out of circulation of metallic currency. Since the first issue of roubles-assignats in 1768 in connection with the first Turkish war, the volume of assignats issued had been swollen by the second Turkish war, the wars with Sweden, Poland and Persia under Catherine II, the Italian campaign under Paul, and the Napoleonic wars under Alexander I to over 800 million roubles. By 1815 the value of the rouble-assignat in terms of silver had shrunk by nearly four-fifths.2 Only the relatively long period of peace under Nicholas I after 1830 made possible the currency reform of 1839–43 associated with the name of Count G. F. Kankrin, whereby the ‘credit rouble’, freely convertible into silver, replaced the rouble-assignat in the ratio of 1:3 1/2.3 The Crimean war, as a consequence of which the volume of paper roubles more than doubled, forced Russia back on to an inconvertible currency.

Keywords

Foreign Capital Money Market Gold Reserve Foreign Loan Foreign Borrowing 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 7.
    H. E. Fisk, The Inter-Ally Debts (New York, 1924 ) p. 294.Google Scholar
  2. 14.
    P. P. Migulin, Reforma denezhnogo obrashcheniya v Rossii i promyshelenny krizis (Kharkov, 1902 ) pp. 112–124.Google Scholar
  3. 23.
    A. N. Gurev, Denezhnoye obrashcheniye (St Petersburg, 1903 ) pp. 190–193.Google Scholar
  4. 27.
    C. Skalkovsky, Les Ministres des Finances de la Russie 1802–90, tr. from Russian (Paris, 1891) p. 268;Google Scholar
  5. 34.
    P. I. Lyashchenko, Ocherki agrarnoy evolutsii Rossii (St Petersburg, 1908 ) p. 265.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Olga Crisp 1976

Authors and Affiliations

  • Olga Crisp
    • 1
  1. 1.University of LondonUK

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