In physical and even psychological terms, the Russia which entered the Great War in July 1914 had substantially recovered from the turmoil which marked the turn of the century. The Russian economic record since the ruinous war of 1904–5 against the Japanese had been remarkable, particularly in the years immediately preceding 1914. Thanks in large part to the conscientious if unenterprising stewardship of the Minister of Finance (and premier from September 1911 to January 1914) V.N. Kokovtsov, the material damage to the economy had been repaired and state finances put on a healthy footing. Foreign and, most significantly, domestic investment was soaring and by 1914 the annual growth rate of the Russian economy had reached 14 per cent (if admittedly from a low economic base). Though the humiliation of the Japanese War could not be expunged, its salutary effect was to force ahead much-needed and long-delayed military reform. From 1908 a campaign of overhaul and expansion was launched, culminating in June 1914 in the four-year ‘Great Programme’ designed to bring Russia’s military capability into line with her international reputation as a Great Power. The morale of the Russian nation had risen to new heights.


State Council Public Organisation Central Committee Russian Society Moderate Opinion 
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© Raymond Pearson 1977

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  • Raymond Pearson

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