The Social-Economic Crisis on the Eve of the 20th Century and the Political Mobilization of Society
The vehement advance which Russian industry had experienced in the 1890s was halted at the turn of the century by an abrupt worldwide recession. The growth rate of industrial production had averaged 8% for the years 1890–1899, it fell to almost zero in 1900/1901, and in the subsequent years it remained well behind the growth rates in Central and West European countries, where in 1902 a new advance had already been noticed.1 Considered in the light of the long cycles of overall economic development, this crisis was only a short-term depression in the international and national phase of economic advance which lasted from the middle of the 1890s to the First World War. In Russsia the crisis came upon a national economy which was already determined by factors of capitalist production and commercialization, with their close ties to financial conditions. At the same time strong elements of pre-industrial society had remained effective in the legal and social order, partially also in the social organization of production; these impaired the development of the labour market as well as of the goods and investment markets. The course of the economic trend shows, on one hand, the degree to which Russia was already incorporated into the world economy. Yet on the other hand it also points to a series of peculiarities which lend a significance for Russia to this crisis which, in some features, is reminiscent of the significance of the Great Depression for Germany.2
KeywordsSocial Mobilization Labour Movement Finance Minister Political Opposition Social Loyalty
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