How Far Do You Agree That Sergei Witte’s Policies Were Successful in Modernising the Russian Economy in 1892-1904?

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How far do you agree that Sergei Witte’s policies were successful in modernising the Russian economy in 1892-1904? During Tsar Nicholas II’s reign, he decided he needed someone to improve the Russian economy, so he appointed a Financial Minister; Sergei Witte. Witte introduced a number of reforms that both improved and further damaged Russia’s economy, and believed that the only way Russia could modernise itself and catch up with the more industrialised West was through State Capitalism. Witte was very enthusiastic about the expansion on the Trans-Siberian railway, which, when completed, stretched across Russia from St. Petersburg in the West to Vladivostok in the Far East. Witte believed that the construction of this railway was crucial to the economic growth of Russia, because it would make it possible to take advantage of the economic potential of Siberia. Witte hoped that the expansion of the railway would encourage the migrations of workers from the East to the West, but this didn’t happen. Instead, it improved communications and increased the amount of exports Russia made by making transportation of materials easier and faster. However, the growth in population was much larger than the national output, indicating less production per person, therefore production in Russia wasn’t very efficient. In addition, the railway cost the country a lot of money and a lot of time to build, so it can be argued that the railway was not even worth building in the first place as that money could have gone to other important industrial plans or improving conditions for workers. Secondly, Witte took out numerous large foreign loans from more industrialised countries to bring in more money for the country. This temporarily solved Russia’s economic problems, however later resulted in a lot of debt, especially to the French, which caused huge economic problems for Russia, whose
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