How Successfuly Was Witte in Transforming the Russian Economy

605 Words3 Pages
Witte was the Minister of Finance for Russia between the years 1892 - 1903 and held his post throughout the remainder of Alexander III’s reign and the start of Nicholas II’s. He tried to transform Russian economy because he believed that the lack of expertise, insufficient capital and an inadequate level of manpower were holding back the economic development. Vyshnegradsky was the Minister of Finance before Witte; although he attempted to improve Russia’s economic situation, he had the ethos of ‘We ourselves shall not eat, but we shall export’ which resulted in a widespread famine in 1891; Vyshnegradsky was dismissed in 1892. This meant that Witte was left to solve this previous catastrophe as well as continue to improve the country’s economy. Although Witte would have been strongly conservative, as he was hired by Alexander III, and would be expected to not care about helping the peasants who were in distress after the famine, he believed that the economy would only progress if the standards of living were made better. Therefore he had to come up with a solution to compensate for the peasants’ losses as well as improving Russia’s finance: by industrialising. Russia was in great need of refurbishing as it was still using equipment from the 18th and early 17th century, which caused them to be humiliated in the Crimean War; Alexander II introduced reforms to ease along the process of industrialisation but Witte wanted to able to compete again with the other Western powers. As well as this, industrialising would create more jobs for peasants to be able to work and earn money; this way Witte was able to solve two problems at once. Britain took 150 years to complete this process but he wanted to change Russia in the space of about 20 years. Witte agreed with Vyshnegradsky’s policies because, although his success’ were at the expense of the peasants, between 1881 and 1891
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