To What Extent Did Witte Achieve Economic Modernisation?

1062 Words5 Pages
Russia was socially and economically backwards and behind other European powers. The vast population needed support because 82% were peasants and they were not contributing anything to the economy. It was a divided society and only 0.5% ruled the whole of Russia. The agriculture was poor and the infra-structure was undeveloped. Therefore, Witte who was a finance Minister stepped up to achieve economic modernisation within Russia. His aim was to make Russian economy strong enough to maintain Russia’s position as a Great Power. Although Witte implemented a ‘great spurt’ which had great effects on Russia economically, there is proof that it did not last to a long extent. Witte implemented many new policies and changes to the Russian economy. He raised the taxes of peasants. The reason for this action was simply because the majority of the population were peasants (82%) and they were not contributing anything to the economy. This was one of the reasons why Russia was economically behind from the rest of Europe. This was a problem for the peasants as they were very poor, and most were unable to pay off the debts they had already owned when they had emancipated. Therefore, paying higher taxes was another struggle for the peasants and their lives had just got harder. Due to the numerous problems in Russia, Witte developed a plan for economic growth which was different from the rest of Europe. This was called the ‘Witte System’, which meant the economy would be controlled by the government. Russia got loans from Britain and France, therefore much of the economic developments were financed from abroad. However, this led to even more taxes on the already over-taxed peasants. Witte had also invited experts from Britain and France to get their advice on modernising the economy. This shows Witte wanted to desperately achieve economic modernisation of Russia because he asked
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