chapter  8
18 Pages

Russia and the World, 1856-1900

One reason for its failure was the great gap between Russia and the West in levels of industrial development. Try as it might, the government failed to eliminate the disparity. Even after the railroad boom of the 1870s, Russia's rail network remained far smaller than that of the West. In 1894 Russia had 64 kilometers of railroad track per 10,000 square kilometers of territory, an amount one-sixteenth that of England, one-twelfth that of Germany, and onefifth that of the United StatesJ In 1875 Russia produced less than 16,000 tons of steel, while Germany and England produced 303,000 and 719,000 tons respectively. Russian industry satisfied only 60 percent of the country's demand for coal and 20.5 percent of its demand for locomotives. Russia's foreign trade was less than 4 percent of the world total, below that of such countries as Belgium and Holland.2 Not surprisingly, the condition of the

economy severely affected the long-planned modernization of the empire's military forces. With enormous effort, the government had succeeded in carrying out a twofold transformation of the navy, from sail to steam and from wooden to ironclad vessels, by the end of the 1870s. However, the disparity in the numbers of ships between Russia and the Western countries (England, France, and later Germany) inevitably grew. The rearmament of the army proceeded with difficulty. In the mid-1890s, Russia lagged behind not only France and Germany but even Austria-Hungary in the number of artillery weapons per infantry battalion.3