The Russian Economy Before the Imperialist War

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   The development of the Soviet economy

The Russian Economy Before the Imperialist War

State socio-economic publishing house Moscow 1940

From the beginning of the 20th century, capitalism in Russia enters the highest and last stage of its development—imperialism.

 The concentration of production, which had already reached a rather high degree by the end of the 19th century, has increased even more since the beginning of the 20th century. In 1901, industrial enterprises with more than 1,000 workers accounted for 1.3% of all enterprises (from among those subordinate to the supervision of the factory inspectorate), and 30.9% of the total number of workers worked in them. In 1912, there were 2.1% of such enterprises, and they had 38.2% of the total number of workers ["Statistical Yearbook for 1914", p. 199.].

 In terms of concentration of production, Russian industry surpassed even the United States. While in Russia 54% of all workers worked at enterprises with more than 500 workers, in the USA only 33% of all workers worked at similar enterprises. In England, already after the war (in 1926), the 60 largest coal-mining enterprises concentrated only a little more than 50% of coal production; in the USA in 1926, the 200 largest enterprises accounted for only 50% of the production of bituminous coal; in Russia, in 1912, 41 enterprises provided 71% of all coal production.

 The concentration of production was accompanied by the centralization of capital in joint-stock companies, which intensified especially during the years of revival of production immediately preceding the war. In 1910, 115 joint-stock companies were organized with a fixed capital of 148,282 thousand rubles; in 1911 - 1913 617 joint-stock companies with a fixed capital of 829,738 thousand rubles have already been established.

 Based on the high concentration of production and the enormous centralization of capital, there was a rapid growth of monopolies (mainly in the form of syndicates), which by the beginning of the imperialist war had won a dominant position in the most important branches of industry and in the banks, and through them in the entire national economy of Russia.

 In the field of the metal industry, the syndicate “Prodamet” (“Society for the sale of products of Russian metallurgical plants”), established in 1902, occupied a monopoly position, in whose hands in 1912 the sale of 78.3% of sheet and universal iron, 95% of beams and channels was concentrated , 87.9% bandages, etc.

 Opened its activities in 1906 "Society for the trade of mineral fuels of the Donetsk basin" ("Produgol") in 1909 - 1910. concentrated in its hands about 65% of all coal production in the Donbass. This was absolutely enough for Produgol to actually dominate the coal market.

 In the oil industry, three companies ("Russian General Oil Co.", "Shell" and "T-vo Nobel") covered 86% of all share capital on the eve of the war and controlled 60% of all production.

 Monopolies also developed considerably in light and food industries. Even at the end of the XIX century. In the early 1900s, a syndicate of sugar refiners was organized, covering more than 90% of all sugar factories in the early 1900s. By the beginning of the war, the tobacco trust covered 14 largest factories and controlled up to 50% of the entire production of tobacco products and about 65% of the production of third-rate tobacco. The match syndicate, organized in 1914, covered 95% of all match factories and about 75% of all match production.

 The data presented convincingly testify that in the 20th century capitalism in Russia passed into the stage of monopoly capitalism, imperialism.

 This is no less clearly evidenced by the degree of concentration of banking capital and the intensive process of merging monopoly banking capital with industrial capital.

 By the beginning of 1914, out of 46 commercial banks, 7 largest banks with a capital of 30 million rubles. and above concentrated over 52% of the total bank capital.

 Russian for foreign trade and the St. Petersburg International Bank concentrated in their hands about 90% of all sugar exports and were complete masters of the domestic sugar market. The International Bank was "interested" in 22 industrial, trade, transport, and insurance enterprises with a total capital of 272.9 million rubles. In addition, he held shares in two large St. Petersburg banks (Russian for Foreign Trade and Azov-Don) and five major private railways. In total, his influence thus extended to enterprises with a capital of about half a billion rubles.

 Lenin cites data that out of an amount of 8235 million rubles of the functioning capital of the largest banks in St. Petersburg, 3687 million, i.e. over 40%, accounted for the syndicates "Produgol", "Prodameta", syndicates in the oil, metallurgical and cement industries. “Consequently,” Lenin concludes, “the merger of banks and industrial capital, in connection with the formation of capitalist monopolies, has made enormous strides forward in Russia too” [Lenin, Soch., vol. XIX, pp. 112-113.].

 On the basis of the merger of banks and industrial capital, a financial oligarchy grew.

 There is no need to talk about the export of capital from Russia on any large scale, but the beginnings of the export of capital characteristic of imperialism and the tendency towards its further development appear quite clearly in the period under review. Capital from Russia was exported to Persia, Afghanistan, China, and the Balkans.

 Despite the relative youth of Russian imperialism and Russia's economic backwardness, it clearly showed the parasitism and decay already characteristic of monopoly capitalism, the transformation of "progressive" capitalism into dying capitalism. This was revealed in the technical stagnation and significant underutilization of the production capacities of various, the most monopolized industries (sugar beet, oil, coal, metallurgical). The smelting of iron, for example, in 1910 amounted to only 55% of the production capacity, in 1911 - 63%, in 1912 - 71%. Meanwhile, these were the years of industrial growth. The number of rentiers who live by clipping coupons grew, and speculative exchange transactions with securities intensified.

 In terms of the amount of securities, Russia was inferior to the most developed four capitalist countries (USA, England, Germany, and France), but surpassed all other capitalist countries. In 1910, the amount of securities in Russia reached 31 billion francs.

 The development of monopoly, imperialist capitalism in Russia was distinguished by certain peculiarities.

 One of the main features of Russian imperialism was the presence in the Russian economy of significant remnants of serfdom. The most important of these remnants was the large-scale estates of the nobility and landlords and the forms of feudal exploitation of the peasantry associated with it. “Twenty-eight thousand proprietors,” Lenin wrote in 1907, “concentrates 62 million. dec., i.e., according to 2227 dec. for one. The vast majority of these latifundia belong to the nobility, namely 18102 possessions (out of 27833) and 44471994 dec. land, i.e. over 70% of the total area under latifundia. Medieval landownership of feudal landlords is described by these data with complete clarity” [Ibid., vol. XI, p. 337.]. This vast land wealth of the feudal landowners, these twenty-eight thousand "noble and grimy landlords" who owned 62 million acres of land, opposed at the opposite pole 10 million peasant farms ruined and crushed by feudal exploitation, who owned a total of 73 million acres. “Against this basic background,” wrote Lenin, “there is inevitable a striking backwardness of technology, an abandoned state of agriculture, the oppression and downtrodden-ness of the peasant masses, endlessly diverse forms of feudal, corvée exploitation” [Ibid.].

 In the article "Serfdom in the Countryside" written in April 1914, Lenin cites a number of interesting facts and figures illustrating the widespread use of feudal forms of exploitation in the countryside on the eve of the imperialist war. He points to the widespread use of such a form of bondage as winter hiring, in which even the serf term "obliged peasants" was preserved "in all its freshness". The number of "obliged" households in the spring of 1913 reached, for example, in the Chernigov province 56% of the total number of households. Another widespread form of feudal exploitation was share-cropping - cultivating the land from half the harvest or harvesting hayfields from the third hay. The number of land used by peasants varied in different regions of Russia between 21 and 68%, and the number of used hayfields - between 50 and 185% of their own peasant land.

 Numerous remnants of feudal, corvée exploitation in the form of labor compensation, debt bondage, forced rent, intertwined with the ever more developing capitalist exploitation of the peasantry by the growing rural bourgeoisie - kulaks, merchants, usurers - made the situation of the bulk of the peasantry completely unbearable.

 The remnants of serfdom hindered the development of productive forces in Russia, primarily in agriculture.

 Lenin pointed out that while on allotment peasant land the yield from a tithe averaged 54 poods, on landowners' land the average yield per tithe was: with farm sowing and cultivation at the expense of the landowner, with landowner implements and with the use of hired labor - 66 poods, in case of full cultivation - 50 poods, and in case of renting land by peasants - 45 poods. “Landed lands,” wrote Lenin, “with feudal-usurious cultivation (the aforementioned “usefulness” and peasant rent) yield a worse harvest than depleted, qualitatively worse allotment lands. This enslavement, reinforced by the feudal latifundia, becomes the main obstacle to the development of Russia's productive forces” [Lenin, Soch., vol. XII, p. 277.].

 Another characteristic feature of the development of imperialist Russia was that it remained an economically backward country in comparison with Western Europe. The economic backwardness of tsarist Russia manifested itself in all areas of the national economy.

 Russian industry since the beginning of the 20th century was engulfed by a crisis, which then turned, from 1903, into a long depression, which was replaced by a new revival only in 1910. And although, starting from 1910, production in the main industries again began to increase rapidly - iron smelting, which in 1910 amounted to 186 million poods, in 1913 increased to 283 million poods; Coal production increased accordingly from 1,522 million to 2,214 million poods (within the old limits), but since the beginning of the 20th century, the backwardness of Russian industry in comparison with the industry of the advanced capitalist countries has not only not decreased, but even increased more. Thus, if in 1900 per capita iron production in tsarist Russia was 8 times less than in the USA, 3 times less than in France, and 6 times less than in Germany, then in 1913 it was already 11 times less than in the USA, 4 times less than in France, and 8 times less than in Germany.

 On the eve of the war, the entire Russian industry in terms of gross output ranked 5th in the world and 4th in Europe. In particular, Russia ranked 6th in the world and 5th in Europe in coal mining, 4th, and 3rd respectively in mechanical engineering, and 15th and 7th in power generation. In absolute numbers, the output of the most important branches of heavy industry in Russia in 1912, compared with other major capitalist countries, was (in millions of poods):

 Products of the most important industries in 1912 [ "Statistical Yearbook for 1914", p. 823. ]







Cast iron





iron and steel










 It should not be forgotten, moreover, that in terms of population, Russia far surpassed the other major capitalist countries, as a result of which it was even more inferior to these countries in terms of the average number of heavy industry products per capita. If, for example, in terms of pig iron production, Russia ranked 5th in the world, then in terms of the rate per capita, it ranked 8th in the world.

 The same was true for steel production. Steel production per capita in 1913 in tsarist Russia was 11 times less than in the USA, 8 times less than in Germany, 6 times less than in England, and 4 times less than in France. The extraction of hard and brown coal (in terms of hard coal) per capita was 26 times less than in the USA, 31 times less than in England, 15 times less than in Germany, and 5 times less than in France.

 Pointing to the low level of metal consumption in Russia as a sign of her backwardness, Lenin wrote: “For half a century after the liberation of the peasants, the consumption of iron in Russia has increased fivefold, and yet Russia remains an incredibly, unprecedentedly backward country, impoverished and semi-savage, equipped with modern tools of production. four times worse than England, five times worse than Germany, ten times worse than America” [Lenin, Soch., vol. XVI, p. 543.].

 The backwardness of Russia's heavy industry was expressed, however, not only in the relatively small size of its output, but also in its technical weakness and the resulting low labor productivity. While in the coal industry of England the average annual productivity of one worker before the war was over 15,000 poods, and in the USA about 41,000 poods, in Russia it approached only 9,000 poods. The total percentage of mechanization of coal mining in Russia in 1913 was 1.7, in England - 7.7, in the USA - over 50. According to approximate data in Russia on the eve of the war, on average, one worker (including industry and agriculture) .5 losh forces of mechanical energy, while in Germany already in 1910 there were 3.9 losh per worker. forces, in France in 1911 - 2.8, in England in 1908 - 3.6.

 The annual productivity of one factory worker in Russia in 1908 was 1810 rubles, and in the USA it was already 2860 rubles in 1860, reaching 6264 rubles in 1910.

 The backwardness of the pre-war Russian economy was also evidenced by the extremely weak development of domestic engineering.

 Machine-building output in Russia in 1913 accounted for only 6.8% of the total output of large-scale industry. As a result, the Russian machine-building industry on the eve of the war provided Russia's need for industrial equipment at a cost of only 38.6%; all other equipment was imported from abroad. In individual sectors, however, dependence on the import of foreign equipment was significantly higher than this average, reaching, for example, 80% of the demand in the textile industry.

 Rolling equipment, hydraulic turbines were produced in Russia on a negligible scale, coal cutters, jackhammers, automobiles, and many other machines were not produced at all.

 The economic backwardness of tsarist Russia was also expressed in the fact that the share of large-scale industry in the total output of large-scale industry and agriculture was less than the share of agriculture, amounting to 42.1% of the gross output of these industries, while agricultural output was 57.9%. %. In the largest industry, the production of means of production was less than the production of consumer goods, accounting for only 42.9% of the total gross output of large-scale industry depot and fishing industry.].

 While the output of the metalworking industry in 1908 accounted for about 11% of the total industrial output of Russia, the output of the textile industry accounted for 28%, and the output of the food industry over 34%. These figures, while testifying to the backwardness of Russian industry, indicate at the same time the presence of the most serious disproportions in the latter.

 The backwardness was also manifested in the fact that in 1912 the urban population was less than 14%, and the population of the villages - over 86% of the total population of Russia, while in England at that time 78% of the total population lived in cities, in Germany - 66, in the USA - 42 and in France - 41%.

 Thus, the national economy of tsarist Russia had a pronounced agrarian character.

 The agriculture of tsarist Russia was also characterized by extreme backwardness, in which the remnants of serfdom had the greatest effect. In The Agrarian Question in Russia by the end of the 19th Century, pointing to the growth in the production and import of agricultural machinery to Russia and emphasizing that this fact testifies to the progress of capitalist agriculture, Lenin at the same time noted the extreme slowness of this progress. Further pointing out that in the USA in 1900 agricultural machinery worth 157.7 million dollars was produced, Lenin adds: “Russian figures are ridiculously small compared to these, and they are small because our serf latifundia are large and strong.” [Lenin, Soch., Vol. XII, p. 231.]. On average, in a number of regions, improved agricultural implements were used on farms by 42% of landlords and only 21% of peasants.

 In absolute terms, imports and domestic production of agricultural machinery have, of course, increased during this time. In total (counting its own production and imports), Russian agriculture received in 1912 machines and tools worth 112 million rubles against approximately 28 million rubles in 1900. The growth is quite large. However, compared with the advanced capitalist countries, especially the United States, the cost of machinery in Russian agriculture even on the eve of the war was "ridiculously low."

 The state of agricultural technology on the eve of the imperialist war is also characterized by the following figures: in 1910, about 8 million plows, roe deer and saban, i.e., the most primitive tools, were used as plowing tools in Russia, while there were only a little more than 4 million iron plows.

 In peasant farms, 1 hectare of crops accounted for an average of 6 rubles agricultural machinery and implementation of Tractors and automobiles were completely unknown to the agriculture of tsarist Russia. Improved tools were used mainly in the landowners' farms, and among the peasant farms, with the rarest exceptions, they were used only by the kulak ones. The economy of the bulk of the peasantry was at an exceptionally low technical level.

 The amount of mineral fertilizers used in agriculture in tsarist Russia was very small. In a large part of the agricultural south, the peasants did not use manure fertilizer either, or only a very few used it on the landowners' farms. The dominant system of field cultivation in tsarist Russia was the three-field system. All this could not but lead to the fact that in terms of productivity, Russia was one of the last places in the world.

 On the eve of the war, Russia ranked 16th in the world in terms of wheat productivity, and 10th in terms of rye productivity. In the peasant economy, which formed the basis of Russian agriculture, the yield was significantly lower than that of the landowners. Within the peasant economy, the productivity of the fields of the middle peasants, and even more so of the poor peasants, was, in turn, lower than the productivity in the kulak economy. The yield of grain in the middle peasant, and even more so in the poor peasant economy, was more unstable than in the landlord and kulak farms.

 In none of the capitalist countries was famine such a frequent visitor as in tsarist Russia. Almost every year, some part of the territory of Russia was struck by famine, which very often took on the character of a colossal national disaster.

 But even in those years when the crop failure did not assume the character of a catastrophe, the poor were malnourished, although they were forced to throw away part of their grain on the market. On the eve of the war, in almost half (in 48.7%) of the districts, the collection of food grains was less than 15 poods per capita of the rural population on average, and in more than a quarter (in 28.6%) of the uyezds - less than 10 poods ["Agricultural trade in Russia ", 1914]. These figures include both kulak and landowner grain, which accounted for at least half of the gross grain output. From this we can conclude that for a huge mass of middle peasants and poor peasants, the collection of grain was less than the average indicated above, amounting to a starvation norm. Even less was the share of the middle and poor peasants in the marketable production of grain, amounting to only 28.4%, while the kulak farms gave 50%, and the landowners - 21, 6% of all marketable bread products in terms of non-village turnover. Meanwhile, the poor peasants alone made up 65% of all peasant households, and together with the middle peasants, 85%. In addition, the poor peasant was under the burden of huge taxes, rent payments, etc. The landowners profited from the needs of the people; the kulaks also grew rich, extracting huge profits at the expense of their starving neighbors.

 Not in a better position than agriculture was cattle breeding in tsarist Russia. For every 100 acres of land in 1910, there were head of livestock [Statistical Yearbook for 1914, p. 822.]: 








In Russia





» Germany










» France





» England





 The figures show that, while in the more developed capitalist countries the number of cattle, sheep and pigs was many times greater than the number of horses, in Russia this proportion was incomparably smaller, which indicates a much weaker development of productive animal husbandry.

 In the worst condition was the peasant cattle, the vast majority of outbred and unproductive. It must also be borne in mind that already at the end of the 19th century. 60% of all peasant farms belonged to horseless and one-horse. One horseless farm accounted for an average of only 0.8 heads of livestock (in terms of cattle). Meanwhile, horseless farms accounted for about 30% of all peasant farms. Thus, cattle breeding, as well as agriculture, was at a particularly low level in the middle peasants and even more in the poor peasants.

 In order to eliminate the backwardness of agriculture, it was necessary first of all to abolish the remnants of serfdom. But the tsarist autocracy stood guard over the privileges of the landlords. Frightened by the huge scope of the peasant movement of 1905-1907, the tsarist government was forced to open some kind of valve in order to weaken the revolutionary pressure. But this time, as in 1861, it tried to keep intact the landed estates, which hampered the development of agriculture and the entire national economy of Russia.

 On November 9, 1906, the government issued a land law (the so-called "Stolypin" law, after the tsarist minister Stolypin), which destroyed the communal use of land. Peasants were encouraged to separate from the community. The land passing into their personal possession had to be allotted in one place (farm, cut). The peasant was allowed to sell his allotment. This played into the hands of the kulaks, who were given the opportunity to buy up the poor peasants' lands. The Stolypin law was a major maneuver of tsarism, hoping to use it to create a solid support for itself in the countryside in the form of a large class of the rural bourgeoisie (kulaks).

 Lenin characterized the Stolypin land law as the second after the reform of 1861 the landlords' "cleansing of the land" for capitalism, as mass violence against the peasantry in the interests of capitalism, as a breakdown of the old land relations in favor of a handful of wealthy owners at the cost of the rapid ruin of the mass of the peasantry. The Stolypin reform was adapted entirely to the interests of the landowners. In the struggle for the Prussian or American path of development of capitalism in agriculture, it was called upon to ensure the victory of the Prussian path.

 The Stolypin land law led to an increase in the stratification of the peasantry and to a further deterioration in the position of the small-land peasants and the rural poor. “Within a few years after the promulgation of this law, more than a million weak peasants completely lost their land and went bankrupt. Due to the dispossession of low-powered peasants, the number of kulak farms and cuts increased. Sometimes these were real estates, where hired laborers were widely used” [“History of the CPSU (b)”. Short course, p. 94.].

 The ruin of the peasantry led to the formation of a huge relative overpopulation of the countryside, a hidden army of the unemployed, which in its vast part was attached to its beggarly allotments.

 “Thirteen million petty proprietors,” wrote Lenin in 1908, “with the most miserable, beggarly, and outdated implements, picking at both their allotment and lordly land, this is the reality of today; this is an artificial overpopulation in agriculture, artificial in the sense of hereditary retention of those serf relations that have long outlived themselves and could not last a single day without executions, executions, punitive expeditions, etc.” [Lenin, Soch., Vol. XII, p. 274.].

 Along with other branches of the national economy, the railway transport of tsarist Russia also lagged behind. In terms of total length, the railway network of tsarist Russia was second only to the United States. But in terms of the relative density of railways, Russia was in one of the last places. While in Germany for every 100 sq. before the war (data for the end of 1910) accounted for 12 versts of railways, in France - 9.8 versts, in the USA - 4.5, in Russia (the European part) there were only 1.2 versts.

 The equipment of the railways was also very backward and insufficient. Starting from 1908 and especially from 1909, the cost of equipping state-owned railways (which accounted for about 70% of the entire railway network of Russia) was extremely reduced, rising again only in 1913. Over the five years - from 1909 to 1913 - state-owned railways received only 11972 freight cars and 1471 steam locomotives. As a result of such management, all state railways, with a length of 43,076 versts, had by 1913 only 14,772 steam locomotives, of which 3,902 were also manufactured before 1892. A clear idea of ​​​​the complete insufficiency of this number is already given by the fact that on private railways, stretching 19,738 versts, had at that time 14,552 steam locomotives manufactured after 1892.

 The distribution of productive forces in tsarist Russia was notable for the unevenness and irrationality characteristic of capitalism. About half of the industry was concentrated in the central industrial regions. The Urals, with its innumerable natural resources, provided only 4.7% of the total industrial output of Russia, Siberia - 2.4%. Industrial raw materials were delivered to the central regions thousands of kilometers away from Central Asia, Transcaucasia, etc., and then finished products made the same huge journey in the opposite direction. In the field of agriculture, the development of capitalism led to the specialization of regions, some of which became predominantly regions of commercial grain farming (Novorossiya, Zavolzhye), others - regions of commercial cattle breeding (the Baltic provinces, western, northern, industrial, and part of the central ones), etc. This specialization, along with the "impoverishment" of the central black earth provinces, which occurred as a result of the preservation of the remnants of serfdom and under the pressure of competition from the colonized outskirts of the steppe, led to the formation of "consuming" areas that covered their needs for bread by importing from the "producing" provinces, although with rational agriculture, they themselves could produce a sufficient amount of bread for themselves. The uneven distribution of industry and agriculture made itself acutely felt during the war who covered their needs for grain by importing from the "producing" provinces, although with rational agriculture they themselves could produce a sufficient amount of bread for themselves.

 On the eve of the war, Russia ranked fourth among the world's great powers in terms of national income, and seventh in terms of per capita income. The national income per capita in 1914 in Russia was 94 rubles. It was 7.2 times less than in the USA (680 rubles), 5 times less than in England (473 rubles), almost 4 times less than in France (360 rubles), and 3 times less than in Germany (284 rubles).

 It must be borne in mind that the average data on the size of per capita income in the capitalist countries obscure the uneven distribution of the national income among the various classes of society. The per capita income of the working population was much lower than 94 rubles in a year. On the other hand, taxes in tsarist Russia (as, indeed, in other capitalist countries) were structured in such a way that they served as a means for additional robbery of the masses, greatly reducing their already miserable incomes. Meanwhile, state taxes grew much faster than the incomes of the population, and if the national income per capita over the twenty years - from 1894 to 1914 - increased from 76 to 94 rubles, thus increasing by 24%, then taxes per capita population grew only in 15 years - from 1895 to 1910 - from 10.4 to 17 rubles, that is, by 63%. As a result, from a beggarly income of 94 rubles. almost 20% went to paying taxes.

 Approximately 80% of all taxes in tsarist Russia were indirect taxes, which fell heavily on the shoulders of the working people.

 In the article “On the picture of nation”, Lenin wrote: “ The poor and poor masses make up 9/10 of the entire population , consume 9/10 of all taxed products and pay 9/10 of the total amount of indirect taxes, and meanwhile, from the total national income, it receives what something like two or three tenths” [Lenin, Soch., vol. IV, p. 352.].

 The economic backwardness of tsarist Russia also found its vivid manifestation in the size and structure of its foreign trade turnover, which was a typical turnover of an agrarian country trading with industrial countries.

 In terms of the total size of foreign trade, Russia ranked sixth in the world. Its foreign trade turnover in 1913 was about 2,640 million rubles. (import - 1220 million rubles and export - 1420 million rubles).

 In the Russian exports, vital supplies decisively prevailed. During the five years from 1906 to 1910, the export of livelihoods and animals accounted for 62% of the total export, followed by raw materials and semi-finished products (33%), then finished products, which accounted for only 5% of the total export. In imports, the first place belonged to raw materials and semi-finished products (48.3%), followed by finished products (29.3%), livelihoods and animals were in third place (22.4%).

 It is quite characteristic that for all the poverty and economic backwardness of Russia, its state budget was much larger than the budget of France, England, Germany.

 In terms of public debt, tsarist Russia was second only to France and Germany.

 The tsarist government received a huge part of its income (about 25%) from the state monopoly on the sale of vodka. And expenditures on public education in 1913 amounted to only 4.7% of all expenditures. In these figures, all the economic, political, and cultural backwardness of tsarist Russia was exceptionally clearly manifested.

 No wonder Lenin wrote in 1913: “Such a wild country in which the masses of the people would be so robbed in the sense of education, enlightenment, and knowledge - there is not a single country in Europe like that, except for Russia” [Lenin, Soch., vol. XVI, p. 410.]. Comparing, further, the situation in Russia with other capitalist countries, Lenin cites the following facts and figures: according to the estimate of the "Ministry of People's Darkening" (in Lenin's words) for 1913, expenses per inhabitant were provided in the amount of 80 kopecks per year, and the total costs of public education (taking into account the costs of other departments) were to be 1 p. 20 k. per year per inhabitant. Meanwhile, in Belgium, England and Germany, these costs amounted to 2 rubles. - 3 p. 50 k., and in the USA they exceeded 9 rubles. per inhabitant. While in Sweden and Denmark there were no illiterates at all, in Switzerland and Germany - 1 - 2% of illiterates, in the USA - 11%, in Russia on the eve of the war, but, undoubtedly, According to underestimated official figures, 79% of the total population was illiterate. In 1908, there were 192 students per thousand inhabitants in the USA, and only 46.7 in Russia. The number of students in Russia was only about one-fifth of all children of school age. Four-fifths of the younger generation, as Lenin wrote, were condemned to illiteracy by the feudal state system of Russia. To this it must be added that access to educational institutions, especially to the middle and higher ones, was a privilege of the "higher classes" and that the tsarist government in every possible way blocked the path to secondary and higher education for the children of the petty-bourgeois and peasant classes. Meanwhile, wrote Lenin, “... the petty bourgeois and peasants in Russia make up 88 percent of the population, that is, almost nine-tenths of the people. And the nobles are only one and a half percent. And so, the government takes money from nine-tenths of the people for schools and educational institutions of all kinds, and uses this money to teach the nobles, blocking the path of the philistines and peasants!!” [Ibid., p. 415.].

 The economic and political backwardness of Russia resulted in the dependence of Russian capitalism and tsarism on Western European capitalism.

 Lenin back in 1895-1896 noted the increased influx of foreign capital into the industry of Russia and deeply revealed the motives that prompted foreign capitalists to transfer their capital to Russia. “They,” wrote Lenin, “greedily pounce on a young country in which the government is so benevolent and servile to capital as nowhere else ... in which the standard of living of workers, and therefore their wages, is much lower, so that foreign capitalists can receive huge, unheard of in their homeland, profits ”[Lenin, Soch., vol. I, p. 436.].

 Last decade of the 19th century was the period of the most rapid influx of foreign capital into Russia. Subsequently, the growth rate of foreign capital in Russia slowed down significantly, especially during the crisis and depression of 1901-1908. The years of revival and growth of industry (1910-1913) were marked by a new increase in the influx of foreign capital: during this time, their amount increased by 72%, or by 712 million rubles, reaching 1,700.6 million rubles in 1913.

 In 1890, the share of foreign capital in the total share capital of Russia was 25%, in 1900 it was already 37%, and in 1914 - 43%.

 Of the entire amount of foreign capital, 1,322 million rubles were invested in industrial enterprises in 1914, which accounted for 47% of the total amount of equity capital in industry. If we also take into account non-joint-stock industrial enterprises, whose fixed capital in 1913 exceeded 1 billion rubles, then in relation to the total amount of fixed capital in industry, the share of foreign capital was about 34%.

 It should be noted that the role of foreign capital in the national economy of Russia was determined not only by the large amount of investments, but also by the commanding positions that it managed to win. Such decisive branches of the national economy of Russia as the fuel and metallurgical industries were in the hands of foreign capital. By the beginning of the war in 1914, 93% of all capital invested in the southern metallurgy was in the hands of foreign banks. Franco-Belgian capital prevailed here (84.1% of all foreign capital). In general, the metallurgy of tsarist Russia was almost three-quarters dependent on foreign capital.

 The same picture was in the coal industry. In 1912, 25 joint-stock companies with almost exclusively foreign capital (mainly Franco-Belgian) accounted for 95.4% of the total coal mining in the Donbass, carried out by joint-stock companies. It is also characteristic that the boards of 19 of the above 25 joint-stock companies were located in France and Belgium.

 In the oil industry, foreign syndicates owned almost 60% of the total oil production and, in addition, concentrated in their hands over 3/4 of the oil trade in Russia . About half of the oil production was in the hands of Anglo-French capital.

 Regarding the machine-building industry, Lenin wrote in 1912: “The Third Duma decided to give bonuses to domestic machine builders. Which domestic?- "Working" in Russia!

 And look - and it turns out that it was the foreign capitalists who moved their factories to Russia. Customs duties are high - profits are immense - that's why foreign capital is moving into Russia. The American Trust, an alliance of capitalist millionaires, built, for example, a huge agricultural plant. cars near Moscow, in Lyubertsy. And in Kharkov, the capitalist Melgose, and in Berdyansk, the capitalist John Grieves, are building agricultural machines. Isn't it true how much "truly Russian", "domestic" in these entrepreneurs? [Lenin, Soch., Vol. XV, p. 555].

 Foreign capital owned about 90% of the total fixed capital of electrical and electrical enterprises operating in Russia. The Russian chemical industry was financed almost exclusively by German capitalists in the form of the creation in Russia of branches of German chemical societies. Foreign capital (mainly English) also occupied a dominant position in the Russian gold industry, etc.

 The share of foreign capital in the light and food industries was much smaller. In the textile industry, for example, in 1915, foreign capital accounted for 21% of the total amount of fixed capital, in the paper and printing industry - 20%, in the food and flavor industry - 8%, etc. In general, by the beginning of the war in the industry that produces means production, the share of foreign capital was about 60%, and in the industry producing consumer goods, about 18%.

 Holding Russia's heavy industry in its hands, foreign capital had the opportunity to influence its development in the direction most beneficial to itself, limit this development to certain limits, and thereby preserve Russia's technical and economic backwardness and its dependence on foreign capital. Particularly indicative in this respect was the weak development of mechanical engineering.

 Along with industrial investment, foreign capital also flowed into Russia in the form of banking capital, more and more subjugating Russian banks. Of the approximately 4 billion rubles that constituted the “working” capital of large Russian banks at the beginning of the 20th century, more than 3 billion, i.e., over 75%, accounted for banks that were, in essence, “daughter companies” of foreign banks, primarily in Paris and Berlin. If we remember that the International Bank alone disposed of half a billion in capital in industry, trade, and transport, it becomes clear that through the mediation of "Russian" banks, foreign capital indirectly subjugated Russian industry to an even greater extent than through direct participation in industrial enterprises. companies.

 The seizure of banks and heavy industry ensured for foreign capital a dominant position in the national economy of tsarist Russia, although quantitatively it was significantly inferior to Russian domestic capital. This, in the main, determined the economic position of tsarist Russia, as a country that was semi-colonially dependent on foreign capital.

 The influx of foreign capital into Russia was accompanied by an even more intensive pumping out of the surplus value squeezed out of the workers of Russia.

 The growth of foreign capital (share and bond) over 27 years (1887-1913) amounted to 1,783 million rubles, while the net profit on invested capital (excluding trade tax) amounted to 2,326.1 million rubles over the same time. The profits of foreign capital thus exceeded investments by almost 30%, by more than half a billion rubles.

 Profits on foreign capital placed in Russian industrial enterprises and banks exceeded 200 million gold rubles annually. In addition, the interest on foreign loans alone amounted to 600-700 million gold rubles annually. Another channel through which the surplus value squeezed out of the working people of Russia was pumped out was railway loans. For 20 years (1891-1910), the total increase in investments of private (mainly foreign) capital in railway construction amounted to 1587 million rubles, and the amount of income - 4346 million rubles. Thus, with the help and support of the Russian autocracy, foreign financial capital pumped out for its own benefit, without any equivalent, about 2.5 billion rubles.

 As of January 1, 1914, the total amount of the state debt of tsarist Russia was over 8.8 billion rubles. Of these, about 4.2 billion fell on external debt. If we add here city and various other government-guaranteed loans, then the entire external debt was expressed in a huge amount of 5.5 to 6 billion rubles. Interest, commissions, and other payments on this debt - a tribute to foreign capital collected from Russian taxpayers - amounted to a gigantic amount. In the years preceding the war, these payments, transferred abroad, amounted to about 260 million rubles. annually.

By virtue of this debt bondage, foreign capital, primarily Anglo-French, held in its hands not only the levers of the Russian national economy, but to a large extent the tsarist government itself.

 “... European capital is saving the Russian autocracy,” wrote Lenin in 1905. “Without foreign loans, it could not hold out. It was advantageous for the French bourgeoisie to support their military ally, especially as long as the loan payments were made regularly” [Lenin, Soch., vol. VII, p. 175.].

 The loans made by the tsarist government abroad, as is generally characteristic of the epoch of imperialism, were associated with the provision of certain economic benefits and advantages for the capitalists of the lending countries. For example, France, having granted a loan to the tsarist government, negotiated for itself in a trade agreement of September 16, 1905, certain concessions until 1917. Thus, tsarist loans abroad increased the general economic dependence of Russia on foreign capital.

 Financial dependence also increased because payments on old loans increased every year, and new loans were required to cover them. Despite Russia's trade surplus, its balance of payments was very tense: the excess of exports over imports was insufficient to cover all payments.

 Russian domestic capital was closely intertwined with foreign capital in industry, in banks, and in railway transport. In the most important sectors of heavy industry and banks, he played a subordinate role to a certain extent, but here, too, we meet such big capitalists as Putilov, Lianozov, Mantashev, Ryabushinsky, Vtorov, and others. Industrial development of Russia's cotton production, national Russian capital occupied a very strong, dominant position. Domestic Russian capital, in turn, more and more insistently showed its expansionist aspirations, seeking to seize the Dardanelles, demanding its share in the division of China, Turkey, and Persia.

 There is no doubt that foreign capital hindered the development of heavy industry in Russia, while pursuing two goals: maintaining Russia's technical and economic dependence and securing monopoly super profits by raising prices.

 Another most important consequence of the dependence of Russian capitalism and tsarism on foreign capital was the extraordinary intensification of the exploitation of the working class and the working peasantry, for the oppression of "own" capitalists and landowners was joined by the oppression of foreign capital, which also enjoyed special privileges in Russia.

 Supporting the tsarist government with loans in the billions, foreign capital also strengthened the political oppression of tsarism, strengthening its position in the struggle against the revolutionary proletariat and peasantry, in the oppression and plunder of the peoples subject to Russia, in the exploitation of the economically backward countries of the East.

Comrade Stalin gave the following remarkably vivid and exhaustive characterization of the semi-colonial dependence of tsarist Russia on Western European imperialism and the specific nature of the relationship between tsarism and Western imperialism. “Tsarist Russia,” he says, “was the greatest reserve of Western imperialism, not only in the sense that it gave free access to foreign capital, which controlled such decisive branches of the national economy of Russia as fuel and metallurgy, but also in the sense that it could supply the Western imperialists with millions of soldiers. Remember the 12,000,000-strong Russian army that shed blood on the imperialist fronts to ensure the furious profits of the Anglo-French capitalists.

 Further, Tsarism was not only the watchdog of imperialism in the east of Europe, but it was also an agent of Western imperialism for extorting hundreds of millions of percent from the population on loans issued to it in Paris and London, in Berlin and Brussels.

 Finally, tsarism was the most faithful ally of Western imperialism in the division of Turkey, Persia, China, etc. Who does not know that the imperialist war was waged by tsarism in alliance with the Entente imperialists, that Russia was an essential element in this war?

 That is why the interests of tsarism and Western imperialism were intertwined and eventually merged into a single tangle of imperialist interests” [Stalin, Questions of Leninism, ed. 11th, p. 5.].

 The position of the workers in tsarist Russia was extremely difficult, their exploitation was exceptionally cruel and predatory.

 The working day in Russia was longer than in any other of the major capitalist countries.

 The dominant was a 10-hour working day, including on Saturdays. Moreover, overtime work was widely used.

 But even a 10- and even 11-hour working day was far from being the limit, and in many enterprises it often exceeded 12 hours. According to a survey conducted in 1913 and covering 1738,047 adult factory workers, the working day of 30% of all these workers was more than 10 hours, the working day of 16% of the workers exceeded 11 hours, and the working day of 7.5% of the workers was equal to 12 hours.

 The sanitary working conditions of the workers were terrible. The number of accidents at work has steadily increased. The total number of accidents reported to the factory inspection was: in 1904 - 69697, in 1908 - 76409, in 1912 - 98467 and in 1913 – 113344, much more than in other capitalist countries.

 Only in 1912 did the tsarist government introduce insurance for workers against sickness and injury. But this insurance, as Lenin pointed out, covered, even according to the most condescending estimates, no more than 1/6 of the Russian proletariat, leaving entire regions and categories of workers (agricultural, construction, railway, etc.) out of insurance. It established beggarly amounts of remuneration, at the same time laying on the shoulders of the workers the main part of the cost of insurance (the workers had to deduct 2% of their earnings to it).

 With truly hard labor, the workers received beggarly wages, which were barely enough for grub. The average annual earnings of a Russian factory worker in 1910 was 232 rubles, while in the USA it was equal to 1,036 rubles in the same year, that is, it exceeded the earnings of a Russian worker by more than 4 times. Even in relation to the earnings of the American industrial worker in 1860, the earnings of the Russian worker in 1910 were more than two times lower. Lenin remarks about this: “Russia of the 20th century, the Russia of the June 3 “constitution” is lower than slave America” [Lenin, Soch., vol. XVI, p. 342.]. But even this wage was further reduced by means of a system of fines and a partial replacement of money wages with food. Of the 28 points of the "Rules" of the Yuzovsky Plant, most consisted of enumerating cases when a worker is fined, loses his earnings, or is fired from the plant.

 It is interesting to note here that the total amount of fines levied by the capitalists at the end of the period we are characterizing continuously increased: in 1908 it amounted to 433 thousand rubles, in 1910 - 545 thousand rubles. and in 1912 - 697 thousand rubles. [“Statistical Yearbook for 1914”, p. 769.].

 In Russia, even up to the imperialist war, the payment of wages in products was preserved. As early as 1909, the workers of the Moscow province received almost a tenth of their wages in food products and goods from factory shops. “This type of payment,” Lenin wrote, “puts the workers in feudal dependence on the owners and gives the owners “surplus profits” [Lenin, Soch., vol. XVI, p. 601.].

 The development of capitalist industry also in Russia entailed an increasing replacement of male labor by the labor of women and children. So, if the data on the number of workers of different sex and age in 1903 is taken as 100, then by 1912 the number of men increased to 118.1, the number of women to 149.3, and children and adolescents to 123.6 [ "Statistical Yearbook for 1914", p. 764.].

 Thus, we see that both the number of children and adolescents, and the number of women (the latter especially) has grown faster than the number of men, that women's and children's labor has more and more supplanted the labor of adult men. In some branches of industry, as, for example, in most fiber processing industries, the number of working women on the eve of the world war absolutely exceeded the number of men.

 Meanwhile, the wages of a child laborer were only about a third of those of an adult male, and those of a woman only three-fifths of that of a man. Thus, by replacing the labor of men with the labor of women and children, the capitalists reduced the amount of wages paid to the workers, made the labor force cheaper, and increased the amount of workers' labor gratuitously appropriated by capital, the mass of surplus value.

 The workers lived in difficult living conditions. According to a survey conducted in St. Petersburg in 1908, of the workers with an average budget of 300 - 350 rubles. per year, 4.9% of singles occupied a bunk, 20.4% used only a bunk, 43.7% had a corner, and 11.7% had half a room. Of the family workers, 7.1% rented one bed for the whole family, 35.7% rented a corner, and 7.1% rented half a room. Thus, not only 80.7% of single workers, but almost 50% of family workers did not even have one room.

 “Like in all capitalist countries, in pre-revolutionary Russia, the years of industrial upsurge gave way to years of industrial crises, industrial stagnation, which hit the working class hard, doomed hundreds of thousands of workers to unemployment and poverty” [“History of the CPSU (b)”. Short course, p. 7.]. The economic backwardness of tsarist Russia was manifested in large scale unemployment. “To determine at least approximately the number of unemployed in an average year,” wrote Lenin, “is impossible due to the complete absence of any reliable statistical data; but there is no doubt that this number must be very large ... ”[Lenin, Soch., vol. III, p. 456.]. Partial data on the size of unemployment show that, for example, in St. Petersburg in 1911 the number of unemployed was 4.3% of the total number of workers and employees; in Moscow in 1912 there were 29.4 thousand unemployed, who accounted for 3.8% of the total number of workers and employees; in Baku in 1913 unemployment covered 5.9% of the total number of workers and employees. If we take into account that these figures refer to the years of industrial growth and that they are, of course, significantly underestimated, it becomes clear that in the period 1900-1913 the average annual number of unemployed in all of Russia was at least half a million.

 The monstrous, predatory exploitation of the workers provided domestic and foreign capital in Russia with unheard of high profits. In the well-known article “The Earnings of the Workers and the Profit of the Capitalists in Russia”, Lenin shows that the rate of surplus value in 1908 in Russia exceeded 100%, i.e., the workers worked less than half of the day for themselves, and more than half for the capitalist.

 Being semi-colonially dependent on foreign capital, Russian tsarism, in turn, ruthlessly exploited and oppressed the peoples subject to it. No wonder Lenin called tsarist Russia a prison of peoples. In tsarist Russia, open military violence and robbery were combined with economic oppression, religious intoxication, and the closing of paths to enlightenment.

 With the exception of Ukraine and partly of Baku, where foreign capital flowed especially abundantly, industrial production in the colonial outskirts of tsarist Russia stood at an exceptionally low level. In 1913, the large-scale industry of Byelorussia produced 1% of the output of the entire large-scale industry of Russia, the industry of Georgia - 0.4%, the industry of Armenia - 0.15%, the industry of Tajikistan - 0.01%, etc.

 Pointing out that, according to Marx, the main features of a colony in the political and economic sense are: “1) the presence of unoccupied, free land, easily accessible to settlers; 2) the presence of the existing world division of labor, the world market, thanks to which the colonies can specialize in the mass production of agricultural products, receiving in exchange for them finished industrial products, "which, under other circumstances, they would have to manufacture themselves" ”, Lenin in his work “The Development of Capitalism in Russia” wrote that “... the southern and eastern outskirts of the European Russia, settled in the post-reform era, are distinguished precisely by these features and are, in the economic sense, the colonies of the central European Russia ... This concept of a colony is even more applicable to other border regions, for example, to the Caucasus ”[Lenin, Soch., vol. III, p. 463.].

 In order to preserve this market, Russian capitalism kept the colonial borderlands in the position of agricultural and raw material appendages to the industrial center of European Russia. An example is the development of the cotton industry, which was almost entirely concentrated in the central industrial region, at a great distance from its domestic raw material base, located in Central Asia, and at a very considerable distance from the seaports and land borders through which cotton was imported from abroad. . The development of cotton production in Central Asia, in the Ukraine (on the basis of imported cotton) would mean for the Russian cotton manufacturers the loss of these markets for their goods.

 The transformation of the border regions into markets for the products of Russian capitalist industry and their use for agricultural colonization to a certain extent weakened the sharpness of the contradiction between large-scale capitalist industry and the remnants of serfdom in agriculture and slowed down the resolution of this contradiction. Thus, the development of capitalism in breadth contributed to the preservation of the remnants of serfdom in the economy of tsarist Russia. Thus, the development of capitalism in depth was delayed in it, which, in turn, led to a further deepening of the contradictions of Russian capitalism.

 Along with this, to an even greater extent, the colonial policy of tsarism contributed to the preservation of the most backward economic forms on the outskirts. “Tsarism,” says Comrade Stalin, “deliberately cultivated patriarchal-feudal oppression on the outskirts in order to keep the masses in slavery and ignorance” [Stalin, Marxism, and the national-colonial question, 1939, p. 81.].

 Lenin repeatedly pointed out, as one of the peculiarities of Russian imperialism, that capitalist imperialism was intertwined here with military-feudal imperialism, the personification of which was tsarism. In Russia, “... the monopoly of military force, vast territory, or the special convenience of robbing foreigners ... partly replenishes, partly replaces the monopoly of modern, newest financial capital” [Lenin, Soch., vol. XIX, pp. 309-310.].

 Comrade Stalin says that tsarist Russia was at the same time a hotbed of capitalist, colonial, and military oppression, and, moreover, in the most barbaric form. Emphasizing that "tsarism was the focus of the most negative aspects of imperialism, squared" [Stalin, Questions of Leninism, ed. 11th, p. 5], Comrade Stalin points out that as a result of this, the struggle against tsarism was at the same time a struggle against imperialism, the revolution against tsarism approached the revolution against imperialism, had to develop into a proletarian revolution.

 Russia was the focal point of imperialist contradictions, and it contained all the necessary objective and subjective conditions for the revolutionary resolution of these contradictions. By the beginning of the imperialist war, the industrial development of Russia, both in terms of the size of industrial output and the degree of concentration of production, had reached a level that made it objectively possible for the victory of the proletarian revolution in Russia and the building of socialism in it by the victorious proletariat. Russia, Lenin points out, was not the weakest capitalist country, but moderately weak. “Without a certain height of capitalism,” wrote Lenin, “we would not have succeeded” [“Leninskii sbornik” XI, p. 397.].

 But the peculiarity of the Russian economy on the eve of the imperialist war consisted in the fact that, despite the rather high rates of industrial development, it still lagged far behind the most developed capitalist countries; that, despite the rapid accumulation of domestic capital, it remained in a semi-colonial dependence on foreign capital; that, along with the highly developed forms of the highest stage of capitalism, very significant remnants of serfdom were preserved in it, etc. Thus, the contradictions that were specifically characteristic of imperialism intertwined in it with the contradictions characteristic of the feudal-serf era; the working classes—the proletariat and the peasantry—experienced a particularly heavy yoke of all sorts of exploitation—both capitalist, feudal, and colonial. That's why Russia is more than any other country, was pregnant with revolution.

 “... Russia,” says Comrade Stalin, “was to become the focal point of the contradictions of imperialism, not only in the sense that these contradictions were most easily revealed precisely in Russia in view of their particularly ugly and particularly intolerant character, and not only because Russia was the most important pillar of Western imperialism, connecting the financial capital of the West with the colonies of the East, but also because only in Russia there was a real force capable of resolving the contradictions of imperialism in a revolutionary way” [Stalin, Questions of Leninism, ed. 11th, p. 6.].

 This force was the revolutionary proletariat of Russia.

 The young Russian proletariat, educated and led by the Lenin-Stalin party, enriched by the experience of the revolutionary struggles of 1905-1907, was the most revolutionary in the world. And no rampant reaction, which had become extremely intensified after 1905, could prevent the further growth of the proletariat, could not crush its revolutionary aspirations, could not prevent a new powerful upsurge in the revolutionary struggle.

 Already in December 1910, in the article "The Beginning of Demonstrations", Lenin wrote that after a certain retreat, the proletariat was again beginning to take the offensive.

 In 1911, according to the very underestimated data of the industrialists themselves, over 105,000 workers went on strike. But the real upsurge of the revolutionary movement began in April-May 1912 in connection with the Lena massacre, which stirred up the masses of the workers and caused a huge outburst of revolutionary indignation.

 On April 4, 1912, in order to break the economic strike of 6,000 workers of the Lena gold mines, to please the owners of the gold mines, the British capitalists, more than 500 workers were killed and wounded by order of the tsarist gendarmerie officer. The proletariat responded to the Lena massacre with mass strikes, demonstrations and rallies in St. Petersburg, Moscow and in all industrial centers of the country.

 “The Lena strikes,” Comrade Stalin wrote in 1912 in the Bolshevik newspaper Zvezda, “broke the ice of silence, and the river of popular movement began to flow. Moved! .. Everything that was evil and pernicious in the modern regime, everything that long-suffering Russia was ill with - all this was gathered in one fact, in the events on the Lena. That is why it was the Lena shots that served as a signal for strikes and demonstrations” [“History of the CPSU(b)”. Short course, p. 141.].

 The Lena strikes involved up to 300,000 workers. An even greater number of workers—about 400,000—participated in the May Day strikes of 1912.

 The strikes of 1912, like the strikes of the period of the first Russian revolution, were a combination of political and economic struggle. Political strikes predominated, and to a large extent. Of the more than a million workers who took part in the strikes of 1912, only 200,000 were participants in economic strikes. About 900,000 workers took part in political strikes.

 The liberals and "liberal workers' politicians (liquidators)" tried in every possible way to distort the character of the unfolding strike movement. The liquidators asserted that "we have before us a period of economic strikes." The liquidators and their ally Trotsky, frightened by the upsurge of the revolutionary struggle of the workers, wanted to replace the revolutionary strikes with a "petition campaign." Nothing came of this venture, however. They managed to collect only 1,300 signatures, while hundreds of thousands of workers rallied around the Bolshevik Party.

 Judas-Trotsky put forward the "theory" according to which the only task of the strike movement in 1912 was allegedly the struggle for freedom of coalitions. Regarding this vile slander, Lenin wrote: “There is nothing more deceitful than the liberal fiction repeated after the liquidators by Trotsky ... that “the struggle for freedom of coalitions is the basis of both the Lena tragedy and its mighty echo in the country” ”[Lenin, Works, vol. XV, p. 534.].

 The desire to narrow down the character of the movement, to present it as a purely professional movement for freedom of association, was in the interests of the bourgeoisie, which most of all feared a new revolutionary upsurge of the masses. In fact, the strike movement of 1912 was incomparably broader than what the liberal bourgeoisie, together with the liquidators and Trotsky, wanted to see in it. It testified to the entry of Russia into a period of a new powerful revolutionary upsurge. This upsurge was not accidental, but was prepared by all the conditions of Russian life for a long time. The Lena massacre was only a pretext for the transition of the revolutionary mood of the masses, which had already been outlined since the end of 1910, into a revolutionary upsurge of the masses. Lenin wrote: “Hundreds of thousands of the St. Petersburg proletariat, and behind them the workers of all parts of Russia, went on strike and street demonstrations, not as one of the separate classes of bourgeois society, not with “their” only professional slogans, but as a hegemon, raising the banner of revolution for the entire people, on behalf of the entire people, to awaken and enlist in the struggle all classes who need freedom, who are capable of achieving it” [Ibid., p. 541.].

 The nationwide significance of mass workers' strikes was that they were aimed at emancipating the entire working people of Russia, exceptionally talented, hardworking, capable, but strangled by the yoke of the autocracy. These strikes were aimed at emancipating the productive forces of Russia, its enormous wealth, which was squandered by the bloc of landlords and capitalists. Only the revolutionary destruction of the autocracy, and after it capitalism, could ensure the free development of the Russian and other peoples who inhabited Russia, the identification of their versatile creative abilities, and at the same time the full disclosure and rational use of the greatest natural wealth of Russia. Therefore, these strikes aroused the sympathy of the vast majority of the working masses of the country.

 The mass strike movement that unfolded was the beginning of a new (after 1905) stage in the struggle for the liberation of Russia from the oppression of the autocracy, a struggle that was supposed to clear the way for the destruction of the oppression of capital as well. Lenin, in particular, especially emphasized the enormous significance of the revolutionary mass strike as a proletarian method of agitation, unification, rallying and drawing the masses into the struggle, a method first developed on a large scale in the first Russian revolution and again, with a firmer hand, applied by the proletariat in 1912. He pointed out that “no force in the world could carry out what the revolutionary vanguard of the proletariat is doing by this method... The most backward sections, both workers and peasants, come into direct and indirect contact with the strikers. Hundreds of thousands of revolutionary agitators appear on the stage at once, whose influence is infinitely enhanced by the fact that they are inextricably linked with the lower classes, with the masses, remain in their ranks, fight for the most urgent needs of every working-class family, combine political protest and the struggle against the monarchy with this direct struggle for urgent economic needs. ., vol. XV, pp. 535-536.]. Nor should we forget, Lenin further pointed out, that mass strikes in our country are inextricably linked with an armed uprising.

 Lenin pointed out that the revolutionary movement of the proletariat in Russia had risen in 1912 to a higher level than in 1905. “If in 1905,” he wrote, “it began with mass strikes and the destruction of the organizations of our party, the movement begins with mass strikes and the raising of the republican banner!” [Ibid., p. 541.].

 The VI All-Russian Party Conference held in Prague in January 1912, which expelled the Mensheviks from the party and formalized the independent existence of the Bolshevik Party, was of the greatest importance for the further development of the upsurge of the revolutionary working-class movement that began in 1912.

 The daily Bolshevik newspaper Pravda, published in St. Petersburg, played a huge role in strengthening the Bolshevik organizations and gaining influence among the masses. The publication of the first issue of Pravda on April 22 (May 5), 1912 was a holiday for the workers. Pravda systematically covered the life of workers and peasants, their exploitation by capitalists, landowners, and kulaks. It instilled in the workers a consciousness of the unity of their interests and helped to organize their actions. Pravda pointed out to the workers that a new revolution was ahead, in which the proletariat must act as the leader and in which it would have a strong ally in the revolutionary peasantry. Penetrating into the countryside, Pravda awakened the revolutionary energy of the advanced peasants.

 Another all-Russian legal organ through which the Bolshevik Party carried out its revolutionary work among the masses during the years of the upsurge of the revolutionary movement (1912-1914) was the Bolshevik faction in the Fourth State Duma, closely connected with the Central Committee of the Party, with Lenin and directly led by Comrade Stalin during his stay in Petersburg.

 Of great importance was the performance of the Bolshevik Party at the elections to the Fourth Duma, which took place in the autumn of 1912. The Party acted independently at these elections and put forward the slogans: a democratic republic, an 8-hour working day, and the confiscation of landowners' land. When at the beginning of October 1912 the tsarist government attempted to violate the electoral rights of the workers, the St. Petersburg Committee of the Bolshevik Party, at the suggestion of Comrade Stalin, called on the workers of the largest enterprises to strike for a day, and the government was forced to yield. The vast majority of the workers voted for Comrade Stalin's Order of the St. Petersburg Workers to Their Worker's Deputy. Lenin attached great importance to the "Instruction". The Nakaz emphasized that “... that Russia is living on the eve of the coming mass movements, perhaps deeper ones, than in the fifth year ... "["History of the CPSU (b)". Short course, p. 149], that the Russian proletariat will be the instigator of these movements, as in the fifth year, that only the peasantry can be an ally of the proletariat. The Nakaz pointed out that the revolutionary people would have to fight on two fronts—both against the tsarist government and against the liberal bourgeoisie seeking an agreement with it.

 In the elections to the Duma, the Bolsheviks won in all the most important industrial centers, numbering at least 4/5 of the country 's working class. Of the nine deputies elected by the workers, six were members of the Bolshevik Party.

 Skillfully combining illegal work with legal work, staunchly defending the interests of the working class, maintaining close ties with the masses, and waging an uncompromising struggle against the enemies of the working-class movement, the Bolsheviks also conquered other legal organizations of the proletariat.

 The strikes and demonstrations of 1912 clearly showed who the working class of Russia was following. They showed that the working masses accepted the revolutionary slogans of the Bolsheviks and turned their backs on the Liquidators, together with Trotsky, who were dragging them into the swamp of reformism.

 “As a result of two and a half years of stubborn struggle against the liquidators for the re-establishment of a mass revolutionary workers’ party, the Bolsheviks achieved that by the summer of 1914, four-fifths of the active workers of Russia followed the Bolshevik party, followed the “Pravdist” tactics” [Ibid., p. 148. ].

 The strikes of 1912 contributed to a clearer delineation of class forces. They showed with their own eyes that Russia is divided into three main political camps: 1) "the camp of executioners and feudal lords, the monarchy and the Okhrana", the camp of frenzied reaction; 2) “the camp of the bourgeoisie, which is all from the Cadets. to the Octobrists, screaming and groaning, calling for reforms and declaring herself “fools” for admitting the idea of​​the possibility of reforms in Russia” [Lenin, Soch., vol. XVI, p. 490.]; 3) the camp of the revolution, led by the proletariat and led by the Bolshevik Party.

 On the other hand, the movement of 1912 fully confirmed the correctness of the Bolshevik tactics of an alliance with the peasantry, in particular, the correctness of Lenin's thesis that in tsarist Russia, which was approaching a new bourgeois-democratic revolution, a political strike was the only serious means of inciting the peasantry and the best part of the peasant army.

 Awakened by the upsurge of the working-class movement and mass strikes, the peasants again rose to fight against the landowners. The peasant movement, which waned during the years of reaction and increased allocation to farms (1907-1909), already from 1910-1911. reveals a new significant rise.

 The number of peasant uprisings in 1910-1914 exceeded 13 thousand. Revolutionary actions took place in the troops. In November 1912, “on the streets of St. Petersburg, Riga, and Moscow, the proletariat extended its hand to the leaders of the peasant army, who heroically rose up against the monarchy” [Ibid., p. 242.]. The best part of the army, which rose up against the monarchy in the wake of the workers, represented not only the army as such, but also the vast masses of the peasantry.

 The Stolypin reform not only did not lead to the "pacification" of the countryside, as the tsarist government had hoped, but, on the contrary, entailed an acceleration and intensification of the process of class differentiation of the peasantry and an aggravation of class contradictions between its extreme groups. Lenin repeatedly emphasized that the implementation of the Stolypin reform in the coming years would more inflame the struggle within the peasantry than extinguish it, that "the law of November 9 only accelerates the division of the peasant masses into irreconcilably hostile and consciously political forces" [Ibid., vol. XIV, page 6.].

 At the same time, the further ruin and impoverishment of the many millions of small and middle peasants further aggravated their hostility towards the landlords and tsarism, which defended their interests, still more strengthened their desire for the revolutionary liquidation of landownership, and more and more convinced that the only salvation was in alliance with the working class, in a joint revolutionary struggle against the autocracy and the remnants of serfdom.

 Exposing the counter-revolutionary essence of the Trotskyist "denial" of the role of the peasantry in the revolution, Lenin wrote in his article "On the Two Lines of the Revolution":

 "The whole decade - the great decade - 1905 - 1915. proved the presence of two and only two class lines of the Russian revolution. The stratification of the peasantry intensified the class struggle within it, awakened very many politically dormant elements, brought the rural proletariat closer to the urban ... But the antagonism between the "peasantry" and the Markovs-Romanovs-Khvostovs intensified, increased, sharpened. This is such an obvious truth that even thousands of phrases in Trotsky's dozens of Paris articles cannot "refute" it. Trotsky is actually helping the liberal workers' politicians of Russia, who by "denying" the role of the peasantry mean the unwillingness to rouse the peasants to the revolution! [Ibid., vol. XVIII, pp. 317-318].

 Exposing the "left" phrases of Judas-Trotsky, Lenin emphasized that the aggravation of class contradictions in the countryside proceeded along two lines:

 1) along the line of antagonism between the peasantry as a whole, in its bulk, and the feudal landlords, headed by the Romanovs;

 2) along the line of antagonism between the peasant bourgeoisie and the rural proletariat and semi-proletariat.

 The remnants of serfdom and corvée exploitation in the countryside determined the revolutionary nature of the broadest masses of the peasantry, their readiness for a revolutionary struggle against the landowners and the tsarist autocracy in alliance with the proletariat, whose leadership alone could ensure their complete victory, the complete elimination of the remnants of serfdom, bringing the bourgeois-democratic revolution to end. On the other hand, the growth of capitalism and capitalist exploitation in the countryside has cut such a deep furrow between the peasant bourgeoisie and the poorest peasantry, the class disintegration of the peasantry and the class struggle within it have become so aggravated that in the person of the proletarian and semi-proletarian elements in the countryside, in the person of the poorest peasantry, the proletariat has a dependable ally. for the transition from the bourgeois-democratic revolution to the proletarian, socialist revolution. Finally, the colonial policy of tsarism, the cruel exploitation of the working people of the colonial border regions of tsarist Russia made it easier for the proletariat to establish an alliance with the peasantry of these border regions and to win them over to the side of the revolution.

 The wave of mass revolutionary strikes, which had risen so high in 1912, rose even higher in subsequent years. In 1913, 1,272,000 workers were on strike.

 With the advent of 1914, workers' strikes began to unfold with renewed vigor, becoming more and more stubborn and capturing an increasing number of workers. In total, before the start of the war in 1914, 1,425,000 workers were on strike. The general strike of oil workers that began in May 1914 in Baku received the broadest response. In protest against the brutal measures taken by the police against the Baku workers, and in solidarity with the latter, workers in Moscow and other districts went on strike. On July 3, during a rally held at the Putilov factory (in St. Petersburg) in connection with the Baku strike, the police opened fire on the workers. This caused tremendous excitement among the St. Petersburg proletariat.

 “On July 4 in St. Petersburg, at the call of the St. Petersburg Committee of the Party, 90,000 workers went on strike in protest; on July 7, 130,000 went on strike; on July 8, 150,000; on July 11, 200,000.

 All factories were seized with excitement, rallies and demonstrations took place everywhere. It came to attempts to build barricades. Barricades were also built in Baku and Lodz. At a number of points, the police fired on the workers. To suppress the movement, the government took "extraordinary" measures, the capital was turned into a military camp, "Pravda" was closed.

 But at that time a new force of the international order appeared on the scene - the imperialist war - which was supposed to change the course of events ... The tsarist government took advantage of the war in order to crush the Bolshevik organizations and suppress the workers' movement. The upsurge of the revolution was interrupted by the world war, in which the tsarist government sought salvation from the revolution" ["History of the CPSU (b)". Short course, pp. 152 - 153.].