Russian Industrialists and the Initial Mobilization, 1914–15

  • Lewis H. Siegelbaum
Part of the St Antony’s/Macmillan Series book series


A few days after Nazi Germany had launched its invasion of the Soviet Union, the BBC’s Overseas Transmission broadcast a talk by Sir Bernard Pares entitled ‘Democracy Marches’. Pares spoke of an earlier invasion of Russia, one which he had witnessed.


Special Commission General Staff Russian Industry Shell Production German Army 
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  1. 7.
    In a recent study of the ‘soliders’ revolt’ in 1917, Allan Wildman has concluded that ‘one can say with reasonable confidence that the peasant-soliders entered the world war with the conviction that it was an alien enterprise, the patriotic outpourings of cultured society notwithstanding’ — Allan K. Wildman, The End of the Russian Imperial Army: The Old Army and the Soldiers’ Revolt (March-April, 1917) (Princeton, N.J., 1980) p. 374.Google Scholar
  2. 8.
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  3. 9.
    According to factory inspectors’ reports, there were only 70 strikes in Russia in the latter half of 1914. See I.I. Mints, ‘Revoliutsionnaia bor’ba proletariata Rossii v 1914–1916 godakh’, Voprosy istorii, no. 11 (1959) p. 59.Google Scholar
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    This is convincingly argued in K.F. Shatsillo, ‘O disproportsii v razvitii vooruzhennykh sil Rossii nakanune pervoi mirovoi voiny (1906–1914 gg.)’, IZ, vol. LXXXIII (1969) pp. 123–36.Google Scholar
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    Testimony of General Smyslovskii quoted in Manikovskii, Boevoe snabzhenie, vol. II, pp. 34–5. The Supreme Commission was appointed by the Council of Ministers in August 1915, largely in response to the crescendo of criticism over supply policies under Sukhomlinov. It was chaired by General N.P. Petrov and contained members of both legislative chambers. See Sidorov, ‘Bor’ba s krizisom vooruzheniia russkoi armii v 1915–1916 gg.’, Istoricheskii zhurnal, no. 10–11 (1944) p. 46.Google Scholar
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    This was in cooperation with the Commission on the Preparation of Explosives, established in February 1915. For details of the commission’s work see V.N. Ipat’ev, Zhizn’ odnogo khimika, vospominaniia, 2 vols (New York, 1945) vol. I, p. 440ff.Google Scholar
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    A.P. Pogrebinskii, ‘Sindikat “Prodamet” v gody pervoi mirovoi voiny 1914–1917’, Voprosy istorii no. 10 (1958) p. 28. Golovine, in The Russian Army, p. 152 makes a similar charge with respect to metalworks enterprises. This probably refers to an investigation of the Kolomna Machine Works carried out by a group appointed by the Special Council of Defence’s Supervisory Commission. The investigators characterized Vankov’s order for 40,000 shells as ‘harmful…to the production of other no less essential items’ (see ’Doklad komissii dlia obsledovaniia deiatel’nosti Kolomenskogo, Sormovogo, i Kulebakskogo zavodov’, TsGVIA, f. 369, op. 4, d. 20, 1. 189). Manikovskii, Boevoe snabzhenie, vol. II, p. 49, holds the Special Council and the War Minister responsible for such ’one-sided development’.Google Scholar
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    B. Pares, The Fall of the Russian Monarchy (New York, 1961) p. 230. Cf. also his Day by Day with the Russian Army (London, 1915) pp. 201–34.Google Scholar
  33. 72.
    Quoted in You. Danilov, La Russie dans la guerre mondiale, 1914–1917 (Paris, 1927) p. 416.Google Scholar
  34. 78.
    The eleven were A.A. Davidov, K.P. Fedorov, N.D. Lesenko, A.P. Meller, A.P. Meshcherskii, M.S. Plotnikov, N.E. Ponafidin, A.I. Putilov, Ia.I. Utin, A.I. Vyshnegradskii and S.F. Zlokazov. None of them took part in the War-Industries Committees. For their ties with industry and finance cf. I.F. Gindin and L.E. Shepelev, ‘Bankovskie monopolii v Rossii’, IZ, vol. LXVI (1960) pp. 58–9, 62–3, 68–75;Google Scholar
  35. and V.I. Bovykin and K.F. Shatsillo, ‘Lichnye unii v tiazheloi promyshlennosti nakanune pervoi mirovoi voiny’, Vestnik Moskovskogo universiteta, seriia ix, no. 1 (1962) Tables 1–9. The banks and the relevant officials are: Russian-Asian Bank–Putilov (chair.); Petrograd International Commercial Bank–Vyshnegradskii (dir.); Petrograd Private Commercial Bank–Davidov (chair.); Petrograd Savings and Loan Bank–Utin (chair.).Google Scholar
  36. In terms of their fixed assets as of Jan. 1914 the banks ranked 1, 2, 8, 9respectively (see I.F. Gindin, Russkie kommercheskie banki (Moscow, 1948) p. 381).Google Scholar
  37. 79.
    Osobyi zhurnal Soveta ministrov’ (29 May 1915), TsGIA, f. 1276, op. 11, d. 888, 1. 272 obv. Sukhomlinov’s affirmation is to be contrasted with the extremely pessimistic remarks which Putilov made to the French ambassador several days earlier. See Maurice Paleologue, An Ambassador’s Memoirs, 3 vols (London, 1923–5) vol. I, p. 349.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Lewis H. Siegelbaum 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lewis H. Siegelbaum
    • 1
  1. 1.La Trobe UniversityAustralia

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