and Central Asia:
Overview and Economic History
I. Overview of
Diversities of geography, economy, and culture.
Dominance of Russia—36% of population, 41% of production, 73% of
surface area (Russia's land area is 84% larger than the United States).
Demographic trends—population losses associated with WWI, Russian
revolution, Russian civil war, collectivization, and WWII. Fastest
population growth in central Asia.
growth—Russian share of regional GDP declined from about 45
percent in 1940 to 41 percent in 1993. Most countries experienced slower
growth between 1980 and 1993, due to decline of planning, difficulties of
transition, and with regional hostilities.
settlements—tribes in Caucasus area before 20,000 B.C. Slavic
tribes date to 2,000 B.C. in eastern Carpathians, spread west to Czech
area, east to Russia, south to Balkans.
realm united after 359 B.C. by Philip of Macedon, and his
son Alexander conquered most of Persia, spreading Greek
culture through an enormous empire.
conquered Alexander’s western empire and much of Europe. Empire administratively divided
East-West in 285 A.D.
Roman Empire After 285AD
preserved classical civilization after Rome fell in 476 A.D. Eastern
church adoption of Greek liturgy and other issues led to schism in 1054.
Byzantine Empire in 814
Slav state in the 6th century A.D.
Rus—On trade route, Kiev became capital of Russian city-states
during 9th century. Kievans were cosmopolitan, but adoption of Eastern
Orthodoxy in 980 contributed to Eastern separation.
Principalities of the Kievan Rus (1054-1132)
Muslim conquests after 622 spread Islam into regions that included
Central Asia, and then the Ottoman Empire spread into southeastern
Europe after the fall of Constantinople/Istanbul in 1453, and dominated
the region until the end of World War I. The Czechs, Slovaks, Poles,
and Slovenes avoided Ottoman domination; Hungary and Croatia were
liberated early. Today, these have higher per capita
Spread of Islam, 622-750
In the meanwhile the Mongol
conquest in 13th-15th
centuries devastated Central Eurasia, severed Western ties, and caused
Russian capital to move to Moscow, which became the “Third Rome”
after the fall of Constantinople.
Ottoman Empire, 1798-1923
III. Peter the
Great and Russian Expansion (18th-19th Centuries)
A. After Russian
independence from Mongols in 1452, isolationism and feudal institutions.
B. Early in 18th
century, Peter the Great:
Western science, technology, art, and architecture.
2. Moved capital
to St. Petersburg.
Western political and economic philosophies.
4. Levied heavy
taxes and imposed forced labor.
territorial expansion and industrialization.
and Industrialization (1853-1900)
maintenance of feudalism thwarted Russian development, led
to defeat in Crimean War (fought during 1853-1856 against
the British and French, who were protecting the Ottoman Empire from
destruction by the Russians).
Emancipation Decree of 1861 nominally abolished serfdom.
1. Serfs freed
from the arbitrary rule.
2. Land given to
a. Better land
kept by gentry.
b. Serfs required
to pay redemption payments and taxes.
c. Land held
collectively by village communes, responsible for tax collection and
apportionment. Handled by inefficient strip agriculture.
3. Tax and
redemption payments forced agricultural sales and exports, monetized
the economy, and supported railroad construction boom, which
supported production of iron, steel, and petroleum
and industrialization caused little improvement in the living standards.
Revolutionary movements began.
V. The Russian
Revolutions and World War I (1900-1918)
Social Democrats, first congresses in 1903 called for overthrow of
monarchy and the adoption of socialism.
Mensheviks—Russia not ready for socialism; party should be mass
Bolsheviks—Russia was ripe for socialism; membership restricted to elite
Revolution—Bloody Sunday precipitated demonstrations and general
strike in October. Tsar granted formation of Duma, and Stolypin reforms
helped agricultural peasants.
War I arose from Balkan struggle for independence.
D. In Russia, WWI
exacted horrible price, led to food riots, forcing Tsar to
abdicate. Kerensky’s provisional government acted slowly,
was overthrown by Bolsheviks with little fighting in November 1917.
Treaty of Versailles,
1919, regions of Habsburg empire ceded to Serbian, Czech, and Polish
Russian Civil War Poster
""Have you signed up as a volunteer?"
VI. War Communism
A. New Bolshevik
leaders faced problems.
1. Promise of
of Bolshevik rule.
invasion after 1918 Brest-Litovsk Treaty
of private and church land without compensation.
extracted "surpluses" from agricultural workers.
3. Goods and food
rationed, private trade outlawed.
industrial enterprises nationalized and administered by commissariats
headed by Vesenkha.
5. "Labor armies"
rebuilt roads and railways, and worked in mines.
Performance—Production plummeted, arising from poor work
incentives, concealment of surpluses, and chaotic management, but also
from wartime disruption.
VII. The New Economic
temporary experiment in market socialism
2. Private trade
enterprises leased to entrepreneurs and larger enterprises operated as
public trusts. Only "the commanding heights of industry" were kept under
direct governmental control.
4. Freer labor
mobility, market-determined wages, and pro-labor legislation.
Performance—After 1921, NEP supported rapid recovery, but with rising
The Industrialization Debate
A. Stimulated by
the Scissors Crisis and Lenin's death in 1924.
B. Bukharin and
of the market-oriented policies of NEP, following comparative advantage in
smychka, or alliance, between agricultural
and industrial workers.
investments in the short run would most effectively support industrial
development in the long run.
Preobrazhensky, and “left-deviation" faction:
1. NEP will lead
to return of capitalism
surrounded by enemies, needs heavy industry.
Industrialization accelerated by exploitation of the private sector and
socialist revolution versus socialism in one country.
IX. The Planning
Era Begins (1929-1945)
vacillation, Stalin adopted a leftist and teleological strategy. The First
Five-Year Plan called for rapid rates growth of all sectors, but highest
for producer goods and lowest for agriculture. Fulfillment of the plan was
even more leftist.
agricultural production caused by low plan priority and violent
collectivization. Industrialization strengthened the nation’s military
stance, but eventually turned a major grain exporter into an importer.
X. After World
War II (1945-1953)
“capitalist encirclement,” and Soviet autarky, to the “socialist
1. Adoption of
Soviet-style systems throughout region.
2. Creation of
Council for Mutual
to answer the Marshall Plan. Redirection of trade.
3. East German,
Romanian, and Hungarian reparations to USSR.
1. Impact of
2. Tito’s hero
acceptance of Soviet political/economic system.
4. Conflicts with
Stalin, 1948 expulsion from Comintern.
5. Reversal in
1950—acceptance of Western aid and adoption of labor self-management.
XI. After Stalin
1953 Stalin's death in
denunciation of Stalin's terror
Hungarian revolt crushed
by Soviet troops
Upgrading of CMEA
Principles of the International Socialist Division of Labor called for
specialization and integration of production.
attempt to introduce supranational planning.
XII. Early Reforms
A. Soviet system
inappropriate for small, trade-dependent countries. Hungary and Poland
of Soviet growth. Kosygin reforms of mid-1960s.
C. Watershed in
1968— Prague Spring and Hungarian New Economic Mechanism.
XIII. Prelude to the
1970 Food price hikes
in Poland lead to strikes, repression, and resignation of Gomulka.
1972 Nixon visits
Moscow, launches détente.
indebtedness culminates again in price hikes, strikes, repression.
1978 Selection of
1980 Birth of
Solidarity trade union in Poland.
1981 Polish martial
XIV. The End and the
New Beginning (1985-1991)
1985 Mikhail Gorbachev
takes office in the Soviet Union, introduces
glasnost (openness) and perestroika
(restructuring), and repudiates Brezhnev Doctrine.
demonstrations, destruction of Berlin Wall, removal of Communist leaders
throughout the region.
“shock therapy” in Poland.
1991 Abortive coup
against Gorbachev causes Russian President Yeltsin to suspend Communist
Party activities and Gorbachev to dissolve USSR.