Big Business In Russia
Jonathan A. Grant has written a highly original study of the Putilov works—the most famous industrial conglomerate in the Russian Empire during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. With the emergence of a capitalist system in the Russian federation in the 1990s, scholarly debate over the nature of Russian capitalism has been revived, and with this study, Grant issues a major challenge to the conventional wisdom on the nature of the Russian economy in the years before the Bolshevik revolution. Grant argues that the Putilov Company, which manufactured arms for the Russian state and a wide range of heavy industrial equipment for civilian use, adopted business practices that resembled the experiences of large machinery and armaments manufacturers in Britain, France, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and Germany. This interpretation runs directly counter to the traditional and widely held view that Russian capitalism was shaped by the tsarist state's orders and subsidies and that the tsarist system was incompatible with the development of modern capitalism. Grant makes direct comparisons between Putilov and the famous western firm of Krupp and Vickers, illustrating similar business decisions made by both companies in terms of diversification of the product line and a penchant for private (as opposed to state) markets for primary income.
Grant has gone beyond Soviet works on the Putilov plant, examining archival documents of the company and offering critical comments on both Soviet and Western scholarship on Russian economic and social history from the perspective of this important industrial enterprise. Grant not only repeatedly demonstrates that the Putilov firm responded effectively to the changing market for its wide range of industrial products but also shows that the tsarist regime provided far more of the "systemic regularity" needed for capitalist development than generally believed. Grant's work is a significant contribution to this ongoing debate, offering a much-needed case study of Russian business history and a comparative study that extends across national boundaries. Big Business in Russia is essential reading for graduate students in Russian and European history and will also appeal to American and European business leaders eager to understand the historical background of the current economic challenges facing Russia.
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A. I. Putilov activity administration annual Antsyforov armaments Artillery Department artillery orders artillery production board of directors Bovykin Briansk capital carriages cartel charter company's board construction contract costs council defense Del'vig Duma Duma members economic engineering enterprise expansion factory's firm firm's foreign French Gatrell GAU's Guchkov guns Ibid imperial Russia increased industrial industrialists istorii joint-stock KamAz Kirovsky factory Kirovsky Zavod Kirovsky's Kolomna Krupp locomotive Manikovskii manufacture ment military million rubles mini-tractors Moscow Naval Ministry Nevskii Obukhov officers Otchet output pany payment percent Petersburg Petersburg International Plzen Polivanov poods product line profits Putilov board Putilov Company Putilov factory Putilov plant Putilov stock quick-fire rail factory rail production railroad Rearmament Commission Rept RGIAf role Russian business Russo-Asiatic Bank Schneider sequestration shareholders shares shipbuilding Skoda Slavophile Soviet steel rails strategy supplier technical tion Torgovo-Promyshlennaia Gazeta tractors tsarist turbines Vickers Voigt votes workers workshop