Science and Technology (1850-1914)

Overpopulation in the rural areas became a widespread problem in the last period of Czarist Russia. The percentage of peasant lands, over full ownership of land doubled (for the most part by the kulaks) in the forty years prior to the Revolution of 1917, while the properties of the peasantry as a whole fell by a third; this, coupled with the huge backwardness of Russian agriculture and the fact that the rural nobility would not integrate to the capitalist dynamic, they made of the Russian countryside one of the most delayed places in Europe.

Industrialization, however, did spread rapidly in cities: by the early twentieth century Russia had great industries of coal, iron, oil, textiles and a huge rail network. Many of the Russian metallurgical complexes had the most advanced technology in the world at that time, by 1914 the Russian industry had already tripled its production volume compared to what they were in the middle of the nineteenth century, thus becoming one of the fastest growth rates in Europe (on the eve of World War I, Russia was the fourth largest producer of steel in the world, above, even France). The absolute volume of the industrial sector was the fifth in the world.

Russian industrialization

Russian industrialization

However, the internal contradictions of this industrialization were obvious: capital investment was primarily funded by the state, which in turn depended entirely on foreign loans, for whose solvency the Russian peasantry had to pay very high taxes (in the absence of a capitalist class that would support economic development inherent in that industrialization); peasantry, on the other hand, blocking the growth of a domestic market for secular backwardness in the field described above, essential to sustain an increased investment.

Thus, while in the large industrial and urban center a capitalist mode of production dominated, the field was practically stuck with pre-capitalist relations of production, all in the context of a complex political structure dominated by an absolutist monarchy with feudal nobility embedded in all orders of the state. At the time of the last Russian tsar, there had been no basic change in character class or political structure. The feudal nobility, embedded in the state remained the ruling class in Imperial Russia.

The bourgeoisie was too weak, so it never managed to occupy leadership positions in the administration of the country’s military defeat by the Japanese Empire, and consequent popular explosion against the regime during the so-called Revolution of 1905 forced a number of changes to Zsarism, but it could not materialize in the establishment of a bourgeois monarchy such as England, as was the hope of the Russian liberals of that era.

Some of teh most renour inventions at this time are:

1854 Modern field surgery

1857 Radiator

1864 Modern icebreaker

1869 Periodic table

1875 Railway electrification system

1895 Lightning detector / Radio receiver

1898 Polar icebreaker

 1901 Chromatography

1902 Fire fighting foam

1904 Foam extinguisher

1905 Auscultatory blood pressure measurement

1907 Aerosan / Snowmobile

1913 Assault rifle

1914 Strategic bomber


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