Urban Industrialization in the Provincial Towns of Late Imperial Russia

James H. Bater


Modernization in Russia was intimately associated with the process of urban-industrialization, with the penetration of capitalism into a society which had evolved under the conditions of an absolute autocracy. While the level of employment in industry certainly did not figure prominently in the economy of most Russian cities on the eve of the Great War, industrialization-- and with it rapid urban growth-nonetheless did serve as a catalyst in the general process of economic development. The process started late in Russia, of course, gathering momentum only toward the close of the nineteenth century. Many cities were metamorphosed during the years of rapid industrialization, not least of which being the Empire's capital, St. Petersburg. Here, as elsewhere in Russia, modern industrialism was not easily accommodated by the existing, largely antedeluvian, urban infrastructure. Nor were the demands of the factory, with its emphasis on regularity of habit and labour discipline, readily accommodated by workers whose prevailing socio-cultural values were more often those of the countryside than the city.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5195/cbp.1985.24


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