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The Evolution of the Social and Political System, Alexander II. The Abolishment of Serfdom.
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Development of Russia during the Post-reform Period

The social and economic development of Russia during the period after the reforms.

The Russian empire was distinguished among other European states with the area of 18 million sq. versts) and its fast increasing population. After the reforms there were significant changes in the social structure of the Russian society.
The number of the noblemen owning grounds sharply reduced. At the end of the 70s there were not more than half of the peerage's nobility. But noblemen were occupying high state posts. In 1863 it was authorized for officials to combine public service with enterprise activity.

The rural exodus - outflow to the cities for earnings was practiced by peasants.
After 1861, the rates of the growth of commercial and industrial bourgeoisie basically increased, due to the increasing rich peasantry and fine business, and also city lower-middle class.
In 1870-1880, new organizations of industrialists appeared. The cancellation of the serfdom resulted in the fast growth of hired workers.

The agriculture.
As a result of reform the sizes of peasants' lots in the majority of provinces decreased (at the average of 20%) and were from 2-3 to 40-50 dessiatinas on courtyard. The peasant's community received the right to possess lands, distributing and redistributing lots between courtyards. After the reform, landowners who had no means for land processing began to sell it out. The basic buyers of the ground became prosperous peasants. The livestock of cattle increased.

The peasant's reform stimulated also the development of the industry. The rise of agriculture liberated working hands and created demand of industrial output.
Foreign capital investments - from England, France, Germany, Belgium were basically done in the heavy industry.
The rise of the cotton industry proceeded.
The extracting and heavy industry developed with high temps.
In 60-70 started the development of machine engineering industry, with their centers in Moscow and Petersburg.

The transport.
The construction of railways, in which was prevailing the private construction, had a special value in the economy of the country. Improvement of transport system promoted the development of trade. Remote areas of the country were actively taking part in the commercial relations. The significance of fairs gradually fell, and commodity exchanges gathered force. Grain trade inside the country was increasing.

The foreign market developed also. Bread became the main article of the Russian export. During the thirty years after the reforms, its export increased up to 5 times.

The financial policy.
The realization of reforms in 1861, on the basis of redemption operation demanded big credits. The industry and transport were in urgent need of credits. The state budget of the country was touched by a chronic deficiency. In 1861, it was estimated at the sum of 82,6 million rubles instead of initially incorporated 21,3 million rubles. The covering of deficiency was carried out by means of foreign loans, release of additional treasury notes etc.; that resulted into fluctuations of the ruble exchange rate.

For the realization of repayment operation in absence of money in the government's treasury, the government used payments of the redemption sums by percentage papers as state loans. The order of repayment of these papers provided the restriction of their transfer from hands to hands and the establishment of 49-years term of repayment. Similar measures resulted into the growth of the internal debt and displeased noblemen - landowners. The problem of the realization of transformations in the finance system became the main task of the government in system of the finance.

One year after declaration of the country reform, the government began the realization of the reform of the finance. In 1860, during the preparation of the country reform, instead of former credit establishments, the State bank, which funds were formed basically of state contributions, was created. Private contributions and deposits of the industry were concentrated in joint-stock banks which active creation was observed in 1860 and the beginning of 1870. In 1875-1880 the majority of joint-stock banks went bankrupts.

In 1862, the attempt to make the currency reform on the basis of free exchange of bank notes with gold and silver at a firm rate was taken. The realization of reform was conditioned by the obtention by the government of a large foreign loan. However, the reform failed: the deficiency of the state budget, and the decrease of the business activity in the beginning of 1860 had an effect also. The growth of inflation continued.

The peasant's movement from the end of the 50th years accrued, warmed up by constant hearings about preparing clearing. If in 1851-1855 were done 287 peasants' revolts, in 1856-1859,1341. The deep disappointment of peasants in the character and the contents of reform was expressed in mass refusals of the execution of duties and of signing of "authorized letters".

From middle of the 70s years the peasant's movement began again to gather force under the influence of land's narrowness, weight of payments and duties. That situation was due the to the Russian-Turkish war of 1877-1878, and in 1879-1880 a bad crop and pasturage became the reason of terrible famine. The number of peasants' revolts grew from year to year.

The working-class movement of the 60s years was not significant. Cases of passive resistance and the protest - submission of complaints, or flight from factories, prevailed. Due to their serfdom traditions and the absence of a special working legislation, the rigid mode of exploitation of labours of operation was established. With time, workers started organizing strikes, especially in big enterprises. The usual requirement was the reduction of penalties, increasing of wages, improvement of working conditions. Since the 70s years the working-class movement had gradually increased. The number of strikes covering big industrial enterprises, alongside with the agitations which were not accompanied with cessation of work and submission of collective complaints, increased.

Differently from the peasant's movement, the working-class movement was more organized. Appreciable role in the creation of the first working circles was played by the activity of propagandists - populists. They ordered the propaganda among workers and their aim was the revolutionary struggle "with the existing political and economic stratification" and for the establishment of socialist relations.

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