Sergei Witte and the Industrialization of Russia

Sergei Witte and the Industrialization of Russia

Sergei Witte and the Industrialization of Russia

Sergei Witte and the Industrialization of Russia

Excerpt

I have never been led by anybody's advice or direction, but always relied on my own judgment and especially my own character . WITTE, Memoirs

This man knows what he wants and he will make a great career for himself as a statesman. BISMARCK TO MAXIMILIAN HARDEN

IT MAY NEVER be possible to bring the image of this unusual statesman of Imperial Russia--one of the giants in the succession from Peter the Great to Lenin--into precise historical focus. His early accomplishments and his successes as minister of finance were overshadowed by his later failure as chairman of the Council of Ministers in the Revolution of 1905; his political career was caught up in the impending collapse of Imperial Russia. His life and his work as a whole, furthermore, were all too quickly thrust into "the garbage pail of history" by the fall of the Imperial government and the Bolshevik Revolution. Even his own Memoirs do him scant justice. When between 1907 and 1912 he surveyed his life, his mind was embittered by the recent events and by the misunderstanding which he had encountered ever since he had entered the government. And when the time came for a second and more objective look at his work and plans, the Revolution swept away his friends and foes alike and buried in oblivion all his pleas and projects. In Russian history as viewed by the Bolsheviks, Lenin and Stalin, not Witte, were the originators of industrialization. So the Western biographer of Witte must re-

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