The Grand Strategy of the Russian Empire, 1650-1831

By John P. Ledonne | Go to book overview

6
Economy, Culture,
Client Societies

The Economy

Russia's rise to hegemony in the Heartland was made possible by the continued strength of its economy within the few parameters set by Peter: while “free” labor made progress in the textile industry concentrated around Moscow, metallurgy remained largely concentrated in the Urals, where the labor force was overwhelmingly servile. The foundation of the military-industrial complex continued to be serfdom, with its accompanying infrastructure of compulsion geared to the production of the weapons of war for the army and the navy and to the construction of fortresses and naval installations in an ever expanding empire. By 1750, the production of iron had reached 36,363 tons; by the end of Paul's reign, in 1800, it had quintupled to reach nearly 181,820 tons, keeping Russia still ahead of England with its 172,730 tons. 1 Russia had overtaken Sweden to become the leading exporter of iron and copper. But Russia's lead over England was narrowing, as the basic flaws of Russian metallurgy began to appear: the exhaustion of the Ural forests and the reliance on serf labor, which discouraged innovation. Serfdom's capabilities were being stretched to the limit, and farther demands would become counterproductive.

The production of muskets reached 30,000 in 1746, and there was a reserve of another 36,000 in Tula, Petersburg, and Sestroretsk. Production became increasingly concentrated in Tula while Sestroretsk specialized in the repair of muskets and the production of pistols and bayonets. The Tula works produced an average of 19,000 muskets a year between the late 1730s and the late 1770s and about 25,000 in the 1780s. The requirements were large, however. The establishment of 1762–63 called for 216,352 muskets and carbines and that of 1785–86 for 227,172 in addition to a reserve equivalent to 75 percent of those totals. Production was barely enough to cover the needs, especially after the long Turkish Wars, which caused much destruction of military equipment. Tula continued to receive its raw materials from the Urals and, for a time in the 1770s, spare parts from a new plant in Briansk. Another new plant at Izhevsk produced guns for the army in the southern theater and

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The Grand Strategy of the Russian Empire, 1650-1831
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Preface vii
  • Acknowledgments xi
  • Contents xiii
  • Maps xv
  • The Grand Strategy of the Russian Empire, 1650–1831 *
  • Introduction 3
  • Part I - The Formation of Russia's Grand Strategy, 1650–1743 13
  • 1 - The Geopolitical Background 15
  • 2 - Mobile Armies 38
  • 3 - Client States and Societies 61
  • Part II - Hegemonic Expansionism, 1743–1796 83
  • 4 - Deep Strikes 85
  • 5 - Peripheral Deployment 108
  • 6 - Economy, Culture, Client Societies 132
  • Part III - The Territorialization of the Empire, 1797–1831 154
  • 7 - Strategic Penetration 155
  • 8 - Dispersion of the Strategic Force 177
  • 9 - Fortress Empire 198
  • Conclusion 219
  • Notes 235
  • Bibliography 251
  • Index 259
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